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.


Allen looked up from Kevin's book sensing someone watching them.

After putting a hand on Kevin's arm to gain his attention, he said, "Come in Deacon."

"I don't want to interrupt." Deacon said shyly.

"That's okay, Kevin was reading to me. Did you need something?" Allen asked with a gentle smile.

"I was... Kevin, did I make you mad?" Deacon asked unsteadily.

Kevin looked at Deacon curiously, then shook his head.

"I was just wondering because I went in your room and Kenny started showing us his models, then you were gone. I was just afraid I'd made you mad or something because Kenny was doing stuff with me." Deacon said in a ramble.

Allen smiled and said, "If Kevin were mad at you, you'd know it."

Deacon looked at Allen in confusion.

"When Kevin gets mad, he tells you. If he says he isn't mad, then he really isn't." Allen said with assurance.

Deacon smiled with relief and said, "Thanks Pop... I mean Mr. Thompson."

"Deacon, you can call me Allen or Pop if you want to. I don't mind at all." Allen said gently.

"Thanks... Allen." Deacon said cautiously.

"Would you like to join us? Kevin was just reading to me." Allen said as he snuggled Kevin.

"Um, I wouldn't be, like, messing up your privacy or something would I?" Deacon asked with concern.

"Kevin, would you mind if Deacon listened to you read?" Allen asked quietly.

"As long as he don't laugh at me." Kevin said in a small voice.

Allen nodded, then said, "Kevin wasn't taught to read at his old school so he's just started learning. It would hurt his feelings if he were teased about how he reads. As long as you don't laugh at him, you are welcomed to stay."

"Thank you, I won't laugh, I promise." Deacon said seriously.

"Do you want me to start at the beginning?" Kevin asked as he craned his neck to look at his Poppa.

"I think that's a good idea. That way Deacon will know what's happening in the story." Allen said with a gentle smile.

Kevin nodded seriously, then asked, "Would it be okay if I tried another book?"

"If you like. I'll be happy to listen to whatever you want to read." Allen said as he hugged Kevin gently.

"I'll be right back." Kevin said quickly, and wriggled off Allen's lap.

Allen smiled as Kevin hurried out of the room.

* * * * *

"Kenny said that Kevin is his twin brother. Why is he so much smaller than Kenny?" Deacon asked as he looked back to Allen.

"All Kevin's life he's had to struggle to get the things he needs to survive. No one provided food for him or watched over him to see that he was learning in school." Allen said carefully.

Deacon thought about the words, then said, "I guess I didn't have it so bad."

"Do you want to tell me what it was like for you?" Allen asked gently.

"It'll sound stupid after everything Kevin's gone through." Deacon said in a small voice.

"Deacon, I have four sons. Each one has had a completely different life. I'm sure you're no different in that respect. If it was bad enough for you to run away, then I know your pain was real. If you want to tell me, I promise that I'll listen and I'll try to help if I can." Allen said sincerely.

Kevin walked into the room carrying a different book.

"Would you mind if Deacon told us a little about himself before you read to us?" Allen asked quietly.

Kevin shook his head and promptly took his place sitting on Allen's lap.

"I, um, I kind of got mad because my parents forgot my birthday." Deacon said quietly.

"When was your birthday?" Kevin asked curiously.

"Four days ago." Deacon said in a mumble.

"Go on." Allen said gently.

"Mom and Dad are busy all the time. About four years ago mom went to work and so there wasn't anyone home when I got out of school. It's got so that lately mom and dad go out at night after they get home from work." Deacon said in thought.

"So they aren't spending as much time with you as they used to." Allen said quietly.

"Before I left, I hadn't talked to either one of them in over a week. I'd hear them come in from work, then I'd hear them leave again. They didn't even look to see if I was there... they probably don't know I'm gone... or care." Deacon said as tears formed in his eyes.

"So you came to live with your brother." Allen said in a gentle voice.

"Billy sent me a birthday card with a hundred dollar bill in it. I used that money to buy a bus ticket to get here." Deacon said seriously.

"Didn't you have trouble buying a bus ticket by yourself?" Allen asked curiously.

