Brotherhood of Love

Chapter Eleven: That's What Friends Are For

Meanwhile, back in the Rec Room:

"Dav?" Markie asked softly as they settled in to watch more cartoons, "Am I still human, or am I a Mikyvis now like Uncle Kyle? I'm confused."

"You're just you," Davner smiled as he put an arm over his new brother's shoulder. "If you really wanna call yourself something, Uncle Tyne called what you are a 'proto-Mikyvis'; that means that you have some of the pieces, but you still have more stuff left from regular humans. Mikyvis are still human, though, so either way you're a human."

"But humans can't do time stuff," Markie countered.

"Some can, they just hide it," Davner smiled. "There are a couple in the Intel Support Division; they learned how to use their skill to hide what they can do. You were doing the same thing; only someone like me or Uncle Kyle would have caught it."

"So I was hiding it, even though I wasn't trying to hide it?" Markie summarized.

"Yep," Davner replied.

"Okay you two," Chek interrupted from behind them. "You're missing out on cartoons," he added as he took a seat on the floor and motioned for the pair to take a seat on his lap. "You can compare notes on how you both are different from your parents anytime, but getting family time with all of our family doesn't happen as often as we'd like. You're both human, and all of your family loves you just as you are, so why don't you just enjoy the family time?"

"MOM!" Davner giggled. "C'mon Markie; Mom cuddles good!"

Markie tilted his head. "How can you be a Mom when you look like a boy?"

"You'll figure this out when you and Dav get ready for bed, since he sleeps nude," Chek smiled, expecting the question. "Archnanians are different; we don't have girls or boys, we are both at the same time. If you're like all of the other humans we've met, you'll probably want to investigate how Dav is different; you already have permission from us, just as long as you don't force Dav to do something if he says no."

Managing to speak despite his blush, Markie sputtered "Did you just give me permission to play nude with Davner?"

"Yes, how else can you learn about a species that you've never met?" Chek replied with a straight face.

"You broke him, Mom!" Davner complained as Markie's eyes bugged out and his mouth fell open. "Now I gotta give him mouth-to-mouth!"

"You're just as bad as your dad and pop, munchkin!" Chek grinned. "Markie, let Dav help you; he's not going to lie, our part our species plays in the Universe is gathering and sharing knowledge."

All Markie could do is nod, as Davner was currently practicing the kisses he'd seen DJ give Tanner when he needed to distract Tanner's thoughts.

"Rand," Chek commented, "Do me a favor; next time my husband's laps are clear, send them swimming please. They're teaching our sons some bad habits!"

With Finn unwinding on DJ's lap with Sylys, Chris found himself pinned down by the rest of their sons. "Pop?" Tarsee asked, "Is Dad going to be okay?"

Chris gave a weak smile. "I think your Grandpa DJ isn't gonna let him not be. Your dad needs cuddles from Grandpa to relax him enough to clear his head. You guys cuddling with me is helping clear my head, but the part Finn had to do was harder mentally, so he needs DJ to guide him through clearing the leftover trash. Sylys can feel it, I think, so he's helping the only way he knows how."

"I know how that goes," Tarsee grinned as he gave Syam, who was camped on his lap, a squeeze, "my little brother's really good at that!"

Syam tilted his head, taking the time to study his new poppa's face. After a few seconds, he stated "Brother cuddles later, I gotta help poppa."

Tarsee smiled as Syam wiggled his way between all of his brothers and then settled on Chris's lap, obviously not planning on going anywhere once he was settled in. "Now you're in trouble, Pop; he isn't gonna move until he thinks you're happy again!"

Matt scanned the room as he returned from the drink cooler with shakes for him and Antonio. He allowed a small smile as he watched the support groups for each of the boys that had went out on the operation starting to form. Chek was holding Dav and Markie, Finn was being double-teamed by DJ and Sylys, the double-Zs had been captured by their older twin brothers for cuddles, Terry and Todd were cuddled up to their Mom, Patricia, and Chris was now buried under his and Finn's sons. Going by the reports that he was getting from Rand, it appeared that Dylan and Tyberious had everything under control with Aiden and Ivan. Arriving at his own family pile, Matt took a seat, only to have Antonio immediately take one side of his lap, with Byron taking the other and their boys taking guard positions almost on top of Matt's feet.

