A situation in the Situation Room (Attn Xeph)
Continues from CO - 1, Fixer -0 PRISON RULES
Hammer was standing in the middle of the Piper's situation room, arms crossed as well as his disposition. In the room with him were Vivienne, Brig, and the LT, all still wearing their Therian-weave and exercise outfits over that. Brig's bloody nose had dripped onto the front of his shirt, drying into an unpleasant crust. The LT was standing to the right of Hammer, silent and staring straight ahead at the blank mounted monitors used for surveillance and other pack needs. Vivienne was behind him, leaning on one of the square tables next to Brig who was breathing through his mouth.
'It's broken,' Hammer said without looking.
'Yeah, I can tell,' Brig grumbled.
'Want me to set it?'
Hammer turned and looked back at Vivienne as she pushed off the desk. He waited for Brig to snap at her, but instead his cousin lowered his hands and shrugged. That wasn't right, Hammer thought.
'Sit down.' Vivienne said softly, pointing at one of the chairs and Brig settled obediently into it.
That definitely was not right.
Hammer turned toward them, watching as Vivienne reached out and touched Brig's face, tilting his head back and looking up his nose. She gently placed her thumbs on either of the break and felt around.
'Ow,' Brig said, wincing.
'Well yeah,' she paused and smiled, 'I broke it.'
Brig opened his eyes and glared at her.
Hammer's head jerked back, completely stunned. As Vivienne positioned her thumbs on the break, Hammer spoke in an absentmindedly loud voice.
'You never let me set your breaks.'
Vivienne jumped at Hammer's voice, successfully pushing the break back in line, only to over compensate and break it in the other direction.
'Fuck ME,' Brig yelled pulling back from Vivienne's hands. 'That hurt!'
'Well, Jesus Hammer.' Vivienne threw her hands up, shooting a dirty look at him.
Hammer permitted himself a small grin and then turned back toward the front of the room.
'No, it's fine.' Brig held his hands up, turning his face away. There was blood on the front of his shirt and traces of it still on his chin. His nose had swelled up a little, but his innate regeneration was already kicking in.
'It wasn't my fault, it was Hammer.' Hammer snorted quietly at her remark. 'Just, lemme see it again.'
'I'll have the Alpha fix it. He actually has a medical degree.' Brig slapped her hands away, making her smile.
'Oh come on, I've set tons of breaks. Seriously, let me fix it.' Viv licked her lips and rolled them into a thin line, trying not to laugh. Hammer had startled her, breaking her concentration, but she could fix his nose. 'Come on, before it heals that way.'
'What way?' Brig covered his nose and his eyes went wide. 'What did you do to it?'
Vivienne blew a soft raspberry and lifted her hands again, placing her thumbs gently on the bridge of Brig's broken nose. She did manage to push the break crooked, making it look worse than before.
Brig's hands came up and gripped Vivienne's waist, making her jump a little.
'God damnit Brig, if you grab or shove me while I'm doing this, I'll just have to crack it back again.'
Brig held his hands up and dropped them onto his lap with an angry grunt. Viv slid her thumbs down the length of the bridge of his nose, gently applying pressure, making Brig grab at her waist again. This time, she looked at Hammer and LT first, then turned back and cracked Brig's nose back straight.
'Jesus CHRIST,' he yelped, pulling away again.
'There, straight.' She winced, reaching up and wiped at his nose with her thumb. 'Meh, you're bleeding again. Just a little though.' Taking a step back, her expression changed enough for Brig to grow concerned.
Viv raised an eyebrow and shrugged, 'Well...'
Brig wiped at his nose, cleaning the blood when LT stepped over and looked at his face.
'You're getting double black eyes.' LT paused and looked between the both of them. 'You're both bruising on your foreheads, too.'
Vivienne reached up and touched her forehead, nodding with a slight snort. It wasn't too tender, but Brig had a slight swelling and already faded bruise on his. She had misjudged that head-butt trying to push and crawl her way from beneath Brig at the time. He was lucky, she was aiming for his nose.
'Oh, Christ,' Brig moaned unhappily. They wouldn't last long, but if the small grin on LT's face was any indication, he was not going to be able to live the black eyes down if anyone else saw them. Taking a deep breath, Brig stood up and wiped the blood off his hands onto his shirt.
