March 13, 2010: And here's the threesome-y goodness. O_O I tried?

Warnings: Still slash. ^_^ Erm... and some het, too? *twitch* Watch out for falling threesomes. O_o;;;

Minor note: Oh -- for those of you who have no idea who I'm talking about when you get to the part where she's mentioned once or twice, Suzanne is the Tribe member played by Megan Reinking -- the lead in the Black Boys trio. I always liked her and the last time I saw the show, I noticed that her character is, in fact, mentioned by name. XD It's when Crissy is trying to get out of going home with Woof and asks "Walter" if she can go home with him. He, in turn, asks Suzanne (Megan Reinking) if she minds. Not that important, it isn't like she has a major part in the fic -- goodness, and not even until Chapter 2 O_o -- but I was happy to have another official name to play with. ^_^

by Renee-chan

Berger looked out over his Tribe, a proud, satisfied smile on his face. They were good people, his people. It was wonderful that they could find such comfort in each other's nearness. He let his eyes roam over them, idly debating which group he should find his own comfort in. As though the matter were really under debate. He still strayed, still took his pleasures were he would -- he couldn't be himself and do anything else -- but unlike in the past, he now had a home of sorts to come back to. Only his home wasn't a place. It wasn't a two-story house with a white picket fence, a dog, two parents and a little sister. It wasn't in Hoboken. Right now it was here, in this park... with Claude and Sheila.

Pausing for a moment, Berger explored that thought. When had Claude started coming first in that equation? With a small laugh at his own obtuseness, he shook his head. When had it happened? The day he'd brought the older boy home to Sheila -- he'd never have dared do it, otherwise. He just hadn't acknowledged it until now. It wasn't that he loved Sheila any less -- far from it -- there was just something about Claude. He didn't demand anything from Berger. He accepted him lock, stock and barrel... just the way he was. With Sheila there was always a sense that she had "plans" for him, plans that Berger might not want any part of, were he given a choice. And that was the crux of it, really. Sheila never really gave him a choice. She wanted him to be what she wanted him to be. And maybe what she wanted him to be was better than what he was... but he didn't want to be better. He wanted to be free. And Claude was the only one of the two of them who could allow him that.

Shaking off his somber thoughts, he started picking his way gently through the slumbering bodies, searching out his lovers. Unsurprisingly, they were separated off from the rest a little ways, cuddled up in the shadow of a tree. Sheila was stretched out on the ground, head making a pillow of Claude's thighs, arms clasped loosely around his waist. An occasional soft snore rose from her as she dozed on, blissfully unaware.

Claude was a different story. Then again, he often was. He was sitting up, one hand braced behind him and the other gently stroking through Sheila's soft, blonde hair. He had a look on his face that Berger recognized all too well. He was over-thinking something. From the glazed and stressed look in his eyes, he'd passed the "let's think about this logically" stage and gone straight into the "I'm so wrapped up in this thing that I've tangled myself up in knots that it will take days to undo" stage. With a heartfelt sigh, Berger dropped himself onto the ground on the side not occupied by Sheila's peacefully sleeping form. Hooking a gentle arm around Claude's neck, he offered a small squeeze, "I know that look, Claudio. Why don't you tell me what's on your mind and we'll see if we can't get you untangled, hmm?"

The shoulders under Berger's arm tensed, then relaxed as Claude let his head drop forward. His voice was a quiet murmur, "I don't want to talk about it."

Giving Claude a gentle shake, Berger shook his head, "Nope. Not a choice. You've got yourself in knots over something and you're gonna tell me what it is or neither of us is gonna get any sleep tonight." At Claude's frowning glare, Berger shrugged, "Well, when you get like this you kick in your sleep. And you toss and turn. I don't like sleeping with a moving target." Offering the older boy a bright grin he said, "So you're better off just not fighting with me and getting it over with."

Claude sighed, his shoulders hunching in slightly, "It's about Jeanie."

Well... that was about as far from what Berger expected him to say as he could possibly have gotten. Berger let his arm drop from Claude's shoulders and leaned back, bracing his weight on his hands, "What about Jeanie? She's fine. Last I saw her she was tucked in with Crissy and Suzanne, sleeping off her trip."

Claude shook his head, "No, it's about something she said earlier, when we were helping her over here."

"She was high, Claudio. People say all sorts of weird shit when they're stoned. You can't hold whatever she said against her," Berger answered.

"I know, Berger. Believe me I know," he paused, "But somehow... I think this was real." Swallowing hard, he got out, "I think she's pregnant, Berger."

