Shieldbrothers: The Bonding

BY : Lursa_and_BeTor
Category: 1 through F > Andromeda
Dragon prints: 7261
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 Seven: My Brothers' Keeper


Freya St. Clair sits on the floor at the foot of her bed and sighs. If only she could sleep but she feels so awful....so crushed and hopeless...so despairing yet a deep anger glitters through the smothering sense of sadness. Why is she feeling this way? Or is it her? Is she picking up someone else's emotions? Her teachers had warned her that she might have problems seperating her emotions from other people's if she was tired. Are these her feelings? Freya turns her senses inward, listening to herself...no. She's worried about her brothers. Those emotions are hers, but the others...Freya shakes her head. Poor Bell and Chi. Now that she's concentrating on them, she can feel thier emotions even more clearly. Her poor brothers' emotions are twisted all askew because of their…sperm donor…she cannot use the term 'father'. The man has no decency…no compassion what so ever, then he's a Nietzschean. She sniffs disdainfully. He's only what she'd expect from one of them. Her brothers are so much better than that...that creature. It must be like discovering your father was a Magog. Poor, poor Chi and Bell. Well, maybe this encounter with a Nietzschean will make her brothers appreciate the place that they had on the Colony.

Freyr appears in the doorway, leaning against the frame. In the privacy of the family quarters, he's discarded the formality of his velvet jacket for a loose linen shirt. "Can't sleep?"

Freya tightens the sash on her plush, pink robe. She toys restlessly with the ends of the long sash. "No. Too much excitement."

"Yes." He glances around her room. "I expected Bell and Chi to be here pacing about."

Freya frowns and extends her senses, narrowing her focus more closely on her older brothers. She can sense other things now through the jumble of emotion -- a sense of aching muscles and tiredness. "They're doing something physical. I can feel their exhaustion…and other stuff."

"I'll go talk to them."

"No. Come in." Her brother doesn't need to talk to Bell and Chi in his present temper. He's always blaming poor Bell and Chi for their primative emotions and lack of control, but her older brothers were...well, limited. Freyr needed to be more patient and make allowances for Chi and Bell's limitations. She is never going to sleep surrounded by her brothers' seething emotions. Freya bites back a sigh at she looks at Freyr. She pats a place on the floor next to her. "Sit."

"This has been a horrible day." Freyr drops, to sit with cross-legs. "I can hardly make sense of any of it. Suddenly meeting Tyr Anasazi was…awkward."

"I know. We're confused, but think how Bell and Chi feel." Freya does sigh this time as she pats her brother's hand. "They're hurt, confused, angry…but under all that is fear. They are so afraid they'll be rejected."

"Well, he did reject them!" Freyr looks searchingly at his sister. "Freya…do you believe our mother was married to him? He's an oaf! But he's dangerous too…could you feel it?"

She shakes her head. "No. I almost shut down from so much coming in."

"I hate him!" Freyr snaps then softens, muting his anger as Freya winces and holds up a cautioning hand. "Sorry. I should shield better than I am. I'm tired…we all are."

Freya leans back against the bed and closes her eyes. "Everything will be better soon."

"I hope so. I just want to go home."

"Me too," Freya says wistfully as she thinks of her room at home. She wants to wake with the dawn sun on her face not with a ship's artifical light.

"Try to get some sleep. I'm going to walk around for a whil,e then I think I'll turn in myself."

"Thanks for checking on me." Freya leans over and kisses her brother's cheek. She adds as he stands up, "And go easy on them when you find them."

Freyr pauses, staring down at her. What'd given his intentions away? "What makes you think I'm looking for them?"

"You don't usually check on me to tuck me in."

"Ah…yeah, that's true. Well, goodnight, Freya."

"Goodnight."

Freyr walks out of their quarters and looks up and down the corridor. Where are his wayward brothers? He picks a direction at random. Bell and Chi will probably practically live in the corridors and public rooms of the ship until they succeed in running into their father. His brothers were nothing if not persistent and stubborn. Freyr strolls along leisurely trying to think where they could be. He passes a wall console and the image of Andromeda flickers to life beside him.

Andromeda asks, "Do you require assistance?"