His nephew stood to the side, in between Vivienne and himself, looking at her silently as his grin faded. Vivienne turned without a word and sat back down on one of the tables on the far side of the room. LT watched her move away and then turned back to look at Brig.
Brig flicked his eyes over at his nephew and held his stare. Crossing his arms, LT returned to his position in front of the monitors, next to Hammer.
They had been summoned to the Situation room by the Alpha, who would be there momentarily requiring an explanation for the ruckus they caused at the Tikerak, damn near starting a bloody riot over Vivienne's unfortunate reveal. LT's steady glare was no doubt a silent question as to why he hadn't been told about Vivienne's origins, but Hammer and Brig had decided, albeit silently, that she wouldn't be there long enough for it to be necessary that the Pipers be told. Vivienne's status was need-to-know, literally.
Gingerly Brig pinched the bridge of his nose, feeling the tenderness starting to fade; cracking it back, although annoying, was helping alleviate the discomfort of the deviated septum. He thought back to how familiar their touching was and how Hammer immediately noticed it, but knowing his cousin, Hammer would not put two and two together. He would think it was beyond Brig to have anything happening with Vivienne, especially with how they knew the Pipers would and did react to her origins. Brig had never become involved with any werewolf outside the pack; would never even consider it. It just wasn't something the packs did and he wasn't sure if the Alpha would even approve of it. Brig knew Hammer would not.
'Thank you, Vivienne,' he said in a monotone voice. Wordlessly she nodded, not looking at him.
The situation was gristly and unattractive. And Xeph wasted no time saying so.
"You guys are a godawful mess."
He crossed the room and walked around Brig as he surveyed the man's nose. With an eyebrow raised at Viv he said, "Maybe next time you should actually wait for the guy with med degree. Just a thought."
He shrugged at Brig. "It'll mend."
Xeph walked a few strides away from everyone in his room, crossing his arms over his chest and finally turning back to face his wolves.
"Who wants to go first?"
'It was a sparring that got out of hand. Little too much blood, adrenaline, and...Vivienne changed in front of the Pipers.'
That was putting it lightly. Hammer left out the part about instigating the fight or that it was even between Vivienne and Brig. There was no good way to explain the situation, other than they had obviously not told the Pipers about Vivienne and they reacted the way they had been trained.
"So naturally, no one saw fit to inform anyone else that Viv had a different form when she first arrived."
He sighed with frustration and approached Viv. "Vivienne, I apologize on behalf of the Pipers, and on the rest of your Pack."
He put some emphasis on the word 'your,' his eyes taking in the rest of the wolves in the room. "Let's be clear here. While Miss Sena was, regrettably, not Gifted a Kadzait, she is still Pack nonetheless and you are to regard her in that sense regardless of the shape of her wolf."
He wouldn't go into detail. It was important the rest of the Pipers understood his exact stance on this topic. While Xeph considered Viv more of an Illamar than anything else, they were equal Pack members too.
He put his hand gently on Viv's shoulder and turned her face gently this way and that, giving her wounds a cursory examination. "Are you all right?"
Hammer's explanation was...well true, but she wasn't sure if Hammer wanted to add to it, so she remained quiet until the Alpha turned his attention to her.
His surprisingly gentle nature and touch left her speechless. Trying to ignore the fact that Hammer and Lily managed to crank out one helluva good looking boy, Viv lowered her head respectfully at his words.
'I appreciate that, Alpha Xephier.' And she did. The first time she had ever been included in any pack was that very moment and those words coming from THE pack Alpha meant more than anything.
'Not telling the Pipers was my fault. I think the Commander and Beta agreed that telling them would have been counter-productive. I wouldn't have been able to interview them with any degree of truthfulness.'
And she liked belonging, if only for a little while.
Viv inwardly winced when the Alpha put his hand on her shoulder and he seemed genuinely concerned for her, despite knowing what she was. Grinding her teeth slightly, she nodded.
'No harm done, at least nothing that won't heal by tomorrow.' Looking over at Brig, she halfheartedly pointed at his face. 'I broke his nose, though. Sorry about that.'
Not that she actually was sorry. It cracked her up that she even got that jab in and the look on his face when she pointed that out was worth it.
"Not telling the Pipers was the fault of the two men standing within punching range of my right fist at the moment who decided it would be a great idea to take a woman with a surprisingly Vyusher form and throw her into a tense, excitable situation which might possibly make that person edgy given her proximity to that many testosterone-filled Kadzait."
