CSV-DSM Part 1

Chapter 11: "Keep Pushin' On"

"Hey Adam, check out the munchkin!" JJ giggled as he pointed towards the stage.

Adam turned his head, and immediately joined JJ in his giggles. Up on the stage, Timmy was surrounded by about twenty squirrels which had somehow made it into the building. They seemed to be listening intently to what he was telling them, and as Adam watched, they split off and spread out over the stage.

By this time, DJ, Leo, CD, Joey, and KC had rejoined Timmy on the stage. "Hey Y'all!" DJ announced as he turned on his mic. "Just so you know, we like having fun while singing too! This wasn't scheduled to be in the concert, but none of us are immune to our little brother when he gives us pouty eyes. Have fun, and if you know the words, feel free to join in!"

DJ hit the opening notes on Tanner's organ as one of the squirrels hopped onto his shoulder. As he began singing the opening words to "Mississippi Squirrel Revival", the remaining squirrels, with the exception of one that decided to help KC with the steel guitar, formed a line along the front of the stage. At the first chorus, they did an amazing imitation of a Rockettes dance line. As the kids watching laughed and began singing along, the boys started to really get into the song. By the second chorus, the squirrels had formed a Conga line, with Timmy leading it while playing guitar and Leo bringing up the end while playing his harmonica.

All this time, the first squirrel was perched on DJ's shoulder, chattering away at appropriate moments. The Conga line broke up as DJ wound up the final chorus. The boys made their way to the front of the stage, and took a bow along with the squirrels. "Thanks for joining in!" DJ announced before the boys headed back to their parents, Timmy and CD making a beeline for Cory. DJ, with his furry shoulder partner, followed behind, watching as the rest of the squirrels spread out in the arena and began picking humanoid friends to hang around with.

Cory quickly found himself host to three boys on his lap: Timmy, CD, and Pauly. While still managing to breathe despite the crushing hug Timmy was giving him, Cory finally noticed Pauly's costume. "Wow, that's a pretty awesome Vulcan costume, kiddo." Cory stated.

"Thanks Daddy, I hadda LOT of help with it!" Pauly giggled.

Before Cory could say anything else, Timmy finally decided to speak. "I missed you TONS, Daddy," he said in a small voice.

"I've missed you too, Fireball," Cory replied as he tilted his head to kiss Timmy's cheek. "It hasn't been as long for me, but I still miss you a lot; I miss all of you guys."

"I love you, Daddy. Promise that you'll never ever ever ever leave us?"

"I might be away here and there, but I'm NEVER gonna abandon you guys," Cory stated firmly.

"Pinky swear?" Timmy asked hesitantly, holding up his hand with the pinky extended.

"Pinky Swear," Cory replied, hooking pinkies with his son.

Sean watched with pride as his husband comforted their first child. He turned his attention to his own 'groupies'; Leo and Joey had taken up residence on his lap, while the other boys were happy just being near Cory and Sean and watching them with the little ones.

"You sounded great singing up there, Joey," Sean commented.

"Weawwy? Was I weawwy good?" Joey asked.

Sean smiled. "You were perfect. I think Danny would be proud of you on the drums too!"

"Keww! Unkah Danny wikes pwayin' dwums, and I wanna be jusd wike him!" Joey said with excitement.

Sean giggled. "From what I saw, he might just be asking you to teach HIM a few things!"

"You'we siwwy, Poppa Sean... I'm jusd a kid, he's a big guy!"

Sean giggled. "Trust me, lil' guy. You're good."

"Told ya!" Leo giggled as he put his free arm around Joey. "Grandpa Sean knows EVERYTHING!"

Joey giggled, then resumed his cuddles with Sean... after sticking his tongue out at Leo.

On the other side of the table, Kyle, Tyler, Ezra, and Dylan were spending a little family time of their own.

"...So you're saying that you've spent five years helping these guys?" Kyle asked as he wrapped his arm around Dylan.

Dylan nodded. "Yeah. I had fun with it too! We had a bunch of concerts where linear time runs opposite of Alpha Prime time, so I was able to keep the guys' physical ages right. Quint and me's gonna check all the guys out before we take them home, just to make sure none of them have lost sync."

Tyler tilted his head. "You really need to take some time to learn how to be a kid, Dilly."

Dylan grinned. "You worry too much, Pop. When I wasn't doing stuff to set up the concerts, I was hanging out with my cousins. That's why I'm playing wizard tonight; Timmy, Joey and Pauly say it's really fun when I do the little 'magic tricks' and play around. DJ made me start doing stuff like the rest of them just after we started this; he said that I needed to learn stuff just like they were, or else it'd make some of the guys jealous of me."

Both Kyle and Tyler smiled. "I'm glad you listened to him," Tyler commented. "Kyle-bear and me've been talking, and we think all of us need to stop showing off in front of everyone."

"Yeah," Kyle added. "I'm not gonna go someplace else to live, and we keep messin' in stuff other people can fix. We gotta stop doin' that, or we're gonna have to leave to keep from hurting our brothers."

Ezra looked at his parents with a grin. "Dad, Pop? You are worrying too much! Do I gotta get Uncle JJ over here to straighten you out?"

"You wouldn't da... oh crap!" Kyle replied. "You're goin' swimming when we get home, Brat!"

JJ giggled as he joined them. "I heard you, little brother; it's not Ezzy's fault... this time. Remember what I told you? We all love you just the way you are; you AND all of my nephews! Just have fun being my little bro and his husband; I'm pulling the big brother card and I'll worry about helping my nephews fit in, however each of them needs to."

"He's still goin swimming!" Kyle and Tyler said in unison.

"Dang it, and I'm gonna miss it!" Dylan giggled.

"From what I hear, you've had your share of being on both sides of throwing people in pools lately," JJ said as he put his arm over Dylan's shoulder. "We're all really proud of you and what you've done, Dilly. The guys all have told us how much you helped them out; you did good."

Dylan blushed slightly at the praise. "I just did what Daddy and Pop taught us before we were born. I might have never been human, but I know me and my brothers all want to be just like Daddy and Poppa... which means that we gotta learn to live like our cousins do. Quint's having fun watching us; no other high race has ever tried to live with the race they came from, so we're all learning things nobody's learned before."

JJ nodded his head. "And you're doing a great job. Ky? Just let things go as they go, little bro. No other eight-year-old I've met, not even Clan members, could have handled being forced into what you have went through. You've handled things just like I would expect you to; you followed your heart, helped a lot of people, and are getting back to yourself now that you're getting used to the power that you've been gifted with. Most grown-ups would have went on a power trip; you never did. I think that is why you got it instead of someone older: you don't misuse it. Instead you're making it work while living with your family, something that nobody older would have even tried to do."

"What if I screw up?" Kyle asked softly.

