Funny meeting you here... ((Xeph, Hammer, Brig, Pipers))
Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, or even a stranger, if in a lonely place.
Viv had chosen to walk up to the front gates of the Kadzait private property instead of being dropped off by her taxi. The weather was disgustingly warm, and although used to the type of heat, it still annoyed her as she blew a piece of errant hair out of her face. Her ponytail was thankfully high enough to be off her back and neck, but not so high that she felt like Barbara Eden looking for a genie's bottle. Fashion dictated extremely high heels, but her reasons were vain. Kadzait's were ungodly tall and being five foot five, she did not need to add to her interloper status by being tiny in a sea of six foot plus men.
Her long, black skirt was cut up the sides, splitting it into three panels, the interior of it was a silk red - the art of sexy professionalism took practice. Plus the wind blowing through the material was pleasant in the heat. A white button up shirt void of pockets or design was threatening to stick to her now sweating back, so she slowly rolled up her sleeves to above her elbows and popped another button. She prayed the AC was on at the Den or she would be a hot mess by the time she actually did see the Alpha. With that thought, she approached the wrought iron gates of the property and pressed the only button she could see on the left column, no doubt alerting the property of her presence, not that they weren't already tracking her since she stepped out of the taxi. That was a guess, of course, but if they weren't...well, that would just be stupid.
A four by four LCD monitor lit up and she smiled into the invisible camera lens.
'Hi there,' she said with a smile. A rather pleasant looking man's face filled the monitor and he asked for her name.
'Vivienne Sena, here to see Aidan Xephier. I'm expected?'
The man said someone would be down shortly to escort her up. Shortly was literally four seconds as a two door sedan pulled up and the gates opened. The door opened and another tall man, this time a red head, stepped out of the vehicle.
'Mind if we walk up?'
The red head closed the door and approached her. Squinting up at the tall man, she smiled again. He held a hand out pointing down the drive and nodded.
'Excellent.' Tucking her flat purse under her arm, Viv reached out slowly and took the man's arm. She began to leisurely walk up the drive.
It was fucking hot but why not take advantage of the scenery? Plus the trees were awful pretty.
Red smiled as his earpiece moaned unhappily in his ear. He walked the unexpected visitor, Vivienne Sena, up the drive to the main building up at the Den. At six foot two, he slowed his walk considerably as Miss Sena looked at the trees that lined the drive. The sun was achingly hot, but the tiny breeze that happened by every few minutes cooled it down enough to be tolerable. Plus having the shorter woman on his arm made it worth it.
'This is pretty nice,' she said in a wondrous voice.
'A wanker, Red.'
Red and Lewis did rock-paper-scissors, best of out of three, to meet Miss Sena down at the gates. Lewis was not at all happy with the outcome.
'So what's your name?'
Red looked down at Miss Sena who was now looking intently at him, her eyes appraising but not in the way he hoped. He knew almost nothing about her, except that she had been sent by the Elder Hammerthynn himself. She might as well be God's right hand angel for all the authority she carried with her. Within the pack she was simply a visitor until the Alpha said otherwise, but within the family the Pipers considered her part of Command, even if she carried no public title. Families had a way of enforcing their authority and Vigo Hammerthynn may follow his son as the Pack's Beta, but the Beta was still Vigo's son.
'My name is Red, ma'am.' Her eyes stayed on him. Red smiled and added, 'Reese Deardon.'
Nodding she squinted her eyes and looked up in thought for a moment. 'Your parents are local Scotts, right? Thurso?'
Red was impressed. 'Yes ma'am.'
'That is impressive,' the voice in his ear commented. Red cleared his throat as they continued up the drive, coming around the circle to the front doors. Disengaging her arm from his, Red opened the doors and held a hand out to the lobby.
'The Beta will be along shortly, ma'am.'
'Thank you, kindly.'
Red took a step back and left the lobby.
'Nice meeting you, Reese,' she called out to him as he left.
Lewis chirped again in his ear. 'Oooh she called you Reese.'
'Oh my god, will you shut up,' he mumbled under his breath as he exited.
The weather was warm; he was dressed casually in khaki shorts and a tee that stretched across his broad chest and stated quite clearly (and graphically) that ninjas were better than pirates. He had no shoes and didn't require them as he made his way across the Tikerak to where Vivienne waited in the entrance of the Den. Her back was turned to him.
