Hurt & Comfort

Book 7: From Hurt to Comfort

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Chapter 16: In the Line of Duty

Jimmy climbed onto a bed with Trey's help and opened his shirt.

Trey injected his tubules into Jimmy's personal data node and there was silence in the room until Marie and Icheb ran in.

"What has happened?" Icheb asked with worry.

"Scan Dad." Robert said simply.

Icheb looked at his Dad for a minute then said, "Temporal flux destabilization."

"Can you kids tell me why this happened?" Andrew asked as he watched Jimmy carefully.

Trey withdrew his tubules and said, "One of our brothers is capable of projecting a tachion field that can destabilize space/time when he is in a state of interdimensional flux. We must project anti-tachions to destabilize the tachion field and then the temporal bonds should be reestablished."

"One of the babies did this?" Andrew asked in disbelief.

"They are the children of one Alpha level mutant and one Omega level mutant. It is a very real possibility that they would have their mutant abilities active at birth... or before." Hank said in contemplation.

Jimmy screamed as a spike forced it's way out of the palm of his right hand and continued to grow until it stood an inch tall. He stopped screaming suddenly and looked at the spike to see it open like a flower blooming. The petals spread until they lay open on the skin in a circular pattern.

"The generation of the emitter should be complete within minutes. We should take Dad to the place where he became destabilized." Trey said seriously.

Jimmy forced himself to a sitting position. Andrew helped him off the bed and down to the floor.

Hank lifted Alan easily into his arms and Andrew made a portal back to the common room.

* * * * *

Andrew looked around the room and pointed to the place that was closest to where Alan had been standing.

Hank carried Alan to the spot and waited.

"Please put him down, he will pass through your arms when phased." Trey said quietly.

Hank laid Alan at his feet and awaited further instructions.

"We all going?" Andrew asked and waited.

"Do it." Robert said as he and William helped Jimmy to stand.

The room became faded and fuzzy and resolved into the abandoned common room of Alan's dimension.

Both Logans, Remy and Xander watched as Alan lay unconscious.

"Jimmy, emit the anti-tachion burst." Trey said flatly with Borg efficiency.

Jimmy aimed his shaking hand toward his dad with the palm of his hand pointing at Alan's stomach. William and Robert stood on either side of him and watched carefully.

Nothing visible happened but Alan began to twitch and thrash.

Trey watched for a long moment before saying, "Discontinue emissions."

Jimmy closed his eyes and lowered his hand.

Alan finally opened his eyes and asked, "What happened?"

"You passed out." Andrew said with relief.

"Begin a low level anti-tachion emission while we phase back to our dimension." Trey said to Jimmy.

Jimmy raised his hand again.

"What happened to Jimmy?" Alan asked with worry.

"Father, you may take us home now." Trey said flatly.

Andrew looked at the men watching them and quickly said, "I'll be back in a little while and I'll explain everything."

The room changed around them and became their old common room again.

Andrew pulled Alan close and began to cry.

Robert and William took Jimmy to a nearby sofa to sit.

Andrew jumped up from Alan a moment later and went to Jimmy. "Are you okay?"

"I will be. But I must regenerate." Jimmy said tiredly.

"I'll port you directly to your alcove." Andrew said immediately.

"I'm sorry Uncle Warren and Uncle Kurt. I wanted to try on clothes with you tonight." Jimmy said sadly.

"Ve vill wait for you to be better. Ve can do it later." Kurt said with assurance.

"Jimmy will be well again tomorrow. Regeneration will recharge and repair his systems and remove any pain." Icheb said with assurance.

"Then we'll do it tomorrow. Don't worry Jimmy, we'll wait for you." Warren said with tenderness.

"Thank you Uncle Kurt and Uncle Warren." Jimmy said with a tired smile before Robert and William guided him through the portal.

"We need to get you to the MedLab and find out what has happened to your children." Hank said as he looked at Alan's distended belly.

"Holy God! What happened? Oh God, the babies!" Alan said as he looked at his belly in fear.

"Hold on love, we're going to find out." Andrew said and opened a portal.

"I'd rather take him down the elevator, just to be safe." Hank said quietly.

Andrew thought about it for a moment then closed the portal.

"Yeah, just to be safe." Andrew agreed and put his arm around Alan to support him.

* * * * *

"Marie, could you get some food for Alan? I'm afraid the rapid growth of the babies has leached the nourishment from his body." Hank said as he began to examine Alan's prone form.

