Sitting on the edge of the large wide river, his feet hanging over the edge and just about touching the racing water below him, Tobias Court lifted the mug of tea he had in his right hand up to his mouth and sipped on it again. It was early morning and the sun was slowly rising in the east. Wearing just a pair of plain black jogging bottoms, a dark green hoodie and a grey beanie to cover his ears, the senior enlisted officer smiled at the scene before him. Mellstoxx III was filled with beautiful scenery, so much of the planet hadn’t been touched since it was founded as a colony back in the twenty-third century. That was still the case today, in the twenty-fifth century. It was nice to stop and think somewhere that wasn’t a busy starship or an advanced alien ark that was holding him against his will.
Standing up, chucking what was left of his tea into the river (it had gone cold now) he was about to turn around when he felt the surprised but welcoming arrival of a pair of arms wrapping themselves around him. One around his waist and the other around his chest.
“Morning.” Whispered Duncan before planting a kiss on Court’s left cheek.
Smirking at the affection, Court grabbed hold of one of Duncan’s hands. “Hey, you’re up.”
“As are you.” Duncan whined a bit. “How long have you been standing here for?”
“An hour or so. I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep.” Court replied. “Plus, I didn’t want to wake you as you looked like you were in a deep sleep.” He paused as he turned his head to look at his boyfriend. “Actually you were snoring.”
“Sorry.” Duncan mumbled into the back of Court’s neck. “I didn’t wake you, did I?”
Turning himself around and placing his arms now around Duncan’s neck, Court shook his head. “No, no you didn’t. Your snores are kinda cute.”
Duncan looked a bit appalled and creeped out by that description. “Cute snoring? Is that even possible?” He checked.
Court chuckled as he pulled him in for another kiss, a much longer one now on the lips. Besides the hat, Duncan was wearing a similar outfit like Court but it was all in dark navy blue and his hoodie’s hood was over his head. Their embrace was quickly interrupted by the noise of Wylem shouting out at them.
“It’s too early for my eyes to be burnt by that type of scene!” Wylem jokingly moaned as he dragged himself out of his tent along with a groan and a loud, long yawn.
Both Court and Duncan released themselves from one another and turned to look at their ‘son’ as he made his way over to them. Pulling over a light grey hoodie over his bare chest and quickly pulling the hood over his messy hair followed by him shoving his hands into its front pouch, the teenager walked up to them both and gave them a brief hug as he greeted them with his usual morning acknowledgement. It was a gesture the youngster had started with them a few weeks into their time spent together on the Quirennal. After this he slowly dragged his body over to one of the camping chairs and slouched into it as he yawned further.
Duncan and Court had decided to take both Jorgeh and Wylem camping while they were on Mellstoxx. It was something they had done together back on the Quirennal and now that was behind them, the boys were eager to remain with them, both men had felt that going back to basics (somewhat) would help with the healing process for both boys, as well as themselves, in building this family they had started over two months ago. Doing something that was familiar to them all felt like the best choice and doing it out in real natural fresh air was an added bonus. So for the last two nights they had built their own campsite on the shore of one of the rivers that flowed on the Betazoid colony in one of its many beautiful countryside settings. Borrowing one of the Odyssey’s Type 12 shuttlecraft, the Beagle, they had replicated everything they would need and packed it full before finding an appropriate place they could set up camp (with permission from the local government officials on Mellstoxx).
So far the trip was helping.
Both boys had their own tents each, while Court and Duncan shared a larger one. They had cooked their food over a campsite fire, had gone swimming in the river and had played card games into the late hours at night. The night before Jorgeh had shared how he was feeling about everything since they had been rescued by the Odyssey. Wylem was soon followed and the trauma they had gone through was evident. Being a counsellor, Duncan had used some techniques to help them process and reflect on everything while Court backed him up with words of assurance. The conversation about whether or not they could become Federation citizens had been raised and both men had told them they would look into all of it.
One step at a time.
Out of them both, Wylem was more of the cocky and jovial one but the one who appreciated the affection that he received from his two new dads. Jorgeh on the other hand had become more quiet, more reserved since they escaped from the Quirennal. He had shared that he was pleased they were no longer under the ‘tyranny of the isomorph who tried to be his mother’ (his own words), but there was definitely a sense of profound loss he was going through. While on the Quirennal, Jorgeh’s frustration had always been at the forefront of most things. The first night on Odyssey, the teenage lad had sobbed into Duncan’s arms about finding out what the isomorph had done in killing all of the other children just to save him and Wylem. The guilt was something he was carrying around with him and in a very heavy manner. All of this he had shared with his brother during their discussions the night before. Wylem had admitted he felt sick from thinking about it all and was trying not to think about it all. It was obvious that both boys would require a lot of therapy to come to terms with what they had experienced and were going through. However both men who were now wanting to be their dads were certain they and others could help them.