For just a moment, Berger's breathing got locked up in his throat. It was as though he was trying to inhale and exhale at the same time and the action got tangled and confused. Pregnant? How the hell could Jeanie be pregnant? And who was she pregnant by? Hell, it could be any of them. It could be him. Thoughts whirling in several different directions at once, he finally managed to meet Claude's eyes. The older boy nodded in understanding, "When we were walking back, she whispered at me that she hoped it was mine."

Not that difficult to hear the strain and unhappiness in Claude's voice. He wasn't ready to be a father -- good Lord, none of them were ready to be parents. And Jeanie? Flighty, irresponsible, empathetic, anything-for-a-good-time Jeanie? What the hell kind of mother would she make? Berger shook himself off, trying to dislodge the thoughts like a dog shaking off water. Raising his hands to his cheeks, he gave himself a few rousing slaps, "Yeah, I'd say that's a pretty fair thing to get yourself in a tangle over. But Claude, how do know she's even really knocked up? She doesn't look pregnant -- maybe it was the drugs talking. You know what kind of weird shit you can see when you're high. How do we know she wasn't just seeing something? She could have just been seeing something, right, Claudio?"

Claude shook his head, eyes somber, "I don't know, Berger... just something tells me that it wasn't the drugs. This is real. Somehow, I just know it." Letting out a small groan, he leaned forward and buried his face in Sheila's hair, "My G-d, Berger... maybe that means it really is mine. How else would I know something like that?"

Not having a good answer, all Berger could do was pat his friend awkwardly on the shoulder as his own mind raced in panic, "I don't know, man."

Letting out a quiet whimper, Claude pulled his knees up towards his chest, unconsciously pulling Sheila closer to him, "Hell... it's not like we really use protection, either. How could I have been so stupid? My G-d, Berger. What if it had been Sheila? What if one of us got her pregnant? One of us would have to marry her... she'd have to drop out of school. We'd have to get jobs. What the hell were we thinking?"

Sheila made an irritated grumbling noise from where she was being squashed against Claude's chest, "You were thinking like all teenaged boys -- with your dicks. Thank G-d one of the three of us has a brain." Reaching up to smack Claude in the back of the head her voice took on a teasing edge, "Much as I love you both, I'm not risking my entire future, especially with the stakes doubled." Pushing herself up to a sitting position and taking in the pair of blank stares in front of her, she rolled her eyes and smacked them both, "I'm on the pill, you idiots. Neither one of you is getting me pregnant without my say-so."

Berger met Claude's eyes and, in perfect understanding, both flopped back on the ground with a heartfelt sigh of relief, then immediately rolled into each other as though to keep Sheila at bay. Sheila just crossed her arms over her chest and frowned. Berger peeked over Claude's shoulder and, seeing her scowling, offered her a weak grin, "Well... that's a relief."

Sheila threw her hands up in the air, "Oh, for goodness sake. My mother is right -- men are useless." Standing up, she brushed the grass off her pants and got herself straightened up, "I'll go talk to Jeanie and figure this thing out. When I get back, you two will stop acting like idiots and start acting like the charming men I know are hidden inside you somewhere and then we will go to sleep. Together. All right?"

Claude reached out a hand to wrap it gently around her ankle and the look in his eyes was pure relief. Berger put his hand over Claude's and smiled in gratitude, "Thanks, Sheila..."

Crouching down, Sheila ran a gentle caress down each man's face, then brushed kisses against their foreheads, "All right, then. You boys sit tight and I'll be back." She started to walk away, then abruptly turned back and shook a finger, "And no hanky-panky while I'm gone!" Crossing her arms over her chest at the twinned pair of hurt, innocent looks she received in response, she grumped, "Well, I miss out on enough fun already because of classes and protest marches... and just because of this little scare I don't want you treating me like I have cooties."

Berger and Claude stared at her for a moment, then turned back to look at each other. The tableau held for a good twenty seconds before they broke up into laughter. Sheila just shook her head and, muttering under her breath, walked away. Berger tucked Claude up against him and firmly told his hands to behave and stay where he'd put them against the older boy's back. After about a minute, he started to sweat from the effort of maintaining control. Daring to meet Claude's eyes was an obvious mistake... as the older boy was apparently having just as much trouble as he was. It was like being told you couldn't have sweets until after dinner -- once someone told you that, sweets were all you wanted and you wanted them now. Claude broke first with a tentative caress and a hopeful smile, "She didn't say anything about foreplay... did she?"

With a roaring laugh, Berger shook his head... and pounced.