Xeph's face was more or less set in stone in an expression of extreme distaste. He released Viv equally gently after determining that she would, indeed, be all right, and turned to Hammer and Brig.
"Or am I mistaken? It was entirely Viv's idea to jump right into it and be one of the guys?"
His lips twitched when she apologized again, this time to Brig. "Don't apologize," he said with a snort. "Next time aim about two feet lower."
What did they expect from him, really? His job was to protect his Pack, and they'd just put one of his females in danger. Xeph the human understood that nobody was perfect, but Xeph the wolf felt his hackles go up with the need to protect Vivienne from any harm, including that which came from within her own Pack.
It was that more than anything that reinforced his stance that she was Kadzait. Even if he'd just been saying the words to avoid a situation before, he certainly believed them now. No Alpha would feel so strongly about one who wasn't his own.
'Go see to the men, LT.'
His nephew's eyes narrowed, but he took a step back and spun on his heel, exiting the Situation room without a word.
Brig turned back to the Alpha and answered his question.
'It wasn't the best idea, no. However I've been fairly tolerant of Vivienne shadowing my men for...whatever purpose. She was there on her own volition, but it was unfortunate that we did not take into account that her inability to control herself around blood and adrenaline...'
'Oh that's bullshit,' Vivienne murmured behind the Alpha.
'What's bullshit is you thinking you can stand on the side and critique the men and not expect me to step up.'
Brig turned to Hammer, sneering at him. 'And you, you goaded her into fighting me.'
Hammer took a step toward Brig and pointed his finger, 'Who said 'put up or shut up, Viv'?'
'Wow, hi, I'm right here,' Vivienne said rolling her eyes.
'Bottom line is, she's a distraction to my men,' Brig said raising his voice.
He was momentarily shocked that he was, in fact, angry with Vivienne distracting the men. He was the one sleeping with her and he at least kept focused around her.
'The bottom line is something is fundamentally wrong here.' Viv stepped forward, yelling at both Hammer and Brig. 'The two of you were yelling your heads off at them and no one listened. Do you understand what that means?'
They were all missing the point. Viv suddenly realized the impact of Hammer and Brig's silent argument over past transgressions. Vigo had sent her there for one reason: to ensure that the relationship between the Piper Commander and his son, the Beta, would not cause the destruction of centuries of tradition between both families. That one thing had happened.
Piper leadership had lost its ability to lead.
'This thing between the two of you is dismantling what your families have spent centuries building. No disrespect gentlemen, but you really need to sort your shit out before you destroy everything.'
'You...you're chastising us? This has nothing to do with you. The Alpha says you're part of this pack, fine, you're part of this pack, but you are not part of either one of our families. Vigo found you, he may have even raised you, but that doesn't make you a Hammerthynn, Vivienne, and it never will.'
It had all come out before he even realized he said it. This was why he kept his emotions to himself, why he left the jokes and cavalier attitude to his cousin. When he let the ire in him consume him, he'd say whatever was on his mind, regardless of who he was saying it to at the time. Hammer was infuriated that Vivienne had turned a bad situation worse by bringing up the failures of leadership and he was tired of it.
"You," he pointed a finger at Vivienne, "may be right, but this is really neither the time nor the place for this observation."
"You," he indicated Hammer, "I swear, have got the worst intuition I've ever seen in a wolf for when to talk and when to shut up."
"And you," he pointed at Brig, "are doing one of the most fantastic jobs at placing blame almost anywhere else but yourself that I've ever seen."
Xeph scowled. "The worst of it is, I have no idea what to do with the three of you. I've seen kindergartners argue with more maturity."
It was a bit of a stretch but appropriate. Huffing a sigh, Xeph said, "Help me out here. What exactly do we need to do to work this out? I can run this Pack without the Pipers. But I'd rather have their support. And for that, they need to be working together."
He emphasized the last word. In his opinion all three of them were involved regardless of tags or titles. Their actions were obviously affecting each other and what hit them hard, hit the Pack hard.
Brig watched as Vivienne looked down as the Alpha pointed at her and cleared her throat. He wasn't sure why she was bringing the situation between he and Hammer up right at that moment - maybe to deflect the Alpha's scrutiny, but it instead amplified it. Nodding, she acknowledged his statement as the Alpha moved onto Hammer.
