Hac sat back with a bemused look on his face, wrapping his arms around Afonso as his new nephew settled in for a cuddle. He'd got the big issue out of the way first, proving to his new family what had been done to him back in the second cycle. All but one had reacted with the shock he expected; Afonso, however, had yelled "PUPPY!" before pouncing Hac and immediately proceeding to scratch him behind the ears.
Ignoring the fact that Colin was still holding his sides while laughing, Hac continued the history where he had left off. "Me and Brudei decided many centuries ago that we would be the last of our kind; this genetic hack is too dangerous to be allowed to overtake the Earth, just as dangerous as vampires. The legends you've heard are a result of the times we had to intervene in an event to prevent humanity destroying itself again. As the legends grew more detailed, we played along to build a deterrent to some things which could have sent humanity on one of the paths that failed in previous cycles."
"What does that have to do with Dad, though? Kaique asked, obviously curious.
"When we rescued Colin, he was almost dead," Hac explained. "Our medical facilities were a combination of technologies from previous cycles, and then-current available Federation technology. It seems that Colin and I are somehow distantly related, because our medical suite determined that I was a genetic match to him, and it instructed us to have me be the template it used to heal him. That worked, obviously, but it had one bad side effect. His body tried to emulate mine, and it took some fast thinking to make the changes necessary to prevent his body tearing him apart trying to change. He's still got my muscle mass when I'm not furry, pretty much, and his reflexes are faster than any normal human; he's aging faster than me, but still slower than you."
Having gained enough control to reduce his mirth to just a grin, Colin added, "Up until BoE, I was undercover to take care of a couple of leftover problems from my abuse; last I heard, they were still looking for missing body parts. I took it personally when I found out about what your Uncle Lucas and Uncle Logan went through; I almost lost it when I found out their older brother, your Uncle Mini, went through even worse than they did. In the process, they trapped me into joining the family."
"You went willingly, and you know it!" Hac interrupted. "I was trapped, and you were one of the culprits who arranged it!"
"Stop whining!" Colin grinned. "Keep it up, and I hide the chew toys where you WON'T find them!"
"Don't pick on MY Uncle Hac!" Afonso stated, trying to look fierce.
"Don't worry, lil' Pup," Hac grinned, "We're just playing; brothers do that. We have to show you what brothers are like when they care about each other, right?"
"Okay," Afonso replied before settling back into his cuddle, obviously staking out 'his' turf.
"Look out, you have an attack nephew, bro," Colin giggled. "Anyway, all of us here have something in common; we all have more influence than people think."
"Even me?" Glen asked in shock.
"Even you, son," Colin replied. "Name one other topside born and raised regular person that has the access to both the Unit and Klaus that you do, other than Hayden and Evan."
Glen thought for a minute, then replied "Since Grandma Morrison isn't normal, I guess that leaves me."
"Make sure you tell her that you said that," Hac laughed. "She'll love it!"
"Yep!" Colin giggled. "Family secrets are normal for all of us, but there is good reason for the secrecy. Just so you know, Julio and his command team either already know, or are finding out, all of the family secrets. You can trust them with those secrets; their positions in the Clan come with the responsibility to keep things private. If they do have to get involved, you'll be the first to know."
"So we don't have to worry about anyone asking us about back home," Cleiton clarified, "because anyone that really needs to know already does?"
"Exactly," Colin nodded. "I know more than you think, but that's because I needed to so that I could get you out of there. One thing, I'd really like it if you considered this home, too, just because you'll be more comfortable. There isn't any nationality in the Clan; we're all one big family, no matter where we came from. You are not limited by your home culture anymore; you can do anything that you want, without ignoring the obligations that you have inherited."
"Are you sure?" Cleiton asked skeptically. "I don't think there are too many kids around here that can crash the economy of a country with a wave of their hands."
"Did you know that the Tzar of Russia is one of your Clan brothers?" Colin replied patiently. "You're not the most powerful Clan member, even though you are in the top twenty. The best part of that is that your Clan brothers have your back, and will help you however they can. Some of them are doing that right now; I heard that Prince William had a little chat with some higher up members of the Brazilian government. Suddenly, they have decided that they need to crack down on under-the-table payments and actually enforce a fair permitting system. Having the new Commanding General of the Terran Guard with him might have helped; Jory is as bad as Pablito."
"I heard that!" Pablito's voice answered from nowhere. "He's still in training! Jory's nowhere near my level!"
"Stuff it, Brat!" Colin grinned.
"You'd enjoy it too much, Wet Dream!" Pablito giggled.
"I'll give you 'Wet Dream'," Colin threatened playfully.
"You're nowhere near my standards," Pablito laughed.
Getting serious, Pablito's voice added, "Guys, for the first time in his life, Colin's getting shit right. Ya ain't got to worry, and this is your home now. Let the Clan worry about the fucknuts down south that'd try to fuck with you; you can do shit from here just as good as from there, and you ain't gotta worry about some asswipe who gets excitement in his tiny balls when he's trying to take shit from kids that their family built."
"Young ears here, Pablito!" Hac stated.
