CSV-DSM Part 2

Chapter 3a: Mark's Journal: Part 1 of 2

Mark's Journal:

I can't believe it, I still think I'm dreaming! I've got my brother back!

Yeah, i know. I haven't been writing much in here. I'm going to make up for it tonight though; so much has happened tonight that I don't know where to start.

I've got a new friend too; his name is Kerry, and he's going to help me get this all down so I don't forget it.

Kerry just told me that he can help me write down what happened earlier today in detail, he's gonna help me with writing down exactly what I said so that it's saved forever.

Even though I'm sitting at our new dining room table right now with my new PADD, I'm gonna start just after I got home from school. It was a weird day, but I like how it ended.

It was about four o'clock in the afternoon when things started feeling weird, so I think I'm going to start there with Kerry's help.


"Mom, I'm bored!" I announced in my best 'bratty kid' voice. I've spent eleven years perfecting it, and I ain't afraid to use it.

"Grab your brothers and try out one of those presents you guys have not touched yet." Mom replied.

"That helps a lot." I grumbled as I began searching for the twin set of our brotherly threesome. Something seems weird; I don't know why, but today feels different. I hope It's not that puberty stuff Dad keeps talking about. If it is, the next few years are really gonna be crappy.

Despite the fact that all three of us were born at the same time, I still feel like a third wheel in our family, due to Jeff and Brian being identical twins. Mom, Dad, and Grandma say I had a twin too, but he vanished before we were even able to be brought home from the hospital. Jeff and Brian try really hard to include me in everything they do, but I just don't feel right intruding on their closeness.

"Stop it." Jeff said seriously as he came up from behind me and gave me a hug. "Did you forget that we can still hear you?"

"Something's weird." I stated aloud.

"We know, bro. Thinking about it all the time isn't going to help." Jeff told me softly. "You wanna try out that game that Mom and Dad got us for our birthday?"

"I guess." I responded, not really into it, but not wanting to argue with Jeff.

Brian came into the room just then, and I could tell from the look on his face that he was in full agreement with Jeff as to their resolve to break my mood. "A lotta help you are; every time I try to have a bad day, you two screw it up." I commented with a small smile.

"When you have a bad day, we have a bad day. It ain't happening today, big bro." Brian stated firmly.

I rolled my eyes. "Stop with the big bro stuff, I'm only a couple of minutes older than you."

"We're not gonna let you forget it either." Jeff told me.

"Thanks a lot." I replied sarcastically. I really hate it when they do this; Mom says that my missing brother was actually the first one of the four of us that was born. It really hurts when I think about him; Jeff and Brian know that, but they still do it. I asked Grandma about it one time, and she told me that she told them to do it, and I would understand why someday. Is it just me, or does everyone get stranger as they get older?

You know something? Being part of a multiple birth really sucks! Things like what's happening right now; both of my brothers are looking at me with grins on their faces. I've had to live with the three of us hearing each other since the day I was born, and there is no such thing as privacy when you have two nosey little brothers poking around in your head. (Giggle) That worked for a little bit; they're blushing now. Usually that means they'll let me think without listening in for at least a couple of hours.

Brian's heading off to get the game now. For some reason, Mom and Dad finally decided that we were old enough to start playing grown-up games, so they bought us Monopoly for our birthday. It looks like it could be fun, but there are way too many rules to learn; I guess that means we can fake it and get away with it. The three of us looked it up on the Web, since even at our age the type in the instructions is impossible to read, and we found some rules that are not in the book that we think will make it fun. Crap; I'm doing it AGAIN; I'm talking like me and my brothers are one person! Do normal kids have this problem?

"You know, you can really be a pain in the butt!" Jeff whispered to me as we began clearing a spot on the floor to play. "You're not going to get off that easy."

"Neither are you!" I replied as I reached out and began tickling him.

"No fair!" Jeff laughed.

"It's fair if I say it's fair!" I replied as I went for his armpits. "Say Uncle!"


"You will submit!" I laughed as I went for his most sensitive spot, his belly button.

"No!" Jeff sputtered as he tried to roll into a ball. "Stop it!"

"Say Uncle!" I gloated.

"Stop!" Jeff laughed. "I'm gonna pee!"

"Wimp!" I smirked as I got in one last tickle. "Go on, go pee!"

"I'll get you later!" Jeff threatened as he ran from the family room.

That felt better; sometimes you've gotta show little brothers who is boss. If you don't keep them under control they become real pains in the butt.

You know, there is a good thing to your brothers being twins too; you can torture one of them and they both suffer from it! Brian just came into the room, and he's wearing different shorts. I guess he couldn't hold it when I tickled Jeff. My evil plan succeeded! That'll teach them to poke in my head and ruin a perfectly good bad mood!

"You've got to sleep sometime." Brian stated as he sat the box on the coffee table. "We'll get you back!"

"Whatever, pee boy!" I giggled. "C'mon, you ready to get your butt whipped?"

"Dream on." Brian replied with a grin. "Prepare to lose!"

"In your dreams!" I laughed. I really do love my brothers, even though it sure don't look like it. We lean on each other a lot, but we have fun while doing it.

Hey, Jeff had to change too! Dang, I'm good! Let's see, what do I want to use as my piece on the board? I think I'll be the dog, that way I can bite my brother's butts when they get sassy. Jeff's trying to take the car... I don't think so!

"Jeff, the car's for our bro. I'm going to be the dog." I stated firmly.

"You've got it." Jeff replied with a knowing look.

I guess I'd better explain. Even though our fourth brother is missing, anytime we do something as a group we set it up like he was here with us. I know it sounds silly, but we've done that for as long as I remember. We argue about lots of things, but if I say something is for our bro it's automatically agreed to. It's kinda funny; I could use that to get lots of stuff done my way, but I never have. Okay, I guess that means all three of us are officially weird.

Speaking of which, whatever was feeling weird earlier is getting better. One of these days, I'm gonna figure out why I get these funky moods for no reason. Jeff just landed on 'Go to Jail' for the fifth time, and I'm having a hard time not laughing at the faces he's making!

The game is going really good; no matter how much the twins try to team up on me, I'm still whipping their butts.

Just as I put some hotels on Boardwalk and Park Place, that annoying terminal that Dad had installed in the family room began beeping at us.

"Could one of you get that please?" Mom yelled. "I've got to get these cookies out."

Cookies? AWESOME! Mom makes the BEST cookies! I hope this call isn't one of Dad's boring judge friends; they talk forever and it'll ruin the perfectly good butt-whipping I'm giving my brothers.

"Sure Mom!" I yelled back as I bounced off of the floor. The thought of cookies is making my tummy fill with butterflies!

As usual, it's taking forever for this piece of junk to make it's connection. Hey, it finallycame on! What's this stuff? It's never done this before! There's a whole bunch of security junk all over the screen.

"Holy Shit!" Dad's mentioned these guys at dinner before, now we're getting a call from them!

I hope Mom didn't hear that! Since this is some of that Clan Short stuff that Dad's always talking about, I'd better accept the call.

"This is Mark." I hope I did that right, Dad's gonna be mad if I make these guys think he don't teach us how to use this thingie.

Wow, there are a bunch of kids in the background, and it looks like the kid calling us is in a wheelchair. Hold on, he's saying something.

"Hello, Mark. I'm Seth with Family Clan Short Headquarters. Is you mother available? I have Director Hernandez from our Des Moines, Iowa division standing by to speak to her on an important family matter."

"Just a minu ...Oh ... my ... God ...." No way! I CAN'T be seeing this! "MOOOOOOMMMM!!!!!" Jeff and Brian musta seen it too, I heard them yelling with me. That's another ME that just appeared on the screen. THAT'S MY MISSING BROTHER! THEY HAVE MY BROTHER!!!

"What's wrong?" Mom asked as she ran into the room. I have to point at the screen, I can't talk right now. They really found my brother!

Mom's talking with that older kid, I think he said his name was Seth. My head feels like it did that time I took a drink of Dad's whisky, it's all funny and I can't really tell whats going on. Hold on, Jeff and Brian are doing their telepathetic thing again, they're trying to calm me down. Okay, that's better; they're giving me brain hugs and I don't feel drunk no more.

"I want to talk to my brother!" Oops, that just popped out; I hope Mom wasn't saying something, cuz I wasn't listening.

Mom smiled at me as she started leaving the room, but she said that I could talk to my brother if the Clan guys would let me. Hey, that Seth dude isn't too bad, he just told this Julio kid on the other side of the screen that they were live. Of course they are live, if they were dead they wouldn't be standing up!

"I'm guessing that you're Mark by what your Mom just said." the Julio kid said.

"Yeah...." I shouldn't say what I'm really wanting to, which is 'cut the baloney and give me my brother back!' ... for some reason older people don't like it when I do that. Grandma likes it, but she's not like other old people.

My butterflies are back, and I think they brought friends. This time it ain't cookies though. It is my brother standing there, and it looks like their friends are visiting his tummy too.

Julio is talking again. "... Mark, I would like to introduce you to your twin brother Adam. Adam, there is no doubt, Mark is your brother. So are the other two boys on the screen; I'm sure Mark will introduce you."

My brother ... Adam ... nodded as he said nervously "Ummm ... Hi Mark. This is my friend Garrett, these guys rescued him too."

I can't hold it anymore! "I knew it! I KNEW you were still alive! Garrett! That's my BROTHER!"

Going by the grin on Garrett's face, he thought I was funny. "Yep, you're definitely related."

I think his comment helped, Adam looks like he's not as nervous. He sounds curious, he's asking "You knew I was still alive?"

I opened my big mouth; now my brother is gonna think I'm weird. Here goes nothing. I nodded my head as I explained. "We could feel you. It's like you were with us even though you wasn't." There, now he's gonna think the other twins are nuts too. I can't leave the pests out.

