Nachton Airport - The Jameson's
"Are you sure you're not pregnant again?"
Viv was bent over trying not to throw up a lung. Her stomach twisted into knots, threatening to cave in on itself as she glared up at the LT. He watched over her while Brig and Hammer were off with their fathers, waiting on the tarmac for the incoming plane.
"Yes, I am sure." She paused a moment and thought about it. "Yeah...wait, yeah no I am not pregnant."
LT grinned and continued to rub her back slowly as he leaned up against the wall next to her. "You've never met my grandmother before?"
Straightening after a moment to spit unladylike into the garbage can, she wiped at her sweating face and shook her head. "No, I was never around any other family. I've met Vigo's brothers but never the wives. Which is ironic since those men can gossip like no other women I know."
"God you are not helping."
"I wouldn't be surprised if she knows who you are already, Viv. My grandparents are partners as well as married, you know."
"I've considered that. Which is why I'm throwing up."
"Oh," he said pausing. "Yeah, good point. Are you done, by the way?"
Viv leaned up against the wall with LT and nodded. LT reached into his slack's pocket and pulled out a piece of gum, handing it to her. They were all dressed casually but all on duty as they prepared for what could only be called Family Dignitaries to arrive.
"You've never met my uncle Shayle before?"
Viv took the gum and folded it into her mouth. With a sigh she shook her head. "No, but I've heard about him over the years. Brig never talks about him."
"They cannot stand each other. Not since my father died."
"Because of David's death?"
"I don't think so. It's a rivalry, pure and simple. Uncle Shayle has five boys, all older than I am, but none are higher ranked than a field Piper. Charlie's not close to the other brothers at all, not that they don't get along fine, but the only one out of six boys that steps up into leadership is the one that's not direct didn't sit well. Plus Shayle wanted to Command, but Uncle Brian is older so," LT shrugged and raised his eyebrows.
"They're barely a year apart right?"
"Ten months on the nose."
Viv whistled and grinned. "Dang, Duncan barely waited to climb back on top of her."
"Like father, like son," LT said in a voice that Viv did not need to hear from the man.
"How do you think it'll work out when you step up into your Uncle's Command?"
"I may not."
Viv looked at LT and snorted. There was no way LT wouldn't step up as Commander when Brig chose to finally follow his father's footsteps and take the Elder position once Duncan retired, but there was no telling when the Elder would take that leap. The fact that Lothias was the LT at his age spoke volumes, not to mention within the Alpha's Pipers. There was no other way for LT but up.
"Alright, do I smell like puke?" Viv stood and checked her breath, smelling nothing but spearmint.
LT stepped off the wall and leaned in close, making Viv blush as he sniffed closely next to her lips. He grinned slowly and pulled back a hair.
"No you smell fine."
Viv narrowed her eyes at him and then punched him, making him laugh. "What is it with you lately? All the hard looks and smoldering sex?
LT slipped his hands into his pockets and grinned wider. "I think that's my uncle wearing off on me."
Viv reached up and touched LT's cheek, right before she gave him a good smack. "Well knock it off. You're my nephew now and that's just icky."
LT snorted but winced. "Yes, Aunt Vivienne." He hooked his arm out and Viv took it as she ran her fingers through her hair, trying not to look like death warmed over as they walked out to the tarmac.
As kids Shayle was his twin for the most part. Barely a year apart, they were neck and neck in everything - school, girls, athletics, that was until it was time for them to receive their gift. That's when things changed - instead of being gifted together, Brig was gifted along side Hammer, both boys receiving the honor as first (or only) born sons. Shayle never forgave Brig for that, and what should have been a momentous occasion turned into a rivalry that intensified over the years.
They served together as Pipers with their father until Duncan stepped up into the Elder role, forcing him to promote one of his own sons to the position of Commander. Both Brig and Shayle were Lieutenants in separate commands, but when the decision came down, it was eldest first. Shayle was promoted, but really it was only a lateral promotion as the Trainer at the home base in Australia. That same year David died and what might have been just a family squabble turned into an all out war between brothers.
Things only got worse as Brig stepped up and took David's only son as his charge, raising him as his own and preparing him for the Command position that could have, not should have, gone to one of Shayle's five boys. Charlie would never be considered for anything higher than Sergeant, despite being raised by Shayle - a move Brig saw only to compete, not because it was the right thing to do (although he'd never tell Shayle that). Instead Shayle's ward went on to serve in a double capacity - R&D and part of the Alpha's Pipers, but Shayle remained bitter in his older brother's shadow.
At least that's how Brig saw it.
And now his youngest brother, and fiercest competitor, was coming to the City to evaluate his Command of Pipers. Brig had no doubt that Shayle would be judging Vivienne and their child, an inferior female as Shayle will see it. It made Brig's blood boil.
