Brotherhood of Love

Chapter Eight A: What is in a Name, Part 1

"... I think the Dads and Pops need extra big rooms!" Warren offered as the group discussed their plans with Peter while waiting for dinner.

Freddie had unknowingly launched the first official project of Clan Wagner, starting a whirlwind when he'd asked his Mom if she'd be mad if he decided he wanted a room with one of his Clan brothers in another family. Mary's stating "Y'all's kin now, ain't no matter where y'all sleep!" started things rolling, especially after Dylan saw how the conversation was going and called in Peter.

A quick teleconference between the adults who were present and the ones out doing other things resulted in some changes on their end, too. Instead of duplicating apartment areas for each family head, they decided to conserve some space by consolidating into one block for their residence. The fact that this made all of them available in one location if one of the younger boys needed an adult made both sides happy.

DJ, Tanner, Chek, Finn, Chris, Antonio, Byron, Dylan, and Thomas found themselves quickly excluded from the deliberations. Their sons made it clear that they wanted to thank their parents by making them some rooms their way, and none of the parents had the heart to hold back the group that was quickly developing a Clan bond.

Meanwhile, at the Klaus compound:

Mandy and Doc Austin were relaxing by the 'Dolphin pool', watching as a small portion of the youth in the compound spent seemingly carefree time with their water-borne friends.

"So, you really think what I had was what caused my sister's heart attack?" Mandy asked.

Austin nodded. "I'm almost positive; with it being a hereditary genetic degenerative nervous system disorder, disruption of the signals to the heart is entirely possible. What is unusual is the nerves it targets; most disorders make themselves known initially due to loss of voluntary control functions, but this varient attacks the core involuntary functions of the body first. You were lucky that an Archnanian picked up on it somehow; Ark and Klaus are working on a way to detect it that can be used topside. The Clan will roll that one out as soon as it's certified by both of them, and the top genetic minds in the Clan are already working on a less invasive treatment that can be used by general medical personel, one that doesn't violate Clan Policy regarding giving advanced genetic manipulation technology to the general public."

"So the procedure that was just done for me isn't usable for the general public?" Mandy asked.

"Unfortunately, no," Austin admitted. "Within the Clan, the side-effects of increased lifespan are acceptable, as we are seeing indications of lifespan-altering random changes throughout the Clan's membership. In addition, there are multiple segments of Earth's population who have hidden their natural extended lifespans for centuries, sometimes longer; they are now openly living within the Clan's structure with no need to hide their gift. My opinion is that by the time the world realizes it, the Clan will have become an established institution for doing good; at that point, the thought that their work can span generations might be seen as a positive."

"What if you're wrong?" Mandy asked curiously.

"By that time, Cory will have moved all of us off planet," Austin stated. "I've heard him threaten it privately a few times. In his mind, every single Clan member is a brother or sister, and he's going to do everything he can to protect them. If he even starts to think that his family is not welcome on Earth, every single one of us will be asked to move to someplace he considers safe."

"Wouldn't that mean he's failed, though?"

Austin shook his head. "No, that would be a society failure. Trust me; if that happens, Earth will find out just how serious the kids are about preventing abuse. Right now, they try to work with the system, only stepping in if asked to, or if there's a failure in the chain that puts a kid at risk. Of course, if they find the abuse themselves, all bets are off, because they deal with it immediately. If they were to apply the Safe Haven Act exactly as written, without allowing for unintended mistakes, the Clan would be double the size it is now. Unless there is a major change in how the Clan operates, if they become unwanted on Earth it would mean society is starting to collapse. At that point, I believe Cory would go literal enforcement, to try to save the home of humanity by actively pursuing abusers and removing them from society, permanently. That will only work if he can keep his family safe in a location unknown to the general public; pretty much the same way Klaus does here, but on a larger scale."

Their conversation was interrupted by a pair of boys that were jogging towards them, holding each other's hand as they ran. One was a slim nine-year-old with medium brown collar length hair, while the other was a seven-year-old blond sporting a classic 'boy' haircut. "DOC AUSTIN!" the younger boy exclaimed, "You were right, they fixed us!"

"I've got even better news, Kingsley," Austin replied, earning him a fleeting scowl. "Sorry, I forgot; KZ."

"What better news?" KZ replied.

"You know the buttholes that CPS took you from when they put you in the hospital? Well, they got turned into little pieces of ice," Austin began. "Your big brother is safe, and so is the boy that was the son of the butthole that broke your back. I just finished talking with your real father before I came here; the Clan guys held a retrial and found him not guilty of abusing you guys or anyone else, so he's free again and joining Clan Medical."