Sheila sighed as she looked over her shoulder to see her two men already rolling around in the grass together. Really... it was just silly sometimes. Teenaged boys had no restraint and maybe it was just her subjective judgment, but it seemed like her two were worse than most. Still... a soft smile crossed her face. She wouldn't have them any other way. And it was sweet, really. And at least they both had impressive stamina. As long as she didn't take too long, at least one of them would have something left for her.

Turning back to the rest of the Tribe, she moved between them, careful not to wake anyone -- or disturb anything amongst those who were awake. One or two brushed hopeful hands against her legs as she passed, but she gently shook her head and moved on. She had to find Jeanie and figure out what this was all about. Berger might be right -- it might be drug-induced rambling... but it might not be. If Jeanie was really pregnant, it was going to affect the whole Tribe. Sheila wasn't fooling herself about that. Jeanie didn't have a place to live, her parents having thrown her out a year ago, and she had no income... and no access to a doctor. They were all going to have to pull together to get her through this, if there really was something to get her through. Shaking herself forcefully, Sheila pulled her thoughts together, Don't borrow trouble until you have to, girl. One step at a time...

When she reached the pile of limbs that she thought contained Jeanie, she reached down and shook one. When the small brunette raised bleary eyes to regard her, she offered an apologetic smile and pointed at Jeanie. Crissy turned her sleep-filled gaze back and forth between them, then shook her head. Waking up a little, she disentangled herself from Jeanie and Suzanne and motioned for Sheila to follow her. Leading Sheila away a good enough distance that they could talk without disturbing anyone, she lifted an eyebrow.

Sheila blushed. What if Crissy didn't know? The younger girl was so innocent... Sheila didn't want to shake her entire world view if she could help it. Finally Crissy sighed, "Sheila, what is it? It's late and if you don't want to talk, I'd rather go back to sleep."

Giving herself a firm mental shake, Sheila just blurted it out, "Is Jeanie pregnant?"

Crissy blinked once or twice, then offered her a slightly sick smile, "We're not sure. She thinks she is. Suzanne thinks she's not." She shrugged.

Sheila sighed as she ran a hand through her hair and lightly tugged at it, "Well... what do you think?"

The dark-haired girl sighed, "I think it's too soon to tell. She's only a few days late. That could just be stress, or not eating enough, or doing too many drugs. You know how it goes." She paused, then continued in a quiet voice, "But, if you want me to guess... yeah. I think she is." Taking a breath, she continued, "And what's more... Woof thinks she is, too."

Startled blink, "She talked to Woof about it?"

With a small huff of a laugh, Crissy shook her head, "That's the funny thing. She didn't. None of us did. But he came over to her earlier tonight and just laid his head against her tummy, all quiet and serious. Then he looked up at her and just smiled. Then she looked down at him and suddenly I just knew... I don't know, Sheila. I can't really explain it."

Sheila rubbed her hand against her forehead. None of them was what you would call "normal", not really. It was why they'd found each other to begin with. But even amongst the strangeness that was the Tribe, Woof was stranger than most. He got these feelings, sometimes... these flashes of insight. They couldn't explain them, but every single one of the Tribe trusted them. Berger had joked once, calling him their Shaman, and in a way it was true. Sheila hadn't really been a believer -- until he had led them to Claude. Now, she believed. So she would trust Woof's instincts, even if in her deepest thoughts, she hoped he was wrong... like she always did. He had to be wrong at least once... so that she could believe he could be wrong twice.

Cutting off that line of thinking, she looked up at Crissy, "Well, if she's only a few days late and she really is pregnant, she can't be more than a month along, right? That should help us narrow it down."

Crissy snorted out a laugh, "This is Jeanie we're talking about. That's like saying we narrowed it down from a few thousand to a few hundred. It's still going to be almost impossible to figure it out." At Sheila's pained look, she hastily added, "But you're right. At least it'll help us eliminate a few people, right?"

Sheila nodded, heart beating a little faster. It wasn't that she really cared who the baby's father was. It really didn't matter. The Tribe took care of its own and they'd make sure, one way or another, that Jeanie and the baby got what they needed. No... the only reason it mattered was because of her boys, Claude in particular. He had enough worries, enough stress in his life, without adding a child to the mix. He would need to know. And while Jeanie might not keep careful track of who she slept with when, Claude was a stickler for such things. He would know.

Thanking Crissy, she left the other girl to make her way back to where she'd left Berger and Claude. When she got there, they were so entwined with each other it was hard to tell where one began and the other ended. For a moment she let herself just watch them, caught as usual by the grace and beauty that was the embodiment of her two boys in motion. Berger lay on top, one leg insistently pressing between Claude's, mouth pressed to the juncture of his neck and shoulder. That was his spot -- Sheila wasn't even allowed near it. It made her shiver, watching him lave attention on it... claiming and possessive.