Making his way to switch on the small stove they used to heat water and cook small items on, Duncan filled the kettle that Court had used to make his tea from earlier with fresh water as he prepared to make more tea. As he did he looked over at Wylem. His son’s messy hair was now draping over his forehead; one large strain was covering his left eye. He appeared to be ignoring it for now.
“How are you feeling this morning since last night’s conversation?” Duncan asked as he switched the stove on and looked at Wylem.
Stifling another yawn by placing the back of his left hand over his mouth, Wylem just nodded before he could speak. “Fine, I think.” He answered. “I mean it was good to hear what Jorgeh was thinking and feeling. I was thinking last night, that if you guys had come along when you did then when would have we been rescued and saved?”
Court and Duncan exchanged looks at one another. It had been a similar thought they had shared as well.
“That’s a good question.” Court said as he took the seat next to Wylem. “I don’t think anyone could answer it.”
“I think it’s best you take this time to think about the here and now.” Duncan advised as he sorted out a few clean mugs. “Consider what we can do now, as a family.”
Wylemn smiled at that. “We are lucky and I suppose as we Jorgeh and I said last night, we are lucky to have been given you two.”
“We think the same.” Duncan assured him as the kettle started to boil.
At that point the tent that Jorgeh was in started to open slowly and the older teenager could be seen starting to get out. Yawning more as he pushed himself out of the tent, he stumbled out and looked around at the others. “Morning.” He grumbled and quickly hugged himself. “God, why is it so cold?”
“Why don’t you stick a jumper or hoodie on and perhaps something to cover your legs?” Court suggested.
Jorgeh looked down at his appearance. He was just wearing a small pair of purple shorts and a black vest. Groaning to himself, Jorgeh went back into his tent and retrieved the red and white jumper he had worn the night before and pulled out the black blanket he had wrapped around his sleeping bag. Dragging himself across to where his own camping chair was, he fell into it as he put his jumper on over his head before wrapping the blanket around his legs.
Chuckling at Jorgeh’s morning antics, Duncan walked over with a mug of tea and handed it to him before getting one for the two others. “Morning sunshine.” He said as he handed the drink over.
Jorgeh looked up, squinting his eyes and smiled in appreciation. “Thank you.” He remarked before standing up and giving Duncan a hug.
Appreciating the gesture, Duncan returned the quick embrace and went back to where he had just stood. “So, Tobes and I were chatting last night and we found out that not just far from here is a cabin we could stay at for a few days and then we were thinking about heading to one of the equatorial islands, where there’s a few resorts we can stay at.”
“What’s a cabin?” Wylem asked before sipping on his tea.
“What’s a resort?” Jorgeh questioned next after swallowing his drink.
Again, both Duncan and Court exchanged smirks.
Court answered. “Both are a little drier and warmer than staying in our tents overnight.”
“I’m in.” Wylem said.
“Likewise.” Jorgeh added. “Will we have time to visit them before we have to return to the Odyssey?”
Duncan nodded as he started to pull forward out of the storage box they had. “We will, but as we’ve said before, prior to us returning to the ship we all have to meet with Counsellor Horin and her team to discuss all of our options.”
“She’s not going to break us away from one another, will she?” Jorgeh asked, sounding a bit worried. His curly hair now dangling in front of his eyes as he tried to push it away from his face.
“I thought our meeting with the Federation Displacement Agency would be enough for us to remain with you?” Wylem probed, now sounding panicky.
Holding both hands to stop them both from worrying any further, Court halted the conversation. “You’ve got nothing to worry about. The Displacement Agency has already placed their recommendations, Counsellor Horin’s team and her need to advise us on how best to support you as well as us in how we adjust to things now we’re not on the Quirennal.”
“You promise?” Jorgeh checked as he looked between Court and Duncan for assurance.
Duncan looked back at him, knowing he couldn’t be for certain that they would be together and everything would go to plan, but on the other hand he knew he had to remain positive for the boys. “Absolutely.” He answered.