Hurt & Comfort

Book 10: Elusive Comfort

© 2003-2005 MultiMapper
All Rights Reserved

Chapter 12: Before, After and In Between

"What is it Robby?" Bobby asked as soon as the door was closed.

"Do you want this baby?" Robert asked with a frightened voice.

Bobby looked into Robert's frightened eyes and said, "Yes. I absolutely want our baby. Honestly, I'm worried about a lot of things, but please don't think that my worrying means I don't want our baby. It means that I want to provide everything the baby needs and I'm worried I'll fail or won't be a good father... like mine." Bobby finished in a whisper.

"Thank you Bobby, I understand... and I think I know how we can take care of your worries about being a good father." Robert said seriously.

"How's that?" Bobby asked carefully.

"Who's the best father you've ever met... here's a hint, he's married to my Dad." Robert finished with a smile.

"Okay, so you think I should take 'daddy' lessons from Andrew?" Bobby asked carefully.

"I think *we* should take 'daddy' lessons from my parents. The life I've had with Andrew and Alan is the type of life I want for our child." Robert said seriously.

"I don't know if I can be like your fathers." Bobby said apprehensively.

"I don't think you can either, but neither can I. We can only be ourselves. But Dad and Pop can give us good advice on how to be good parents." Robert said, then looked into Bobby's eyes.

"Did you know that I love you?" Robert asked seriously.

"I think I remember you saying something about that earlier." Bobby said with a smile.

"Let's go back to bed." Robert said and started to undress.

"Good idea. I'm glad we don't have school tomorrow." Bobby said as he slipped out of his clothes.

Robert took his place cuddled against Bobby's side and his head resting on Bobby's shoulder.

"What would you think if I wasn't Borg anymore?" Robert asked carefully.

"What do you mean?" Bobby asked curiously.

"Pop said that the Doctor back on Voyager told him how to remove our Borg components. I don't know what's involved, but after the baby is born I was thinking about beginning the process." Robert said seriously.

"Robby, can you tell me why you want to stop being Borg?" Bobby asked in thought.

"This is why." Robert said as he drew his hand across Bobby's bare chest.

"So we can sleep together?" Bobby asked carefully.

"So we can share our lives. As long as I'm bound to the regeneration alcove I'm still a prisoner of the Borg. I want to be able to go to bed with you without worrying about my power reserves or electrolyte balance. I want to go to bed every night with you beside me and wake up every morning to the sight of your beautiful face." Robert said in a dreamy haze.

"Robby, I loved you the way you were yesterday, I love  you the way you are today and I'm sure that whatever you decide, I'll love you the way you are tomorrow and forever." Bobby said and pulled Robert up to give him a kiss.

"Thank you Bobby. I'll love you forever too." Robert said peacefully.

"Now let's get some sleep. Sweet dreams." Bobby muttered.

Robert snuggled against Bobby's chest again and said, "I don't need to dream. You're here."

* * * * *

"I can't believe this." Clark said as he walked with Trey and John down the hallway toward their room.

"Yeah, just think about it Trey, your Dad and your brother are both pregnant." John said with a delighted smile as they entered the bedroom.

"Robert has provided an example of how we might be able to have our own child one day." Trey said seriously as he began to take off his clothes.

Clark and John froze at the statement.

Trey noticed their stunned expressions and continued, "It is not necessary to discuss the matter at this time."

"Actually, if you guys don't mind, I'd like to talk about it now." John said in thought.

"Me too." Clark said seriously.

When both Clark and John looked at Trey, he nodded in agreement.

"I didn't really think about it being possible before, but I like the idea... I mean, someday." Clark said in thought.

"Yeah, exactly." John said with a nod.

"I concur." Trey said in a more Borg tone than usual.

"Is it possible, I mean, I don't know much about genetics. Can we all three be fathers?" Clark asked in thought.

Trey got a considering look, then said, "The programming of the nano-probes would be extensive, but I believe it is possible to engineer the genetics to be a combination of the three of us."

"That sounds a little creepy. I mean, genetic engineering... would we be messing with something that's best left alone?" John asked as he finished undressing and crawled into bed.

"I thought the same thing as soon as he said it." Clark said as he followed John.

"Although the phrase has negative connotations, there is no other way to describe what would need to be done to combine the genetics of three distinct species." Trey said as he scooted into the bed beside Clark.

"We don't need to worry about it now. That's years away." Clark said as he enjoyed the sensation of being snuggled from both sides.

"Yeah, years." John said in a sigh as he drifted into sleep.