"That's why I watched my language, furball," Pablito laughed. "I'll let ya all get back to your conversation."
"I think I like hearing my guardian angel!" Luan giggled.
"I think Pabs has taken a personal interest in you guys," Colin observed. "You have a lot in common from what I hear."
"You're sure as Hell planning to leave it at that, ain't you Colin?" Pablito's voice ordered.
"That's your story to tell, not mine," Colin replied. "You know me better than that, Brat."
"I thought so," Pablito stated before falling quiet again.
Hac shook his head. "I think you two just like to argue. Right now, there's a couple of things you guys need to know. First is that there was some weird stuff going on that most of Earth couldn't see; stuff that affected Time itself. That means you're not going nuts if it seems things are happening that you can't explain, things like a day seeming to go longer than it should. You might even see yourselves while you're doing something; from what I've been told, the rules about paradoxes are suspended until all the damage is fixed."
Seeing the disbelieving looks, Colin quipped, "No, his puppy chow wasn't spiked, this is for real."
After hitting Colin with a pillow, Hac continued. "The four of you were going to get together anyway; the plans were in the works with your parents to assist you with forming a Brazilian Division. Those plans are long gone now; at some time in the future, we might look for candidates again, but the recent events have changed things so that your place is here, not there. That's according to Grandma, and I'm not going to argue."
"Who would have been the Director?" Cleiton asked.
"You; but now you're needed here for some reason nobody will explain. A whole bunch of branches got broke off of the tree of Time; that means options that were a long shot before just became major choices."
"How do you know all of this?" Kaique asked.
"You haven't met any Mikyvis, yet," Hac stated, "but once you do, you'll either understand, or you'll become addicted to temporal tranquilizers like me, Colin, and Julio. The first Mikyvis is Kyle, he's one of the guys that started what became Clan Short. He looks eight, converted his husband while they were both sleeping to be like him, and now they create offspring by dreaming about them. One of his sons, Ezra, told me what I needed to know for today, while he was proving to me that he was in control of a lot more power than I ever could deal with. The good part is, as a split of the development of humanity, they actually control their abilities better than regular humans do. I think you'll like them, even if all of them look younger than you."
"Not bad, Hac!" Tyler giggled as he popped in, a fresh plate of cookies in his hands. "You passed it on pretty decent!"
"Oh, I forgot to mention, they are immune to little things like shields, time, and reality!" Hac added as he stole two cookies off the plate, immediately giving one to Afonso.
Tyler grinned as he shifted a table around so that he could set the cookies in everyone's reach, then took a seat on the floor. "Hey guys; I'm Kyle's husband, Tyler. These guys have to guess, but I can actually see that tree that Hac told you about."
"You look like a little kid," Cleiton remarked before realizing what he was saying. "Sorry," he added sincerely.
"Don't worry," Tyler grinned, "I'm used to it! This is what I'd look like if I couldn't hide the energy that keeps me from blowing up the Universes," he added as he let the group see him in his 'natural' state. "I'm still the second cutest kid in Time, though!"
"Whoa!" Cleiton, Kaique, and Luan gasped. On Hac's lap, Afonso giggled "Lookie Uncle Hac, he's a glowboy!"
"I see that," Hac grinned. "He's like you, though, he needs lots of cuddles to stay happy. You cuddle just like he does, which makes the people cuddling you feel a lot better."
"That's because he's my cousin, kinda," Tyler giggled as he returned to his normal state. "Our families shared ancestors about forty-five thousand years ago, give or take a couple of decades." Turning to Cleiton and Kaique, Tyler added, "He's an Empath; when things calm down, I'll explain to you more what that means. I'll take care of making sure he's trained, since not having control messes with us."
"Is that why he wasn't scared of Hac when he changed?" Kaique asked.
"Yep; he felt that Hac's good, no matter what Hac thinks," Tyler nodded. "Just so you guys know, right now I'm what the guys call 'time looped'; that means that for me, it's not right now; I'm either from the past or the future as you see it. That means some questions I can't answer, even if they don't seem to be related to anything. Sometimes, you need answers at a certain time, or it changes things, but I'll make sure that we don't go there."
"That makes sense in a twisted kind of way," Cleiton grinned. "Did you just come here to tell us about Afonso?"
"No," Tyler admitted. "I need to heal a couple of Time events that were screwed up by what happened to you guys, and I need to make sure that you drop the secrecy shield when you're supposed to, which is going to be five minutes ago. Most of the time events part is easy, since I just have to add a couple of memories that you were supposed to have, but missed because that bomb that blew up wasn't normal. That part you'll never notice; there's a chance they might not even be needed. The other part is very serious; it is the reason Pablito hasn't been more than a few feet from your sides since Luan was brought to you. It is also the reason Luan has been quiet; Pabs has kept him stable."
"Why do I get a bad feeling about this?" Cleiton asked seriously.
"Because in the back of your mind, you already know what I'm going to say," Tyler stated. "Kaique does too, but not to the extent you do, as he doesn't share the bloodline with Luan that you do."
Cleiton stared at Tyler for a few seconds, then turned pale as he realized what Tyler could be referring to. "Sweet Mother Mary and Joseph!" Cleiton moaned as his chin dropped to his chest.