"No!" Freyr jumps, startled by the hologram's sudden appearance. He stares back at the slim dark woman. He might not be comfortable with such technological conveniences, but there is no reason why he should not take advantage of them. "Wait! Where are my brothers?"

The hologram folds her arms over her red jacket. "Bellerophon and Chimaera Anasazi are currently jogging on deck seventeen. Wait. They are now on deck sixteen rapidly approaching deck fifteen."

"They're racing." Freyr shakes his head. That figures. His brothers were always doing something physical. "How long have they been at it?"

"Forty-five minutes, six seconds."

"Thank you."

"Acknowledged." The hologram vanishes.

Freyr hurries toward one of the lifts to deck fourteen. The doors hiss open just as his brothers dash past. They slow, turning eagerly to to see who it is. Freyr watches as disappointment flickers over their faces.

"Come to check on us, little brother?" Bellerophon asks, as he pulls up the tail of his loose green shirt to wipe the sweat from his face.

"I was…concerned." Freyr looks closely at his brothers. They appear exhausted. They had probably been running longer than they usually did as an excuse to stay in the corridors. Probably they hoped to impress their father as well with how long they had been running if they should come across him.

"Care to join us as we cool down?" Chimaera tosses his long hair back.

"I guess I could jog along for a while," Freyr agrees reluctantly. Why did his brothers have to have such a ridiculous passion for running? He slips into place between his two older brothers as they set off down the corridor. "So how are you? Have you seen him?"

Bell glances at him and then away. "No. We've been looking…but he's avoiding us."

"Have you talked to Mother?"

"No. I'm not ready to talk to her." Chimaera looks a little embarrassed as his bone blades snap out, shredding the linen sleeves of his black shirt. He glances down at the ragged sleeves with dismay. "She lied to us. For all those years she let us think he was dead."

"She said she didn't know, Chi. Maybe she didn't." Bellerophon glances at his twin and looks away, uneasy with the doubt and pain in his brother's eyes.

Chimaera growls. "Why won't he talk to us?!"

Freyr sighs. He loves his brothers, but they can take care of themselves. Freya is the one who should be looked after and since Bell and Chi…are so limited, they don't have a clue about what they are doing to Freya right now. He has to calm these two if his sister is ever going to get any sleep tonight. "It's a shock to him too."

"That doesn't make it okay, little brother." Bell scowls at his panting half-brother. He's tempted to speed up in stead of slowing down. Buy why should he expect Freyr to understand? Freyr would always had a secure place at the colony. Freyr whose father was always at his back. Freyr who had no idea how lucky he was and took it all for granted.

"I know. But…think…think about it." Freyr puffs as they slow to a brisk walk. "He did not know about you and suddenly there you both are…fully grown. He has to be struggling too."

Chimera fingers the dangling tatters of his ripped sleeve. He trades a look with his brother over Freyr's head. Did Freyr think that he could reason thier emotions away? "You could be right."

"We'll see what tomorrow holds before we take action," Bell adds in a determined voice.

"Action?" Freyr looks nervously from Bell to Chi. "What are you talking about?"

"Nothing that needs concern you, or our sister." Chi yanks his shirt off and wads it up.

Freyr stares, wide-eyed. Their father's bad influence is already showing. Mariyam had taught them to never expose their bone blades in public. He didn't even like seeing the bone blades in the privacy of their home. "Don't forget what you do, Freya will feel. Please think about that before you do anything foolish…again."

"You sound like Wallace with your lecturing." Bellerophon grins, knowing how Freyr hated being compared to his father. Freyr might not look anything like Wallace, but he did have some of Wallace's mannerisms however much Freyr might deny it.

Chimaera smirks. "Yeah, you even look like him when you screw your face up like that."

"I do not!" Freyr stiffens in outrage. "I don't look like him. I'm not acting like him either."

"Yeah, you are." Bell's dark brown eyes gleam with mischief. "You've got that righteous indignation of his down pat."

"Do not!"

Chi reaches over and quickly ruffles Freyr's hair. "Oh, come on, little brother. Let's go to bed. Tomorrow we'll see if we can get Tyr Anasazi to agree to meet with us."

"Do you need me there?" Freyr asks.

"No. But thanks." Chi shakes his head firmly. "This is something Bellerophon and I need to do alone."