* * * * *

"How do you like your bigger room?" Andrew asked as he walked with Janine into her room.

"It was adequate before, but this is acceptable." Janine said in a very Borg tone.

Alan walked in and looked around.

"It must be nice to have more space though. Now you'll have enough room to invite your friends over to play if you want to." Alan said seriously.

Janine gave Alan a speculative look, then gave an involuntary smile as she said, "The additional space has that benefit."

"It's time to regenerate Pumpkin." Andrew said gently.

Janine hopped into her alcove and waited for the 'goodnight ritual'.

* * * * *

"Are you ready to go back to sleep?" Andrew asked as he tucked Quaid into his bed.

"Yeah." Quaid said with a glorious smile.

"You really made us proud tonight." Alan said quietly.

"Thanks Dad. I'm glad Robert is going to be okay. I never felt anything like this before... being a brother." Quaid said seriously.

"Well, you've done a good job of it so far. Now get to sleep. Tomorrow will hold new adventures for all of us." Andrew said as he leaned down to give Quaid a kiss on the cheek.

As Andrew stepped away, Alan took his turn to give Quaid a kiss, then said, "I'm glad you're here Quaid. I hope you like it here."

Quaid looked seriously at Alan and said, "Q... Aunt Jean said that this would be a good place for me. I just thought she was putting me someplace out of my father's way. But I like it here, I never want to leave."

"We want you to stay too. Now go to sleep." Andrew said with a gentle smile from just inside the door.

"Goodnight." Alan whispered as he joined Andrew by the door.

"Goodnight, I love you both." Quaid said as he closed his eyes.

"We love you too Quaid." Alan said as he held Andrew by his side.

* * * * *

"Are you going to be able to get back to sleep?" Lee asked while getting the twins settled into their cribs.

"Maybe later. I'm completely awake now so I'll probably be up for a while." Slash said quietly.

"When Andrew and Alan are done making their rounds, I was thinking about having a midnight snack. Would you like to join me?" Lee asked hopefully.

Slash smiled and said, "You know. I've eaten more food since I've been here than I've probably had in the last month."

"Is that a yes?" Lee asked with a smile.

"Yeah, it's a yes." Slash said happily.

* * * * *

"How are you with everything that happened William?" Andrew asked carefully.

"Robert has recovered himself. I feel... jealous?" William asked more than said.

"That's understandable. I can only imagine how you feel, knowing that you had a life before that was taken away from you." Andrew said as he pulled William into a gentle hug.

"Do you think we'll get our memories back too?" Jimmy asked from his embrace with Alan.

"There's no way of knowing Squirt. I hope they come back, but if they don't you'll have a lot of new memories to enjoy." Alan said as he snuggled Jimmy tighter to his side.

"Thanks Dad." Jimmy whispered happily.

"Okay guys. It's time to regenerate. Remember that you gave Robert a lot of power tonight. Extend your regeneration cycles if you need to." Andrew said as he released William from his hug.

"Yes Father. Have a pleasant sleep." William said as he stepped into his alcove.

As was their nightly routine now, Alan, then Andrew stepped forward and kissed William on the cheek before he started his regeneration cycle.

Once William was regenerating, Alan turned to Jimmy and asked, "So are you going to write about your experiences today?"

"Yes, but after I've regenerated. I think I need the time to get my thoughts in order." Jimmy said seriously.

"I think I do too Squirt. I'll see you in the morning." Alan said as he followed Jimmy to his alcove.

Jimmy stood and waited for Alan and Andrew to kiss him goodnight.

"I love you Jimmy, you know that don't you?" Alan asked seriously.

Jimmy smiled and said, "Yes Dad. I love  you too."

Alan nodded and said, "I just wanted to be sure that I told you. Sometimes I pay extra attention to William and Robert and I don't want you to feel left out."

"I understand. In all the time I have known you and Father, I have never felt less than fully loved." Jimmy said seriously.

"I'm glad." Alan said and gave Jimmy a kiss on the cheek, then stepped away.

Andrew stepped forward and looked Jimmy in the eyes for a moment before saying, "I just remembered the look Six of Seven had on his face when we were in the shuttlecraft... that seems like a lifetime ago."

Jimmy smiled at the memory and said, "Perhaps it is because empty days pass without notice. Days of joy and fulfillment pass slowly, each one being filled with memories."

"That's probably it." Andrew said with a smile and gave Jimmy a kiss on the cheek.

"I love you Squirt." Andrew said as he smiled.