Hey, he's smiling, not laughing! "I ... WE have another brother, Ronnie, him and I grew up together. We're not related by blood, but him and I are like that a little bit, it's like we can feel each other."

Okay, so maybe Jeff and Brian ain't as weird as I thought they were! "Where's he at?"

This is weird; I think I just felt Adam relax! I wonder, could I have been feeling him all this time? I hope not, cuz he felt bad a lotta the time if I was.

Adam answered me! "He's meeting his twin in Hawaii right now. We're planning on all of us brothers getting together tonight."


Jeff and Brian just joined me, it took them long enough! "This is Jeff and Brian, they're our brothers too."

"Wow! All my brothers have kewl names!" Adam said as I watched his smile get bigger.

Like the brat that he is, Jeff interrupted us and bugged Adam. "When do we get to meet you in person? We wanted you and Mark to talk first since you're part of each other, but we all wanna give ya a hug and welcome you home!"

Okay, that wasn't bad; I guess I won't make him pee his pants until the end of the weekend after all.

Hold it one friggin minute! Did that Julio kid just say what I thought he did? He just tried to say that Mom and Dad could be bad! He might be bigger than me, but I can kick his butt! NOBODY talks bad about Mom and Dad! They don't need no friggin telepathetic scans or no crap like that!

Wait a second; Adam's friend Garrett is saying something. I trust him a lot more than I trust that Julio kid; he's helping my brother.

Garrett's looking pretty serious. "Chill guys; I've met a few kids here who were not aware that one of their parents was a criminal. A few others, like me, found out the hard way that the parent they loved turned into a monster once they reached a certain age. These guys can usually catch that stuff, and will either help prevent there being a problem or will get you safe before it happens."

Adam's nodding, and he feels like he really means what he's gonna say. "Yeah, three of my friends that lived next door were about to be killed by their father, he had signed a contract. Them and their Mom are safe here tonight and are gonna be living here."

Did I just hear that right? Oh crap, going by the looks on Jeff and Brian's faces they heard it too. If those bad feelings that I get were from Adam, his life really sucked. Mom's back now, and she's not happy either.

"Boys, I don't know how much you know about Clan Short, but your Dad and I have discussed them quite a bit. I heard a lot of what was said; they take protecting kids and families seriously. I know that you want to actually be in the same room as your brother, but we need to follow the procedures they use to make sure all four of you are safe. Not all kids have nice families, and I'm in agreement with the way the Clan tries to make sure the kids they deal with are not going to have a repeat of what they were just rescued from."

I really hate it when Mom makes sense; parents ain't supposed to do that. "I thought that stuff didn't happen much, that it was all being made more than what was really happening. All the stuff they warn us about in school really happens?"

Adam's hurting, I can see it even though he's on a camera. "Yeah, Garrett gave me the quick rundown of what he's seen here. There's stuff that happens that they don't tell you about, and sometimes stuff you won't believe unless you see it. He says the Clan works because the guys who have been through it know how to spot it, so they know who needs help."

Hey, now things are moving! Dad's home! Here he comes, and he's agreeing with my brother! "That's right, victims of abuse know the signs...."

Oh Oh... is Dad gonna be okay? He just looked at the terminal and his face went all white. Now he's staring at the screen, and whispering 'Thank you Lord!'.

Adam saw him too, and he's staring back. "Dad?"

"Yes... son." Dad replied. "What name are you going by?"


Dad got a big smile on his face. "They kept your first name ... we named you that because you were the first one ... it was our way of remembering what order you guys were born in."

Dad paused and started talking to that Julio kid. I'm gonna keep paying attention to my brother; Dad's awesome and he ain't gonna let nobody keep us apart.

This feels so weird; I know what I look like in a mirror, but it's a whole different thing seeing yourself moving without you doing the moving. What do you say to yourself? I know, Adam's not me, but he is me in a way too. I could sit here all day just watching him, but I think we'd both get bored really fast. I'm starting to confuse myself here; I wanna go get Freddie, my teddy bear, but I'm afraid that if I leave he'll be gone.

"When do you celebrate your birthday?" Crap, where did that come from? That has to be the stupidest question I've ever asked!

I saw Adam smile as he replied "October 28th."

"Kewl, they got it right!" I guess it wasn't stupid to him.

Adam grinned back at me. "Yeah, the Clan guys here checked a lot of stuff; the only thing they messed with was my last name."

"Are all adults stupid?"

Adam laughed at that one! "Naw, there are a few smart ones up here. I think that Clan Short steals the smart ones for themselves."

"Our Mom and Dad better watch out then!" I can't help it, the thought of Mom and Dad surrounded with hundreds of kids makes me giggle.

Hey, Garrett's saying something. "You just got even with your parents for everything they ever did that you didn't like! If everything matches the background checks we've already done, they're gonna find out the definition of interesting!"

Really? So that Julio kid is just making sure that they didn't miss something? I can live with that, I guess. They better hurry up though, or I'm gonna find a way to crawl through this screen!

"Why you saying that?" Hey, it can't hurt to be ahead of the game if things are going to be changing!

Adam giggled as he answered me. "You ain't gonna believe it until you see it! These guys don't take no crap from any adults, and a few of them can do really awesome stuff!"

Hmmm, this could be interesting. "Like what?"

Adam giggled, I guess the look on my face gave away my curiosity. "You know how magicians make stuff float in mid-air? There is a kid here that can do that with really big stuff, and he ain't using strings!"

"No way!"

"Yes way; I saw him doing it!" Adam replied, his face showing me that he was serious.

"Dude! You know how much fun we could have at school with that?" I replied. You realize just how much fun I could have with crabby old Mr. Tuttle in math class? That would fix him for boring us to death!

"What are you plotting? Ronnie grins like that whenever he's figured out a way to get back at someone!" Adam asked me, both him and Garrett sporting huge grins.

"Nothing; just thinking about math class..." I replied, trying to sound innocent.

"Suuurrreee you are!" Garrett said with a giggle. "Something tells me that you two are going to be going to Clan schools pretty soon, just to save the sanity of your teachers!"

"I'd NEVER do anything!" I responded. Adam said the same thing at the same time, causing Garret to start laughing. I stuck my tongue out, which obviously made it worse by the way Garrett grabbed his sides. I think I'm gonna like him, he's older but he's funny! Oh, crap. That little kid that came from Des Moines just finished with my brothers, now he wants to check out my head. I'm surprised he didn't get sucked in by the vacuum between Jeff and Brian's ears!

'We heard that!'

'I know ya did - that's what you get for pokin' in my head without permission!' I swear, little brothers are SUCH a PAIN!

'Bite me, you're only three minutes older than me!' Brian shot back.

'And three hundred years wiser, brat! Now get outta my head so this kid can do his stuff and get Adam home.' Yep, they're telepathetic... mainly pathetic though. I still love them though. Speaking of which, this little redhead wants my attention.

"Hi Mark, I'm Johnny," he giggled. "They're gonna leave ya alone so I can run the scan. You ready?"

He seems like he's friendly, anyways. "Sure, whadda I got to do?"

"Just sit back, we'll do this all in your head. You're used to Jeff and Brian, so this should be easy on you." Johnny told me with a smile.

Inside my head with Johnny

'I'm here!' I heard Johnny say as he started.

"Okay, what do I gotta do?" I asked him, talking head to head instead of verbally. If this is what it's like between Jeff and Brian, I can't wait for Adam to come home so that we can do it too!

'You get to give me a guided tour!' Johnny told me. 'I heard your little kid comments; I'm only nine months younger than you, my old father was a real asshole.'

"Dude, I'm sorry." I didn't realize that, I guess I need to stop assuming stuff.

'I heard that; don't worry about it. When you get to meet Kyle, you'll understand it better. He's the boss of all of the Clan telepaths.'

"How old is he?"

'Eight, give or take a few hundred years.'


'He's an evolved human; he looks and acts eight, but he's able to surf time. You'll like him, he's just like one of us. He's one of the four guys that formed the Clan. He's the one that taught me how to do this stuff without getting headaches like I used to from other humans.'

"That's not that bad." Okay, note to self; remove assume from my vocabulary!

'You're getting the idea. I had to use a hammer on your brothers; they were kinda dense.'

"You're telling me!" See, I was right! Mom ran out of brain cells to distribute before she got to Jeff and Brian!

'You're lucky they ain't listening!' Johnny told me with a giggle. 'I'm blocking them out, so you're kewl. You ready to give me the tour?'

"Sure." This should be fun; there's something different here, it's like I can see everything in my head and all I've gotta do is push a little and I can see stuff that I didn't even know that I remembered!

I'm not gonna bore everyone with the full tour. We started out with my memories from before I was even born, and moved our way through until we reached today. It was really fun to see the stuff that I haven't thought of since I was a little kid, and Johnny helped me understand some of the stuff from way back when I first lost Adam. The funny thing is, I didn't realize just how much Jeff and Brian helped me out when I was feeling really bad over the years. I guess they're not as much of a pain as I thought they were; don't tell them that though, I don't want them getting big heads or nuthin' like that!

'Just as soon as I check out your Dad, we can get you guys together.' Johnny informed me. 'None of you guys have been abused in any way, but we've found parents that abused other kids yet were perfect parents to their own kids. That's why we check the parents too, just to make sure there is no chance of things turning bad.'

"Okay, when you explain it that way it makes sense, even thought I KNOW my Dad ain't that type of person!" Yeah, I know what he means, but there's no way Dad would do that kinda stuff. He talks bad about people that hurt kids more than anyone!