Claude had his one free leg wrapped firmly around Berger's, almost up and over his hip, pulling him as close as he could. His hands were threaded into Berger's hair, not pulling, not demanding in any way, but caressing, smoothing out any tangles they came across. His head was thrown back, eyes half-closed in pleasure. Sheila couldn't have taken a step closer to save her life. She didn't normally think of herself as a voyeur, but there was just something so right, so complete, about the two of them... It made her wish that she had artistic talent, because really... someone should capture moments like this in oils or in sculpture.

And it would give her something to hold on to... if and when Woof's insight ever came to pass. He'd made the comment almost in passing, really, just a few days after they'd met Claude. Sheila hadn't been sure what to make of it at first, but the more she dwelled on it, the more she feared that she understood. What Woof had said was, "He's Aquarius... destined for greatness or madness... and he'll bring us both before he's through." Then he had looked up at Sheila and smiled, "But don't worry... it won't be for you." Then he'd scampered off to go hound Dionne about something or other. She'd dismissed it then, but every time she found her boys like this -- without her -- in her gut, she knew what Woof meant. But she wasn't giving up either of them without a fight.

As though her resolution had been a silent signal, Claude's eyes opened fully and spotted her standing there. A moment later, Berger lifted his head from Claude's neck, green eyes wide and dilated with lust. Both faces bloomed into wicked smiles as they each reached out a hand to her. No... she wasn't going to give up. Not now. Not ever. They were hers and she was theirs and that was how it was going to stay... for as long as she could make it so. Joining her hands with theirs, she let herself be pulled down between them as they made room for her. Jeanie's problems could wait. Woof's cryptic predictions could wait. It could all wait. This time... now... was for them.

Claude woke early the next morning, too full of restless thoughts to sleep easy. He untangled himself from Berger and Sheila, gently smiling when they moved in to fill the gap he left when he got up, wrapping their arms tightly around each other to conserve warmth. They were beautiful, Berger and Sheila. It humbled him that they so willingly let him be part of that beauty and hoped he would have the courage to finally let them both go when it was time. And it might be time now.

If Jeanie really was pregnant and the baby really was his, it was his solemn responsibility as a man to take care of the child he sired... and the woman he sired her on. He inched away from Berger and Sheila so as not to disturb them and pulled his knees to his chest, shivering in the pre-dawn chill. It wasn't that he didn't like Jeanie. He did. He liked her a lot. It was just... they didn't fit. Not really. He needed someone to ground him, to keep him landed in reality. Jeanie and he together... they'd float away and never come back, like balloons whose strings were carelessly dropped by a three year old at a birthday party. It would never work. He sighed. But if there was a child involved, he'd have to make it work. Damn it. Why couldn't they and Sheila have talked before getting so distracted last night? He should have known better. Tugging lightly at his hair, he cursed under his breath. There was no help for it. He'd have to wait until they woke up.

Two hours later, just as the sun had lifted its sleepy head from beneath the cover of the horizon, Berger and Sheila started to stir. By then, Claude was so stiff from the cold and from holding the same position for that long, he could hardly move. Stretching gingerly, he made his way back to the two of them. Sheila sat up first, stretching her arms over her head and inadvertently lifting her shirt in the process, revealing a smooth expanse of stomach. Berger, horny as usual at this time of the morning, immediately rolled over and started planting nipping kisses along that exposed skin. Sheila giggled and dropped her arms, trying to curl over to protect her abdomen from his tickling.

So beautiful... They were so beautiful in their carefree innocence. Claude reached out a hand but didn't touch. There was something so wild, so pure about those two laid out in the grass on a spring morning. He couldn't intrude, he didn't quite dare. Fortunately, Berger had enough daring for all of them. Reaching a hand out blindly behind him, he grabbed onto Claude's outstretched arm and pulled him down next to him. After a few more minutes of teasing, giggling touches, they lay quiescent, facing each other, both pillowing their heads on Sheila's thighs as she carded her hands through their hair.

This was all he could ever want, this sense of peace and togetherness, having Berger beside him and Sheila watching over them both. It made his heart swell, the breath in his throat catch, at the sheer joy he felt when with the two of them like this. Life might not be perfect, but moments like these were precious and well appreciated.