"Then you screw up, and we help you fix it. That's what family is for, bro," JJ replied calmly. "I know that you're still learning what family means, Kyle. I know you spent most of your life without real family; that is why all of us have your back as you figure this stuff out."

"Look at it this way, Kyle," Eoghan said as he slid into the seat across from him. "I've heard a lot about you, and what guys like you can do. To be blunt, the thought of me having the kinda of power you do would scare the hell out of me." Eoghan was purposely making sure his accent didn't come through, so everyone could understand him.

"But, while I can't call you human, I can call you mortal, and that means you'll make mistakes. There's nothing wrong with that; as a matter of fact, if you didn't screw up, I'd be a lot more worried than I am. But there's something else you really gotta understand, something that is very hard for people like me and my boys to learn; I have a feeling it's hard for you, too. You gotta be able to lean on others, you gotta be able to trust that the person next to you, your brother or sister, is there to help hold you up when you need it, or even pick you up when you fall down."

"Someone who is not only able to accept help, but willing to accept it, is as close to perfect as you'll ever find."

"But there's another side to this whole thing too," Eoghan said as he leaned forward and put his hands on top of Kyle's. "You've also got to let others make mistakes and deal with the consequences of their fuck-ups. That'll probably be the hardest thing you'll ever do. Especially if someone's life is on the line."

"But look at it this way..." Eoghan's eyes actually watered at this point. "All the family we lost in Montana was terrible, but imagine what would have happened had all those kids NOT died. Just think about that."

Kyle nodded. "I know... I went and looked... more kids ended up dead when there wasn't an attack," he replied softly.

Eoghan nodded and smiled sadly. "Sometimes I think you realize that what you have is not only a blessing, but also a curse. They call it the curse of immortality for a reason. It's not the same thing exactly, but you get my point.� And THAT is why I would NEVER want to be able to do what you can do, and why I will say with all honesty, you're a hell of a better person then I am." With those words, Eoghan got up, moved around the table, and pulled Kyle from his seat and into a hard hug. "Don't be afraid to lean on others when you need to, even me."

"What did I do to deserve this though?" Kyle asked softly from the hug.

"You kept your big heart for one," JJ said with certainty.

Eoghan pulled back from the hug, but kept his hands on Kyle's shoulders as he looked into the younger boy's purple eyes. "You kept your humanity more than a lot of people who are still human. You let your heart guide you, and your love flow to everyone who is around you. That is why I feel honored to be able to call you a Clan Brother."

"And you gained a cute glow when you blush," Tyler added as he hugged Kyle from behind.

"You're not helping any, cutie!" Kyle giggled as his blush increased. "I wanna be just a kid again; I don't like being Superman."

Eoghan shook his head. "You've never been Superman. That is why none of us are intimidated by you, Ty, or your kids. You guys are kind of like Juan; if he wanted to, he could take out anyone who even looked at him or his friends funny. He doesn't, though; a lot of the Unit looks at him as an example of how to serve justice without becoming as bad as the people we are after."

"You know how to have fun, too," JJ added. "You are like Eli and 'Leg'; Eli has a skill, and he uses it to play around with 'Leg' with the kids. Dilly was using one of your best ideas earlier tonight; he had an illusional dragon walking around the arena. All the little kids love that kinda thing, and it's something that only YOU guys can pull off. That kinda stuff is being a kid, bro... and you're really good at it."

"I guess...." Kyle started to respond, but the rest of his argument was cut off by Dylan.

"Pop? Has anyone mapped Tesnians yet? Deej wants to have their new brother join them for a song for our favorite Uncles, and I don't know my way around his head yet to teach him the song."

Ezra smiled. "I'll help you, Dylan. Fife is still kinda shy, so I think he'll feel better if I'm with you inside his head. We'll be right back!"

As the two Mikyvis boys vanished, Eoghan looked Kyle in the eyes. "THAT is what I mean. Those two boys learned that from YOU. They care about how others feel, and ask for help if they are unsure about doing something."

Kyle tilted his head as he thought about what had been said. "But Tyne said I need to take control of my species...."

"Stop right there!" Eoghan said firmly. "General Adam is the Alpha Male for the Unit Hybrids. He leads by example, not by sitting on some damn throne jerking his meat. Whoever this Tyne person is, he's full of more shit than a porta-john at the end of the opening day at the State Fair. There's a reason the first word in Dictator is DICK. If you wanna lead, ask General Adam for help. If you wanna make enemies out of your own kids, listen to that Tyne prick."

Tyler touched Kyle's arm as Kyle's eyes flashed. He looked at Eoghan. "Sorry, bro, but cool it a little on saying things 'bout Tyne. He saved my Kyle-bear's life and Kyle looks up to him. We'll be taking what you said seriously, but give me a minute to cool down my little hubby."

"I'm fine," Kyle breathed out, closing his eyes. "Sorry, Eoghan. You don't know Tyne like we do, so I shouldn't get angry like that. But you're right. I don't wanna be a dictator."

JJ thought for a second before adding his own opinion, inwardly knowing that whatever he said would be taken as law by his little brother. "In his own way, Eoghan has a point. There are different ways to lead, and Tyne's way might not be the right way for you. Actually, after watching your kids, I think Eoghan might be right about it making them into enemies. Look at how people like Adam and Cory lead, and sit down with Q to get ideas from what he has seen. Until you decide, just keep doing what you're doing; it works."

Q popped in. "Did I hear worship directed at me? Oh, JJ! How wonderful! Here, have a gift!" he cried happily before snapping his fingers and making a large Cuban Cigar appear in JJ's mouth.

"Cherry bubble gum?" JJ asked as he tasted the cigar. "Sweeet! I was just telling Kyle that he needs to talk to you about leading his species." He glanced at Eoghan, and saw where his hand had shot to. "Chill, Eoghan; he's on our side. This is the almighty amazing one-of-a-kind master of multitudes, Q."

"And a water-gun wouldn't do much against anyone... other than a paper towel," Q winked at Eoghan, who found that his gun had turned into a see-through water-pistol.

"What the FUCK!! Where in the HELL is my gun!" Eoghan exclaimed, fortunately in his natural brogue, so not many understood him.

The gun turned back to normal and Q chuckled. "I'm pleased to meet you, Eoghan. You're easy to tease... I like that. You can be sure that you'll see more of me. I'll be with Pablito." Then, as Eoghan turned pale, Q turned to look down at the sniggering Kyle. He sat down and pulled Kyle onto his lap. "You want to talk to me," he said, more a statement than a question.

"JJ says I do." Kyle giggled. "He thinks you know howta lead."

"What?! Lead? Me?! Never! NEVER, I TELL YOU!" Q exclaimed, winking at the now laughing youngster on his lap. "I'm the first of my people, but I never wanted to lead. I left that to those who thought they could do it better. And look what THAT did. No, Kyle, I'm not the one you should ask about leading anything. I have to learn to do that myself, now, to sort out the mess the Continuum has made of itself. It's going to be harder for me than it is for you, what with your race being so young."