"Did you really call them 'elephant butt lickers', Elf?" Matt teased as he handed Antonio his shake.

"I was too mad to get creative!" Antonio giggled. "Davner did really good, though; he made it so all of them were stable enough to make it back for me to scan them. One of the kids was about to rupture, but Dav mini-bubbled it until I was ready to fix it. Kyle and Ty are getting really good at using my head to guide them micro-healing internal stuff in emergencies, I think I finally convinced them that they're being doctors, not supermen, when they help like that."

"Have you talked it over with them about training any of their sons?" Matt asked.

Since Antonio was mid-drink, Byron answered for him. "We've talked it over a few times. Dylan's on the short list, and Ty thinks that once Sky settles in, he'll be a good candidate too. Ezzy's already doing it, just his own way. We're supposed to watch Markie, mattering how his skills settle in, he might be able to help sometimes too."

Antonio took over, having swallowed his mouth-full of shake. "We think it'll be used more for emergency field stuff on rescues, but Kyle agrees that sometimes they'll help at the hospital too when there's not time to set up for surgery."

"I'll assume that our favorite shoulder pirate's listening," Matt stated, getting nods from both Byron and Antonio. "Kyle; what you, Tyler, and these guys are planning is not only a good idea, but it is a very responsible way to use your gifts to help others. you're under orders from me to immediately dunk anyone who tries to tell you otherwise."

"AWESOME!" Kyle giggled loudly from the other side of the room, signifying that he got the message.

Matt grinned as he shook his head. "I'm glad I live over here now, something tells me that I'll never live this down over at Headquarters!"

"Daddy?" Hunter asked as he cuddled into Caleb's side, his eyes glued to the cartoons. "Can I ask Alex and Benny if they want to come with us to Hawaii?"

Caleb smiled, aware that his son was still not secure around the new people he now counted as cousins. "You're wanting some familiar faces around, ain't you lil' buddy?"

"Yeah," Hunter admitted. "Do you think their mom will let them?"

"There's only one way to find out," Caleb replied. "Do you want me to call her and ask?"

"Please?" Hunter asked hopefully.

Caleb snaked his hand between him and Hunter to tap his commbadge. "Hey Stevie, could you patch me through to Alex and Benny's house?"

"I was just waiting for you to ask, Rand's letting me help fine-tune his local interfaces," Stevie replied.

"Thanks, brat," Caleb giggled. A few seconds later, the sound of a landline phone ringing came across the badge, signalling that the call was being patched through.

"Hello," a woman's voice answered after the fifth ring.

"Hi Mrs. Sirois, this is Caleb. How're y'all doing today?"

"Pretty good, number 18 just finished showing Benny how to overhaul a washing machine, since ours broke. Do you need to speak to one of the boys?"

"Actually, this time I'm doing the parent thing," Caleb giggled. "We're getting ready to take a little trip over to our division in Hawaii in a couple of hours, and Hunter wanted to know if Benny and Alex would like to join us. It's a family trip, Dad's gonna be there, along with a few other adults and Cory's sons DJ and Tanner with their new kids. If you want, you could come too, that way you can meet some of the new faces you'll see."

"If I'd only known that our new neighbors were going to make my sons world travelers!" Mrs. Sirois replied with a chuckle. "Two days ago, Timmy and Joey borrowed Alex to help their new cousins in Russia with setting up a proper camp, and now they're getting a chance to visit Hawaii?"

"At least they're staying on-planet!" Caleb sniggered.

"So far..." Mrs. Sirois replied. "Give me a minute to see if they're interested. I'll be right back."

"Okay," Caleb replied.

It took almost two minutes, then she returned to the phone. "They're bouncing off the walls! What do they need to take with them?"

"Swimsuits just in case they suddenly get shy," Caleb giggled. "Other than that, maybe a couple of changes of clothes. Since it's a Clan Division base, food and stuff is handled. We're planning on showing up for breakfast time there, so they'll get a meal once we arrive. I think the plan is to stay the day there, so it'll be tomorrow our time when we get back; I'll let you know as things happen if that changes. Don't be surprised if they come back with more than they left with; since PRD is a residential division, they have a few things we don't. Since both of them are friends with some pretty important people in the Clan, that means they'll be treated just like any of the rest of us."