"You're going to give yourself a heart attack, Brain." Hammer stepped up beside Brig, whispering quietly to him.
"I'm half inclined to train Catherine as a Piper. Just out of spite."
"Ok, now you're going to give me a heart attack. It'll make Vivienne happy, at least."
Brig did a double take at Hammer and then realized he was being sarcastic in his monotone voice. He grumbled unhappily.
Viv's scent floated by with a hint of spearmint which made him turn and look for her. She was walking up with the LT, looking pale and unhappy. Brig felt his hackles rise seeing his nephew arm and arm with his mate and he lifted his chin, dismissing him. LT immediately broke off and went to find the other Pipers without a word to her. Viv flashed an annoyed look at him but he could see the arousal sweep over her from his scent. She quickly came to him and took his arm.
"Absolutely not," she said looking up at him with her golden brown eyes.
Gently he reached with his free hand and touched her face. Viv was becoming less vocal about Brig's possessiveness when it came to her around other men. Since their return from Canada, their relationship changed...again. Their union was unorthodox - with her being from an entirely different pack, then with her borderline unforgiveable attachment to the bane of his blood memory, the Alpha in him made it clear who she belonged to - to Viv and to himself, finally. Viv would never leave him, he knew this now. Their bonded scents would never, could never allow it. He had lived a long life full of confidence and ego, but Viv shook that confidence down to the very core. He loved her with everything, and without her and their child, he knew he'd wither and die.
Pulling her close, he kissed her softly, making her smile.
"Yours," she said softly.
"You damn right you are," he said back with a hint of fierceness that made her arousal spread across her skin in a soft blush.
"God, please. I'd like to go just one day without watching you two...do...that," Hammer whined and slipped on his RayBans.
"She is freaking out, isn't she?"
LT opened his eyes wide and nodded. Their earlier fight forgotten, they spoke briefly about security and then checked in with Lewis who was tracking the flight on site instead of from the Situation Room.
"I like Mrs. Jameson. She's always nice to me," Lewis said, completely unaware of why she liked him, which was pretty much why all women liked Lewis.
"I hate him sometimes," LT mumbled.
Charlie opened the door and said in a faint lisp, "I think he's adorable."
"Aw, go on, you guys," Lewis said with a dirty look.
Together Charlie and LT walked out to the tarmac and stood behind the Elders. Charlie pulled out his phone and sent a message to Cait, telling her he missed her. She promptly replied with something that made him gasp and blush.
"God she is dirty," he mumbled. LT leaned in to read but he cleared the message and put his phone away. "How's Carol been?"
"Good," was all LT said.
Charlie waited to see if he'd say anything else, but LT continued to search the sky for a glimpse of the jet.
"You're stll seeing her...aren't you?"
"Yeah but her hours have changed. I don't get to see her until later in the evening anymore."
Charlie watched LT and tried to pick up something from him, but the ability only seemed to work whent he emotion was more primal or intense. Then he looked over to the Commander and Vivienne. They were wrapped up in each other's scents, making the Beta move away from them, but he felt nothing from them as well. It made him wonder if maybe it wasn't empathy he was experiencing since the majority of emotions he can feel were from Caitlinn. He'd have to ask her about the difference - if it wasn't because he was so focused on her that he was only feeling her emotions.
Looking at LT again, Charlie couldn't read him at all when he talked about Carol. But the lack of emotion was what was triggering Charlie's concern in the first place. LT was changing, but Charlie couldn't quite put his finger on how.
"There," Elder Jameson said pointing as the plane banked to fly parallel to the landing strip.
"Excited about seeing Shayle?" LT asked looking around the perimeter.
"Sure, it's been a couple years." Charlie was sweeping the area as well, their eyes focusing in on smells and sounds in the area, doing their jobs. "I'm surprised he hasn't come sooner."
"Well, rebuilding Glenveagh has been difficult from what I've heard."
Charlie nodded when his focus crossed LT's and they looked at each other again. "Glad none of the boys were there for that." He couldn't imagine if Shayle had lost a son to the massacre that was Glenveagh a year prior. Shayle had just missed the raid by two days, taking with him a handful of Pipers to other parts of the world, leaving two dozen new Pipers wiped out. With a grim look, Charlie listened to the whine of the engines and the squeal of rubber on tar as the jet landed.
The other Pipers appeared out of no where, Atlas bringing up the rear with Dom and one of his Ontarior Pipers behind him as they approached the jet as it settled. Charlie's eyes moved to the Commander and Vivienne as they stepped back toward the Elders. Viv went to her father's side and the Commander did the same.