'Going by your Dad's surface thoughts, you're right.' Johnny explained. 'Sometimes it's just the way you said, but other times the people who complain the loudest are the most guilty. The only way to tell without catching them in the act is to read deep in their minds like I just did with you.'

"You mean like bullies who beat up guys for liking other guys? They might be gay themselves?"

'Exactly. Usually it is either that or they got caught messing around like normal kids do and their parents reacted in a way that made them become hateful. Other bullies are reacting to being abused by abusing kids younger than them. Every one is different, you can't tell until you know what their lives are like. Before Kyle helped me, I used to hear the thoughts of everyone around me. There's a lot more bad in the world than you think there is, and there is a lot more good in the world than you think there is; I had to listen to it every day for ten years.'

Okay, now that really sucks. I don't know if Johnny shared this with my brothers, but I'm giving him a hug for sharing it with me as soon as we're done. "I think I really understand now. Thanks for explaining it, and I'm glad Kyle helped you not have to hear that stuff all the time."

End of the in-the-head stuff

"You're definitely Adam's brother!" Johnny giggled at me as we broke the post-scan hug. "I feel lots better now!"

Hmmm, I wonder what he means by that? Going by his grin, I think he heard me!

"You and Adam know how to give hugs that make people feel better inside." Johnny told me as his grin grew. "I can't wait to see what happens when you two are together!" he added as he turned and headed towards my Dad.

Okay, speaking of Adam, I need to get back to my twin, just as soon as I can make room between the two lovable clowns that took over my spot in front of the screen. Screw it, they're having fun, so I'll just join them.

We spent fifteen minutes filling Adam in on normal stuff like school and junk, each of us taking turns glaring at Dad when he seemed to be slowing things down.

Finally! It looks like they're done, Julio's heading over here!

"Garrett, would you please escort Adam here?" Julio asked.

Oh crap! Not only does Adam look scared, but I can feel it! I guess it's a little different talking about coming home compared to actually doing it. I'm feeling kinda weird too; is he really as kewl as he seems?

With his arm over Adam's shoulder, Garret replied "On my way, I'm gonna let him hit the bathroom first though; we'll be right over."

Adam looks like that's helping some. I hope so; one of us being nervous is bad enough. Julio said something to Garrett and Adam, so I probably should see what he's talking about. Adam and Garrett are leaving the room anyway.

Dude, the serious look on Julio's face is scary! "Guys, Adam has been through some pretty rough stuff in the last day, and the one person that he's leaned on all his life isn't here right now. He's gonna be really nervous for a while, and might even respond to things really badly that normally he'd have no problem with. You need to remember that; the three of you have each other for support, but he's going to feel alone until he gets to know you."

Okay, what did those buttholes do to my brother? I wonder if Dad would mind if I went hunting? That's the advantage of being eleven; my knees and knuckles are still boney, and I'm old enough to know how to use that to my advantage. It's been a while since I got away with punching an adult in the nuts; bet ya' Dad wouldn't chew me out for it this time!

Here we go, Dad's gonna insert his two cents. Why do they call it two cents still? We ain't used coins since the Dark Ages!

What the heck, let's see what Dad says here.

"That applies to your Mom and I too," Dad added. "We ALL need to remember that he's got eleven years of experiences that none of us know about. Considering that Clan Short was involved in returning him to us, I'm pretty sure that some of it we're going to wish we didn't know if he ever feels comfortable sharing it with us."

That really doesn't make me feel any better. Jesse adding "That was the understatement of the millennium" don't help either. What? One of the furry guys just said something about guardian angels helping some of them. "I wish we had a guardian angel."

Julio looked at me. "You do."

Yeah, right. Ain't no way, and I'm gonna prove it to him. "Why did Adam get taken then?"

That didn't shake Julio at all! "I'll quote the son of Patriarch Cory Short, Timmy. I think Timmy said it best when Cory was losing it after finding out that he saved Timmy six seconds before a bomb in the car Timmy was in was set to go off." Julio replied with care. "He said 'Sometimes bad things gotta happen so that good things can happen'. Most of the guys in the Clan have heard the story behind that, and anytime the bad stuff seems to be too much, Timmy's words help us through it."

Okay, now he's screwed up my argument! Six seconds, that's scary. The bad things stuff sounds a lot like something Grandma would say though. I wonder if she can explain it better; she's good at that kinda stuff. WHAT! That Timmy kid just turned SIX! He's a little kid, and he said something like that? Julio's nodding his head, so I guess he's trying to say it's for real. Now Dad's sayin' that that Clan thing is run by kids with no adults watchin' over them. I know Johnny was askin' me if I wanted to be part of it when he was in my head, but no adults making stupid rules? I'm gonna like this!

Crap! I've been listening to this stuff, and now Adam's coming! His suitcases just popped in! Now he's here! What do I do? I don't wanna freak him out; I have missed him too long to scare him away as soon as he finally comes home. Hey, I'm moving, stop pushing me bros! Jeff's telling me "He's your other half, you first." Yeah, put your older brother first whenever you don't know what to do. Thanks a lot. I wonder if he's okay with hugs; all the stuff I thought would happen when we met kinda won't work now if Julio was tellin' the truth. "Are you okay with me giving you a hug to welcome you home?"

Adam nodded as an answer, I guess he's just as scared as I am. I'm trying not to move fast; I really don't want to scare him. Okay, here it goes, one hug coming up. WHOA!!! I ain't NEVER felt anything like this! Are you supposed to feel like you got hit by lightning when you hug your twin brother? He's crying, now I gotta cry too. I hope we don't hurt each other; I know I'm hugging him so tight that he ain't going anywhere, and it feels like he's doing the same thing.

I'm kinda tingling all over; it feels so good holding Adam. I really don't want to let go of him; in fact as much as I wanna see his face, I don't wanna let go of him enough to tilt my head back. I wonder if I'm getting his shirt as wet as he's getting my shirt? It's so awesome having him here. My head's bouncing all over the place, my heart feels like it wants to climb into Adam's chest right now. I wonder, am I holding him up, or is he holding me up?

I wonder what Jeff and Brian are up to, they ain't trying to poke around in my head. Oh, they just conned Mom and Dad into letting Garrett stay with us. That's kewl; he helped Adam, so he's already family as far as I care.

Hey, Adam and I just moved over to the couch and we're sitting down now. When did we do that? I don't remember walking anywhere! We're still holding on to each other with one arm, so it's still good I guess.

Here come Jeff and Brian, and they're bringing Garrett with them. Adam's smiling at me, so I guess he's thinking the same thing I am. The two of us are moving like we're glued to each other, but we just made space for the two brats and our new brother. The brats are doubling up in one spot, and Garrett is sitting next to them with his arm reaching behind them so that his hand is on Adam's shoulder. I can feel that made Adam relax more... and now I gotta pee!

"Adam?" Jeff asked as he pointed at the game that we were playing before we got the call on the terminal.

"Yeah?" Adam replied. It kinda feels like he's scared that Jeff and Brian ain't gonna like him. How can I tell him not to worry, they may be brats, but they're good brats... most of the time.

"You see the car on the board? That's yours. Any time we do something, we've included you even though you weren't here with us. We've got a buncha stuff saved up because we wanted you to have it. Mom and Dad bought that game for all of us for our birthday; it's yours just like it's ours."

Okay, Jeff just graduated to semi-brat; he did something right. Adam's looking around at all three of us now; I wonder if he can see that I've gotta pee?

I barely heard it when Adam just whispered "You did that for me?"

Brian responded "Yes, we knew you were okay." Okay, so I'll let him graduate too. Note to self, they are both semi-brats now.

My turn to let him know stuff. "I could see a fuzzy shape in my head that was you. I could even feel it a little sometimes when you were really happy or really sad." Oh crap; I'm guessing that Adam didn't have that by the sad look on his face.

"I kinda felt like I was missing something, but I didn't have that." Adam replied. He sounds really down about it too.

Okay, between arguing with Jeff and Brian in the back of my head about me staying with Adam being more important than having to pee, and the fact I don't want to screw up any worse than I did already, I really have no idea what to say now. Garrett's leaned forward so that he can look at all three of us; I hope that smile means he's thought of something to say.

"Maybe it's because all three of them were together and you were by yourself? What I've learned about twins since I joined the Clan makes that make sense." Garrett said, mainly to Adam I think.

"Garrett, you're probably right." a voice announced over the badges on our chests. "Momma Janet says that since all four of you share twin DNA at least partially, the chances of being around each other increasing your awareness of each other are really good. She checked all four of you guys; she says the DNA check shows that you started as a fraternal egg split that then split into two sets of identical twins."

Okay, that did NOT help my bladder! Scaring the crap out of someone trying to hold in pee is not a good idea! The voice sounded like a kid, but he talked like my health teacher, and it was just as confusing! "Did you understand what he just said?" I hope Garrett got it!

"I think he means that you guys are really quads." Garrett said with a grin. "Other than that, I think he's been watching too many geek shows!"

Too many geek shows? That's an understatement! Do they make wiener plugs for those times when you gotta pee but you don't wanna? If not, I bet I could make a zillion dollars off of making one!

"We knew that!" Brian giggled. "We're too much alike, we got a few differences but we ain't different like most brothers."

Speak for yourself, semi-brat!

"I can tell, you guys like to do what Julio calls 'twinspeak', you finish each other's thoughts." Garrett said with a smile. "You just do it with three instead of two; I bet pretty soon Adam joins in. In fact, when we visit Des Moines, I bet one of the guys helps you sort it out a little faster."

Okay, that made me smile. That would be so kewl. It's mushy sounding, but what the heck. Adam's leaning into the one-armed hug that I just started. "I hope so; I want my brother in my head like Jeff and Bri are."

Score! I just confused Garrett! Okay, who is going to do recovery? Ahh, it looks like Jeff drew the short straw.