***

Harper leans his elbows on the mess counter, watching Tyr saute diced vegetables to add to thier omelet for breakfast. He smiles, enjoying the silent companionship. He doesn't feel the need to fill the silence with the words that he usually hides behind. He just hopes that none of the other crew decides to drop in. He rather likes having Tyr cook just for him. It makes him feel valued and cared for. He isn't really used to someone doing something for him, solely to please him. Harper sighs softly as he hears the door swish open. So much for a quiet moment of paradise before he and Tyr go on duty. He doesn't mind too much if Becka or Trance joins them. He looks around with a friendly grin and his eyes widen as he sees Tyr's kids edging uncertainly into the room. Well, he'd have to get acquainted with Tyr's kids some time, might as well be this morning. "Hey guys! What's shakin' this morning?"

"Good morning, Harper." Chimaera turns large, solemn eyes on him and then looks shyly at Tyr. "Good morning, fath…Tyr."

"Good morning, Chimaera." Tyr glances briefly up from the saute pan. "Good morning, Bellerophon. I trust you both slept well."

Huh. Harper sits back to watch with interest.

"We did fa…Tyr…sir." Bellerophon's eager gaze follows Tyr's every move.

Tyr pours the colorful heap of vegetables out to drain to drain. He sets the saute pan aside and walks around the counter to stand in front of his nervous sons. He raises his arm, giving first one son, then the other a Nietzschean greeting. "Forgive my lapse on yesterday. I was…rude…not to offer the traditional greeting."

The brothers exchange bright smiles and return the greeting. "Of course…"

Tyr reaches out and lightly touches Bellerophon's cheek, then Chimeara's. "You may address me as 'Sir' until such time as we are all comfortable with the appellation 'Father', yes?"

"Yes. Sir."

Tyr nods and walks back around the counter to begin cracking eggs. Bellerophon and Chimera look uncertainly at teach other and then with longing at Tyr.

Harper shakes his head pityingly. Really, it's almost painful to see how badly the kids want to stay with thier father. He waves a hand at the boys. "Guys. Pull up a stool. We're getting ready for breakfast. Or, rather Tyr is preparing breakfast…I'm just watching."

"And staying out of my way." Tyr slants a teasing look over his shoulder. A faint smile edges his full lips.

"Yep, that's right. When the big guy is working with sharp utensils I find it best to stay well out of range." Harper's grin fades as the boys take seats on either side of him. Not exactly what he had in mind, but now he's stuck with it. Starting the day surrounded by Nietzscheans isn't an easy thing for a man with his past. "By the way, how much longer before we get to taste the piece de resistance?"

Tyr glances at his sons and cracks more eggs into his bowl. "Not long."

"Great. You know I need my daily serving of protein before I start to work." Harper takes a sip of fresh squeezed orange juice. Nice. He could get used to having his very own personal chef.

"You passed on your protein shake earlier…" Tyr's tone is bland, but his amber eyes glint with evil amusement as he glances over his shoulder.

Harper freezes, feeling a rush of red burn up his cheeks. Damn! He can't believe Tyr had said thightight in front of the kids. All right so it wasn't but a few minutes ago that he had been sitting on that very kitchen counter with his hands full of Tyr while Tyr's hot mouth was all over his dataport. He glowers at Tyr's wide back.

Tyr laughs and turns back to his cooking. "Drink some of your juice, Little Professor."

Harper raises his glass again. Tyr is so going to pay for that comment.

"That protein shake sounds good. We would like one of those, please." Chimaera announces after a whispered consultation with his brother.

Harper almost chokes on the juice. He can see Tyr's wide shoulders quivering with supressed amusement. Yeah, this definately calls for payback. "I think, you guys, might want to wait for the omelet. It's much tastier."

Harper shifts uneasily on his stool as the kids stare at him. What now? What? Just don't start the sniffing thing. It's way too early in the morning for the sniffing thing. The kids trade a long look with each other and stare some more…what could be so fascinating? Harper stiffens suddenly. Has that damned Nietzschean marked him somewhere visible again? He wiggles on his stool, repressing the urge to yank at the collar of his shirt up higher. Surely the kids are old enough to have sufficient social skills not to comment. He hopes.

"Harper," Chimaera leans closer, staring at Harper's throat. "You are injured."