"Miss Sena," he said pleasantly, clearing his throat first to let her know he was there. "Good to see you."
Xeph held his hand out to this woman, curious about what her presence here meant, slightly nervous although it didn't show in his relaxed and confident greeting. He was still on edge about the news regarding his real father. Hammer seemed to think there was reason to be, and that was good enough for him.
In the fifty some odd years since he had first met Vivienne Sena, he had only met her one other time after that, though his own father seemed to keep her closer to him than anyone else he had ever known. Hammer knew her but didn't; nor did he have any desire to know in what capacity that Vivienne Sena knew his father. She would be about sixty five or so now, he figured as he approached them.
Hammer slowed his anxious gait just as Vivienne turned.
For a moment, she was ten again, looking at him and the other Pipers who had destroyed her family, hiding behind Vigo's right leg that was practically the size of her. Bloodied, small, and painfully unaware at how close to death she really was, that was until Vigo sliced the air horizontally in front of him, ending the mission, and then nodded back to the east from where they had come. Hammer only hesitated for a half second, his eye on the small child. She had been freshly bitten, but not by Vigo. The smell on her reeked of the family they had just killed making her Vyusher R'asa. Why would his father want to keep it? A pet, maybe? Information? He turned with the rest of the Pipers and left the abandoned farmhouse to burn to the ground, her dead family in it, all the while cursing his father (albeit silently) for letting it stay alive after the atrocity its family had dealt to theirs.
Then she was a barely grown woman with a back brace, crippled from her first taste of silver and combat with Vigo. Hammer was there when it happened, but only watched from afar. A Hammerthynn werewolf's first experience with silver was always an extremely painful one; an ugly scar that would be a cold reminder that they were not infallible if they were stupid enough to not recognize the power of silver. Vigo was never gentle with his teachings, but Vivienne's injury had been extreme, Hammer had to admit that her reluctance to complain or even cry had impressed him. Her physical therapy lasted longer than most recoveries and it would be the only accolade he would give her. Not that he ever expressed it to her.
Then, three decades later, here she was - smile in place - with the full authority of his father and the families behind her. Vigo had sent her instead of coming himself and Hammer had to wonder why. Vigo kept his dealings with her quiet, even to Hammer; the only thing he really knew about her was that she 'fixed things'. As far as Hammer was concerned, his relationship with Lily did not need fixing.
Hammer did not have the words to express his absolute distaste of Vivienne Sena.
'Vivienne,' he said with the barest of nods. 'Sir. Your office?'
Hammer immediately turned to the Alpha and promptly ignored her friendly greeting.
That was all she managed to say to Iov before he barely acknowledged her presence and then ignored her, per the norm. He would probably spend the entire visit only speaking to her if necessary and being as socially inept as she remembered. This was the Hammer she watched over the years; to say she grew up with him would be a lie.
Hammer completely cut her off from his world from the very second Vigo let her live. It was hard at first, someone who she thought would be her adoptive brother having zero contact or acknowledgment with her. As Viv's presence became noticed by the other Hammerthynns, she realized that Hammer was being kind.
She would rather be ignored than openly hated.
The Hammerthynns, those that knew about her, were accepting only that Vigo wished her alive, but he voiced no displeasure about her lack of acceptance into the family, much less the pack. In that regard, he left her swinging in the wind. What made up for it was his unconditional love for her, and in private, he was her father, from balls to bone.
Vigo controlled the Pipers with the Elder Jameson, Duncan, and kept them at the Alpha's disposal, but it was the aftermath that Vigo used Vivienne. Where brute force destroyed, Vivienne fixed. Money exchanged, publicity avoided, and things that should remain in the dark, did. It was what she did and she enjoyed it, despite never receiving the respect from the families.
Still, despite Hammer's rudeness, she smiled. It was still nice to see someone outside the immediate family in Canberra. Hammer had been heralded by the family for his ascension to Kadzait Pack Beta, but that only meant he did what was expected of him. Viv understood the unemotional thinking of the family pack, but chose not to share it - further isolating herself. She would never be anything but a Vyusher R'asa runt not worth the energy for retribution.
Thank god for small favors.