"I love you too Father." Jimmy said, then initiated his regeneration.

* * * * *

"When we were adding rooms, why couldn't we put all the kids rooms in a row? This is getting to be a real workout." Andrew said as they climbed the stairs.

"It keeps us healthy. There are people who pay good money to use a stair-stepper machine. We get the same workout every day for free." Alan said with a smile.

"Well, at least Icheb and Trey are on the ground floor now. No more attic trips." Andrew said as he walked with Alan to Icheb's new room.

"Don't give up on the attic yet love. The way we've been going, we could have all the rooms filled again in no time." Alan said with a smile.

Andrew stopped outside Icheb's door and said, "Considering all the happiness that we've gained from everyone living here, it's worth the price of climbing a few stairs."

* * * * *

"How do  you like your new room son?" Alan asked as he and Andrew walked into Icheb's room.

"Trey was very respectful of my privacy and did not feel a need for my own room, however having this room that I can call my own is very satisfying." Icheb said happily.

"That's good Icheb. I was worried that you might be feeling a lack of privacy with Trey. I'm glad it wasn't a problem." Alan said honestly.

"I believe the cohabitation was beneficial for us both. We have had the opportunity to discuss many things and I now feel that Trey is not only my brother, but also my friend." Icheb said seriously.

Andrew smiled and said, "That's great Icheb. I'm glad it worked out that way."

"Yes. Scott and I are brothers and friends like that. It's a wonderful feeling." Alan said happily.

"It's getting late. Have a good regeneration." Andrew said as he kissed Icheb on the cheek.

On impulse, Icheb pulled Andrew into a hug and said, "Thank you for being my father and my friend."

Andrew smiled and said, "Remember back on Voyager when I told  you about living in the boathouse?"

Icheb smiled and said, "Yes. You said that you would invite me to live here with you... and you did."

"Regenerate now. Your energy has to be low." Andrew said with a smile.

Icheb nodded and stepped back into his alcove.

Alan stepped forward and gave Icheb a gentle kiss on the cheek.

"I love you Dad." Icheb said in a soft voice.

"I love you too son." Alan said in a matching tone.

Andrew and Alan watched as Icheb began his regeneration cycle.

* * * * *

"How are the little ones?" Alan asked as he walked into his bedroom.

"Just fine. Both sleeping." Lee said with a tender smile directed at the babies.

"Thanks for all your help tonight Lee. Andy really needed you to be there." Alan said seriously.

"I'm glad Alan. After not being needed by anyone for years, it's a wonderful feeling." Lee said honestly.

"And thank you too Slash. Even if you hadn't been helping with the babies, your just being there was a big help to us." Alan said honestly.

"Alan, it sounds wrong when you call me Slash. That's for people outside the family." Slash said seriously.

"What would you like us to call you? Uncle Joe?" Alan asked curiously as Andrew walked into the bedroom.

"No. That's for the kids. How about Joey?" Slash asked hesitantly.

"I like that." Andrew said with a smile.

"Then it's settled." Slash said with a nod.

"Okay Joey, come on so these guys can get to bed." Lee said as he walked toward the door.

"Yeah. You guys have a good sleep." Slash said as he followed.

"You too. And thanks again." Alan said with a smile.

"Any time." Lee said before leaving the room.

* * * * *

"I just can't believe how much my life has changed." Slash said introspectively. as he took a seat in the kitchen.

"I know what you mean. Just a few days ago I was alone and didn't have any hope for the future." Lee said as he carefully looked through the contents of the refrigerator.

"It's the future that's kind of bothering me right now." Slash said in thought.

"How do you mean?" Lee asked with interest as he sat across from Slash.

"Well, I have a family that wants me now... I don't want to leave them to go to school." Slash said in distant thought.

"Then don't." Lee said simply.

Slash looked at Lee with question.

"No one wants you to leave. You could go to school here if you wanted." Lee said seriously.

Slash shook his head and said, "As much as I would like that, I really need to go to the Wagner School. It's just starting out... like me. I feel like it's the right thing to do. That doesn't stop me from wanting to stay." Slash finished with a shrug.

"Okay, I guess I can understand that. Besides, I'm going to be working at the Wagner School so I'll be seeing you all the time." Lee said encouragingly.

Slash gave a hesitant nod of acceptance.

"And you'll be able to come home every weekend." Lee said with a peaceful smile.

"Home." Slash repeated with awe.

Lee understood the expression and said, "That's right my brother, home."


To Be Continued...

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