"The babies seem to be healthy." Andrew said, looking at the medical tricorder.

"The Borg components are functioning normally." Trey said seriously.

"How about the temporal thing, is that all better?" Andrew asked with concern.

"Yes, the problem is corrected, but at least one of our brothers will not be able to travel to alternate dimensions... at least until he has conscious control of his mutant ability." Trey said as he scanned his dad.

"So the babies did something?" Alan asked in confusion.

"Yes. The unstable temporal state in the alternate dimension caused a reaction in one of the babies. He emitted a tachion shell that threw you and them into different timelines. So the babies were growing and aging faster than you were. They leached the nutrients, and oxygen from your blood at a rate that made you fall unconscious. Had it continued, it would have caused permanent damage." Trey said seriously.

"So no more dimension hopping for you until the babies are born... which will be in how long Hank?" Andrew asked with concern.

"Two weeks, tops." Hank said darkly.

"Okay, we can handle this." Andrew said as he thought.

"Bobby, would you get the printouts from your room?" Trey asked quietly.

"Yeah, be right back." Bobby said and ran from the room.

"I will see if Marie needs any help carrying food." Peter said suddenly.

"Father, will you port me to the boathouse, I am concerned for Jimmy." Icheb asked.

"Yeah." Andrew said and a portal opened in the middle of the room.

"We need baby clothes, cribs, diapers, strollers..." Alan trailed off.

"Don't worry Alan. I promise that all those things will be taken care of." The Professor said as he came into the room.

"Thanks Professor, but I don't know how we're going to pay for them... I was planning on us both working for the next six months to pay for all this." Alan said with worry.

"I promised that you and Remy wouldn't want for anything, and I intend to keep that promise." Charles said firmly.

"Thanks Professor." Alan said quietly.

* * * * *

After much study, Hank finally determined that the babies were normal. There was no indication of deformity, malnutrition or oxygen deprivation. They seemed to be just as they would have been had they aged in the normal way.

"I don't know how we're going to take care of everything that needs to be done in time." Andrew said with worry.

"With the help of your family." Bobby said as he came back into the room followed by Scott and Alex.

"What do you have there?" Andrew asked as he saw the stack of papers.

"These are blueprints for modifications to the boathouse." Trey said simply.

"So you drew up plans to add on a room?" Scott asked carefully.

"No, to add on a wing. It will provide a new room for Uncle Scott, Uncle Alex, Marguerite, Thomas, Chakotay and Joyce." Trey said to the group.

"May I see those?" the Professor asked.

Bobby handed the blueprints to the professor and waited for a reaction.

"This seems very well thought out. The structure seems sound and you have even provided plumbing and electrical blueprints. May I have these so I can call a professional in the morning to get this project underway?" The Professor asked Trey.

"Yes, thank you Professor." Trey said with a smile.

"Andrew, can you get Dawn back here? We are going to need her assistance." The Professor asked quietly.

"Uh, oh, yeah." Andrew said and opened a portal into Slayer Central.

"It's time to go Wesley." Dawn said and got up from the couch.

"Yes, on my way." Wesley said as he put down a book.

"Whoa, what happened to Alan?" Dawn asked with shock as she walked into the MedLab.

"The babies had a growth spurt." Alan said with a strained smile.

"Here's the food!" Marie said and pushed a cart of food into the room.

Peter followed carrying a box.

"What's all this?" Wesley asked.

"The babies had a growth spurt while you were gone and Dad needs to replenish his energy." Trey said with concern.

Alan accepted a tray of food from Marie and began to eat as if he hadn't had a bite to eat in weeks.

"What's in the box Peter?" Andrew asked carefully.

Peter handed the box to Andrew and watched.

A big smile came over Andrew's face as he said, "Cookies and Milk."

"Dawn, as the Home Sciences instructor, your first official duty is going to be to compile a list of all the baby necessities that Alan and Andrew are going to need, then to purchase said items. Remember to include the items that you will need in the daycare classroom." Professor Xavier said seriously.

"Yeah, um, Tara. Can you help me?" Dawn asked with distraction.

"Uncle Hank?" Tara asked cautiously.

"Go on. I believe that when Alan has finished his meal, he will feel well enough to go home. However, I must insist that he not use any interdimensional vortices for the remainder of his pregnancy." Hank said firmly.

"Yes Doctor. Scott, would you mind driving us to the boathouse?" Andrew asked timidly.