"What's the Continuum like?" Kyle asked curiously.

"It's ruled by iron-clad laws. Break them and you're on the Council's shit-list for eternity. That's me, if you hadn't guessed. But since I'm 'Prince' they can't do much, even though they've tried. You can try setting up your people with laws like that, but I don't think it's generally the best way in your situation. My race all turned after I did. Well, that's cos I MADE them. My fault. We weren't a family like you Mikyvis. We were a planet made Q, so we had to set up differently. Then it went too far.

"You're going to need rules, don't get me wrong," Q continued, "but since you're starting small and working up to a full blown species you can set rules and guidelines and then live by them as an example. That will be far better for you and your kids – and the others – than to make a law and enforce it. Work up to the 'laws' if and when they are needed. Not before."

JJ giggled. "Told ya so, bro. Q knows how not to lead, which makes it easier to lead right!"

Q looked at JJ and winked, and JJ suddenly had a super-atomic-wedgie.

Kyle giggled as he watched JJ trying to extract his boxers. "Why does Tyne think that I need to control my species then?" he asked Q.

Q closed his eyes and sighed. "Because of what he has experienced."

"What do you mean?" Tyler piped up.

Q looked at him and sighed again. "He saw the birth of the Vampires. He saw the results of his own race's mistakes. He saw the mess that came due to the Ferox. He did not tell you two to control your people because he is a dick, but because he is frightened. If the Moroi, or the Vampires as they are now called, could cause that much damage, how much more could the Ferox do if they really lost control? And how much more again if just one of your kids lost control? Take Levi... no, bad example, you're not meant to know yet. Take yourself, Tyler... if you saw ten people rape and murder Cory, what would you do? Explode? Rupture the sun? Destroy this solar system? You HAVE that power. Tyne guesses that you have that power, and he's right. And he's scared. Not OF you, but FOR you and FOR this entire planet. Doesn't mean he's right to tell you to 'control' your race in the way he's thinking, but that's his reasons."

"Eoghan thinks that I'd make enemies of our kids if I tried that," Kyle mused.

"Well, I don't think enemies, but you'll confuse them, hurt them and upset them if you started to do that," Q clarified, nodding at Eoghan. "Peter, you'll piss off and the two Down Under will be confused and hurt... no, it's not the best way to rule a family. I'm surprised you haven't thought about asking your Grandfather, Sarek. Or your Grandmother, Elizabeth. Both can give you insights on ruling; one with a large family the other with a Kingdom. Also, talk with Gallifrey. He could tell you how 'not' to rule as well, only his experiences are a little different from my own."

"Walk with the wise and you will grow wise," came the voice of Mikey from above them. They looked up to see him floating upside down above their heads. "A good Man taught me that after I died, little bros."

Q looked up and nodded, "Al'vo Mikey. It is an honour."

"You spyin' on us again, Mikey?" Kyle giggled. "Why can't I just be a kid?"

"What makes you say you're not one?" Mikey asked as he righted himself in the air and floated down to sit next to Eoghan. "Take Quint. He's a Q yet still a kid as well. And Galli - he's the oldest still-living person going, yet he's a kid again and loving it. Why can't you do the same? You've got power, yes, but if you want to be a kid, then BE one. And from what I've seen over the past two days, you're doing a really good job on that."

"I agree," Candy said as she shimmered in next to Kyle and Q. Then she winked at Q and together they tickled Kyle so much that, had he been human, he'd have wet himself.

Tyler giggled as he watched Kyle being tickled. "You mean we don't have to be all grown up to lead our species? I thought only old people like Cory could be leaders."

Mikey started laughing so much that he fell off his seat, and Eoghan was dragged right with him, laughing fit to bust himself. They were laughing so loudly that Cory and Sean noticed and came over to investigate, their youngest kids still attached to them.

"What's so funny? And when did you pop in, Uncle Q?" Cory asked with a grin.

"In reverse order, I came because this wonderful JJ was worshiping me, and I like worship. And they are laughing because, in the eyes of eight-year-olds, you are... one, two, three, guys?" Q prompted Kyle and Tyler.

"OLD!" they chorused, setting Mikey and Eoghan off into more fits of merriment.

After a quick mental agreement as to who was getting who, Cory and Sean pounced Kyle and Ty; Cory taking Kyle and Sean taking Tyler. "Old, huh?" Cory giggled as he furiously tickled Kyle.

Satisfied that their parents were going to be occupied for a few minutes torturing their uncles, Timmy led his other brothers towards the stage, where Ezra and Dylan were just finishing up with Fife. Timmy immediately made a beeline for his newest big brother, and almost purred as he wrapped his arms around Fife and nuzzled his cheek into some exposed fur on Fife's chest.

DJ giggled as he watched Timmy's actions. "I think it's official now; Timmy only cuddles brothers like that!"

Fife smiled as he ran his fingers through Timmy's hair, bringing the young boy's sounds of contentment even closer to a purr. "He sounds just like a Tesnian little one who is family-bonding." Fife whispered.

DJ moved over to sandwich Timmy between him and Fife in a loving hug. "That's because that is exactly what he's doing," DJ replied. "He's my little big brother, and our family's favorite little fireball."

"Little big brother?" Fife asked curiously.

DJ giggled. "It's a long story. We both have the same mom; his Dad was in a Starfleet time experiment, so he was born before I was and brought back to regular time. That makes him my little big brother."

"Uh-Huh!!" Timmy giggled from between them. "I'm the cute one, too!"

"That you are, munchkin!" DJ laughed as he pulled back and picked up Timmy. "C'mon, Fife, let's get this thing going before Timmy decides to indoctrinate everyone in the building!"

"I don' wanna play doctor wit' everyone! There's girls here, they ain't got fun parts!" Timmy exclaimed indignantly.

"You've been hanging around the eight-year-olds way too much, lil' bro!" DJ laughed. "C'mon, you've got some singing to do, munchkin!"

Timmy giggled and stuck out his tongue at his big brother. "Meanie!"

Fife smiled at the interaction between the two boys, glad to have been included in his new family. He joined Tanner, DJ, and Timmy at the front of the stage as the rest of their brothers filled out their favorite positions in the band behind them. Fife reached into his pack, and put on his breather; previous experience with singing solo when in private told him that he would need the extra atmospheric assistance.

Conner began playing the opening keys to "The Perfect Fan", Timmy taking the first stanza. When he replaced the word 'mom' with 'dad' while looking directly at Sean and Cory, it became clear to all that this song was being done just for them. Cory's smile could be seen a mile away when the other three boys kicked in on backup vocals, all of them looking directly at Cory and Sean.

