Hurt & Comfort

Book 7: From Hurt to Comfort

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Chapter 15: Mountains of Time

Wesley, Dawn and Tara walked into the dining room to find Andrew fidgeting and watching the door.

"Andrew, do you think you could send us to Slayer Central for a few minutes? I'd like to show Wesley some of the watcher's journals from the Sunnydale days." Dawn asked hesitantly.

"Yeah, but I don't know how soon I can bring you back. I'm dealing with a situation in Alan and Remy's dimension too." Andrew said absently.

"That's fine. We've got about five years of journals for Wesley to look through. We can wait as long as we need to." Dawn said with assurance.

"Okay, here you go." Andrew said and a vortex formed beside them.

"Thanks Andrew. Just let us know if there's anything we can do to help with your problem." Dawn said quietly before she walked through.

"Yeah, I will. Thanks Dawn." Andrew said genuinely, then closed the portal behind her.

* * * * *

As Andrew was closing the vortex, Kurt and Jimmy appeared in front of him.

"Father, may Uncle Warren take me to the store to buy clothing for Uncle Kurt?" Jimmy asked with excitement.

"Sure, that's fine. Kurt, if we're not here when you get back, would you bring Jimmy to the boathouse?" Andrew asked with a smile at Jimmy's excitement.

"Ja, of course. Ve vill try not to keep him out too late." Kurt said with his own smile.

"It's Friday, so I suppose it won't be a problem if he's out a little late. Have fun." Andrew said as he noticed Hank and Orroro hurry into the room.

"We will Father. Thank you." Jimmy said and held close to Kurt.

There was a bamf, and they were gone.

* * * * *

"The Logan from Alan and Remy's dimension needs help. He has the virus but is fighting it." Andrew said quickly.

"I'll need to know some details. I'm ready when you are." Hank said and glanced toward Orroro.

Andrew let loose his power and they saw the room dissolve around them. Within a minute, they were standing in the same room, but it was dark and abandoned.

"Everyone's in the common room." Andrew said and led the group.

As they were about to go in Andrew noticed movement from the corner of his eye and turned in time to see Ronny walk into the main hall.

"Go on, I'll be back in a few minutes." He said and turned to find Ronny.

* * * * *

After a long moment of silence Robert said, "Trey, can you fill us in on what's happening?"

Trey made his way from the otherwise empty table and joined Peter, Bobby and Robert at their table.

"Father and Dad are helping a man who is stranded in a neighboring dimension. He is ill and has been alone for four months. Aunt Dawn and Aunt Tara have taken Mr. Wyndom-Price to Father's dimension to review recent history. Icheb and Marie are becoming friends. Jimmy, Uncle Kurt and Uncle Warren are going shopping. Janine is playing Kadis'ka with four other children. Uncle Hank and Orroro are attempting to begin a relationship. Uncle Angel and Chris are in MedLab resting, Uncle Angel is concerned for Chris' emotional well-being. Uncle Scott is concerned that he does not know how to behave as a part of our family due to the inadequacies of his own family. Uncle Alex is concerned that his cohabitation of the room with Uncle Scott is causing Uncle Scott undue stress and making him unhappy." Trey said in an emotionless tone.

"What do you think we should focus on to help?" Robert asked in a considering voice.

"I believe all the situations are being dealt with, but I would like to focus on Uncle Scott and Uncle Alex. Their behavior suggests that they might wish to withdraw from the family because they feel out of place with us." Trey said with concern.

"That is unacceptable. That would hurt Dad and Father. We must find a way to let them know that they are part of our family." Robert said seriously.

"How do you know all this stuff?" Bobby asked in wonder.

"We have enhanced hearing. Trey is very good at sitting quietly and listening to what is happening around him." Robert said in a fond tone.

"Do you have any suggestions to help us with Uncle Scott and Uncle Alex?" Trey asked Bobby and Peter.

"Do you remember the party that Tara and Dawn had for Andrew and Alan?" Peter asked Bobby.

"Yes, it let them know that they belonged. That sounds like just what we need... but it's been done." Bobby said in thought.

"Is that the party when Father received the books and Dad received the turtle?" Robert asked carefully.

"Yes, that is correct." Peter said as he continued to think.