 "Does that mean KZ's leaving?" the other boy asked, obviously disappointed.

"That's going to be up to him, once he knows all the details," Austin replied. "But before we go into that, I've already got the approval for you to join him, if he decides to go back up top; right now, nobody up there is aware that he's even still alive. Before you argue, Nash, this is you guy's new Aunt Mandy; she just went through the same procedure that you and KZ went through. If you guys go back up, you'll be living in the same house that she does, the home of Patriarch Short's sons DJ and Tanner."

"You're mean, Austin," Mandy scolded, "That's not nice, taking away Nash's arguments before he can give them! Boys? Since it sounds like all three of us have the new and improved nervous systems, why don't the two of you come on over here and catch up on cuddles, while our Doctor tries to catch up with our superior mental capacity?"

Both boys grinned as they quickly took her up on her offer, her jab at Austin raising her credibility in their eyes. Once both of them were comfortable, Mandy asked "Do either of you mind if our doctor explains what caused us to all be here?"

Both boys shook their heads, Nash adding "It don't matter now, Gabe fixed everything."

"Gabe's my eldest son, and second-in-command of Clan Security," Austin explained. "Both of these boys have spent the last four years sharing a room in an assisted living center. Neither one had use of their legs after suspicious 'accidents' that permanently damaged their nervous system, accidents that allowed CPS to take them into custody, but not enough proof to prosecute in a normal court."

"I've already described what happened to the male being that hurt KZ; when Gabe located KZ and went to get him so that we could re-unite the two brothers, he met Nash and decided to follow up on why he was there. KZ had supposedly 'fell' off of a second floor balcony; the team that prosecuted what would have been his step-parent found out he was thrown. Nash's injury was even worse, as his single father hit his lower back with a large pipe wrench, knocking him down a flight of stairs. By the time Nash was able to tell his side of the story, the father had vanished."

Austin paused as Gabe popped in, a serious look on his face. "Hold on, Dad," he stated. "Klaus called me; there's a couple of things I know that you don't."

"That doesn't surprise me," Austin admitted. "Mandy, this is my eldest son Gabe; knowing the look on his face, he knows more about all of you than you do!"

"Hi Aunt Mandy!" Gabe said with a grin. "Gary and Gerry are fitting in great; they're helping re-design DJ's house for the third time since he moved in!"

"That's what he gets for arguing with an old lady!" Mandy sniggered. "I knew I could count on the three brothers to extract revenge."

"You're going to fit in with that nuthouse, no problem!" Gabe giggled. "I think your two cuddle monsters might need your advice in a couple of minutes."

"That's what Aunts are for," Mandy acknowledged. "Bring it on, I'm curious if you're better at this than your Dad."

Gabe grinned as he replied, "Okay, here it goes. First off, you guys don't need to worry, neither one of these two ancient ones are going to have a problem with what I'm about to say. If they did, I'd sic my husband on them!"

Quickly getting the hint at what might be coming, Mandy quipped "I'll pass, thank you; now if you know any mid-twenty-ish young ladies who are looking for some experienced action, I'm in!"

"I'll see what I can do," Gabe laughed. "Guys, there's a reason I had Bryce send you back in time a couple'a months to be fixed; you needed to be recovered so I could ask you a question. Aunt Mandy? When Dad wasn't paying attention, I had Klaus take you back in time too; there were a few procedures that were ordered when you were trying to argue with DJ that needed a little more biobed time. When you're done wearing out that twenty-something girlfriend you want, if the two of you decide that you want a kid, your body's ready to go."

"Hold on," Austin interrupted, "I thought that we didn't know about Klaus until recently!"

Rolling his eyes, Gabe replied in an exasperated tone, "Dad? Really? Bryce is the sneakiest Mikyvis in existence! Him and Klaus have been playing with time loops for a while now, they just didn't say anything! That's why Klaus is getting up to speed so fast; him and Bryce took care of the hard stuff ahead of time."

"I should have known!" Austin quipped with a shake of his head. 

"Anyway," Gabe continued, "KZ, Nash? I know that y'all swore to be together for the rest of your lives when you thought you'd both be crippled forever. Now that you are back to normal, do you still feel the same way? Is it brothers, or more?"

KZ and Nash looked into each other's eyes for almost a full minute, then slowly leaned across Mandy's lap and initiated a surprisingly involved slow intimate kiss.

"I think they chose Option A," Austin chuckled. "Now you know what you and Travis look like, Gabe!"

"Naw, they're not humping each other ... yet!" Gabe giggled. "I give the kiss a ten though, they're good!"

