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Old November 25 2008, 08:42 PM   #16
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: True Bearings - Faithful

RobertScorpio wrote: View Post
And I think you convey it quite well. I liked this a lot. I read during my lunch break today; good job!

Rob
Thank you very much!
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Old November 26 2008, 05:47 PM   #17
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Arc of the Wolf: True Bearings - Perfectly Good Sunday

Title: Perfectly Good Sunday
Rating: G
Timeline: Fall 2245
Words: 1510
Disclaimer: Scotty belongs to Paramount, Corry doesn't.
Notes: A bit of a light, easy-going fall-based piece.

--

"Lemme see. We can transport around the planet, send messages halfway across the galaxy with no real time lag, cure most diseases and fix most injuries..." Corry paused there to lean on the rake handle, wiping his forehead off with with his sleeve. "But I'm still stuck raking leaves."

Scott grinned to himself, tongue-in-cheek, as he worked on building his own pile of leaves. The property was somewhat less rocky and tree-covered than a lot of those on West Side Road, but there were still enough trees to keep the both of them busy for a few hours. It wasn't exactly a volunteer situation -- they had been planning on going and kicking around Boothbay Harbor, and maybe trying to pick up a couple dates for the evening -- but then Cor's dad had handed them a pair of rakes, smiling, and that was that.

Corry had been complaining about it since then, albeit without a whole lot of real bite. "Coulda gone out, maybe picked up some late-season tourist girls, but noooo."

Going over to Boothbay Harbor with Cor was a guaranteed good time. Not because there was anything there Scotty wanted to do, exactly, except maybe pick up girls. But because it was funny watching Corry do his thing. Cor made no distinctions on what region or planet they came from; he'd turn on the charm and smile in a winning manner, and before the hour was out, he'd usually have at least a few interested in a dinner-and-dancing date.

But it was when Cor tried to pick up a local girl that the real humor started. Apparently he had a reputation in the area, all the way from his native South Bristol, to New Harbor, to Boothbay Harbor and even some whispers that people as far away as Portland knew what to make of his romantic overtures. And even with him having been gone for two years, and his four years in Starfleet before that, the reputation had yet to fade.

After getting shot down by a local lady, Cor would almost inevitably sigh, "Just because you kept your options open in high school..."

He never finished the statement, but he didn't really need to. Then he would shake off the rejection and move onto another prospect, usually targeting someone wearing a t-shirt that only a tourist would wear. They, unlike the girls of Midcoast Maine, didn't know of his apparently open-optioned past. Plus, they were completely taken with his so-called local color, a projection of the region that Corry helped along by throwing a bit of 'Mainuh' into his voice.

"Playah," Scotty said, with a smirk, after one of those girls had walked away giggling with a couple companions, having made a date to meet Corry at the local dance hall in another two hours.

Corry had rolled his eyes. "I'm not a player. I'm just... uh, giving them an authentic experience."

Scott crossed his arms, raising an eyebrow. "Authentic, ayuh. Take 'em out, have a lobstah..." He notched up the smirk there. "...or a wicked whoopie."

"I hate you."

The scene was pretty common, near so much that it was almost a tradition now. The hunt, the rejection by eligible local girls, the acceptance by tourist girls that would be gone in a day or a week, then a date where Corry was a gentleman the entire time, though not without being open to the hopes that maybe she'd like him enough that he wouldn't have to be gentlemanly after the dancing ended. Scotty figured it was just one of a number of ways that Corry was trying to get back into the swing of his own life -- reminding himself that he was still himself.

Scott usually ended up on the sidelines, and was pretty content there; sometimes he managed to get a girl interested enough that he could stumble around on the dance floor with her, but he wasn't sure that the anxiety and nervousness he felt anytime that happened was worth the distinction of actually having a date.

So, as amusing as going to Boothbay Harbor was, he didn't really mind being given chores by Corry's dad. There was something kind of relaxing about raking leaves, even this many of them.

"How can you be smiling at a time like this?" Cor asked, dragging Scotty back to the present and immediate world, though it was still not all that biting. "Perfectly good Sunday, a few tourist girls still around, and you're happy raking leaves."

"Why not?" Scott asked back, eyeing his leaf-pile for a moment. It was pretty impressive, and he'd been careful shaping it to get the maximum height possible while maintaining as much stability as he could. Well, given that it was a giant pile of dry leaves, anyway; there was only so much structure you could get out of such a building material.

"Didn't you get sick of this growing up?"

"Didn't do it growin' up." He hadn't had any chores, except when he was staying with his uncles; everything he had done while growing up in Aberdeen had been necessity, nothing more or less.

Corry looked like he was about to comment on that, but then he didn't. He just went back to raking, a thoughtful expression on his face. Since Scott wasn't sure what to make of that expression, he went back to raking himself. They were about half done with the yard, though the occasional gust of cool wind was enough to set them back a little bit.

He didn't mind it. It was a warm, clear day after a cold, crisp night and color was everywhere, in nearly everything. And while he would have to head back to Augusta either late tonight or absurdly early tomorrow, in order to get back into orbit for work, he was in no hurry to do anything but this now.

"I realized something," Corry said, after another ten minutes or so of quiet, where the only sounds were dry rustling and steady raking.

Scott glanced over. "Aye?"

Cor dropped the rake next to his own, rather haphazard pile of leaves. "Yeah. If you've never raked leaves before, then you've never jumped in a leaf pile before."

Scotty blinked.

"I mean, that's the only real reason to rake leaves." Cor tilted his head, and there was a bit of a predatory gleam in his eyes. "Sure, they make good compost and it's unsightly to leave them laying all over the yard, but the real reason to rake is to jump in the pile."

After a slightly alarmed look at the large, reasonably well-structured leaf pile that he'd built, Scott looked back again. "Not a chance."

Corry made a show of stretching his arms and legs out, a somewhat dramatic gesture. "Oh yeah. That's the perfect pile for it, too."

"If ye wanna jump in leaves, jump in yer own," Scott replied, tossing his rake aside and getting ready to stop the inevitable assault that was about to take place on his hard work and careful construction. "I didn't go to all this effort just to have ye--"

Cor didn't seem to think any more arguing would change the basic facts. Scotty cut himself off when Corry made a dash towards the structure that Scott was perfectly willing to use his own body to shield. He just turned a shoulder into the attack, knowing that even if he couldn't stop his best friend from wrecking the leaf pile, he could at least make it (hopefully harmlessly) punishing.

They collided with a startling amount of ferocity and an equally surprising lack of real pain -- both of them checking at the last second so they wouldn't really hurt each other, and both of them flying through the air for a split second before crashing into the pile of leaves and sending up a veritable cloud of them to sway and spin to land again in a less structured manner.

Corry was the first to speak, laughing, "Yep. Perfect pile."

"Bastard," Scott replied, without the least bit of insult, brushing a few stray leaves off of his face and sitting up to look around at the mess that had been made. "Ye know, this took me hours--"

"--just two!"

"--and ye destroyed it in two seconds!"

Corry put his arms behind his head, grinning up at the half-empty trees above. "That was the point!"

Scotty sighed, shaking his head, not exactly sure why he could feel a smile creeping up on him; looked at the mess, all the bright bits of color scattered without pattern in a radius around what was left of the original pile. Looked at his best friend, grinning contentedly at having made a mess of things, even though it meant they would have to rake it all up again, and that they wouldn't make it to Boothbay Harbor tonight for Corry to pick up a date.

Hours of diligent work, for a moment of relative insanity, in a total disregard for structure and pattern.

Scotty took a deep breath, then let it out with a chuckle and fell back to mirror Corry's pose, looking up at the bright sunlight filtering through what was left of the leaves on the trees.

