Hurt & Comfort

Book 4: The Well of Hurt

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Chapter 20: Decisions

"Yes Captain?" Alan asked as the three stood before her.

"This is unrelated to the adoption. I just had a thought, and wanted your opinions. Crewman Three, would you remove your shirt?" the Captain asked

"Captain?" Three asked in surprise.

"Please Crewman, indulge me and remove your shirt.

Three took his left hand to the right shoulder of his shirt, then pulled his right arm inside. Then he reached his right arm from under the shirt and began to pull the neck of the shirt over his head, being careful not to snag on the ocular implant. After much stretching of the shirt and many contortions, the shirt was pulled over his head. Three then used his right hand to pull the sleeve of the shirt off his left arm that was taut from covering hardware.

"Less than three minutes, I was guessing five. Crewman Three, it is possible to modify your hardware to be detachable. That way you could get dressed more easily, then attach the hardware afterward... and you would only need to attach the hardware you'll need for the day. You won't have to have all of it all the time if you don't want to." the Captain said carefully.

Three stood silently for a moment, then said, "That would be acceptable. Could I have a smaller ocular implant to use when I am not in need of intensive scanning ability?"

"I don't see why not. Ask the Doctor and Seven of Nine when you get to Sickbay, they are expecting you." Janeway said smugly.

"Just a minute. Three, what is this bruise?" Andrew asked and knelt to look closer at Three's side.

"I just bumped into something. It is irrelevant." Three said dismissively.

"You bumped into the toe of someone's boot. Who kicked you?" Andrew asked with a flare of anger.

"I cannot say." Three said in a Borg tone.

"Three, you're my son, it is my duty to protect you. Tell me who did this and I'll make sure it never happens again." Alan said, looking Three in the eye.

Three looked at Alan, then Andrew. "You are my fathers, and I know if I need your help, that you will be there. Please trust me to deal with this my own way. And I will promise that if I need you I will ask for your help." Three asked hopefully.

Alan laid his hand on Andrew's shoulder and said, "Three, we do trust you. You are brave and smart, so we know that you'll do the right thing. But please call us immediately if you need us for anything, we love you and don't want to see you hurt."

Andrew put his hand over Alan's and said, "Yes, we trust you and are proud of you. Just know that we're here if you need us."

Three moved to both men and initiated a three-way hug.

"Gentlemen, if you will help Crewman Three on with his shirt, he has people waiting for him in Sickbay." Janeway said with a tender smile.

The hug broke up and the three worked together to get the uniform shirt over the Borg appliances.

"Thank you Captain." Three said and left the room.

"Gentlemen, please stay." Janeway said in a commanding tone.

* * * * *

"I have interviewed those most closely involved in this matter and have come to a decision. It is my opinion that you are both excellent parents and I will grant the adoption of all six of the children. Have all the children in my ready room tomorrow at twelve hundred hours and I'll make it official. The children will be given their official names that they will carry for the rest of their lives, so be sure what each one is going to be called, especially Three." Janeway said with happiness.

"Thank you Captain. We're going to need larger quarters for all the kids... do you have any cabins with five or six rooms?" Alan asked cautiously.

"No, but we soon will have. I am going to move Ensign Kim back to his original cabin and move your family into Three's cabin and the adjoining one. I'll have B'Elana knock out the connecting wall and modify the second cabin to provide enough rooms for everyone... at least until the little ones are born." Janeway said with a smile.

"Thank you Captain." Andrew said quietly.

"I have to admit that when you asked about the adoption, I didn't know what you had already done for the children. They have progressed so far from the group of drones that were brought on board my ship. So I just have to tell you that you have my respect for the fine job you've done with them already." Janeway said seriously.

"We just loved them. And that's not hard to do, they're wonderful kids. If you would like, you could come to our cabin once we're settled in and spend some time with them... I know they'd enjoy visiting with you." Andrew said with a smile.

"I may just do that. The two of you have started a baby boom on board Voyager. I have had two requests for artificial wombs since your commitment ceremony." Janeway said with a chuckle.

"I figure Seven and B'Elana are one of the couples... Geron and Greg?" Alan asked the Captain.

