Portions contributed by Slash & Greybear
Copyright 2002-2004 by ACFan
to the memory of Justin Case 1956-2003
We will all miss you Justin, but your kind words and support will never be forgotten.
This story assumes the technology and capabilities of the 23rd century are present in modern-day society
All copyrights are the properties of their respective owners, no monetary gain is being received for this work of fiction.
Authors note: I wish to express my extreme gratitude to Slash and Greybear for their numerous contributions to this story – they added the final touches to make this all come together. Also thanks to Art, BillW, Dan, and Jay for their assistance in editing, proofreading, and generally helping me out of a rut occasionally.Thanks to "Z", Karla, and the rest of the Library members for your support when I started this.
Portions of this story contain characters and/or situations from Greybear's story, "Enterprise Tour". All of such are used with permission, and all disclaimers, copyrights, and notices from "Enterprise Tour" are hereby included as part of the notices for this story. I also wish to thank ND for allowing the use of his original character, Johnny Carter, from "Nick and Ashley" in this story.
Special thanks and hugs go to a special "lil' angel", namely my little bro, the lives you touch are TONS better from you just being there, you have contributed more than you will ever know!
A HUGE thanks to Comicality for his support of all of us aspiring writers!
This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
THIS STORY IS COPYRIGHT © 2002-2004 BY ACFAN. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. DISTRIBUTION FOR COMMERCIAL GAIN, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, POSTING ON SITES WHICH REQUIRE PAYMENT TO ACCESS THE SITE, DISTRIBUTION IN BOOK FORM (EITHER AS A WHOLE OR PART OF A COMPILATION) FOR A FEE, OR DISTRIBUTION ON CD,DVD,OR ANY OTHER ELECTRONIC MEDIA FOR A FEE, IS EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED WITHOUT THE AUTHORS WRITTEN CONSENT
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Sean and Cory both shot instantly awake. "Timmy, we're right here! What's wrong lil' buddy?"
"They killed him! The bad guys killed daddy! He said they would!" Timmy answered hysterically. He then collapsed against Cory in tears.
"Sean, go get Dan! Timmy's doing like I did when Mikey died!" Cory said as he pulled Timmy into a hug. "Timmy, I'm right here baby boy. Calm down, pappa is going to get Uncle Dan."
Sean ran through the bathroom into his old bedroom. "DAN! Get up; we need you in our room NOW!"
Dan and John both jumped out of the bed. "What's wrong Sean;" Dan asked as he threw on a robe. "The last time I saw you this freaked out, Cory was in the hospital!"
"My SON is freaking out, hurry up! He is NOT gonna go through what Cory did!"
Dan and John followed Sean as he ran back into the other room. They found Cory holding Timmy, both now in tears.
John grabbed Sean. "Go get Tyler and Kyle. Tell Kyle to yank Mike off of whatever friggin' cloud he's hanging out on and get him down here NOW, preferably along with Timmy's father. MOVE!"
Sean ran out the door as Dan sat down next to Cory and put his arm over both Cory and Timmy. "Cory, its Doctor Dan. Come on buddy, hold it together. Sean and Timmy both need you to be strong right now. You can do it."
Cory turned his face toward Dan, tears still streaming down his cheeks. In a panicked voice, he began rambling. "Tell me WHY Dan? PLEASE! Explain why someone had to hurt this little angel who is now my son by killing his father? Why did some damn drunk have to kill Mikey and cause so much grief for Mom and Sean? Why did Sharon have to die just as Kyle was getting a loving family? Why did I have to be so damn weak and collapse when Sean needed me the most? Why did I have to lose a year of living with the two people in this world who I love the most? Why does Mom have to worry if I'm going to be okay or is something going to make me lose it again? WHY DOES EVERYONE AROUND ME ALWAYS GET HURT!" He then pulled Timmy closer and resumed sobbing.
As Dan was trying to frame a response, a small voice came from on Cory's lap. "Please don't cry, Daddy. It'll be okay. Daddy, I'm sorry, I hadda' bad dream. I didn't mean ta scare you. My other Daddy used to tell me that sometimes bad stuff happens so the good stuff can. Maybe all that bad stuff happened so I could have you and Pappa."
Timmy's voice brought Cory back from the edge he was about to fall over again. Still crying, but no longer hysterical, Cory kissed Timmy's head and quietly wept as he cuddled his son.