"I guessed as much, I'm actually curious to see what they bring back," Mrs. Sirois replied "Thank you for inviting them, I think I will take the chance to have a little quiet time."

"Believe me, I fully understand!" Caleb acknowledged. "Thanks for letting them join us, you just made Hunter's day. Ask Alex if Timmy issued him a subvocal; usually Timmy does that whenever he takes someone away from their home base."

"Alex, did Timmy give you a subvocal?" Mrs. Sirois asked, getting a muffled reply. "He says yes, Caleb."

"Good; I'll make sure Benny has one too before we leave." Caleb replied. "Tell Alex to contact Stevie when they are both ready, he'll transport them to Orlando, since we're at Dad's place, then we'll all leave from here. Since it looks like they're being included in some of Timmy's projects, I'll have Scott Shannon swing over there and get you set up with a way for you to be able to contact your sons wherever they are."

"Thank you, that will be a big help! You'll probably see the boys shortly; I just need to make sure they remembered necessities. I'll remind them that they need to listen to you just like you were me; if you have any trouble with them, just like always you can do what you feel is appropriate punishment."

"I'm sure they'll be fine," Caleb replied, "Thanks again, I'll give you a yell from Hawaii later today to catch you up on plan changes."

"I can't wait to hear the stories when they get back. I'll talk to you later, have fun!"

"Enjoy the quiet time!" Caleb replied, "'Bye!"

Once he heard the call end, Caleb reached around and tapped Hunter's commbadge this time, taking advantage of the override that he shared with less than a dozen other Clan members. "Caleb to Scott."

"What did you break this time, Cal?"

"Nothing, smartass!" Caleb giggled. "Would you mind running over to the Sirois house and setting Alex and Benny's mom up with comms capabilities? Alex is already on a sub, I'm issuing Benny one, and both will have badges so they can go through the doors with us to the Rimmer base. Their Mom says that Timmy's got Alex on his project team, and I think Benny's gonna be joining the Clan's tech schools since he's already talked a techbot into teaching him some stuff."

"Not a problem," Scott replied. "While I'm there, I'll talk with her about the Clan schools for you; I've noticed a couple of things about those two while they're here on visits."

"Thanks, bro," Caleb replied. "I'm expecting the boys any second, so you should be safe to head over."

"I'm on it, now stop working or I'll tell Marc and Danny! Shannon out."

"Meanie! Barnes out."

Once he was sure that Caleb was done, Matt started chuckling. "You better have your little brother make sure you didn't sprain anything rolling your eyes, Caleb! There were a couple of times I almost lost it watching you!"

"Why do adults have to make a big deal out of stuff like their kids are always trouble?" Caleb groused.

"Take it as a complement, son," Matt advised. "If she didn't trust you totally, she would have told you to call her if they mess up. As much as you might hate it, that means that she's decided that you are a real member of the parent's club, no matter what your age is. What I heard was her treating you as an equal, and more importantly she trusts you, going by the questions that she didn't ask. I'm proud of you; it takes a lot for someone your age to get that, and it's something that isn't automatic just because you're Clan."

"Okay, but it still don't mean I gotta like it!" Caleb admitted.

"That just proves that you're my son; I hate it too," Matt stated as he reached over and gave Caleb's shoulder a squeeze. "The more it happens, the better you'll get at playing along, and the bigger the list you'll make in your head of parents that you need to return the favor to."

"My old father would tell them to punish me, and tell him so he could punish me again when I got home," Hunter stated softly.

"That'll never happen again," Caleb stated as he kissed the top of Hunter's head. "If someone punishes you or your brother, that's the end of it. We'll still talk about what you did, why you did it, and why you shouldn't have done it, but nobody needs punished twice if they do something wrong."

"I'm glad you're my Daddy now," Hunter stated as he wiggled tighter against Caleb's chest.

"I'm glad you're my son, Hunter," Caleb whispered with a smile as he wrapped his arms around him.

