Rumor Has It (attn: Reign)
Xeph was out on the Tikerak for a little fresh air with Nish. Nikhila was asleep; he'd wanted her to be able to nap in peace. So he and the boy were outside watching the other kids play. They were joined soon by Reign, who Xeph hadn't seen in a week or so but about whom he'd heard some very interesting rumors... very recently.
That morning, recently.
When Reign's playmates had gone and all the fun had been had Xeph waved to his friend, sitting Noah up on his knee and bouncing him while the baby chuckled happily. He waited until she came over, looking happy, which was a good thing as far as Xeph was concerned.
"Hey Reign," he said. "How's it going?"
He was pretty sure he knew exactly how it was going, but he'd be a crappy friend and a terrible Alpha if he didn't ask anyway.
So after picking up her car she and Sirius had gone to play with the kids. The mutt was thoroughly worn out by the time the various parents had come back and everyone had gone home.
She was headed out and counting herself lucky to have flown under the radar when she spotted the Doc. Oh the Doc and company. She and Sirius changed course and went to say hello. Sirius was tired enough he only gave the baby and Xeph a cursory sniff before flopping at his vet's feet.
"Hiya Doc, small fry. So far so good. How about you guys? Where's the Mrs?"
Reign kept watching the little guy out of the corner of her eye. He was insanely cute and seemed quite happy. So long as the Doc held him it was all good. Reign didn't quite know what to do with kids until they could run around and talk.
Xeph paused to blow a quick raspberry on Noah's fat baby belly and nearly got kicked in the nose for his efforts. "Hey!"
He poked a toe at Sirius. "Kids wear you out already, killer? What are you going to do when I decide Noah's big enough to ride you like a horse?"
He was rewarded with a half-opened eye and a very obvious doggy eye-roll. "Well, I guess that day is a long way off."
Xeph leaned back on the bench and grinned at Reign. "So tell me, how was the club last night?"
He couldn't recall if Reign had told him she was going or not. Either way he raised his eyebrows knowingly, watching for her reaction. What he saw would determine whether or not Lewis got to live another day. Not to mention the other Pipers.
"It is a good day for a nap."
It was hot out. Reign laughed as the Doc and the small fry played, she'd had very few doubts he'd be a good dad.
Since she and Xeph hadn't talked in a while Reign decided against standing and looking like she was in a rush and sat down with him on the bench.
"Don't break my dog Doc. You'd just have to fix him, so you really want to make more work for yourself?"
Reign grinned at him.
The question Reign could have handled it was the eyebrows that caught her -way- off guard. She was pretty sure she felt her cheeks pink, and she would be blaming that on running around in the sun with half a dozen pups. She licked her lips and answered a little cautiously.
"It's a good club, I ran into some people and had... a nice time."
He smiled innocently at Reign, who knew, of course, that Xeph would never hurt Sirius.
He didn't fail to notice the slight hint of a blush in her cheeks at the mention of the new bar. He shook his head, laughing.
"You do know I join the Pipers every morning for their run, don't you? It did come up once or twice."
He looked up from Nish to Reign. "I just wanted to make sure you were all right with what happened. From the sound of it, there was a little peer pressure involved."
He arched his brows at her. "Not that I don't think you know your way around a pack of overzealous guys."
At least she was ready this time and didn't blush again. That and earlier in the morning she'd come to terms with the fact that it wasn't a secret. She just hadn't known how fast and far it would spread.
Reign wasn't overly worried about her reputation, but if Xeph knew and wanted to know if she'd been pressured, Reign was a little worried about Lewis. She could only hope that there hadn't been too much fall out.
"What? Oh... well... umm... no. I mean yeah I'm fine with it. I might have taken advantage of your Piper though. Maybe. A little. A bit."
This time Reign raised her eyebrows at Xeph. He had first hand experience with her ability to drill a guy in the kidney and instep if she couldn't talk her way out of something. Oh and then there was that bucket of water that had lead to her being here and part of the Pack in the first place. Xeph was well aware Reign knew her own mind and could handle herself. Yeah, that comment didn't need to be addressed really.