Harper closes his eyes briefly. He should've known better. These are the same kids who had sniffed him over like bloodhounds in hydroponics. Of course, they will feel compelled to point out any beard burn left from his early morning necking session with Tyr. He can feel another blush heating his face. "Nah. It's nothing."

He glances sidelong at them. Just don't…oh, shit…They're doing the sniffing thing again. Why me? Maybe if he told them that Trance had a really interesting smell. Or maybe Dylan. The first time, Dylan caught them sniffing around him…Nah, Dylan wouldn't do anything. Saint Dylan would endure in the name of cultural tolerance. What? What's holding thier interest? He'd had a shower this morning. Harper's eyes widen and then narrow as he notices the kids looking from him to Tyr and back again with big, confused eyes. Oh, damn. Can they smell Tyr on him? Tyr had been all over him just a few minutes earlier. Harper casually turns his head to his shoulder and takes a deep breath. He doesn't smell anything, but clean shirt. What's going on?

Tyr soon fills four plates with omelets and hands them out. Harper attacks his eagerly. He's starving after having to wait so long for breakfast this morning. Tyr'd walked in on him raiding the mess. There he'd stood with a Sparky cola in one hand and pastries in the other as Tyr eyed him with disapproval. Oh, man. These omelets are definately worth the lecture on proper nutrition. And the lecture had stalled out pretty fast, once he got his hands and mouth on Tyr. Harper grins. On either side of him, the kids are poking hesitantly at the omelet, but after the first tentative bite, they are packing it away. Harper puts his fork down with a satisfied sigh. He can get used to having the kids around if they will stop that weird sniffing routine. Tyr and the boys are still eating so Harpers rouses himself to launch into a description of the Magog attack. Soon, Bellerphon and Chimera are hanging on his every word in a most flattering way.

Harper waves his hands around, adding sound effects as needed. "We're out of ammo and the Magog are pounding on the door. I'm scared out of my mind 'cause I know how horrible it will be to be implanted with Magog eggs and have them hatch and eat their way out."

"What happened then? Your internal nsesnses were offline. There were hundreds of Magog on the ship. No help coming…what happened?" Bellerophon asks as he leans close, his eyes big.

Tyr quietly gathers the dishes and begins washing up. He glances at the group. His sons seem to like his shieldbrother. That's good. Harper is harder to read. The human had smelled of anxiety at several points; that could, of course, be due to the story that Harper is telling. Certainly it's one guaranteed to capture his sons' imagination, but the actual events had been so much worse than Harper makes it sound. It makes him wonder how many other dark secrets hide under his shieldbrother's seemingly light-hearted tales, fast talk and jokes.

"Well, I almost wanted to buy it, ya know? Just let your father keep his promise to kill me so I wouldn't be infected. So there I am shivering in my boots and the Magog are screeching all around us. Banging on the doors and then…"

"Mr. Harper report to command deck immediately." Dylan's voice interrupts the story.

'"On my way, boss." Harper responds as he stands up. He smiles at the twin's expectant faces and wide eyes. "Sorry, guys. I gotta go to work."

"That's a great story, Harper." Chimaera puts aside his plate.

"Wasn't so great to live it, kid." Harper trades a look with Tyr and walks out the door, tool belt jingling around his waist.

Tyr's gaze drops with longing to the human's narrow hips. When will Harper permit himself to be completely claimed? When he'd brought up the subject of moving Harper into his quarters this morning, his shieldbrother had most effectively distracted him. Just as Harper had distracted him from attempting to discuss nutrition. Once he gets the human into his quarters, he'll see to Harper's proper nutrition. Tyr turns to look at his sons. During breakfast, they'd bragged of thier successes in the local fight school. This will be asd a d a time as any to get some idea of just how badly trained his sons are. Mariyam wouldn't know a competent arms instructor if one hit her; she was far more likely to select one by looks and smooth talk. His sons probably have a number of bad habits and attitudes that he will have to train them out of. And those data discs that they'd talked of, well, those are not the same thing as a competent teacher. Tyr catches the boys' waiting gazes. "I have some work Ie toe to attend to this morning. However, meet me in the gym this afternoon at 1600 hours and we will begin work on some of the skills you will need."

The twins sit up and grin with pleasure. "We will be ready, sir."