"We're all brothers, but Brian and I can feel each other a little better than we feel Mark. I bet Adam and Mark can get that way too!" Not bad, Jeff... you might be as awesome as me one day!

"That makes sense." Garrett replied. "After seeing Adam with Ronnie, I'll bet you guys get a couple more friends in your little network once everyone is up to speed with their brothers."

Okay, that almost sounds interesting; I'd probably ask Garrett more about it, but I think concentrating on Adam and not peeing are probably more important. Jeff and Brian are back to planning stuff again; they just changed the subject to Adam's brother from his kidnapper family.

Oh, Jeff and Brian are gonna try to set up sleeping arrangements? I don't think so! "Hey, whenever Ronnie is staying the night, he's staying in me and Adam's bedroom. It's his bedroom too unless he decides otherwise. I'll get grandma to back me if Mom and Dad argue!"

"Ohhhh yeah; that'll definitely work!" Jeff and Brian giggled back at me. You know, for brothers they are almost cute when they get evil smiles like that, even Adam is giggling at their expressions! Unfortunately, since there are no wiener plugs handy, I'm gonna havta scramble here. I hope Adam isn't gonna think I'm a baby, but I'm feeling kinda clingy right now. "Adam? I gotta take a leak, could you come with me please? I don't wanna lose sight of you."

At least he didn't laugh at me! As he locked eyes with me, he replied softly "I need you too, bro. Let's go."

After a few seconds of figuring out how to get out from under everyone, we headed towards the bathroom, Adam following my lead. Okay, actually I'm dragging him! I gotta go, what can I say?

Have you ever had to pee so bad that your wiener gets stuck in your underwear? How's about trying to get it out with one hand while dancing around to keep from making a mess? I'm not letting go of Adam, but I'm having one heck of a time getting the stupid thing out! Hey, Adam just popped the button on my jeans, that might help! Whoa! he's pulling the front of my undies down too! Look out toilet, you're gettin' blasted! If it overflows, I'm blaming Mom for giving me two glasses of sweet tea!

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh ... now THAT is better; I think I just peed five gallons! "Thanks bro! That was close, we almost needed to take a shower."

Adam's hand, which was still holding my undies open for some reason, jerked as he replied "Now you tell me."

Okay, just how should I take that? Does it mean he woulda took a shower with me if I had peed on his hand? Is he okay with doing brother stuff that friends don't do? Can him and me really be as close as Jeff and Brian? Does anyone know a way to ban two annoying twin brothers from your head when you're trying to bond with your twin yourself?

Okay, I think I'll go for it, despite what the semi-brats are saying. Here goes nothing; I really hope this isn't too quick. "One thing that Jeff and Bri do that I ain't done since I was old enough to be by myself is shower together. It's something special that they share that I don't feel right sharing with them." Why is it suddenly so hot in here? "I ... ummm ... this is stupid ... please don't hate me ... I-wanna-shower-with-you-and-feel-my-brother-hugging-me-without-clothes-in-the-way!" There! I said it! He's not screaming at me yet, so I've not screwed up too bad!

Adam lifted his hand from my underwear, causing the elastic to pop back up to my waist. He looked at it, then just as I noticed a little wet spot he said "You just pee'd on me. Now we gotta take a shower."

Told ya, twerps! See, us older guys are a lot smarter than you little kids! I wiggled my butt to make my pants drop, then got a surprise as Adam softly said "Stop." with a weird look on his face. He added "I want to see you as you are, let me do it then you can help me." Okay, I guess I didn't freak him at all.

Have you ever wondered what it's like being undressed by yourself? That's kinda what it's like if you have a twin. I'm trying not to giggle at the sight of me looking at me to see what I look like to me. I'm kinda cute though, if I don't say so myself! Hey me, no fair tickling me; I'll tickle me back when it's my turn to undress me! Hey me, what's so funny about my backside? Why am I giggling at something back there and muttering 'cute'? I guess I'll just have to see what I think is so cute about my backside. Okay me, stand still, it's time for me to take my turn at undressing me! See, that DOES tickle, don't it! Wow, I've never noticed THAT about my wiener! When did I get those little wrinkles down there, and why am I fuzzy like a peach when I look closely at me? Okay, turn around Me; let's see the other side. Oh wow, I've got dimples THERE? I agree, me, that IS cute! Turn around again. Wow, I've got awesome eyes, the blue seems to glow! I got some cute dimples when I smile too! Okay, let me update my thoughts on myself; I'm HOT! I guess Jeff and Brian got the raw end of the deal when it comes to cuteness!

Hey, Adam just asked to hug! We think alike already! You know, if I hug as good as he is hugging me, we're both awesome huggers! Hey, stereo sighs, kewl! I could stand here forever like this; I'm feeling warm and tingly all over, especially where we are touching each other. I can feel his heart beating against my chest, and I feel safer than I've ever felt before with him holding me. "I love you, bro." Hey, stereo again! this is becoming a fun habit! Nice giggle, bro! "I do love you, bro." Hey, did I just kiss my brother's cheek? If EITHER of you twerps tells anyone about this, you'll never see your twelfth birthdays. I'll get grandma to help me! Adam just kissed me back, so now you gotta deal with BOTH of us!

Adam tilted his head back, then smiled at me as he said "Shower time, little brother."

I hope my smile ain't goofy looking! That sounds so kewl; Adam is back as our big brother! "I hated being the oldest one here. Now you're where you belong. Follow me." I led him to the shower, both of us holding hands again. Fortunately, the shower has one of those single knob dohickies for the water, so I can get it close to right by guessing, then fine tune it without letting go of Adam. Umm, a little cold... okay, actually that is turtle cold. There, it's warming up now. Umm... no, a little cooler than that, don't want to cook my bro. Ahhh, that's right... just hot enough to create a fog bank, yet not hot enough to burn ya. "Ready?"

Okay, this is new... Adam's washing me! I ain't had no-one wash me since I was a baby! This is pretty kewl, it tingles wherever he's touching me at. This feels good; can we make this a habit?

'Really? Wait, did I just hear you in my head?'

What? Did I just hear Adam in my head?

'Didn't I just ask that?'

Yeah, sweeet! We're head talking! Hey bro, my armpits are clean... that tickles! This ain't like Jeff and Brian, they're kinda like in a back corner of my head. Adam's sounding like he's in the front, like I'm hearing him without hearing him.

'Should I be scared that I understood that?' (giggle)

"Hey, just because I stuck my tongue out don't mean that you can try to bite it!" Okay, I'll admit it; that was funny!

"Shut up and stop wiggling around." Adam giggled back at me as he started washing my sides.

Have you ever tried to stand still while someone washes you? It's impossible! Especially when the person washing you shares your ticklish spots, and makes sure that he hits every one of them over and over. Yeah, I'm talking about you; the fake halo doesn't work, bro! Just wait, it'll be your turn soon!

'Why do you think I'm taking advantage of the chance first!'

Okay, that proves it! Evil is genetic!

'Please don't joke about that. Evil is finding out that three of your friends who lived next door were about to be killed because their supposed father was raping them and thought they were getting too old to keep quiet about it. Evil is the neighbor kids on the other side of your house being molested and filmed for profit with the first neighbors. Evil is parents secretly filming you in private and then watching the stuff while they get off. Evil is finding a new friend, then finding out that he had to kill his father before the constant rape killed him.'

"Come here, bro; hug me." Damn! Julio was right; Adam's been through Hell! I'm sorry bro, go ahead and cry on my shoulder. That crap sucks big time. When Dad finds out about this, he's gonna forget that he's a cop and he's gonna go hunting.

'The perverts are all dead now. Julio made sure of that. We even got to blow up the houses that we used to live in.'

I think I'm getting to like Julio better and better. I'd kinda like to have seen the houses being blown up; that's a kewl way to end their old life and start their new one in lots safer places. You know something though? I just realized that even when he was sad, Adam was still smiling.

'That's because being with you is making me smile no matter how I feel. You're doing it too.'

"That's because you're awesome." Oh boy, here we go; time for my feet! I'm gonna reallyhave fun standing up if I get tickled there! Ahhhh, okay, looks like foot tickles are off limits. I can live with that. Hold on a second though... he missed something. "You're my twin; you can wash 'there' too."

"Only if you do too when you wash me."

That works for me; I've got some wrinkles to check out! Wow! It sure feels different when someone else touches you there! Yeah, that feels good! Holy smoke; I didn't realize it'd grow like THAT when someone washes under your nuts! Where are those handrails... there, now I've got something to hold onto... please don't stop... wow, my legs are shaking... oooooooooooooohhhhhhh CRAP! They didn't teach us about THIS in Health class; that was unreal! Okay, I think all the soap is rinsed off... taste test to make sure?? What do you mea... Oh My God! OOOOOHHHH CRRAAAAAAAPPPPPP! Where did you learn THAT? It felt AWESOME!

'Ronnie and I experimented a lot, and we tried some of the stuff he heard about since he was older.'

I think we've got a great big brother if he's trusting enough to teach stuff like that! Stand up bro; it's finally going back to normal and my legs are working again! "Thank-you."

My turn! Wow, this is kewl, I can kinda feel it as I'm washing his hair. It's really relaxing. Okay, now that I've done that it's time to explore some body parts! This is so kewl, it's unreal the way it feels to run your hands over another you! See, I told you that it tickles there! Did my nipples stick out like this when you washed me? Oh, okay. You can stop giggling now, your belly button is clean. Now for the legs... hey watch it! You almost poked my eye out! Legs done, now feet... are my toes really that long? Okay, better make sure here. "Are you sure it's okay?"

"Yes, we're brothers."