Maybe that really was the point.
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Old November 26 2008, 09:34 PM   #18
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: True Bearings - Perfectly Good Sunday

What a nice bit of light fun!
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Old November 26 2008, 09:38 PM   #19
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: True Bearings

^Thanks!
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Old November 27 2008, 06:31 PM   #20
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Arc of the Wolf: True Bearings - Bookends

Title: Bookends
Rating: PG-13
Words: 7468
Timeline: 2246
Disclaimer: Scotty is Paramount's property. Everyone else is mine. Wanna borrow 'em, just ask.
Notes: If you believe that the 23rd century is a perfect utopia and none of the things that exist now will exist then, then this isn't the story for you. It is, however, a reasonably optimistic tale. It's not tightly scripted or plotted, it's just another of those 'life is close to the ground' stories that's more about the characters than anything else. Originally posted here.

--

The air was so cold that the snow underfoot crackled sharply with every step. On the patches of road that had been cleared, there was still a frozen cast to everything; the whole world was mostly painted in monochrome. Aside from the bright bits of color from store signs, South Bristol was buried in the kind of gray-toned quiet that could only accompany winter.

There were a few times that Scott cursed his own decision to walk, but he doubted that even if he could rewind time and make the choice again, that he would do anything differently. It had become something of a personal tradition to leave the cab at the swing bridge and walk onto Rutherford Island, and along West Side Road. At first, he'd done that mostly as a method of burning off a little energy so he wouldn't be quite so nervous walking up to the house, but now it had become more of a chance to...

He wasn't really sure why he did it. Except that in a place that seemed to be fixed, there was something both comforting about its lack of change, and likewise something just as comforting in watching the seasons change around it.

Not quite so comforting was just how cold it was, though. The air was downright biting, and there wasn't even really anything more than a tickle of a breeze. Even in two layers, plus a coat, plus good boots, he'd halfway lost touch with his legs and he was pretty sure his hands would refuse to do anything until they were warmed up again. Aberdeen and Belfast could get a bit chilly, but Scotty had never quite known what the words 'wind chill' meant until he first met winter in mid-coast Maine.

In as such, he didn't really get to enjoy any of the scenery; he had his head down and his collar up and was mostly focused on the entirely solid ground underfoot.

Even despite the walking, and the fact he'd been here a fair number of times now, he still had to brush off some measure of hesitation when it came to actually knocking on the door. It certainly wasn't that Corry's parents ever made a big deal of him showing up -- if anything, he thoroughly appreciated that when he did, they just treated it as though it was a perfectly common thing to have this relative outsider around. Their lives were like the town itself; steady, for the most part, routine and comfortable. In retrospect, it was a lot easier to see why Cor had been such a wreck when his father had been sick. It was a giant rock thrown into an otherwise calm pond.

Still, it was considerably less nerve-wracking to knock now than it had been a couple years ago.

Melinda opened the door; that wasn't much of a surprise. Corry's mother was a stay-at-home type, a breed that Scott had never known in his own family, though she freelance wrote magazine articles about various aspects of that lifestyle and had earned a respectable income for it.

"Cold enough for you?" she asked, giving him the usual once-over to make sure he was alive and in one piece, even if it was a very cold piece.

He'd gotten better at not ducking under that look, even if it did still feel a bit strange. "No, ma'am. I can still feel about a third of my body," Scotty deadpanned back.

She laughed, then, taking his coat once he managed to coordinate himself enough to get it off. Though she didn't fail to give a bit of a disapproving look at the fact he was only wearing his uniform shirt, and a work shirt over that. "Andy's running a little late. He had to track down one of his professors to turn a paper in."

"I'll have to thank him for tellin' me about it," Scott said, offhandedly, absently flexing his hands to try to get some sense of feeling back into them. Corry's habitual unwillingness to give advanced warning for things hadn't been changed by two years on Vulcan.

She chuckled again, stepping off into the kitchen once she'd hung his coat up. "He was pretty excited about some of the research topics that are up for grabs down there. I'm just hoping that he thinks twice before bringing some of them home, though. There's only so much I'm willing to donate my kitchen to furthering Starfleet's knowledge-base."

Given that Scotty had been involved in a few of those kitchen-based lab tests, he could more than easily sympathize with her on that. He was willing to do just about anything Cor asked of him, but that didn't mean he particularly liked playing lab assistant, especially since biochemistry held no real interest for him.

After a few moments warming up by the door, he finally took a couple steps into the kitchen, though he didn't really have much else to say.

"I guess that when he gets further into it, he'll probably have to spend more time in a proper lab." Melinda didn't seem put off by holding a mostly one-sided conversation; she just set about preparing to make dinner, pausing only to put the teapot on the stove. "I think I'll like reaching into my fridge for eggs and not having to move petri dishes."

Scott nodded, not sure if she saw it or not. He usually felt more comfortable in the kitchen than he did anywhere else -- the only other place where he felt pretty much at home was the recliner that had unofficially become his in the livingroom, where he had a very bad habit of nodding off while Corry gave a heartfelt dissertation on cells and things that were, in Scott's mind, completely boring.

It was all pale yellow and white, completely different than his mother's kitchen, classically plain and it felt like morning in there most of the day. Except in the late hours, when there were only the lights on over the sink, and then it felt mellow and mild like evening. The only contrast was the kitchen table, old hardwood, though usually there was a white cloth on it. Frankly, he was shocked that Cor's mother put up with lab testing on that table -- it had to be a century old.

She talked idly about things, and he made it a point not to tune her out, even though his mind was devoted more to introspection than anything else. He didn't indulge in it that often, but these people seemed to provoke it. It was a mystery to him why, just as much as it was a mystery that he let himself be drawn into the routines here, even if it was only for short periods of time amidst the much longer stretches of work.

"Here, sit down," she said, after outlining her latest writing projects, and Scott obeyed it without a pause. That was another thing he had figured out gradually over the past year or so -- that in a manner almost disconcerting, Corry's mother could tell him to do something and he'd answer it more willingly than he did orders from his commanding officers. Didn't understand that one, either.

On the other hand, the fact she gave him a cup of lemon tea with a little honey in it might have had something to do with it. "Thanks," he said, immediately holding the cup two-handed in an attempt to finish thawing his hands out.

"You're welcome," Melinda replied, ruffling his hair up, then going back to her dinner-making ventures.

He didn't bother fixing the mess she'd made of his hair. Random, casual affection in this household was the rule, and not the exception. Scott still wasn't all that good at accepting it, but he'd had little choice but to get good at enduring it. Well, sort of enduring it. It was nice, but it was very foreign as well. A pat on the shoulder or a hug hello or goodbye came as easily to these people as everything else seemed to.

At least it didn't make him want to bolt out the door anymore, though.

"I'm hoooooooome," Corry sang out from the front door, dragging Scott out of his train of thought, and making him grin. Corry loved to call him melodramatic; Scotty loved pointing out that it was the pot calling the kettle black. "Man, is it cold out!"

"It'll be cold in if you don't close that door," Melinda replied, smiling to herself. Then the click of the door closing made her shake her head.

Cor shed his coat in record time; unlike his best friend, he was wearing more like four layers, and he had his own skimmer now that ensured he didn't have to do any walking if he didn't want to. He breezed into the kitchen, kissed his mother on the cheek, then promptly dropped into a chair at the kitchen table, addressing both of them and neither of them at once, "It's supposed to get even colder tonight, too. I should go out, I still haven't shaken off all that Vulcan dust."

"That's mad," Scott said, shivering briefly at the thought. It was far too cold for him in the daylight, let alone after the sun was down.

"It is not." Corry grinned, setting his gloves on the table, then leaning back again. "Just because you're part reptile doesn't mean we all are. But hey, it might do you some good. Toughen you up a bit, get some proper Maine blood into your veins."

"Ayuh," Scotty said, and smirked when Cor winced.

