Sequel to The More Things Change. See part 0 for children info. As always, this series carries a
m/m/m/f warning and is part of the Three of a Kind Universe - a seriously AU world.
Changes in the Wind
It was almost a moth later when the meeting was called to discuss the AI's future. William
looked across the large table in the library at the members of the San Francisco house, present and
future. "I think it would be best if I took Larry's AI's home to London with me." He held up a
hand to forestall any arguments. The house mates had come to like her and found her incredibly
useful to them also. "We have a crack computer person in London working on our system. She'd
be safe there and so would the others. He could carry on Blair's friend's work until he was fit to
do it on his own."
"I don't think he'd like that," Blair pointed out. "He's not real fond of small groups of heavy
handed people. Not that I blame him, he's been visited twice in the hospital by the same
government people that beat him the first time."
"I know and I've sent someone, our computer person to be precise, to go talk to him. He may not
remember her or the others, but he'll be asked his opinion and we'll follow it. We'll gently lead
him back to it over time if we have to." William leaned forward. "The Ruling Council has
decided, late last night, that we need to protect Millia and her siblings like the special lives they
are. We know what one was planned for and we agree with it whole heartedly, but it was decided
that London was the safest place for them. We have the larger computer system, the experts. We
have the personnel at Oxford and Cambridge, not to mention a former member of our house at
MIT. It's been decided that London would be the best environment for her. Besides, how long
could she stay here before someone else found out? Hmm? And what would happen when
another house found out? In London we could tell them it was new research project and that
we're testing it out. Some people like the South African house might steal her from you, but they
wouldn't do that to us." He turned toward Blair and Jim. "It's best this way," he finished.
Jim looked at his lover and watched him struggle with the decision. Technically since Millia was
in his care, he could veto the plan. "He has a good point."
"I know that. I'm just concerned about her well being and what Larry would want."
"He's coming over as soon as he's out of the hospital," William promised. "We've already talked
to him and he's agreed. He may not know why, but he agreed." He smiled. "I promise I won't
let anything happen to her and I'll raise her myself."
Derek raised an eyebrow. "You weren't there for that part of your children's lives, how can you
expect to raise her?" At the hurt look and indrawn breath, he added. "I'm sure you were on a dig
most of that time, Qumran if I remember right, then Greece and Turkey. I know you wanted to
be there, but everything else got in the way."
William took a drink of water. "You're right, but that's not really an issue. We've been talking a
lot and she thinks it'd be okay to come to London too. She likes me, likes how I treat her and
how I teach her things." He shrugged and gripped his glass tightly. "I won't be alone and if I
need help I'll call you four or Blair, all right?"
Philip laid a hand on William's. "I'm sure he didn' mean ta hur' ya, but only tell the truth. She's
a big respons'bil'ty an' you're goin' through some tryin' times righ' now."
William smiled at the former priest. "I know and I'm touched that you guys care, but it doesn't
matter to her. She's been talking to my kids and my wife, who thinks I'm adopting an abnormally
bright child, and they all like her too." He sighed. "This wasn't an easy decision, but I think it's
the right one."
Blair looked at Derek and his family, then at the other member of his own, who was starting to
zone. He pinched Jim and looked back to William. "If you think it's best, but I want to be able to
talk to her all the time. We're pretty close too."
William smiled and nodded. "Of course. Anytime you want. Even if we have to install a video
conferencing system in your apartment." He looked at Jim. "What's wrong with him?"
Blair shrugged and turned to look at his husband, watching him try to shake himself out of
another zone. "What's wrong Jim?"
"I'm not sure," he said slowly. "I .. I sense something about Alex. Something different."
Alex blushed and sat back some. "Okay, so what?"
"Go through a normal progression. Is it a smell, a sight, a sound, or a taste to the air around
"A .. a smell. I think. But I can *see* something too, I just don't know what."
Blair nodded and motioned for her to move closer. "Is it a sickness smell or another type?"
"Both," he said definitely. "And now that she's moved closer, I can hear something too." His
eyes widened. "Another heartbeat."
Nick moaned, Derek groaned and covered his eyes and Philip pounded his head on the table.
Alex just started to laugh and cry at the same time.
Blair rubbed Jim's shoulders, helping him focus. "How many? Extra ones I mean."
"Just the one. A small, light, really fast one." He got up and moved around her, putting his hand
over her stomach. "Right here," he said, touching a spot near her navel lightly.
Blair smiled at his lover. "You know, you could be onto a whole ‘nother line of work if you
didn't want to be a cop anymore."
Jim shook his head at his husband's silliness and kneeled down next to her, laying his head on her
stomach, over where he could hear the extra heartbeat. "He's fine," Jim said.
Alex turned to look at Philip. "You just had to have some a few weeks ago, huh."
Philip started to bang his head on the table, and was grabbed by his three mates. They all left the
Library together, going up to their room to talk and to figure things out.
William looked over at Jim. "Well, you could always stay. That particular gift would be most
useful in this house." He smiled and got up, going into the control room to talk to his ‘daughter'
as he called her now.
The day Alex took the pregnancy test she was surrounded by not only her husbands, but also by
Jim. They all looked over her shoulder at the little pink line and stepped back to hold her and
Philip apart after she took off her slipper and tried to hit him with it.
For the next two days, every time Jim would see Alex, he would start to zone. It got so bad over
breakfast one morning that she had to leave the table for a while so he could come back. Right
afterwards, Blair pulled her aside to talk to her.
"I think he needs some desensitization time to get used to it. You're the first pregnant woman
he's known." He handed her a piece of fruit. "Derek asked me to make sure you eat it."
She smiled thinly and bit into the ripe pear. "Okay, so he needs to spend some time laying on my
stomach listening to him?"
Blair grinned. "That would be my guess, but how he knows it's a boy I'm not sure."
Alex shook her head and walked back into the kitchen, pulling the unresisting Jim into one of the
sitting rooms. She sat down and he laid his head down on her stomach.
Blair occasionally walked by just to make sure Jim was all right. The husbands occasionally
walked by to make sure Alex was all right. Finally Jim and Alex couldn't take it any more and
snuck out of the house, taking Nick's prized car, and headed off to the mainland to go play in
peace and quiet.
