Shieldbrothers: The Bonding

BY : Lursa_and_BeTor
Category: 1 through F > Andromeda
Dragon prints: 7271
Disclaimer: I do not own Andromeda, nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Chapter Three: Questions & Answers


Tyr stands, his back to the room as haresares unseeing at the star field projected on to the wall. He hears Dylan walk into the conference room, but he does not react.

"Anything you want to tell me before the others get here, Tyr?"

"I'm not sure what you want to hear, Captain." Tyr slowly turns to face Dylan, uncertain how he wants to play this. He keeps his expression tranquil and unmoved. How much has Dylan deduced? What does Dylan believe? What is Mariyam likely to say in private? Will she stick to the bedtime story that she had given her children?

"How about the truth?" There is a sharp note in Dylan's voice.

"There are many different versions, Dylan." Tyr shrugs with assumed indifference. And if Dylan will get around to saying a little more, then he will have a head start on what version the Captain is most likely to believe and how best to lead Dylar aar away from the things that the man had no right to know.

Dylan smiles ruefully. "I'll settle for any one of those right about now."

Wallace and Mariyam walk into the room. They pause by the doorway, looking from Dylan to Tyr. Tyr ignores the couple, staring serenely back at Dylan, knowing how much it annoys the human when he steals the Captain’s favorite tactic of hiding behind a shield of blandness.

Dylan sighs and turns to greet the couple. "Are your children settled?"

"As well as they can be. Today has been an eventful one." Mariyam smiles warmly up at him. Mmmm. Cap Captain is so tall. She's always favored big, tall men. That navy sweater is really most attractive. Nice chest muscles on the good Captain as well.

"It has, my love." Wallace squeezes her arm gently. He smiles at Dylan. "Captain Hunt, I'd like to thank you again for the rescue of my people. We are in your debt."

"You are lucky we were in the area." Dylan replies as he walks over to his oval conference table. He runs a hand over the frosted glass.

"Indeed." Tyr murmurs as he watches the human couple.

Mariyam steps closer to Wallace. {He suspects!}

{He doesn’t. Just watch what you say.} Wallace reassures his wife. Nietzscheans were born suspicious. Mariyam sd knd know that by now.

{I won’t say anything.}

{I know. Be calm. You will be fine.}

Mariyam slants a lingering glance at Tyr. He's older. More mature looking, but still wickedly handsome. She would have much preferred it if Tyr had gotten soft or lost his hair. {He looks the same. It’s as if he hasn’t aged a day.}

{Is that love talking, my Mariyam?} Wallace frowns as he looks at his wife. She sounds almost admiring. He is sharply aware of his own smallness and portliness compared to Tyr.

{Just an observation.} Mariyam squeezes her husband's arm in reassurance. She smiles thinly at her former lover. "Hello, Tyr."

"Mariyam." Tyr responds dryly.

"So you admit you know her?" Dylan trieseasieasing tone and winsome smile.

"I admit nothing." Tyr wraps the cloak of blandness around himself again, taking pleasure in Dylan's frustration.

Dylan's smile flattens out as his lips tighten with impatience. "Yet she obviously knows you. What are you trying to hide?"

"Nothing."

"I imagine you are filled with questions, Captain Hunt." Mariyam turns an admiring smile on Dylan.

"Yes. I am."

"We will attempt to answer what we can." Wallace St. Clair promises as he adjusts his glasses.

"Please, be seated." Dylan waves toward his conference table and smiles at the couple. "Make yourselves comfortable."

Tyr remains standing by the window, watching as Dylan sits and clasps his hands together on the frosted glass tabletop. Dylan keeps his eyes on his folded hands for a long moment while the guests settled in their seats before raising his gaze to the couple. Dylan attempts guile, Tyr thinks with a flicker of amusement. Tyr glances at Mariyam covertly noting the changes in her since he last saw her. What will Hunt want to know? Will he believe what I tell him? And do I care if he does? Yes, I must have his trust…for now. Will Mariyam cooperate? He glances at her. A high probability that she will. She will want her children to continue to believe in that ridiculous bedtime story. Whatever else she might be, he does noubtoubt that she loves her children. The way all her children had responded to her proved that.

"Why did you not try to find your husband…Mrs. Anasazi…Mrs. St. Clair or Mari…What shall I call you?" Dylan asks. He smiles depreciatingly at his little error. His pale eyes twinkle.

Tyr almost snorts. Oh, the fake charm intended to lure its victim into ill-considered confidences. Dylan and Mariyam are well matched in that department.

