One Door Closes

By MultiMapper
Copyright ©2002-2009 MultiMapper and CSU Productions.
All Rights Reserved.

For full disclaimer and Copyright information visit Copyright/Disclaimer Page. Continuation of viewing this document is deemed acceptance of all terms on the preceding link. While these stories are provided for free, I would appreciate it if those who were able would consider contributing to this artist via my Patreon.

CHAPTER 12

JC walked into the kitchen to find Allen and Kenny doing dishes as Helen was putting the finishing touches on platters of snack foods.

"Are you having a party?" JC asked in surprise.

"I decided that it would be a good idea to feed all the people who were helping Allen move in." Helen said as she went to the refrigerator and pulled out two gallons of fruit punch.

"Allen, do you think I could borrow you and Kenny for a few minutes in the living room?" JC asked carefully.

"Sure. Just give us a second to dry our hands." Allen said quickly.

"I'll meet you in there." JC said and hurried out of the kitchen.

"If you see Tommy and Tyler, ask them to come in here and help me serve the snacks." Helen said with a smile.

"Sure thing Helen." Allen said and led the way out of the kitchen.

* * * * *

"What?" Allen gasped as he saw the living room filled with people.

"Justy, go get the boys upstairs. It's time." Chip said quietly.

Justy nodded and ran out of the room.

"What is this?" Allen asked as he looked around the room.

"Josh thought we'd make this a special occasion." Chip said with a fond smile at JC.

"What's wrong?" Jake asked as he hurried into the living room.

"Nothing's wrong. Allen, Brady, Jake, Xain, Kenny and Kevin. Please come over here." Chip said in his commanding tone.

"I'd like for you to meet Judge Jamie Robison. Josh somehow talked him into coming over here on his day off and performing the name change." Chip said with a smile.

"You mean they didn't know?" Judge Robison asked with a note of disapproval.

"We wanted it to be a surprise." JC said quickly.

"A surprise is a wonderful thing at the proper time. But this is a serious matter that should be considered carefully. I won't do the name changes until I've had a chance to talk to each of these young men and know within myself that this is what they want and why they want it." Judge Robison said seriously.

"I'm sorry Your Honor." JC said meekly.

"It's my day off, call me Jamie. Is there someplace where I can talk to these young men individually so I can be sure of their motivations?" Judge Robison asked in a dignified manor.

"Yes. The family room is right through those doors." JC said as he pointed at the double doors.

"Jake, do you want to be first?" Judge Robison asked in a gentle voice.

Jake nodded hesitantly and followed the Judge out of the room.

* * * * *

"Please sit down and relax." Judge Robison said in a warm voice.

Jake sat on the nearest chair at attention.

"Close enough." Judge Robison said with a chuckle.

"What do you want to know?" Jake asked in a timid voice.

"I just want to know if you want me to change your name." Judge Robison said simply.

"Yes. Please." Jake said, trying to relax.

"Why do you want it changed?" Judge Robison asked as he relaxed into a wing back chair.

"I know Allen wanted to adopt Kev because he's Kenny's brother and Allen loves Kenny. But he wanted to adopt me too and he didn't have to. He said it in front of everyone that no matter what problems I had that he still wanted me to be his son. I want my name changed so I can say in front of everyone that I want him to be my dad." Jake said in thought.

"I have your name in my paperwork, how do you want your new name to be?" Judge Robison asked casually.

"I haven't really thought about that. I guess I'd like to keep my real first name because my grandmother picked that out for me. But I don't like the rest. It takes forever to fill out on official forms." Jake said, then looked up at Judge Robison's laughter.

"I can imagine. So what would you like your final name to be?" Judge Robison asked again.

Jake thought for a minute and finally asked, "Is there any way I can think about it for a few minutes?"

"I still need to talk to your brothers, you can tell me when I come back into the living room." Judge Robison said with a smile.

"Thank you Judge Robison." Jake said seriously.