Derek jumped out of the bed, bringing his human blanket with him, as Alex walked up the stairs.
He pushed Nick's head back onto the large bed and picked up his wife, swinging her around.
"If you knew what I had eaten today, you wouldn't be so quick to do that," she warned.
Derek started to laugh and held her tightly to his chest, sitting them both down. After moving the
youngest husband's head out of the way. "I'm so glad you're back and all right. We were
worried sick when you left like that."
Alex smiled up at him. "I was tired of being fussed over. Jim and I went out and ate ice cream
and pretzels and went for a walk and talked and played in the park in the big sandbox and visited
the zoo." She grabbed Derek's face so she could be sure he heard and saw her. "We were fine
and we had fun. He was *exactly* what I needed. All you guys are a bit much sometimes."
Derek nodded and sat her on the mattress, kneeling at her feet. "I'm sorry, I'll try to do better," he
She sighed and raised his head from where it rested in her lap. "I'm... You don't need to do
better, just to let go sometimes. Have some fun, play with me sometimes."
Nick rolled over and hugged her. "You yelled at us the last time we suggested going to the
amusement park. Something about not being able to do anything at your size."
Alex shook her head and patted the arms that stealthily encircled her waist. "Guys, even I need
some play time. Just a time to cut loose and be not the mom." She looked around at her mates,
bonded loves, and smiled. "You guys get to play all the time and I *miss* not being able to do
anything but have kids. I want to be able to let go and play and work and have fun. You
remember the romantic times we used to have? Way back when we were first married?" They all
smiled and nodded. "I *loved* those, absolutely adored them. I miss that spontaneity and sense
of doing what felt good. I want that back again."
Philip nodded against her back. "We'll try, just bea' us nex' time we forget? Please?" He kissed
the tense spot between her shoulder blades. "Please?"
"Sure babe, anytime. You know that." She let herself be cuddled and coddled like the favorite
toy they always treated her as, for now.
Upstairs, in the other part of the house, it was a different matter. Jim had walked through the
door and been hit by the first of many pillows.
"Sure, just take off and worry us all to *death*," was the first thing Jim heard. "Don't tell any of
us that you're planning on taking a trip into the city. What would have happened if you had
gotten hurt? Or even better, if you drew the sort of attention you always seem to draw? Hmm?
Jim fended off another pillow, fortunately the last one on the bed if he had counted right, and
grabbed his husband. "We were fine. She needed some time to have some fun and I watched to
make sure she didn't get into any trouble." He sat them down on the floor in the midst of the
scattered pillows. "I'm sorry I worried you," he said quietly.
Blair covered his face and shook his head. "It's not that Jim, what would have happened if..." his
question was cut of by a pair of lips.
"Nothing would. I watched her. She was fine and we had some fun." He kissed his husband
again and stood up. "Now then, would you like to help pick up the pillows?"
Blair walked over to the easy chair and flopped down. "No," he pouted.
Jim shook his head and laid down, grabbing a few of the pillows to lay on. "Fine. When you're
ready, wake me up."
Blair huffed out of the room.
Jim let him stew for a few hours before going in search of his husband. He finally found Blair
curled up on a couch, reading a book, in the living room; the same couch they had slept on the
night William had gotten there. Jim kneeled down beside his husband's chest and laid his head
on Blair's stomach. "I'm sorry," he said quietly.
Blair turned a page and didn't look up. "That's nice," he answered. He briefly glanced over the
top of the book. "Do you even know why I'm upset?"
Jim shook his head. "You're the one that worries like that so I don't have a clue."
Blair nodded and marked his place before carefully putting down his book. "I'm upset because
you left without telling anyone. You could have been hurt, could have gotten Alex hurt, and no
one would have known or had a clue where you were." He breathed deeply and sat up, pushing
Jim down to his legs. "I had no idea where you were, what condition you were in, who might
have gotten to you. But I'm sure you remember those feelings." He shoved Jim off and went
back up to their room. "I'm going up to bed, follow me when you have it figured out."
Jim nodded and pulled himself up onto the soft couch. He knew exactly what Blair had been
feeling, once it had been explained to him, why the younger man had been upset. He had had
those feelings plenty of times both before and after they had gotten together. Every time Blair
had been late or had gone missing or had been kidnapped. Or even when he hadn't been
kidnapped or hurt, he had always worried about Blair and if he was all right.
He got up slowly and walked up the stairs. He tapped on the door and looked around the edge.
"Ready to talk?"
"Have you figured it out?"
Jim nodded and walked in. He stripped down to his boxers and slid under the sinfully soft sheets,
grabbing his husband and pulling his sturdy body in close. "I'm sorry I was so insensitive. I
*do* know what you were feeling, had that feeling myself all too often. I won't do it again." He
kissed the back of Blair's neck. "I promise I'll at least tell someone and have them tell you."
Blair nodded and wiggled backwards until he was firmly against his husband's body. "Okay, just
don't worry me again. I won't look as good as Derek in gray hair."
Jim laughed and licked the back of his lover's neck, tasting him for the second time that day.
"Yeah, you will. You'll keep all that hair, and maybe more, and you'll do the distinguished
gentleman thing just like he does."
Blair laughed and rolled over. "You think?"
Jim nodded. "I'll be bald and you'll have hair down to your hips." He possessed the mouth he
had been thinking of all day. "Maybe more and I'll fix it every morning since I'll be retired and
you'll still be teaching."
Blair pulled back some. "You mean that? You want to retire?"
Jim closed his eyes and buried his face in the bend of Blair's throat. "Yeah, I do. I love being a
detective, but I'm not keeping up the way I used to. The bad guys are getting younger and faster
and I'm not." He looked up. "Maybe I'll go back to school and we'll live on your salary and my
pittance this time."
Blair laughed and pulled Jim in close enough to whisper. "Or we could stay here. William's been
hinting that he wants me to join."
Jim pushed him back. "Are you sure?" Blair nodded. "What would I do?"
"The same thing Nick does. You'll take Alex's place and be a researcher and investigator." He
planted a soft kiss. "Think about it, we can talk about it in the morning."