Five minutes later, Stevie announced over the room speakers "Everyone, two of Hunter's friends that he invited to join you guys on your trip are about to pop in."

"Thanks for the heads-up, Stevie," DJ said loud enough for the room to hear, showing that he was okay with the new additions.

"You're welcome, GRAMPS!" Stevie giggled.

"Don't even start," DJ threatened. "I'm sure I can talk Dad into giving you the voice of Miss Piggy... permanently!"

"Meanie!" Stevie replied as Benny and Alex appeared near where Hunter was sitting with Caleb.

Alex was immediately joined by Hunter and Ron, the three boys quickly sitting down and beginning their discussion on what they thought Hawaii was going to be like. Benny seemed lost, so Noah stood up and joined him. "C'mon, we can talk while I introduce you to some of our family. Caleb's got the munchkins under control."

"I didn't do anything," Benny started to protest.

"I never said you did," Noah replied calmly. "Listen, you screwed up, you paid the price, and you learned from your mistake. That means it's in the past, I'll only hold it against you if you do it again. That part of your life is closed; you've earned being included as a friend of the Clan, and I'm proud to be able to introduce you."

"Really?" Benny asked cautiously.

"Yeah," Noah smiled. "You've got a lot to be proud of. You didn't hide being the one that organized the neighborhood kids to hang out at Saint Mikeys very good; I figured it out while you were still setting things up. That was all you, dude, and Alex gets a big smile every time he hears someone comment on how amazing it is that the neighborhood joined in to help. Nobody asked you to do that, but you did, and it has become something unique to Saint Mikeys."

"Why ain't you said something before?" Benny asked.

"Because I wanted you to realize just what you did before letting you know that I knew it was you," Noah stated. "I know you felt like crap after the first visit you guys had; I did too, but I did what I thought you needed to happen to get you to pick better choices. I don't think your mom can really see it yet, but I do; you're letting the real you out instead of trying to be the tough guy. The real you is great, I think you should really keep it."

Realizing Noah meant his last statement as a complement, Benny smiled. "I think I like this me too. I guess this means you don't hate me?"

"I never hated you, Ben," Noah stated. "At one time, I was disappointed in you; you fixed that pretty quick though. I'm open to being friends if you are, maybe we can keep each other from screwing up sometimes. You owe me a save anyway!"

Benny grinned, "I think I can do that; it'll be nice having a friend who isn't afraid to tell me I'm screwing up."

Noah smiled as he held his arms open. "Friends?"

Returning Noah's smile, Benny opened his arms and gave his new friend a sincere hug of acceptance.

After the hug broke, Noah took Benny's hand and led him over to DJ's pile. "Benny, the big goof buried under his attack squad is Patriarch DJ Wagner, Patriarch of Clan Wagner of Family Clan Short of the House of Surak of the Planet Vulcan. He thinks he runs things here, and we let him have his fantasies."

"RAND!" DJ yelled.

"I'M ON IT!" Rand yelled back as Noah vanished.

Before it totally registered in Benny's mind, Noah was back, now soaking wet and holding a bobcat kitten. "You're soooo gonna pay for that, Deej!" Noah threatened. "This is my friend Benny, and he's going to help me plot paybacks!"

"Uncle Noah?" Sylys asked softly, "Is that a kitty? Can I pet it?"

"This is a bobcat kitten, and he wants to be your new friend," Noah replied seriously. "Be careful, he's really young, okay?"

"Okay," Sylys replied as he held out his hands.

Once the kitten was transferred, Sylys smiled "Thank you, Uncle Noah!" he stated before turning his full attention to his new furry friend.

"Welcome to Orlando, Benny; Danny and Marc have been bragging about you," DJ stated with a smile, ignoring Noah's glare. "I'm glad you're joining us, you deserve it after everything you've done lately. The little guy is my grandson Sylys, and his chair is his Daddy, my son Finn."

"Hi guys," Benny replied, not really sure how to act after his new friend got dunked.

Reading Benny's expression, DJ added, "You'll get used to us dunking each other, Benny. Noah and Caleb helped me get through the worst part of my life. We are as close as brothers, and we pick on each other a lot because of it, but in a good way."