"Please call me Jamie. Now would you send Kenny in to talk with me for a minute?" Jamie asked with a smile.

"I will. Thanks again Jamie." Jake said with a smile and hurried out.

* * * * *

Kenny walked slowly into the room and waited for Judge Robison to tell him what to do.

"Come on over here Kenny and have a seat. I just want to talk to you. There's nothing to be afraid of." Judge Robison said warmly.

"Okay." Kenny mumbled and took a seat.

"I just wanted to know if you really want to have your name changed to match Allen's." Judge Robison asked in a friendly tone.

Kenny squirmed and said, "I guess. I mean, yeah."

"You don't sound too sure. Maybe if you talk to me about it I'll be able to help you decide for sure." Judge Robison suggested.

Kenny thought about the suggestion for a second, then said, "I want Allen to be my Pop and I want to have his name, but if I take Allen's name, then I have to give up my Dad's name and that's like saying I don't love my dad anymore."

"Oh, I see." Judge Robison said in thought.

"But I don't want Pop to think I don't love him, so I gotta change my name." Kenny said, letting his conflicting emotions show through his voice.

"That's a tough spot, but I think there are a few things I might be able to do to help you." Judge Robison said with a smile.

"Really?" Kenny asked hopefully.

"Yes. There are a few choices that I can give you that you may like. But you don't have to change your name at all. This is 'your' name. I'm sure your Pop will love you just as much if you decide to keep your dad's name." Judge Robison said carefully.

"Please. I really want to have Pop's name. How can I do it?" Kenny asked anxiously.

"Well, first, you can consider having a hyphenated name. You could be Kenneth Lanson Waite-Thompson or Kenneth Lanson Thompson-Waite. Which would make you Kenny Waite-Thompson or Kenny Thompson-Waite." Judge Robison said slowly.

"Really? That would be so cool!" Kenny said happily.

"Another choice is taking one of the names as a middle name. Either Kenneth Lanson Waite Thompson or Kenneth Lanson Thompson Waite. Which would make you Kenny Thompson or Kenny Waite." Judge Robison said carefully.

"That sounds good too." Kenny said in thought.

"And you could drop your middle name of Lanson and that would make you Kenneth Waite Thompson or Kenneth Thompson Waite." Judge Robison continued.

"Yeah." Kenny said as he thought seriously about the choice he had to make.

"If you'd like a few minutes to think about it, I could talk to Kevin and see what he wants to do." Judge Robison offered.

"Yeah. I'd like that. Thank you for being so nice." Kenny said with a big smile.

"I do what I can. Would you ask Kevin to come in and talk with me?" Judge Robison asked kindly.

"Uh huh." Kenny said and hopped up to hurry out of the room.

* * * * *

"Hi?" Kevin asked from just inside the door.

"Hello Kevin. Why don't you come in and talk with me for a minute?" Judge Robison asked quietly.

"Am I in trouble?" Kevin asked in a trembling voice.

"Not at all. I'm Jamie, come in here and have a seat. I'm just going to help you decide what name you'd like to have." Jamie said gently.

Kevin hesitantly walked in and took a seat.

"Do you want to have your name changed?" Jamie asked carefully.

"Yes sir." Kevin said quietly.

"Can you tell me why?" Jamie asked as he sat forward to hear Kevin's quiet tone.

"Will I get in trouble for using bad words?" Kevin asked with a note of fear in his voice.

Jamie was stunned at the question, but answered, "Why would you use bad words?"

"Cause I don't know how to say it without using bad words." Kevin said reasonably.

"Alright. While it's just the two of us talking, I won't be upset if you use a bad word or two. Now can you tell me why you want to change your name?" Judge Robison asked carefully.

"Cause I don't want to be a bastard." Kevin said in a fearful voice.

Judge Robison was stunned yet again, but quietly asked, "Could you explain how changing your name will make you not be a bastard?"

"Cause if you got a different name from your dad, then you're a bastard." Kevin said reasonably.