Jim ran his fingers through Blair's hair. "Would you teach here still?" Blair nodded from his
position on Jim's shoulder. "Could we not live here with them?"
Blair looked up. "You know, I like this house. It has character. It has style and love poured
throughout it by every generation."
Jim tickled him lightly. "It has a butler that will clean up after you when you've been working all
night and someone who will do the laundry." He smiled and licked Blair's nose from tip to
forehead. "All right I'll think about it but I want to talk to William first."
Blair nodded and tried to get out of bed. "Later, babe, I have better plans for right now."
It was a couple of weeks later when everything started to get strange around the house.
The older kids had started to disappear for hours at a time with Kat and Richard, Sydney, and
Amara would stand by the window and watch for something. Then for no reason apparent to the
adults they would quit watching and head back to their playing.
Derek had been observing that pattern for a few days when he asked Jim to see if he could tell
what he kids were watching for. So the next day, Jim monitored them while the little ones were
playing. When they got up and went to the window, so did he. He piggybacked his sight and
hearing so he could reach farther into the woods where the kids were staring. Then he saw a flash
of ... something. "Derek," he called.
Derek and Blair came in together. "Did you find something?"
Jim took Derek's hand and pointed in the direction of the flash. "Out there, a brief flash, almost
like a flame and smoke. Just for a second."
Blair squatted down so he would be at the children's height. "So, who's making the big flash?"
he asked them.
Sydney left the window and crawled up on the couch, grabbing a picture and holding it out.
Derek took it and looked over his four older children. "Your brother and sisters are doing it?"
Sydney nodded and so did the other two. Derek sat down on the couch and looked at Nick's son.
He knew the child had some gifts, the fact that he scared away the creature trapped in the box
Blair had brought them proved that. "Do you know what they're doing?"
Richard and Amara ran out of the room and the adults followed them to the secret passage in the
library. Richard had found a hidden door in the room behind the bookshelves where Derek had
once found a statue. They crawled through the small space, the three adults following closely.
When they came out into another room and stood up, pointing at the center, Derek and Blair
started to swear.
//Need help in here,// he sent to his lovers, along with directions. //Especially you Philip. Looks
like a casting circle.// The swearing that started would have startled him if they hadn't suspected
just such an occurrence and hadn't been looking for the room for almost a week now.
Blair walked around the edge of the chalked lines, looking at the style and the complexity.
"Someone older must have drawn it and moved this stuff. The candlesticks are wrought iron.
The book stand is solid wood it looks like." He looked back at Derek. "If it's not us and it's not
you, then who?"
Nick came through the passage and stood up, carrying a book. "Philip wanted me to go check on
Kat while he got some stuff from the kitchen." He handed over the book that looked just like a
diary. "It's Kat's," he said needlessly.
Derek's hopes fell as he opened the book and looked at the carefully written instructions on the
first page. "She's been teaching them?"
"It looks that way."
Jim walked along the wall, looking for the outline of another door or another way in. "Derek,
there's a panel here that flips open and a larger door behind the wall hanging." He pointed at the
dark blue silk lining one wall. "I'd say that's how they moved in."
Derek nodded and moved so Philip could get in. He clutched the book Alex had gotten the young
woman for her birthday a year ago and watched as his middle husband started to uncast the area
and stop all the spells that were in progress.
When Philip handed Blair the box of items found in the room he, Derek, and Jim all went to the
control room to call London and Rachel, who had taken a sabbatical for a few months once her
daughter had gotten old enough to be there by herself. The young woman's birthday had just been
a few weeks ago.
Derek made the hardest call personally while Blair and Jim catalogued the items found and told
London. "Rachel, it's Derek. I need you to come out here. It's important." He got an answer
and hung up, looking at the floor.
William looked down from the screen. "Derek, it's not your fault. You did everything you could
to see that she didn't turn and gave her a chance to prove that she hadn't when you thought she
did. This is no one's fault but hers."
Jim looked up, gently placing objects back into the box. "What about the four older kids? The
younger ones said they were out there too."
William shook his head. "I don't know." He spun around on his chair and called someone into
the control room on his end. "We'll have to discuss it."
Derek nodded and severed the link. Alex came in and sat on his lap, giving and receiving the
comfort they both needed. When the other two members of the link came in, they all huddled
Jim looked at Blair and nodded. Blair cleared his throat. "Why don't you guys go to your room
for a while. You need to be alone and we'll lock the door and the younger ones in here with us."
Derek looked between his mates. "Thank you," he said quietly and stood, setting Alex back on
Blair left to get the three little ones that were in that part of the house while the four lovers went
to their suite and locked themselves and the younger kids, along with the one normal one, in.
When Kat and the four kids came back in, Jim went to do the hard part. He locked them in a
room by themselves, away from anything harmful, and stood guard over it.
"Excuse me Jim," Rachel said, walking down the hall. "Derek called for me, I'm Kat's mother.
Do you know where he is?"
Jim nodded. "They're in their room. Go ahead and go up." He looked her over. "It's not an
accident so don't worry, just a problem."
Rachel nodded and went to the special suite. She knocked on the bottom door and waited until
Nick let her in. They walked up the stairs together, talking quietly. She took the rocking chair
beside the bed and sat down, waiting for someone to tell her why she had been summoned.
Derek and Philip both cleared their throats and looked at each other. Derek sat up and moved to
the edge of the large bed. "Rachel," he started and cleared his throat again. "We have something
to tell you, not something goot."
Alex and Nick sat beside him, Philip kneeling behind them. Alex handed over the book and
waited while she read it.
"This looks like a spell. Derek are you telling me you caught Kat doing Magic?" She looked up
in shock. "I don't understand, how did she start? Where is she now? How did this happen
here?" She got up and started to pace. "How could you let this happen?"
"Rachel, we don't know how or when it started," Alex said. "We only found it today. She and
the four older ones were caught practicing out in the woods by some of the younger ones. They
led us to their room and we found a bunch of things."