***

"Very good. You're prompt." Tyr ties his long hair back when he hears the door to the gym hiss open. He turns with a smile. Promptness is a good sign and one that encourages him to hope that things might not be quite as bad as he thought. He raises an eyebrow as he stares at his sons. Why are the boys wearing those ridiculous long sleeved linen shirts? The things will only get in the way when they used their bone blades. The baggy sweatpants are acceptable, but are wearing boots instead of going barefoot. "Remove those shirts. We're going to have a solid workout and we don't need shredded outerwear hampering it. Remove the boots as well."

Tyr moves to the edge of the practice mat and begins stretching while he waits for his sons to strip down. He runs an appraising eye of his sons. The kids look a little too scrawny as they pull off their shirts, flexing and posing. Tyr steps onto the practice mat as the boys drop their shirts and shoes beside their boots. Hmmm… they don’t seem to be in a big hurry. He would have gotten soundly cuffed if he had ever kept his fight teacher waiting like that. They will learn better.

"What are we going to do?" Chimaera asks as he walks to the edge of the matt.

Tyr sighs. Apparently it's going to be a long day if they are ignorant of even such basic fight hall etiquette as failing to promptly and exactly obey orders from thier fight instructor. He will cover fight hall etiquette another time. Today he just wants to see what he has to work with. "We're going to start with meditation and then work up to some minor katas."

"Oh, we don't need to do that." Bellerophon sniffs dismissively. "We already watched the data discs on Nietzschean meditation techniques and mastered those."

An objection like that, and in that tone, would have gotten his son knocked clear across the fight hall in a Nietzschean school. The boys are already showing their ignorance. It took a lifetime to even approach mastering Nietzschean mediation techniques. The same went for kata. He had been training since he could walk and would not describe himself as a master of every nuance of the katas that his Pride favored. Tyr limits himself to mild sarcasm. "Really?"

"Yes," Chimera adds with a nod. "We've also watched the katas. There is nothing more that we can learn from them."

Tyr rubs his eyes for a second. This is shaping up worse than even his low expectations of the training that the Colonists might have provided. The boys had not realized that every move in a kata had a purpose and application. The movements were not just pretty gestures. The deeper one knew a kata, the more of its hidden subtleties one became aware of. Tyr drops his hand. "I see. Then, if you please, will you demonstrate your warm up and one of the minor katas?"

Bellerphon and Chimera look at him, disappointment in their eyes. Clearly this is all too tame for them. The brothers look at each other and laugh. "You're joking."

Wonderful. His children are foolish enough to think themselves accomplished warriors on the strength of watching a few data discs that they did not even understand. A Nietzschean child half their age would have been able to wipe the floor with them. Their constant objections would have gotten them tossed out of the fight hall, bloody and bruised by now. Tyr stares coolly at them. "No. I am not."

Bellerophon and Chimera step out onto the mat and began twisting and stretching. Their movements are too quick and impatient as they rush through the stretching. Their are just begging for strains muscle. Tyr shakes his head in amazement. Every time, he thought that they couldn’t get worse, they did. They were not properly in tune with their bodies and they were doing more posturing than real stretching. Tyr stands back at the mat's edge as the boys bounce up and start the opening moves of a kata that is obviously too advanced for them. A bad selection and one that only further demonstartes thier ignorance. They have choosen to do the kata on the practice mat instead of the gym floor. Another bad choice. Footing makes a difference in how well the kata can be performed.
He walks slowly around the edge of the mat, viewing the boys from different angles as they move from one position to another. He shakes his head slowly. Bellerophon and Chimera are plainly oblivious to the fact that each kata has a rhythm. His sons are going through the motions in a way that only emphasizes thier lack of understanding; their fists and feet waver aimlessly in the air. After five minutes the boys abruptly stop and grin at him.

"Is something wrong?" Tyr asks, dryly.

"No, we're finished."

"I see. Alright then. Let me see how you two spar together." Perhaps they would be better at sparring than kata. At thier age, surely the boys had been in several fights. They should have learned something from that. Tyr tilts his head as he watches them close on each other. Of course, they were bigger and stronger than the Colonist's children were likely to be. That might have led his sons into bad habits. They will not be bigger and stronger than everyone that they fight, espcially if they intend to live among his people.