At the two minute mark, Mandy quipped, "By the power vested in me by being old and impatient, I hereby pronounce you husband and husband. Don't forget to breathe!"

"Submitted and approved!" Klaus announced over Gabe's commbadge. "We'll sort out the names once they are thinking with their big heads again!"

The statement from Klaus caused the long kiss to end almost instantly, with both boys leaning back enough to stare at Mandy with wide eyes. "Did you just marry us to each other?" Nash asked hesitantly.

"I think so," Mandy replied, also shocked.

"AWESOME!" both boys exclaimed in unison, quickly smothering Mandy in a double-hug.

"Ohhhh, Klaus?" Austin asked, the request for explanation clear in his tone.

"My country, my rules!" Klaus giggled. "Justy says if I approve it, then it meets Clan requirements!"

"Look out Vegas, Klaus just took over the easiest marriage throne," Austin muttered under his breath.

"Nope, Tracy beat Aunt Mandy by three seconds!" Klaus stated. "She's holding a solid second place, though!"

Still holding the two smiling boys, Mandy asked, "How could that be legal?"

"Blame DJ," Gabe explained. "You're on a small list within our family; you're actually an adult Clan member, not just a parent of a Clan member. That means you can do stuff just like any of us, and DJ will back you. Only DJ and Finn know why they did that, but there's not a single Clan member that will argue it."

"Well then," Mandy smiled, "I think there's two young men that need to decide on a last name for their new family. What do you think, Nash?"

"I stopped using my old last name when that butthole hit me," Nash stated honestly. "It's up to KZ what name we use."

"Before you decide," Gabe interjected, "there's something you need to know, KZ. Due to how bad the stepdad messed with his head, JR has to re-learn trusting adult parents. What that means is that he's accepted having what we call a shared family; while Frank is still his dad, he lives with DJ, Tanner, and Chek as his parents. Once he's comfortable with Frank again, then Frank will step up as a co-parent to the entire family. JR decided to show that by changing his last name to Harrison-Wagner, and you guy's new middle brother did the same thing, along with changing his name to AJ."

"Why'd he add the Wagner?" KZ asked.

"Because DJ did everything he could to make them feel safe before he adopted them into his family," Gabe explained. "My sons Davey and Jimmy were the same way, and they had went through a lot of what JR and AJ went through. Something as simple as asking a question like you just did would have got them beaten; DJ's teaching them to open up. Right now, my sons are there at DJ's house helping, just because they have been there and know what their new friends are probably thinking."

"Does JR miss me?" KZ asked, his worry obvious.

"From the reports I got, right now I don't think he knows what to feel," Gabe stated honestly. "For the last four years, he was told that Satan had taken you for being bad. I think he understands that was a lie, but I don't think he's had time to realize what that could mean."

"Is that why he never answered the letters I sent?" KZ wondered aloud.

"I bet he never saw them," Mandy interjected. "I think you need to forget about all the things that you assumed since you never heard from him; just do what your heart tells you, and try to understand if he doesn't respond like you expect him to."

"I think we should use the same last name as your brother," Nash offered. "That proves that you want to be his family still, and I bet right now he's needing that."

"Okay, I think I like that too," KZ acknowledged. "Can you fix that for us, Gabe?"

"Do you want to change your first name?" Gabe asked.

KZ shook his head. "It was my Great-Grandpa's name; I like it, but I don't use it because kids make fun of it. When can we have our new last name?" 

"It happened as soon as you said it," Gabe smiled. "Klaus is sneaky like that." Turning serious, Gabe added, "Now, the big question. I've got another problem, and I need your opinion. Nash? My teams found your father, and during the investigation they discovered a few things. Most of it, you don't want to know about; just remember that he's spending the rest of his life on a prison planet. We also found out that he'd fathered another kid; he was born just after you were injured six years ago. Since he's your half-brother, you need to be involved in deciding what I need to do, since his mother died of a drug overdose last year. Clan policy is that we don't split family, but this is a rare time where the family doesn't know each other."

"Can I meet him first?" Nash asked hesitantly.

"Yeah, we need to see if he's okay," KZ added.

"Good choice," Gabe nodded. "He's been poisoned while he was being mentally abused; we recently found out about the type of poison that was being used, and it's now banned Federation-wide. The procedure used on you guys is part of the fix if it's been going on for a while, so he's like all three of you. I'll go get him, if that's what you want."

"Go on, get him already," Nash replied.