"I asked one of Billy's old friends to buy it for me. I told him I was coming to visit Billy." Deacon said seriously.

Kevin hopped off Allen's lap and took a seat beside Deacon on the couch.

"Jake and Xain said that when you don't know what to say to make someone feel better, you can show them like this." Kevin said seriously, then pulled Deacon into a hug.

Allen smiled and said, "That's right Kevin. It speaks much more clearly than words."

Deacon was reluctant for a moment, but gradually accepted the hug and hesitantly put his arms around Kevin to return it.

The tender moment was broken by a knock on the door.

"It's Billy!" Deacon said suddenly and ran to the front door.

Allen got up from his chair and was nearly to the living room door when Deacon walked back in looking disappointed, leading Dan, JJ, Kyle and Harley.

"Hi guys, did you adopt another one while I wasn't looking?" Dan asked playfully.

"Not yet." Allen answered, letting Dan know with his tone that it was a possibility.

"Oh." Dan said quietly and waited.

"Come on in and have a seat guys." Allen said with a smile as he casually put a hand on Kevin's shoulder.

"Thanks. I hope you don't mind that I brought the guys. JJ had some Starfleet business to attend to, so I drove him over there and stopped here on the way back." Dan said as he took a seat on one of the couches.

"That explains the uniform. Not a problem I hope?" Allen asked JJ curiously.

"No. I just had to finalize a few reports and answer a few questions. It took longer to go there than it did to do everything." JJ said honestly.

"So you're really in Starfleet?" Deacon asked with wide eyes.

"Yeah. I'm an Ensign in security on the Enterprise." JJ said proudly.

"And the head of security for Clan Short." Dan said with just as much pride in his voice.

"Wow. That's so cool!" Deacon said with excitement.

"Jake and Xain should be home soon... they should have been here by now actually." Allen said as he looked at the clock.

"This is really just a visit more than anything else. I'll talk to Jake for a few minutes to make sure he's okay, but besides that, I'm just here to find out how you're enjoying the new house." Dan said comfortably.

"I love it. Buying it wiped out nearly everything I had set aside, but I don't regret it for a second." Allen said happily.

"Well if you've run yourself short, just give me a call. You guys are family, we'll see that you don't have to do without anything." Dan said seriously.

"It's no problem. I still have a few reserves that haven't been tapped. I've been compulsively saving money for ten years. It's just a shock to my system to spend it all in one go." Allen said with a smile.

"Do  you want me to tell Kenny that we have company?" Kevin whispered into Allen's ear.

Allen smiled and kissed Kevin gently on the forehead before saying, "That's a great idea Little One. Thank you for thinking of it."

Kevin beamed a proud smile and gave Allen a peck of a kiss on the cheek before hopping off his lap and running out of the room.

* * * * *

"Ken, we got company." Kevin said as he hurried into his bedroom.

"Okay. We were just putting up my models. What do you think?" Kenny asked as he stood away from the wall.

"It looks just like the picture I drawed." Kevin said happily.

"That's because we used your picture to tell us how to make it." Kenny said simply.

"Kenny let me put the ships on the bottom shelf." Reuben said happily.

"Everything looks really good. All you're missing is the big one in the middle." Kevin said as he looked at the collection before him.

"Yeah. I think I'm going to get Pop to help me with that. I want to be sure it's not going to fall off the shelf. I may need to put a hook in the wall or something to keep it in place." Kenny said in thought.

Kevin nodded, then said, "You need to come downstairs now. JJ, Kyle and Harley are here."

Reuben looked at Kevin curiously.

"Harley is your age Reuben. Maybe you'll like to play together." Kevin said as he walked toward the door.

"Really?" Reuben asked with excitement.

"Come on." Kevin said quickly and headed for the stairs.

* * * * *

"Would anyone like anything to drink?" Allen asked as he stood.

"Do you have anymore of that fruit punch you had when we helped you move in?" JJ asked hopefully.

"Sure, anyone else?" Allen asked as he looked around.

Kyle nodded shyly as Harley nodded enthusiastically.

"How about you Dan?" Allen asked with a smile.

"You don't happen to have any coffee do you?" Dan asked cautiously.