"No late night, sub-zero ventures." Melinda handed her son a cup of tea, giving him a pointed look at the same time. "He's not dressed for it, and you both have to go to work in the morning."

"Guess I'll entertain myself with the thought of testing the cryonic capabilities of island winter, since I won't get to put it into practice."

"Bastard," Scott muttered, hoping it was loud enough for Cor to hear, but not his mother.

Corry grinned, mouthing back, "I know."

"What're you two doing tonight, anyway?" Melinda asked, unaware of the two taking mild, age-old potshots at each other behind her. "And should I bother making you dinner, or not?"

"The plan is..." Corry stood up, taking a deep and unnecessarily dramatic breath before saying, "I am going to make science history! I am going to push the bounds of reality, making mankind rethink their entire place in the universe! I am going to--"

"What he's sayin', ma'am, is that we're probably goin' to sit here talkin' about what to do with ourselves, and that we're gonna end up watchin' bad movies in yer livingroom the rest o' the night," Scott said, speaking up loud enough to cut Corry off. "That's the rough translation, anyway."

"--I am going to strongly reconsider testing the cryonic capabilities of island winter on certain parties in this room right here and now," Cor continued, unfazed.

"And that's him sayin' that I'm right."

"All right, dinner for four," Melinda said.

There was a long pause, while Corry looked as sinister as he could manage (which was about as sinister as one of those baby seals or whatever animal it was with the big, heartbreaking, liquid eyes), and then in true form, he shrugged. "Okay, I'm gonna go put a vid on."




It wasn't really that they didn't go out and get themselves into trouble; in fact, since getting back from Vulcan in mid-September of the year before, most of their days off and some evenings besides were spent doing something. Sometimes barhopping, sometimes working on Corry's schoolwork, sometimes working on that skimmer, sometimes just wandering around. Scott had even been talked into sailing a few times when it was still fall on the family's little ketch, and found out that he got seasick just as easily as ever. But he still, inevitably, let Cor talk him into going out on the sea again.

If most of his existence had been more about endurance than anything else, about living by the day or the moment and moving forward without much connection to a past, then South Bristol was where he suddenly had something to measure his life off of.

Scotty blamed it on the chair.

The recliner was big, built for Aaron Corrigan's tall frame, and since he was close to half a foot shorter than Corry's dad, he had a lot of room in it. It was also absurdly comfortable. In the morning it caught the eastern sun, and it was more positioned for reading a book in the afternoon than watching the vidscreen at night.

He told himself, every single time, that he would not get so comfortable in that chair that he'd end up sleeping there all night. And every single time, he ended up nodding off anyway. So, for about four months now, he'd ended up knocking out there not quite two dozen times, and it was after the first dozen that he'd sort of figured it out.

It was one of those mornings where the sun was coming through a frosty window, very low and yellow still, that he'd drifted back to his senses to the sound of Corry's mother making breakfast in the kitchen. Buried in a fleece blanket, his boots set neatly beside the chair (which couldn't have been his doing; he was no better about putting them away nicely now than he had been as a cadet) and the realization was just as drowsy as the process of waking up.

Even before the Lady Grey, before everything, back over that Thanksgiving break he hadn't even wanted to take, he'd slept in this same spot knowing somewhere that he was safe. And for a moment, he felt the time, and the same things, and the different things.

Then he'd promptly pulled his blanket back over his head and fell back to sleep until Melinda woke him up for breakfast.

Nonetheless, he didn't protest to himself quite so hard after that about the possibility of spending the night in a recliner. It was more of a token argument than the real thing; even on the mornings where he'd have to wake up before it was decent in order to beat it back to work, he didn't really regret it.

This was one of those nights. He wasn't much for watching movies or anything else, and never had been. It was in the middle of some really badly made one where Corry was ranting theatrically about the impossibility of biochemistry creating radioactive zombie Vulcans that he put up his token protest for all of two minutes and then dove headfirst into oblivion.

He didn't even know exactly what woke him up again. Just that something had, something in the back of his head, something half-familiar and all worrisome.

The kitchen light was on, but it wasn't morning; a quick look at the clock built into the vidscreen told him that it wasn't more than two hours or so after the last time he remembered it being. He managed to drag himself out of his warm little enclave there, and was still rubbing at his eyes when he stepped into the kitchen.

Corry looked like he was wide-awake and all distracted, that look that echoed back to when he found out his father was sick, but there was no sign of anyone else. He nearly leapt out of his skin when he turned around and saw Scotty there, though he didn't yell out. After a moment, staring, he breathed out hard, "Cripes, you scared me."

"What's goin' on?" Scott asked, squinting a bit from the kitchen light.

"Just... nothing you need to worry about." Which, of course, had the exact opposite effect. Corry picked his skimmer keys up from the kitchen table. "Go back to sleep, Wolf. I'll be back before morning."

Without giving himself time to think about it, Scott leaned out of the kitchen, grabbed his coat off of the peg it was hanging on in the hallway, then eyed Cor. "So, where're we goin'?"

Corry's expression went from half-distracted anxiety to wholly exasperated. "Scotty..."

"Corry." There could be no doubting that tone.

After a very long, silent moment where they measured each other's conviction, Cor sighed. "It's Rach. She called, and she's in some trouble, and I'm just gonna go down to Boston to get her, okay?"

"What're we waitin' for?" Scotty asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Damn you," Corry said, though it was far more resignation than curse. He shook his head, still scowling a bit. "Go get your boots on, then." And with that, he stalked out of the kitchen and headed upstairs.

Not having the vaguest clue of what was going on, Scott went and did just that. He was already back in the hall and about to drag his coat on when Corry came back down and threw a sweater at him. "Put that on."

He did as he was told, though he had to roll the sleeves up a bit. "No cryonics tonight?"

There was a pause and then Corry shook his head with a slight, wry grin. "Not tonight. Maybe tomorrow."

Scott nodded, pulling his coat on. "After work, though."




--
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Old November 27 2008, 06:32 PM   #21
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Arc of the Wolf: True Bearings - Bookends

--



Even the attempted levity didn't really do much for the drive. It had been pretty cold in the skimmer until it had time to warm up; usually, it could be remote started and toasty by the time it was used, but they didn't waste time waiting for that, and didn't want Corry's parents to hear it running outside anyway.

Corry had fallen silent, mostly focused on driving and probably some on seething. He didn't pay much mind to the speed limits; part of working on the skimmer last year had been disabling the computer that recorded its speed, a tattle system, and the other part had been adding a small sensor array that would pick up and disperse any scanning from law enforcement, either automated or otherwise. Scotty didn't have any real qualms about engineering either modification -- initially, just for fun. Now, apparently, they'd get a real test.

He didn't venture to ask what kind of trouble Rachel was in. He'd only seen her a few times in the past few years; she was going to college in Boston, and didn't come back to Maine very often. He probably spent more time there anymore than she did. When she was around, she didn't seem the same as she had when they'd met and he'd briefly fallen madly in love with her -- she was more aloof, for one, and seemed to only be around because she was expected to be.

At first, it had been easy to sympathize with that. But after awhile, he had to kind of wonder why she wouldn't want to be home.

He didn't really pay attention to the speed or the drive. It was kind of funny to him, sometimes, that he'd never actually bothered to go and get a license for a skimmer. He could pilot a shuttle, and he'd even piloted a starship in a simulator, and he'd held the helm of a schooner in a gale, but he'd never actually gotten a skimmer license. Not that he hadn't driven one before. But he just never got his license.

He was still a bit sleepy, even after the cold and the worry, and left his head leaning on the passenger-side window, mostly watching the narrow crescent moon. It felt kind of dream-like... surreal, in a way. A wee hours of the morning, way-too-fast drive down the coast, glowing dash lights, moon, silence.

"She's high," Corry said, probably an hour into the drive. Like he couldn't believe it, and was pissed off about it, and scared, and not knowing what was going to happen. "Pretty new drug on the market called Tee on the streets. We were just studying this shit two weeks ago in class."