It figures - I was sitting back with Elvis discussing today's music. You know what, he's a big fan of Backstreet, *NSync, and O-Town! Shoot, he even likes Aaron! Anyway, Jimi Hendrix had just flew in to join our pow-wow when I felt my leg being pulled. "Hey guys, I'll be back in a few. Looks like Tyler's boyfriend Kyle seems to think I'm needed downstairs."
They both chuckled, and then Elvis said "Kyle? Man, that boy is getting a rep up here. Better go check it out; last I heard only Saints could receive summons, so it must be a hot problem. Take your time, it's not like we are going anywhere in the next millennium."
"Awww mannn, that was BAD E!" I groaned. "Things have been good lately, so this should be easy. I'll be right back."
As I took flight, I turned my attention to see if Kyle was at least giving me a hint at why he wanted me. Man, I was shocked when I realized what was wrong and who he wanted me to bring along. This was WAY beyond what I could do alone, so I stopped by The Pearly Gates on my way out.
"Saint Peter, I need a little help." I said in a humble voice as I landed.
"Yes, Michael? I was expecting you." he answered in a musical voice.
"If possible, I need to locate a new arrival, as quick as possible; his son is in the care of my wards and is having serious problems."
"Ahh that would be Terrance O'Neal. I just summoned before you landed. He is off checking on his father, so it will take a short time for him to arrive. While we are waiting, we have some unfinished business to attend to."
"Unfinished business?" I asked, confused.
"Yes. When you first came home, you volunteered for Guardian Angel duty for all of your family. We knew how big it is going to become; that is why we asked if you wanted to limit it to just your two little brothers. You will be pleased to know Our Father had a good chuckle when you refused to set any limits. When He recovered, He said that I was to give you some time; once you realized how it was growing then I was to give you one last chance to set a limit."
I thought it over; obviously this was only the beginning. I had not heard of anyone being allowed to change their wards once assigned, so I knew this was a rare honor. After careful consideration, I gave my reply. "Honestly, although my family has grown beyond what I expected, I would prefer to keep my assignment terms exactly the same; no matter how big the family gets. I made a promise to be there for all of them, it would not be right to cut off anyone who is added later."
Saint Peter smiled. "That is what He and I expected you to say, Michael. Our Father has given me directions for if you were able to follow your heart. It has been a long time since I have been ordered to do this. Kneel, Angel Michael."
I knew better than to question Saint Peter, so I dropped to one knee; having no idea what was to come.
"Michael is a noble but common name. The problem is, from this time on you need a unique name. Your wards call you 'Mikey'; so from this point henceforth that shall be your name."
Saint Peter then ran his hands over my wings, which turned from snowy white to shimmering gold. "Arise Saint Mikey of Urbandale, Protector of Gay and Abandoned Children."
I felt a sudden power flow through me as the cherubim sang in celebration of the dedication of a new Saint. The Heavens rang as angels played whatever instrument they had at hand. I looked toward the Throne and whispered "Thank you Father."
"The Pope has been notified of your ascension, Saint Mikey. I suspect you are about to become very busy. Before you go to attend to your duties, I have a message for you to deliver. Notify young Justin Dodds that he has an identical set of wings waiting for him when it is his time to join us. Reassure him that they are going to be in storage a long time, though. Ahh, Terrance is arriving; it is time to go to your wards. For your information, you may now appear visible to those you chose; I suggest you use the ability wisely. A public appearance would be suggested once the Pope makes his announcement."
Terrance came up and said "You needed me, Saint Peter?"
"Yes, Terrance. You have unfinished business down below, and your son needs closure. Go with Saint Mikey, he will guide you to finish what was left undone."
"Thank you, Saint Peter. Saint Mikey, I'm ready when you are."
I expressed my gratitude to Saint Peter, and then we both took flight. As we headed down, I filled him in on the situation as I knew it.
Sean came running back into the room followed by Kyle, Tyler, and Aaron.
Aaron took one look at Cory and flew across the room, dropping to his knees in front of his little brother. "Cory, come on bro, we're here for ya' bud. Relax, clear your head; DON'T let it beat you!"
"You don't understand. I'm failing as a Daddy on my first night, Aaron! Timmy needed me to calm him. Instead, I freaked out and he ended up having to calm ME. Why do you all put up with me; I'm so totally screwed up!"