"I will in just a few minutes, I'm going to have some too." Allen said with a great smile.

"Thanks." Dan said with a relaxed smile in return.

Just as Allen left the room, Kenny, Kevin and Reuben ran in.

"How are you guys doing in your new house?" Dan asked casually.

"It's great. Our old house was nice, but this is a lot bigger and nicer." Kenny said happily.

"I love it here." Kevin said, a little bit shyly.

"Me too." Reuben said with a grand smile.

"Well, if you guys are having any problems, I'm here to help you." Dan said seriously.

Kenny, Kevin, Reuben and Deacon looked at each other in confusion.

"Dad means like with feelings and stuff. He's not going to build you a skateboard ramp or anything like that." JJ said seriously.

"Well, I think skateboard ramps are Allen's job." Dan said to JJ with a teasing smile.

"Oh. Um, I'm okay." Kenny said in thought.

Kevin and Reuben looked at each other with unspoken questions in their eyes.

"I know it's really different here and there may be some things you aren't used to. If you just want to talk about it, I'm pretty good at helping people deal with things." Dan said, noticing the looks between Reuben and Kevin.

"We were just talking about it and... it's really quiet here. I mean, at night there's no sound. I'm used to hearing people talking and traffic and music thumping and people in the hallway outside the apartment. That's the weirdest thing." Kevin said in thought.

"The air smells different too." Reuben said seriously.

Dan smiled and said, "That's normal for anyone who's moving from a big city to a suburb. If you have trouble sleeping, ask your father to get you a radio that you can put beside your bed to listen to at night."

Kevin thought about the suggestion and smiled.

"Kenny and Kevin, could you help me for a minute?" Allen asked from the doorway.

"Sure Pop." Kenny said quickly and hurried to the door, followed immediately by Kevin.

"I don't think we were introduced, I'm Dan Richardson."

"I'm Deacon."

Dan looked at Deacon with a look of question, prompting for his last name.

"Deacon Pierce." Deacon said in a quieter voice.

"It's nice to meet you Deacon. These are my sons JJ and Kyle and this is my grandson Harley. The others are at home."

"Grandson?" Deacon asked curiously.

"Harley is my son." JJ said proudly.

"But you're my age!" Deacon said in disbelief.

"How old are you?" Dan asked quietly.

"Twelve... Thirteen." Deacon corrected quickly.

Allen walked in carrying a tray with coffee and cups along with cream and sugar.

Kenny followed with a tray of glasses of fruit punch and Kevin brought in a tray of the pastries Juana had made for dessert.

"Just help yourselves." Allen said after putting down his tray on the coffee table.

"Allen, could I have a minute of your time?" Dan asked seriously.

"Sure, come into the family room." Allen said curiously.

"We'll be right back." Dan said as he walked to the double doors with Allen.

* * * * *

"Could you tell me about Deacon? I have a feeling that he's in trouble." Dan said seriously.

"I don't know too much. I've been trying to make him comfortable before I press for too much information. He ran away from home... I don't know where that is, but he took a bus to get here." Allen said seriously.

"How did you find him?" Dan asked in thought.

"Brady spotted him sitting on the front step of the house across the street this morning, he was still there this afternoon so we sent the boys to see if he was hungry." Allen said quietly.

Dan nodded and said, "He doesn't show any obvious signs of malnutrition or abuse. But he seems to be carrying a large weight of worry. Do you know why he left?"

"He told me, but I don't feel I should share it without his permission. He's not one of my sons and I wouldn't want to break his trust like that." Allen said seriously.

"I understand. That's probably best. It will be best if he can have someone to talk to and trust. I just wanted to be sure what I was getting into before I started dispensing advice." Dan said with a sigh.

"His brother lives across the street, but didn't come home last night. I'll be willing to keep him here for the short term, but I'm not sure what I should do if it becomes long term." Allen said in thought.

"Give it a few days and if his brother doesn't show up, talk to Cory and Sean. They have a good sense of how to handle situations like this." Dan said seriously.

"But they're younger than Jake." Allen said cautiously.