Smiling at the Alpha, she gave him a polite nod. 'Pleasure is mine, Alpha Xephier. Will Commander Jameson be joining us?'
It was an unnecessary question since it was the Commander's actions that made her presence possible. Still, she had to make some sort of small talk considering the bomb she would drop.
"My office will do just fine." He turned back to Viv. "Unless you want a few moments to rest from your trip?"
He headed toward the Den entrance but paused while he waited for Vivienne's answer. Call it intuition, call it whatever, he had a feeling Viv would want to proceed immediately with whatever had brought her here.
"My office is this way, in the building over there across the Tikerak," he said, indicating the direction of the Academy.
Turning her body toward the direction the Alpha pointed to, she smiled as they began to walk toward the building. Hammer circled around to walk opposite of the Alpha, putting her in the middle, and not once did he look at her. Instead he looked around, his eye forever scanning.
Glancing up at the Alpha, she took in his features, appreciating them for what they were. The Alpha was a ridiculously handsome man, but as she looked closer, she saw it. The jawline, the height and breadth of his stature...his mother had definitely softened the rough Hammerthynn edge with soft, brown hair, and lean muscles, and slender legs. Viv looked back into his eyes and noted the gray one and she had to wonder how his vision was, but didn't dare bring it up.
Looking over at Hammer, she grinned as he permitted her a glance and his hard scar narrowed at her. Hammerthynns had poor sight up until their gifting and inevitable removal of their left eye. Generations of genetics at work made their left eye useless, strengthening the right for its solo performance. Curious the Alpha had mismatched eyes, she wondered. Maybe genetics were shifting again, readying the Hammerthynns for more surprises.
Lowering her eyes at the ground, she smiled as they walked the pathway to the Alpha's offices.
Lewis stood and half snorted into his headset, teasing Red about his luck. Brig reached out, grabbed Lewis by the collar and pulled his face close to his.
'Shut up and do your job.'
Brig released his grip on his Piper and pushed him back against his desk. He felt a pang of guilt as Lewis' shocked face smoothed over and sat quickly back into his chair, knowing two weeks prior, Brig would have been talking into the headset along with him. Now...now his casual leadership was almost uncontrollably ruthless and he treated the men with disdain rather than respect. He sneered at the thought, but pulled on his BDU camouflage jacket over his black under-armor shirt and buttoned it one handed as he exited.
He'd feel bad about it later.
His earpiece chirped more information, redirecting him to the Alpha's offices across the Tikerak. Walking quickly through the Den, he was maybe three minutes behind them as he made his way out the front doors toward the building.
They headed up the stairs of the Academy to his corner office. Xeph opened the scratched-up door and entered the glowing warmth of the dark hard wood-floored room. He smirked to himself when he saw the two skeletons had been wheeled together and were now picking each other's noses. Ideal backdrop for a family chat, huh.
He didn't want to bring an overly formal air to this gathering, so instead of putting his desk between them Xeph simply crossed to it, moved a stack of biology exams he needed to grade, and sat on the desktop.
"So what brings you here, Miss Sena?"
He wasn't about to beat around the bush. Viv had expected to meet with him, personally, when he would have expected her to go straight to Hammer. If this had something to do with his eye, she was going to be in for a fight. Xeph was attached to it in more ways than one.
Vivienne opened her mouth to answer when Hammer cut her off curtly. 'Why are you here, Vivienne?' Emphasis on the 'you'. 'We expected, and were told, that the Elder Hammerthynn would be here.' Hammer closed the door behind them and moved closer to Vivienne. He stood over her easily by a foot and glared down at her.
'What does the families expect you, a Vyusher R'asa, to do in place of family elders?'
'Come on, Hammer,' she started easily with a smile, 'it's pretty obvious why I'm here.' Viv glanced in the Alpha's direction and then back at him. 'I come in peace, but you know I'm only here because our father wished it.'
Ok, she did that on purpose. Viv would admit that if it wasn't so obvious. Hammer's face paled and then grimaced with such an intense hate that Viv was fairly certain that she felt the vibration of his hands clenching into fists. Holding her hands up, she looked down and backed up.
'Excuse me. I'm here because the Elder Hammerthynn, your father, directed me to come in his place to evaluate the situation reported to Elder Jameson by the Commander of the Pipers.'