Aaron was about to respond when the room was illuminated with a golden glow.
"Cory Patrick Short, what have I told you about talking down about yourself? You have done more good in the last week than some people have done their whole lives."
Everyone turned to the voice in the center of the room in shock. "Mikey?!?" Cory exclaimed.
Timmy looked at Cory then Sean. "Daddy, Pappa? Who is dat? Is he a ghost? Will he hurt me?"
Mike's appearance had calmed Cory, just like Mike himself did before he was killed. "Timmy, that is your Uncle Mikey. He's better than a ghost, he's an angel. A very special type of angel, he is Pappa and I's Guardian Angel. I promise he won't hurt you."
Mikey chuckled. "Actually, I think the proper way to address me is 'Saint Mikey', but I'll let it slide from you, little brother. Welcome to the family, Timmy! Oh, by the way - you were right Timmy; sometimes it takes bad stuff to let good stuff happen. Here are a couple examples from the last week, Cory. Two young boys ran away from home instead of letting their father take the abuse to the next stage. Those same boys now have a big brother who adores them and two loving fathers who would never abuse them. My second example: a young gay teen outs himself to his father, and is beaten severely. He now is living with the little brother he never knew he had, two new brothers, a new nephew, and a mother who would kill anyone who lays a hand on him. I know you know who I'm talking about, but do you know what all these boys have in common?"
"They've all been hurt." Cory replied.
Mikey shook his head. "They were all hurt differently, so that don't count. There is one identical thing they have in common. YOU and Sean kept all three of those boys from being killed before their time. More importantly, there is one person in this room tonight who you saved all by yourself, bro."
"Who's that?" Cory asked, calmed but confused.
Mikey turned to John. "I know you were told to keep quiet, John. But either you tell him or I will, your choice. I would think as a Saint I kinda overrule Chip."
John shook his head in defeat. "If he's gonna hear it, might as well be from me. Dan, I hate to say it hun, but next time someone wakes us up in the middle of the night you are on your own. It's too early in the morning to be dealing with pushy Saints." He walked over and sat on the opposite side of Cory from Dan.
John began. "First off, Timmy I want you to cuddle your daddy real good; this is kinda scary but has a really happy ending. Cory, that wonderful little boy you are holding was six seconds from being spread along the side of the highway. The timer for the bombs under the dash was in the dome light on the ceiling; when you cut the roof off of the SUV, you cut the trigger wires from the timer. You are the only reason Timmy is sitting here right now, Cory. Also, if you had not done that, most of the kids in this room would either be dead or in the hospital right now. Don't ever forget that."
The room fell silent as everyone realized that they were six seconds from a major tragedy.
Timmy was the first to break the silence, as he softly said "You saved me. You did'n let me die like my other daddy. Thank you daddy, I luv you!" He then cuddled tightly into Cory's chest.
Mikey gave everyone some time to recover from the shock. After a few minutes, he continued "Kyle, Timmy's father is here; open up to him bud."
"Sure Mikey, but I wanna talk to ya' too before ya' go, okay?"
"Sure thing. Timmy, could you come here please?"
Timmy was still uncertain about Mikey. He looked at Sean. "Pappa?"
Sean smiled. "It's okay, lil' guy. Come on, I'll stand with you."
That satisfied Timmy; he walked over to Sean, took his hand, and then moved in front of Mikey. "Daddy and Pappa say you are an angel. Why do they need a guard'n angel?"
The room lit up brighter as Mikey smiled. "I remember when your Daddy and Pappa used to ask tough questions like that. Sometimes things need to happen that people have trouble dealing with. A guardian angel helps them through the tough times, like right now. When you had your bad dream, it scared your Daddy and made him remember a bunch of things all at once. It's not your fault; some things happened in the past that make your daddy hurt when he thinks about them."
Timmy looked thoughtfully at Cory. "Daddy? Cuddle me when you hurt, okay? I know it makes me feel better."
Cory's heart about burst with love at the request. "Yes, Timmy; I'll cuddle with both you and Pappa from now on. Thank you ... SON."
Timmy broke into a huge grin, and turned back to Mikey. "Unca' Mikey, thanks for bein' Daddy and Pappa's guard'n angel."
