Shieldbrothers: The Rescue

BY : Lursa
Category: 1 through F > Andromeda
Dragon prints: 3948
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.

“Damn it, Jim! I’m an author, not a censor!!”
Reader discretion is advised. Parental guidance suggested. Adult language and situations, Nudity, Graphic & Gratuitous violence, graphic scenes of torture and rape memories.
Chapter Six: The Stuff of Nightmares

Harper stirs on the bed. His head feels thick. He is distantly aware of the soft hum of small mechanical noises. Andromeda Ascendant. His eyes flutter open just long enough to identify the med deck. Why is he in a biobed? His hands tangle in the soft sheets. He feels oddly weak. Not like himself at all. Then there were all those horrible dreams. What bottle did those nightmares come from? Harper raises a trembling hand to his head. “Awww, man, that’s the last time I drink…”

He tries to turn over and a sharp pain brings him completely awake. It wasn’t a nightmare. It was real. His heart pounds in sudden alarm. He rises up on one elbow despite the pain, looking quickly around. He’s alone. That’s good. He isn’t ready to face anyone yet.

Harper eases back and rubs his eyes, trying to gather his thoughts. He’s home. He’s back. He’s among friends again. Reunited with his lov…with Tyr. So why does fear wash over him in icy waves?

How did he get here? Harper frowns at the empty room. There is a distant memory of being…there, in that place…then of the scent of safety, the protective warmth of Tyr and the soothing sound of Tyr’s wonderful voice. Rommie was there too. Tyr gently bathing him, holding him safe in his strong arms as the water washed over him. Then Tyr leaning over him and the comforting scent, the soft touch of those long braids.

He vaguely remembers waking for a second to see Tyr lying on the biobed next to his. His amber eyes concerned. The reassuring whisper of “Rest, Seamus. I’m here.”

Harper holds up the sheets, peeking beneath, taking stock. Fading bruises and healing cuts cover his bare torso. He sighs in relief as he sees the familiar navy boxers covering his hips. Damn he hurts. He’s never hurt this badly in his life. Not even after…that thing on Earth.

He slowly pushes himself up to a sitting position, ignoring the pain. His bare bruised legs dangle off the bed. He shivers, panting from the effort. There isn’t a place on him that didn’t hurt or ache. His ribs are sore but that’s nothing compared to the deep ache in his ass. Even the soft biobed made for uncomfortable sitting. He hopes that Trance’s nanobots were working fast. He didn’t want to raise questions by standing all the time or totting a cushion around with him.

Harper sighs. He can’t put it off any longer. He will have to talk to someone sometime. He doesn’t even want to talk to Rommie but perhaps she will be the best one to start with until he is feeling more like himself. He pulls the sheet free and drapes it over his chest and shoulders. “Rommie? I know you’re monitoring.”

The Hologram flickers to life beside Harper’s bed. “Hello Harper. How are you feeling?”

“Peachy.” Harper’s gaze flickers over the navy leather tunic. A faint smile touches his lips. She looks very High Guard and official. This should be a good beta test. Can the Harper pass for normal again? “I’m just dandy.”

“You are healing, Harper. You still need sleep and rest.” The voice is stern but the dark eyes are fond and worried.

Harper sighs. His shoulders droop. “You know what happened to me don’t you? You saw the message didn’t you?”

Andromeda folds her arms across her chest and meets Harper’s eyes squarely. “I saw when I played the message for Tyr.” She looks thoughtfully off into the distance for a moment. “…who is on his way to medical now.”

“You told him I was awake?” Harper squirms, wrapping the white sheet protectively over himself. “I don’t think I’m ready to talk to him right now.”

“Tyr has been very worried about you, Harper. He was almost inconsolable when we didn’t know if you were alive or dead.”

“He was?” Harper searches the wide, dark eyes. He doesn’t know how to answer the question in those eyes. He loves Tyr. He wants to see Tyr yet…he doesn’t. It’s bad enough knowing that Andromeda knows but with her…she doesn’t really know. She doesn’t have a primal emotional understanding of what happened. Just like she hadn’t understood his emotional reaction to having to handle all those Magog corpses after he came back from the Worldship. To her, this is just another kind of physical injury.

“Yes, Harper, he was.”

Harpers eyes the door and clutches his sheet closer. How is he going to face Tyr? When Tyr knows it all. Knowing is bad. It was bad enough having to tell Tyr about…Earth but this time, Tyr saw the whole show. Tyr saw him at his worst and lowest. Tyr saw those…that…everything that happened. Harper bites his lip and stares at the floor. Tyr heard him cry and weep and scream and beg. Harper shivers. “Great. Just great. Who else is coming?”