Seeing the confusion of Hac and Colin, Tyler stated, "I locked you guys out of knowing; this is my level to fix, not yours. Pabs, show yourself, I need an Angel bubble for Luan while I fix this branch."
"On it," Pablito acknowledged as Luan gained a golden glow and Pablito became visible. "I already took care of Vulcan and anyone who was involved, so you just have these guys."
"Thanks, bro," Tyler replied. "With the events that happened, all of you but Luan are going to remember this, but you'll also have twin memories of the last two days. I'm making sure it can't mess with you, and you'll just know which version gets discussed with who. When you don't need it anymore, the memories that you currently have of events since Luan showed up will just melt into the ones I have to give you to stabilize what I'm about to do."
"Do they make economy sized bottles of temporal tranquilizers? Colin moaned.
Tyler ignored the outburst, and began to glow as he spoke. "An event occurred that Must Not Be, brought upon the Family Ramos by an unstable micro-singularity within the explosion which led to the orphaning of Luan. That which has passed must be undone, that which is broken must now be made whole."
Pablito began speaking as Tyler paused. "By Mandate of the Highest, I empower you, Heart of the Mikyvis, to undo that which must be undone. For this event, you are granted the power over Life."
"I accept the mandate," Tyler stated before vanishing for a few seconds, returning with another being that was concealed in his own glow. "Angel Pablito, state the wishes of the Great Spirit."
"Follow your heart to make two whole," Pablito stated cryptically.
Tyler nodded, and the glow around him extended to cover the child with him and Luan. A few seconds later, Tyler stated "Two are returned to one; Time is Healed."
Tyler's glow retreated from the pair, revealing Luan and an exact twin, both now encased only in the glow provided by Pablito. "Luciano, that which you experienced that Was Not To Be is no longer yours to bear, and that which Should Have Been is now your past. Under Mandate, I return you to Life as it Must Be."
Pablito nodded as he added "As you have been touched by the Heart of the Mikyvis, I Grant both of you by Mandate the Gift of Sight; You are as those known to the World as Founders, and I give you the Knowledge to use your Gifts. Know that your Past of the last day is as a Shadow that only the Host and the Heart of the Mikyvis may view; that which would bring you distress is forever hidden from you."
"Before we restart their timeline," Tyler stated, "as far as they are concerned, they got separated and Grandma Morrison reunited them when she brought Afonso. Only two of us know what really happened, and Time itself will ensure that Pablito and me will always be the only two. Everyone will remember the pair, instead of just Luan."
"Why do we know both possibilities?" Colin asked.
"Because you will be dealing with the fallout," Tyler replied. "You won't know that you are, and once you are done the past version that you needed will slip away. The only thing I can say is that you must Judge when I am not allowed to due to my gifts."
"Damn," Pablito muttered, "I told you it'd fuck with you hanging with Saint Peter!"
"It was one visit, Geeze!" Tyler giggled.
Grinning, Pablito stated, "Hey, Luciano, Luan just called you a bonehead!", then released the pair of boys into reality.
"Who you calling a bonehead, twerp!" Luciano exclaimed as he tackled his twin, the pair quickly trying to tickle the other to the point of peeing.
Both Pablito and Tyler watched the pair carefully, grinning as Cleiton stated "Hey you two, no killing each other on my lap!" before joining in the tickle fight.
"Uncle Pablito?" Afonso asked as he giggled at his brothers, "What's a Founder?"
Pablito turned his attention to the boy still perched on Hac's lap. "A Founder is a really, really old kind of human, one that can see stuff in his head that happened in the past, and he can also see the possibilities of what could happen in the future if things go certain ways."
"Even older than Uncle Hac?" Afonso asked in awe.
"Yep, even older than your ancient cuddle chair," Pablito giggled, earning him a momentary glare from said cuddle chair.
Satisfied that their work was completed, Tyler took one more look at the occupants of the room then stated "Okay guys, I'm gonna back you up to when you're supposed to be, then as soon as I pop out you can tell Kerry to go back to normal."
"How can we be there then and come back while we're there?" Kaique asked.
"I took the old you out of phase with Time when I bring the now you back!" Tyler giggled, breaking out in full laughter as Colin and Hac both pulled out temporal tranquilizer bottles.
Seeing the look on Kaique's face, Colin tossed his bottle to Kaique after administering a dose to himself, stating "Finish off the bottle, it helps a LOT! Don't worry, it refills once I put it back in my pocket."
"Just be glad Bryce isn't going to be picked last month!" Tyler grinned, which convinced Kaique to take his new Dad's advice.
Now that he was certain that he'd straightened out the current mess, Tyler waved as he vanished, with the rest of the group finding themselves watching themselves get ready for Hac to show them how he could change. Only Colin and Hac consciously noticed the extra body that wasn't there for the first round, but even that thought faded as Tyler split the loop, causing the first group to vanish.
Shaking off the feeling that things were weird, Colin asked, "Okay, does anyone have any more questions?"
Luan raised his hand. "Uncle Pablito? When do you gotta go back?"