Judge Robison let that sink in for a second before saying, "There's a lot more to it than that, but I don't think we need to discuss that now. Do you want to have Allen's last name as yours?"

"Yeah. Poppa is nice and he wants me to be his son, just like if I was born to him. So I want that too. If I have the same last name as him, then I'll really be his son." Kevin explained.

Jamie nodded and said, "I think that's the best reason I've heard for having a name change. Do you know what you want your name to be?"

"Kevin Thompson." Kevin said as if it were obvious.

"What about your middle name?" Jamie asked with a smile.

"I don't have one." Kevin said simply.

"Yes you do. Your full name is Kevin Lawson Harris." Jamie said carefully.

"Really? Mom told me I didn't have a middle name." Kevin said seriously.

"Well, you do. Do you want to keep it? We can change it or leave it out if you want." Jamie said carefully.

"Um. Can I think about it?" Kevin asked hopefully.

"You three certainly are brothers." Jamie said with a chuckle.

"Four." Kevin said seriously.

"Four?" Jamie asked cautiously.

"Yes. Xain is our brother too. He just isn't adopted. His dad is letting him stay with us." Kevin said quickly.

"Really? I didn't know about him. Is that the Vulcan boy who was standing by you?" Jamie asked slowly.

"Yes. He's really nice. I'm glad he's my brother." Kevin said with excitement.

Jamie got a look of surprise and asked, "Would you ask Xain to come in and talk with me while you think about which name you want?"

"Yeah." Kevin said and jumped out of the chair.

As Kevin reached the door he said, "You're really nice. I always heard that Judges was mean and hated kids."

"It depends on the kids." Judge Robison said as he tried to restrain a smile.

* * * * *

Judge Robison walked into the living room with Xain at his side.

"Thank you all for being patient. I need to get my briefcase and talk to the boys for just a moment, then we'll be ready to proceed." Judge Robison said as he walked to the front of the room.

After a moment talking to each boy, Judge Robison said, "Now to business. Allen, would you gather your family so I can do this properly?"

Allen motioned for the boys to join him in front of the judge.

"Allen, first I'd like to say that you have some remarkable boys here. You must be very proud." Judge Robison said with a smile.

"I am Your Hon... Jamie." Allen finished with a timid grin.

"Good. May I present to you and everyone gathered, your son Jacques Allen Thompson." Jamie said with a grand smile.

Applause spread through the room as Allen pulled Jake into a crushing hug and whispered, "Thank you."

"Next Allen, I would like to present to you and everyone gathered, your son Kenneth Waite Thompson." Jamie said with a gesture to Kenny.

Applause sprang up again as Allen hugged Kenny tightly.

"And now Allen, may I present to you and everyone gathered, your son Kevin Charles David Thompson." Jamie said with a smile at Kevin.

Allen pulled Kevin in for a full hug and ended it with a kiss on the top of his head.

"And finally Allen, may I present to you and everyone gathered, Xain Thompson son of Solak of the House of Suvak of Vulcan." Jamie said with delight at the shocked looks from everyone in the room.

"Since you are Xain's guardian, I asked him if he would like to have his name changed as well. I made use of the terminal in your family room and explained to his father that it would be helpful if Xain had a last name since he would be dealing primarily with Humans. Solak accepted the reasoning and gave his permission." Jamie said in a voice of accomplishment.

Allen finally got over his shock and pulled Xain into a hug as he whispered, "You're really part of my family now."

"Thank you father." Xain said from the hug.

Judge Robison walked to stand beside Chip and JC and said,  "That was the proper time for a surprise."

* * * * *

Chip walked into the crowd and came back a moment later followed by a Hispanic woman wearing a timid expression.

"Mamacita!" Kevin said with excitement and ran to hug her.

Jake looked at Mamacita with surprise which changed to apprehension.

"Allen, this is Mrs. Vasquez." Chip said with a smile as he finally was able to maneuver her to the front of the room.