As Gabe was teleported out by Klaus, Austin spoke up. "Guys, I've been taking with DJ, Tanner, and Chek over my sub-vocal. First off, they say welcome to the family, and congratulations on getting married. Second, they said to tell you that if you want to keep your little brother as a brother, they'll add him to the family, and if you want to make him your son, they'll help you learn to be daddies."

"But they haven't even met us!" KZ stated in shock.

Austin grinned as he replied, "Your brother is JR, and as a Clan Patriarch, DJ was able to learn everything he needed to know to decide that you needed to be in his family. Nash, the support you gave KZ when he became your roommate earned you that right as well; DJ's seen a lot of life-long friendships that have started that way. He's trusting you to make the decision on your little brother; that's something only family can do."

"He's gotta be our brother; I'm not ready to be a daddy no matter who helps..." The rest of Nash's response never left his lips, as Gabe re-appeared with a very scared six-year-old latched onto his side for dear life. The boy was obviously Nash's brother, even down to how he was wearing his hair. 

As a way of introduction, Gabe stated, "Pat-Rick, the big kid that looks like you is your big brother Nash, and the blond cuddling him is one of your other brothers, KZ."

The years of supporting KZ as he adjusted to what they both thought was permanent led to Nash's next actions. Pulling KZ along with him, he quickly stood up, running on autopilot as he headed towards Gabe. Once he reached the pair, he slowly reached out and began rubbing Pat-Rick's back between his shoulder blades as he softly said, "You're real; I really do have a little brother." After leaning in to kiss the top of Pat-Rick's head, Nash added."C'mon lil' bro; you've got me and KZ to protect you now. KZ's big brother found us a new family that won't hurt us, so why don't you come over with us, and we can catch up on cuddles while we're waiting with Aunt Mandy to go to our new home?"

"We're not gonna let anyone hurt our little brother ever again," KZ added softly.

"See, I told you that they were nice," Gabe prodded gently. "I'll be right here, why don't you try out some brother cuddles?"

Appearing as if he would bolt at the slightest wrong move, Pat-Rick slowly released Gabe and turned to his new brothers. The next thing he knew, he was being comforted in a double-hug by Nash and KZ, both assuring him in quiet whispers that he was going to be safe from now on.

"Just so you know," Gabe informed the group, "Pat-Rick has no speech issues; he's just spent all of his life forcibly being told that kids are to be seen and not heard. He should open up with the examples in DJ's family, so I'm not too worried."

"Oh, he's talking!" Mandy snickered, "You just have to listen with something other than your ears! He's looking forward to meeting my nephews; I think they can help him with his control, since they have more practice."

Clan Wagner HQ:

"Great job on the new house, guys!" DJ gushed as they watched Peter's crew giving the time-bubbled construction project a final normal-time once-over. "I think your Uncle Carl over in Hawaii is going to want to compare notes with all of you; he does a lot of the designing for the Pacific Rim Division buildings."

"I'm going to start using some of their ideas in other houses, too," Peter giggled as he joined them. "Dilly is holding the kitchen in suspension until everyone's ready for dinner, DJ. I've already accounted for everything that Klaus has happening down in his compound, so you're good to go; he's kept me updated."

"Thanks, Uncle Petey!" DJ replied. "I've gotta prepare my kids, so see you at dinner. If you try to sneak out, I'll have Uncle Julio sic Grandma Morrison on you!"

"Meanie!" Peter giggled. "Have fun, I'll be there!"

DJ smiled, trying to calm the fears of six of the seven faces in front of him. Suspecting that at least some of them would fear the worst, he'd enlisted Finn's help, counting on Finn using his big brother role to keep the boys a little calmer. "Thanks for the help, Finn," DJ started. "JR, AJ, Jimmy, Davey, Gary, and Gerry? Relax, none of you are in trouble, but I think that it might take all six of you to help me with something that came up."

While still suspicious, AJ and JR relaxed slightly, which relaxed Jimmy and Davey. Realizing that was the best he'd get, DJ continued. "Okay guys, Jimmy and Davey's Dad, Uncle Gabe to the rest of you, has been busy with a couple of things that we found out when JR's birth dad was investigated. I've also heard back about Aunt Mandy; she's doing good and is helping Gabe before coming home. Gary and Gerry, we were able to fix what was wrong, so you don't need to worry about her having the same problem your Mom did. JR, AJ? Even though you've been told he died, JR's little brother KZ is alive. He was hurt really bad, but your Uncle Gabe took him to some special doctors that we know and got him all fixed up."

"He's really okay?" JR asked hesitantly.