"Sure thing, kiddo! Actually, I'm really the guardian angel of all the kids in the house tonight. That includes you! Now I have a little surprise for you. I brought your father with me, but he's not able to be seen like me. He's gonna talk to you through your Uncle Kyle. Does that sound okay?"
"How can he do that? Why can I see you but not him?"
Mikey chuckled. "Well Timmy, actually its Kyle that is letting him talk, I used to have to do it that way too. Which leads to your second question; I'm a Saint now, so I can let people see me."
"Okay." Timmy replied, satisfied. He turned to look at Kyle expectantly.
Kyle started speaking in a voice familiar only to Timmy. "Hi there Gizmo. How you like your new daddies?"
Timmy's face broke into a smile as tears of joy started rolling down his cheeks. He leaned back against Sean, and then answered. "DADDY! Why'd you die? They're kewl, but I miss you."
Terrance chuckled. "You must be fine; you are still as inquisitive as ever! It was my time, baby; nothing could change that. God sent Cory to rescue you, so that him and Sean could raise you. Its okay to miss me, but don't spend all your time doing it; your new Daddy can tell you why. Maybe you can help him with that."
"Okay Daddy. Are you gonna come back here a lot?"
"I can't say, lil' buddy. I'm here now because Saint Mikey summoned me. Since he is your Guardian Angel, the only way I can do this again is if he decides you need to see me. Just remember I will always love you Son, and Saint Mikey will keep me updated on how you are doing. I hate to say this kiddo, but Kyle is getting tired. Can I talk to your new daddies for a minute before I have to go?"
"Sure, Daddy. I luv ya' too, can I have one more hug?"
"Come here, Gizmo."
Timmy took the couple of steps to reach Kyle, and wrapped his arms around him. The faint outline of a set of white wings appeared and wrapped Timmy in a protective embrace.
They broke the hug, and Timmy exclaimed "I could FEEL his WINGS! WOW!"
Sean pulled Timmy into a hug. "We all saw the wings too; you really are a special little boy."
Terrance got everyone's attention. "Cory, Sean; first off I want to thank you for taking in Timmy. I know you heard it secondhand, but I want to make it official; I hereby give you my son to raise to the best of your ability. Cory, thank you for saving Timmy. I could tell you were young by your voice, but I did not realize how young you are. Despite your age, I still believe you will be the best daddy for Timmy; and with Sean as your partner I am sure he will be raised as good as or better than I could have done myself. As you will find out Monday, my will requests no memorial services of any kind. Dad will have a small service anyway where he's at, but there's to be nothing here. I do have some good news, Starfleet found the bombers; they are going to quietly disappear to a work planet. I'm really glad I got to meet you, and for that I owe Saint Mikey. Thank you for letting me meet Timmy's new family and allowing Timmy and I to say proper last goodbyes. It's time for me to return; express my thanks to Kyle. Bless you Cory and Sean; and Timmy, remember I always will love you my little Gizmo. Farewell all."
Kyle shook his head as Terrance left, then walked over and sat between Cory and Dan. "Timmy, he really does love you. Dad, I know you love me, but I never knew what it meant to feel a fathers love. Now I do, and it makes me feel better."
Dan ruffled Kyle's hair. "I know what you are trying to say, son, and I understand."
Mikey started giggling, interrupting the conversations.
Cory gave him a weird look, and then asked "Alright, what's so funny ghost-boy? Also, what's with this Saint business?"
"Just wait. JUSTIN, JACOB, JAMIE; YOU CAN COME IN NOW!"
Three red-faced boys sulked through the door. Their jaws dropped when they saw Mikey standing in the middle of the room.
"You three act like you've never seen a saint before. Have a seat!" Mikey said with laughter.
The three stunned boys dropped to the floor and sat in awe.
"See what happens when you try to spy, you three?" Mikey said, still giggling. "I guess it's time to fill y'all in. First, these three have been outside the door since John started talking. Now for the question nagging at most of the little brains in the room. When I died and first went to the Pearly Gates, I told Saint Peter that I wanted to be the guardian angel for my entire family. I had no idea you guys were gonna expand it this much. Let's see; if I have my count right, I now have somewhere near nineteen brothers and two nephews. On my way down tonight, Saint Peter asked me a question while we were waiting on Timmy's father. He offered me the chance to change my assignment to only the brothers directly related to me. I refused his offer; he told me that him and Our Father had expected that answer from me. He had me kneel, and changed my wings from white to gold. After that, he declared me 'Saint Mikey of Urbandale, Protector of Gay and Abandoned Children'. That means I can do things like appear like this, but I have additional kids to watch. Oh, by the way Justy, Saint Peter sent you a message; you already have a set of wings just like this waiting on you. They are gonna be in storage for a long time yet, but they are all yours."