Bellerophon laughs confidently and spins to face his brother, taking an exaggerated stance. Chimera tosses back his hair and drops into an equally showy stance. They shuffle around on the mat with much posing and little attacking. What attacks they do launch are slow, sloppy and lacking in force. Tyr shakes his head. His sons are watching him and not each other, a fatal error in a real fight. If they should run into other Nietzscheans, their ignorance, over-confidence, and lack of skill will get them killed in short order. If his sons are to survive, it is imperative that they understand. Tyr turns on his heel and takes a few steps away, making an inviting target of his back. He can hear the slowing movements of the boys. The broken rhythms of their attacks fragment even more. Finally there was silence except for the shuffle of feet on the padded mat.

"What?" Chimaera asks sharply.

Tyr glances over his shoulder. His eyes are cool. "This is your sparring technique?"

Bellerophon moves to the edge of the mat. "Yes."

Tyr studies the ceiling. "And, have you actually engaged in combat with someone other than your sibling?"

"Yes." Chimera walks over to stand next to his brother.

Tyr snorts. "Amazing! No one has killed either of you."

Bellerophon draws himself up. His eyes are confused and angry. "We've had some close battles."

Tyr glances disdainfully over his shoulder and then goes back to staring at the ceiling as if it is fascinating. "Battles. You are referring to what? Street fights with people who are smaller and slower than you? Others of the Colony perhaps?"

He can head the boys shuffling restlessly on the mat. They are breathing hard with growing anger, but not yet angry enough to attack him. That would come soon with their lack of emotional control. It might be the best way for the over confident youths to learn how little opposition they would offer to a Nietzschean warrior. Or to most anyone. Becka could take them. Even his Harper, as small as the human was, could deal ably with these two. His sons must understand thier own weak points if they are going to survive thier first encounter with his people.

Bellerophon growls. "You don't know what it's like!"

"What's like? Life? You’re all alone and no one understands you? You are the butt of the universes' joke? Get over it!" Tyr snaps. Whining he will not tolerate. "Your anger is a club you hand your enemy to bludgeon you."

Chimaera hisses. "Really? You talk tough, Nietzschean, but there are two of us and one of you!"

Well, the boys can count. That is something, but warning him is stupid. Very bad strategy, and the child called him 'Nietzschean' as if it were a swear word. Tyr adds cultural pride to his mental list of things he needs to address with the kids. The list just keeps getting longer and longer. He doesn't bother turning around. As clumsy as the boys are, he will know the minute they finally nerve themselves up to attack. "You're not worth my time."

Therea moa moment of silence then the rapid patter of feet as the brothers try to rush him. Tyr rolls Bellerphon over his shoulder and drops the boy hard on the floor. He grabs Chimera’s arm and spins, using the momentum of the boy's attack to send him banging into the wall. His sons haven't even been taught how to take a fall without injury. Well the mat will offer protect them some protection. Tyr laughs scornfully as he moves back to the practice mat. "Is this the best you can do? The little purple girl is better at this than either of you."

The twins rush him again and again. Each time, Tyr dumps them hard on the mat. After the last attempt, the boys climb awkwardly to their feet instead bouncing up. Tyr hides his amusement. Getting thumped down on a training mat like that over and over did have a way of taking all the bounce out of one. The boys gain points for continuing to try, but lose points for using tactics that had already failed once over and over. Tyr waits, loose and relaxed to see what they will chose to do next. Have they even noticed yet that while they are breathing harshly and moving slow, that he still has plenty of energy and is not even close to being winded? If they bother to think, the boys might realize that they are wasting more energy in their attack, than he has to exert in order to evade and slam them down on the mat. More bad planning on their part.

"You will pay for that!" Bellerophon snaps as he goes thud on the mat again. He scrambles awkwardly to his feet, snapping his bone blades out. Chimera grins and extends his bone blades as well.

"Oh? And who will collect? You?" Tyr crouches, balanced lightly on his feet, ready to move quickly in any direction. Wonderful. It had only taken them a dozen falls to figure out that their first choice of tactics was bad. Now, they want to compound their errors by using weapons that they plainly have no idea how to use. Tyr sighs and adds basic bone blade techniques to his mental list. Will they approach with more caution this time or…no, here comes Chimaera charging in the same way that had already failed the first dozen times. Tyr slips to one side and cuffs him hard with an open hand. Chimera blinks and steps quickly back, bright red blood trickles down his chin. He touches his finger to his lip gingerly. The boy's eyes reflect his sudden realization of what would have happened if Tyr had really hit him; of how much force Tyr could have put into the blow.