"He is now," DJ acknowledged. "He'll be coming back with Aunt Mandy, I've already passed the message that he's joining our family. He was in an Assisted Living center; his roommate was a couple of years older than him, and was hurt just as bad by his former father. That boy's name is Nash, he's not only your new brother, but him and KZ are married now. Aunt Mandy kinda did it accidentally, but Nash and KZ really feel that way about each other after what they went through, so their marriage is legal. Nash had a half-brother, Pat-Rick, that he didn't know about. Uncle Gabe rescued him, too, so they're bringing him back. He wasn't allowed to talk at home, so he'll be really quiet; Gary and Gerry, Aunt Mandy says that you might be able to help him, because he can talk in heads like you do, he just can't control it yet since he's only six."

"Uncle DJ?" Jimmy asked, "Why'd you want us here?"

"I wanted you to know that your Dad was coming here," DJ replied with a reassuring smile. "I didn't want you thinking he didn't trust you; plus I'm sure that he's going to want to meet JR and AJ. This way, you can get ready to show off your new friends. Also, I think that it is only right to allow JR and AJ to spread the good news to the rest of their family, and I think they'd feel more comfortable with your help."

Finn grinned as he added, "Dad's saying he trusts all of you, guys. He coulda made a big announcement, but instead he's letting you guys have the honor of sayin' that the rest of your brothers are coming home."

"Finn?" JR asked, recovering from his initial shock, "Do you think it would be okay if me, Davey, and Gary did some of our brothers, and AJ, Jimmy, and Gerry do the rest? If they want to, Gary and Gerry can help us keep track of who has told who."

"That sound great!" Finn acknowledged. "Gary, Gerry? What do you think, would you like to use that twinlink of yours to help out?"

Gary smiled as he replied for both of them, "Yeah! We've always wanted to do stuff like that, but Aunt Mandy said lots of people would freak out. It's awesome havin' brothers we ain't gotta hide it from! We're in!"

"Okay guys," Tanner warned, "Uncle Gabe's about to pop in."

"Thanks, Pop," Finn replied. "AJ? you gonna be okay with Jimmy and Gino sticking with you?"

"Yeah," AJ replied meekly, "I know Daddy don't let bad guys in our house."

"Okay, I'm going to be helping JR," Finn replied. "Remember, if you need some extra support, you can ask Shane while JR's seeing his brother for the first time in a long while."

"Okay," AJ replied as he took Jimmy's hand into his.

JR moved to stand next to Finn. "I'm scared," JR admitted softly.

"I bet your little brother is, too," Finn replied as he put an arm over JR's shoulder and squeezed. "Just be the great big brother that you always are. There's probably gonna be a lot of hugs and crying, that's a good thing, so just let it happen."

"Okay," JR nodded, the tone of Finn's voice as he was advising him calming the worst of his nerves.

At that moment, Gabe, Mandy, and the three boys were teleported in by Klaus. Seconds later, JR found himself knocked into the chair that was behind him, KZ latched on for dear life and soaking his shirt with tears. At that point, four years of loss and suppressed pain broke free in JR's head, causing him to pull KZ even closer as his own tears began cascading down his cheeks.

Just about everyone was focused on the reunion of the two brothers. AJ, still holding Jimmy's hand to boost his courage, decided to do what he thought JR would do if he wasn't otherwise occupied. After willing himself to walk the few feet to the other two boys that had arrived, AJ hesitantly said in a soft voice, "Hi, I'm AJ, this is my best friend Jimmy, and that's my friend and guard Gino watchin' us. I never got to meet KZ, that was the first time I hadda go to a stupid 'camp' because I rubbed it down there. Daddy says you protected KZ, and now you're married and found all of us another little brother."

For the first time since he'd met him, Nash heard his little brother's voice, silencing the response Nash was about to give. "Kirk?" Pat-Rick asked as he stepped from behind Gabe, speaking almost in a whisper, "Why'd you say your name's AJ?"

"That's who saved us and got us a new daddy..." AJ began to reply before recognizing the face of Pat-Rick from his second 'camp' visit. "Lil' Pat? Is that really you?"

Pat-Rick's answer was to run over and bury his face in AJ's chest, latching on to the one person he knew and trusted. AJ returned the hug, silent tears appearing as the event unlocked memories buried behind the wall in his head that was protecting his sanity.

Every telepath in the room suddenly found themselves fully aware of every detail of the events which both boys had buried behind walls; walls that would normally not be violated unless the person was on trial.