Okay, this is the first time I've ever been able to really look at this part of someone's body this closely, and I even get to touch it! It's really warm, and it keeps jumping when I touch it. Oh, right, I'm supposed to be using soap! Adam's holding on to the rails now, and he just spread his legs a little, so it's easier to get at stuff. I think he likes it when I'm washing just behind his nuts, I wonder what would happen if I washed this thing trying to poke me at the same time? Okay, that answered that question! Did I bounce THAT much when it happened? Hey, mine's long again, and nobody's touching it! Okay, rinsed off, time to check for soap. Let's see, he held his lips so no teeth touched me, so I'll do that... this tastes good! Oh wow, I can feel what my tongue is doing on him on me! I like this, stop trying to pull back. There, if I hold onto your butt then you ain't going nowhere, I wanna taste the whole thing! It's jumping again, and mine's feeling like... mmmmMMMMM! I just did it again, right when he did!

That was something else! I like it though; and it's nice feeling it shrinking in my mouth. I need a brother hug though; it's like I'm feeling all the worry and stuff that Adam is. This kinda hurts; he's my brother and he ain't supposed to have all this pain in him. Now that we're holding each other, I can tell he's feeling better, but I wanna take ALL of the bad away from him.

'You remember that I can still hear you?"

Yeah, and I don't care. I love ya, bro.

'I love you too. Is it just me, or is the water getting cooler?'

Yep! C'mon, let's get dried off!

I never thought drying off and brushing someone else's hair could be so much fun! We tried different things so we could be told apart; I tried parting his hair from ear to ear, he tried putting the part on the back of my head! After we stopped laughing, we went back to our hair the way both of us like it. What's really funny is that both of us have almost the same length of hair; Adam's hair is about a quarter inch longer than mine! It was fun to figure that out, we can feel it when each one of us is touching the other one, so I felt his finger and mine on my back where our hair ends. I had to wiggle my finger to tell them apart, that's how we figured out who was longer. Our hair! Sheeesh, the other stuff is the same size! Yes, we checked!

Okay, time to show Adam OUR bedroom... at least I hope that he don't mind sharing a room with me. We've got a big bed in here, is he going to be okay with sleeping in the same bed? Is he gonna think I'm a baby because I've got a teddy bear still? Yeah, there is one for him too, but it's never been given to him. He saw the bears, so I guess I'll find out soon. "That's your side of the bed. My teddy is named Freddie; you gotta name yours yet."

Adam walked over to the teddy bear, telling me "I've never had a teddy bear" as he picked it up. At least he didn't laugh. I kinda need Freddie though, my head is feeling all kinds of funny right now. There, that's better, "See Freddie, I told ya that we'd get our brother back. You wanna go over and meet Adam?" Since Freddie can't nod his head by himself, I'll help him. "Okay, I'll take you over there."

Why am I so scared? My legs are shaking, not good shaking like the shower either. Adam's been kewl so far, why am I so worried about how he's gonna respond to me and Teddy talking?

Adam smiled at me as he said "We gotta make my naming of my teddy official, and both of them gotta be entered into the Clan's member roster." Halfway through him talking, he turned around and got his commbadge thing from our clothes pile. "Kerry, you there?"

Hey, those badge things stick to bare skin! That kid Kerry's voice came over the badge; he sounds like a really nice kid. I can't wait to meet him.

"Always! I gotta watch out for my little brothers! Have you picked a name for your teddy bear?"

Wait, he just called us his little brothers! How can he watch us all the time? I gotta find out! "How do you sleep, eat, and go to school if you're always listening to people?"

Adam began giggling, a good giggle. "Kerry's a special kid. He's just as real as us, but his body is a buncha black boxes in a room nobody can get to."

He's a kid, but not a kid type kid then? And he's not some superior adult type, but he thinks of us as his little brothers. I like this; I wish he'd been there when we were born! "So I got a new big brother who can watch me anywhere? KEWL!"

I don't care if his head is a buncha boxes or not. He's helped Adam, and now he's said he's gonna watch both of us. I ain't gotta worry about someone stealing my brother ever again!

Kerry's voice came over the comm thingie again. "Does that mean I can put a camera in your room? I've never been invited to a teddy bear naming, I'd like to see it! I promise not to show anyone unless you tell me that it's okay."

Okay, no way he's some black box; computers don't have emotions, and I KNOW he's hoping we say yes!

"I'm okay with it if Mark is." Adam replied as he looked at me.

I don't even got to think about my answer! "Yeah, do it. That way you can watch and make sure nobody tries to steal my brother from me again while I'm sleeping! I ain't gonna lose him again!" I wonder if that says how I'm feeling about Adam? He sure thinks so, going by the hug he's giving me! I wish we could head talk, but there's so much noise in my head right now that I can't hear him.

"I love watching twin brother hugs; you guys don't hide any emotions from each other while hugging." I heard Kerry comment softly. "Thanks, guys."

He's watching already? Dude, that was quick, I wonder how he's doing it. "You've got a camera already?"

"Yes, my Dad taught me how to install them with teleporters," Kerry replied. "I'm glad he did, I would have hated missing this."

Wow, so he can see how special Adam is to me already. If he can do that so fast, I know that he's gonna be able to protect Adam."My brother's special. I'm gonna wanta watch this with Adam when I'm a billion years old!"

Kerry giggled at my reply. "Be careful what you ask for, bro!"

You know, it feels pretty awesome knowing that the guys who rescued your brother think of you as family too! I just wish all this head noise would go away so that Adam and me could talk about it.

Hmm, Adam just asked Kerry about some guys I don't know watching him name his teddy. Kerry says they were watching us to make sure everything went okay; I guess that means they must be friends of Adam. They just offered to come over, but I really don't know them at all, and we're both still nude! "Who are they?"

Adam smiled as he told me "They're the first clan guys I met in Michigan. They're really kewl; the twins are Mini's little brothers and Alien is his boyfriend. They're also the ones who have helped Garrett a lot."

Ahh, so they are some of the guys that rescued Adam; that makes them good people right there! "I wanna meet them then. Can they come over bro?"

Adam's smile just got HUGE! "Sure, tell them to come on over, Kerry."

"They're getting into their official 'Teddy Bear Naming' uniforms now."

Okay, do I really wanna know what an official teddy bear naming uniform is? I didn't know there was such a thing! Oh ... I guess I don't gotta worry! Wait, I know those guys! Okay, last time I saw them they were dressed in baseball uniforms, not gunbelts and skin! That's really funny looking! "Don't you guys play for that Little League team from Iowa?"

The biggest of the four new guys, I think he's called Alien, nodded his head. "That's us."

I knew it! That means that the next biggest kid must be Mini! This is unreal, those guys are totally awesome! I gotta do it, I don't care what anyone thinks. C'mon Adam, we gotta get the picture I cut out! "Sweet, you guys are awesome! Can I get your autographs?"

The twins that came in with Mini and Alien started laughing. I kinda agree, the looks that Mini and Alien just got were hilarious! Mini came over first, and after I gave him the picture and marker, he signed the picture then passed it to Alien. There, I got it back, lets see what they wrote. The messages are awesome, but what's that? No way! Nobody gets butterflies on autographs! I've heard that only other butterfly hunters get that, and I ain't one of those!

Hold on one second! A kid with wings just showed up, and he's got another kid with him. This is totally weird! "What's happening?"

The winged kid replied to me, his voice kinda echoes. That sounds pretty kewl. "Hey guys, I'm Davie; I'm the assistant to Saint Mikey of Urbandale. I'm also officially one of your Guardian Angels now. I'd like you to meet Jake Busch, he's these guys' brother."

Okay, does someone have a manual for what you do when you're visited by an Angel? What do you do, what do you say? Better yet. why are they here at all? Okay, wait until the next time I hear someone say that if you don't do what they say you ain't goin to paradise. I've broke a buncha their rules, and now I've got an angel in my bedroom!

Okay, now just HOW do you address an angel? They sure didn't cover THIS in Sunday School! Your Angelness? Winged dude? Just what is the title of an assistant to a Saint? Did he say ONE of my Guardian Angels? Since when did you get issued more than one? Whatever, now back to what in the heck do you call an Angel? Did I just thing 'heck' and 'angel' in the same sentence? There goes my brownie point reserve!

'Relax Mark; you can call me Davie and that will be just fine. Trust me, one of my associates gets called a lot of things, and his name usually isn't one of them!'

Okay, that's funny! I always thought Angels were super-special and you had to treat them different. I think I'll like having Davie around as my guardian, he seems pretty kewl! Looks like Adam's friend Mini wants my attention; I guess I better stop wandering around my own head here.

Mini's face was serious as he looked me in the eyes. "Mark, I saw your face when you looked at the picture. There are only a few ways that someone can become a Butterfly Hunter. One of them is to overcome bad things and turn them into something good, another is to overcome your own fears to become better than anyone expects. The rarest one is to maintain hope that you will one day be reunited with family when others have given up, then when it happens doing everything you can to make it easy for your missing family to become part of what they missed. Before now, I was the only one to have that on my list. You didn't know it, but within five minutes of you and Adam getting together the four of us agreed that you had earned your wings. Dad already reviewed it and agrees. Mark, will you accept our offer of becoming a Butterfly Hunter?"

Holy crap! Wait, can I think that with an angel in the room? Who cares... Holy Crap! Just because I didn't give up, they wanna make me one of them? I wonder what Adam thinks of that? That answers that; he looks like Dad does when I bring home a straight-A report card! I'm gonna do it; I can't refuse something that makes Adam that happy.