"I cannot confirm or deny that. But I wouldn't be surprised if Lieutenant Paris and Commander Chakotay weren't the next couple to come to me for my permission." Janeway said, knowing she had just confirmed their suspicion.

"It wouldn't surprise me either. Chakotay and Tom have got it bad, they're just worried about making a wrong move and wrecking the whole thing." Andrew said.

"A reasonable concern, given their history... Gentlemen, if there is nothing else, I *do* have a ship to run. Dismissed." Janeway said and pulled some padds from her desk drawer.

* * * * *

The group stood in the ready room, waiting for the Captain to arrive. Uncle Dave, Seven of Nine, B'Elana, the Doctor and Neelix were also there, wanting to see the official declaration. Three was looking decidedly less Borg, having little hardware and only a small ocular implant, which left both his eyes visible.

"Have all the children picked a name?" Andrew asked Alan nervously.

"Yes, Icheb told me that all but Three have decided and will tell us when they tell the Captain." Alan said with a note of worry, then said in a reassuring tone, "I'm sure they'll be fine. I told them about middle names this morning."

"What did you tell them?" Andrew asked with a note of panic.

"I told them that the middle name is optional. They can have none, one or even two middle names and It can be a name that honors someone you respect, or just a name that you like." Alan said with forced calmness.

"Oh gods. We should have helped them pick out the names. I'm worried that they'll pick something horrible and be stuck with it forever." Andrew said then stopped to take a deep breath.

After a moment Andrew turned to Three and asked, "Have you decided what your name will be Three? The Captain has to know it to complete the adoption."

"Please be calm father. The name is irrelevant, it is the individual it represents that is important." Three said sagely.

"Hey, that's what I told Icheb when he remembered his name." Andrew said with question in his voice.

"The things you tell one of us, we share. It is the most efficient way of gaining information. That is why you have not had to tell each of us about relationships, modesty, tact, polite conversation and the rest." Three said simply.

"I can't believe I didn't figure that out." Andrew said in wonder as the Captain and Tuvok walked into the room.

"Please be seated. Commander Tuvok is here to officially record my ruling. To begin, I will state that I have considered the statements of witnesses and my own observations and have come to the conclusion that Mr. LeeAndrew Summers and Mr. Alan Summers will be fit parents for the children. I hereby grant the adoption of the children to be named as follows." Janeway said and looked to Icheb.

"Icheb LeeAndrew Malachi Summers." he said with pride and looked to Andrew.

Three moved out of the row of children and took a position on the far side of Janine.

William noticed and said, "William Alan Spike Summers"

Andrew smiled when he heard that and Janeway raised an eyebrow in question.

"Robert David Summers." Robert said proudly and looked toward his Uncle Dave.

"James Tiberius Olson Summers." Jimmy said and looked to Alan with a smile.

Jimmy touched Janine on the shoulder and pointed toward the Captain.

"Janine Cinderella Summers." She said with a happy smile.

Everyone turned their attention to Three who had a look of indecision on his face.

Finally he said, "Trey O'Seofon Summers"

Everyone waited silently for a moment, trying to figure out his name when Tuvok said, "Trey is the number Three card in sequence, following deuce. 'O' indicates 'of', and I believe Seofon is the old English version of the number seven."

"Correct." Trey said with a smile.

"Then it is settled. You are now officially a family by the laws of the United Federation of Planets. Gentlemen, you may take your family home." Janeway said with a smile.

"When will we be able to move?" Andrew asked carefully.

"Commander Chakotay has been working on that all morning. He will contact you when everything is complete, this afternoon most likely." Janeway said in a relaxed tone.

"Will we need to return to Cargo Bay four to regenerate?" William asked quietly.

"No, Seven and B'Elana are going to begin installing alcoves in your rooms when the modifications are complete. You should be able to regenerate in your new home tonight." Janeway said with a smile.

"We can help Seven of Nine with the installation." Icheb said to the group.

"Until they're ready for you to help with the alcoves, we can be packing up your things from the cargo bay and our things from our cabin." Andrew said to the group.