Jacob couldn't resist the temptation. "See, bro; we TOLD ya' you were an angel!"
Justy turned beet red, and was totally speechless from embarrassment.
"Alright guys," Mikey continued, "stop picking on the future saint! Oh, Aaron, Elvis said to stop messing around and get back in the studio; he might have all eternity to wait for your next release, but that don't mean he's willing to wait that long!"
Kyle giggled. "Busted bro; you better hurry up! Mikey, did you come cuz' I called ya', or did ya' see what was happenin' and just show up?"
Mikey thought out his response carefully. "Kyle, I was expecting you to ask that, but it's not a simple answer. Normally if I was away, I would get a feeling that I needed to check on you. When you called for me, I was with Elvis and Jimi Hendrix discussing music. I actually felt you trying to pull me down here, and as soon as I turned my attention to you I knew everything that was happening. Thanks to your special gift, I knew to get Terrance before I came down. Things are a little different now; as a Saint any of you can direct a prayer to me and I will hear it immediately."
"Does that mean you won't be guarding us anymore, bro?" Ty asked sorrowfully.
"No, little brother, it does not. No matter what I am always gonna be a guardian angel for all of you. It just means that I can help other kids now too. I made a promise to all of you, and I will always keep it."
"Thanks Mikey. I'm glad you're our big brother!" Ty replied, obviously relieved.
"Okay guys, I'm gonna hafta go, first because it's four AM and all of you should be in bed; and also because the Vatican works quickly. I gotta go help a French kid who's about to be outted to his parents; fortunately they will take it good. Goodnight all!"
As Mikey faded away, Dan got Cory's attention. "Do you think you will be okay now, Cory?"
"Yeah, Dan; thanks for helping. I'm sorry I woke everyone up."
John chuckled. "That's ok, Cory. It's not every day you get woke up to meet a saint."
That got all the boys giggling. "Yeah," Sean quipped, "especially considering it was Mikey. Mom's never gonna believe this one!"
Timmy brought them back to Earth when he interrupted. "Daddy, can we go backta' bed?"
Cory gave the sleepy boy on his lap a squeeze. "Yeah, buddy. Go pee real quick while Pappa and I chase everyone out, okay?"
"Okay." Timmy replied, as he climbed down and shuffled into the bathroom.
John and Dan took the long way back to their room, as Aaron rounded up his group to head back to the Rec room. As he was rounding them up, he pulled Tyler to the side. "Ty, I just wanted to say 'thanks' for calming Cory and Timmy. I really think you saved a meltdown there. Great job, lil' bro."
Ty hugged Aaron, and whispered in his ear "Thanks, big bro. You helped too, I could tell as soon as Cory saw you."
They all cleared the room just as Timmy shuffled back out and climbed into the bed. Sean and Cory slipped in behind him, and in no time all three were again fast asleep.
Teri and Anne were sitting in the kitchen talking.
"Mom, I don't believe this. It's almost nine and only half the boys have came in for breakfast!"
"It is unusual, Teri. Justy is usually such an early bird."
Chip and Josh chose that moment to walk into the kitchen. "Did I just hear that right?" Chip said in shock. "Justy and the twins are STILL asleep?"
Teri nodded her head. "Not only are the Three Musketeers still sleeping, but so are Cory, Sean, Timmy, Kyle, Tyler, Aaron, John and Dan. Did we miss a party last night?"
"Not that we heard!" Josh replied.
As the adults were pondering the unusual event, Tyler and Kyle quietly walked in and immediately went to Teri. "We love you, Mom" they chorused as they both gave her a huge hug.
They then went to Anne, and repeated the action, saying "We love you grandma." Both Chip and Josh received the same treatment before the two boys grabbed a chair for breakfast; both staying in constant physical contact.