"Before you answer, Mark, I want to add a few things into the record." Davie stated with a smile. "Your hope is what kept Jeff and Brian going; without you they would not have dealt with the loss of Adam like they did and they would not have turned out like they have. As the years stretched out, your hope kept your parents together when things got rough. Today you listened to your heart instead of your head and performed multiple actions which have helped Adam adjust without any outside interference. Through you, your Grandma has maintained the strength to survive the pain she felt at Adam's loss; you are the reason she is alive today. Not only have you earned your butterfly wings, but there is another set waiting for you way down the road."

Geeeze, thanks a lot, Davie! I though guardian angels were supposed to help their charges. At least Adam's trying to support me by putting his arm on my shoulder! See what happens when you try to be a good guy? People get all mushy and try to show you how good being yourself can be. "I did all that? I was just me, I knew Adam was okay. Do you get wings for just being you?"

Mini's brother Jake giggled as he told me "Yes. I say so!" I'm guessing he's an angel too, since he showed up with Davie. I wonder why he gets the final say?

'Before he was killed, he was the one who designed the butterflies.' I heard Davie say in my head. 'He's now the Guardian of all of the Butterfly hunters. Jake guided his Dad to start the tradition, and he reserves the right to declare someone a Hunter himself. In some cases, he designs special butterflies for those that he thinks are exceptional.'

Okay, now that makes sense in a weird kinda way. It's kinda kewl, Mini and Jake are tickling each other like they're both alive. Davie just showed me some of the stuff that people have done to become Hunters; I think I understand Butterfly Hunters better now. It's not what you do, but how you deal with stuff that messes other people up. "I guess that means I'm a Butterfly Hunter then."

"Almost. Have a seat." Jake told me with a grin. "I've got a special butterfly for ya."

A special butterfly? Okay, I'm not going to argue with an angel, especially one who wants to join the list of my Guardians. I've figured out already that they know more about what's been happening than I do. This should be pretty kewl; I've never had someone make an award just for me!

Now that me, Adam, Freddie, and Adam's bear are sitting down, Jake's making himself comfortable behind me. He just started running his finger over my shoulder; it kinda tickles, but it's kinda warm too. I just felt him draw the shape of a butterfly, but he's doing a buncha other stuff with his finger too. My question is how is he drawing without a pencil or something? Must be an Angel thing. I'm gonna have to ask how to keep it from washing off too. Duuhhhh, like an angel would do something that would wash off! Jake seems to like what he's doing; he's humming while he draws. Did I mention that this tickles yet? It's a kewl tickle, not a funny type of tickle. Wow, this thing must be huge, my entire shoulder is tickling now!

Wow, I think he's done already. Nope, he's touching something up. There, I'm guessing by his giggle that he's done; it felt like he signed it! Sweet, Mini and Alien just had a couple of mirrors appear in their hands so I can see it! It's a tattoo! He made a real tattoo! There's a really big butterfly with a smile and some branches in his feet. It kinda has rainbow wings; I see purple, orange, blue, red, and yellow. There are a buncha fluffy clouds in the background; they've got silver and gold edges even! There's a buncha little butterflies too, I see nine but there are a couple of clouds that look like they could be hidden butterflies too. All of the little guys are different, they each have their own colors. Under the big one, it says 'Ace' in big red letters, and Jake signed it right under that. Wait, 'Ace'? I know what a normal butterfly hunter is, why did he make me an Ace?

'An Ace is someone who has went above and beyond normal to save someones life.' Davie explained in my head. 'Even though you didn't realize it, there are a few things that you've either did or are about to do which saved some people's lives. Jake has time issues; sometimes he's not sure when he is. Trust me, you earned it; I think that you'll figure out how in the next few days.'

Thanks, Davie. I'll just wait until I can figure it out then; that's kewl. I think Davie knows I like it, his grin was huge when I just gave him a hug. It's kinda funny, he just told Mini that he'd have to wait for me to figure out the nine small butterflies. I'm not tellin' that there are really eleven... I'll point it out when they accuse Jake of missing something. I think ghosts look awesome when they blush, by the way. I just noticed something as Davie and Jake vanished; Mini's an Ace too. It's on his arm. I'm betting it has to do with his little brothers, since he's always near them. They feel like Adam does to me; they need him near more than Jeff and Bri need each other near.

It sounds like Lucas is gonna try to take care of the funny stuff happening in our heads; I wonder if that means I'll be able to hear Adam again? I guess I'll find out; but right now there is something more important to do. "Adam? Freddie wants to know if you'll hold him so that he can see my back too."

Adam smiled at me as he took Freddie. "Sure, bro!" As soon as he had Freddie behind me, he asked him how he liked it, then he sat back down next to me. Adam told me "Freddie likes it, bro!" as he handed Freddie back to me. I'm really glad Freddie likes it; I wonder if he qualifies for a butterfly too? I'll have to ask Jake if he can do butterflies on furry people next time I see him. Lucas is tryin' to talk to Adam now, but he sounds like he's got larenji ... layrongi ... whatever that word is when you ain't got no voice. He wants to know what Adam's gonna name his Teddy.

Adam looks a little nervous. He almost whispered as he told Lucas "I want to name him after you. He's my strong, quiet friend that I can always count on.

Lucas smiled, a really big smile as he replied "Go ahead." You know, he kinda sounds like a frog trying to speak; I hope he's okay.

Did Adam just tell his Lucas that he's named after the best blower-upper in the whole world? That's hilarious! I gotta try to keep from laughing though; I don't want to ruin this for Adam. OMG! I don't know what Logan said, but Lucas just flipped him the bird. I saw it, even though he tried to hide it from us. Those two are a lot closer than Jeff and Bri; I wonder if that's how Adam and I are gonna be?

Mini just told us that the rest of them are going to go check on the brat twins. I feel sorry for you guys! "Okay." That was funny, Adam and I just talked in unison again! Just a minute; Adam's Lucas wants to give Freddie a hug. They're teddy bear brothers, so they gotta get in their hug time too.

Okay, Freddie and Lucas are happy teddies now. Talk about timing, the human Lucas just said something!

"Guys, I need you to pay attention." Lucas croaked softly.

"Wazzup?" He sounds serious, I hope this isn't bad. Maybe that's why the other guys left the room.

Lucas nodded his thanks to me as he whispered "You guys are relinking as twins faster than your heads can adjust, and it's starting to mess things up. If you'll let me help you telepathically, I can show you what you're gonna need to know to make it easier for your heads to adjust to having each other around."

Okay, he wants to really help our heads. He's kinda a hero to Adam, so there's no way I need to worry about him messin' with us. "Adam named his teddy bear after you, If he trusts you so much that he'd do that, then I trust you to help us if you think we need it." I hope I said that right!

Adam just cuddled tighter against me; I guess that means he likes what I said. I hope this works; this telepathetic stuff is confusing!

Lucas seemed to be looking at both of us. "I'm gonna teach you guys some head security too; you both need it. You're gonna hear my voice in your head, and then I'll help you out."

'You're first. Adam's in a little better shape since he's had a hidden bond with Ronnie. What kind of filing system do you use in here, fifty-two card pickup?'

I can find stuff! You're goofy, I like you!

'Yeah, Julio says the same thing about his storage. Thanks, I think that you and Adam are both awesome for being squishies.'


'Oh, right; that wouldn't make sense to you yet. Adam knows already, so I'll explain. Logan and me were sold by our parents to a genetic experiment. They kept Spence; you call him Mini. That's why I have trouble speaking; they mixed our genes with some animal genes and made both of us into freaks.'

You guys ain't freaks. Jeff and Bri are freaks, you two are awesome. I can feel how much everyone loves you. Mini and Alien especially; I think they'd die to protect you.

'Oh my God! Wait until Colin hears that we've been out-freaked by a pair of squishies! He's gonna die laughing! Getting back to your storage, you and Adam are bonding like some friends of ours in a way. I don't think that you're going as far as Double Trouble did, but you're gonna be a lot closer than most twins are. That means that a lot of stuff in your head is gonna be shared with Adam, and a lot of stuff in his head is gonna be shared by you. That's why things are so messed up right now; you guys use different ways of storing stuff in here, and your filers are getting confused as to what goes where.'

How can we agree on a filing system when our talking to each other in our heads broke just after it started working?

'Logan's helping out remotely until we get that fixed. He's been in Adam's head before, so he's talking with Adam and relaying stuff to me. He'll help Adam match up to what we're doing.'

Kewl! Does this happen a lot?

'No, actually it's rare that twins need help with their links, even if they were separated. Logan and me have a stronger than normal link because of what we went through. Your link feels like ours does, so I'm gonna try some of the tricks that we use to keep things sane. We both file stuff different too, so instead of file drawers like most twins use, we set up shelves like these.'

Sweet! I think I saw how you made them, can I try?

'Go for it.'

Okay, let's see... you did this, then that, and... YES! That's easy! Watch this!!

'Dude! You've got more shelves built than me and Logan put together! What's with the teddy bear shaped ones?'

Those are for Freddie, that way he has someplace to put his stuff!

'That's the first time a teddy bear has got it's own storage that I know of. Make sure that it keeps being used, there's nothing sadder than a lonely teddy bear. What Logan and I do with the shelves is we break stuff down into categories, then put all of a category in the same area. That way Logan don't need to dig through my explosive stuff when he's looking for my schedule for next week. Since it's in one area and spread out, it's easy to figure out where stuff is at.'

Like this? Oh, THAT'S where I put Travis's phone number! Hold on, I need another shelf... okay, that's good. Why does it feel like you're blushing?

'I was curious about the butterfly shelf that you just made, and I saw what you saved about me.'

Oops; what can I say, you're cute inside and outside!

'Can we talk about that in a few days? Nobody's ever thought of me like that, and I don't really know how to handle it. I need to talk to Spence to get some big brother help with emotions.'