Finishing the tweaks that Tyler couldn't do to straighten out the time twist, Pablito answered, "I'm going to be hanging around Florida for a bit, but I'll still be listening up here in case you guys need something. Don't worry; since I've claimed you, I always know what's happening, even if I'm somewhere else."
"Do you realize that the Dutchmen might actually start to like you, since you're protecting their nephews?" Colin grinned.
Pablito nodded. "Yep; who says miracles can't happen?"
"Hey, pop in and check on Alligator Alley while you're down there," Hac suggested. "Those guys took on so much they worry me."
"Davie's there now, and he's calling in for help," Pablito replied. "We got it, and I'll grab a few tee-shirts for the kids! I'll see ya' when I'm done!"
With that, Pablito left, leaving behind a light push in Colin's head to release the security hold. "Okay, anyone else?"
"We want cookies!" Luan and Luciano exclaimed in unison, quickly getting a third vote from their new little brother.
"We'll work on that," Colin grinned. "Kerry, command mode active. Asparagus milkshake, release lockdown."
"About time!" Kerry giggled. "Julio, Jesse, and Benny are waiting for you!"
"Thanks for the heads-up; you can pop the door once I warn everyone," Colin stated. "Guys, Jesse and Benny will be Julio's husbands if things ever slow down enough for them to get married. Once we find out what they want, we're heading over to our house, where you'll meet the rest of my brothers and all of Julio's family."
As the last words left his mouth, the doors to the room opened and Julio led his partners in. Julio immediately locked eyes with Colin, mouthing the words 'Red One', before turning his attention to everyone else. "Guys, I wanted you to meet my fiancé's before we head to your new house. The big cutie is Jesse, and the one poking at his side is Benny. The little guy giggling at Benny is our youngest son, Terry."
Cleiton did his side of the introductions, then smiled, "Great meeting you! For now, it's my place to speak for my family in group situations until we have settled in. Please don't take it wrong, it's the way we were raised. One on one conversations are okay, but I'm responsible for family interactions."
Julio smiled. "Don't worry; I've got the same rules for a bigger group than you do! If it's official public meeting stuff, either I have to handle it or I have to delegate it to someone right then."
"We need to sit down and compare notes, I'm kind of new at it," Cleiton nodded. "Boys, as Julio is in a position of leadership the same as I am, you can play with and build friendships with his family without seeking my approval."
"Okay, Papa," all three boys chorused, relaxing at the assurance that these were friends.
Julio nodded at the status his family had been given. "Guys, a few of our boys get scared easily around new people; don't take it personally if some of them don't open up, or if you see the other boys guarding them from you at first."
"Thanks for the warning," Cleiton replied. "I have a feeling our twins will probable take lessons from them to protect their little brother."
"That's not a bad thing," Julio stated. "Is everyone ready to see their new home? Just a warning; for some reason Peter didn't split it like a normal townhouse."
"As ready as we'll ever be," Cleiton quipped "Since Colin is me and Kaique's Dad now, it makes sense to have a traditional arrangement."
Julio nodded. "That just explained more than you know."
Peter and Galen had popped in for the showing of the new house; once all of the Brazil boys had their winter coats on, the two Mikyvis provided the transportation. As soon as they arrived in the driveway, Colin gave a low whistle when he saw the outside of the duplex. "Petey, I've seen duplexes the size of HALF of this!"
Peter grinned. "Actually, it only looks like a duplex. We had to add on a little bit, and when Ty told me you adopted Cleiton and Kaique, we changed up the inside a little to allow both families to have their own spaces, yet make it easy to go between them."
"How big is it?" Cleiton asked.
"Right around 30,000 square feet total, if you include both floors, the basement, and the loft playroom," Galen replied. "It should last a couple of weeks before we have to expand it! The rough footprint of the house is 102 feet by 80 feet."
"Normally, since the basement and loft ain't normally used," Peter explained, "once you deduct the garage, it comes out to about 8,000 square feet per side, which is a little above average. Since you're getting a finished basement and a play area in the loft, that made it jump. I'm not counting the mechanical levels of the basement, though."
"How do you know about all of this stuff?" Kaique asked curiously.
"When I ended up owning a construction company," Peter replied, "the first thing I did was admit I didn't know anything, and then I told my crews that I'd be asking questions until I understood it. Once they figured out that the more I know, the easier their jobs got, they started really taking the time to teach me."
Kaique nodded. "Thanks; I think we might need to do something like that soon, too."
"You're welcome. You ready to see the inside?" Peter asked with a smile.
"Ready could possibly be one of the words I'd choose," Colin quipped, earning him raspberries from the pair of Mikyvis. "I could think of more accurate ones, though. Let's go, before you guys decide to change it before we see it!"
"You know better, Dad," Glen sniggered. "They'll do it while we're asleep!"
Cleiton shook his head, not sure that he really wanted to know what they meant. "Why does it have a double garage? Julio; didn't you say that there are no cars in the compound?"
"Yep," Julio nodded.