Rand didn't wait; after making an educated guess as to the type of 'camp' the two boys seemingly shared the experience of, he knew things were about to get real. The second he saw the telepath's anger, he made the call that he fully expected to be ordered within the next few seconds. "THIS IS NOT A DRILL! ALL FCS HEADQUARTER'S COMPOUNDS SET SECURITY CONDITION RED, AWAY TEAMS STAND BY FOR EXTRACTIONS. THIS IS NOT A DRILL! ALL FCS HEADQUARTER'S COMPOUNDS SET SECURITY CONDITION RED, AWAY TEAMS STAND BY FOR EXTRACTIONS."

"Gabe, tell Jamie and Jacob to stand by for incoming mental package," Thomas growled.

Gabe nodded, deciding that now wasn't the time to question why Rand made the call. "Gabe to CIC, is Prince on station?"

"They're standing right here," Seth replied. "What's going on?"

"You'll know about as fast as I will, just tell them Thomas has a package for them, so open the door."

"They say they're receiving now," Seth stated. A few seconds later, his voice came across the general broadcast channel on everyone's commbadge. "All Divisions, stand by for regional Intel reports as they come available. Extraction teams are now ordered to standby status, Family Clan Short wide. Divisional Directors apply security levels as appropriate."

As Gabe was doing his part, DJ came over to meet with Nash, who was obviously scared and confused by the sudden excitement. "Not much of a way to be welcomed home, is it son?" DJ asked with a small smile. "I'm your new Dad, DJ; just as soon as your brothers finish their brain-dumps of every detail about the reprogramming camps they were sent to, things should calm down enough to meet the rest of your family. If you want, the two of us can go see if there's any snacks in the kitchen. That way we can talk, and I can answer some of the questions bouncing around in your head."

"Thanks," Nash replied, comforted by someone actually thinking about him.

Over with Mandy, Tanner smiled as he watched DJ walk away with Nash under his arm. "That right there's why we got told to let our family handle the emergency," Tanner told Mandy. "Your natural nephews have decided to help Jimmy and Davey with JR and AJ; that means they're taking this personally, and the rest of the boys are right at their sides. All the new boys want to prove that they're deserving of the title 'Clan Wagner', so it would be a bad thing if DJ or me tried to tell them what we want them to do."

"I fully understand," Mandy replied. "You're showing these boys that you trust them with the tools they've been given. I can't wait to see what they accomplish."

They were interrupted by Wes, who patiently waited for Mandy to finish. "Pop?" Wes asked.

"What's up, Wes?" Tanner replied.

"Could you tell Dad that the FBI's onboard and requesting us to do field intel with them as they do a joint sting?" Wes asked, then added hesitantly, "That's what Tiberious said to ask you."

"You're fine, son," Tanner smiled. "Your Dad says that you guys have his okay, just make sure that everyone is comfortable that goes out, and you guys probably want to send some security with them. Remind Ty that his Uncle Nathan's SWAT team can help too."

"Okay, thanks Pop!" Wes replied with a smile before twisting around and running towards the other corner of the room.

As Wes left hearing range, Tanner turned to Mandy. "Would you believe he was scared of his own shadow a couple of days ago?" Tanner grinned, "His brothers have helped him open up a lot!"

"I think some proud parents deserve some of that credit, too," Mandy smiled knowingly. "Take credit when you've earned it, Tanner."

"Thanks, Mary," DJ said with a smile as him and Nash were served slices of warm homemade apple pie, complete with vanilla ice cream on top.

"That smells good! Thanks!" Nash added as he hovered his face over the pie, absorbing the aroma.

"Y'all just sit back an' talk;" Mary stated, "I'll be sendin' in one of the boys when it's safe for y'all to come out."

"Got it!" DJ giggled as Mary turned to re-join the rest of the group.

Not wanting to risk missing out, both DJ and Nash dug in and concentrated on their pie. After they were both done, Nash asked "What days does she come in to cook? She's great!"

"Her and I have an agreement," DJ giggled. "I pay for the food, and sometimes I get to see the inside of her kitchen! I don't hire people to work here; we're all one big family, and each of us does what we're best at. If Mary had asked to work for me, I would've said no. She informed me that she was taking over the kitchen, and accepted my conditions that her and her boys were equals to everyone else in the house."

"But she's a grown-up," Nash pointed out. "You can't tell grown-ups to do stuff!"

"Even though I wasn't at the time, Dad made me Patriarch of Clan Wagner; that means I'm the head of the family for my Vulcan Clan, which is part of his Vulcan Family Clan. You remember Mandy marrying you and KZ? She was able to do that because I had already accepted her as part of my Family, which means either me or Dad would be the only ones on Earth that could say no. Just so you know, your Grandpa Cory says you two are a cute couple."

"Weird stuff's not supposed to make sense," Nash quipped.