Scott didn't even begin to know what to say about that, but he picked his head up and looked over, frowning.

"This is stupid." Cor stared fixedly ahead; Scotty could hear his teeth grinding together over there. "What... I don't know. It's really Goddamn stupid."

"Aye," Scott said. No doubting he agreed. It was hard to process the idea. Even harder to wonder what the Hell a drug would do for her, when she was going to college, and had a loving, supportive family at home, and how anyone could be idiotic enough to risk that kind of thing. Still, that line of thought was filtered a bit, even now, through that surreal cast. It was hard to believe. It didn't really work with how he wanted to view reality, even if it was reality.

Cor growled, though Scott knew it wasn't directed towards him, just towards this... this madness, this stupidity that dragged them out in the dark hours to pick up an idiot girl. Corry because it was his sister, Scott because he wouldn't let his best friend go into a bad place alone.

"You shouldn't be here," Corry said, after another few minutes of grinding his teeth.

Scotty wasn't entirely sure how to reply to that one, either. But he gave it his best shot, crossing his arms. "Why? 'Cause yer sister's an idiot and ye don't want me knowin' that?"

Corry spared only the briefest glance over, but it proved that he hadn't been thinking that at all. Then he went back to glaring at the road. "No."

Well. It didn't take long for the real reason to click, but they didn't say anything else. Scott frowned to himself, going back to watching the moon.

He'd never really connected with his own sister, not after they were older. There were any number of reasons why, some big, some small; the last time he remembered really feeling like she was there was when she was just a toddler, and it was before she got into art, and he remembered that he felt like he'd do anything to protect her even if she did steal his stuff. But it had been most of a lifetime ago now, and what little they did interact nowadays tended to be stilted or even outright hostile. He still tried, though, sometimes. Even if it usually ended badly.

He didn't have any brothers, and hadn't really gotten to understand the concept of siblings from an adult perspective. For that matter, he hadn't even started understanding the concept of friends until he was out on his own; he'd been certain, for the longest time, that he didn't really need any friends so long as he had something to tear apart or put together or design or fix.

He wondered if this was what it was like to be a younger brother. He thought that it was. It was easy to want to believe that Corry didn't want him there because Cor didn't want him seeing anything less than the happy side of that family's life.

Except, it only took a look and a word to explain it, and the reality was that Corry didn't want him there because you don't put someone you try to protect into dark places. Yank them back out, maybe, but you don't put them in there.

"Ye're not allowed to do that," Scotty said, decisively, though it surprised him when he did.

"Do what?" Corry asked, his frustration fading for a moment in light of confusion.

Scott gestured, aimlessly. "Ye're not allowed to watch my back at th' expense of yer own. It's give and take, or not at all."

"It's not always that simple."

"Still."

Corry shook his head. "You're here, aren't you?"

It wasn't for a moment that Corry wanted him to be, and Scott knew it. But it was a good enough answer for now. He let it go there.




"I suppose it's a moot point to ask you to stay put," Corry said, calmly, as they stood in front of the house.

"I suppose it is," Scott replied, surveying the building critically. It looked like it was about a month away from being condemned. A few lights were on, little shards of brightness that came through the holes in the dark colored drapes meant to keep prying eyes out.

It wasn't really surprising that he wasn't the least bit apprehensive. Scotty wasn't sure what that said about him, that he could work himself into a nervous wreck around wonderful people in a beautiful town, but that he didn't even feel a flicker of fear at the idea of walking boldly into some drug house to retrieve a really stupid girl. He wasn't sure he wanted that answer, either.

Cor had resigned himself to the fact that he had someone at his back, though he still looked unhappy about it. But after a few moments, he went into business-mode, and Scott knew Corry wasn't really afraid for his own safety either; any apprehension he had was for his sister and his best friend.

Well, all right, they shared that.

Corry didn't say anything else. He walked up to the door like he owned the place and pounded on it; Scott stayed a few paces behind to the right of his shoulder, waiting to jump in if anything bad happened. He would have taken point, but this would have to do.

Nothing terrible happened. Some guy opened the door, obviously high, totally oblivious to the other people behind him screaming at him that he shoulda checked to make sure it wasn't the police for several moments. He turned around to tell them to shut up, then when he looked back, he got a face full of Corry, who spoke in chillingly normal tones. "Where's my sister?"

"Whu...?" the guy asked, wavering back and forth some.

"Rachel. Where is she?"

"Oh. Man. She's upstairs. You her brother? That's really--"

He didn't get much of a chance to say what that really was; Corry shoved him aside and walked in, and Scotty followed, picking up the vigilance his best friend had left at the door. No one really seemed all that interested in interfering, though. Half of 'em were strung out on some extremely ragged looking furniture, and all of them looked like they'd be lucky if they could recite the alphabet.

Still, he kept himself on alert as they climbed the steps. Even if he could out-think these twits with three quarters of his brain missing, they still had him and Cor outnumbered at least five to one. He didn't pay so much attention to the actual surroundings, though this was the first time he'd ever been in this sort of place -- just stepped over the occasional body sprawled out in the hallway and kept on edge for any kind of attack.

If there was any real apprehension, it was when they were checking rooms. The silent fear being that they would find Rach dead or worse in a place like this.

Luckily, that turned out not to be the case. She was laying on a bed, alone, the long legs that Scotty used to admire nothing more than dead-weight hanging over the side. Corry stepped over, shaking her; she didn't really do much stirring, though. Just enough to swat at him.

"I'll carry her," Cor said, still business-like, but the shaky note in his voice gave away just how badly this was bothering him.

"Ayuh," Scott replied, and it had the effect he intended. Corry shot him a slightly exasperated look, but looked more centered after it.

It didn't really take long. Cor slung his sister over his shoulders in an entirely unceremonious manner; no damsel-in-distress ride for Rachel tonight. It was only then that she really roused herself and started cussing dazedly at him.

They both tuned her out. Down the steps, though her pissing and moaning managed to catch the attention of some of her buddies or whatever-the-hell they were. A couple struggled up, and the one who'd answered the door turned around and just about got in the way.

Scotty pretty much had the empty, discarded whiskey bottle in hand before he even really knew he did; his mind caught up, though, and he smashed it on a nearby table, causing the entire group to jump. And without a blink, he tipped his head to the side a little and pointed the jagged neck of it at the guy in the way. "Step aside, or I'll gut ye like a fish."

It was an even tone, and they must have realized that he meant it.

He was still watching the door and still gripping the broken bottle when Corry came back from putting Rachel in the back seat of the skimmer.

"Wolf..."

Scott pulled his attention from the door and looked at Cor for a moment.

Corry shook his head. "C'mon, Wolf. Let's go home."

It was as much gentle warning as it was anything else, and then he had a past again; a before, to go with the now. Scott nodded, tossed the broken bottle aside, and headed back for the skimmer without looking behind him.





The ride back was, if anything, quieter than the ride down. And that said a lot. Rachel fell asleep; Corry offhandedly related that she'd probably be sobered up again by the time that their parents were awake, and that was it.

The moon was gone, and that just left them and the occasional groan from the backseat, and no sign of the sunrise. Just dashlights. The world was a whole lot sharper, though, in that way that things get clearer when you're really too burned up inside to think much, just observe.

The road from Boston went from being new territory to being something more familiar; the last couple of legs, from Wiscasset, through Damariscotta, then down to Rutherford Island and South Bristol were the same as the road to Augusta. Scott wasn't too sure exactly when this had become familiar ground, and he didn't really devote any of his thoughts to trying to pick apart why it would feel like relief, being back in this area, and why (at the exact same time) he could feel such a spike of irritation at Rachel about it. It just was.