Honestly Reign had no idea that there was any kind of hands off policy at all. Yes she suspected that Lewis had probably caught some hell for missing their run and probably some ribbing besides. But anything beyond that, she was clueless. They were both consenting adults after all.
Her next words, however, made him laugh. It started slowly and built progressively until his pealing guffaws rolled out, booming, over the Tikerak. Wiping tears from his eyes he did his best not to drop his firstborn.
"You took advantage of him?"
Xeph continued to laugh. "I nearly think he needed some taking advantage of."
He knew Reign. There was nothing wrong here. She seemed fine, or as fine as could be expected after being caught with her hands in the cookie jar, so to speak. Xeph wasn't going to give her too hard a time. She could do a lot worse than Lewis.
"Go easy on him, I'd like it if you didn't break my IT man."
He grinned at Reign. Lewis was in more danger than he might know.
The laughter was unexpected. Reign watched him and thought about stealing Noah from him just in case. But since the Doc didn't seem about to drop the boy she just closed her eyes and shook her head. Letting him get get himself under control. She hadn't meant to be funny, but apparently she had been.
"I don't want to break him."
Reign blinked innocently at Xeph. She just wanted to see him again... oh and not to look like a stalker. Simple agenda really.
"No, no I would imagine you don't want him broken," he said, barely able to hide a smirk.
Shaking his head, he determined that there really wasn't any need to go all "super secret insight" on Reign. She seemed fine. Besides, both she and Lewis were adults. They could pick and choose their own relationships. Xeph would be here for either one of them at any time; it was what he did.
"I really hope you like aliens. And UFOs."
As far as he knew, actually, she did. Lewis, he thought once again, might be in for a surprise. Reign was far more intelligent than most people gave her credit for upon hearing her profession, and having an in-depth conversation about the possibility of life in outer space was totally within her realm of comfort. They might be shockingly well-matched.
Yes it was a bold and brave move hiding behind a baby, but she did it.
Reign didn't understand why no one else had taken advantage of him. So far her impressions of Lewis were all quite positive. That quip got a raised eyebrow though. Well he had said nerd and the other Pipers had said shy and well... ok then. She shrugged it off. Reign might have her PhD in literature but she wasn't a snob and did enjoy good sci-fi and on occasion defended the genre to her 'intellectual peers'.
"As long as he doesn't sprout any antenna or start talking about the mother ship calling him home... "
Quirky was one thing, was cute. Everyone had quirks after all. Psycho was another. She'd had enough of psycho.
Reign realized she actually had no idea how to find a Piper. She just sort of ran into them from time to time, she'd never gone looking. And of course it was way too soon to go chasing him down.
"Hey do me a favor Doc when you see him tell him I said 'Tag you're it'."
She had no idea when she'd be back by, Reign could be by every day for a week or maybe only once a week. It depended on what she was doing. The message seemed the sanest thing she could do, at least he'd know she'd been here and had thought of him.
"Now are you satisfied I'm safe and sound?"
Reign smirked back at him. She'd never even questioned the fact that Xeph should check up on her or gotten the slightest bit of a nosy vibe from him. He was just doing his job, it was a family thing and wolf or not, Reign got that without being told.
He laughed again, shaking his head at Reign. "No, no," he said. "Lewis just gets enthusiastic. He's great. Brilliant."
Lewis was, Xeph knew, more than brilliant. He wished for some kind of remote surveillance though... Lewis was so... well... naive. And Reign was definitely not. If something happened between them it would be hilarious. Adorable, but hilarious. He'd want video.
Xeph did shake his head at the whole message-delivery system. "No way, lady," he said. "I'm not getting involved. Surely you were clever enough to get a phone number."
He had faith in her ability to have gotten that much before Lewis before he returned to the Den with his tail between his legs. He nodded and made a placating gesture. "Yeah yeah, I know you are. I just had to make sure, you know? So pal I'd be if I didn't. As long as you're okay with it."