"That's because you can still have approved karts, minibikes, ATVs, and regular bikes," Colin explained. "It's also good if you get a project car to build; Kerry can transport it in and out if needed."
"That makes sense," Cleiton admitted. He looked around as they walked in the open garage door, and quipped "I've seen houses smaller than this garage with full families in them!"
"It looks big now," Galen replied, "but once everyone picks out a few toys, it won't seem as huge."
Cleiton nodded, smiling as he felt a twin taking each of his hands. A quick glance told him that Kaique wasn't left out, as Afonso was happily perched on Kaique's hip, just like Terry was with Julio.
They headed into the house through the rightmost of the two doors. After going through the mudroom and passing by what looked like an elevator door, they found themselves in a large room with randomly placed chairs and end tables.
"This is what I'm calling 'The Commons'," Peter stated. "Both sides have one; I made it instead of a hallway, that gives you guys somewhere to talk, or just hang out, without having to take guests into your rooms. Colin, that door is your Conference Room; I thought you might like having one that you didn't have to drag people through the house to use."
"Why is there an elevator?" Kaique asked.
"Doors like that are either secure accesses, or turbolifts," Galen replied as Peter was verifying what Colin wanted in the conference room and study. "That door is a turbolift; it'll take you to anywhere in the Divisional Command compound, as well as any lift location in the house. Petey's guys are updating the rest of the houses now, so by the time we're done looking at the house, it'll be on-line."
"Mom and Dad are hiding at Aunt Teri's until Petey's guys are done!" Julio sniggered with a grin.
"That means you can visit your Grandpa Bob without going outside," Peter added, sticking his tongue out at Julio. "Kerry runs it, so it's even safe to let Afonso use if he wants to visit Terry over at Julio's." As he was talking, Peter led them towards the back of the house. As they walked into the dining room, Peter stated "We made this dining room bigger with a separate kitchen because we thought you'd like having some meals with the whole family together. The other side has a smaller setup for when you feel like just eating as parents and kids, or when you just need a snack."
"Thank-you," Cleiton replied. "Meals are for family, I'm glad you recognized that."
"I'm still having to learn that," Colin admitted. "Cleiton, I can see what you're doing, even if you don't realize it. In public, off the compound, I fully expect you to decide to act as Patriarch of the Ramos family when you think it is needed. Inside our home, we are part of the Busch family, which means it is my job to act as Patriarch when needed. Peter and Galen are Family; I expect them to be treated as such when they are in this house, no matter which side of it they are on."
Cleiton locked eyes with Colin, surprised that he'd just been given a public dressing-down. Once he realized that Colin wasn't going to flinch, Cleiton replied, "Yes, Father."
Colin nodded, then in a softer voice he added, "Cleiton, a bit of advice for you. For a lot of the kids in the Clan, 'Father' refers to the person that either directly or indirectly resulted in the events that led to them having to be here. 'Dad' and 'Pop' are usually safe, but 'Father' could easily lead to someone that you barely know screaming at you. You know my history; if I didn't know that you were showing me respect, I could have responded wrong. Knowing that, how do you think I would respond to a stranger?"
Fully aware that there were three boys who were going to take his word as law, Cleiton carefully replied, "I would expect you to explain the difference, if you believed the stranger didn't know. If they were to persist, at that point I would expect a verbal assault." After a pause, Cleiton added, "How would you suggest an elder be addressed formally if 'father' is not to be used?"
Colin grinned. "I'll give you that one, as it's the way someone should respond. I'm guilty of skipping step one, and adding a step three, when I think the situation needs it. You little guys need to do like your papa just said; let us big guys deal with it if that don't work. As far as addressing an elder, in English we usually use 'Sir' or 'Ma'am'; since I know that you mean 'Father' as a sign of respect, I'll accept it from any of you with no hard feelings. Just remember that not everyone can do that, though."
Cleiton smiled. "That makes sense."
Hac had been watching with Julio, Jesse, and Benny. Deciding to reenforce what was said, he added, "Colin only got one thing wrong there, but that's because he's still new at the place he's earned in the family. If it needs to go past yelling, then you need to let Julio or one of his team know along with telling Colin or your parents. They'll deal with it with a lot less blood than if Colin or I handle it."
"I think Afonso was hoping to see his favorite puppy if someone tried it," Cleiton grinned.
"Be glad you're my nephew," Hac smirked. "Only family gets away with calling me a puppy!"
"You're MY puppy!" Afonso quipped, causing everyone to giggle.
"Yes I am, Pup," Hac grinned. "Should we go check out your side before Petey pees himself?"
"Mikyvis don't pee!" Peter giggled. "Follow me, we put in a shortcut!"
With that, Peter led them through the back hall into the other side. With the exception of a den instead of a conference room, this side was similar to Colin's side.
Circling back to the staircase in front, the group then went upstairs. "Blame Pablito for the room assignments," Peter stated with a grin. "He insisted! Good news is that we've already moved all of your stuff into the rooms from your old bedrooms; if you need to get rid of something, let me know."
To Afonso's delight, his was the first room; he landed the front corner room. When he found out that he had a large closet and his own bathroom, both Colin and Hac had to plug their ears to mute his screams of joy.