It was only after they parked the skimmer, and just before he went to carry his sister in that Corry said anything, and then it was only two words. "I'm sorry."

A million years and a million words wouldn't explain what that meant, but it was about brothers and dark places, and Scotty understood it anyway. And even if he would have had a million years to come up with an answer, it still would have been the same one:

"I'm not."




--
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Old November 27 2008, 06:34 PM   #22
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Arc of the Wolf: True Bearings - Bookends

--




"Ye've gotta tell 'em."

By that point, not even an hour before the light would really fade into the sky, Corry had already insisted Scott call off from work -- it had been another of those moments where they stared at each other, testing the seriousness of their respective stances, and Scotty was the one who gracefully bowed out of it. Give and take. Corry didn't want him working in space after a night like that, and he had plenty of personal leave time.

This wasn't quite so easy or graceful.

"Do you have any idea what that would..." Cor stopped himself, then paced a few steps in the kitchen, before stopping and trying again, "It's not that simple."

"Didn't say it was. But ye'll not do her or them any favors by dealin' with it yerself."

The idea of informing Melinda and Aaron Corrigan, two of perhaps the most decent, well-adjusted people in existence, that their daughter was a screw-up of the finest caliber wasn't a pleasant prospect. And Scott could definitely appreciate the strong desire their son had to just deal with it on his own, and not throw another big rock into the calm waters of their lives. If not for the fact that these people... these people mattered to him, he would have probably been perfectly willing not to pipe up about it himself.

"How do I even do this?" Cor was on the jagged edge of nervous exhaustion, sometimes pacing, sometimes just stopping and staring off at something for a moment. He'd been handed a cup of coffee about a half-hour ago, and it was still full and now cold. "I... geez. I don't know. How do you even...?"

"Preferably with comfort food close at hand," Scotty replied, half-joking, dragging things out of the cupboard. "Breakfast."

Corry eyed him for a few moments, almost incredulously, but it went away. Then he shook his head with a tired chuckle, "Comfort food? French toast?"

"Sure, if ye want." It really didn't make much of a difference what he had to whip up, so long as he could do something. Scott couldn't help but admire the organization of Melinda's cupboards; it was easily as neat as his own mother's kitchen, though admittedly, not quite as stocked with everything under the sun. "Anything else?"

"Bacon." Corry thought about it, his agitation fading. There was a bit more to comfort food than the actual finished product -- the process of making it was the most important part. "Except for Dad, he likes ham."

"Bacon, ham, french toast. Aye aye." Scotty smirked to himself as he set Corry's lab experiments out of the way to get the eggs in the fridge, then slid the crate down the counter. "Break up five o' those in a wide pan."

Corry smiled dryly as he moved to do as he was told. "Aye aye."





Corry wasn't very good in the kitchen, and he tended to be about two seconds away at any given point from a cooking catastrophe, but Scott didn't kick him out. Just kept intervening before breakfast could become a disaster, falling into a routine he'd never actually been a real part of in this house, and finding it about as absurdly comfortable as that damned recliner.

These people were early risers, really; Aaron had retired from the SCE after the incident that nearly killed him, and had opened up a consulting firm in Damariscotta, which meant he was home far more than he used to be. He still took the occasional business trip, but his usual life now was to wake up early and go to work, then come home. Last evening, he'd done that and commandeered the vidscreen to watch the news for an hour, then he'd spent the rest of the evening in the kitchen talking to his wife over tea, the occasional sound of laughter making it back to the livingroom.

Just like Melinda, he pretty much treated Scott as though he were just another member of this household, right up to delegating the occasional chore, and right down to an unstated and silent expectation that Scotty would keep himself out of trouble. It was next to impossible not to respond instinctively to that kind of thing. But in a good way, not in a whiskey-bottle-on-the-table's-edge way.

"Did I miss a holiday?" Aaron asked, when he stepped into the kitchen and found them cleaning up from the cooking part of breakfast. Outside, the horizon over the bay was starting to just really get colorful, past the frozen windows.

Scott shook his head; Corry did the actual answering, "No, Dad. But breakfast is ready. Coffee?"

"Sure." Aaron sounded a little puzzled, but he wasn't given to all that many words and was probably waiting for an explanation as to why his son and his son's best friend had commandeered the kitchen.

Melinda wasn't too long in following. She had the rather impressive ability to always look like she was awake and ready for things; Scotty had yet to see this woman genuinely frazzled. She could convey disappointment in a glance, and she could get pretty angry, but he'd never really seen her be anything less than fairly composed about it. He had to fight down two things at that realization: The first, a frown at the idea that even her composure was going to be shot by what was going to be said soon, and the second that he really wanted to go and read Rach the kind of riot act that would involve lots of words he almost never resorted to using.

That fight got about fifty times harder when she was so grateful for breakfast, too. Wisely, he left the talking to Cor and just kept washing dishes. The ability to focus thought into action was a handy one to have. He was really more expecting that when this went down, he'd probably be kicked to the curb. Or, he wanted to expect that, even if somewhere deep down he was starting to have an unexpected faith that it would take a pretty serious crime on his part for these people to ever cast him out.

The faith turned out to be right, in the end; after the halting explanation, still Corry's talking, and the silent backing-up of the facts on Scott's part, both of them temporarily ceased to exist. And when Rachel stumbled down, looking drowsy but sober again, it didn't take her a nanosecond to realize what had happened -- she stopped in the doorway, looked at her parents, then leveled a reproachful look at the two who had ratted her out.

She got nothing but identical stony looks back.

"C'mon," Corry said, one step above a whisper, and they made themselves scarce, leaving Rachel to face the parents alone.





Hiding out down in the basement was sensible; it was quiet, out of the way, and they could do laundry. There was also a heavy bag down there to box with, but neither of them had the energy to throw any punches, even if there was plenty to be angry about. Or, there would be plenty to be angry about, but after the night and after the morning, it was hard to really feel much of anything but tired and wanting to not think much more about it.

But they couldn't have stayed there forever; after the occasionally raised voices filtering through the floorboards above died off, Cor had found his humor somewhere, even if it was rather sorry at the moment. "C'mon, let's go test some cryonics."

That didn't happen, of course; if anything, Scotty felt like a mummy in that many layers, and all of them aside for his own trousers too big on him, but he had to admit that it made sneaking out the back door and walking a lot less frigid and uncomfortable. Looked like a fisherman, too; Corry's civilian wardrobe mirrored his hometown, and even if he wasn't a native, Scott sure looked the part of Midcoast Maine.

Felt a little the part of it, too. They ended up in the cafe, sitting at a booth, both of them with their legs stretched out on the seats and an arm on the table. Bookends. Very tired bookends, even with a carafe of coffee and two cups in hand.

"I'm kinda surprised we're all still here," Corry said at length.

"Why?"

"I dunno. It's just..." Cor shook his head. "I don't know. I guess I probably wouldn't blame you if you never wanted to come back here."

Scott frowned at that, looking over, though he only echoed his own prior question. "Why?"

"Because," Corry replied, and managed to fill in all of the reasons in that one word.

"Take the bad with the good," Scotty said, and he meant it. "Lab testin' on a kitchen table or tryin' to help stupid sisters."

Cor chuckled at that, but only nodded. And they fell quiet again, but it was a comfortable kind of quiet. The kind you find when you're just too beat to really do much more than appreciate that you're still alive, still breathing, still in one piece even if you're not sure it was the same piece as it was the day before.

After awhile, Scott pushed his coffee out of the way and propped his head on his hand; not a steady enough stance to sleep, but more than secure enough to drift there awhile, and not do any thinking about what would happen in the next hour or day, or week. Just knowing that the before was safe, and the now was the same.

He was probably actually pretty close to being asleep at the table when he heard Corry sit forward, and that was enough to make him open his eyes and look over to make sure everything was all right.