Glancing at LT, Charlie took a deep breath as the jet door popped open. "Show time."
"Louisa," he said softly, a smile pulling at his lips.
"Good lord, man, what are you waiting for?" Vigo asked quietly.
Duncan stepped away from the others and walked quickly to the jet and his wife, scooping her up into his arms in a deep kiss. They stood there kissing for a full minute before he heard Vigo call out.
"Welcome to the City, Louisa."
Duncan broke their kiss slowly as he looked down at his blushing bride. Her dark blue eyes looked up at him with a grin.
"Thank you, Vigo," she called out.
"Hi," Duncan said softly, his grin widening.
"Hello there," she grinned.
Vincent looked over at Shayle who's shrewd eyes watched with a disinterested glare. "I hope you know what you're doing, Shayle."
Without looking at Vincent, Shayle stood and nodded toward his sons who backed up and waited for him to disembark. He didn't bother answering Vincent, the answer should have been obvious if he came all this way. It didn't bother Shayle that Vincent wasn't completely on board with Shayle's recommendations, premature though they may be, but it didn't matter. As he stepped out and felt the eastern seaboard wind bite against his fair skin, Shayle wordlessly exited onto the tarmac, confident and every bit the man who would see that the right thing would be done.
Brig's form stepped out from the hanger's shadow and walked up to their mother, hugging her but looking at him over her shoulder with his matching blue eyes. They all had their father's piercing baby blues, but Brig looked even more like their father than ever. Shayle felt his eyes roll slightly as he looked at the two of them, practically twins, standing next to his mother.
Brig and Shayle didn't bother with nicesties or polite hand shakes. They merely looked at each other and nodded. He could not help but smile as Brig's hard expression slacked into surprise as his older brother looked over Shayle's shoulder.
Vincent and Shayle's three sons came up behind him, making Brig look back at Shayle before he reached out and shook their youngest brother's hand, bringing him into a hug.
"Look at you boy, is that a five o'clock shadow?" Brig said to Vincent who chuckled and hugged him back.
"You remember your nephews, Brian," Shayle said softly. "Hamish, Duncan, Leopold."
The three men shook hands with their Uncle, each polite and with warm smiles. Hamish and Duncan were twins and in their seventies, Leopold was his youngest and forty five. All were Field Pipers serving in Australia near home.
Shayle looked at his father and saw the hard look on his face, but his mother reached out and touched him, forcing him to placate the coming storm of anger. He looked back at Brig and asked politely.
"And where is your mate, Brian? We're looking forward to meeting her."
"Nice to meet you Shayle," a voice said from behind Brig, moving to stand directly beside him.
Shayle and Vincent both turned and politely bowed, Shayle's probably a little more stiff than his brothers. Reaching out, he took her hand in both of his and smiled.
"Vivienne, I'm Shayle. This is Vincent and my three boys and of course, our mother, Louisa."
Shayle looked back at Brig as introductions were made, both men glaring at each other. It took everything not to laugh and he kept having to remind himself that he was doing this for the good of the Families and not out of spite. Oh, it would look that way, but who could argue with him?
Vivienne stood with a cautious smile as she formally met their mother who greeted her warmly, holding both hands in her own.
"Shayle," a familiar voice and scent called out to him. Turning, he saw Charlie walking up with a large smile.
He felt the swell of pride rise up as Charlie stepped forward, a genuine look of happiness on his usually sad face.
"Sergeant Hammond," Shayle said with a salute and pulled his ward into a hug. "Good to see you, boy."
"Aye, sir. Good to be seen."
"Here, sir," and David's only son stepped forward and shook his hand. For a moment, Shayle felt his confident waver looking at the young man. In years since his baby brother's death, Lothias had become a stranger to him, hearing only about his exploits as a Piper ascending the ranks quickly, but looking at him now, he no longer saw his dead brother.
Lothias looked more like Duncan than David ever did, therefore looking exactly like Brian's progeny rather than nephew. Same crooked smile, piercing blue eyes and chiseled jaw. Lothias' presence was almost regal, commanding an authority that almost rivaled Brian's. It would make the coming decisions difficult for some, Shayle wagered.
"Who are they?"
Lewis touched his transmitter and called back to the Situation Room. "Change of plans - incoming has an additional three in tow." Releasing his com, Lewis turned to JT but kept his eyes on the situation unfolding on the tarmac.
"You know Shayle and Vincent, right?"
"Yeah, Vincent recruited me in Florida when I was still in."
"In what? Oh you mean the Air Force. The three other guys are Shayle's sons. The twins are his oldest and the third is his youngest, Leo. Good guys but...."
Lewis' feeling was starting to take shape as he watched the Elder's expression twist from happy to cautious. The tension was thick and palatable.