Cleiton and Kaique drew the back corner master suite, and shared huge grins when they saw the size of it. The fact that they had their own patio was just icing on the cake, as the entire setup was much more than they had expected.
The twins, Luan and Luciano, were obviously relieved to find out they were sharing a room; their smiles grew as soon as they saw that there was just one queen-sized bed instead of two singles, so they no longer had to worry about trying to squeeze onto a bed designed for one person.
The group then headed to the front center of the house, where Peter pointed out one of the two guest bedrooms, then the Remos family office and also an office for Glen.
"Why do I need an office? Glen asked with a confused look.
"You'll figure it out," Peter giggled.
"You're our brother," Kaique stated, "That means that you have a chance at managing some part of the family business, if you want to."
Glen smiled. "I think we'll need to talk about that later; right now, things are moving too fast to make big decisions."
"That will work," Kaique smiled, sure that Glen would do well.
"No fair, you grabbed him before I could!" Julio fake pouted.
The group then headed to the back of the house again, then turned to Colin and Glen's side of the house. They found that the entire back half of the house on that side contained a master suite for Colin, and an office for him with a small armory.
Heading to the front, they found that the corner bedroom was for guests, while the front-facing suite next to it was for Glen, with a door directly to his office.
They then went back to the center, where Peter led them up the stairs into the loft. As Peter pointed out the two large storage areas to the older members of the group, the twins, Afonso, and Terry decided to run around the large recreation room that spanned two-thirds of the footprint of the house. Once all four little ones completed their required testing of the two bathrooms, the group split up to the two turbolift stations to head to the basement after Kerry announced they were on-line now.
The two groups re-joined each other in the 'situation room', which was a smaller version of the Division Headquarters CIC. "If something happens to CIC, you can pretty much run things from here," Peter explained. "The main use will be if Colin's teams are out on an operation; since everything here is real time, Colin doesn't have to run over there to monitor the situation."
Colin smiled and exchanged an amused glance with Hac at what Peter didn't say. Both recognized a few things that were not normal Clan issue; this room was set up to handle the things that would not normally be shared with the regular CIC crew due to the clearances required. Colin made a mental note to update his new sons later, as they would need training on what to do if this room ever had to go live.
After raiding the cookies that were waiting for them in the emergency dining room, Peter showed them the emergency berthing area, then headed into the hall. Everything came to a stop as all of the non-Mikyvis plastered themselves against the floor-to-ceiling windows that overlooked the indoor pool.
Once everyone was satisfied with the discovery, Colin spoke up. "Guys, listen up!" He waited until everyone was looking at him, then continued. "Rule number one - nobody goes into that room alone, EVER. If you are under ten years old, it doesn't matter how many of you there are, you have to have either me, Hac, or one of your parents with you. Kerry WILL tell me the second you touch the door to get in, so don't try to be sneaky."
Cleiton noticed the defiant looks the youngest were trying to hide, and added "It doesn't matter if you can swim; at your body sizes it is too easy for you to drown. Any of our sons try it, they'll spend the next month in a guest bedroom with no access to any of their favorite toys, only coming out for meals and school. Any friends try it, they're banned from this house until their parents and all of us are convinced they learned their lesson. You know the rule, and you know the punishment; if I were you, I'd ask Kerry to remind you if you forget."
Julio inwardly smiled, happy to see Cleiton being proactive. "Terry?" he asked softly, not wanting to spook his youngest.
"Yes, Daddy?" Terry asked hesitantly.
"Do you think that rule would be fair for you and your brothers too?"
Terry thought hard, then after a minute replied. "Do they still get real food and snacks?"
Julio nodded. "Nobody takes food away from any of our family for being bad, son."
After more thought, Terry stated, "They get food, and know it is only a month. They still have a real potty in their room. It ain't like that place you saved me from. It's kinda mean, but it don't hurt, so I guess it's kinda fair."
"Do you know what you just did, son?" Julio asked with a smile.
"Got my brothers mad at me?" Terry offered.
"No," Julio replied with a shake of his head. "I bet they're going to be proud of you; you just figured out the difference between a punishment and the abuse you lived through. Even though they probably looked the same to you at first, you were able to figure out how they were different. Great job, little mouse!"
Benny giggled as Terry's eyes went wide at the realization, followed seconds later by him jumping into Julio's arms for a congratulatory hug. Turning to the rest of the group, he stated, "Our triple-twins are tied into Terry's head so they can protect him. They're spreading the word to everyone, kids and parents; that the stated punishment is going to be common across the entire Divisional Command complex. Cleiton, even though you didn't know it, you just helped Terry over a major roadblock to recovery; thank you from all of us."
"You're welcome," Cleiton replied, "but why do I get the impression I don't want to know what he went through?"
"You don't," Benny replied, suddenly serious. "Unfortunately, you're going to, because Colin and Glen are going to have to bring you up-to-speed on things to help keep you from making mistakes with some of these guys."
Cleiton nodded as he walked over and rubbed Terry's back. "I swear on my Grandparent's graves that I will not let you suffer like that again, Terry."