"The party was to let Father and Dad know that all the people of the mansion wanted them to stay and cared for them. Our gesture must include the members of our family... I believe I have an idea. Bobby, where can we gain access to a computer?" Trey asked in thought.

"I have one in my room, come on, I'll show you." Bobby said and stood.

"What did you come up with?" Robert asked curiously.

"A way to solve many problems at once." Trey said and followed Bobby quickly.

* * * * *

"Ronny?" Andrew asked as he saw Ronny sitting in a chair in the big entry hall.

"Hi." Ronny said quietly.

"Mind if I talk to you for a minute?" Andrew asked carefully.

"Go ahead." Ronny said and turned his full attention to Andrew.

"My son tells me that you're feeling bad about what happened earlier today. If you want, we can try again?" Andrew asked hesitantly.

"Just like that?" Ronny asked in disbelief.

"Well, it's not quite that simple. The things you said hurt, it's going to be tough for me to trust you again. But I'm willing to try." Andrew said quietly.

"Okay. I'm still working stuff out, but I'll tell you what I've got so far. That way you know where I'm coming from." Ronny said seriously.

"Go ahead." Andrew said and listened carefully.

"Mutants ain't all bad. They're people, some are good, some are bad. Gays ain't all bad. They're people, some are good, some are bad. Good guys ain't all good. They're people, some are better than others. And bad guys like me ain't all bad, we're people, some are better than others... and we can change." Ronny said from deep thought.

Andrew thought about the words for a long minute before saying, "You've figured out a lot of stuff. And I have to admit that I agree with everything you just said."

"So I'm on the right track?" Ronny asked hopefully.

"It depends on what track you want to be on. What kind of person do you want to be Ronny?" Andrew asked carefully.

"I want to be the kind of person who'll do the right thing all the time. I want to be the kind of person who can always be depended on to tell the truth and give the right answer. I want to be the kind of person who other people want to be like... I want to be a good person." Ronny ended in a whisper of a voice.

"I think you're on the right track. But I have to tell you that the super-person that you're describing doesn't exist. Real live people make mistakes, give wrong answers and disappoint people no matter how hard they try to do the right thing." Andrew said honestly.

"When was the last time you did something like that?" Ronny asked timidly.

"This morning, when I put you here." Andrew said quietly.

"I backed you into a corner. You were just protecting yourself and your friends and family." Ronny said reasonably.

"Thanks Ronny, but I did it with the intention of causing you pain. I wanted to hurt you because you hurt me so I sent you to a world where I thought you'd be all alone. I'm sorry about that, I was wrong." Andrew said in shame.

"But you didn't hurt me. Logan helped me to understand a lot of stuff, then Bobby and Robert talked to me about other stuff. Just now, Xander told me some stuff too. You may have planned for me to be alone, but I talked to more people today than I have in the past week." Ronny said with a grin.

"I'm glad Ronny. So have you figured out what you want to do when we let you out?" Andrew asked quietly.

"Not really. I mean, I know I don't fit in here. This is a good place for Bobby, but I need to be around not-mutants... just not the hateful kind I hung out with before." Ronny said as an afterthought.

"Um, Ronny. I don't know how to say it except to just tell you. You're a mutant." Andrew said and waited for the reaction.

Ronny sat silently for a minute before saying, "So I'm like Bobby?"

"No. You're still you." Andrew said seriously.

"But, I don't feel like a mutant." Ronny said unsteadily.

"And how is a mutant supposed to feel?" Andrew asked without inflection.

"I figured it was like a crazy, power-hungry feeling... like drinking too much coffee." Ronny said seriously.

Andrew chuckled at that and said, "Nope. We're just people. And just because you're a mutant doesn't mean you have to stay here with us. You still have the same choices that you did before."

"Could you give me some time to think? I mean, I'm gonna be okay, I think, but I need to figure this out." Ronny said in a tone of confusion.

"Sure Ronny. I'm going into the common room with the others. Join us if you don't want to be alone." Andrew said gently.

Ronny nodded and continued to stare out into space.

* * * * *

"Doesn't that hurt?" Jimmy asked as Warren bound his wings.

"A little, but I'm used to it. This is how I can be around non-mutants. Kurt, are you going to be okay here in the car?" Warren asked with concern.