"I think I get it," Benny replied, mentally reserving his final opinion until he had a chance to hear Noah's side of things.

Risking a guess at what was going through Benny's head, Noah spoke up. "C'mon Ben, you can check out me and Caleb's room here while I find some dry clothes."

"Sounds good," Benny agreed.

"DUDE!" Benny exclaimed as they entered Noah and Caleb's room, "You're room's almost as big as our house!"

"I know," Noah replied, "We're gonna have to fix that one of these days."

"Good luck talking Mom into that one," Benny replied. "The only reason she doesn't complain about the techbots coming over is I'm learning stuff from them; she hates anything she thinks is charity."

"Sounds like we need to have another issue with the techbots," Noah grinned. "Let's go upstairs so I can get changed, unless you would be more comfortable waiting down here."

"Naw, I'm used to it; me and Alex share a room, and he can't even spell shy." Benny grinned. "I wanted to ask, what's the deal with you popping out and coming back wet?"

Noah giggled as they climbed the stairs. "It's kewl; DJ's just like Cory, he hates it when one of us calls him by his full title that Cory just gave him. He had our house AI send me swimming in the pool over at headquarters; while I was there, Timmy asked me to bring the kitten over for Sylys. The AI's check with each other before they do a dip for someone, that way if we need to do something somewhere, they can drop us in the pool there to save a trip."

"You mean like Stevie at the hospital and Marc's place?" Benny asked. "You have them at other houses too?"

Noah nodded. "Yeah, after the stuff that happened in Montana, we figured out how to build a core that a personality can move into; they handle making sure we're all safe, and take care of stuff that most of us don't really know how to do. All of the divisions get one, that way we know they are safe."

"That's nice," Benny stated. "I wish we could have that, maybe Mom wouldn't be as worried about us when she's at work."

"Stevie watches all of the houses around the hospital, even though he can't seen inside," Noah explained. "It protects you and us; remind me to tell your Mom about that."

"She'll probably tell you to go ahead and watch the inside too," Benny shrugged. "I love her, but sometimes she worries too much."

"I know we could do that," Noah stated as he dropped his pants, "but even if she asked, we wouldn't do it unless you and Alex were okay with it too. That's Clan rules, and we won't break them for anyone, unless we're about to bust them for breaking the law."

"I'd kinda like it," Benny admitted, "Alex is a pain in the butt, but he's mine and I worry about him. Don't tell him that though!"

"I'm the same way about Antonio," Noah replied as he bent over to put on clean undies. "I'll bet Alex knows it; just by the way he acts around you, it's a safe bet."

Noticing the look of relief that passed across Benny's face once the underwear were in place, Noah smiled. "Dude, we're both twelve and naturally curious about what our bodies are doing. If it's like normal, you're going to be seeing a lot of nude kids and teens in Hawaii. Boners are normal, and nobody's gonna say anything about looking. Antonio says that at our age, we'll all be growing different because of our genetic stuff, so don't worry if you're not the same as someone else."

"You ain't embarrassed talking about that stuff?" Benny asked in shock.

"I used to be," Noah admitted, "but with all the abused kids we see, it got normal explaining that stuff. Since we've been around since the Clan started, Caleb and I made a rule; a lot of kids need a chance to explore normally, even though they've had sex when they were being abused. Since we're considered part of the core of the Clan, a lot of kids trust us core guys before they trust each other. Since sooner or later you'll see it happening, Caleb and I will help someone learn about their body the right way; but only if they ask, and only if they agree to both of us being there."

"Do you have to do that a lot?" Benny asked.

"Only once so far," Noah shrugged. "It's normally just questions."

"What if it was someone who wasn't abused?" Benny risked.

"All you have to do is ask, bro," Noah smiled. "Alex is going to be asking you questions sooner or later, so it's best that you already have the real answers. We kinda had to grow up about this stuff really fast because of everyone we helped, so Aunt Teri made sure we knew what the real story was."

"Doesn't that mean I'm gay?" Benny asked.

"Nope; not everyone is sure about who they'll settle in with; some people don't figure it out until they are teens," Noah explained. "All the young couples in the Clan are exceptions, not what usually happens. Until your body decides who you're attracted to, you're just experimenting and learning about how your body is gonna react to stuff."