"It's a pleasure to meet you." Allen said with a warm smile.

"It is a good thing you do. To adopt Kevin and Jake. It makes my heart warm." Mrs. Vasquez said as she barely restrained her tears.

JC joined the group and said, "We thought that since you needed a housekeeper, you might consider hiring Mrs. Vasquez."

Allen looked at Kevin clung to Mrs. Vasquez's side and her rubbing his back with one hand.

"Mrs. Vasquez obviously cares for Kevin. But I'm not sure how we'll work it out. I originally intended to hire a live in housekeeper. But we don't have enough rooms." Allen said in thought.

"There is a very nice apartment built above the garage. It has been remodeled and should be fine for the Vasquez family if you want to give it a try." Chip said with a smug smile.

"Well, what do you think about this? If you want, we can give it a try for two weeks and see how it goes. If we're all happy with the situation then, we'll make it a permanent job." Allen said to Mrs. Vasquez seriously.

"Si, I mean, yes sir. We would be happy to accept." Mrs. Vasquez said with difficulty.

"Then the first thing you have to do is call me Allen, I couldn't stand being called sir or Mr. Thompson in my own home." Allen said with a smile.

Mrs. Vasquez nodded and quietly said, "If you would like, you may call me Juana or Mamacita as the children do."

"Thank you Juana, let's go look at your apartment." Allen said with a smile.

"Allen, if you don't mind, I'll show her the apartment so you can stay here with your guests." JC said quickly.

Allen looked around the room and nodded.

JC led Juana away to collect her children as Chip said, "We invited some of your friends to witness the name change. I hope you don't mind."

"Not at all, I noticed some familiar faces in the crowd." Allen said with a smile.

"Maybe you could introduce me? JC is the one who handled contacting everyone." Chip asked hopefully.

"Sure, come on." Allen said and led the way into the crowd.

* * * * *

"Wallace, I'd like you to meet Commander Chip Dodds of the Starship Enterprise. Chip, I'd like you to meet Dr. Wallace Stevens DDS." Allen said, and noticed Jake's curious look.

"He's a dentist." Allen said to Jake in a quiet voice.

"And this young lady is his daughter Tiffany." Allen finished in a normal tone of voice.

"Nice to meet you Dr. Stevens. I'm glad you could be here to witness the name change." Chip said happily.

"Seeing Allen alive and well makes me happier than anything. He gave me quite a scare when I found him." Wallace said with a smile.

Chip looked at Wallace and Allen curiously.

"Wallace found me passed out on my bedroom floor. He's the one who saw to it that I was taken to the hospital." Allen said timidly.

"Oh, I see. I guess Allen needs someone to watch over him." Chip said in a teasing voice.

"I think we've got that covered with Juana and the boys." Allen said with a smile.

All the adults noticed a squeal come from one of the children as Kenny was the center of attention in a group of children.

"It looks like Kenny's in his element." Wallace said with a fond smile.

"Tiffany isn't doing too bad either." Chip said as he motioned to a group of boys gathered around Tiffany.

The door opened and Helen walked in carrying a tray of snacks.

"That was brave of her, I would have worried about being stampeded." Chip said as people flooded toward Helen.

"It's okay, she found her helpers again." Allen said as Tommy and Tyler walked in carrying more snacks.

"While the kids are feasting, let's go talk to Trish." Allen said and indicated a woman watching the kids from a distance.

* * * * *

"Trish, I'd like you to meet Commander Chip Dodds. Chip, this is Trish Atkins. Her kids are friends with Kenny too." Allen said quickly.

"Nice to meet you Trish. I'm glad you could make it." Chip said with a warm smile.

"I couldn't believe it when I saw the house. This place is beautiful. I thought TJ was going to explode." Trish said in delight.

"Yeah, I couldn't believe it either when Chip showed it to me. I think the boys are going to love it here." Allen said with a smile.