Turning toward the Alpha, she stepped passed Hammer who was fuming hotter than a volcano, and paid her respects. With a respectful nod, Vivienne kept her eyes on the ground and repeated the message from Vigo.
'Alpha Xephier, your grandfather wishes to express his sincere apologies for not attending this meeting, but does humbly send his regards to his new grandson and welcomes you to the family. He also apologizes for his son's, your father's, inappropriate behavior...'
'WHAT?' Hammer yelled behind her so loud her teeth vibrated.
'...And looks forward to seeing you soon here on the Pack's U.S. territory in the very near future.'
Viv took a half step back and half turned to Hammer. 'See, Vigo's coming,' she nodded and shrugged, 'eventually.'
Our father. Our...father?
Then she had the nerve to convey Vigo's apologizes for his inappropriate behavior?
Hammer straightened to his full height, pulling his shoulders so far back that the buttons of his khaki shirt threatened to pop off. Reeling in his absolute and forever burning hate for Vivienne Sena and her disrespectful attempt at humor, he almost missed her comment about Brig reporting to his father.
'Commander Jameson contacted Elder Jameson himself?'
The anger was lost in his voice and was replaced by a barely noticeable hurt tone. Of course Brig reported it, but his cousin hadn't mentioned it, or anything else to him since he told him that Xeph was his son. Other than professional courtesy, Brig had abandoned their friendship and Hammer had abandoned his attempts to salvage it. Lily said to give him time, but he doubt even that could right what Brig considered Hammer's wrong.
Hammer sighed through his nose slowly as he narrowed his eye at Vivienne. 'You came to convey a message? Is that it?'
'Well, not...exactly,' Vivienne said.
Hammer's voice jolted him out of his meditation, losing his train of thought. Wiping his hands on his BDU trousers, he quickly walked to the office door and knocked sharply twice, opening it. The smells from the room hit him like a freight train, reminding him exactly of where he smelled the faint residue of the scent on his fingers.
As the door swung open, the Alpha, Hammer, and the new female Vivienne Sena looked over at him and it took everything not to fall down to his knees as the full force of Vivienne Sena's scent hit him.
Her wolf scent was nothing compared to the slightly sweaty from the sun scent she was emitting. Brig's hand dropped from the door knob and his eyes focused in on hers - brown with thin golden iris'. Her chocolate brown fur transitioned perfectly to long, thick hair that was tied in a low ponytail. The mental image of her wolf form had been imprinted in his memory, but her human physique would forever be burned into his soul and he was fairly certain she recognized him by the startled look that passed her face and the dilation of her pupils.
Oh shit, Brig thought.
As the door opened quickly, the rush of air from the hallway hit her, along with the Commander's scent. Mentally her mind went into hyper-drive, shocking her ill-timed humor out of her system and replacing it with that dizzy want for that big red wolf she had mated with the night before. There he was, the Kadzait wolf she had initially tangled with and then really tangled with, standing not six feet away from her.
Viv figured she had about three seconds before something incredibly awkward and awfully bad happened. The Commander took another step toward her with a confused expression and then stark realization. What had happened between them could never be told, not with why she was actually in Nachton. In the three seconds she considered her options: running sounded REALLY good but hard to explain; jumping on him and kissing him senseless was also not a good one; so Viv stepped forward as the Commander raised his hand to point at her and immediately shook it, introducing herself.
'Commander Jameson? Pleasure. I'm Vivienne Sena, representing Elder Hammerthynn.'
Viv smiled brightly at him and pumped his hand, squeezing it slightly.
Please god, she thought, please please keep it together.
The Commander faltered a second, then returned her handshake. Politely he nodded and apologized for being late.
'Not a problem. Was just conveying the families' respects to the Alpha.' Viv cleared her throat and then turned to look back at the Alpha.
'Now that the Commander is here, it's probably best I get to the point.' She turned and crossed the room, as far away from the Commander as possible without looking like she was running for cover. The Alpha's corner office had a stereo system with little buttons and lights which suddenly became very interesting to her. On a corner table was a glass and pitcher of water. Pointing to it, she poured herself a glass and then turned back to the men.
Hammer's strained expression was now confused, the Alpha had a small smile on his face, and the Commander stood behind them looking like he wanted to puke. Oh yeah, this shit was going to get so much worse.