There was no mistaking that attentive look; Scott followed it himself and found himself looking at a woman up at the counter. Pretty, if not a little stocky; her brown hair was pulled back severely into a tight braid, and she looked like she could probably put up a mean fight if she were so inclined. He chewed down a grin and looked back at Corry. There was a different dimension to that expression, though -- it was like the far deeper cousin to the infatuation they'd both shown towards Maggie back at the Academy. "Who is she?" he asked, keeping his voice down.

"Abigail Hanson," Corry replied, not looking away from her.

"Really?" Scotty had to look again. He remembered Corry had once pointed her out as one of Rachel's friends, years ago now, but it had been at a distance. Though, he remembered her looking a lot more fragile then than she looked now. "Followed her father?"

"Kinda. He was a marine, she's shore patrol. Her Dad still lives here, but..."

"But ye haven't gotten the nerve up to ask her out?"

Corry managed to tear his attention away from Abigail long enough to give his best friend an irritated look. "I'm working on it, I'm working on it!"

"Right." Scotty got to his feet, and was thoroughly amused at the horrified look Cor gave him. He didn't even make it two steps, though, before Corry had gotten up and dragged him back. "What? I was just gonna ask if she wanted some coffee," he said, innocently, though he didn't put up a fight. That might end with him in a headlock.

"I'll ask her out, I swear. But gimme a little time, okay?"

There was enough sincerity in the exasperated plea. After a few seconds of pretending to think about it, Scott let Corry off the hook and sat back down. But he still found it kind of funny that Corry watched her all the way until she was out the door again. There was something about the whole thing that felt like hope.

And for a moment, he was aware of the before, and the now, and in a way that was almost wonderful, something down the road that was only an impression. But a good one.

Maybe even a great one.

It didn't last long, but it lasted long enough.





The Enterprise had already been launched back in late November of the prior year, but despite the fact that he missed her being in the Fleet Yards, Scott was still able to focus pretty much on the work of the day, and the occasional dream that one day when she left, he'd be going with her. Nonetheless, there was enough to tie him to Earth that he didn't pine too hard; far less than he ever would have expected before all of this, when everything in him was focused entirely on getting out amongst the stars.

He still had no intention of living his life grounded. On the other hand, it was starting to dawn on him that no matter how far he ended up getting from Earth, some part of him would be tied back to his home world. And back to Maine.

There was no neat and clean ending to the whole mess with Rachel; a week later showed no resolutions, just that it would be an ongoing process and that life would continue regardless.

Corry showed up in the Fleet Yards at the end of that week, something that sort of shocked Scotty, who had been expecting to finish up his usual shift plus half another and then just go planetside tomorrow on his day off.

"Figured I'd keep you company on the way home," Cor said. "Well, that and things are still a little stilted in the house. But not like it was the first few nights."

"No surprise there. But I wasn't plannin' on headin' down 'til tomorrow." Scott dropped on his bunk long enough to start pulling his EV suit off, after he tossed his gloves on the table. He'd worry about making it all neat later.

"Plan's changed, then." Corry grinned, setting the bag he'd brought along on the table beside the gloves, and was awarded one of those 'what else is new?' looks. "Plus, I've switched my focus from testing the cryonic capabilities of island winter to testing the protective factors of insulation on skin cells by proper island attire."

"In English?" Scott asked, getting his suit off, and feeling a quick chill when he was back down to his usual uniform.

"Mom went and got you a proper wardrobe. She said that you're not allowed to wander around Maine without being dressed for it."

Scott shook his head, a little exasperated if not touched. "She didn't have to do that..."

Cor shrugged. "Take the good with the bad, right?"

"I'm guessin' no protests are allowed."

"Good guess."

Scotty just nodded; give and take, fair enough.

"And I picked up the sequel. Radioactive Vulcan Zombies, II," Corry paused there dramatically, then in a loud whisper added, "The Return."

Though, in that moment, Scott wondered wryly just how far that philosophy had to go.
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Old November 27 2008, 07:36 PM   #23
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: True Bearings - Bookends

Wow...a 23rd-century crackhouse. Some things never do change. Very powerful scene there.

And the interactions between Corry and Scott are just excellent as usual. Glad to see him really starting to become part of this family even to the point of being there through the worst.

And...wow. B-movies.
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Old November 27 2008, 07:44 PM   #24
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: True Bearings - Bookends

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
Wow...a 23rd-century crackhouse. Some things never do change. Very powerful scene there.
I find it impossible to believe that things like drug abuse and alcoholism would be entirely stamped out. I think that they'd be decreased quite a bit, but there are still psychological factors and social factors that you can't just stamp out; these things would exist. I think the world there is a better place in a lot of ways, but certainly not this perfect utopia where nothing bad ever happens, where people don't ever fall between the cracks (or dive there willingly, even).

And the interactions between Corry and Scott are just excellent as usual. Glad to see him really starting to become part of this family even to the point of being there through the worst.

And...wow. B-movies.
Oh, I adored the interactions in this. The light stuff, and the dark stuff. I loved that Abby got introduced, and that all of the unspoken stuff was still a real and present thing.

Thanks so much for the comment!
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Old November 28 2008, 05:54 PM   #25
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: True Bearings

Title: Lobster Wars
Rating: PG
Words: 1797
Timeline: 2246
Disclaimer: One's Paramount's. Guess which.
Notes: No lobsters were harmed in the making of this fic, even if a few didn't survive the fic itself. And yes, I did have way too much fun writing this. Originally posted here.

--

"AHHHHHH!!"

There were a lot of bad ways to wake up. He'd known a few in his day. But until now, Scotty had never, ever known that it was possible to wake up in a horror movie.

Which was why he was in the corner of the living room, back to the wall, gasping.

It was also why Corry was on his ass on the living room floor, holding a very large, very living lobster, laughing so hard that tears were running down his face.

"What the Hell was that?!" Scott asked, once he managed to get enough air back to do so. His voice was still about a half-octave higher than usual. He didn't wonder how he got from the recliner to the corner. The end table laying on its side might have had something to do with it, though, as well as the messed up floor rug.

Corry was still laughing, as though he had just discovered the greatest joke in the universe. It was a whole minute before he answered, "We agreed we should make Mom and Dad dinner for their anniversary..." He broke there to laugh again, happily oblivious to the razor blades being glared at him. After another thirty seconds or so, he said, "I figured that you'd wanna meet the main course face-to-face."

Face-to-face was an understatement. Lobsters weren't exactly nature's most attractive addition to the food chain, regardless of their taste, and waking up with one two inches from your nose was the stuff of nightmares.

"Ye're a real dirty bastard," Scotty said, not coming out of his corner. He could cook lobsters; he'd done it before. Usually, though, they were right out of the stasis storage box, right into the pot, and there wasn't a chance to get to know them on a personal level. Especially not a right-in-your-face personal level. "Didn't anyone ever tell ye not to play with yer food?!"

"Technically, I wasn't playing with my food," Corry pointed out, getting to his feet and holding the lobster in one hand, wiping his eyes with the other. He looked inordinately pleased with himself, too. "If you wanna argue semantics, I was playing with my parents' food."

"Still!" Scotty huffed out a breath, finally feeling like he wasn't about to climb up the wall in the corner. "This some kind o' Maine thing? Shovin' lobsters into someone's face to wake 'em up?"

"Nope! It's purely a crime of opportunity." Cor looked at the lobster, then, cooing at it tenderly, "You did really good, boy. I don't think I've ever seen anyone move that fast."

If it weren't for the fact that Corry was holding dinner, Scotty would have given strong consideration to showing just how fast he could move. Preferably involving fists. Or, at the very least, a good head-lock. But he didn't feel like getting any closer to that entirely spineless thing until he had no choice. And he didn't want to get too close to the lobster, either.