"Thanks, Uncle Cleiton," Terry replied, turning his head to give Cleiton a rare big smile.
Cleiton, Kaique, and all three boys were cuddled on the Master Bedroom bed, watching a news feed from Brazil to get an idea of just how much damage was done. The station had just switched to a commercial when Kerry interrupted their thoughts.
"Cleiton, Bento would like to speak with you and your family," Kerry stated. "If you want, I can put him on-screen in here, and provide full video and audio."
Glad that they were all still in their daytime clothes, Cleiton replied "Thanks, Kerry; I think that'll work!"
"Connecting," Kerry replied, "I'll hop in if you can't answer anything."
"Okay," Cleiton nodded.
Seconds later, Bento appeared on the screen. "You appear comfortable, Neto."
"As well I should in my own home, Avô," Cleiton replied.
"Your tongue is as sharp as ever," Bento chuckled. "Have you met the young man who transferred the call by chance? I was surprised at his fluency in Portugese."
"That would be our cousin Kerry," Cleiton explained. "When he's not running around in his android body causing mischief, he's running things as the compound AI. He's cleared to the highest clearances I know of and then some, and he's able to hop in if you have any questions that we can't answer."
"Grandma Morrison's his real Grandma, Mr. Dias de Andrade!" Alonso piped up.
Bento smiled. "As you are family, young Afanso, I would much rather you call me Avô Bento. All of you are family now, and nothing will change that."
"THANKS!" Afonso replied with a big smile.
"You're welcome, Neto," Bento replied. "So am I to understand that the Clan found you a residence, Cleiton? That is surprising considering the resources they have already spent on refugees."
"Don't ask how, because I can't explain it either," Cleiton replied, "but they built a new huge semi-townhouse for us, Dad, and Glenn. We've even got a pool in one corner of our basement!"
"I can send pictures and floorplans of the living areas," Kerry interjected.
"Please do, young man," Bento replied. His eyebrows rose as something appeared seconds later on his desk. "Pardon me just a moment as I look these over," he apologized.
"Cleiton warned you he likes pranks, Avô!" Kaique giggled.
After shuffling the pages of papers he'd received, Bento replied, "It is not a prank to provide reassurance that you are being cared for. This is a very unique design, but it is well suited for your family to bond and grow. One of my worries has been handled, as I would not rest if you were to end up in a shelter."
"Julio, he's the Director here," Kaique stated, "told me that if the house wasn't ready, we would have had our own rooms at either his place, or at Grandpa Bob's; that's Dad's adoptive Dad."
"I think Grandma Morrison was planning on her place; they've got more bedrooms than you, Avô!" Cleiton added.
"I see that you've received a proper welcome," Bento joked. "I remember my early attempts at cooking; what arrangements have been made so you are not eating charcoal?"
"We can eat with Headquarters any time we want," Kaique explained. "There are replicators in both kitchens here, so even Afonso can get hot food if he wants. Aunt Marcie promised to help if we want to have family meals here, and she's also going to teach all of us the basics we need to not poison each other."
"We can't really miss meals," Cleiton added. "The way they do it here is if you need a snack, get it; the nice part is that snacks include leftovers and things that just need heated to be ready. There's a lot of kids here that were never fed good, so they set it up so nobody ever has a chance to feel real hunger."
"Since I know Kerry is listening," Bento mused, "I believe that a request for a Clan member to visit once things have settled down would be in order; someone who can assist me with setting up a similar program in our displaced youth shelters."
"One second," Kerry giggled. After a short pause, he continued, "I just asked Aunt Helen and Momma Teri; they like the idea! Momma Teri said Aunt Kayla can be down there about lunchtime tomorrow if that works; she's part of FYS, so she can get you stuff, and if she needs Clan stuff she can get that too."
"I think I understand the house now," Bento chuckled. "Thank you, Kerry; that was the fastest response I have ever had to an enquiry."
"You're welcome!" Kerry giggled.
"So, how did you boys spend your first day after you spoke with me earlier?" Bento asked.
"After we toured the new house," Cleiton replied, "we went next door to Headquarters. While we were there, we met all of the Headquarters families, including Dad's brothers, who are the on-site strike team, and one of our neighbor families, who are the air wing. We ate dinner over there, then came back and watched a movie with Dad and Glen, then we came over to our side and just cuddled together for some family time."
"Your limited understanding of English did not cause issues?" Bento queried.
"The Clan is able to provide what they call a 'language dump'," Cleiton explained. "It is a telepathic training; I bet all of us can speak and understand more languages than the entire province back there."
"Such a tool, if kept close to your heart, could be very advantageous in the future," Bento observed.
Deciding to have some fun, Cleiton replied, "It already is; I was talking to the Tzar of Russia just after dinner. Since he wasn't in a secure area, we spoke Klingon with a Mississippi accent as we discussed him visiting us tomorrow while he is over here coordinating some things with Julio."
Before Bento could reply, the twins decided to show off by having a twinnish playful argument in the very language that their Papa had used earlier with Tzar Alexei. Watching the amazed look on Bento's face, Cleiton grinned. He was just about to speak when Luciano kicked the threats up a notch; instead, he turned his head and stated in Klingon, "Luciano! You know the rules; no ripping out hearts and eating them! That is saved for Uncle Hac to do, not either of you!"