"I'm glad you could get Kevin to live here. From what Kenny was telling the kids, he expected to be living in Chicago with his mother." Trish said casually.

Allen looked at Wallace, Chip and Trish before quietly saying, "Their mother abandoned them. I'd like to stay off the subject of Kevin's mother as much as possible around the kids."

"How horrible. It's wonderful that you were able to get custody of them. I know that couldn't have been easy." Trish said seriously.

"I can't even tell you all of what happened. It's been like a whirlwind since I left the hospital yesterday." Allen said honestly.

"You were in the hospital? What happened?" Trish asked with concern.

"Everything just caught up with me and I collapsed from exhaustion. Wallace found me Saturday morning and I woke up in the hospital with two sons." Allen said with a smile.

"Two? I thought you had four." Trish said slowly.

"I met Jake after I left the hospital and Xain this morning. I'll tell you the whole story sometime. Right now, I don't think I could, so many things have been going on so quickly around me that I'm not sure of everything that's happened." Allen said helplessly.

"Well, as soon as the mountain of snacks have been conquered, we're going to enlist everyone's help in getting you unpacked. When that's done, we'll all be leaving you to your family and you'll have some time to let it all sink in." Chip said with a smile.

"That sounds like a good idea, what do you say we help them conquer the mountain?" Wallace said with a grin.

"Lead the way." Allen said happily.

* * * * *

A group of the adults gathered into a huddle before Chip called out to the crowd.

"Everyone. May I have your attention. It's time to start unpacking so Allen and his family can relax in their new house tonight. Kids, you're first." Chip said loudly.

David walked to stand beside Chip and said, "Kids 11 and under follow me, 12 and over follow Aaron."

With that, David walked out the door and a long line of children followed.

A moment later Aaron took his troop out of the room too.

"Allen, you'll be in your bedroom with Brady and Dan." Chip said, then continued, "Helen, Robin and Matt in the kitchen. John..."

* * * * *

JC watched as Juana, Reuben and Ricardo looked over every square inch of the apartment.

"This is far bigger than where we were living." Juana said as she noticed him watching.

"I hope it will work for your family." JC said kindly.

"It will be wonderful. But... ¿como se dice?" {How do you say?} Juana paused in thought.

She shook her head in frustration and said, "Our things from the old apartment..."

"Oh, we hired a moving company to bring your things. They should be here in about a week. You brought the clothes you'll need didn't you?" JC asked in concern.

"Si, yes, Mr. Chip said to leave them in the car for now." Juana said as Edovina began to fuss in her arms.

"Well, you have the basic furniture for now. If you need anything else, I'm sure someone can help you." JC said seriously.

"Are we going to live here?" Reuben asked in a small voice.

"Yes. Is that okay with you?" JC asked with a fond smile directed at the small boy.

Reuben nodded hesitantly.

"Kenny, Kevin, Jake and Xain are going to be living in the house so you'll have plenty of company." JC said gently.

Reuben's eyes got wide, then he broke into a smile.

There was a knock on the door.

Juana opened the door a crack to see who was outside.

"We have your things from the car. Once you're unpacked, we're going to take you to the store for food and whatever else you need." A woman's voice said from outside.

Juana opened the door to let Kayla in.

She was followed by Sara and Carrie, each carrying luggage from the car.

"Do you need some help with that?" JC asked quickly.

"There are a few more suitcases in the car." Kayla said, then turned to Juana and asked, "Where would you like me to put this?"

* * * * *

David led his group of kids out to the cars and said, "Okay guys. Let's do this the simple way. Kenny and Kevin, you take everyone who's nine and under and head up to your room. The rest of us will carry things up to you."

Everyone agreed and went to their appointed tasks.

Aaron led his group out and said, "That sounds like a good idea. Xain and Jake, you guys take the 12 and 13 year olds upstairs and unpack what the rest of us bring up to you."

As the boys got into their groove, adults started streaming out of the house to unload cars.