"True, but they either directly or indirectly rescued all their brothers in the Clan from some of the most horrific things you can imagine. They have the experience and the instincts to do what's right. They also have the sense to ask for help when they need it. Please trust me on this." Dan said as he looked into Allen's eyes.

Allen smiled and said, "I will. I guess I was just thinking my boys are the only amazing kids in the universe."

"All our boys are amazing. Now we'd better get back to those amazing boys before they decide we're not coming back and wander off." Dan said with a smile.

Allen nodded and opened the double doors to return to the living room.

* * * * *

"Where did everyone go?" Allen asked as he entered the living room.

"Kenny wanted to show JJ and Kyle and Harley his new model and his shelf." Kevin said as he sat looking at his book.

"Does it bother you that Kenny is getting all the attention?" Allen asked gently as he took a seat on the couch beside Kevin.

Kevin shook his head and said, "He needed some attention. He was feeling a little bit left out cause I got all kinds of new stuff and he didn't."

Dan looked at Kevin with surprise, then glanced at Allen.

"When I get my picture finished, I'll be showing it off like Kenny shows off his models, so it's okay." Kevin said happily.

"That's a very mature attitude Kevin. I'm glad you aren't going to be competing with your brother for attention." Dan said with a smile.

Kevin shook his head again and said, "He's used to getting attention, he needs it more. I'm used to being alone."

"Well, you don't have to be alone here Kevin. I'm here whenever you need me and you have brothers and cousins who can keep you company whenever you want." Allen said with a smile.

"But what if I *want* to be alone sometimes?" Kevin asked seriously.

"Then I guess you'll just need to let us know when you're feeling like you need to be alone. We all need some alone time every now and then, so no one will bother you." Allen said with assurance.

"He's right Kevin. Every now and then it's good to be alone and work things out, just the same as it's good to do things with your brothers sometimes too." Dan said with a smile.

Everyone turned at the sound of the front door opening.

A moment later Jake looked into the living room.

"They're in here." Jake called out behind him.

"Did everything go alright? You seemed to be gone a long time." Allen asked with concern.

"We just had to make a stop." Jake said with a smile.

Allen looked at Jake curiously.

"Kev, would you mind getting Kenny down here?" Jake asked hopefully.

Kevin nodded and raced out of the room.

"What's going on?" Allen asked curiously.

"Just a minute Dad. I want Ken to see this too." Jake said happily.

The thunder of footsteps running down the stairs could be heard before kids started barreling into the room at full speed.

Jake looked at the door and saw Juana walk in holding Edovina with one arm.

"Dad. Xain and I got to talking about all the stuff you've done for us and decided that we wanted to do something for you." Jake said proudly.

Xain walked in leading Ricardo by the hand.

"Give it to Uncle Allen." Xain whispered.

Ricardo ran to Allen, carrying a gift bag.

Allen carefully looked in the bag, then smiled and pulled out a small oil lamp.

"Since you had to send the asenoi back to Vulcan, we thought you might like another one that you can keep." Jake said with pride in his voice.

"I don't know what to say." Allen said with astonishment as tears filled his eyes.

"Then show us." Xain said with full Vulcan logic.

Allen smiled and sat the oil lamp on the nearby coffee table.

"Come here Ricardo. Thank you for the gift." Allen said as he squatted to be at Ricardo's level.

Ricardo fell into the hug and enjoyed it for a long minute.

Finally Allen stood and walked to Xain.

"I am so fortunate to have you as my son. Thank you Xain." Allen said as he pulled Xain into a tight hug.

"It is to express the sentiment that we appreciate you and are gratified that you have chosen us as your sons." Xain said in a quiet voice.

Allen moved to Jake and pulled him into a full hug and whispered, "You make me more proud  of you every hour that I know you. I love you son."

Then Allen pulled out of the hug and looked at Dan shyly as he said, "Sorry about that, they surprised me."

Dan smiled and said, "It was a wonderful surprise. Any questions I might have had about your family coming together as a unit have been put to rest. I just need to talk with Jake for a few minutes, then we'll get out of your way."

"Dan. You're not in our way at all, and I hope that you and your sons come over and visit often." Allen said seriously.

Dan smiled and said, "Only if you'll do the same."