"Spell castin' thin's," Philip added. "I uncast it and they're under guard out in another part of the
Rachel ran a hand through her mostly gray hair and frowned. "Yeah, I talked the guard before I
came up. So, it wasn't just Kat?" The four shook their heads. "So, what do I do?"
"She'll be expelled after we find out if she's harmed anyone and what she's done with it," Derek
said. "She'll not be able to come back here. You will, but she can never step foot on the island
Rachel nodded, downcast look to her whole body. "And yours?"
"We don't know yet," Alex said. "I'm thinking a boarding school where they'll be watched."
Rachel nodded. "That and Richard, Sydney, and Amara will be shown how wrong it was of them
to do it."
"That's who found them?" They all nodded. "Well, that would explain their taste in books." She
sat back down again. "I knew something was going on, she seemed so distant. I tired to get her
to tell me and when she told me it was a man problem, I believed her."
Alex reached over and patted her leg. "It may have started out that way. We've know she's had
the gift since we first met you and we were watching too. Unfortunately, her close association
with us helped her camouflage it very well."
Derek nodded. "We'll understand if you want to leave too. This is going to be a terrible strain on
your family and will tear you in a few different directions." He looked at the others. "None of us
blame you. We know you would have stopped her and told us immediately if you had found it
She smiled wanly, taking a deep breath. "Oh, I know it will and I don't blame you. Katherine's a
big girl now and she's done this of her own free will. I just don't know how to deal with this." She
clutched the book to her chest and handed it back. "I don't want this is my house." She stood up
and started to pace again. "I think I will take some time off and get her settled someplace far
away. A boarding school sounds like a good idea to me. Can you ask around and see if there's
one that would work?" Derek nodded. "Thank you." She started to walk down the stairs. "Call
me when I can come and get her and her things."
"We will," Alex promised quietly. Rachel nodded and left the house.
Nick fell over across his mate's laps and sighed. "Well, that went well at least." Derek ran his
fingers though Nick's hair. "What are we going to do?"
"I don't know," Derek said honestly. "I don't know."
The Legacy tribunal looked across the table at the former associate member. "You admit to
doing wrong," William said, "and we can show you no mercy over those actions. You are hereby
banned from ever being a member of this organization. Any future offspring will have one strike
against them if they desire to join." He cleared his throat. "Do you have anything to say, a
statement for the records, at this time?"
Katherine Corrigan stood up and looked around at the people who had always treated her as one
of their own. "I'm sorry that my actions may have caused harm, but not for doing them. I
exercised a natural gift and used it to the best of my authority and knowledge. For the harm I've
caused to the children of this house, turning them to the dark side, I'm especially sorry." She
nodded and sat back down.
Derek stood and faced the tribunal. "There's also the problem of our young children."
William nodded and lifted a packet of papers. "We, the tribunal, agreed that it would be best if
they didn't continue to be around the house for a time. I know this will be hard on all of you, but
we feel it's best that they be sent to a boarding school until such a time as they can make their own
Derek nodded and sat back down. Alex and Philip stood up. "Do you have one in mind and
what about holidays and off sessions?"
"This particular one, the one that I would recommend, has been used for centuries by the Legacy
for similar circumstances and for children orphaned by the calling," the female member of the
board said. "We've brought you all the information you'll need to make the choice and William
has agreed to watch over them in your absence." She handed the envelope over to a Guardian
who handed it to Alex. "We feel for your plight, for all of your plights and discomfort in this
situation. We will do what we can to minimize the impact this holds for you."
William nodded at the family. "I'll watch over them, along with one of mine that's there. When
you need to come over, just give me some warning and you can use my house. I'm truly sorry it
had to come down to this and their situation will be studied when they reach an age where they
can decide which side they're on. Until then, they pose a great threat to both this house and to the
Legacy as a whole. I'm sorry."
Derek, Philip, Alex, and Nick all nodded and held each other's hands, touching minds lightly for
"You'll get time to say goodbye," the female member of the Tribunal said, "and you will be
allowed to accompany them over. Also, you will be allowed to visit at any time, for any reason.
We will all do our best to minimize the strain here. I'm a mother myself and this decision breaks
my heart, but it's the only way they and you can be safe." She turned to William and nodded at
the Guardian to remove him from his seat. William was brought around to the front of the table
and made to face the tribunal. "As to your keeping of this secret, it is admirable. We - he, I, and
the Beijing Precept - have decided that you were acting in the best interest of the members and
still trying to do your job correctly. We will not punish you for keeping the particulars of their
relationship out of the common knowledge."
The other male member of the board removed his glasses and used them to point at William and
the San Francisco family. "We will seal these records and place them in that same file. We
believe that you have shown good judgement in this matter." He smiled over at Derek. "I'm sure
we would all like to be able to say we understand your problems here, but we can't and we'll still
do our best to keep your specialness out of the other houses. The only people that will know are
those here and the assistant William has been keeping to help him. As for the matter of the AI
systems, it is believed that you showed good judgement there too. We've evaluated her progress
and that of the new ones and we are pleased. Her files are to be placed in the same sealed
directory, accessible only to the London Precept." He banged the gavel. "This meeting is
adjourned and the sentences are to be carried out immediately."
The family walked out of the darkened room and went to gather their four oldest children.
William stopped Jim and Blair on the way out, pulling them aside with the other members of the
"This is Doctor Blair Sandburg and his husband James Ellison," William said, introducing them
to the Tribunal members. "They are the ones I've picked to handle things here in case something
happens to our family."
The female member nodded. "Welcome aboard. Stay safe." She shook their hands and walked
out to go call her house. "I've got to call Moscow."
The male member, the Boston Precept, smiled. "You'll do fine. I remember young Blair from his
summer internships here many years ago." He clapped Blair on the back and shook Jim's hand.
"Welcome to the family. Learn all you can from these people here and from William and you'll
have not so many problems."
William laughed. "I'm sure, but we've not announced it to the house mates yet. We're doing that
at the next formal here for Legacy members."
The Boston Precept nodded and walked away. "I'm sure it'll be fine."
William smiled and nodded. "See, not a problem."
Jim and Blair watched as the airport van pulled away, waving at the family members inside.