"I don't mind at all." Scott said quietly.

"Are you ready to begin working on a cure for Matt?" Orroro asked quietly.

"Yes. I can start that now." Hank said with a dark look.

* * * * *

"Andy? Do you think Remy and Xander might be ready to come back yet?" Alan asked between bites of food.

"I'll check. Trey, watch your dad for me." Andrew said seriously before porting out of the room.

"He's going to be like this for a while. He always get's overprotective when I've been hurt." Alan said to the group of people.

"Thank whatever deity you believe in for that. His love for you is clear for all to see." The Professor said sagely.

"Yeah, but I know that he's going to be feeling all guilty because it happened when we phased." Alan said quietly.

"You couldn't know. There was no reason to believe that it would effect you in any way." Trey said with assurance.

"I agree, but I don't think that's going to stop Andy from beating himself up for being the cause of this." Alan said with a dark tone.

"Trey, what I think he's trying to say is that this is about what Andrew feels, not what he thinks." Warren said helpfully.

Trey thought about that for a moment then said, "I believe I understand. But what can we do to relieve Father's guilt?"

"Nothing. This is something he will deal with in his own way. Just be patient if he is moody and broods a lot. At least that's how I handle guilt." Warren finished with a shrug.

"Thank you Uncle Warren. I understand why Jimmy holds you in such high esteem." Trey said with a troubled smile.

Warren just smiled warmly in response.

* * * * *

"Hey guys, are you ready to go?" Andrew asked with false enthusiasm.

"What's wrong?" Xander asked immediately.

Andrew let the false expression fall from his face and said with despair, "Something happened to Alan. I shouldn't have brought him here."

"Is he okay?" Matt asked with concern.

"Yeah, he will be. The babies... something happened to make them grow too fast and it made him pass out." Andrew said and felt the emotions bubbling up inside him.

"Come on kid, we need to get you back. You don't need to be away." Logan said firmly.

Andrew nodded, then thought to say, "We'll be back to visit soon."

"Stop by anytime." Matt said and relaxed back on the sofa.

With a burst of power Andrew brought Remy, Xander and Logan back... then began to cry.

"You said he's going to be fine, right?" Xander said as he put a comforting arm around Andrew.

"Yeah, but I didn't even stop to think that phasing him might hurt the babies. Oh Gods, what kind of a father am I?" Andrew said in grief.

"A human one." Remy said quietly.

Andrew stopped and thought about that statement, then nodded in acceptance.

"Let's go see how Alan's doing." Xander said and guided Andrew toward the door.

* * * * *

When Andrew walked back into the MedLab, Alan asked, "So is everyone back to their proper dimension for the night?"

"Yeah." Andrew said quietly and walked to Alan's side.

"You ready to go home love?" Alan asked quietly.

Andrew nodded and held his hand out to help Alan off the table.

"Would you make a portal so anyone who wants to can go straight to the boathouse?" Alan asked quietly.

"Yeah." Andrew said and a portal formed in the wall.

"Come on Uncle Alex, I believe Father and Dad need some privacy." Trey said across the room to his Uncle Alex.

"Maybe we need to tell them about discretion?" Alan asked Andrew quietly.

"Don't worry about it love. I kinda like the blunt honesty thing. I don't want to change it." Andrew said warmly.

"Warren, do you think you could do me a favor?" Andrew asked carefully.

"Yeah, sure." Warren said in surprise.

"Would you give us a call when Janine is ready to come home? I know she's having fun and I don't want to interrupt her. She'll be coming down to the common room in about an hour." Andrew said seriously.

"No problem, Kurt and I will hang around until she's ready." Warren said with a smile.

"Thanks guys." Andrew said with an answering smile.

"Are you guys ready?" Scott asked as everyone left to go their own way.

"Yeah, I'm ready for this day to be over." Andrew said tiredly.

"Love? I'm the one who passed out and who is now carrying eight and a half months worth of twins. I could use some attention." Alan said frankly.

"Maybe the blunt honesty thing isn't as nice as I thought." Andrew said with a teasing smile as he pulled Alan close for a kiss.

"That's better. Now let's go Andy. I've got something to talk to you about."

* * * * *

"Scott, how would you feel about sticking around the house tomorrow and helping me with the kids?" Alan asked as they got into the car.

"Um, sure, I was going to work on a graphic design with William tomorrow anyway." Scott said as he started the car.