Wow, I can feel how those bad guys messed you up. We're both Aces, I saw it on you. No matter what you decide, you're my Ace brother. You can always come in here and we'll talk or whatever else we need to do.

'Are you really serious about being my brother?'

Until the day I die.

'Let me check... yes, the organizing is causing your head to repair itself really fast. You'll be ready pretty soon for us to tune up your link and set up security. Where... oh, there's a spot. Can I set up a private room for you and me in that area over there?'

Sure, go for it. What's it for?

'I'll explain as soon as it's built. Okay, follow me please.'

Okay. Hey, I can see you in here! OH MY GOD! Am I seeing what those buttholes did to you?

'You can see it? Yeah, that's from them. I'm not very cute anymore, am I?'

What they did doesn't change the real you, and the real you is still as cute as ever, brother. Grandma's taught me some stuff that Dad don't know about, and if I ever find the jerks that tried to mess you up I'll use everything she taught me and a few things I thought up on my own. When I get done with them, there won't be enough left for Hell to claim.

'I thought Spence was just saying that because he's my big brother....'

Stop it and give me a hug. It don't matter what you think, you're awesome. You wouldn't be here if you weren't. You're my brother forever, and maybe more when we get older. By the way, you give great hugs!

'Hold me please; I'm trying to get my head back under control. I'm feeling stuff, but I really don't know what it is.'

I do. I've always kinda knew when people felt bad; since you came into my head and started helping I'm figuring out how other people feel. You're feeling security like I feel when Grandma holds me, and you're feeling a kinda love I've never seen before today.

'Okay. Wait, repeat that Logan! You're kidding! Oh, I'm soooo gonna kick your ass for that comment when we get home! I won't need to pack a lunch; you're gonna be the whole meal!'

What did he say?

'He saw what was happening, and checked with the Chief Head Leech, Kyle. He says that you and Adam are what's known as touch empaths; you can pick up on people's emotions in a general way by being near them, but you actually affect them if you're touching. That's why you and Adam are bonding so fast; every time you touch you're feeding each other. Somehow, you made a link with me too, and now your head is trying to help my head recover from all the time I was away from Spence. Kyle looked at it, and he said that it's permanent; you bonded with me like Vulcans do when they get married.'

When do we get to have our honeymoon? (giggle)

'Probably when we sit down and figure out how you got around some of the best head walls that the Unit and the Clan have created, smart aleck!'

(giggle) I'm just that good! I think we're the first people in history to get married before we're even boyfriends!

'You're not helping! Now Colin says I need to tell my husband everything about me! I hope that you learn explosive ordinance really soon; I'm gonna need some help getting even with these assholes!'

Tell them to chill or I'm gonna sic Grandma on them! Here's a shelf, put all the stuff on there that we need to go over and we'll do it later. Put the explosive stuff you wanna teach me on this other shelf; I'll study it when I'm relaxing. If it's something that you like doing, I wanna at least understand it.

'You know, you're making it a lot better just by how you're helping. I was going to use this room to add you into the link all of my Strike Team is on since you swore brotherhood to me. I guess we'll have to find another space, this room's turning into a private room for the two of us I think. Do you think Adam will mind you having private spaces that he can't get into?'

He's gonna have to; you're sharing personal stuff with me that he'd have to ask you himself to know about. You know his head better than I do!

'Thanks; I think you'll understand why I have a bunch of stuff that I don't like sharing when we go through that shelf.'

You know what? I think I'm gonna make a new rule; any time we're in this room, I gotta look at one thing randomly on that shelf. Even if we don't talk about it, that way I don't put it off forever. I won't make you talk about it, but I wanna know.

'I guess that will work, please don't try to make me talk about it yet though. I'm not even able to discuss it with myself.'

Deal. I think I'll look at this one. Uhh, is there a way that you can close your ears for a minute? I need to try out some words Grandma taught me.

'Yeah, tap my shoulder when you're done.'

Okay... now that Lucas ain't listening... wait until I get my hands on the sadistic bastards who took an innocent little kid and put him through Hell while they changed the very stuff that made him what he was! They didn't give a damn that he was in more pain than most people could live through, they didn't care that his body almost ripped itself apart trying to change into what they wanted! His heart stopped FIVE TIMES in ONE DAY! I swear, I'll never forget those faces... if I EVER find them, I'm gonna drive a tank up their ass then fire napalm into their intestines!

I better calm down, the room's glowing red. I know Lucas can still see what's happening; I don't wanna hurt him by exploding over something he can't even talk about. There; that's better... I'll come in here later and finish this one. I need to do it when he's not here. He's getting his shoulder tap while in the middle of a hug though.

'I saw which one you grabbed. Are you okay? You still think I'm not a fr....'

Kinda hard to talk bad about yourself when being kissed ain't it? You know, this kissing thing's pretty kewl; we're gonna have to try it more often! I'm fine, and so are you. Nothing's gonna change that.

'Okay, I get the hint! I think you took diplomacy lessons from your Grandma too!'

Yep! How'd you guess! C'mon, let's get you away from those memories; we've gotta get my talking with Adam fixed.

'No fair helping me when I'm supposed to be helping you! Yeah, your head should be about ready. I'm gonna help you with shields like mine; Kyle says that Jamie, Jacob, and Beau are gonna need to give you two an upgrade as soon as they get home. You're good; unique too.'

Thanks! Okay, I thought I cleaned up all of this stuff from the floor out here.

'You did... I think that when you lost your temper, it musta blew everything off of the shelves.'

We'll fix that. Adding doors with latches should work. Hey, I just noticed, my head don't feel like it's straining anymore! What now?

'Let's set up the shields first; you've got a basic one in your head already, you just need to turn it on like this. Okay, that's working; now you need to build some walls by imagining special bricks. Your head will translate that into your new shield.'

Like this? SWEET! This is easy once I know how to do it! Since my head seems fixed, why ain't I hearing Adam?

'Logan helped him with a shield already; you guys gotta create tunnels to each other now, then you'll be relinked the right way.'

You mean like this? (giggle)

'Okay, points for learning fast, but I'm knocking down your grade for tunneling to your instructor! You just turned my temporary access into a twinlink tunnel!'

I'll just practice kissing on you for extra credit!

'Are you sure you're not a clone of Spence? Seriously, when you guys connect this time there is going to be a bunch of personal stuff flying around. Since we've got a link now, besides being bonded, I can back out and still know if you guys need help. Let me know when you're ready, and Logan and me will back out to let you two do your thing.'

Okay, just remember that I'm not gonna let you talk bad about yourself. If I gotta get Kerry to help me I will!

'Knowing that overgrown pocketwatch, he'll help just to see the response! I feel different now; if this is what it feels like to be special to someone you can do whatever you want to keep it going!'

I know what I'm feeling, I love you Lucas. Any time that you're feeling down about what those bastards did, I want you in my head so we can sort it out. I know what you went through when they screwed with your body; you're not lettin' them win by giving up after surviving that.

'No wonder you were pissed! As one Ace to another, I swear on my honor that I will always come to you for help in beating those bastards.'

As one Ace to another, I swear on my honor to support you in whatever way I need to so that we beat them as a team. You are my brother for Eternity.

'One of these days, I'll get to show you what that means to me. As soon as you and Adam's link is stable, I'll be waiting for you back in the outside world.'

You better be standing right in front of us! I'm ready, I'll see you in a minute!

'Yes SIR! (giggle)'

Okay, let me look around here now that I'm alone; it's not every day that you're inviting your twin into your head! It looks like I've got the mess cleaned up from when I blew my top. My head feels really clear; it's actually better than it has ever been before! I think I feel Adam trying to attach to me, I'll start my tunnel as well and we can hook up.

Okay, here I go, time to open the door! Good thing I stood off to the side, there's a TON of stuff that is finding its own spot on the shelves! I wonder how many things ran into each other in the tunnel? I know there's a lot of stuff copying on my end then flying to Adam!

Ahh, there, it's slowed down to only a couple of things at a time now!

'Is it safe yet?'

Yeah! C'mon over bro!

'Nice! You've got a really kewl setup here! Are you feeling better too?'

Yep; I think we've been broke for a while, we were just too far away to notice it. You wanna catch up on stuff as we're wandering around? Knowing the brats, they're getting worried because I cut off their brain talk until we're all set up.

'I like that idea; it feels like I can talk to you without concentrating on it now. I've got control, so you hear my thoughts when I send them, but not when I'm just thinking to myself.'

You know, he's right! Before we heard each other's thoughts, now it's separate. Kewl Adam, I think we've got it! You gonna help me hug the cute blond who hung out in my head?

'Of course! Logan told me ALL about what you two did! You're the best thing that's ever happened for Lucas, and there are a bunch of people that you ain't met yet who will protect you with their lives for what just happened. Count it down bro; one twin hug coming up!'

Three... Two... One... HUG!

I think Lucas thought I was joking! He's hugging me back though, so I guess that means he's okay. He did help me a lot; and I think I might have helped him somehow too by the the way he's acting different around me now. I'm not gonna let on to Kerry though that we've done any talking; so I'd better thank Lucas verbally like a normal person would. "Thanks, Lucas!"

"That feels better already!" Adam added to my statement.

I could feel the glow of acceptance from Lucas as he realized that both of us really appreciated his help. "You're welcome. Logan says you guys better get dressed and back out to the living room, Jeff and Brian are about to send out a search party."

'You sure you don't want me to stay nude?' I asked Lucas, who just giggled his reply into my chest. As I tried to figure out his response, Adam told him "Okay! You wanna tell them we'll be right out?"

'I'm not sharing you!' Lucas giggled in my head as he wiggled out of the hug and replied to Adam. "Okay. Hurry up though, they're missing the two of you."