When it was out of sight, they headed back inside with the children who had been saying goodbye
to their older siblings. Jim sat down on the couch and immediately had a lapful of young children
that needed to be comforted. "It's all right," he told them. "They're going to a good school and
you'll be able to write letters and talk to them and all."
Blair shook his head and showed the kids his surprise. "Look at what I got you four," he said,
shaking the box.
Amara climbed down off the couch and reached for the box. "Me?"
"No, Amara, for all of you. It's so you can talk to your brother and sisters while they're gone."
Blair sat down beside Jim's feet and helped the three year old open the box. They carefully pulled
out the tape recorder and Blair showed it to all the others. "This is so you guys can make tapes of
letters and send them over so you can talk to them."
"Blair," William said from the doorway. "They can't."
Blair nodded. "So?" He smiled up at the dapper looking man. "What's a tape every now and
then? Who'll know, them?"
Jim shook his head and tipped it back. "Who says that they can't do something about it? Or that
William got the picture and nodded, leaving the room. "Okay, just don't promise them things that
"Oh, all right," Blair sighed, calling after William. "Are you going up to the quad?"
"Me? They don't like me," William called back. "Send Jim, they like him." William's laugh
echoed throughout the house.
Jim shook his head and put the kids down onto the couch. "I should go check on them, huh?" He
kissed the top of Blair's head and walked out of the room to go check on the tiny infants.
Blair watched his lover go, sighing in relief. "Okay guys, here's the deal," he said, gathering the
kids around him.
Jim walked into the kitchen carrying the ever fussy Martin belly down over his arm. He smiled at
the concentrated efforts of the older kids to not make a mess while making something and sat
down, after grabbing the bottle from the fridge. "So, what're you making?" he asked, flipping
Martin over and sticking the bottle in before he could cry.
"Jelly," Amara said, making her younger brothers roll his eyes up.
Jim smiled and nodded. "I think I did that once." He smiled down at the infant in his arms.
"And some day so will you."
Sydney waddled over, going up on his toes to look at the baby. "Baby sleep?"
"No, love, he's not asleep," Blair said, coming into the room. "Jim's feeding him."
"Oh, eating baby," Sydney said and walked back over to where the kids were making ‘jelly'.
Blair sat down beside Jim and wiggled his fingers at the infants. "Having bottled mom?" he
asked quietly, delighting in the answering waving of arms, no matter how involuntary. "So, Jim,
how are we going to work this tonight?"
Jim shook his head and handed off Martin to his husband. "I don't know. Would it be better to
move them all or to sleep in the happy couples' bed?" He smiled. "You know, if we got a bed
that big, I could probably even not sleep on the edge."
Blair shook his head and groaned. "If you would just cuddle at night...." he started and looked
over at the older kids. "So, guys, would you like to move into the main part of the house or
would you like us to sleep in your parents' bed?"
All four of them looked at the others and then at Blair. "No nap," they said together.
Jim shook his head. "No, not a nap, not right now. Tonight, when we all go to bed, would you
guys like for us to stay up there with you or would you like to stay in the big part of the house
"No," Sydney said, nodding his head.
Blair and Jim laughed. "Well, at least he's like his father," Blair said quietly.
Jim just started laughing again and got up, kissing Blair before going to move some of their stuff.
Blair looked over at the kids and smiled. "Ready?"
"Yeah!" they yelled in unison.
Blair looked around the room and stopped. "Where's Amara," he asked Richard.
"Kitty, she say," he said, yawning and pulling the covers up over his head. "Night!"
"Night night, precious ones," Blair said softly, walking out the door and closing it gently. He
trekked to the kitchen and found his young female charges dishing out the leftovers from supper
onto a plate. "So, what are we doing?"
"Kitty kitty," Shelby said.
"Kitty pood," Amara agreed, holding up the plate. "Kitty like?"
Blair looked around. "What cat you guys?" The girls pointed to a corner. "Oh, okay," Blair said,
thinking it was a pretend cat and the butler would be cleaning up the plate in the morning. "Set it
down where the kitty can get to it and let's hop into bed." He stood there and watched while
Amara looked around and chose a spot for the plate. Blair made a quick note on the fridge to the
butler, apologizing for the mess, before herding the girls up the stairs.
Once he had them all in bed and asleep, Blair quietly walked up the stairs to find his lover waiting
on him. "So," he said, crawling sensually across the large bed's top, "what should we do now?"
Jim smiled and pounced, knocking his mate to the mattress and pining him. "Oh, I don't know,"
Jim purred and took a broad lick down Blair's neck. "I'm going to devour you and you lay there
and enjoy it?" Blair shook his head. "You're going to devour me and I'm going to lay there and
enjoy it?" Blair smiled and shook his head. "Hmmm," he purred, taking another lick and nipping
off the top button of his husband's shirt. "I'm going to make you cum so hard you scream and
then I'm going to follow?"
Blair rolled them over, trapping Jim on the bottom. "Sure you are, right after I do it to you," he
said, licking the brownie residue off Jim's face. "So, were they good?" He lapped off another
tidbit of chocolate.
Jim hummed and wiggled under Blair's weight. "Yeah, they were pretty yummy love. You and
the kids did good." He grinned up. "Should I have saved you one?"
Blair just shook his head and rolled off, landing beside his mate. "No, we made them for you."
He smiled. "We had the batter anyway."
Jim smiled, rolling onto his side and gathering his mate to his chest. "And you didn't share all
that slimy goodness?" Blair shook his head. "So, I talked to William today and signed the
Blair grinned and snuggled down into Jim's chest. "So, we're official?" Jim nodded and started
to stroke the soft curls. "Cool. Just wait until Derek hits the roof."
Jim bent down, kissing the top of Blair's curls. "I don't think he will. He might yell at William
for doing this without telling him, but he won't yell at us." He tickled his husband lightly. "It's
not like he's going to risk his favorite babysitter." Blair hummed as the tickles turned into
caresses. "And I called Simon today to tell him."
Blair looked up and gently kissed the lightly stubbled jaw. "How did he take it?"
Jim frowned. "Would that be before or after the paramedics got him stabilized?" Blair frowned
and nipped at his chin. "Sorry, he didn't take it well."