"Where will I be?" Andrew asked carefully.

"In your dimension." Alan answered simply.

"And what will I be doing in my dimension?" Andrew asked hesitantly.

"You'll be looking for your father." Alan said with a smile.

"Love, that can wait. You need me here." Andrew said seriously.

"No Love, It can't wait. Every day closer to the births is a day that I'll need you just a little bit more. And once the babies are born, I'll probably need you every minute of the day. You need a break, and it's now or never." Alan said just as seriously.

Andrew thought about what Alan was saying and finally said in a small voice, "You really want me to go?"

Alan pulled him close and said, "No love, I can just see that you need some time away... just a day. If it will make you feel better, you can even take one or two of the kids with you."

"Yeah, I'll see if any of them would like to visit my home dimension." Andrew said as he noticed that they were parked in front of the boathouse.

"I didn't want to interrupt, but we're here." Scott said quietly.

"Thanks Scott. Are you sure you won't mind helping Alan?" Andrew asked with concern.

"No, it's a good feeling to be needed." Scott said honestly.

"When the babies are born, you're probably going to be getting a ton of those good feelings." Alan said with a chuckle.

"Remember that you also have another brother, you need to share the wealth." Scott said as he got out of the car.

"There's going to be plenty for everyone." Andrew said with assurance.

* * * * *

With much strain and effort, Alan carefully lowered himself on the couch and finally came to rest.

"I don't know how I'm going to get back up. We may need Hank or Peter to come over and lift me off the couch." Alan said as he brought his breathing back to normal.

"I think with all of us, we can manage." Scott said and looked at Alex, Xander and Remy.

"Yeah, no problem." Xander said confidently.

"Oooh, Andy, quick, feel this." Alan said with excitement and grabbed Andrew's hand.

Alan placed Andrew's hand on the side of his belly and watched as the hand was bumped off.

"One of the baby's is kicking." Alan said with joy.

"Guys, come here, you gotta feel this." Andrew said in wonder.

"Everyone feel this... KIDS! COME HERE!" Andrew yelled.

All the men gathered around and placed their hands on Alan's belly. A moment later Alex's hand was bumped off.

Alan and Andrew were both laughing through tears.

"Father? Is something wrong with Dad?" Trey asked in worry as he ran up the stairs.

"No Trey, come here. Put your hand here." Andrew said as he moved to let Trey in to touch his Dad's belly.

Trey cautiously put his hand where he was instructed and got a look of surprise when he felt movement.

"That's one of your brothers." Andrew said joyfully.

Icheb, William and Robert ran into the room a moment later.

"Come here, you must experience this." Trey said and moved out of the way.

Xander, Remy, Scott and Alex moved aside to let the brothers feel the baby's kick.

"That is one of our brothers." Trey said quietly as all the boys felt the kicking.

"Wow, they're really active." Alan said as they were thumping and bumping both sides of his belly.

"Perhaps they are fighting." Robert suggested.

"No, I think they're playing." Alan said as he began to giggle at a tickling sensation.

"Dad, why are you so warm?" William asked with concern.

"I'm just warm there... I don't know why." Alan said with worry.

Trey scanned the spot and smiled.

"It appears that one of our brothers has your mutant ability." Trey said happily.

"He's using an optic blast inside me?" Alan asked with a note of fear.

"Yes, but he is young and his power is weak, I believe he will only cause a warm spot to form on your skin. It only means he is a healthy mutant." Trey said with assurance.

Alan rubbed his hand over the warm spot and said, "Okay Chakotay, you can stop that anytime now."

"Kids, while you're here, does anyone want to go with me tomorrow to my dimension?" Andrew asked.

"I told Bobby I would go running with him tomorrow." Robert said with a tone of apology.

"I wish to stay with Dad, and I told Uncle Scott that I would work on a graphic design with him." William said quietly.

"I had planned to walk with Marie in the afternoon." Icheb said shyly.

"I would like to go with you Father. What is our purpose?" Trey asked.

"I'm going to try and find my father. I have some things to discuss with him and I'd like to get it done before the babies are born." Andrew said honestly.

"I would like to meet grandfather. I did not know we had other relatives." Trey said honestly.

"My relatives in the other dimension aren't the kind of relatives like we have here. The relatives here love us, the ones there are biologically related to me, that's about all." Andrew said sadly.

"Then why do you wish to visit?" Trey asked curiously.