DJ smiled. "You'll get used to it, trust me. Speaking of weird stuff, I'm going to have to teach you how to not think so loud; you've got some of the same skills as your little brother, you just don't use it as much as he does. To answer what you're trying not to say, your husband and brother didn't forget about you. Both of them are overloaded right now emotionally, but they want to show you off once they get their emotions under control. KZ especially; you mean just as much to him as his brother does, and you saw how he reacted after missing him for so long."

"What about my lil' brother?" Nash asked.

"I've been where you are right now," DJ admitted. "My little brother Timmy's six; his Dad was in a time experiment; he got my Mom pregnant, and he brought Timmy back with him when he came back to now. Timmy was the first kid Dad adopted; Dad had rescued Timmy from his birth dad's car after a bomb blew it off the road, right as Dad's family was driving by. When my birth father tried to kill me and Tanner the first time, it kicked in a link that made it so Timmy and me could somewhat talk in our dreams."

"I wasn't imagining it?" Nash asked, unconsciously admitting to something similar.

"I thought I was nuts too," DJ admitted. "It's real, and a couple of the first Clan telepaths helped Timmy and me figure out how to actually use the link we have. Timmy's planning on helping you guys; he says Pat's going to need to hear his side of things to be comfortable."

"Why's everyone so freaked about what Pat-Rick and AJ are thinking?" Nash asked, deciding a subject change was needed.

"First, you should know that the thing that posed as a father of the two of you insisted on calling him Pat-Rick," DJ replied. "I'm planning on following AJ's example; I'll call him Pat unless he says otherwise, just to cut down the reminders of his old life."

"I don't know if that'll help," Nash stated. "The as... butthole liked weird names. Mine used to be Nash Hudson Ford. Aunt Mandy says it's now Nash Harrison-Wagner."

"You can say asshole; Jimmy and Davey call their former step-father 'the bastard', so you'll fit right in," DJ stated with a smile. "Mandy was right; if you decide you want to add a middle name, just tell me. As far as Pat's name, I know how we can find out; one of the perks of me being Patriarch is that we've got a really kewl guy named Rand that watches over all of us. He's an AI, but he's just as human as we are, he just doesn't have a normal body anymore, the house is his body. That's who put us at Condition Red; he figured out there was a problem, and decided to get help. Should we ask him what your little brother's full name is?"

"Yeah; I don't want him to hurt," Nash stated. "I kinda want to do like AJ did, remember who saved me by using his name as one of mine. Would Gabe be mad if I made my middle name Gabe?"

"Do you want Gabe or Gabriel?" DJ asked. "Gabriel is his full name."

"I like that," Nash admitted, "Can it be Nash Gabriel Harrison-Wagner?"

"Rand?" DJ asked.

"Already handled, Boss... and I've got the blackmail pictures of Gabe blushing when I told him ... over the room speakers!" Rand giggled.

"Nice one, bro!" DJ laughed. "Could you do a records search on Pat and find out his given name?"

"You're getting slow; I had it before you finished offering!" Rand prodded. "You're not going to like this, though ... Patrycjusz Rickert Ford. I'm going to guess that 'Pat-Rick' is a combination of his first and middle names. I think we have another AJ situation, Deej."

"Damn right we do," DJ replied. "Nash, as of now, 'asshole' is the only acceptable way to refer to the male being that took place in your creation."

"Won't I get in trouble for using bad words?" Nash asked.

"Nope, I'll explain it to the adults, they'll probably have suggestions for worse words once I tell them why," DJ grinned.

"Umm, Deej?" Rand interrupted, "Did you forget that you're a Patriarch now, and you can make laws?"

"No, why?" DJ asked.

"Grandpa Spock would like to visit with you and Nash for a minute," Rand replied without answering the question.

"You up for meeting your Vulcan Grandfather, Nash?" DJ asked. "Just remember, Vulcans don't usually show their emotions. It's a little different with family, but even then they don't relax their control like Humans do."

"Yeah!" Nash replied with a smile.

Taking that as permission, Rand teleported Spock into the kitchen near where the boys were sitting.

"Hi, Grandpa!" DJ said as soon as Spock appeared. "This is one of my new sons, Nash."

"Greetings, Nash; the limited information I have gathered indicates that you are going to be a needed facet of the family. As your grandmother would state, welcome to our family, your presence is most pleasurable," Spock stated. He then walked over, effortlessly picked up Nash, and turned to DJ after settling Nash on his hip. "DJ, based on intel which has been uncovered investigating the previously documented abuses of AJ, and his to-be-named brother formerly known as Pat, I find the logic of your declaration to be sound. Justin has been instructed to file the declaration through appropriate channels; the forename change to 'Asshole' has been entered into the Federation Penal Registry for the designated being. Nash, as that is now his legal name, there is no logical reason to not use it to refer to him."