DJ took the second solo, Timmy stepping back to sing backup vocals next to Fife. Tanner stepped up with DJ to start the duet mid-song, taking the stanza before the chorus kicked in again. When the song switched to alternating between solo and chorus, Fife took the solo parts, his voice surprising everyone with its range. For the alternating solos near the end, Timmy joined Fife, their voices bouncing off of each other in an amazing harmony. The final circle of solo parts was done with the boys' arms over each other's shoulders. The final 'I love you, Dad and Pop', said by all of the boys in the band in unison, brought tears to the eyes of every parent in the building. Timmy scrambled onto Fife's back, and the two of them led their brothers to rejoin Cory and Sean. After a heartfelt hug and a tearful kiss on the forehead for each of the boys from both of them, Cory and Sean led them to an empty area of the floor and arranged a group cuddle.

Jesse and Julio watched as the family bonding session began. "I wish we could have kids like that," Jesse commented, more to himself than anything.

Julio giggled. "Be careful what you wish for, Babe. We're Clan now; anything is possible!"

Jesse smiled shyly. "I'm not like Cory or Sean though," he said as the pair started walking out into the arena. "They're strong, I'm just me."

Julio put his arm around Jesse's waist. "I'm glad you're just you. You're strong in a different way, and I like it."

Jesse thought over Julio's words as the two walked. About half way across the floor, they spotted a face-painting booth that had a large crowd of kids standing around it. As they got closer, both of them smiled as they got a glimpse of why everyone was so interested in it. The booth was being ran by a pair of art students from Drake University. It appeared that they had received some help however... help that was making their booth "the" place to visit.

"Hey Huey! Nice leopard!" Julio said as they walked up.

"Thanks!" Huey replied as he put the finishing touches on the face of the five-year-old in front of him. "I didn't know that camo painting could be this much fun!"

"You're doing great." Julio assured the boy as he looked around the booth. Most of the Dutchmen were present, helping the booth's owners with the crowd of willing canvases. The owner's smiles gave away how much fun they were having; between giving tips to their new helpers, and asking questions about techniques they hadn't thought of, it was clear that everyone was learning something while having fun. Off on one side, Doug was 'holding classes' for anyone interested in learning how to professionally apply camo paint for blending into an environment.

"Hey, Julio, check out Travis!" Jesse giggled.

Julio turned his head, and busted out in giggles. Travis had borrowed a table from somewhere, and was obviously enjoying himself as he gave demonstrations to an amazingly large group of kids on how to safely modify their water pistols and super soakers for increased range and accuracy.

"I'll have to remember this for the next time one of them wonders about fitting in!" Julio stated as he brought his giggles under control. "Let's wander around a little more; I think these guys are going to be occupied for a while."

"What's that over there?" Jesse asked, pointing off to the left. Just visible over the crowd, there was a booth with the new Division flag up against the wall at the edge of the arena.

"I don't know... lets check it out," Julio replied, unaware of any Clan-based activities planned for during the party. They worked their way over to the booth, and grinned as they saw who was running it. "Okay, Dad; what's up?" Julio asked as they approached the front.

Mick laughed and pointed at Janice. "It was your Mom's idea, I swear!"

Janice shook her head. "Mick, you have not been innocent since the last time you wore a diaper, so give it up," she commented with a smile. "Your Dad suggested we help out by giving the kids here a place that they can ask questions about the Clan or ask for help. We're seeing a few parents stopping in too, asking about helping you guys out. Daileass made up some flyers for us to use, so while you are taking a break we can do our part to help you."

"Kewl, you didn't have to do that!" Julio said with a smile. "I thought you'd enjoy a break after today."

Mick looked at Julio seriously. "You're our son, and you've just became the most important teenager living in the state of Iowa. If it means quitting my job to spend all day supporting you, I'll do it without a second thought. You and the boys around you are our life's work; anything else is secondary. Besides, I'm enjoying answering the questions that are being brought to us."

Before Julio could reply, Q appeared between Mick and Janice, immediately putting his arms over both of their shoulders.

Both Julio and Jesse giggled at the surprised looks on Mick and Janice's faces. "Mom, Dad, meet Q. He's like a grown-up cross between Cory, Kyle, and JJ all wrapped in one," Julio said as way of introduction.

"Ahh, so you are requesting the group rate, Director?" Q asked with a smile. "I will happily oblige, I so enjoy the expressions on humans' faces when they become grandparents multiple times over."

Julio, Janice, and Mick all gave "Q" a 'say what' look in unison.

"What are you talki .... oh SHIT!" Julio and Jesse chorused, their response interrupted by the sensation of multiple hands tapping them on the back.

Julio turned his head, and his eyes almost fell out as he saw three sets of twins standing behind him: a set of blonds, a set of redheads, and a set of brunets. "The nice man in the middle said that you're our new Dads," all six chorused as one.

Suddenly Q was wearing a doctor's gown, complete with a stethoscope and thermometer. With a concerned look on his face he stuck the thermometer in Mick's mouth, started taking Janice's pulse, and was listening to Julio's heartbeat with the stethoscope.

"Impressive, nobody fainted," Q commented. "I must try harder next time."

Another copy of Q popped in, and began using a tricorder on Jesse. He looked at Q and just shook his head sadly.

Q looked at Q and said, "My handsome prince, there is something I must discuss with me." Q looked expectantly at Q and said, "What can I do for my handsome self?"

"There seems to be a very young Q who has recently left his sire's side, since his sire was a real stick in the mud.� I believe that these fine older people here might be just the thing the Doctor ordered."

Julio rolled his eyes, then him and Jesse turned to the group of boys who were now apparently their sons. "Hey, guys," Julio said to the group of pre-teens, "welcome to the family. Whadda you say we do a quick introduction so we all know each other's name at least before Q figures out what his next miracle will be?"

The boys smiled, and looked at each other before one of the blond twins spoke up. "I'm gonna speak for all of us. We were all playing in the orphanage yard when that nice man popped in. A bunch of Starfleet guys showed up and took the staff away for being mean to us, and a nice lady gathered up the rest of the kids and took them somewhere. Then he said he knew some Clan Short guys who wanted kids and he knew we'd be perfect, so he brought us here and showed us where you were. We can all talk to each other in our heads, so I'm the speaker for us; the man said I should tell you that because you would be okay with it."

Jesse beat Julio to his response. "That's sweet; you're gonna fit in with your new Uncles great!"

"That's for sure!" Julio said with a smile. "You're gonna fit in great with the family, guys."

The boys all nodded with smiles, and then the blond speaker for them resumed his introductions. "I'm Bobby, and my brother is Bruce. The redheads are Riley and Reese, and the last two are Kent and Kurt. Me and Bruce are ten, Riley and Reese are eleven, and Kent and Kurt are nine."

"I'm Jesse and he's Julio, the Director of the Des Moines Division," Jesse said helpfully.