"We expected that though. You and he have been friends forever." He soothed the recent bite
with a lick to the area. "Are you going to go up and talk to him?" Jim nodded. "Do you want me
to come along?"
"No," Jim said and sighed. "I want to talk to him alone and when you come up to help finish
finalizing the details we can all sit down together." He sighed again and disengaged himself from
his mate, going over to the cradle and picking up the smallest infant. "Good morning Carin, how
Blair smiled and rolled onto his back, holding out his arms. "Here. Give her to me."
Jim handed her over and crawled in to watch his mate work his magic on another female. Once
she was settled down between them, Jim kissed his husband softly. "You know, I used to get so
jealous of what you gave those women."
Blair frowned. "Jim, I've not given a woman anything in a while."
"I mean before."
Blair had the decency to blush slightly. "I'm sorry about all that. I was searching and was always
in the wrong place." He raised a hand to stroke over Jim's shoulder. "Do you think I flirt now?""
Jim smiled. "Only when you want something." Blair snorted and shook his head. "Seriously,
why do you think you keep getting the new President coming to your office? You flirted when
you wanted the time off and she liked it."
Blair just shook his head and kissed his partner deeply before lifting the infant out of the bed and
putting her back. By the time he crawled back in, Jim was softly snoring. Blair grabbed the
blanket and covered him before getting back in and snuggling in next to him.
Alex looked around at the cold stone edifice and frowned. "I'm not sure this is the right place for
them," she told her husbands.
"It can't be too bad," Derek rationalized. "We've been sending kids here for forever."
Nick shrugged and opened the car's door, letting the kids out. "Home sweet school for the next
little while guys," he said. //It's not going to be that bad, love, not after the first few days.//
The three girls looked around and smiled. They ran up the stairs, quickly followed by their
brother, and inside the building.
Philip closed his eyes and used his knowledge of power flows to sense the air in the school. He
whistled. "Someone is a powerful one," he said quietly.
A middle aged woman in a very conservative skirt and sweater came out and smiled at them.
"You would be the family from San Francisco?" she asked in a cultured voice.
Derek nodded. "I'm Derek Rayne and this is my family." He brought Nick forward. "This is my
husband Nick and our mates Alex and Philip."
The woman nodded and held out a hand to each of them. "I'm Gladys and I'm the head mistress
here. Please come in."
Derek took Alex's and Nick's hand, holding them while they walked in and looked around. All of
their fears were put to rest as she looked at the comfortable and warm furnishings. //See, not so
bad,// Derek sent. //Much better than some of the ones that I or Philip ended up at.//
Philip snorted though the link. //True. One of mine looked like the church had taken over an old
prison and made it a school without changing anything.// He took Nick's hand. //They'll be fine
here,// he sent to his youngest husband.
//I know, but it's still hard.//
//Nick, it's not going to be easy, none of us expected that.// Derek squeezed the younger man's
hand. //But they'll be happy and safe here and no one will force them to use their abilities.//
"Gladys, I'm worried about a few things, could we adjourn to your office?"
She smiled and leaned down to whisper in a child's ear, sending her off with a pat to her back.
"Right this way, please." She led them to a small room, comfortably but shabbily decorated with
older furniture that had seen better days. "Please sit." She took the chair behind the large desk
and watched them. "So, I'm told that your children have ... gifts?"
Derek cleared his throat. "Yes, they all do and were caught using them. That's part of what we
are concerned about."
"I can see how that could become problematic. Let me state our policy for you: We will teach
them to use their abilities safely and competently, and if and when the time comes up for them to
choose a side, we give them information and people to talk to that have made the choice."
Derek nodded. "Our children were being taught without our knowledge by another former
member, a late teen. She's been known to be drawn to the dark side."
Gladys hummed. "Well, that's not all that uncommon here. Uncommon here is a natural telepath
that hasn't been mistreated." She held out her hands. "We'll do everything we can to make sure
that they'll end up on the right side, or even in the middle, but we're only teachers."
"Guidance, as it were?" Philip asked. //I'm still wary of this situation.// "Do you have any prior
students we could talk to?"
"We have many, but our records are sealed." She waved a hand toward the filing cabinets.
"Because of the nature of the children here and the lives they used to live, we have to be
especially careful that no one knows they're here. The same will for your children, no one outside
of the organization will know they're here."
Derek looked at his lovers. //Well? Do we trust it for now and keep an eye on them and look for
//Please,// Alex sent back. //I have the most horrible feeling about what goes on here.//
//Me too,// Nick sent. //It's not like I have a clue about why I'm feeling it, but this place gives me
the creeps.// He shivered and pulled his jacket closer around his chest. //We shouldn't even leave
Philip patted Nick's hand. //No, we shouldn't. I can feel someone upstairs ‘working' on
Derek frowned. //All right, we'll go to a hotel and check in and we'll talk to William from the
//It's going to take us all night to get back,// Alex pointed out. //London's all the way across the
country. *Ireland* is closer.//
Derek smiled. //Yes, it is, but we passed that little inn on the trip about an hour ago.// He patted
her hand. //It's supposed to have nice beds, according to William.//
Nick snorted through their link. //That man considers a lumpy mattress comfortable.//
//Field work,// Derek sent simply, making Alex and Philip smile.
//Okay,// Nick agreed. //Let's go, I'm getting that funny feeling again.// He shivered slightly.
Derek stood, gathering his own jacket around his body. "We're going to think about it. We'll
leave now and get in touch with you in a few days." He shook Gladys' hand. "Goot day."
She just sat there and smiled. Her grin was the last thing any of them saw for a while.
Blair looked down at the young child trying to climb into his lap. "What's up Richard," he asked
sleepily, putting down his cup of coffee.
"Daddies and mommy," he said, bouncing. "Bad lady."
Blair ruffled his short hair and sighed. " Let me guess, you saw something happen?" Richard
nodded. "Was it the older kids?" Richard looked confused. "Was it Mary and those guys?" Blair
"Nope, school." He clung to Blair's bathrobe and hid his head. "Meanies," he said quietly.
Jim came down the stairs carrying the basket of the quad. "So, what happened?"