'Both families have been notified of the Alpha's parentage, that being a Hammerthynn and the old Alpha, god rest his soul, Liam Xephier's widow. However, they are resigned not to do anything short of a reprimand to Beta Hammerthynn here since the damage done had occurred over sixty years ago.'
'Wait, what?' The Commander interrupted, his forehead wrinkled with anger. 'That's it?'
Holding her hand out, Viv lifted the water glass and drained it. 'Actually no, that's what I was getting to before you came in. So really, great timing!' Viv set the empty glass down and gave him a sheepish thumbs up.
'The families recognize Alpha Adian Xephier as a Hammerthynn heir, however something that has been troubling them has managed to push its way forward, what with the animosity that the information might have caused.'
Viv looked at Hammer, then at the Commander. They looked at each other, both with slightly disgusted sneers and then looked back angrily at Vivienne.
'The families are concerned with how the Pipers are being used in Nachton. First - Christmas of 2006.' Viv looked at both men who looked confused. 'The Nachton Mall incident?'
Hammer closed his eye and nodded. The Commander only pursed his lips and furrowed his eyebrows.
'You lost three to serious injuries and one died. There were other injuries, but ultimately you were down to seven Pipers. They were replaced several weeks after the incident. Then one and half years later, June of 2008, you lost four more Pipers.'
'You can't blame us for Michaels. He was cleared for duty by the families,' the Commander offered.
'True, you had one piper kill three others in an unsanctioned chase through downtown Nachton, resulting in a multiple car accident and civilian injuries, not to mention forcing Duban's car through the waterfront, onto the boardwalk, and ultimately into the sea.' Viv paused, 'That's one helluva blood memory, I gotta say. Still, you lost four Pipers and then the Alpha here,' she hooked a finger to Xeph,' routed your men and had you stand down.'
Her choice of words made the Commander bristle. A routed army...bad stuffs.
'You've been running with seven, well not running - existing really,' Hammer huffed angrily at her, 'but you chose to bring in the vampire's human pet, CEO of Duibne Industries, Marthinus T. Steyn. No combat skills, and in fact, broke rank when he went after Michael's and his rogue team, only to find that he was too late and the subject of your constant battles - the vampire Ellis Duban, star of your blood memory feud - had gotten away with her mate, Simon Huntington.'
Both men were quiet. Vivienne waited for one of them to add to her story.
'Nothing to add, gentlemen? K, let me continue.' Viv leaned back against the small table with the water and rested her hip on it as she finished.
'Previous to the Commander's report regarding the Alpha's true heritage, pack Command was attacked by more vampires, therefore forcing the Alpha to reactivate the Pipers and ask for replacements to bring you back up to fighting status. I'm assuming Steyn isn't going to be for combat?'
'No,' Hammer replied.
'Too valuable,' The Commander finished.
'Right, right. All that vampire knowledge should come in handy. You were down now to eight Pipers. You recently received a Piper from Spain, and were expecting the last three within days, but under the circumstances, the families have put that request on hold till they have the findings from my evaluation of your Pipers and its leadership.'
Viv raised her eyebrows and then crossed her arms.
"Tell my grandfather his apology is appreciated but not necessary. My father's actions are a matter between himself, my mother, and me, and we've handled them appropriately." He hesitated very briefly before saying the word 'grandfather' but there was no hesitation whatsoever when he referred to Hammer as his father.
The mood in the room was unpleasant, and Xeph couldn't miss the note of barely-concealed injury in his father's voice. He knew the source but he was powerless to do anything about it. He couldn't, really. His only authority here was as the Alpha and there was nothing there to correct; both Brig and Hammer had been doing their jobs as reliably as always. As a son, he didn't have any right to confront Brig. His mother was right, the situation needed time.
Just then the subject of their debate walked through the door, and Xeph found himself confronted with another set of emotions and responses. There was immediate hostility with Hammer, but beyond that, well... he smiled faintly as he recalled Vivienne's blushing cheeks on the walk over here. He'd wondered at the time why a run through the Park should bring color to her face. But judging by Brig's poleaxed expression, they had already met... maybe. Xeph was no mind reader. But in the few scant seconds of silence when Brig entered, that's what seemed possible.