"To let my father know that I understand why he left us when I was five years old. I don't know if it'll matter to him, but I held bad feelings toward him for a lot of years before I understood the truth. I need to do this for me." Andrew said honestly.

"Thank you for allowing me to accompany you Father." Trey said with a tender smile.

"But you'd better dress a little less Borgy for the trip. They don't even know about mutants there." Andrew said carefully.

"Understood. Uncle Scott, may I borrow a pair of your sunglasses so I may cover my ocular implant?" Trey asked simply.

"Of course Trey. There's a pair in the chest pocket of that jacket." Scott said, pointing to a jacket by the door.

"Thank you." Trey said and carefully removed his ocular implant. After retrieving the sunglasses he put them on and asked, "Do I look human?"

"Um, I guess you're close enough. That ridgy thing on your forehead isn't a standard human feature, but it's not *that* noticeable." Andrew said unsteadily.

"I believe I can help." Robert said and ushered Trey out of the room.

"I didn't think about them not looking human, I'm so used to seeing them it didn't occur to me that people might stare... maybe I shouldn't take him." Andrew said with worry.

"No love. Trust Robert, he'll find some way to make it work, I'm sure of it." Alan said steadily as he stroked his belly.

* * * * *

"Is this appropriate?" Robert asked as he led Trey back into the room.

"What did you do? He looks completely human." Andrew said in wonder.

"I modified his small ocular implant to generate a holographic... camouflage." Robert said with some difficulty.

"It's perfect. No one will know that you aren't human." Andrew said happily.

"Do you prefer for me to look this way?" Trey asked with a hint of concern in his eyes.

"No, of course not Trey. In fact, I'd like for you to turn it off now, it's weird, you don't look like you. I'm just happy that we'll be able to pass you off as human in my world. That should make our trip a lot less stressful." Andrew explained.

"How are you going to explain having a son that looks one year younger than you?" Alex asked carefully.

"I'll worry about that when the time comes. I'll just introduce him as Trey to begin with and see what happens." Andrew said in thought.

"Good idea. Will you call your Father 'Andrew' while you're in his home dimension?" Alan asked carefully.

"Yes Dad, I can be discreet." Trey said in an indulgent tone.

"Thanks son. How's Jimmy?" Andrew asked the group of boys.

"He will be fine. He extended his regeneration cycle to negate the effect of producing hardware." Icheb said with certainty.

"Good, I hated to see him in pain." Andrew said sadly.

"It was necessary. He and Janine are the only ones who have the pattern for an emitter. For any of the rest of us to generate that hardware would have taken much reprogramming." Trey said in an apologetic tone.

"Trey, it would have hurt me to see any of you in pain." Andrew said with concern.

"Thank you Father. If you have no further need of us, we will prepare for regeneration." Trey said quietly.

"So early? Before you go would you scan your Dad one more time to make sure that he's okay?" Andrew asked quietly.

"Of course... he is fine. Due to the lack of activity, I believe the babies are asleep." Trey said in a professional tone.

"Thanks Trey, I just wanted to be sure that there wasn't any after effect from the temporal thing." Andrew said in relief.

"No Father, the effect has been nullified until the next time our brother uses his mutant ability." Trey said seriously.

"Um, is there any way to stop that from happening?" Alan asked carefully.

"Until we know the effect in this dimension, we cannot counteract it." Trey said in a considering tone.

"Okay. Hopefully he won't use it until he's born." Andrew said with concern.

Alan nodded in agreement as Trey left with his brothers.

* * * * *

Kurt and Warren walked from the MedLab in silence.

As they went up the elevator Warren finally said, "We've only known him for a few hours."

"Zat doesn't make ze hurt less." Kurt said with pain.

"I love that little boy... how'd that happen?" Warren asked in wonder.

"Ze child is special. He loves with all his heart. He speaks his mind without restraint. Unt he loves us." Kurt said and looked into Warren's eyes.

"He asked me about starting a family and I always thought it would happen someday... I think someday is just about here." Warren said with a pained smile as he stepped off the elevator.

"Ja, if ze opportunity should arise, I vould like to have a child as well." Kurt said quietly.

"It will, I promise my friend, there's got to be someone out there for us." Warren said and patted Kurt's back.

"Until zen, ve can visit with Jimmy. If I cannot be a poppa, I vill be ze uncle." Kurt said solidly.

"Yeah, me too." Warren said warmly.

To Be Continued...