Okay, as weird as it sounds, I'm feeling very evil right now. You know the one thing Jeff and Brian hated the most as kids? They hated wearing anything that looked like what the other was wearing, since it always caused some adult to say how cute twins were. I look just different enough that I never had to worry about that. Sooooo... I think it's time to 'play twin', just to show off that MY brother is back! I hope Adam plays along; I'm not going to ask him until I do it! Hmm, I think orange works for underwear; gotta twin out completely to do it right! Ankle socks, check. Gotta have them with the shoes I wanna wear. I wonder how long until Adam figures out the new shoes have got wheels? They're called the Levi series; I'd like to meet this Levi guy, it's a totally awesome idea! Stone-washed black jeans? Yeah, I wanna see how hot they look on another me! Now for the shirts... I know! Mesh shirts! I've got those new Sea World ones Grandma got! Where'd I put them... oh yeah, third drawer! Here they are! Okay, now to get those shoes... "Twin time!" Okay, shoes incoming!

"Do you have two of everything?" Adam asked me with a giggle and a huge grin.

"Yep, that way when you came home I knew you'd have clothes!" Okay, it looks like he's in on it! Sweeet, this is going to be fun!

"Thanks bro." Adam told me as he gave me another hug. I can feel it, he's really happy that I was thinking about him.

"Wait until I tell Grandma 'I told ya so!' about the clothes! She always told Mom that double everything for me was wasting money. Grandma's nice, but she don't like spending more money than needed. She still bought double, but she complained while doing it." I hope that didn't sound like I was ragging on Grandma. She'll kick my butt if I make Adam think bad about her. Really; she'll actually kick it!

'Chill, bro! I know what you mean. Grandma sounds awesome from what you've said.'

That makes me feel better. I'm not gonna let myself screw up my bro liking grandma; she can do that herself! (giggle)

"We dressing each other?" Adam asked me with a huge smile. His smile got bigger as I nodded my head and reached for some underwear.

Okay... this is getting confusing, it seems Adam wants to put underwear on me at the same time as I try to put his on him! I know! Hey Adam, lay on the floor, I'll lay the other way, and we can do this at the same time!

'Yeah, that'll work. HEY! No fair tickling me! See, it's hard to do when you're laughing!'

You're one to talk! Next time, try putting them on with the front in the front!

'At least MY first attempt was right-side out!'

"Whatever! Pass me some socks, goofball!" This is FUN!

'Here ya go!'

Hey! Those are for your feet, not my wiener!

'I had to warm them up somehow!'

Yeah, right! Let me grab the jeans... hey, stop poking at my butt with your toes! That tickles!

Okay, we've got jeans on now. Time to stand up again. I think we'll have to do shirts one of us at a time, bro.

'Yeah, that makes sense. You first, brat! Stand still!'

Who is calling who a brat! It helps a LOT if you actually make it past my head with the shirt!

'What can I say, it looked funny! On your knees, knave, and put my shoes on me!'

Knave huh? You're lucky these shoes have magnestrips instead of laces, or I'd tie them together! Your turn, bro.

'Okay, you're all set. Why do they look like they have wheels on the bottom inside the shoe?'

I'll show ya later; they're a new shoe that just came out here. It's awesome! Now get that cute butt moving, we need to fix my hair after you messed it up!

'Me? You're the one who decided to put my shirt over my head five times before pulling it down!'

You laughed too! C'mon already!

'Okay; dang, we gotta be the cutest twins in history!'

I agree. Hold still, I need to fix your hair. there, That looks a lot better.

'Kewl, my turn bro. Your hair isn't too bad, give me just a minute. Okay, you're all set. You ready to go show off?'

Yep! Follow me, bro. This is awesome; I love the feeling of having my bro back! Okay, lets see if we can make it down the stairs without tripping over each other. Okay, here we go, the great appearance begins! (giggle) What the heck? Why did Dad's boss just call all of his guys to attention? I know we're hot, but that's no reason to do that! Here we go, Mom-hugs time!

'I think I'm gonna like Mom-hugs!'

"I think you two just proved me wrong; I always thought dressing up twins the same was silly. You both look so handsome!" Mom announced loud enough to be heard on the other side of the ocean!

"MOM!" Why you giggling, bro? The Czar of Russia probably heard her!

'You want to call him and ask?'

You're a LOT of help!

'Thanks, I try!'

Adam took a break from his giggles long enough to ask Mom "Why are all of the police officers standing at attention?"

Thanks bro, I was afraid to ask that.

'Don't worry bro, I got your back!'

Oh, so Alien spilled the beans! Hey bro, we owe him a tickle! I hope Mom and Dad ain't too mad at me!

'Here comes Dad, I think we'll find out.'

Well, that's a good sign, Dad's giving us each a hug before saying anything. Okay, here we go....

"Can we see the butterfly, son?" Dad asked me softly.

"You're not mad, are you?" I really hope that he's not mad at me!

Dad smiled at me, one of those smiles that makes me feel like nothing in the world can go wrong. "No, I'm very proud."

Oh crap, now we're gonna get into the which parent is prouder, I can see it in Mom's face.

More Mom-hugs! "Me too, I'm proud of both of you. I agree with why you were chosen to join the Butterfly Hunters, Mark. Mini let me talk to their Dad, and he explained it to me. Adam, I've also been told about what you did for Ronnie; you weren't just a brother, you were the twin he was missing. The two of you are very special."

See! What did I tell ya!

'You love it bro! I never had that before, this is pretty awesome!'

Get ready bro, here come the brats! Hey, you think we should let them back in our heads yet?

'We probably should. You're probably worrying them; they've not really figured out my head yet.'

Yeah, you gotta point, I guess I'm being kinda selfish. I want you all to myself.

'I kinda feel the same way. They've never been out of your head like this, and I bet it's scaring them.'

Where'd you learn to be so grown up?

'Living with a big brother who was the only thing I could really count on, I guess.'

I'm liking Ronnie more and more, bro. Now stop hogging Jeff hugs, it's your turn with Brian and my turn with Jeff!


Yep! Now get ready to let the brats in!

Okay, let's see if I can figure this out... I wonder if I can do both of them at once? Ahh, yep; here we go, two more brothers coming up!

'It's about time! You were driving us nuts' Jeff announced loudly.

'Yeah, I missed you!' Brian added.

My head was really screwing up until Lucas helped me out. You guys didn't need to see that.

'Bullcrap!' Jeff replied forcefully. 'Your head's been goofy since the day Adam came up missing, bro. We know it, that's why we always hung around in it.'

I started to reply, but Adam beat me to it. 'Chill, Jeff. Mark was right in this case, you guys woulda made it worse if you had tried to do anything. Logan was watching when Lucas was helping, and he kept me updated so I wouldn't worry. Mark and me's links kinda crashed into each other, it's fixed now, but it's not like a normal link. That's why you guys were linked with me as soon as Mark linked with you. It feels like what our links have become is affecting you guys too, so pretty soon we'll all be the same talking to each other.'

I heard the little buzz that told me Jeff and Brian were having a private conversation in their heads, then Jeff spoke up. "We've been talking, and we think it's awesome that not only do we got both of our big brothers now, but both of them are so awesome that grownups think they're special!"

Oh, he DIDN'T just go there! "You're special too, you just ain't been caught at it. You guys ain't no different than Adam and me. We're a set of four, not two sets of two."

Before they could reply, Adam added "He's right, bros. We're a team, that's what makes family. I went from living with one brother to having five with my first one just a call away. If Ronnie is getting along with his twin like I'm getting along with you, we might even have another one on the list."

'You guys really think so?' both Mark and Brian chorused.

Yeah, we do. Trust me, Adam's a nutcase, but he's not gonna lie!

'Bite me, brat!' Adam giggled.

Pick a spot, bro!

As Adam and I giggled, I could feel Jeff and Brian's confusion.

'What happened? You were afraid to tell Adam that you had to pee, and now you're cutting him down?' Brian asked in confusion.

We kinda worked out the brother thing, Brian. We know that we're not gonna chase each other off by being ourselves.

'Yeah, we're twins with twin brothers. If we can't joke with each other, then we ain't really brothers.' Adam added.

'Okay...' Jeff commented, his tone telling me there was something else that he'd noticed. 'Mark, why ain't you thinking like you usually do?'

It took me a second to realize what Jeff meant, but then I noticed it too. I'm not thinking all over the place like I was!

Jeff, I think it's because Lucas helped me organize stuff in my head. It's like everything used to be in one big pile, and now it's put where I can find it without running across other random stuff to think about.

'Sweeet! No more listening to you think about sock puppets one second and cute classmates the next?'

Bite me, Brat! (giggle) Here we go, proud parent time again. Jeeze! Why do parents have to show off every time a kid does something right? It's ANNOYING to us kids! Now I gotta stand here and listen to people telling me how proud they are of me!

'Stop your whining! All of us are proud of you too, bro!' Adam, Brian, and Jeff said in unison.

Y'all are a LOT of help! Okay, I guess I can stand still while all y'all look at my tattoo. Garrett just said it's awesome, so since he likes it, I guess I'll put up with this for a few.

'Hey bro, did you notice that it feels like Garrett is seeming a little calmer?'

Kinda, you got a better antenna than I do.

'Our antennas are the same, remember? We checked that already!'

Wrong antenna, goof! Hold on, Dad's looking at my back.

"That is amazing..." Dad commented, his voice telling me that he really approved of the tattoo. "Why are there extra butterflies?"

He would ask that! "I dunno yet. Jake said I'd figure it out though."

Dad laughed softly, which means that I'm off the hook for now. Now to see if I can stand still while all of dad's police friends taking their turn looking at it....

IMPORTANT: The second half of Mark's log will be presented in chapter 3b, which I will have ready as soon as possible.


To Be Continued...