As they were sitting, Aaron, David, Justy, Jamie and Jacob came in. They made the same rounds as Ty and Kyle had made, except they included the first two boys.
Chip looked at the boys. "Would one of you mind telling us WHAT is going on?"
David gave Chip a sober look. "I hate to say it, but you need to wait 'till everyone's here, Chip. Some of the guys had a rough night, and it's rubbed off on the rest of us."
Chip started to press for more information, but Justy interrupted him. "Daddy, please don't. I know why, but we all agreed that only one guy can discuss it, and he's not here yet."
"With that attitude, I think someone wants to lose their video games." Chip stated.
"Daddy, I'm really not trying to act like a smart-aleck, but my brothers are more important than any stupid video game. We need to do this for them."
Chip was shocked. Not only did the threat of taking away his video games not phase Justy; the boy actually stated they did not mean anything to him.
Josh recovered and told Chip "Baby, I think this must be serious. Let's wait and see; you know Justy wouldn't refuse to say anything unless there was a good reason."
Chip's response was interrupted by a young voice yelling "Gran'ma!"
Teri suddenly found her lap filled with a squirming five-year old. "Morning Timmy! Where's your Daddy and Pappa?"
"Right here, Mom!" the two boys chorused as they walked in, followed by Dan and John. Both Sean and Cory made their rounds of the table, and then grabbed the empty seat next to Teri.
"Okay guys, I think all of you that were missing are here, now WHAT HAPPENED?" Teri asked, exasperated.
"I had a ni'mare last night, gran'ma." Timmy said. He then continued with glee. "I got ta' meet Unca' Mikey! He's really cool, he's a SAINT! He ev'n brung my old Daddy to say goodbye! Unca' Mikey made John tell Daddy what coulda' happ'nd if he had not saved me. Daddy felt bad and started cryin' when I woke him up, though." Timmy leaned back against Teri, satisfied that he had told everything important.
David was the first to speak. "Up until just now, I was the only one not there who knew about that. I woke up just as the rest of these guys came back into the Rec room, and spent the next hour calming them so they could sleep."
Anne looked around the table; the boys seemed to be waiting for the explosion while the adults looked to be still deciphering Timmy's summary. "Dan, you are the child psychiatrist. Could you please translate what Timmy just said, son?"
Dan first looked at Cory, who nodded his approval. "Okay, here's the short version. Timmy had a nightmare, and woke up Sean and Cory. Timmy was hysterical, which prompted Sean to get John and I. We found Cory in the same shape as Timmy when we came in the room; so John had Sean get Kyle and Ty."
Kyle interrupted. "I started calling for Mikey when Sean got me up. I guess I was makin' too much noise with my head; 'cause it woke up Justy and the twins. This cute guy sittin' next'a me was calmin' them while we ran up the stairs. Aaron heard Sean wake us, so he came too."
"Did everyone understand that?" Dan asked with a grin.
"My son, the sarcastic shrink." Anne shot back with a smile.
Dan stuck out his tongue at his mom, and then continued. "Teri, you have two special sons in your herd. I could tell when Ty woke up, both Cory and Timmy suddenly calmed down a little. When Aaron came in, it was like he was Cory's white knight; Cory got ahold of himself that quick. When Mikey appeared in the middle of the room it was quite a shock, and yes he is really a Saint. Would you believe his official title is Saint Mikey of Urbandale, Protector of Gay and Abandoned Children?"
Teri shook her head in wonder. "Mike a Saint. Now I've seen everything. As far as Cory goes, do you think that ...”
Cory interrupted. "Mom, please stop right there. I know what you are gonna ask; the answer is it won't happen again. Ever since my first Mom died, I've had a problem with death. Whenever it started to get to me, I'd talk to Mikey. Last night, when Timmy woke up screaming about his father, I got more of my memories back. I remembered that when Mikey died, the part that freaked me was that I wouldn't have him to talk to about his death. All the stuff that's happened to all the guys hit me at once. The real hero from last night is sitting on your lap, Mom. When Timmy told me what his father used to tell him, things started to fall in place. Mikey made John tell me about the bomb timer so I would realize how much good has happened from what looked bad. That's what Timmy told me, sometimes it takes bad stuff happening so good stuff can happen."
Teri looked at Cory in shock. "You just answered a lot of questions I had, Cory. I just wish I'd known; I could've helped you a lot sooner, and maybe kept you out of the home."