"Nap, bad nap," Richard said and got down, coming over to help Jim put the basket on the table
by propping the bottom with his head. "Meanies make mommy and daddies nap."
Jim sat down and pulled the young child into his lap. "Does he have the sight, Blair?" The other
man nodded, sipping his strong coffee. "Okay, Richard, I want you to go wake up Uncle William,
The boy nodded, but didn't move. "‘Mara go." He smiled at his Uncles. "She no night night
Jim smiled and got the youngster into his booster seat. "Okay, that's a good idea." He snapped
the belt on. "Can you eat while we wait for her to go scream in his ear?"
Richard nodded and held his arms out, trying to get an apple.
Jim ruffled the young boy's hair and got up to dish him out some food from the warming tray the
butler had set up. "Eggies?"
"Eggies!" Richard yelled.
Blair shook his head and opened up the paper to the society section. He was flipping pages,
looking at the pictures mainly, when he stopped and blanched. Jim hurried back to the table and
put Richard's plate in front of him, moving to stand behind his husband and see what had upset
There, in the middle of the wedding announcements, was a young girl he had met a few months
back. "Katherine Corrigan to wed V. Arkadi," Jim read slowly.
The paper was snatched off the table by William, who sat down and started to swear. He looked
over at Richard. "So, your daddies and mommy are in trouble?" He asked, carefully folding the
paper to the announcement.
"Meanies make them bad nap," Richard said around a mouthful of scrambled eggs. He held out
his spoon. "Eggies?"
"Not right now, Richard, but thank you." William patted his hand and waited until he has
swallowed his current bite. "Was it at the school?" Richard nodded. "And there was a bad
Richard swallowed and started to cough, Jim reaching over to help him. "Mean lady. She help
them bad nap." He tossed his spoon onto the floor, barely missing the puppy. "Oh, poor baby,
not mean it." He struggled and eventually slid under the belt and to the floor to pet his puppy.
Blair looked over at William. " Your house or this one going?" he asked quietly.
"Mine," William said shortly and got up, going into the control room.
Blair looked at his husband and sighed. "So, do you want the quad or the older ones?"
"The quad," Jim said softly. "You're more cut out to deal with this stuff than I am. It's part of
your training to deal with visions and the paranormal. I'm just an investigator to your brilliant
Blair smiled and got a kiss in return. "Okay. We'll be in the library most of the day." He scooted
back his chair. "Send them when they're fed and cleaned." He strolled away to see what he could
do to help William.
Jim looked down at the two children playing with the dog and the four in the basket on the table.
"So, guys, breakfast?"
All the kids looked at him and grinned.
Blair looked down at his constant leg holder and smiled. "You know what? I want you to lean
how to read, starting right now. Get up here." He pulled her up and into his lap. "You know
what a book is, but today you're going to start to learn how to translate the lines into information
and knowledge that can be passed on to the others." He set the tablet down in front of her and
wrote the alphabet on it quickly. "Okay, now these are the letters of the English language.
You've sen them on Sesame Street right?"
She nodded and looked back at him to smile. She pointed to the a and said "A, alligator."
Blair grinned and pointed to the next one. "B," he said.
"Bunny!" Amara said, raising her hands up. "Bananas and bunnies and .. and ... bafroom."
Blair nodded and kissed the top of her head. "Very good. Now what's the next one?"
She bit her lip and thought. "D?" she said and Blair shook his head. "C?"
Blair smiled and rubbed her arms. "Very good. Then comes D," he pointed. "Then what?"
"Elfant?" she asked quietly.
Blair nodded. "E, and it's elephant." He said the word slowly so she could do so.
"Elephant," Amara said. She pointed at he f. "Four?"
"That's right, that's an f and it started the word four. Very good."
"Cookie?" she asked.
"Hmm, I think you've earned a treat. How ‘bout we go talk the butler into giving us some of
those M&M's and for each letter you get right, you can have one." She nodded and wiggled
down off his lap.
"Me too," Richard said from where he and the puppy were coloring on the floor.
"Yeah, you can a few too," Blair said, rolling his eyes. "Would you like to come get them with
"Nope, coloring," he said simply.
Blair laughed and brought his prize student into the kitchen. "Hey man, can we have the extra
bag of M&M's? Amara's doing so good learning her letters that I wanted to treat her and Richard
The butler smiled and handed them over. "She can have them if she can tell me what letter candy
starts with," he said.
Amara bit her lip and looked up. "K?" The butler and Blair shook his head. "C? Like cookies?"
She was handed the bag. "Very good guessing, Amara," Blair said. He picked her up and carried
her back into the library. "Say thank you," he whispered to her before they walked out.
"Fank you!" she called back.
"You're most welcome Miss Amara," the elderly gentleman said, smiling at the picture the two
Blair and Jim watched as, for the second night in a row, Amara put out ‘kitty pood' for her
imaginary cat. Blair watched her set the plate in an out of the way place and hurry off to bed, Jim
getting the honor tonight of the story while he waited for William to call.
The butler walked back in carrying the tray of glasses and the cookie plate from their pre-bedtime
snack. He looked down at the plate and smiled. "Thank you for cleaning that up for me last
night, sir." He started to load the glasses and plate into the dishwasher.
Blair turned, shocked. "We didn't. That's why I left you the note."
The butler frowned. "Then her imaginary cat isn't?" He started to look around. "You don't think
it's a spirit, do you? Left over from the Egyptian Princess maybe?" He kept looking around.
Jim walked calmly down the stairs and stared at the plate. "No, we don't. She has a ‘puppy' too.
A big, gray, fuzzy one." He looked over at Blair. "Are you sure we want to stay?"
Blair sat down, stunned still. "How is she seeing the spirit guides?"
Jim shrugged and got one of the small cartons of milk from the fridge. "Not a clue, this is your
area, remember? I'm just the muscle."
Blair snorted. "And then he turns to look at his mate that has seen his college certificate, right?"
Jim blushed slightly. "Still, you're the shaman." Jim chugged the cold chocolate milk and tossed
the container, making an impressive shot into the garbage can.