He might still kick the Pipers' asses for the way they'd gone about it. They were, in way, lucky it had been Reign at the bar. She could handle anything they could dish out.
Reign eyed the baby suspiciously looking for any sign that they were corrupting Xeph's son. The boy just gurgled kicked his feet and laughed. OK if they were corrupting Noah he was enjoying it.
"He's his father's son isn't he?"
She said dryly. That was, after all about the same reaction she was getting from Xeph.
Good they ruled out psycho. Not that she'd though he would be psycho. More important though was the Doc was not cooperating. That had not been part of the plan. Son of a...
"We might have had other things on our minds and then he was late and..."
In all honesty Reign was still prepared for it to have been a one night thing. Lewis didn't strike her as the kind of guy to blow her off. He admitted himself he wasn't smooth and she had trouble seeing him as the kind of guy who said he'd call and then never did, but until they made contact again she wasn't going to place full confidence in pillow talk. After all, outside of a pool table she'd not proven to be the best judge of character.
He chuckled, though, when she didn't own up to having Lewis's phone number. Xeph certainly wasn't going to give it out. That would be way too easy. Besides, he could rag on Reign a little, now he knew she was all right with the way things had gone down.
"Nope. Not gonna make it easy on you. Back in my day we actually had to make face to face contact and have conversations and stuff. I'm not letting you use me to put the ball in anyone else's court, so to speak."
Then he cleared his throat. "But, you know, it's not like he's hard to find."
Lewis was a Piper... where else would you look for a Piper? It wasn't like Reign had no clue where to go. She would figure it out, intelligent as she was. The good thing was that she was clearly interested in seeing him again. At least it appeared to have been a good night.
LT leaned onto the console and crossed his arms. "Are you going to go talk to her?"
Lewis winced and looked back at the monitor. "I was gunna."
Lewis closed an eye and looked up at the ceiling. "Well, I have to finish my diagnostics and-" LT punched him on the shoulder. "Jesus, ow."
"She's talking to the Alpha!"
"Better get it over with. Easier to do it with Reign, rather than the Beta."
"The Beta said-" but LT hit him again.
"Make it a social call now or a reprimand with the Alpha and his father. Go now."
"Alright," Lewis mumbled, taking out his ear piece. "And stop hitting me, that's mean."
Lewis left a chuckling LT in the Situation Room as he took the stairs back up to the ground floor. They were out on the Tikerak, so Lewis cut out the front door of the Den and made his way over. Not too long he made it out to where they were sitting and he nodded to Marko who was circling the perimeter, keeping an eye on the roving Alpha. Looking down, he tucked in his uniform shirt tales back into his BDU trousers and checked his breath, but just ended up rolling his eyes at the gesture.
Finally within ear shot, he lifted his hand and waved. "Sir. Hi, Reign. Am I interrupting? I'm interrupting aren't I? I can go."
Reign shot right back at him with a grin and shaking her head a little sheepishly. You made your bed and you slept in it, she'd learned that lesson a long time ago. This bed, however, wasn't as uncomfortable as it could be.After all the Doc was entitled to tease her and he wasn't being nasty about it.
She narrowed her eyes at him for that though. That was just low. Xeph was having far too much fun. Yes he was right to do that do her, still she would have liked a little help.
"That is mean Doc just flat out mean. I mean you're -enjoying- this aren't you?"
So much for flying under the radar and not looking like a stalker. Flustered Reign bit the inside of her cheek, something she hadn't done since she started playing professionally and Hans broke her of the nervous habit. But... well... still she couldn't help but smile as Lewis stopped just in ear shot.
"Don't go, I could use the interruption."
"Enjoying that one of my good friends is possibly getting attached to one of my Pipers? Yes. Yes, I'm enjoying that."
Xeph rolled his eyes at Reign and didn't bother to tell her that the object of her potential affections was approaching. Instead he grinned as Lewis stopped and awkwardly made his presence known.