Hammer reigned in the intense hatred he had for Vivienne, or maybe what she represented to him, and looked the Alpha in the eyes, taking the observation for what it was - not that he would have reacted any differently to anything else said. Brig watched his cousin, Hammer's permanent glare on his face, sigh deeply at his son's words.
That made Brig pause, thinking of the Alpha as Hammer's son, therefore making Xeph his second cousin. The anger he usually felt was suddenly mixed with guilt as his eyes flicked back to Vivienne who stood expressionless now that the Alpha turned his attention onto Brig.
"And you are doing one of the most fantastic jobs at placing blame almost anywhere else but yourself that I've ever seen."
Brig knew better than to argue. Squashing down his initial reaction to the blame the Alpha was placing on him, he once again let the bitterness in him overtake his guilt. None of this would be happening if not for Hammer; not the review from the families, not his silent and ongoing fight with Hammer, and definitely not the distraction of Vivienne on his men (as well as himself). He balled up his fists but looked down at the ground, nodding out of respect, but not before catching his cousin's solitary eye.
'Run the pack without the Pipers?'
Immediately he looked at Vivienne. Would she recommend disbanding the Pipers? Would she actually do that? And would his only son let her? Hammer could not, would not, live with that shame. Looking back at Xeph, Hammer resigned himself to pleading for what looked like the inevitable not to happen.
'My...our family has never not been at the Alpha's side in some form.' Sighing deeply, he looked to Brig and then to Vivienne. 'We will get past this...set back. Vivienne's wolf form notwithstanding, the Commander and I will rectify our differences.'
Hammer looked at Brig and caught his cousin's barely hidden glare. Easier said than done, Hammer admitted to himself, but what choice did they have? Rolling his shoulders uncomfortably, Hammer then looked at Vivienne.
Having it affect their gestalt like ability to lead was devastating, to say the least. Not only did the Pipers get left out of the loop, LT certainly conveyed that in his look to his uncle as he was summarily dismissed, but they felt lied to by Command. It was a slim possibility that she would be able to finish her reviews with any type of honesty from them, although the Alpha clearing any doubts did help.
Still, Vivienne felt for Hammer who was once again bending over and taking it up rear for the team while Brig continued to separate himself from his cousin. She didn't risk looking at Brig but instead looked to her Alpha.
'I'll do what I can to help, of course.'
Brig seemed fairly unrepentant, however, even thought h acted the part. Xeph continued to frown. He didn't see what else he could do but give the situation time. He understood the source of their troubles but he was their leader, not their mother.
He wanted to tell Hammer he would never support the disbanding of the Pipers. Not in a million years, and certainly not just because Vivienne Sena said so. But if the fear of losing them was what motivated his father to accept help in resolving matters, Xeph would let the threat stand, empty or not.
"I'd say you all have your work cut out for you."
His words encompassed them all but it was Brig he looked at sharply, the only one of the three who hadn't said so much as a single word.
Clenching his jaws, he looked at Hammer who looked expectantly, at least as much so as Hammer could look, at him and Vivienne almost pleading with him with her brown eyes. She gave the barest of nods at him, prodding him to say something.
Exhaling a deep breath he wasn't even aware he had taken, Brig looked at his Alpha, and in a monotone voice, replied, 'The Pack will always be first and foremost for our families. Hammer and I will deal with the issues.' Brig looked past the Alpha and added, 'And make things right.'
Vivienne visibly rolled her eyes at him, but nothing else was said between the three of them.
"I trust you to work it out," he said, lowering his voice and feeling the edge to it soften just a bit. These were his Pack, after all. He loved them and wanted them safe and happy. That was what an Alpha did.
He glanced at Viv and Brig, aware of more between them than they were saying and shaking his head minutely. That, too, they'd have to work out alone.
"Next time you spar," he said to Brig, "please let me know. I'm getting rusty, too."
He said nothing more to them, but he did stop in front of Hammer. Lowering his voice yet again he looked at his father, sorry to have to play Alpha instead of son, sorry to have to dominate and force rather than try democracy, but that was what they were.
That said, Hammer was still family. "I'll see you at dinner."
And, he was sure, they wouldn't discuss this. Xeph would keep an eye on things nonetheless. It was also what he did.
((ooc: All out))
Continued in Kiss them for me