"Would it be weird if I said I kinda need to take care of stuff after watching you get dressed and talking about this stuff?" Benny asked with a blush.

"Noah, Caleb says go ahead," Rand's voice stated over the room speaker. "Benny, the reason Caleb said that is because one of the telepaths picked up on some things Alex was thinking; things that could be someone trying to groom him to abuse him later. Headquarters is following up on what was picked up, but Alex is probably going to need you to tell him the truth about his body sooner than he normally would. We'll take care of making sure Alex is safe when you go home; Caleb's helping Hunter and Ron make him safe mentally now, and I think you know that you can trust Noah. I'm watching to make sure both you and Noah stay safe, since the chemicals that your body releases while you are doing sexual things can cause you to do things you normally wouldn't consider. We've got your back."

"Rand, if there's even a slight chance of a predator, set Condition Yellow and activate the SWAT team. If this isn't resolved before we get back from Hawaii, I'm gonna have somebody's ass. That is an order." Noah growled.

"Yes, Director," Rand replied seriously.

Having seen this side of Noah before, Benny quickly realized that he had absolutely no say about the situation. What really drew his attention was the tone he'd heard in Noah's voice; any doubts he'd had about Noah's assurances that he wasn't really mad at Benny were now blown away. He clearly understood the tone in his new friend's voice; anyone who was a threat to his little brother had now made the short list of people who would not be given a second chance. At that moment, Benny made the subconscious decision to stay off of that list no matter what. While not absolutely positive, Benny had the uneasy feeling that somebody somewhere was probably about to get an express trip to their final judgement.

Reading Benny like a book, Noah stated "Chill, bro; I've got this. Now, you and I need to have a talk from the sounds of it. I'm not going to let you go into this blind."

"It feels weird even talking about this kinda stuff sitting on you and Caleb's bed," Benny said softly.

"Downstairs works better anyway," Noah replied. "That way if we need pictures, we can bring them up on the big screen."

"I'm not sure I wanna know," Benny blushed.

"Sometimes pictures are better than physically doing something," Noah explained.

"That almost makes sense," Benny giggled.

As they reached the bottom of the stairs, Noah stated "I'm not trying to be weird, but I think this might be easier if we're both nude. Rand knows to phase the windows to one-way, so we'll be in private."

Benny nodded. "Promise not to laugh?"

"I doubt you've got anything I ain't seen before," Noah admitted. "I'm not going to laugh, I promise."

Once both boys were nude, they took a chance to honestly look each other over. Quickly deducing what had Benny worried, Noah commented "I'm gonna guess you're a grower. Dad explained it; some guys just get hard but stay the same size, others start small but get a lot bigger when they're hard, and everyone else is somewhere between the two."

Benny visibly relaxed, not only because Noah didn't laugh, but because Noah actually had the courtesy to explain that there was nothing really wrong.

After grabbing a couple of towels from the drawer of the end table for them to sit on, Noah took Benny's arm and guided him to sit on the couch. "Okay, there's one absolute rule when you're in a situation where you and another person could be doing something with your bodies. No means No; there's no begging or forcing. In the Clan, it's a law, in the rest of the world it should be."

"Got it," Benny replied with a small smile. "What now?"

"Now you start asking some of those questions in your head," Noah replied with a smile.

"Thanks," Benny replied as he rolled his eyes. After a few seconds of thought, he went for the biggest question he could think of. "Does it feel different if someone else touches you down there?"

Noah nodded. "A lot different. Your body knows if it is you touching, but someone else doing it is more intense. If it's someone that you like, it feels really good, but if you're being forced it don't feel much different than touching yourself. That's why abusers can still make kids have an orgasm; kids are more sensitive than adults, so they will have one even if they don't like who is doing it."

"Could you show me a little of what it feels like from someone I like?" Benny risked hesitantly.