Eventually, Sheila stopped her gentle stroking and lay a hand on each of their shoulders. They turned to look up at her, finally feeling ready to face whatever news she would give them. She took a deep breath, "Well, the word is that this might be the real thing. No one's really sure, yet, and it's probably too soon to tell. At most, she's a month along, if she really is pregnant."

At those words, Claude felt a rush of relief so intense that he was almost lightheaded with it. If he hadn't already been lying down, he'd have fallen. A month... only a month. If it was only a month, there was no way that the child could be his. He and Jeanie hadn't been intimate for at least the last month and a half, a little longer, actually. The child wasn't his.

He was unaware of how strong his reaction was until he felt both Berger and Sheila bending over him and pressing kisses to whatever spot they could reach, gently urging him not to cry. Lifting shaking hands to return those soft caresses, he smiled through the tears, "I'm OK, I'm OK." Taking in a shuddering breath, he laughed, "I'm just relieved."

As he sat up, safe in the encircling arms of his friends, Claude couldn't help a momentary pang of guilt at his reaction. He was glad to be off the hook -- more than glad -- but what would that mean for Jeanie? At least... at least if it had been him, he'd have taken care of her. It might have killed something in him to do it, but he would have. Now... would the actual father feel that same sense of responsibility? Would he help her? Would he support the child? Would he be there for them? His stomach started to clench all over again as his thoughts tied him in tight little knots.

Strong fingers gently tried to smooth the lines from his brow as soft, gentle arms wrapped around him from behind. Berger took his face in his hands and clucked his tongue at him, "Claudio, Claudio... what are we gonna do with you? You're a regular roller coaster ride these days." Planting a chaste kiss on Claude's lips, Berger smiled, "We take care of our own, Claudio. Whether the baby's yours or not, it's still Jeanie's. They'll be taken care of, they'll be safe and they'll be provided for. Somehow, we'll manage it. It'll be OK."

A shadow fell over their little group and Claude paled when he identified Jeanie standing over them. She smiled her gentle smile and rested a hand against her still-flat belly, laughing a soft laugh at the three of them, "Claude... I'm sorry about before. I was tripping... and I said some things I shouldn't have." Ducking her head shyly, her next words were quiet, almost whispered, "It's not yours. It's not any of yours. I know whose it is... and he won't be in the picture." Eyes firming with resolve, her hand tightened against her abdomen, "Not if I have anything to say about it, anyway."

Claude rose to his feet, one hand still twined with Berger's, and lifted the other to smooth Jeanie's hair from her face, "I would have taken care of you. You know that, right?"

Jeanie's smile wobbled at the edges, but it held, "I know, Claudio. That's why I wish it had been yours. You're a good man. Too good for me." Sniffing loudly, she backed up a pace and shook her head, "But I'll be OK. Really, I will. Somehow... we'll both be OK."

Crissy stepped up and placed a gentle hand on Jeanie's shoulder, "We'll all help you, Jeanie. You know we will. And I'm sure my mom won't mind you crashing with us from time to time."

Suzanne also rested her hand on Jeanie's back, "You can stay with me, sometimes, too."

Dionne stepped forward and pulled the taller girl into a gentle embrace, "I think it's safe to say that you won't have to sleep outside at all for the next 9 months unless you want to, girl. We'll take care of you."

Seeing that outpouring of support, Jeanie's eyes filled with tears and her smile firmed and widened, "I don't deserve any of you. Really, I don't. I can't thank you enough..."

Claude smiled and gently kissed her cheek, "Hey... what are families for, right?"

That did it. With that one affirmation, the rest of the Tribe crowded in, all eager and intent on touching Jeanie, hugging Jeanie, congratulating her... anything to get closer and be part of what was happening. Claude let himself be pushed out of the middle of the circle of well-wishers and wrapped his arms around himself, relief and happiness making his blood sing.

Berger crowded close to him and wrapped his arms around him, resting his head on the other boy's shoulder. Sheila approached from the other side and did the same. Claude unwrapped his arms from around himself so he could put one around each of them. They then completed the circle by wrapping an arm around each other. It wasn't perfection, far from it, but he was content here. He was himself with these people in a way that he couldn't be with anyone else. Maybe it wouldn't last -- nothing good ever did -- but he was going to hold onto it for as long as he could. This was his Tribe. And if he was Aquarius, destined for greatness or madness... he couldn't think of any other people he'd rather have along for the ride.


And... I'm just not up for chibi-silliness today. O_o Weather's bad, back hurts, cat being a pain in the rear, kinda grumpy. :-P *sigh*

Questions, comments, clementines?

Ooo... Clementines... *wanders into the kitchen*