"Ja. Just don't stay inside too long, I vill become bored." Kurt said with a smile.

"We're just going to pick up this outfit and we'll be right back out." Warren promised.

"Zen hurry, I vant to try on ze new clothing." Kurt said with enthusiasm.

"We will proceed as quickly as possible." Jimmy said in a flat Borg tone, then broke into a smile.

* * * * *

Hank walked to Matt Logan and looked him over carefully.

"Um, we didn't have one of these in my dimension." Logan said as he looked incredulously at Hank.

"I'm sorry, Matt this is Doctor Hank McCoy, Dr. McCoy, this is Matthew Logan." Alan said politely.

"A pleasure to meet you Mr. Logan. Can you tell me about your symptoms?" Dr. McCoy asked in a professional tone.

"Just a minute... Rorro. It's good to see you. God, you're more beautiful than I remember." Matt said with a smile of appreciation.

"Thank you Logan." Orroro said with a blush.

"Your symptoms?" Hank asked with a harsh note.

"It feels like my guts are being torn apart and I puke up blood about once an hour. I sweated blood a few days ago and I been peeing blood on and off for about a month." Matt said gruffly.

"Are you taking anything for the pain?" Hank asked professionally.

"Yeah, these." Logan said and picked up a bottle of pills from beside the couch.

"Those are extremely powerful and quite addictive." Hank said with disapproval.

"Yeah, well when you can get my spleen to stop trying to crawl outta my mouth, I'll go into rehab. Till then, these work." Matt said gruffly.

"I see. Very well, I will see what I can do in my own universe to remedy your condition." Hank said and stepped away from the couch.

"You do that. Rorro, when I'm better, you want to go out to dinner with me?" Matt asked hopefully.

Orroro glanced at Hank who had a scowl on his face before saying, "I would like that very much Matthew."

"Great. There's a lot of stuff I thought I'd never get a chance to do, but that was the most important one. I always regretted never asking you out." Matt said honestly.

Orroro blushed at the comment as Andrew walked back into the room.

"What did I miss?" Andrew asked the group.

"Matt putting the moves on Storm." Alan said off-handidly.

"Oh, go on." Andrew said and stood by Alan to watch.

"I have seen all that I need to here." Hank said dryly as he looked to Andrew.

"Okay, I'm going with Hank, anyone else?" Andrew asked.

"I'll come with you hon, Remy and Xander can visit now and we'll come back and visit later... That okay with you Matt?" Alan asked.

"Sure, stop by anytime." Matt said with a smile.

"I will be going as well. It was a pleasure to meet you Matt." Orroro said sweetly.

"I'll come back and get you guys in about an hour. Have a good visit." Andrew said as they faded from sight.

"Okay Cajun, spill it. What is it about this guy that made you switch teams?" Matt asked Remy with interest.

* * * * *

Trey looked at the computer curiously then looked at the back of the machine.

"What are you looking for?" Bobby asked as he saw Trey's examination.

"I wish to understand the operation of this device. Could you demonstrate for me so I may know how to retrieve the information I require?" Trey asked carefully.

"Sure, let me get on the Internet, that's going to be our best source of information." Bobby said and opened a browser window.

After Bobby went to a search engine he asked, "What type of information were you looking for?"

"Architecture." Trey said as he continued to watch Bobby's every movement.

Bobby typed in the word and got a page of sites.

"We'll need to narrow the search, there's too much here to read it all." Bobby said and looked to Trey.

"What is this port?" Trey asked and pointed to a door on the computer tower's face.

"That's the floppy drive... This is a floppy disk." Bobby said and pulled out a floppy to show Trey.

"It is not floppy." Robert commented.

"Yeah, I guess the old style disks were and they kept the name." Bobby said over his shoulder.

"And this port?" Trey asked curiously.

"That's a USB port for connecting different types of hardware." Bobby said in thought.

"That is what I require, may I interface with your computer?" Trey asked carefully.

"Um, sure." Bobby said and moved from the computer.

Trey made a fist and injected his tubules into the USB port of the computer. After a few seconds the computer began to flash wildly.

"I have gained access to the Internet. This will be the most efficient way for me to retrieve the information I require." Trey said as the screen continued to flash.