"Hey Lewis. You're not interrupting. Have a seat. Take a load off. Hold a baby. How's the IT gig today?"
Inwardly he sighed. He was related to most of the Pipers in some way shape or form, since discovering who his biological father was. And even if he weren't, he'd known many of them since he was a kid himself. He really hated when they got all formal with him. He understood why. He was the Alpha. Not just a Alpha. The Alpha. With a capital woof. But, just every now and then, it would be really nice to be 'one of the guys' again.
Apparently Lewis expected to be in some sort of trouble. Xeph was amused by that. There was nothing wrong with dating Reign... unless what Lewis decided to do was hook up with her in a drunken stupor, fuck around with her, lead her on, and then dump her. In that case, he was a dead man. But Xeph had more faith in him than that.
"Wow," he grinned, taking the baby gently. The little boy was heavy with baby fat and Lewis could smell his mother on him. Letting the little heir apparent sit in the crook of his elbow, he jiggled him softly, enjoying the rolly polly softness of him. "He is getting so big! Look at you."
Noah took the opportunity to grab at Lewis' collar of his uniform and tug. "Awww, you're strong like bull!" Lewis laughed and then looked back at Reign and Noah's dad. Clearing his throat, he gently handed the boy back to his father.
"I, uh...I thought maybe..." What did Lewis think? He thought having to explain what happened with Reign was embarrassing for one, but the LT and Beta seemed to think it was necessary. What was he supposed to say? 'Hi, I went home with your friend - details later?'
"I really have no idea why I'm here," Lewis blurted out.
She'd thought that there might be a bit of awkwardness after last night, not a lot just a bit but Noah seemed to help that at least some. Maybe the Doc would let her rent the little guy. Wait, no then she'd have to carry him strike that idea.
Lewis hadn't 'taken a load off' as Xeph had suggested and she just kept looking up at him. She looked meaningfully at the bench once he finally realized he had no plan.
"You're here to save me from merciless teasing?"
Reign suggested hopefully before rolling her eyes at the Doc. It was as good a reason as any, at least with Xeph right there. Oh great, she realized she'd been running with the kids and probably looked a bit rough around the edges to say the least. Too late to worry about it now.
He looked back and forth between the two of them, shaking his head and giving a little sigh at Lewis's endearing cluelessness.
"You had best figure it out," he advised his long-time friend with a grin. "Because the lady here is quite the catch and if you're not going to act on it, well, someone else will."
Xeph stood, snuggled Noah to him, and winked at Reign. "I'll just let you kids sort it out," he suggested.
"Enjoy," he called as he headed off, heedless of the reactions behind him. "Start by asking her out for Thai, Lewis, and go from there!"
Smiling to himself he went to find his father. They needed to have a quick chat, and Xeph had to figure out how to mount a video camera to Noah's stroller or something.
((ooc: Xeph out))
"I think everyone assumes...well, the worst. Granted, I always do with the other guys." Lewis laughed nervously. Changing the subject, he pointed toward the Alpha again. "So, did you enjoy playing with the kids today?"
Of course he had seen her the second she walked onto the property. He tried to concentrate on his computers, but he kept wondering if Reign was there to see him, too. At least, he hoped she wanted to.
When he sat down Reign could feel his hand behind her, she hesitated for a second but moved her hand so their fingers touched. It was intentional on her part but could almost be accidental. It was sort of interesting watching Lewis and Marko interact. Honestly Reign had never really noticed how much of an eye they kept on the Doc.
Laughing a little nervously Reign said the first thing that popped into her head.
"I'm not a stalker."
Surprised at what she'd said she laughed again and relaxed. It couldn't possibly get any worse, so she was fine now.
"Yeah, I always do. They wear me out pretty good too. I had meant to come by tomorrow to find you and play with the kids but some of their parents wanted to catch a back to school sale and asked if I'd come by today instead."
And then she'd gotten cornered by the Doc but that was obvious.
"I hope you didn't catch too much hell about being late."