* * * * *

"How in the world are you keeping track of all this?" JC asked Chip who was standing in the entry hall.

"I'm not." Chip said seriously.

"What?" JC asked in disbelief.

"I'm just trusting that everyone labeled their boxes clearly enough that the right things end up in the right place." Chip said as he watched another group of boys head down the stairs and out the door.

"What are you doing then?" JC asked in confusion.

"Looking like I'm in charge." Chip said seriously.

"What?" JC asked in confusion.

"It makes people think that everything is going to work out if someone seems to be in control. It brings a sense of calmness to the whole operation. People see me here and assume that I'm overseeing that everything is running smoothly, and because of that, everything is running smoothly." Chip explained reasonably.

"So you're standing here doing nothing while everyone else is working?" JC asked in disbelief.

Chip shrugged and said, "Someone's got to."

"What do you want me to do. Juana is getting unpacked and has plenty of help." JC asked as he watched David and Aaron carrying a small tree in the door and up the stairs.

"Why don't you check in on Allen and his boys and make sure they're holding up?" Chip asked in thought.

"Good idea love. You're doing a great job. Keep it up." JC said, then gave Chip a quick kiss before heading upstairs.

* * * * *

JC walked into Kenny and Kevin's room to find pandemonium.

"How's it going guys?" JC asked as he looked around.

"Great. Kevin bought some really cool stuff. We're just about to start hanging his pictures on the wall." Kenny said happily.

"How are you doing Kevin?" JC asked gently.

Kevin looked at JC and said, "I'm fine."

JC was surprised by Kevin's cold response, but decided to let it go.

"I'll be by to check on you again later, just let me know if you need anything." JC said hesitantly.

Kevin nodded and went back to looking at his pictures.

* * * * *

"Hey Jake, how are you doing?" JC asked as he walked in to find a flurry of activity.

"I'm not sure who's this is." Jake said in confusion as he looked at the large cardboard box without a label, not sure if he should open it.

"Oh, well, I think  you should ask Aaron about that. I think I saw him with it earlier." JC said as he tried to conceal a smile.

Jake nodded and hurried out of the room.

"How are you doing Xain? Have you had the chance to meet Cory, your patriarch?" JC asked curiously.

"No, not as yet." Xain said carefully.

"Cory, can you come over here for a minute?" JC yelled across the room.

After a moment to unload the posters from his arms he walked to JC's side.

"Xain Thompson, I'd like to introduce Cory Short, Patriarch of Clan Short." JC said formally.

"It's nice to meet you Xain. When we have our next meeting I'll introduce you to everyone formally. How do you like what you've seen so far?" Cory asked in a friendly voice.

Xain considered for a moment, then gave a ghost of a smile before slowly answering, "The ways of Clan Short are unconventional. I approve."

Cory smiled, then adopted a Vulcan demeanor and said, "I am pleased. At times we behave in a non-Vulcan manor, but we adopt the appropriate attitude when the situation calls for it. Should you be in need of assistance or clarification of any kind, either I or any of our brothers will be willing to assist you."

Xain raised an eyebrow in surprise at Cory's display of Vulcan mannerisms, then said, "I will endeavor to bring honor to Clan Short."

Cory considered Xain's statement, then said, "I will contact you later in the week regarding your duties for Clan Short. In the interim, it would be beneficial to familiarize yourself with your new surroundings and brothers."

"I will do so. May I ask a question?" Xain asked respectfully.

"You are free to ask any of your brothers a question at any time, what is it?" Cory asked seriously.

"Is my deficiency in English a concern?" Xain asked slowly.

"No. Your guardian Allen and your brother Kevin are both able to speak Vulcan. You can go to them and ask for their assistance should you find yourself unable to find the proper English words. Your current level of knowledge of the language is adequate and will increase with prolonged exposure." Cory said carefully.

"Thank you Patriarch Short." Xain said reverently.