After a minute Trey said, "This connection is quite slow."

"Be glad we're not on dial-up. I think this is the fastest connection that we can get." Bobby said as he watched Trey sitting motionless.

"Do you have a device to make graphic representations of the information?" Trey asked as he looked away from the computer.

"I think you're talking about a printer... it's right here." Bobby said and pointed to his printer.

"That will be sufficient." Trey said and with a glance the printer started producing page after page of pictures.

"How long is this going to take?" Bobby asked after a moment.

"Given the speed of the printing device, I would estimate thirty-two minutes twelve point four seconds." Trey said as the screen continued to flash.

"That is an estimate?" Peter asked disbelievingly.

"Yes, the operating system of this device is unpredictable. It seems to interrupt processes without reason." Trey said with a note of irritation.

"Yeah, but you can play solitaire for days on it." Bobby said with a smile.

Trey looked at Bobby with question, then looked back at the computer.

"These look like blueprints." Peter said from the printer.

Trey looked at Peter and said, "Correct."

* * * * *

Warren and Jimmy approached the car carrying several bags each.

"Vat did you get for me?" Kurt asked with excitement as Warren and Jimmy walked to the back of the car.

"You'll have to wait till we get home." Warren said and put the bags in the trunk.

"Zen why did you bring me along if you vill not let me see ze purchases?" Kurt asked in a grumpy tone.

"For the pleasure of your company." Warren said with a smile as he got into the car.

Jimmy got in the back seat and said, "Uncle Warren suggested that we all get new clothing, so there are things for all of us in the bags."

"Zat is good. Vas ze cost very high?" Kurt asked with some worry.

"Kurt, don't worry about the cost. The clothes are a gift." Warren said seriously, feeling uneasy about the question.

"You are my uncles, Father says that every contribution we make toward the family helps us all." Jimmy said from the back seat.

Kurt thought about those words and finally said, "Zat is a good way to think. My apologies Warren for speaking of such a thing."

"It's alright Kurt. I just hope you like the clothes." Warren said quietly.

"I know zat I vill... but we vill need to make alterations for my tail, zat may take some time." Kurt said with irritation.

"Please let me help with that Uncle Kurt. I bought something that I believe will help." Jimmy said excitedly.

"Vat did you buy?" Kurt asked curiously.

"A handheld sewing machine. I don't know how well it will work, but Jimmy seems to think it is just what we need to alter your clothes." Warren said as he looked in the mirror at Jimmy who was looking with excitement at the scenery pass them by.

"I cannot wait to see it work." Kurt said with excitement.

Warren looked at Kurt and noticed the expression of anticipation and joy on his face. Deep in his soul something released and he knew that Kurt would be a part of his life from this day forward.

* * * * *

Andrew, Alan, Hank and Orroro appeared in the common room.

Alan took a step, then fell to the floor.

Andrew had a flash of panic and reflexively ported the group to the MedLab without a word.

After long minutes of observing Hank's examination, Andrew finally asked, "What's wrong with him Hank?"

"His blood pressure dropped suddenly. I believe that he should not make any more interdimensional trips until the babies are born." Hank said as he examined Alan.

"Hank, would you mind if I examined him myself? I'd like to check on the artificial womb... and I need Trey." Andrew said with concern.

//Trey is with Bobby, Robert and Peter. Would you like for me to summon him?// The Professor sent with concern.

//Yeah, thanks Professor.// Andrew thought and ported his MedKit from home.

* * * * *

//Trey, your Father needs your assistance in MedLab.// Professor Xavier sent quickly.

//I am on my way.// Trey sent and withdrew his tubules from the computer.

"Robert, the Professor said that Father needs my assistance in the MedLab." Trey said and stood to leave.

"What can we do to help?" Bobby asked with immediate worry.

"I do not know the situation, therefore, I cannot say." Trey said and began walking.

"I am coming with you." Robert said and followed.

"Me too." Bobby said as he got up.

"Then I will come as well." Peter said and hurried to catch up.

* * * * *

Jimmy, Warren and Kurt entered the mansion. They walked upstairs in time to see Trey, Robert, Jimmy and Peter run into the elevator.

"What is wrong?" Jimmy asked with immediate concern.

"We do not know. Father needs assistance in MedLab." Trey said as the door closed.