"Mariyam will suffice. As to why I did not search for him…well, the Drago-Kasov told me he was dead." Mariyam keeps her voice calm and neutral as if she is talking about events that do not affect her. Her dark eyes are bold and mocking on Tyr. "They brought me his helix and I knew that only death would separate him from it."

Tyr looks at her sharply. Well…well…she became a more fluent liar since he left. Which led the interesting question of why she is lying now? The children? Probably. But that does not mean that she might not have additional motives. He will remain silent until he sees where she is going and if it might prove useful to him.

Dylan turns expectantly to Tyr. "Something you'd like to add, Tyr?"

Tyr allows a long moment to pass as if he is thoughtfully and seriously considering the question; just long enough for Dylan to start looking hopeful of a prospect of satisfying his curiosity before responding. "No."

"The monosyllabic answers grow tiresome Anasazi! You don’t seem overjoyed at this reunion with your long, lost wife and family. Why is that, I wonder? I would have thought you would have been overjoyed at the prospect of launching Kodiak pride. That is all you talk about." Dylan leans back in his chair, watching Tyr closely.

Hmmm. Very well, he will follow Mariyam's lead for the moment. Give the woman some rope and see what she makes with it. Tyr shrugs. "I am…stunned. For all this time I believed her to be dead."

"Why have you never mentioned your wife and children?"

Tyr drops his eyes then looks at Mariyam with some genuine regret. If he had known that she was pregnant by him, he would not have abandoned her despite his revulsion at discovering her peculiarities or the dangers she posed to his plans. A casual relationship could be abandoned as needed, but never a wife or a child without seeing to their security and safety first. He would have claimed reponsibility for his children and seen her safely situated although he would never willingly touch her again. He does indeed regret missing his sons' birth and growing up.

"Well?" Dylan demands.

Tyr's lips curl slightly in amusement. Dylan hates secrets. He cannot fault that the human for that. He also likes to know the secrets of others, but he had much more cunning in extracting them. Now, what story will play best to Dylan? Poor Dylan, who broods over his long lost fiancée like one of those nauseatingly romantic poets spawned like fleas by the Commonwealth. Ah, yes. Tyr sighs sorrowfully. "The memories were too…raw."

{He is unbelievable! Even now he plays the martyr.} Wallace snorts and shakes his head at Tyr’s deep, mournful voice. Really the man was as fine an actor as ever stood on a stage, but as long as Tyr plays the part that Mariyam and the children need, Wallace would do his best to control his stomach. He glances at his wife.

{Wallace…} Mariyam warns as she rests her hand on the soft velvet of his navy jacket. Her finger traces the gold braid on his sleeve. Wallace pats her hand.

"I see. Mariyam, you and your children were not harmed, I take it?" Dylan asks.

"No, Wallace helped a lot with that. He was new to our settlement. He comforted me on the loss of my husband…"

"I'm sure he did." Tyr’s voice is dry. His amber eyes glint with amusement behind the veil of his braids.

Wallace glares at Tyr. {Arrogant bastard!}

{Don’t Wallace.} Mariyam tightens her hand on Wallace’s sleeve. She is glad that Tyr seems willing to play along. She has to think of her sons. As much as she scorns Tyr, her sons need him. Her eldest boys were indisputably Nietzscheans and needed to know their culture. She had no illusions. As soon as they were grown, Bell and Chi would seek out other Nietzscheans. Her boys were not accepted in the Colony and were only grudgingly tolerated because of the respect in which the people held her line.

{How DARE he!} Wallace demands, shoving back his chair and standing. "What are you implying, Anasazi!?"

Tyr shakes his head and turns his back on Wallace, wondering if the man knows enough of Nietzscheans culture to recognize that this gesture could be a mark of trust or a scornful dare to attack, implying that one was not even worthy enough a foe to face.

"You're good at turning your back aren't you? That's exactly what you did sixteen years ago. If you had taken your duties as husband seriously all this would not have…." Wallace is almost panting with rage.

"Dear, don't make this hard for me too." Mariyam leans close to Wallace.

"I'm sorry, Mari. It’s just that…" Wallace subsides back into his chair as Mariyam strokes his arm soothingly.

"I know." She reassures him before turning back to the Captain who is watching all of them so closely. She smiles at him. "Captain Hunt, in Tyr’s defense…he was not aware of my pregnancy. I was going to tell him the day our settlement was attacked. He was lost to me and never knew I was carrying his children. Wallace befriended me and was by my side at their birth. He also helped me hide them so they would come to no harm. I knew if another Pride found out about the children that they…we…would be killed. I kept their Nietzscheaness a secret."

Dylan shakes his head. His smile is warm and admiring. "How did you do that?!"