He didn't really have anything more he could say. It was a cowardly but elegant coup. Trying to save what was left of his dignity, he just gave Corry a wordless growl, then stalked off to go find coffee, get cleaned up and start the day in a more normal manner.

He did not, however, plan on forgetting this.





The lobsters were extremely fine specimens. There were two of them, sitting in some rather cold salt water inside of a large cooking dish, inside of an old lobster trap. Like kind of an obscene 'let's test drive this dish here' thing. They were pretty calm, really.

"Stop lookin' at me like that," Scott muttered, as he worked in the kitchen. "Everyone says ye can't feel pain. Besides, it'll be over in what, a few seconds?"

The lobsters, of course, didn't deign to respond in any way. He supposed that they were probably just looking at him because they followed movement and he was moving. But it still felt a bit accusatory. Or maybe pleading. This was much easier when you just pulled 'em out of a stasis box and they didn't even have time to actually realize what was going on before they landed in the boiling water. Let alone stare at you.

The clam chowder was already at the simmering stage, and being this close to the ocean, he'd made it all from scratch. Dessert was almost done; Scotty wasn't as handy at baking, but he could still make due, and had gone for something likewise traditional -- blueberry coffee cake, or a good attempt at it.

That really only left one thing to do. The time was ticking down.

He checked everything else again. For the fifth time. He knew he was stalling, but for some reason, the idea of tossing those two lobsters into the boiling water after spending a few hours in their company was really getting to him.

Corry was out getting the wine and coffee for this little anniversary gift. It had not taken him more than an hour to realize that Scotty was still a bit miffed about waking up that way, so he went out to get everything that wouldn't need to be done 'in house' and was apparently taking his good sweet time coming back.

"'We should make Mom and Dad dinner,' he says. 'Can you cook lobster?' he asks." Scott sighed, looking at his two victims. "Lads..."

The lobsters looked back.

"Bloody Hell."





"You phasered a lobster?!"

Scotty guiltily hid the phaser behind his back, once he got done jumping out of his skin.

Corry stood in the kitchen doorway, holding the wine bottle in one hand, and a grocery bag in the other. He looked thoroughly incredulous, too.

"I, uh... well, ye know..."

"You do realize they don't feel pain, right?" Corry still seemed to be a bit flabbergasted, though he got over it enough to set the wine and bag on the table. "They can't feel pain."

"I just stunned 'em," Scotty replied, setting the phaser on the counter and feeling a bit sheepish. "I mean, just in case."

The phaser was Corry's; it had been the one they'd had in the mold loft back in the Harland and Wolff shipyards in Belfast, that someone had stolen just because from Security. It was disabled previously, intentionally, but it had been nothing for Scott to fix it. It had just enough juice in it to stun a pair of lobsters prior to throwing them in the pot. He wasn't sure he could have done it if he hadn't gone that route.

Now, his unwitting companions were quite dead and quite red, and Cor was looking somewhat amused. "I'm gonna take you lobster fishing someday. Really lobster fishing, on a commercial boat."

"Aye, well, ye're the one who wanted me to have a face-to-face, antenna-to-eyebrow meetin' with one, so..."

"I've only got myself to blame?" Corry chuckled, going over to sniff at the clam chowder on the stove and then finding himself shoved back before he could purloin any. "I guess it's okay, if it saves your conscience."

"So nice ye agree, there." It was a lot easier to toss them in after he'd phasered 'em, but even then it was a very solemn moment.

Cor shook his head, smiling a bit. "In fact, I think I'd probably be shocked if you'd just gleefully thrown them in there. C'mon, Mom and Dad are gonna be home any minute now, so we better finish this up."





There was some glee at throwing lobsters in the immediate future, though. Of course, Scotty did not tell Corry that. Once Aaron and Melinda got back from their trip to Florida via Boston, they'd had a Hell of a fine dinner, and after they retired upstairs to bed, Corry decided to finish off what was left of the white wine that had gone with said dinner.

There was over half a bottle there, and Scott silently had no problem encouraging Cor to kill the rest of it. In fact, he was quite content drinking tea and pouring the glasses for his best friend, who didn't seem to really think twice that he was getting a bit tipsy, where Scotty was staying utterly sober.

White wine wasn't the single best thing to create a bad hangover, but it served its intended purpose. After the bottle was gone, Corry half-stumbled off to bed, and Scotty slipped out of the house like a bandit.

It was a long night to spend around South Bristol, especially since it was still winter, but he wanted to be at the co-op first thing when it opened. Sure, he'd have to try to catch up on his sleep later, but it was worth the sacrifice. Extremely worth it. It was even worth the insane amount of credits he had to spend in order to make this purchase in the off season.

He also called the cab from Augusta from the harbor master's office, timing it impeccably.

When he tapped lightly on the door, knowing the family schedule well enough to know Melinda would hear him and answer it, he was absolutely at the top of his game.

She opened the door, then frowned. "Were you out all night?"

"Aye, ma'am," he replied, and hoped that she wouldn't give him too much trouble. She had been less than happy with her son when he'd bragged about his unorthodox wakeup call yesterday, so it was a toss-up how she'd react to this.

She eyed him, then eyed what he was carrying. "Do I want to know what you're about to do with those canners?"

Scotty shook his head, slowly. "No, ma'am. I'm certain ye don't."

There was a long moment where she obviously debated on what the right course of action would be. And then she stepped out of the way, giving him a very serious warning, "No one better get hurt, Scotty."

"No, ma'am. That's why I left the bands on," he said, just as seriously.




It was a foregone conclusion that Corry was a bit hungover, just listening through the bathroom door at his zombie-like groan. The shower was running, and Scott was glad that he'd timed this as well as he had -- his cab was waiting right outside so he could beat a retreat to Augusta, post haste, and by the time Cor got over what was about to happen to him, it'd be too late for any physical violence to come from it. At least, not unless Corry decided to chase Scotty all the way back into orbit.

Though, when this went down, Scotty wouldn't have been too surprised if that was exactly what ended up happening.

He crept into the bathroom, looking down fondly at the ten little, barely legal-sized lobsters in the box he was carrying. "Do me proud," he thought, not daring to say it outloud.

And then, without a pause, he upended the box over the top of the shower curtain, dropped it, turned and ran like Hell just as the first shrieks started.
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Old November 28 2008, 06:09 PM   #26
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: True Bearings

Oh, man...I about fell over laughing at several points in this story!

"But he didn't feel like getting any closer to that entirely spineless thing until he had no choice. And he didn't want to get too close to the lobster, either."

AAAHAHAHAHAA!

And even better--stunning the lobster! I admit, I'd have qualms about just throwing them into the pot, too!

But that last bit...priceless!
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Old November 28 2008, 06:48 PM   #27
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: True Bearings

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
Oh, man...I about fell over laughing at several points in this story!

"But he didn't feel like getting any closer to that entirely spineless thing until he had no choice. And he didn't want to get too close to the lobster, either."

AAAHAHAHAHAA!

And even better--stunning the lobster! I admit, I'd have qualms about just throwing them into the pot, too!

But that last bit...priceless!
Thanks! I had way too much fun writing this one. In fact, the entire story started in my head when I could hear Corry asking, in shock, "You phrasered a lobster?!" From there, it was all downhill.
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Old November 29 2008, 07:06 PM   #28
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Arc of the Wolf: True Bearings - Mothers and Sons

Title: Mothers and Sons
Rating: G
Words: 1679
Timeline: 2246
Disclaimer: Paramount's, on some part; mine on the rest.
Notes: A look at mothers, sons, brothers... and the heartbreak that goes with someone going off into space. Takes place at the beginning of the Four Years War. (If anyone decides to tell me that's not when that war happened... prove it. No one can agree on when, so this made sense to me.) Originally posted here.