"All three are older than us, more time in as well. Well, except for Leo, but why would they be here? And why the Seeker?"
Lewis' com squawked at him. "Incoming with transport. ETA one-five."
"What was..." JT began to ask when Lewis moved quickly toward the back of the hanger, making his way out to the vehicles as he pulled out his phone and began to type on it.
"What just happened?" JT asked out loud to no one in particular.
Twisting back toward the group, he moved immediately at his Sergeant's call and came up beside Charlie, ready for orders.
Charlie's face tightened and then relaxed in a smile just before he introduced JT. "This is JT Paulson. JT this is Hamish, Duncan, and Leo - Shayle's sons and Field Pipers from abroad."
JT reached out and shook hands with them all, nodding to Vincent who winked at him, and finally looked to the Trainer.
"Settling in alright, Paulson?" Shayle asked.
"Aye, sir." He turned to Charlie and spoke quietly. "Another vehicle is coming to accomodate."
The Sergeant nodded and dismissed him, but before he could return to his duties, Mrs. Jameson stepped forward and introduced herself.
"So you're Piper Paulson, from Glenveagh?"
JT immediately stepped back and bowed respectfully. "My apologies, ma'am. I'm originally from here in the US, but yes ma'am."
"But you were the Piper that helped save the Elder's lives."
JT felt all eyes on him, making him struggle with the blush that was fighting to come out. "I assisted them, yes ma'am, but it was more like the other way around."
Mrs. Jameson smiled at him and stepped closer to him, confusing JT. She gave him a long look and then looked back at her husband.
"And you're from quite the stock, I hear as well."
JT risked a look to the Commander who was glaring at the Trainer. He had no idea where the line of questioning could possibly go, so he played dumb.
"Ma'am? I'm fourth generation Jameson, you mean?"
"No I meant you're an Alpha. First one ever to serve as a Piper, which is odd."
"Yes, ma'am," was all JT thought it was best to say.
"Alphas should lead."
Oh crap, JT thought and scrambled for an appropriate response. He looked at the Commander who was now staring at his mother, then to the LT who looked just as confused. Finally JT gave her his best and most charming smile and laid it on thick.
"I don't know about that, ma'am. I lead best on the dance floor."
JT saw Vivienne grin widely at his response and he immediately felt the tension break with the laughter it caused. Bowing again, he excused himself by taking three steps backwards and then jogging back to his position.
When he turned back toward the group, they had returned to chatting and were no longer looking at him. He felt the hysteria in his gut twist into fear when he caught Shayle's eye. The Trainer had been exceedingly rough on him during training, but it was nothing he couldn't handle from almost ten years in the military. Now he felt like Shayle was gauging him, looking for something that JT hoped was not there.
He had not felt anything close to that type of feeling since the night Caitlinn had died. He tried to pinpoint the feeling as he listened to Mrs. Jameson speak to JT, but a sudden flood of emotions began to rise up from the crowd. That had never happened before and it was scaring the hell out of him. Where ever the emotion was coming from was mixing in with the rawness of the ability. Looking directly into the face of each person, he tried to narrow it down, but it didn't take an empath to read the expressions.
The Commander was smoldering, on the verge of blowing up at his brothers. Vincent's arrival was unannounced and Vivienne was not at all pleased with his presence. Vincent secured descendants, usually adults, bringing them into the family if they exhibted certain abilities like JT had. Then there were the rumors of children, usually out of wedlock, that were brought into the family without a choice. Rumors, of course, but there was always a little truth in the lies.
Other than the cautious look, Charlie could not feel a thing from Vivienne. He had never been able to feel anything from her, but that may have been just him blocking her, afraid of what he'd feel when she looked at him. Guilt was something he read in her face, but at that moment her face betrayed nothing but suspicions.
The Elder Jameson and his wife - now there was a pickle. Duncan was as confused as everyone else by Louisa's questioning of JT. Charlie felt the faintest of curiosity from his adopted grandmother, but another emotion was overriding even that.
Then there was Shayle. Charlie had been genuinely happy to see the man and he felt that from Shayle in return, till LT stepped up. And there it was, the sense of...entitlement? Over the years Charlie had seen the animosity between the CO and his adopted father, but when the two men looked at each other, Charlie felt his stomach twist, sickening him.
"You ok?" LT asked quietly.
"Jet fuel. Let's get everyone inside at least." Charlie lied easily, holding a hand out and directing the Elder's wife into the hanger, away from the outside smells of the airport. As they moved, another urgent emotion crossed his field and Lewis appeared. Charlie instantly recognized that emotiion from the unlikely source.
Fear had a dark feeling you just couldn't miss.
((OOC - all out))