Bellerophon gives a yell and charges, his fists waving wildly. He spins, slashing with his bonespurs. Tyr blocks the attack easily and twists slightly to apply hard pressure at the base of Bellerophon’s bone blades. Bellerphon squeaks and drops to the mat. Tyr moves back, allowing the boy to recover and attack again. He leaps at Tyr again, clearly expecting Tyr to sidestep. Tyr moves right into the attack and smacks his elbow into Bellerophon’s nose.

"This is not fair!" Bellerophon touches his nose. A trickle of blood runs down his chin.

Tyr raises his brows. "I never said it would be fair. You said there were two of you and one of me. However I see that you are not doing as well as you expected. Care to tell me why?"

Tyr straightens and folds his arms across his chest as his sons sink meekly down on the mat. They are starting to think. Good. Their bruises and aches should encourage that trend. He gave them a moment to rest. "Nothing to say? Very well. On your feet!"

The brothers look at each other and stand up, flexing their bone blades. Hmmm…still wanting to fight. Still foolish enough to try to use their bone blades without knowing how. Tyr shakes his head. Some people required much convincing. The two boys charge him, waving their bone blades. Tyr drops into a crouch and spins, raking first one twin and then the other with his own bone blades. He leaves three long, shallow, scratches across each boy’s midsection. Trickles of blood seep down onto their sweat pants. Both boys are curl on the mat clutching their abdomens as if they expect to see steaming piles of their intestines at their feet. "Now. Are you ready to listen and learn?"

The twins exchance wild looks. They nod and sit on the mat, heads meekly bowed. The silence is broken only by the sound of thier heavy breathing.

Tyr stalks over to them and stares coolly down at his sons. "I'm sorry. I didn't quite get that. What did you say?"

"Yes, sir," Chimaera croaks, peeking warily through his braids.

"We're ready," Bellerophon gasps.

"Good." Tyr nods. "Now, let's get you to medical. Let's see if Trance can patch you up."

Tyr strides purposely through the door to the gym and down the corridor. The twins, leaning heavily on each other, hobble after him.

"We'll have to shower later before we see mother anllacllace. We smell just like Tyr," Bellerophon whispers.

Chimaera sniffs. He blinks and then glances at his brother. "Harper must spar with Father. That's the scent."

Bellerophon grunts an assent as they hurry to catch up to Tyr.


***

The twins sit calmly on biobeds as Trance monitors the nanobots she has just injected into them to aid their healing. Their eyes are on Tyr as he stands nearby his arms folded across his chest watching the readouts with Trance.

Mariyam bursts into medical followed by Freya and Dylan. Tears glitter on her cheeks. She rushes to her sons and softly touches their bruised faces. She draws in a sharp breath as she notices the scratches marking both boys' torsos. She whirls around in a swirl of sky blue fabric. She glares at Tyr. "What have you done? Were you trying to kill them?"

Freya's face is ashen as she walks stiffly over to her brothers. She places a hand on both their arms before they can stop her. They jerk away quickly.

"No, Freya. There is no need. We are fine," Chimaera murmurs. "Don't worry."

Dylan walks closer to the young men. He studies the youths for a moment and then turns to look Tyr. "Quite a sparring session, Tyr. Were you a bit rough with them?"

Tyr stares coolly back. He'd been far milder with them than others would have been. "No. They were never in danger."

Dylan turns to Mariyam and pats her bare shoulder. "Mariyam. They're fine. No need to worry. Trance is very capable."

Mariyam wipes at the tears trembling on her cheek. She turns her large, doe eyes onto Dylan. "I'm sure she is but…they're hurt! If something had happened…"

"It's okay," He soothes as he places an arm around her delicate shoulders. "They're fine."

Mariyam bows her head and give Tyr a cold sidelong look. Her full lips quirk into a smirk, but her voice is smooth and sweet as honey. "Thank you, Dylan. I'm sorry I'm so emotional."

Tyr meets her eyes coldly. Mariyam may be able to help him after all.

TBC


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