"Just say when and we're there." Allen said seriously.

Dan looked at JJ in question and asked, "Do you know if John has anything going on Thursday?"

"No. Not that I know of." JJ said in thought.

"Then come over Thursday for a purely social visit, all of you, that includes Reuben and Ricardo if you want to come and Deacon too." Dan said and glanced at Deacon as he finished.

"Um, I guess. If Billy says it's okay." Deacon stammered.

Dan looked at Jake with question, silently asking if he was ready.

"Can we use the family room?" Jake asked Allen quietly.

"Go ahead. Just relax son, we'll be right here if you need us." Allen said with a gentle smile.

Jake nodded and led Dan to the double doors.

* * * * *

Allen sat on the couch surrounded by boys. Kevin and Reuben were on one side as Harley was on the other. Ricardo was perched in his lap holding the book that Kevin, Reuben and Harley were taking turns reading aloud.

Kenny, JJ, Kyle and Xain were talking, then Kenny motioned for Deacon to join them.

"Deacon, JJ was wondering if you needed any help. I mean, I know you didn't want to talk about that stuff while we were upstairs, but JJ is one of the guys who helped me when I needed it." Kenny said seriously.

"For real?" Deacon asked as he looked at JJ's uniform again.

"Yeah. I was in charge of security for the mission and I even got to talk to a cop and he treated me like an adult." JJ said with a toothy grin.

"That sounds really awesome... I don't know if I need help yet or not. I was a little scared when Billy didn't come home last night and it got kinda cold. But since I met Kenny, everything's been okay." Deacon said honestly.

Kenny smiled at the statement and felt like he was able to help someone else, even if it was only a little.

"So what happens when your brother comes home?" JJ asked seriously, now all business.

"Well, I'll tell him what happened at home and see if he'll let me live with him." Deacon said reluctantly.

JJ nodded and said, "I hope he's okay with that. But if he's not, all you have to do is tell Kenny about it and we'll see to it that you've got a place to stay."

"Father has accepted you; therefore, you will be a part of our lives regardless of the decision of he who is your brother." Xain said seriously.

Deacon looked at Xain curiously. After a moment of thought, he nodded.

"He belongs here." Kyle said seriously.

"Is that from Mikey or the twins?" JJ asked curiously.

"From me." Kyle said firmly.

JJ smiled at Kyle and gave him a quick hug.

A knock on the door stopped all conversation and Deacon looked at Allen nervously.

"Xain, will you get the door? I'm being held captive." Allen said with a gentle smile.

Xain let a brief smile cross his face and went to answer the door.

* * * * *

"Good evening, may I help you?" Xain asked courteously as he opened the door.

The young brown haired, blue eyed man looked at the young Vulcan cautiously and said, "Um, yeah. I got a note on my door saying my little brother was over here... do you have someone name Deacon here?"

"Yes, please come in. You must be Billy, I am Xain."

"Nice to meet you." Billy said as he looked at Xain curiously.

"Deacon is right in here." Xain said as he opened the living room door.

* * * * *

"Billy!" Deacon said with joy and raced over to hug his brother.

"What are you doing here Deke?" Billy asked as he hugged his brother tightly.

"I couldn't stay there anymore. Can I live with you? Please?" Deacon asked desperately.

Allen finally extricated himself from the boys on the couch and made his way over to Billy.

"I'm Allen Thompson, the father of four of these boys." Allen said with a smile as he offered his hand.

"Thanks for watching out for Deke. I just got in from Belgium and I didn't have any idea he was here." Billy said in a lost voice.

"Please come in and sit down. I bet you're hungry." Allen said speculatively.

"Starving." Billy said honestly as he took a seat in a wing-backed chair.

"I will prepare food for our guest." Xain said seriously, then turned to the doorway.

"You don't have to. I'm sure I've got something to eat at home." Billy said quickly to Xain's retreating form.

"Just relax Billy. We have plenty and it's already prepared. Deacon has told me a little of what's going on and I'd like to offer to help if I can." Allen said seriously as he took a seat on the nearby couch.

"What happened Deke? What was so bad?" Billy asked as he looked at his brother.