"Sorry, Papa," the twins chorused before going back to a tamer version of their demonstration.
Cleiton turned back just in time to see Bento's eyebrows higher on his forehead than he'd ever seen them before. "Sorry, Avô. They got a little carried away with practicing."
"It was obvious that you were correcting them," Bento stated, "but I have no clue what was said or what you told them; I only understood 'Luciano' and 'Hac', the rest meant nothing to me."
Cleiton shrugged. "Luciano threatened to rip out Luan's heart and eat it. I just reminded him that their Uncle Hac is the only one in our family allowed to do that."
"You manage to explain this as if it is nothing?" Bento challenged.
"In Klingon society, it is almost as common as 'hello'," Cleiton replied. "Part of really understanding speaking a language is a basic knowledge of the culture behind it. While they're saying some things that in our native language would get them in trouble, in Klingon the pretense is totally different. They're not saying anything that a Klingon of their age wouldn't say."
"That is an interesting cultural observation," Bento mused. "I think it explains why your Clan is able to assist such a variety of cultures without problems."
"That reminds me," Cleiton stated. "I wanted to get your thoughts on some things."
"Go ahead, Neto" Bento nodded with a smile.
"They kind of go together," Cleiton explained. "First, Dad explained to me that due to the histories of a lot of rescued kids, the word 'father' is considered a bad thing to call their new parent. That was regarding the word in English, but I am guessing it would apply in any language."
"What led to this?" Bento asked patiently.
"The other part led to it, but I had replied 'Yes, Father' to him as a respectful reply. He told me that in English, 'Sir' would be appropriate, but I don't think it says enough."
"I have an idea where this is going," Bento stated, "but I think my opinion will be clearer once you tell me the rest."
Cleiton nodded. "Dad chewed me out in front of my family, Uncle Hac, Julio, Julio's future husbands, and Julio's youngest son. He told me that if I'm on Clan property, I am to let him be our Family Patriarch, but I'm allowed to be the Patriarch of the Remos Family out in public."
Bento nodded. "That makes more sense. First, I need to update your family history. As you know, your Father was infertile; I am not aware of him explaining who your genetic father was yet. Your Mother used her mother's family surname when she married your Father to insulate their family from the results of the Ramos and de Andrade families merging, yet ensured that you knew who your Avô really was. As you know, my wife died giving birth to your mother's little brother. I know that you were told that he contracted a disease which had no cure. What you don't know, yet, is that he survives, but is legally dead."
"Uncle Caio is still alive?" Cleiton interrupted.
Bento smiled as he held up his hand. "Yes, and that will explain a few things. Be patient, Neto. You see, your Uncle Hac happened to be in my office, discussing how I could assist his organization with reducing the trafficking of youth in our region, when I got the news. As Caio was still a teen, Hac took the medical prognoses personally, and quickly arranged for Caio to be transferred to his doctors."
"Avô?" Kerry interrupted, "I am not only cleared for all information about Klaus, but he's my brother now. He says everyone here is cleared for anything that you can say, so you don't need to worry. Colin and Glen are already cleared too, and I can warn you if anyone not cleared comes near the house."
Bento nodded. "If only I had that assurance at my location."
"You do," Kerry giggled, "Klaus just put you in a privacy shield! I'm tied in, so I'll be able to watch your side too."
"Thank you, Neto," Bento smiled. "Boys, as you probably figured out, Klaus is like your cousin Kerry, just much older. He watches over an entire civilization that most of humanity is unaware of, and your Uncle Hac is one of the founding members. Due to possible side effects of the treatment that Klaus determined would save your Uncle Caio, it was required that he join that society. He was classified as dead in our society, but still has means to contact me since Klaus was successful."
Bento smiled at the veiled impatience he saw in Cleiton's expression. "You have much to catch up on, Cleiton; give me time." After Cleiton nodded, he continued. "As you know, our culture would not be fully accepting of your mother assuming my role if I was to pass. Caio knew that as well, so he asked if anyone knew of a way to help your mother and father give me a grandson. Klaus looked into it, and discovered that it was a good thing that your father was infertile, as any child they might have had would be born with genetic defects. Your Uncle Hac convinced the one person he respects above anyone else to provide a genetic sample to impregnate your mother with the assistance of the Klaus medical facilities. You got your hair color, eyes, and quite a bit of your natural leadership skills from the young man that is solely responsible for Klaus and Hac surviving, as well as being the Patriarch of everything he set in motion for more centuries than you would believe. Even now, he looks twelve, but Ardell is your father."
"That means I'm your Uncle!" Kerry stated. "Ardell said it's about time someone told you, and said he can come over if you want him to, since he knows a few things the rest of us don't."
Overwhelmed, the only thing Cleiton managed to say before rolling into a ball was a weak "I want my Daddy..."
Kaique leaned over to pull his closest friend and future husband into a hug, firmly ordering "Kerry, Avô Bento needs to be here NOW!"