"Xain, it is appropriate to use my title when addressing me in a formal ceremony. As my brother, it is your right to address me and any of your other brothers by their first names and we will address you by yours. Is this acceptable?" Cory asked, trying to see if Xain understood.

"It is acceptable Cory." Xain said quietly.

"Good. Then let's get back to unpacking." Cory said with a smile.

* * * * *

"Oh that!" Aaron said happily as he walked into the bedroom.

"Who does it belong to?" Jake asked curiously.

"You." Aaron said with a smile.

"I didn't get anything like this." Jake said in confusion.

"Just open it." Aaron said, then tapped JC on the shoulder to get his attention.

Jake carefully pulled back the tape on the top of the large box and opened it.

"It's filled with other boxes." Jake said in surprise.

"Yeah. Open them." Aaron said with excitement.

Jake pulled the largest of the boxes free and saw what was written on the side.

"No way!" Jake exclaimed as he tore open the box.

"Look, it's a stereo!" Jake said as he pulled the main stereo unit free from it's packing materials.

"It's got a CD changer and everything." Jake said and held it out for JC and Aaron to see.

"Go ahead and open the others." Aaron said with a grand smile.

Jake carefully sat the stereo on the bed and opened another box.

"These are yours, it's all your CDs!" Jake said with surprise, then turned to look at Aaron with tears in his eyes.

"You did this, didn't you? Because of what I said." Jake asked Aaron quietly.

"Yeah, you'll also find a complete collection of Backstreet, N*Sync and Hanson in there and a set of headphones." Aaron said with a smile.

Jake sat the box of CDs on the bed, then pulled Aaron into a hug.

"I can't believe you did this. Thank you Aaron." Jake said as he continued to hug Aaron tightly.

"Well, it wasn't just me. You also get to thank David, Mark and Zac, it's from all of us to welcome you to the family." Aaron said happily.

Jake pulled away from Aaron and spotted Mark and Zac watching them.

"Thank you, guys." Jake said and hurried to hug them.

"We were glad to do it." Zac said with a chuckle.

"How does it feel to have a wish come true?" Mark asked quietly from the hug.

Jake stopped for a second to consider, then said, "It's better than I could have dreamed. I don't have anything else to wish for."

"I know that feeling Jake. But it gets better." Mark said with a smile.

"How can it get better than this?" Jake asked in disbelief.

"Trust me. If you get the chance to help someone else get their wish, it's better." Mark said with complete joy.

* * * * *

"How are you guys doing?" JC asked as he walked into Allen's bedroom.

"Pretty good, actually. I'm almost done. Have you seen the boys? Are they okay?" Allen asked as he hung up the clothes that Brady was handing him.

"All fine. I think if Jake was any happier he'd float away." JC said with a smile.

"What about Xain? How's he fitting in?" Allen asked cautiously, then took the shirt Brady was holding out for him.

"He's doing fine. I think that since he's met with Cory, he feels a little more secure." JC said in thought.

"Good, I can relate to what he's feeling. I was nothing but nerves the first time I visited Vulcan." Allen said as he hung up a pair of pants.

"I was a little worried about him calling you 'Father'. His father might not like it." JC said in thought.

"I had a second to talk to him about that. There isn't an exact English equivalent for the word he was wanting to use, so he chose Father." Allen said simply.

"I'm not sure I understand." JC said carefully.

"The word he wanted to use was k'war'ma'khon which roughly means 'of my family though not related by genetics'. But he didn't know an English equivalent that expressed that thought. The only word he could think to use was 'father' so he used it. We both agree that it is logical and acceptable." Allen said absently as he worked.

"Oh, that makes sense." JC said in thought.

"If his father finds it unacceptable, we can find an alternative. It works for now." Allen said casually.

"I guess I'll go downstairs and see how the others are doing." JC said as he looked around.

"I'll probably be down in a few minutes, we're just going to unpack the bathroom." Allen said with a smile.

JC nodded and left the room.

* * * * *

"I think we're done down here." Chip said seriously.