"But Aunt Teri," Kyle interjected, "if Cory had not been at the home, I wouldn't have my Daddy and big brother and my uncles and my cousins."
"And I wouldn't be going to work in Orlando." Mark said as he walked in. "Have I missed something?"
"Just my head messin' with me again!" Cory replied.
Timmy crawled back on Cory's lap. "See Daddy, whadda' I tell ya'. Even Unca' Mikey didn't think of dat!"
Cory ruffled his son's hair. "Yeah, buddy. I guess that means you're smarter than your Uncle Mike."
Timmy glowed at the praise. "Daddy, when we gonna eat brek'fest? My tummy's hungry."
Sean giggled as Timmy's stomach backed up his comment. "So we hear, lil' guy. Mom, why are you starving our son? You're gonna have to take some lessons from Grandma Anne."
"Yeah, Mom." Cory interjected with a grin. "It's bad enough starvin' us, but don't torture our son! Shame on you, Mom."
Teri looked at her son's grinning faces. "I give up! Mom, were any of my brothers this bad?"
Anne chuckled. "Every single one of them! Let's round up some food before they really start trouble."
After everyone finished eating, they started migrating out to the pool to join the rest of the group. As Chip and Josh started to head out, Justy grabbed them and pulled them into the living room.
Justy looked at his parents with a serious face. "Dad, Pop, I really need to tell you something. The twins and I were kinda spying on them last night; but Mikey busted us and made us come in the room. When John told us how close Cory cut it saving Timmy, it reminded a lot of us just how special the families we have today are. That's why I couldn't say nothing; since Timmy was the one who made us think, we figured he should be the one to tell y'all."
Chip and Josh pulled Justy into a three-way hug.
"We understand kiddo." Josh said softly. "You did right, and made us proud. Something tells me that's not all that's on your mind, though. You wanna talk about it?"
Justy squirmed, then hugged them tighter. "Mikey told me that there's a set of saints wings waiting for me in Heaven. He said they are gonna be stored for a long time, but I don't know why I deserve them. I ain't done nothin' special, besides helping my lil' bros."
Chip kissed his son's forehead. "Kiddo, I think you are looking at it wrong. I'll bet it's not what you've done, but what's in you heart that has earned those wings. You have a big heart, son; that's why everyone good likes you. Don't worry yourself about the wings; just keep being the great kid you are."
"Thanks Dad and Pop. I feel better now. I just didn't want you to be mad at me or my bros. I just remembered something, Timmy don't know how to pounce!"
That caused both parents to chuckle. "You better get going then," Josh snickered, "it's your duty to make sure all parents are tortured equally!"
"POP!" Justy exclaimed before breaking out in giggles. "That was mean! I'll get you!" As he ran for the door, he yelled behind him. "When you least expect it!"
Chip and Josh grabbed a drink from the kitchen, and then slowly walked out to the pool. As they walked through the doorway, they both almost collapsed with laughter when they heard Sean yell.
"Justy! I'm gonna KILL you!" Sean yelled as he extracted himself from the pool, followed by a giggling Timmy.
To be continued .....
I know - a little shorter than usual, but what can I say. Amazing how a little boy can help solve problems, ain't it? As of this moment, it looks like Part One should wrap up before Chapter Thirty, then I will immediately begin on Part Two.
Just a little trivia for you; in book form, this story is now just as long as Anne Rice's story "The Vampire Armond". It has taken FIFTEEN months to get this far, and if it wasn't for YOU, the loyal readers, and Greybear, my roommate and editor, this story would have never made it this far.
A heartfelt THANK-YOU to each and every one of you, due to my work schedule I have not been able to respond to your e-mails, but I read and save every one of them. Another HUGE thanks to David - you work hard to ensure we have a place to make our ramblings available to everyone, and you deserve a standing ovation. Also thanks to Comicality, for goading this budding author on to produce the best I can write.
Last, but definately NOT least, a thank-you and big hug to my little bro; for keeping me on-track and giving a reason to follow this to it's eventual end. You are very special, kiddo, and have affected my life in a positive way I will never forget. Thank-you for coming into my life, you are the best little brother anyone could ever ask for. ((((((((((((((((((HUGS))))))))))))))))))
As always, give those you love a BIG hug!