"Nice shot, sir," the butler said, smiling. "And we just got Master Nick to quit doing that too."
Blair started to laugh. "Yeah, I had the hardest time with him at home." He lunged for the phone
when it started to ring. "William?"
"Blair," the tired man on the other end said. "How are things there?"
"William, don't even try to change the subject already. How are they?"
"Comatose, still. I don't know what sort of spell they used or anything. The kids have all been
moved someplace else and all the little groups broken up, just in case. Have any of the kids said
Blair covered the receiver. "Still comatose. Did the kids say anything to you? Anything
Jim snorted. "Besides the little one feeding the spirit guides, which are apparently hungry? No."
Shelby poked her head around the corner. "Richard said the puppy knows what to do." She ran
back up the stairs before anyone could yell at her for being out of bed.
Blair looked at his husband. "Well, he's your problem tomorrow." He uncovered the receiver.
"William, we may just have gotten a clue. I need to talk to my spirit guide, Richard thinks he
"Blair, we have to have a serious talk when I get back." William sighed. "All right. If there's
any change, I'll call the upstair's phone." He hung up.
Blair turned to look at his husband. "I'm going to go meditate and try to find my guide."
Amara grabbed his leg. "He's right there," she said, pointing. "And he likes noodles too." She
grinned up at him, the perfect image of her father's smile.
Blair shook his head and picked her up to put her back in bed. "We're going to have a long talk
tomorrow you guys," he said as he looked down on the three that were pretending to sleep. "A
very long talk."
"Yes sir," came the four part harmony.
Blair walked out of the room, closing the door almost all the way, and ran up the stairs. He
quickly lit some candles and sat down in front of them. He could feel the pull of his guide calling
him to the spirit plane and followed along.
Soon enough, he found himself sitting beside a wolf that was eating some of the leftover beef and
noodle mixture from dinner. "You called," he said softly.
The wolf and the panther looked up and snorted before going back to finish their treat. Blair
waited patiently, knowing that neither would talk to him until they were ready. Finally the wolf
looked up and changed into a not-Blair. "They're at the temple," he said.
"The temple?" The not-Blair nodded. "I don't suppose you mean the one that your mates my
mate too." The not-Blair shook his head, smiling. "So, is this something that's a part of their
bond?" The not-Blair changed back and nipped his mate's ear. They started to run around the
house, playing tag.
Blair shook his head and concentrated on coming back to his normal plane. He opened his eyes to
find Richard asleep in his lap and Amara looking at him. He turned his head to see Jim holding
Sydney. "So, where's the temple?" he asked the little girl.
She got up and grabbed one of the reference books her father read from time to time and sat
down in front of him, flipping pages until she got to something that struck her. She pushed it
over, showing it to him.
The picture was of hieroglyphs, and a temple.
Blair blew out the candles, with some help, and nodded his head at the phone. Amara got up and
got it for him, snuggling down against his side and sucking her thumb while he called William.
"Hey," Blair said.
Jim snorted and sat up, woken up by Blair's voice. "Huh?"
"William," Blair said. "Go back to sleep love." Jim nodded and laid his head back down after
moving Sydney's little chest out of the way. "William, I've got an answer."
"So, don't keep me waiting. What did the little darlings say?"
"Well, I don't think you'd call a wolf a darling, but...."
"Fuzzy puppy," Amara said around her thumb, just loud enough to be heard over the phone.
"Blair, what have you been teaching them," William asked. "Please tell me you've not been
bringing her to the spirit plane to talk to your guide."
"No, she's actually been feeding both of them," Blair said with a laugh. "We just figured it out
tonight. The kitty she keeps talking about is Jim's guide." William's snort of laughter was clear.
"Sorry, later. My spirit guide said they were at a temple and Amara went and showed me a book
about Egypt and a temple. The wolf was vague, but it has something to do with their bond."
William sighed. "I was afraid of that. Early on, less than a month into all this, Nick almost died
from trying to resist the bond. He went to an Egyptian temple, talked to one of the people from
the bonded group in Alexandria." William sighed again. "I don't know how to bring them back if
Blair shifted the phone to the other shoulder, reaching down to removed Amara's fist from his
chest hair. "I could try to go in and get them, but it probably won't work. You need someone
closer to them."
Richard woke up and started to cry, loudly. Amara and Sydney started to cry too. Blair held the
phone away from his ear, the sounds reverberating though the instrument. He looked over, seeing
Jim covering his ears with pillows. "Guys," he yelled. "Enough. That's a bit too loud even for
Over the phone, William cleared his throat. "Tell them it worked," he yelled.
The three of them quieted down, wandering back down to their beds. Blair and Jim watched
them go, mouths open.
"Blair?" William called. When there was no answer, he did it again, and a third time.
Finally Blair's attention drew back to the phone. "Let me guess, it worked?" he asked dryly.
William started to laugh and handed the phone off. Derek's cool voice came over the handset,
thrilling Blair to no end. "So, how are my children," he asked with a yawn.
In the background could be heard a disgruntled voice. "Derek, you've been asleep now for over a
week, you can't be tired," William groused.
The sounds of the mated foursome laughing was clearly audible.
"Well, they're fine," Blair said, once the silence came back. "Amara's almost reading and she's
been feeding mine and Jim's spirit guides, but other than that, nothing usual."
There was silence from the other end. Finally Philip's voice came over. "Tell me you didn't just
say my daughter's been feeding animals that aren't really there."
"Jim and my spirit guide's have been eating the leftovers from supper for the last two days thanks
to your daughter man. Not my fault."
Philip's sigh came over loud and clear. "We're going to have ta talk abou' your pets when we get
back. Is she still there?"
Blair looked around for a tell tale nose peeking over the stairs. "Nope. Jim got them into bed.
Philip laughed. "Don' tell me they've been a handful for ya." He started to laugh again when
Blair didn't answer. "We'll be home in a few days." He hung up the phone and Blair pushed the
button to turn the handset up.
"Jim, um, they'll be home in a few days," he said in a normal voice, knowing Jim had his hearing
turned up. "We'll be free then, they can take care of their own and all the strange things."
From downstairs a cheer erupted.
The End, for now.