"And the two normal people behind us are your new grandparents, Mick and Janice," Julio added, not able to resist the temptation to take a poke at Q.

"Hey now! There's no need to call me insulting names!" Mick laughed, unsuccessfully trying to dodge a jab in the side from Janice.

"Well Dad, compared to Q..." Julio responded with a grin.

"Compared to 'Q' what?" Said a third, rather impatient looking 'Q' that suddenly appeared in front of Julio.

"Well, hello, 'Q.' Don't I look handsome?"

"Yes, I do at that. What do you think, 'Q'."

"Well, I do have that special something, 'Q'."

Julio looked at 'Q' and deadpanned, "Compared to 'Q', a six-legged, five-horned giant tree sloth is normal."

"Didn't Ty say that Timmy had one of those?" Jesse asked seriously.

"Yep. It's quite nice, and compared to 'Q' here it IS very normal," Julio said in a matter-of-fact voice.

'Q' looked to 'Q', who in turn looked at 'Q', who said, "Don't look at me."

'Q' shrugged and said, "Well, don't look at me either."

'Q' suddenly looked very put out. "Wait a minute, I'm the sane one here."

"Oh right! Here you are talking to yourself."

"Well, you are answering yourself!"

"Don't take that tone with me"

"I'll take any tone with myself that I please!"

Suddenly 'Q,' 'Q,' and 'Q' were garbed in fencing outfits and began to go at each other with rapiers.

"En garde, you rapscallion!"

"How dare I call myself a rapscallion!"

"I won't take that from myself. I am an insufferable lout!"

Through all of this, Julio and Jessie giggled as they watched with their six new kids... which became seven, then eight, then...

"Waaaaait a minute!" Julio exclaimed.

A brunet-haired Dylan looked up and grinned, along with a normal blond Ezra and a redheaded Bryce, all the same size as the six new boys. "Well," Dylan grinned widely, "you couldn't expect us to NOT watch and help when Uncle Q is showing us how to REALLY prank, could you?"

Suddenly Mick and Janice felt tentative tugs on the back of their shirts. When they turned around, they found themselves looking at three Hispanic kids. The oldest one spoke up almost immediately.

"Hi Mamma and Pappa. The crazy man in the white suit said you were goin' be our new family. My name is Abejundio. I'm nine. Abelard is eight and Agapito is six."

Mick looked at the boys and smiled. "It's nice to meet you guys, but who is the baby in Mamma's arms?"

Agapito looked up with a smile. "She says her name mean Arrow, pappa!"

Mick smiled and said, "Hello, Arrow. You are such a cute little princess."

This was met with a satisfied coo from Arrow.

"She approves of the name, I think," Janice said with a content smile on her face.

Cory, Sean, Kyle, and Tyler found themselves being pushed, pulled, and generally prodded as they were 'escorted' onto the stage by their respective sons. As they stood there, Dylan and Ezra ensuring they didn't run away, Timmy pulled a step-stool over to the microphone so that he could be heard. "We heard Daddy an' Poppa did some dancin' an were awesome, but we didn't get to see them, so we're gonna make them dance so we can see it too."

"I know THAT song! Mom had it in her music collection!" Fife shouted from the huddle the rest of the band members were assembled in.

"Sweet, you got lead, bro; that's out of my range," DJ replied as the huddle broke up. "Places, guys... I wanna see if Dad and Pop are as good as everyone says!"

"Every single one of you are going swimming when I get home!" Cory shouted, his grin giving away the fun he was having.

"Gotta catch me first, Daddy!" Timmy giggled as he scrambled to grab his acoustic guitar. Joey and Pauly managed to scramble to their drums without knocking over Austin, Beau, Calen, DJ, and Leo, who were heading to the horn section. CD and Brandon both grabbed their bass guitars, Conner and Tanner hit their synth booths, and KC picked up a glowing teal and black Fender Stratocaster. Toby joined Fife up front, and announced "Chance, hit the lights! We're flashin' back into the old days of the Seventies... we're gonna light a Disco Inferno!"

The four unwilling dancers exchanged glances, their faces breaking into huge grins. The lights dropped, with a disco ball appearing from nowhere above their heads. With a single drum beat leading it off, the horns and then the basses kicked in. The boys not playing horns gave the opening chorus, with Toby giving the final 'Burnin!'. Fife took over, the small Tesnian dancing around the rest of the front stage band members as he sang. At the front of the stage, Cory, Sean, Tyler, and Kyle strutted their stuff, giving the show everything they had. Out on the floor in front of the stage, kids were dancing along, their faces glowing with fun.

As the song progressed, Kyle and Ty let themselves have even more fun. They slowly rose up, and began dancing above Cory and Sean's heads. A few seconds later, with Kyle's help, Cory and Sean joined them in mid-air.

Fife grinned as him and CD made their way forward. Once under the dancing foursome, they began dancing along as they each performed their part of the song. KC, Toby, Timmy, and Brandon joined them, all hamming it up as they played.

About a minute into the song, Tyler held out his hand, and suddenly JJ and Adam found themselves joining their brothers. After taking a second to get used to the "Mikyvis Floor", the two new arrivals joined into the fun with huge grins.

Towards the back of the stage, the horn section was moving in unison with the rhythm. Joey and Pauly were playing off of each other, sometimes playing in unison and other times swapping the beat back and forth between each other. A few times they even swapped sticks,� a spare stick in mid-air at all times as they continued to play with their free hand.

Six and a half minutes after the song started, it finally wound down. Kyle and Ty lowered the dancers down to a safe spot in front of the band, Cory reaching over and pulling Kyle into a hug as soon as they landed. "I told ya it'd be fun to dance in the air!" Cory giggled.

Kyle grinned wordlessly, his expression showing that he was beginning to understand that there were times being a Mikyvis was a blessing.

Toby grinned as he announced, "Ladies and Gentlemen, let's give a hand for the Clan Short Command Dancers!"

The arena broke into loud applause. Once it settled, and the blushes from the dancers stopped blinding him, Toby continued, "Also let's hear it for our newest brother, Fife!"

The arena exploded in applause once again, this time accompanied with whistles and stomping. Fife's grin became huge, his feeling of being family being bolstered by the second.

DJ came up front and put an arm around Fife. "You sounded awesome, bro! I can't wait to teach you the songs we do!"

Fife's smile grew even wider. "Really? I get to do this again?"

"Yep!" DJ giggled. "You're a member of the band, bro. You get to sit this one out and watch us, but next time we play, I plan on you being right here with us."

Fife twisted around and gave DJ a hug as Cory smiled. "Looks like Fife is finding out about Short brotherhood!" Cory giggled.

Sean nodded as he led the dancers off the stage. "I'm proud of all of them; they all welcomed him with open arms."