"Comen ze." Kurt said and a second later they were in MedLab, bags and all.

"I vill take ze purchases to ze room." Kurt said and gathered all the bags.

"Dad?" Jimmy said in a small, terrified voice as he saw his Dad laying unconscious on the examination table.

"Jimmy, take this MedKit and hand me what I need." Andrew said absently.

"Yes Father." Jimmy said and ran to his Father's side.

"How may we help Father?" Trey asked as he and Robert entered the room.

Trey, go through that wall and get your big ocular implant and scanner. I need for you to check his Borg components. Robert, monitor his vitals on the tricorder." Andrew said nervously.

"I assure you that his blood pressure is low." Hank said as he watched the display.

"I'm sure you're right Hank. But *why* is his blood pressure low? I'm not ready to accept that the trip to the alternate dimension is the cause until I know why." Andrew said and noticed an unusual reading.

"Hank, check the babies... something seems strange." Andrew said as he pushed some buttons on the tricorder.

Trey ran back into the MedLab wearing his large ocular implant and a foot long metallic device on his forearm.

After a moment of scanning Trey said, "His Borg components are functioning within normal parameters."

"Good." Andrew said with a note of relief, then realized what was wrong with the readings of the babies.

"They've grown. The babies are bigger than they should be." Andrew said with worry.

"How can that be?" Hank asked as he attempted to confirm Andrew's findings.

"Temporal flux destabilization." Trey said as he scanned the babies.

"What's that Trey?" Andrew asked immediately.

"It appears that the babies were effected by temporal flux when they were moved from one temporal/spatial plainum to another... I believe I can compensate for the effect, but to correct the imbalance, we will need to return to the temporal/spatial coordinates where the imbalance occurred." Trey said in concentration.

"Could you translate that for those of us not versed in temporal mechanics?" Andrew asked with fear in his voice.

"It's like his temporal/spatial field has become stuck and we need to take him back to where this happened to unstick him." Jimmy said to Andrew, then asked Trey, "Are you going to use a verteron disrupter or an anti-tachion pulse to reverse the flux distortion?"

"I have no method for generating anti-tachions here, my scanning device can emit a verteron beam that should be sufficient to negate the flux distortion." Trey said seriously.

"On this plainum, but in the temporal plainum that did this, the flux bombardment will nullify the beam... We need my emitter." Jimmy said seriously.

Trey stood silently for a moment then said to Andrew, "Jimmy is correct. We need a piece of his hardware to accomplish this task correctly."

"But his hardware was removed." Andrew said in confusion.

"His nanoprobes retain the pattern for the emitter. We need to activate the nanoprobes to reconstruct the device we require. There is no other way." Trey said with a note of apprehension.

"Is it going to hurt?" Andrew asked quietly.

"Yes. But Dad is worth it." Jimmy said with conviction.

"If there's no other way, then do what you need to do." Andrew said with pain.

"He's just got low blood pressure." Hank said from beside Alan.

"If that's the problem, then why won't he wake up?" Andrew asked tiredly.

"I haven't determined that yet." Hank said weakly.

"We have." Andrew said and looked at Trey.

"Just a moment, I must speak to Uncle Warren and Uncle Kurt." Jimmy said quickly.

"This will hurt me, but please don't worry. I'm choosing to do this to help my Dad. When my Dad is okay again, we'll try on the new clothes." Jimmy said hopefully.

"We'll wait for you." Warren said with a smile.

"Ja, ve vill remain until you are done." Kurt said with assurance.

"Thank you." Jimmy said and hugged them both.

"I'm ready." Jimmy said and walked to face Trey.

* * * * *

//Icheb, you need to go to the MedLab.// The Professor sent firmly.

"Marie, the Professor just said I am needed in MedLab." Icheb said in panic.

"Come on, try not to worry until you know what's happening." Marie said and quickly led the way to the nearest elevator.

As they were passing the dining room, Icheb noticed William wiping down tables.

"Come to MedLab William." he said in a normal voice.

"Did you just call me William?" Marie asked as they waited for the elevator.

"No, he was talking to me." William said as he ran to join the pair.

"The Professor called me, so it must be one of the family." Icheb said with concern.

To Be Continued...