Noah smiled, reading between the lines and getting what was not being said. "Just so you know, the first chance I had after you and I ran into each other the first time I had a talk with Caleb. Part of the reason that he is letting me do this alone is that he knows that I think you're cute, and if I wasn't his partner I would have asked you out. He knows I'm not going to go behind his back and mess around with someone, and he told me then that if you straightened up that he would be willing to let you come to us to find yourself. We're going to help you find what we've got, and we've already decided to help you be ready for it when you do find the special person for you. That means you don't need to be scared; while neither one of us will be your boyfriend, we're not going to push you away and lose a friend. That means that yes, I'll do it, but there's a good chance you'll go all the way really fast if nobody's done it before. Do you trust me to make that first time special?"

After a little thought, Benny replied, "I think right now you're the only person I'd trust asking me that."

"Thanks," Noah smiled. "Lets unfold this couch into a bed, then you can lay back and relax, since you're about to have your mind blown!"

"Is it always that awesome?" Benny asked as both boys were getting re-dressed.

"It's even better with someone that you've committed your life and soul to," Noah replied with a grin. "You'll see it even when Caleb and me are just doing normal stuff; something about being with the one you love changes everything that you do."

"Is it safe to come down yet?" Caleb yelled from the top of the stairs, making both Benny and Noah jump.

"Yeah, now get that cute butt of yours down here so I can bury my foot in it!" Noah yelled back. "I thought you were watching the boys?"

Caleb came flying down the stairs, giving Noah a quick kiss as soon as he came to a stop. Once the kiss broke, he replied "I had Rand let me know when you were done; the boys are with Antonio getting the basics and some tips on what they need to watch out for."

Caleb then turned to Benny. "If you decide that you need a round two, it's going to be all three of us. Not because I don't trust you, but because there are things that Noah and I can show you that we save for only doing with each other. Before you have to go home, there's some things we can use that can help you start to figure out if it's guys, girls, or both that you're attracted to. It needs to be when you're not all horned up though, or it'll be wrong. Believe it or not, the stuff you're learning pretty much applies to girls too, with just a few adjustments." Caleb paused, evaluated the shock on Benny's face, then added "Besides, you taste good, I got a sample from my husband!"

All Benny could do is look back and forth at Noah and Caleb's faces, unable to decide if this was real or if he'd just been the victim of a major prank. He got his answer when Noah and Caleb moved to pull him into a three-way hug, then guided him to sit between them on the folded-out sleeper couch. "Benny," Caleb said seriously, "There are two things that Clan members never joke about. One is inviting someone to be intimate with them, and the other is calling them a brother. The first one is because all of us know so many people who have been sexually abused that we realize just how special it is to share our bodies because we want to, and the second is because when we call someone our brother, it is saying that we trust them with our lives. That trust leads to the person becoming part of what we built; every single person in Clan Short is our brother or sister, and anyone that accepts being our brother is either a member of the Clan or is protected by us. I know the answer, but has Noah called you 'Bro' in a tone that told you he really meant it?"

"A few times," Benny admitted. "It made me feel good, like he really does care. I kinda know he does now, after we've talked a lot and stuff, but it still makes me feel better when he says it."

"Trust me;" Caleb smiled, "one thing you can count on is that Noah will never say it unless he means it. You really don't want the lecture I got from him when I first thought he was just saying it because we had the same parents, and that was BEFORE we'd even met Aunt Teri!"

"You were being hard-headed!" Noah exclaimed in his own defense.

"You've made up for it," Caleb offered before leaning across Benny and giving Noah a quick kiss. On his way back, he slipped a quick kiss onto Benny's cheek, then continued. "Your answer to this next question isn't going to change anything between the three of us, Benny. Just so you know, Noah and I have absolute trust in each other, which means that him calling you a brother means that you're my brother as well. The question is, in your heart, do you feel like a friend or a brother to Noah and/or me? Please, think about it, and if you're not sure tell us. Saying you don't know is as good of an answer as yes or no."

"Okay," Benny replied as he unconsciously pulled his TWO friends closer while he thought. After a couple of minutes, he started his reply. "When we were caught breaking in that first time, Noah chewed me out like Mom would have if she'd caught me doing something I wasn't supposed to, then he sent me to be punished. Back then, I though he was being a prick, but when I looked at it now, I realized that he did the same thing to me that I'd do if I caught Alex in doing something I think is bad."