It almost turned downright awkward until Vivienne stepped forward and introduced herself. After that, what followed seemed to require him to put on the Alpha pants again. Xeph wondered briefly if it was always going to be this difficult to balance being a Pack leader with being the son of his second-in-command.
"It's true that the Pipers' actions on several occasions have been a little... forward," he began before Hammer or Brig could say anything. "But Vigo does know they were reprimanded, doesn't he?" The blood feud had pissed Xeph off to no small extent, and he remembered his ire with both Hammer and the Pipers with vivid clarity.
"What is the point, if I may ask?"
Thus far, all Vivienne had done was state facts. Xeph knew the Pipers weren't entirely within the Pack's official chain of command, but he did maintain a certain amount of authority over them, somewhat jointly with the family Elders. Liam had done the same, as had all of the Alphas before him in Xeph's memory. In fact, his own memories had a great deal to do with why Xeph had treated them that way since his ascension.
If Vigo had something to say about the Pipers, Xeph would have a response. He wasn't the grandkid here, at this moment. He was the Kadzait Alpha, and what happened in this particular family did concern him.
'Alpha Xephier, I'm only here because the Commander requested it.'
The Commander interrupted with a none to polite question. 'How, exactly, did I request an inquiry into my team by an outsider?'
Vivienne kept her eyes on the Alpha and let the insult roll over her. 'The families are concerned that there might be,' she now looked at the Commander with disinterested eyes, 'a failure to communicate between the Piper leadership, resulting in unfavorable incidents.'
'You're here to evaluate...us?' Hammer lifted a finger and pointed at himself and Jameson.
'What kind of bullshit is that?' The Commander yelled.
'Commander Jameson, the Pipers are considered 'preventors'. You prevent things from happening, but recent events have implied that your blood feud, again something the families completely understand with the close proximity of the offender, is causing more damage than preventing them.'
Vivienne pushed off the table and looked down at her fingernail. 'You brought the thunder, Commander Jameson, is it my fault you were too stupid to get out from the rain?'
The Commander closed the distance and snarled down at Vivienne, all six foot hundred feet of him, and despite being an imposing figure, Viv didn't flinch.
'Who are you?'
'I'm a fixer, Commander Jameson. I fix situations. Situations like Johannesburg, South Africa, like covering up the attack on our pack headquarters and cleaning up after Pipers, like Nachton Mall. Who do you think keeps everything out of the news? You Pipers blow shit up everywhere you go. It takes favors, connections, and a lot of money to keep our existence out of mainstream news. I could own CNN now for the amount of money the families have poured into it.
'This is what I do, Commander Jameson. I come in behind situations, access the damage, and I fix your shit.' Viv looked back at the Alpha and answered his question.
'The point is, sir, that the families need to know that the Nachton Pipers can survive out here being so close to the epicenter of their blood memory. Can leadership stay the course, despite any petty infighting,' she rolled an eye over at Hammer and then back at the Commander, 'and do its job? Sir. I am ultimately here to help. I have no authority to disband the Pipers, if that's what the Commander and the Beta are concerned about.'
'But your recommendation...' Hammer started.
'Will go directly to the Elders, yes.'
Whether they actually act on it, good or bad, remains to be seen, Viv thought to herself. In essence she was here to observe and report back, but it wasn't as if her reports didn't mysteriously disappear before it was too late. Michaels was a perfect example of that.
'I respectfully ask permission to conduct psychological evaluations on the Pipers.' Viv held up her hand as the Commander began to squawk. 'My qualifications will be on your desk before the end of the day, Commander. This isn't my first rodeo.'
The Pipers were spread out across the globe, their numbers known only to the Elders, but the core was here with the Beta and pack Alpha. From time to time Viv has been enlisted to evaluate the other pack Pipers which is how she knew who Eric 'Red' Deardon's family was - it was what she did.
Vivienne remaining on pack property, and evaluating the Pipers, was ultimately up to the Alpha. Vivienne was here by request of both family Elders - Duncan Jameson and Vigo Hammerthynn, his father. He bristled recalling Vivienne calling Vigo their father, but it at least put to rest the suspicions he might have had about their relationship.
Hammer considered his options, not that he really had any. This was Brig's fault, he decided, bringing the attention of the families to focus in on them. He should have known better and respected their position below the radar. They had no options.