A minute later, after getting hugs from each of his new brothers, Fife joined Cory and Sean back at their table. "That was fun!" Fife exclaimed as he settled back into Cory's lap.

Cory grinned and gave Fife a hug in response as DJ got everyone's attention from the stage. "Okay, Des Moines... you heard our warmup set... are you ready to hear our main set?"

With an explosion of sound, the arena overwhelmingly showed their approval. DJ grinned, then waved to his brothers to get ready to resume the concert.

DJ stepped back and grabbed his guitar as the lights dimmed. Tanner and KC stepped forward, and with a strum on the strings by Timmy on his acoustic guitar the band launched into "Blaze of Glory." As the song wound down, Tanner finished the final vocals, then turned the microphone over to KC. The band dropped into "Dream On," KC's voice rising high and strong. Timmy showed his stuff on the lead guitar, him and Brandon playing off of each other perfectly.

The song finished, and the stage went dark. The entire band scrambled to get in position, a single spotlight falling upon KC as he took a seat on a stool mid-stage. Austin hit the opening notes on his piano, and KC started the next song.

When you were young, and your heart was an open book...
You used to say 'Live and let live...'

{Songwriters: McCartney, Paul / McCartney, Linda
Live And Let Die lyrics © EMI Music Publishing}

As the chorus started the lights went bright and the horn section fired up full tilt. Joey was a wildman on the drums, and Brandon played a bass that would have made Paul McCartney proud.

Next, the band jumped into "Invincible," Joey taking the lead vocals from his drum set. They then fell into "I'm Still Standing," with KC back at the microphone.

As the final notes echoed through the arena, DJ stepped up to the microphone. "We're gonna slow it down for a few, this next song is called 'Turn the Page'."

Calen's sax pulled at everyone's heart as he put his soul into every note. DJ put all his emotions into the song, the verses meaning a lot to the entire band at this point in their long tour.

As the final note echoed from Calen's sax, the boys began to scramble to prepare for the next song. DJ, KC, Austin, Calen, and Toby came front-stage, while Conner and Tanner manned their keyboards, CD and Brandon each selected a bass, Joey sat down at his kit while Pauly fired up his electric drum, and Timmy grabbed his lead guitar. As soon as everyone was in place, the boys launched into "As Long as You Love Me," the five boys in the front dancing in unison as they sang the vocals.

The band shifted once again, KC taking the lead with Austin backing him as they fell into "Let Your Love Flow," Timmy playing the Telecaster lead.

Austin stepped up front at the end of the song. "Des Moines, this song is for you," he stated before the band launched into "Don't Stop Believin'." Next up, DJ and Joey took lead on Head East's "Never Been Any Reason," KC and Timmy playing off of each other with their guitars to the enjoyment of the audience.

For "Draw The Line", KC doubled on lead vocals and one of the lead guitars, with Conner doing backup vocals. Timmy had second lead, and Brandon played rhythm with CD on bass and Pauly on drums.

KC stepped back to join Timmy at lead guitar for the next song, with Conner and Tanner taking over vocals. Joey took over on drums, and the band launched into "The Zoo."

The full band hit the stage once again as they launched into a well-executed cover of "I'm Just a Singer (In a Rock And Roll Band)." KC and Tanner ran the vocals, while the rest of the band hit the song with every ounce of energy that they could spare.

Tanner stepped up to the microphone as the rest of the band reached for the nearest bottle of water. "You're AWESOME, Des Moines!" he announced. "For some reason, after the last few songs, the guys think we need to slow it down again! How many of you have figured out that we select our sets to send a message?"

The arena exploded in noise, obviously showing the band that their message was coming across loud and clear.

Tanner smiled. "Kewl! Hey, we're gonna do a song that don't apply if you're Clan, so y'all ain't got to worry!"

Everyone switched around to their next positions, and the band started with "Only The Good Die Young," with Austin at lead vocals. For their next song, DJ took vocals for "Old Time Rock and Roll."

Timmy came up front at the end of the song. "This one is by a really good friend of me an' CD, Alex Smith. He likes it when me, Calen, and Conner sing it, he says it sounds just like he dreamed it should sound like. He calls it "What About Me?"

Timmy took the first stanza, his voice bringing tears to most of the eyes in the arena.

Well, there's a little boy waiting at the counter of the corner shop
He's been waiting down there, waiting half the day,
They never ever see him from the top
He gets pushed around, knocked to the ground,
He gets to his feet and he says...

What about me? It isn't fair
I've had enough, now I want my share
Can't you see, I wanna live
But you just take more than you give...

Calen immediately took the second verse, finishing off the job that Timmy started.

Well, there's a pretty girl serving at the counter of the corner shop
She's been waiting back there, waiting for a dream,
Her dreams walk in and out, they never stop
Well, she's not too proud, to cry out loud
She runs to the street and she screams...

What about me? It isn't fair
I've had enough, now I want my share
Can't you see, I wanna live
But you just take more than you give...

More than you give...

Once Austin finished his heartfelt sax solo, Timmy jumped back in, singing harmony with Calen.

Take a step back and see the little people
They might be young, but they're the ones...
that make the big people big
So listen as they whisper:

Timmy took the next line solo, his pain from recent events showing in every word.

"What about me?"

Conner stepped up for the final stanza, fully aware that there was not a dry eye in the house and intent on driving the point home.

And now I'm standing on this corner,
all the world's gone home
Nobody's changed, nobody's been saved
And I'm feeling cold and alone
I guess I'm lucky, I smile a lot
But sometimes I wish for more... than I've got...

All three boys sang the next chorus, the band members who were not playing silently walking out on stage during it.

What about me? It isn't fair
I've had enough, now I want my share
Can't you see, I wanna live
But you... just... take... more ...

For the last chorus, everyone in the band not playing an instrument joined in.

What about me? It isn't fair
I've had enough, now I want my share
Can't you see, I wanna live
But you just take more...
you just take more...
you just take more ... than ... you ... give...

As the rest of the band members fell quiet, Timmy sang the last three lines, the only other sound being Tanner's keyboard.

What about me?
What about me?
What about....me?

The lights came up, revealing clearly the tears in each of the band members' eyes. The applause was heartfelt, showing that the boys had achieved the delivery of their message. Once the applause tapered off, Conner walked slowly to a microphone at the corner of the stage. "May I please have your undivided attention?" Conner said in a soft voice. The arena fell silent, quickly aware that something unusual was about to happen. Once he was sure he had everyone's attention, Conner continued. "A little while ago, in Montana, we lost some of our brothers to an attack by an organization which believes that the Clan is evil. Every concert, we have vowed that we will ensure that their sacrifice is never forgotten. Would everyone please stand in honor of our fallen brothers?"