"You know how I told you that they keep going out every night and I don't hardly see them anymore?" Deacon asked quietly from beside Allen on the couch.

"Yeah, it was like that when I visited last spring." Billy said in thought.

"They didn't see me or talk to me at all last week, not even once. Then when they both forgot my birthday... I knew it was time to go." Deacon said as tears filled his eyes.

"Shit Deke, I didn't know it was that bad. If you would have called me or something I could have come and got you. How did you get here on your own?" Billy asked as he motioned for his brother to join him in the chair.

Deacon climbed into his brother's lap and hugged him tightly.

"Whoa Deke, you're getting heavy. I think this lap is only for 12 and under." Billy said in a teasing voice.

Deacon didn't make any sign of hearing and just held his brother tighter.

"Billy, I have some friends who may be able to help with the legal paperwork if you choose to let Deacon live with you." Allen said carefully.

Billy held Deacon close to his chest as he thought about what Allen had said.

"Here is your food." Xain said as he carried a tray into the living room.

"I could have gone into the other room." Billy said quickly.

"I anticipate conversation during your meal, it is logical to bring the food to you rather than relocate all those who would wish to share in your conversation." Xain said reasonably.

"You'd better just go with it. When Xain has a logical reason for something, it's pretty much going to happen." Allen said with a smile at Xain.

"Um, okay. Thanks Zane." Billy said quietly as he shifted Deacon off his lap.

Xain quirked an eyebrow at the mispronunciation of his name but made no comment.

"So can I live with you?" Deacon asked as he resumed his place on the couch.

Billy finished a bite of his food and said, "It's not that easy Deke. I travel all over the world. I don't know how you'd be able to go to school or have anything like a normal life."

"Maybe we could help with that." Allen said seriously.

"How?" Billy asked curiously before taking another bite of food.

"You're worried about what happens when you have to go out of town for your job. What I'm suggesting is that Deacon could stay with us at those times. You don't have to miss work, Deacon doesn't have to miss school.

"Man, I couldn't ask you to do that..." Billy began to say.

"You're not asking, I'm offering. I've got a house full of boys here around his own age for him to hang around with. This way he'll have something close to a stable home life. See that woman with the baby over there, when I'm not here, she will be. They won't be left unsupervised. I'm not trying to pressure you Billy. It's your choice. I just want you to know that I'm serious about this." Allen finished sincerely.

"I get that." Billy said in thought, then absently took another bite of his food.

After a moment to finish his bite, he said, "This food is really good."

"Xain and Jake made it." Allen said with pride.

Billy looked at Allen with a vacant expression.

"I forgot to introduce you to everyone. I always forget that. Billy, this is Juana, in her arms is Edovina. At the other end of this couch are JJ, Kyle and Kenny. On the other couch are Kevin, Reuben, Harley and Ricardo." Allen said as he pointed.

"There wasn't a Jake in there, was there?" Billy asked curiously.

"No, Jake is in the next room with Dan. Jake is my son and Dan is JJ and Kyle's dad and Harley's grandfather." Allen said with a smile.

"Yeah. JJ's got his own son and he's younger than me." Deacon said, obviously still amazed by the fact.

"Really?" Billy asked and received a nod from JJ.

"We'll have to tell you the whole story sometime. Right now, I need to know what you plan to do about Deacon." Allen said gently, trying to keep the conversation on track.

"Well shit. I'm sorry, I mean... Yeah, I want Deacon to live with me. I just don't know how to make it happen. I mean with court dates and social services and all that sh... stuff. I guess I can reschedule some of my shoots but there are some that I'm contracted to do and I can't get out of." Billy said in thought.

"You're a photographer?" Allen asked curiously.

"Yeah. Weird huh? I left home when I turned eighteen because, I don't know, I guess I just felt like they didn't want me there. Anyway, I came to Florida to try and find a job and ended up going through all my savings in about two months. So here I was, this skater kid who was living on the streets because I had to choose between a place to live for two more nights or eating for two more weeks." Billy finished with a pained chuckle.

"Next thing I know, this old dude is talking to me in the park, offering me money to take pictures of me." Billy said with a smile.