"Really? That was quick." JC said as he looked around.

"Well, there were a few problems to overcome. We ended up with a little extra furniture." Chip said with a smile.

"How's that?" JC asked curiously.

"Allen's things and the furniture from the house. It worked out fine. It turns out that there was room for an extra couch in the apartment, so Mrs. Vasquez will have plenty of room to entertain." Chip said happily.

"Is someone cooking?" JC asked as he took a deep inhale.

"Helen decided to make dinner for them tonight." Chip said as he led JC into the living room.

"This turned out well." JC said as he looked around the room.

"It did. And Allen had a sofa bed, so we put it in the family room for Brady. Everything just came together." Chip said happily.

"Where is everyone?" Allen asked as he walked into the living room.

"Most of them are gone. Helen and a couple of the boys are in the kitchen and there are still a few upstairs with your boys." Chip said as Dan and Brady walked into the room.

"I think it's time we got out of here. I'll go gather up ours." JC said quickly.

"Send mine down if you find them up there." Dan said quickly.

"I'll stop by tomorrow around 11:00 and we can get all the legal stuff done for the house. And I'm supposed to give you this." Chip said as he picked up an envelope from a nearby end table.

"What is it?" Allen asked as he accepted the envelope.

"All the boys' paperwork. Birth certificates, adoption papers, guardianship papers, name changes... stuff like that." Chip said seriously.

"I can't believe you did all this." Allen said as he looked slowly through the paperwork.

"Teri and Jamie handled all that, I'm just the messenger." Chip said honestly.

"No, I mean *all* this. You changed my life." Allen said in an overwhelmed voice.

"I did my part, so did everyone else. Don't be surprised if we call on you one day soon to help us do the same thing for someone else." Chip said with a smile.

"We'll be there whenever you need us." Allen said as a vow.

"I'm going to go and see how close Helen is to being done." Chip said quietly and walked out of the room.

Allen and Brady looked around the living room in amazement.

"Your home is beautiful." Brady said as he looked around.

"Our home Brady." Allen said as he walked to look at the family room.

"Thanks." Brady said in a whisper as he followed.

* * * * *

"Dad?" Jake called out as he walked down the stairs.

"In the family room." Allen called out.

Jake walked past the kitchen and into the family room.

"Is everyone gone?" Jake asked in confusion.

"Yes. They just left. How are you doing Sport?" Allen asked as he casually pulled Jake into a one armed hug.

"Great isn't a big enough word." Jake said honestly.

"I know what you mean." Allen said as he looked out the door at the view of the lake.

"What's Uncle Brady doing?" Jake asked curiously.

"Checking out his new bed. This is going to be his room when he's in town." Allen said with a smile.

"Cool. I hope that's a lot." Jake said as he watched Brady unfolding the sofa bed.

"Thanks Jake, I hope so too." Brady said as he lay down.

"How is it?" Allen asked hopefully.

"Perfect." Brady said as he closed his eyes.

"What's that sound?" Jake asked curiously.

"I don't know, let's investigate." Allen said as he walked for the door.

"I'm coming with you." Brady said as he hopped up.

* * * * *

Allen turned off a kitchen timer that was sitting on a note.

"It's a note from Helen. She made us dinner."  Allen said with surprise.

"Great, I'm starving. Those snacks earlier only made me hungrier." Brady said quickly.

"Jake, go get your brothers while I get dinner put on the table." Allen said as he walked to the oven.

"Brady, she said she put a salad in the refrigerator, would you grab it and put it on the table?" Allen asked as he carried the casserole across the room.

"I got it." Brady said and hurried to the refrigerator.

All the boys hurried into the room as Allen carefully sat the casserole on the kitchen table.

"Kenny, would you grab the dishes? Kevin and Xain, would you get drinks for everyone?" Allen asked as he picked up a basket of bread from the kitchen counter.

After everyone completed their tasks, the new family settled down into their first meal.

To Be Continued...