"Simple…I kept their forearms covered. We actually bound the bone blades so they were less noticeable."

"What!" Tyr is shocked out of his assumed indifference. No Nietzschean would dream of doing such a thing except as torture! Heps aps around to face Mariyam. "Do you have any idea the amount of excruciating pain you caused them? How could you do that?"

"Is that concern I hear in your voice, Anasazi?" Wallace smirks. His voice drips sarcasm. "Is that concern for the wife you left behind? Concern for the misery you caused? Too little. Too late."

"Our options were limited, Tyr. I did what I had to do to ensure their survival. You, of all people, should understand that," Mariyam's voice is cool.

"I understand how painful the procedure is you talk about. I think it's unbearable that you essentially tortured your own sons."

"Careful Anasazi. That slope of moral high ground you stand on is pretty slippery. Would you have rather the boys hunted down and slaughtered?" Wallace taunts. "Or were you counting on that, so you would not have to face the living fact of your half-Nietzschean offspring?"

"You have no right to judge me! I had no idea I was a father!" Tyr snarls. His muscle bunch with aggression. He is not a bad father. That is an unendurable insult. Nietzscheans carefully trained, taught, and protected their young.

"Oh, I think I have every right. I have earned that right by caring for your sons for the past sixteen years! I've earned it by helping this wonderful woman, who you cast aside so callously, rebuild her life! I have more than earned the right to jud…"

"Wallace, please!" Mariyam snaps. If her hot-tempered husband keeps going like this, she thinks, glancing at Tyr’s suddenly loose stance…Oh, the Divine…Wallace had never seen that sudden deadly ease that came right before an attack. Wallace is endangering himself, the Colony and the future of her eldest sons with his uncontrolled anger. "Wallace!"

Wallace pales as he receives the graphic image that Mariyam sends him of Tyr's speed and fierceness as the Nietzschean moved through fighting exercises. He settles back in his chair, muttering resentfully, "He has no right to speak to either of us in this manner. Hypocrite…"

"Let it go, Wallace." Mariyam murmurs. Sometimes she wishes that all men would just vanish. Wallace is on the verge of saying too much and the pale-eyed Captain is sitting there absorbing every word. "Captain Hunt, Wallace also helped the boys learn to control their feelings of displacement and their aggression."

"I imagine that was a challenge." Dylan smiles encouragingly.

"Ahhhh. Yes." Wallace chuckles weakly. "It had it's moments."

"We were not sold into slavery and…the Drago-Kasov only remained in the area for a short time. Eventually they…left…our world and peace returned to Valerus Prime," Mariyam smiles brightly.

"So you eventually married again?" Dylan asks.

"Actually…"

"Mariyam and I grew closer. I was always aware of her beauty as well as her intelligence and her strength. More and more I became aware that she is as important to me and as necessary as the air, the earth. She also presented me with a gift I had once believed I’d never have. Children…Freya and Freyr…I am proud to be her mate and father to her children. I would move the heavens to ensure her happiness and well-being." Wallace takes her hand and kisses her palm. He looks pointedly at Tyr. "I will kill anyone who causes her, or our children, pain."

"Are you threatening me?" Tyr asks in disbelief. The man has flaunted every weakness that he had in this one meeting. Tyr shakes his head at such amazingly foolish behavior. Wallace's every move reveals a lack of coordination and muscle. The last few minutes had revealed a temper out of control. It will take no effort at all to have the man in a rage, blind to all strategy. Hmmm…That might be a useful angle to play. There is something else going on with these Colonists. He can almost scent it.

"Not very superior, are you if you need to ask the question with so obvious an answer." Wallace smirks.

Tyr growls menacingly under his breath for the pleasure of seeing Wallace flinch back.

"It will take more than your bark to frighten me, you Nietzschean dog!"

"Wallace!" Mariyam exclaims with exasperation.

"I can bite you if you like!" Tyr growls again. Making Wallace rage is so easy that there is almost no sport to it. Oh, well, as Dylan likes mediating so much, he might as well make the Captain feel useful.

"Gentlemen, please!" Dylan stands up.

Ah, right on cue. Tyr leans back against the wall and ostensibly stares at the ceiling. He can hear Wallace panting with anger and frustration.

"Captain Hunt…Wallace has been a loving mate and a patient father. That patience has been strained of late. As you noticed earlier…the children have become more…assertive," Mariyam murmurs, smiling sweetly at Hunt.

"Nietzschean teenagers, huh?" Dylan chuckles. "My ship may never be the same."

"Indeed." Wallace nods his face serious.

TBC


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