"This would be done most efficiently if we work collectively." Trey said in a Borg tone.

"You're probably right Trey, let's go to the cargo bay to get the children's things and we'll take them to our old cabin before we start moving to our new cabin." Andrew said and led the way out the door.

* * * * *

"Trey, are you going to miss living with Harry?" Andrew asked as they were packing belongings into carryall containers.

"No." Trey said and continued to work.

"I thought you and Harry would get along. What was the problem?" Andrew asked as he stopped to look at Trey.

"He made flatulent noises on his reed instrument of sufficient decibel level to interrupt my regeneration cycle. He would replicate malodorous nourishment, then refuse to recycle his dinnerware when his meal was finished. And he left soiled garments in the floor of the common areas of the apartment, sometimes within centimeters of the fresher unit." Trey said, then began to work again.

"So Harry is a slob... I didn't know. Trey, stop for a minute, I need for you to do something for me." Andrew said and looked Trey in the eyes.


"If I do anything that bothers you like that, I need for you to tell me right away. There are going to be eight of us living in our new cabin and there will probably be things that all of us will do that will irritate the others to some degree. The only way to keep from having hard feelings about it will be if we communicate our feelings as they happen, can you do that?" Andrew asked carefully.

"Yes Andrew... or should I call you father?" Trey asked seriously.

"Trey, you call me whatever you feel most comfortable with." Andrew said with a serene smile.

"Then yes father, I will communicate my discomfort or displeasure should it occur, may I assume you will do the same if I offend you in some way?" Trey asked seriously.

"Yes my son, I promise that I will let you know. If all of us can just communicate, we should be fine." Andrew said and put an arm around Trey to hold him close.

"We should proceed with our packing, the modifications to the cabin should be complete soon." Trey said as he returned the hug.

* * * * *

Andrew, Alan and the children entered their cabin with carryall containers and Alan said, "Chakotay said that they're done. Seven and B'Elana will be here soon to begin working on the alcoves. Let's decide who is getting which room before they get here.

"How many bedrooms do we have to work with?" Andrew asked as the children began to fan out and examine rooms.

"There are six rooms." Icheb said to everyone.

"That means someone is going to have to double up... Trey, which is your room?" Alan asked and looked around.

Trey pointed to a door.

"How about Icheb and Jimmy getting one master bedroom, Trey and Janine each get a smaller room, we get a smaller room and William and Robert share the other master bedroom, that will leave one smaller room free for the babies." Andrew said in a considering tone.

"You are the parents, you should receive a larger room." Robert said with certainty.

"Thank you Robert, but we don't need regeneration alcoves in our room, just a bed and a dresser." Alan said seriously.

"That is reasonable, which room do you want father?" Trey asked.

"May I speak to you privately Dad?" Icheb asked with hesitation in his voice.

"Sure Icheb." Alan answered and walked with Icheb into one of the bedrooms.

* * * * *

"I think we should wait for Icheb and Alan before we make any decisions." Andrew said to the group.

"Then what should we do now?" William asked.

"Trey, could we see your room? I'd like to get an idea of how much room your alcove takes." Andrew said.

"Of course Father, please come in." Trey said with pride and walked into his room, followed by the others.

* * * * *

"What's the problem Icheb?" Alan asked with concern.

"I am... unsure how to say..." Icheb said in embarrassment.

Alan pulled Icheb into a hug and said, "Just tell me Icheb. I promise that whatever it is, will be fine."

"I would like to have my own room... I am beginning to have feelings... I just need privacy..." Icheb finished desperately with his face buried in Alan's shoulder.

"Oh, I think I understand. Icheb, there is no way to say this that isn't going to embarrass you, but I need to know if I am correct, so I'm just going to ask, okay?" Alan said carefully.

Icheb nodded into Alan's shoulder.

"Is your need for privacy due to masturbation?" Alan said, trying to be delicate.

Icheb slowly nodded.

"Okay then. I should have had a talk with you about this before." Alan said and hugged Icheb tightly.