"Today, when he saw how lost I felt, he took charge and made sure I knew that he didn't hold it against me, then showed me that I had a friend here that would make sure I wasn't left out. Noah even helped me sort out my head about sex stuff; I guess the best way to say what I'm feeling is that the couple of things I tried with his body made me feel good because he felt good, not because I really needed to do them. Doing stuff kinda cleared my head though; I think I'd say no if someone else asked now, even though I might take both of you up on the round two offer just to see what it's like. I'm probably screwing it up, but I guess I trust Noah the same way Alex trusts me now, so yeah, he's my brother, and he's already proved he won't let me screw up."

Caleb smiled. "You didn't screw up, and if Dad's any kind of an example, you're no different that anyone else. You know our brother Chris, right?"

"Yeah," Benny replied.

"Chris is Dad's biological son," Caleb explained. "Dad had sex with a girl just one time, and Chris was the result; we only found out about it when Chris showed up on the Iowa after the Atlantic Son was hit during the Battle of Earth. That means it must be somewhat normal to try the other options, you're just doing it a few years before Dad did."

"Oh!" Benny replied, now understanding why Caleb brought it up. "So you are saying I'm not being weird trying stuff to see if it's what I want to do when I grow up?"

"You're not weird, but I've heard that us gay guys give lots better blow jobs than girls do!" Noah giggled. "Dad says it's because we've got the same equipment, so we know what feels good."

"I guess I'll keep you then, bro," Benny smiled.

"I'm gonna be here for you for a lot more than that. for the rest of your life," Noah promised seriously.

"I'll be right there with him, bro," Caleb added, just as serious.

Benny smiled as happy tears began running down his cheeks. What had started as taking advantage of a trip somewhere besides Charleston, one that he had been sure he was only being invited on because of his little brother, had now turned into the best day of his life; and the best part was that he still had to reach their intended destination. He only half-heard Noah's next words, but deep in his heart they were burned into his soul for all Eternity.

"George, connect me to Justy," Noah stated after tapping his commbadge.

"I'm here, Noah; what did your husband break this time?" Justy responded.

"Nothing, for a change," Noah giggled. "I need an update sent to the Family Archivist on Vulcan, bro. You at the terminal?"

"Yeah; I'm still trying to catch up with DJ," Justy replied. "Don't tell me you two are gonna try to catch up with him?"

"Nope, this is a lot better news," Noah stated. "As Assistant Director of the AI Division of Family Clan Short of the House of Surak of the Planet Vulcan, I have accepted the declaration of brotherhood expressed to myself by Benjamin Frederick Sioris of the city of Charleston in the State of South Carolina of the United States of America of the planet Earth. Included by genetic brotherhood is Alexander Christopher Sirois of the same location. Pertinent data regarding both subjects is filed with the AI Division and will be transmitted within the next fifteen Earth minutes. Familial status is as follows: Both subjects are not the result of any intervention at this time, and are retaining existing Human family relationships. Subjects are to be attached to AI Division for all Vulcan Family purposes, and are to be considered extended family of the linage Barnes of Family Clan Short."

"Stevie already transfered the rest of the info," Justy stated. "I'm waiting for the review... okay, you filled in all the blanks, they're both registered. Give them a welcome hug from me, and if DJ tries to adopt any more this week, stun him!"

"I'll see if 'Tonio has any ideas to slow him down!" Noah giggled. "Thanks, bro; now take a break and spent some quality time with Dean and Liam, AI Division Assistant Director's orders!"

"Now I see why Danny chose you! I'm just about done updating locally; Rand's programming their badges now. Have fun in Hawaii, the three of us will swing by DJ's place when you get back to meet our new brothers."

"Kewl, see ya soon bro!" Noah replied before ending the call.

Turning his head to Benny, Noah added, "Nobody can argue now, bro; I just made it official with Vulcan. We're brothers, for the rest of our lives."

Benny's reply came from deep inside his soul, expressing emotions which had no words in any spoken language. Wordlessly, he twisted to put both arms around Noah and proceeded to give him a bone-crushing hug. Not to be left out, Caleb joined the hug from behind, sandwiching their new brother in a silent embrace that sealed their bond as brothers for all of Eternity.

To Be Continued...