--

They always said that he favored his mother. And as he watched her from the doorway of the kitchen, Scott had to kind of agree with it. He'd never really drawn any lines like that before; didn't often spend time asking himself where he got what and from whom, but as he watched her move around the kitchen, he could see a few elements of himself.

Maybe, though, what bothered him was that he didn't see as many as he expected.

They shared coloring; black-haired, brown-eyed, somewhere distantly Irish colors. And in the kitchen, she moved with the same sure-footed confidence that he did in an engine room. Focused and indistractable. But where he was almost always aware of where other people were in relation to himself, she didn't see him there.

Fidgeting briefly, he spoke up. "Mum?"

She didn't startle; another thing they didn't share. But turned and beamed him a smile that was a more feminine mirror of his own, dusting her hands off on her apron. "Aye now, an' who's that handsome lad standin' in the door?"

Despite himself, he chuckled at that, casting a joking look around. "I don't know, there's only me. Must be seein' things."

The corners of her eyes crinkled and she tipped her head to the side, looking as much confused by the humor as she was measuring him; another quiet mirror. "I'm glad ye showed up. I'm just in th' middle o' makin' up the dishes fer that charity drive in town, but if ye've got some time, we can catch up when I'm done. Yer sister an' father'll be home in an hour. I dinna know what their plans are, though."

He shook his head. "I don't," he said, and in that split second was aware of the 'don't', and consequently the 'can't' and 'won't' and all of the rest that had become a natural part of his own voice. "Time o' departure's in an hour; I have to report in about a half."

"Oh." She wasn't disappointed. She just smiled again, and it was a warm look. "Well, I'm glad I got t' lay eyes on ye then. Charlie an' Edward'll not believe how much ye've grown."

The naming dynamics of this family were peculiar at best. Most people automatically assumed that Caitlyn Scott was her married name; it wasn't, it was her maiden name, which she kept simply because she was established under it when she and his father married. His father was the Stuart, and his sister. He'd never figured out why his own name was drawn from her side of the family exclusively, just like his coloring. Montgomery for his grandfather, Edward for her oldest brother, and then the Scott family name.

And for reasons that he didn't often think of, he was glad of that.

"Probably not," he said, snapping himself back to the moment at hand. "I don't think I've seen 'em for..." He wasn't sure how long. "A year?"

"Aye, well, if anyone'd understand, it'd be those two brick-heads." His mother turned back to her cooking, with a fond and distant smile. "Ye couldna pin them down. Always off gettin' into trouble. I couldna keep up with 'em."

Even though he didn't get why, that struck something inside of him. He loved his uncles, despite the fact he didn't know them very well, despite the fact that they were pranksters and tricksters and less-than-responsible for their ages. But when they were together, being entirely bad influences on each other, it was obvious that they'd follow each other into Hell or back, and that for all their surface bluster, they took their role as brothers seriously.

And they loved their little sister. But she was outside of that fraternal tie.

He absently stepped over to the counter and took his position as her souse chef, even if he had to leave soon and get to the transport station. The Denevan run. He'd been let off corrective action early when war broke out with the Klingons; Starfleet scrambled for qualified people and pulled them off of the cargo vessels and the science missions, leaving spaces to be filled by ensigns. Which he would probably be until he was fifty, given his record, but at least now he'd be in space.

He felt selfish.

He'd only been back to Aberdeen every few months, and then only briefly, ever since he'd been assigned to Lunar and then later the San Francisco Yards. By contrast, knowing he was on borrowed time when war broke out, he had spent as much time as he could in South Bristol, with that family that still scared him a little, that he would give anything or do anything for.

Felt a little like he'd failed utterly to be the good son he was supposed to be.

"Ye'll be careful out there, ye hear?" his mother said, and he nodded dutifully. He would be. He doubted that there would be much trouble, but he would be.

Melinda Corrigan had said nearly the same thing, and had held onto him so hard that it was almost impossible to breathe, and there were few things that... that hurt quite like seeing someone who had no reason whatsoever to give a damn about you with tears in their eyes. It was the first time that he'd returned that affection; held on back, and felt messed up and off-balanced. Nevermind the mess that Cor had been. Aaron, former engineer himself, had taken it the best -- a handshake, and a quiet nod of encouragement, but even that meant something.

He never doubted that his own mother loved him. When he was a wee thing, she'd sing him lullabies; when he got a little older, some of the happiest memories he had of his childhood were her teaching him how to cook. Not so much because he liked it at the time, but because he was there with her, and it was just them and this shared talent. And he was fine with that, because that was how things were -- he'd never known anything different. He was only rarely home in his teenage years, and that was fine too.

That was the way things were.

He would be careful because he knew his mother loved him. But also because he knew, in a way that made him feel half-terrified, that across the ocean in a little town in Midcoast Maine, there were people who would miss him terribly while he was gone.

"Mum," he said, and he was surprised at the crack in his voice.

"Aye?" she asked, and again gave him that look like she didn't quite understand; the look that mirrored his, the lack of understanding that no longer did.

He got an arm around her, hard, and kissed her on the cheek. "Thanks for teachin' me how to cook."






She watched her son, who stared off across the harbor, and knew that it wasn't the water that he was actually looking at, but something far beyond it. After getting back from Augusta, Andy had immediately excused himself, a quiet mumble, and hadn't been back for hours. Finally she went out looking and found him on the swing bridge.

Andy had always worn his heart on his sleeve; it was impossible not to know what was going on inside of him, because it radiated. He'd been a happy child, and a happy teenager, though a bit of a slacker in school. He made friends quickly, easily, and without much effort.

Now, at twenty-five, he still wore his heart on his sleeve and his heartache was written all over him.

She had not expected to end up with another child, but there was no way she could classify Scotty as anything else. Initially, she'd liked him just because he was a good-natured, helpful kid. Then, when he came back with Andy after the court-martial, standing at her son's side while Andy explained what had happened, she'd tried to understand how they could have gotten themselves into so much trouble.

And for a year or so, she'd eyed this young man whenever he came around, rare as it was, unwilling as he was. Over that time, she tried to understand him, to figure out where exactly he fit into her son's life, and thereby the rest of theirs. But it was when he showed up to see if they had anything to send to their son, so far away, that she realized that he was adrift and had no place to retreat to, no safe harbor.

In that moment, she decided to try to give him one.

Looking at Andy on the bridge, she was more than glad she had. Not because Andy was bleeding at the heart, but because the same depth of sorrow he felt now was just another part of the patience and warmth and compassion that he'd found inside of himself when he'd fought tooth and nail to make a friend who wasn't easily made, and fought just as hard to keep that friend.

It was the same thing inside of him that prompted him to watch over Rachel now, far better than he had when they were children; it was the same thing that made him reach out to people who he might not have reached out to before. And even in his heartache now, Melinda was deeply proud of her son.

Just as much as she knew she would miss his brother, from having to pick his boots up from where he invariably left them in someone's walking path, to the way he'd warmed up to being around enough that he no longer looked utterly shocked by being hugged hello or goodbye.

She walked down the planks to stand next to Andy, and he gave her a small smile before looking back off. But it was short-lived, and she knew it was for her sake.

"There's a war on, Mom," he said, and she could hear the worry and plaintive edge in his voice. He paused, then continued in a tone that sounded grief to its depths. "How can I protect him while I'm here?"

Her own tears started again. For her son, for his brother, for herself. Just as much, though, she was grateful for them.

"You already do."
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Old November 30 2008, 04:50 AM   #29
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: True Bearings - Mothers and Sons

Wow...Corry went to war because Scotty was? That's serious dedication. VERY moving stuff!!
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Old November 30 2008, 05:32 AM   #30
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: True Bearings - Mothers and Sons

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
Wow...Corry went to war because Scotty was? That's serious dedication. VERY moving stuff!!
No, he didn't. Corry stayed on Earth, Scott went onto the Denevan Run. Much to Cor's worry. Thanks for the comment!
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