Allen got a worried look, he'd heard this type of story before.

"No. It's cool. The old dude was really cool. He was legit. He just thought I'd look good in pictures. So anyway, Benny, that's the old dude's name, he took me back to his place, fed me a good meal and let me stay in his guest room that night. I'm pretty sure Benny knew I would've gone down on him for a Big Mac... sorry, you little guys forget you heard that." Billy said shyly.

"We heard worse. What happened next?" Harley asked curiously.

"The next day Benny did some test shots. Mostly close-ups, a few poses and stuff like that. When he gets done processing the prints, he's going apeshit over how they turned out and starts planning all these layouts." Billy said with a smile.

"Well for the next nine months I was spending all my time with Benny, getting my modeling career off the ground, but I was learning stuff too. Benny showed me about cameras and lighting and lenses and shit... I mean stuff. He taught me all about processing the film and how to use all the equipment and chemicals." Billy said, then his mood shifted.

"I woke up one morning and he wasn't up yet which was weird because Benny was always up way before I was. I went into his room to check on him and he was dead... I guess he died in his sleep." Billy said distantly.

"I had some money saved up from my modeling so I was going to be okay, but then Benny's lawyer got ahold of me and said Benny had put me in his will three months before he died. Benny didn't have any family so I got everything, and Benny was loaded. The house across the street was his and I've been living there ever since." Billy finished with a shrug.

"So what about your photography career? How is it going?" Allen asked curiously.

"Oh, it's great. I went through Benny's stuff and decided to go ahead and do the shoots he had scheduled. I guess everyone liked my work because they kept on giving me more jobs. Now I've got jobs lined up all the way through next summer. I'll bring the portfolio over sometime, it's really awesome." Billy said happily.

"Do you go by the name 'William Pierce'?" Xain asked curiously.

"Yeah, how'd you know?" Billy asked as he turned to look at Xain.

"I have posters of four of your photographs." Xain said seriously.

"Cool. Do you mind if I see? It's really awesome to see my work on display." Billy said with excitement.

"Please follow me." Xain said and stood.

"Can I come too? I haven't seen your room yet." Kyle asked hopefully.

Xain gave a nod, then led the way out of the living room.

* * * * *

"Awesome! This is so totally cool. I never would have thought of putting Backstreet in the Amazon Rainforest, but dude, this rocks." Billy said as he looked around the room.

"I am pleased that you approve of the manner in which I display your work." Xain said with a slight smile.

"There's uncle Brian!" Harley said as he pointed to the Backstreet poster.

"That's right, and over there's Uncle Curly and Uncle JC and way over there is Uncle Aaron." JJ said as he walked Harley around the room.

"Uncle?" Billy asked in wonder.

"Oh, um, yeah. They're kind of related to Backstreet, N*Sync and Aaron Carter." Allen said shyly.

"And Hanson." Xain said seriously and pointed to the poster beside him.

"Uncle Zac!" Harley said as he pointed.

"And here I thought I had the most awesome life ever." Billy said in amazement.

"I think you do Billy, and this will make it even better. JC was over here today, quite a few of the uncles were here yesterday to help us move in. I'm sure that if Deacon spends time over here, he'll eventually meet all of them, and so will you." Allen said frankly.

"That would be so cool. Okay, if we can find a way to make it work, Deacon can live with me and we'll do like you said and he can come over here if I have to go out of town on a shoot. Of course when school's out, he can come with me... as soon as we can get him a passport." Billy said in thought.

"JJ, you're more familiar with the Clan's capabilities than I am. What do they need to do?" Allen asked curiously.

JJ smiled at being asked for advice, then looked to Kyle.

"Jamie is talking to Teri right now. Jacob is talking to Cory. Justy is with Aaron. I'll let you know when they have something." Kyle said in thought.

"Give us a few minutes, the Clan is already on it." JJ said with a smile.

Billy and Deacon looked at Kyle curiously.

Xain turned to Allen and said, "Jake requires my assistance in the family room."

"Go on." Allen said as he gave Xain a brief hug.

Allen turned to see Billy and Deacon looking at him in question.

"Telepaths." Allen said with a shrug.

To Be Continued...