Without question, the occupants of the arena stood as one. Pauly came up to stand next to Conner, a single snare drum at his waist. Without prompt, he began a slow cadence as the rest of the band lined up and stood at attention facing the four flagpoles which were now illuminated by spotlights. From backstage, a Marine Honor Guard, black armbands on their uniforms, marched out half-step towards the flagpole. In each of the four lead Marines' outstretched arms were four folded flags.

Once the Marines reached the poles, Pauly changed the cadence, as they split into two groups, eight at the flagpoles and eight at attention with weapons at the ready.

The first pair of Marines stepped forward, solemnly unfolding a Federation flag, slowly running it up the flagpole then lowering it to half mast. They stepped back, and the next pair stepped up to repeat the procedure with an American flag. They were followed by another pair who repeated the procedure with the Clan Short flag. The final pair repeated the action one last time with the Unit ensign.

Once the operation was complete, Pauly silenced his drum as the Flag Officer stepped forward. "Honor Guard, Tennnn-HUT!" The Clan boys on stage joined the Honor Guard flag bearers as they saluted the flag. "Present ... ARMS! Ready ... ARMS! FIRE! ... FIRE! ... FIRE!"

"Please join me in a moment of silence in memory of our lost brothers," Conner stated simply before stepping back and bowing his head. For the first time that night, the arena became so quiet that you could actually hear the ventilation fans.

The lights had been dimmed so only the spot lights on the flags could be seen,� but slowly the light level of the stadium grew as people reached into their pockets and pulled out lights, cell phones, or anything else that they were carrying that lit up.

From the back of the stadium, a lone bugle was heard as it started to play taps, only to be answered by another at the front. Every person on stage came to attention once again, tears flowing freely as they listened to each note.

As the last note echoed through the arena, the boys saluted the flags once again. As Conner moved back to the microphone, DJ and Timmy picked up their acoustic guitars, Brandon picked up an as-yet-unused black electric guitar, and CD and KC brought their cellos to front stage.

As the rest of the band held their salutes, the lights dimmed except for the lights on the flags and a single spotlight on the six boys front-stage. Timmy and DJ took a seat on a set of stools behind Conner, and began playing the opening notes to "When the Children Cry." As Conner began singing the vocals, a large screen dropped from the ceiling and began cycling through pictures of those that were lost, each picture giving the name and age of the lost brother.

Out in the arena, every Clan and Unit member in attendance was at attention, each and every one holding a salute throughout the song. In addition, Mick, Bob, and Herman had joined their sons in paying respect for their brothers. In fact, as soon as the ceremony had began, Herman had requested his dress uniform, quickly echoed by Bob and Mick.

As the last note of the song was played, Herman was clearly heard in the auditorium. "Des Moines Division, Fall In!"

A minute later, the crowd in front of the stage parted as Herman led the full Des Moines detachment, now in dress uniform, to the base of the flagpoles. Herman came to attention and saluted the flags, then removed his hat, placed it reverently at the base of the Unit flagpole, and stepped off to the side. Bob and Mick repeated his actions, followed by each of the members of the Des Moines detachment. As they finished, the line of kids and adults that had formed behind them began following suit, each placing something personal of theirs on the quickly growing memorial. The Orlando crew were not exempt, as each of them took their turn in remembrance.

As the line finally became a trickle, Eoghan watched as a little boy, no more than six, came up and gently placed a worn teddy bear on top of the pile. "Take care of Mark, Teddy. He needs you now, and I can't take you with me," the boy said softly as he made sure the bear was securely in place. As Eoghan smiled, he saw a white mist form by the boy... a very familiar looking mist. The voice he heard next proved his eyes were not playing tricks on him... the spirit of Mark had heard his name.

Eoghan looked around, and realized that none of the other people on stage were seeing this. He turned back just in time to see the mist surrounding Mark encompass the boy. "Thanks, Jerry. Teddy and I will be watching you for a long time. My Boss says I can do special stuff sometimes if it feels right, so I'm gonna fix ya so those gene thingies stop hurtin' ya. You see the goofy Irish kid over there? When I go again, he's gonna take you and your Mommy to meet his new Dad. That way your Mommy has work again."

Eoghan couldn't help but grin... Mark had tagged him as 'the goofy Irish kid' from the first day they had met, and had never called him anything else. He understood now why he was seeing this, in Mark's own way he was making sure Eoghan knew what to do.

'Took you long enough to figure it out, Goofy!' Mark's voice giggled in Eoghan's head.

Before Eoghan could respond, Mark was gone, along with the teddy bear, and Jerry was looking over at him with a confused look on his face. Eoghan waved him over, waiting until Jerry was next to him before saying "Yes, it happened... yes, he probably healed you... and no, I'm not going to try to explain it until MUCH later."

Eoghan spent a minute teaching Jerry how to pronounce his name, and was about to suggest leaving the stage when KC tapped him on the shoulder. "Hey, dude... the Purple Prankster says you're gonna say something, and he says to tell you that Angelic Interventions don't get you out of what you were planning. Here's the mic; when you're done, just turn it off, Joey's got his own."

"Tell Dylan I said he's a smart-ass," Eoghan said as he took the offered microphone.

KC grinned. "I tell him that every day... and he agrees with me. We'll get ready for the next song while you're handling whatever you gotta say."

Eoghan nodded, and put an arm over Jerry's shoulder as he moved to the front of the stage. "May I have your attention?" Eoghan announced, trying very hard to keep his words understandable. "Before 'Time Touched' resumes the concert, I wanted to say something. When my team was assigned to Des Moines, we were told to expect to be welcomed into a large family. Tonight I realized that the family is not just the new Des Moines Division... as I watched and listened to each of you, I found out that the family is the entire Des Moines metro area. I swear on the graves of my forefathers and my forefathers' forefathers that I will expel my last breath protecting all of you from anyone who dares to violate the Des Moines boundaries."

As Eoghan turned and left the stage, DJ giggled and commented, "If you see a Hind gunship patrolling I-80, don't worry... it's just Eoghan looking for someone!" He looked around, making sure everyone was in place, then continued. "The next two songs kinda fit in with our tribute. Joey's going to give up his drumsticks for a minute to take lead vocals; you got it, little bro!"

As DJ adjusted his acoustic on his neck, Timmy, Pauly, Leo, Beau, and Calen began singing:

"Step by step ...
heart to heart ... 
left right left ... 
we all fall dowwwnnn ... 
like toy soldiers...."

Joey took over, the other boys filling in chorals at the appropriate time. As the final acoustic chords faded, Calen gave a grinning Joey a hug before taking the microphone. "This one's for all the kids who've had to live though parents breaking up," he announced as Pauly began the drum intro to Everclear's "Wonderful." Calen sung lead for the song, with the other playing members covering vocal backup and Brandon doing alternate lead.