"It is perfectly natural and normal for you to have sexual urges and deal with them in this way. I think every guy does it. I understand that you are embarrassed about it and promise not to tell anyone but Andrew about this. And I will work it out so you can have your own room. Don't worry Icheb, this just means you are a perfectly healthy teenage boy. And I'm glad that you are." Alan said and pulled Icheb out of the hug to look him in the eyes.

"Thanks Dad." Icheb said and moved in for another hug.

"That's fine son. I know it can be embarrassing, but if you just tell me what's going on with you, I'll do my best to help you however I can." Alan said and soaked in the wonderful feeling of hugging his oldest son.

"I need to know about... masturbation... I am not sure I am doing it right." Icheb said, burying his face in Alan's shoulder again.

"I tell you what Icheb. Let's get us settled into rooms, and before you regenerate tonight, remind me that we need to talk and I'll tell you whatever you want to know." Alan said seriously.

Icheb nodded and hugged tighter.

"We need to get back to the others now." Alan said and pulled Icheb out of the hug and led him to the door with an arm around his shoulders.

* * * * *

"So what's up?" Andrew asked as everyone assembled in the main room.

"Icheb just explained that we should set up the rooms differently. I agree with him... how about Robert and William get one master bedroom, Icheb gets the first single room, Janine gets the second, Jimmy get's the third, Trey keeps his own room and we get the other master bedroom. When the babies are about to be born, we'll figure something out to get them their own room." Alan said to the group.

"Okay. I guess we could do it that way. Does anyone have any problem with that?" Andrew asked the group.

Jimmy said in a small voice, "I don't want to be alone."

"Jimmy, you don't have to be alone. You will go to your room to regenerate, but any other time you can come to the main room or go to one of the other rooms to be with your brothers or sister. Will that be okay?" Alan asked carefully.

Jimmy nodded unsurely.

"Just try it for a few nights, if it is a problem, we'll work something else out." Andrew said and heard a chime at the door.

"Come in." he said.

"B'Elana, Seven and Crewman Winger walked into the room.

"Crewman Winger volunteered to help us install the alcoves... where do you want us to start?" B'Elana said.

"Two will go in that master bedroom and one in each of the smaller rooms. Start wherever you think best." Andrew said with a smile.

"And we would like to help if we may." Trey said sincerely.

"We welcome your assistance." Seven of Nine said and walked to the nearest room.

* * * * *

"What did Icheb need to talk to you about?" Andrew asked Alan as they cuddled on the couch, resting after unpacking their room and the living room.

"Our little boy is growing up. He needs privacy, just like any boy his age." Alan said cryptically.

"Oh... that. I didn't think of that." Andrew said and rested his head on Alan's shoulder.

"Me either. He want's me to tell him how to do it right... can you think of anything more embarrassing than that?" Alan asked with a chuckle.

"Yes, when we have to have that talk with Janine." Andrew said with his own chuckle.

"Oh God, I hope that isn't for a very long time." Alan said with a shudder.

"Don't worry love, you'll do fine. It's good that he can talk to you about it. I had to learn by trial and error." Andrew said honestly.

"Yeah, it's good to know that he trusts me that much. But since I'm going to have the talk with Icheb, that means you get to have the talk with Trey when the time comes." Alan said seriously.

"Actually, you might consider having the talk with both of them at once. Trey is old enough and I think it will be easier just having to say it once." Andrew said honestly.

"Icheb is so shy about it, I don't know how he'd feel about that." Alan said in a considering tone.

"Ask him. Remind him how hard it was for him to ask you and see if he'll let Trey sit in on the talk." Andrew said and snuggled closer.

"Okay, but if I do this, you get to have the talk with the twins." Alan said in warning.

"Agreed. I don't think they'll be ready for the talk for a while yet... maybe a year." Andrew said in thought.

"We did it. We're parents." Alan said with joy.

"Yeah. The intergalactic Brady Bunch." Andrew said with a laugh.

"Do you think we need to hire an Alice?" Alan said with his own laugh.

"Maybe. Do you think we can get Neelix to wear the uniform?" Andrew said with a smile.

There was a moment of silence as both men formed the mental image, then both said, "Ewww."

To Be Continued...