Catching his son's eye, Hammer nodded. 'I have no problem with Vivienne Sena's presence here at the property or evaluating the Pipers.' He paused and added begrudgingly, 'myself included.'
Brig glared at Hammer and he returned it with a shrug. 'I, for one, don't like getting caught in the rain.'
He remained motionless when Brig lunged at Vivienne, confident in the temperament of any and all of the Pipers to restrain themselves. He let the explosion pass, and then brushed it off as he turned to Vivienne to consider her request.
Psychoanalysis... huh. Well, the Pipers had been under a lot of stress and the blood feud hadn't improved that any. They were, in essence, the military unit of the Kadzait and most militaries did require psychological evaluation. He didn't see how it would do any good to argue there.
Xeph nodded tersely. "You have my permission, as if you needed it, to conduct your evaluations. I would like to know the results, however, and I would also like to see your papers before you begin."
Their presence in this room was evidence of the fact that Xeph himself was no undereducated man. He had a medical interest in Vivienne's results, as well as a practical one. Her other issue, though, required more clarification.
"You are welcome to stay here at the Den," he said, "for the duration of your stay here in Nachton, if you choose."
He had more to say, but he wouldn't say it here in front of Hammer and Brig. They had expressed their opinions of Vivienne quite thoroughly already and Xeph refused to throw oil on that fire just yet.
"I'll be happy to help you find an adequate suite," he offered. If nothing else it would give him a chance to make his point to her.
Despite who she was (the female Vyusher R'asa from the night before) this Sena woman had managed to get under his skin, and not only question his authority, but threatened his very existence within the pack. Guarding the Alpha and running the Pipers was all he had ever known, all he was ever bred for, but now it was being called into question because he ratted out his cousin for fucking a married woman and getting her pregnant.
Brig suppressed the grimace that was itching to stretch across his face as he mentally cringed at what he just thought. This was Hammer he was talking about, at the very least he could afford him some respect and accept what was done, was done...but he could not let it go. Not now, not...for a while. Still, he stood by what he did - the families had to know to protect themselves. Little did he know that in the process, he'd be thrown under the bus.
They were scrambling to focus the pack's attention on something other than Hammer's betrayal. He saw this now and that was what Vivienne Sena represented. She said it herself - she fixed things and a cover story had to be a good one.
Begrudgingly Brig took a step back and acquiesced. He glanced down at her again as the Alpha offered to find her a suite.
'I'll be happy to show Miss Sena a place to stay.' Her head turned back to him and her eyes narrowed, no doubt suspicious of his polite tone. Brig would apologize for his outburst...someday. Walking to the door, he opened it wide and held his hand out to Vivienne to exit.
Viv did her best to ignore the angry grunting coming from the Commander. Let him be pissed off, he brought this whole shit storm on himself. She was honestly surprised by his actions, and really, what did he expect?
'I'll be happy to show Miss Sena a place to stay.'
She looked at the Commander with a surprised glare. Viv certainly didn't expect him to offer anything short of a swift kick off the property, but maybe he was just accepting the inevitable. Hammer certainly had, but then this whole thing was coming from Vigo himself. Viv hated to admit it, but Hammer really had no choice.
The Commander opened the door and held his hand out for her. Looking back at the Alpha, she nodded.
'If I could, sir, I'd like to catch up with you later...few questions about the city and the pack's interaction with the others?'
'Others' being the VR's and the vampires - she was sure Nachton had a lot to offer, good and bad, plus she hoped to have the Alpha's ear regarding her stay. Viv smirked slightly and turned toward the Commander, slowly exiting the room.
((OOC - Brig and Viv out, pending responses))
'That was unexpected,' he said in a confused tone. 'I fully expected Vigo to be here, fire and brimstone fuming pissed. I'm not sure if we should be worried he sent her.'
Hammer glared, recalling again the image of her gloating face as she called Vigo their father and claimed to be the clean up crew for his Pipers. He knew their actions weren't as covert as they'd like, and someone made a lot of if disappear without a question, Hammer was just surprised Vigo used Vivienne to do it.
'I honestly had no idea what my father did with Vivienne, nor did I want to know, but she's here, best to just appease the old man and let her do her evaluations.'