"I hate to say this, Grandpa," DJ giggled, "but you're going to have to tell that one to the adults; I don't think they'll believe me, even with me being Patriarch!"

"I find your statement to have a possibility of being in excess of 90% accurate," Spock acknowledged. "I shall ensure the recently added adults are aware that your statements as Patriarch are to be taken as fact."

DJ shifted gears, aware that Nash had become comfortable with his new Grandpa by the expression on his face. "Grandfather, the logic of you personally welcoming Nash and ensuring he is aware of his safety is sound, but I fail to see any possibility that there are not other reasons for your visit."

"That is an astute observation, Patriarch," Spock replied. "Your accumulated data is insufficient due to final reports not having been presented. A bond has been detected between Nash and his husband KZ; I shall verify the bond and instruct them in the use of the elements found present. I have projected the necessity of a healing being required for AJ and/or he-who-is-to-be-Named at 62.7825 percent. Timothy has declared that Yist shall preside over the Tribe Naming once Vulcan procedures are completed by myself."

"Why do you call my little brother he-who-is-to-be-Named?" Nash asked with a curious expression.

"That is a very good question, Nash, as you have not learned of your Vulcan family's customs, yet," Spock replied. "The Name given to a child must have meaning, or it is as if no name was given at all. You have demonstrated this yourself, as you have taken Gabriel's name as one of your own based on the qualities which he exhibits. AJ and JR have done much the same. With no meaning, a child's katra, what you would call his spirit, has no direction to guide their path; with a name given to inflict societal derision in the region the child is maturing in, it is similar to an intentional form of abuse. Upon detailed review of the scans taken of Asshole before he was incarcerated, it was discovered that he intentionally ensured that the chosen name he provided was most likely to be detrimental to the child who is your brother. As such, the Name has been declared invalid, and shall remain so until Named by the Family Patriarch or such person as he designates."

"Shouldn't Dad be doing it?" Nash asked.

"For yourself, AJ, and JR, he has," Spock replied. "Your Dad's younger brother Timothy holds a station that, while illogical to those who base their logic on the material world, is absolutely necessary once you comprehend the forces within Family Clan Short. Timothy is a Spirit Guide, and as such, his statements that an event shall be arranged to happen in a certain way are to be followed. I have observed that Timothy appears to be preparing Yistanku for something within a greater plan; I find it probable that your brother's Naming is but one step in that direction."

"I wouldn't be surprised if I'm involved somehow," DJ added. "Some of the Native American ceremonies require the male parent to participate in a specific role; I couldn't do that if I was actually Naming him. Grandpa doing his Vulcan naming is logical, since I have not completed training on determining a complete name for someone yet-to-be-named."

"That makes sense," Nash agreed. "Maybe Timmy's gonna give you someone to protect us."

Spock and DJ exchanged raised eyebrows. "I find your statement to have an unsettling probability of being accurate, Nash," Spock stated. "We must join the family; I sense that we shall be needed soon," he added as he turned and carried Nash out of the room, DJ following close behind.

"Where'd you go?" KZ asked as he spotted Nash returning with DJ and Spock, Nash still on Spock's hip.

"Dad and I got to talk, now I've got some answers when our newest lil' bro asks questions," Nash explained as he motioned for the other two to go over to meet his husband. "This is our Grandpa Spock; he came over to meet all of us and tell me and Dad some things that gotta happen soon." Nash leaned over to kiss KZ's cheek, then continued, "Grandpa Spock? This is my new husband KZ, he's sitting on our big brother JR's lap."

"I am honored to welcome the two of you to the family," Spock stated. Reading JR's emotional state like an open book, Spock added, "Jared, it is apparent that current events are bringing you great distress. It would be logical to request assistance with categorizing the emotional responses so that you may prioritize them. With permission of yourself and He-who-is-your-Father, I am trained to provide such assistance."

"Its called a 'Sharing'," DJ explained. "Grandpa's had to do it for me; it helps a lot, and you can ask questions while you are doing it. Thoughts can't lie, so you can trust the answers Grandpa gives you. Do you want to try it?"

"Since you say it is okay, Dad, I'll try it," JR replied carefully.

"You have my permission to procede as well, Grandfather," DJ stated. "JR, Grandpa will need to touch the top of your face, okay?"

"Okay, Dad," JR nodded.

To Be Continued...