The boys quickly shifted once again as Tanner took lead. "This one's for Dad and Pop!" he said as DJ started strumming his acoustic to begin "I Remember You." As soon as the twin electrics kicked in, Timmy and KC began mirroring each other, Timmy's left hand guitar inches from KC's right hand model. Pauly attacked the drums with a vengeance, him and CD exchanging grins during the slower parts of the song.

For N'Sync's "Everything I Own," DJ, KC, Austin, Calin and Toby lined up along the front of the stage. Conner took over keyboards, with CD on bass, Timmy on acoustic guitar, Joey at his kit and Pauly once again at the electric drums. They choreographed their steps just right to end up in the right spots to almost instantly go into Eric Clapton's "It's in the Way That You Use It."

By this time, the crowd was really into the concert once again. Tanner grinned as he took the lead. "Des Moines! You're awesome! Uncle Jon says y'all know this song, so feel free to join in!" By the second note, the crowd was screaming.

With a huge smile, Tanner started. "This ain't a song for the broken hearted...."

By the time they reached the final "It's ... My ... Life ...," almost every person in the arena was singing along. The stage went black, and the audience went wild. After a minute of clapping, yelling, and stomping, DJ, Pauly, Brandon, and Timmy re-took the stage, all in tie-died t-shirts and torn jeans. "Thank you, Des Moines!" DJ announced as Timmy hit the first notes of "Purple Haze," DJ playing air-guitar alongside him as Timmy played the pearl-white, reverse strung, right-handed Fender SG Custom.

As Timmy was winding up, Toby, Joey, KC and Brandon finished setting up. Joey immediately hit the opening drum beats of "We're Not Gonna Take It." Once again, the audience sang along with what was quickly becoming the theme song for the Clan.

As Tanner played the opening notes of Triumph's "Fight The Good Fight," Austin moved up for the vocals. Joey showed off some, juggling sticks during breaks in the drum riffs. KC and CD doubled up on lead guitar, with Toby playing rhythm and Timmy on acoustic. With CD being busy, Brandon took the bass duties. As the song faded out, the lights once again dimmed until the stage was black. The arena was even louder than before, the adults being just as loud as the kids.

It took three minutes before the lights rose once again on the stage. "So you guys want it loud?" KC asked as the stage started filling with band members. When the crowd got even louder, he grinned. "Hey, Russ! Turn off the safeties; we're gonna blow the roof off this place!"

KC dropped back to grab a guitar as Toby prepared for the vocals and watched for the band to be ready. Conner was seated at his piano, both drummers were in place, CD had his favorite bass, and Timmy and Brandon were standing by with guitars in their hands. Once KC had his guitar in place, Toby raised his fist in the air. "Look out, world! We're in Des Moines, and to quote Bryan Adams, 'The Kids Wanna Rock'!"

Toby dropped his fist, and the band kicked it into high gear. The three guitarists were all over the stage, while Conner was bouncing on his bench as he made the concert grand sing. The rest of the band members came out and joined in on the backup vocals. Next, they went immediately into REO Speedwagon's "Keep Pushin'," each member kicking it up even higher to give the crowd a real show.

As the last note faded, the arena suddenly went completely dark. As lightning began arcing across the ceiling, red strobe lights began flashing around the perimeter of the arena. A single lightning bolt struck the stage, immediately followed by the sound of two synthesizers ramping up. Within seconds, there was the sound of two synthesized tornado sirens circling the arena, seemingly chasing each other 180 degrees out of phase. After the third circuit, lightning once again struck the stage, this time bringing a bright flash as every light on the stage was brought online.

By the time everyone's eyes were adjusted to see that the entire band was onstage, Toby was at the front edge motioning for them to stand while Timmy and KC were repeating the opening notes. "Last Song, Des Moines!" Toby shouted. "Show me your hands!! We're Iowans, and we're Ridin' the Storm Out!" With that, Pauly and Joey kicked in the rhythm, and Toby launched into the song. Halfway through the song, the four guitarists grouped up, Timmy and KC on lead bracketed by Brandon and DJ on rhythm.

As the song wound towards its end, Timmy and KC ramped it up even more, each trying to outdo the other. By the time the synthesizers ramped up for the finale, Russ was warily watching the level meters on his two lead guitarists. As planned before the concert with both boys, they kept it just under the redline until the last thirty seconds. When the final synth started, it became a free-for-all between the two brothers. Everything held together until KC crouched down; at that point him and Timmy touched the bodies of their guitars together, creating a feedback loop. It was timed perfectly with the final notes of the song. As Pauly and Joey ran the circle on their kits, the cones on Timmy and KC's amps decided they had suffered enough torture, exiting the amp cases and sailing out into the crowd.

The final drum beats echoed through the arena as the band began making their way to the front of the stage. Once all there, they linked arms and took a group bow. "Thank you, Des Moines, it's great coming home and you were the best audience ANYWHERE!" DJ announced. "We'll see you next time!" he added as a swirl of smoke began whipping its way around the group. Once it was thick enough to obscure their features, the boys vanished from the stage in a flash of light. They re-appeared by Cory and Sean, who suddenly had their laps filled with sweaty, happy munchkins.

"I beat ya!" Timmy giggled as he appeared on Cory's lap, sticking his tongue out at KC.

"Dream on, Squirt!" KC shot back with a grin. "There ain't no way a little twerp is gonna launch a cone further than me!"

"You're just jealous cuz Unca Jimi said I'm a better lefty than you are!" Timmy giggled.

KC lifted Timmy slightly, moving him over enough so there was enough room on Cory's lap for both of them. "Of course you are, dufus; you're left handed, I'm ambidextrous!" KC commented as he messed up Timmy's hair.

"My cone still went farther!" Timmy shot back.

"Did not!"

"Did too!"



"Not Not Not!"

"Too times a hundred million gazillion!"

"Not times infinity!"

"Too times Dilly's Mickymouse time!" Timmy giggled with a look of finality.

Cory's face sported a huge grin, the argument between the two boys telling him more than any words could explain about how the preparations for the concert had affected the group.

"You two are nuts!" Cory giggled as he pulled both boys into a cuddle.

"Of course; we take after our parents!" KC responded as him and Timmy settled into the cuddle.

"Yep, we take after you, Daddy!" Timmy added.

Sean giggled as he watched, Pauly and Joey both already asleep in his arms. "They've got a point, Cor!"

"You're no help!" Cory laughed as he flipped his middle finger at Sean.

"Not in public!" Sean laughed. "I might take you up on the offer later, though!"

"POP! GROSSS!!!!" the rest of their assembled sons exclaimed in unison.

To be continued....

Editor's Note:

Wow, what a party!! Lots of entertainment and tricks and magic.  Loads of people and cool outfits and one heck of a band!! This is a celebration of all celebrations!!  ACFan really knows how to throw a party!!!

Now, what on earth could be next for our guys! With a party like that, who knows what kind of excitement ACFan will stir up.

Your favorite neighborhood editing puppy!