“No one else. Tyr wanted to check on you alone, first.”

“I don’t know if I can…I mean…I’m so…” Fine shivers move through his muscles. It seems cold in the room. Cold…like…that place. He wonders if he will ever feel warm and safe and happy again. He had it right the first time – the universe hated him.

“What, Harper? What troubles you?” The hologram stares at him with a puzzled look.

“You wouldn’t understand.” Harper plucks nervously at his sheet. “It’s so cold in here.”

“Would you like me to adjust the temperature?”

“No. It’s alright.”

“Would you like to change the subject?”

Harpers smiles gratefully. “I feel like I’ve been asleep for months. How long was I out?”

“Seventy-two hours, thirty-four minutes, and twenty-two seconds from the time you entered medical.” Rommie recited.

“Geeze…seventy-two hours?” Harper’s eyes widen. Damn. No wonder he felt so out of it. They must have drugged him up as well as given him nanobots.

“Tyr is just outside. Would you like me to engage privacy mode?”

“Yeah…thanks, Rommie.”

“Privacy mode engaged. Authorization Chief Engineer Seamus Harper.” The hologram winks off.

Harper shifts uneasily on the biobed as Tyr stalks in the room. The intent way that Tyr is staring at him along with the quick purposeful move in his direction is unnerving. Tyr’s face is set in grim, hard lines. Harper edges back a little on the bed. Tyr is his shieldbrother. Tyr won’t hurt him. He knows that yet it is as if some part of him is not able to trust.

Harper hunches his shoulders going very still as Tyr stops in front of him. His eyes flicker over the black boots, black leather pants. Harper can feel his heart beating harder as his gaze skitters away from the relaxed bulge at Tyr’s groin and jumps to the black leather gauntlets and hint of bone blades. Oh, shit. Oh, shit. Oh, shit. He can’t do this. He can’t. Maybe if he just sits very still and doesn’t really look at Tyr. Harper forces a perky note into his voice, “Hey Big Guy.”

“Harper?” Tyr questions softly. “Seamus, look at me.”

“I can’t.” Harper whispers. He hates knowing that his reaction put that note of bewildered hurt in the velvet voice. He wishes with all his heart that he could fling himself on Tyr in enthusiastic welcome and be held tight but he can’t. He just can’t.

Harper stares down at his bare feet. No bruises there. How odd. Must be the only place on him that’s not…At the edge of his vision, he sees Tyr’s strong hand. Harper shivers but forces himself to sit still as the hand slowly moves closer. Closer. His gaze falls on the gauntlet and the relaxed bone blades. Harper can’t stop it. He gasps and jerks back.

The big hand instantly falls away. “I’m not going to harm you, Seamus. Surely you know that.”

“I can’t…I can’t help it.” Harper replies softly as he continues to stare down at his feet.

“Is there anything you need…anything I can do?” Tyr’s voice washes over Harper soothing him.

“No. I’m cool.” Harper twists the sheet around his hands.

“Alright. If you won’t look at me…listen to me.” Tyr’s velvet voice is soft but urgent. “I have been very worried about you. I’m still worried. I did not know what I would do when my sons returned without you. I would not believe that you were gone. I wasn’t sure if you would…come back to me.”

Harper forces stillness on himself as Tyr reaches slowly toward him again. He manages to stay still but he can’t control his breathing. He feels dizzy as the dark hand touches his bruised thigh. Tyr’s long fingers touch the fading bite mark. Harper’s pulse thunders in his head. As sudden image of Braids biting his thigh flashes into his mind and Harper twitches away, folding the sheet protectively over his legs. “I…I’m not sure how much of me came back.”

Harper gathers his courage and slowly raises his eyes to meet the worried amber gaze. The long braids that he loves to touch are swept forward over one shoulder. Still watching Tyr closely, Harper reaches out. His hand hovers and then settles lightly. His fingertips brush over the long strands. He glances quickly at Tyr’s face. Tyr is standing very still; his amber eyes warm and hopeful.

“When I was in…that…place, I dreamed of wrapping my hands in your hair. That’s what helped me hang on…that and…”

Harper turns his attention back to the mass of braids. They were so soft, so nice to touch. He could touch Tyr’s hair all day. He wants to bury his face in Tyr’s hair and be held and comforted. He wants to lean on Tyr’s solid strength. He needs that but he’s not sure he can get past the Nietzscheaness of the man…of his man. This is all he can manage right now by way of encouragement for Tyr. Harper draws a long braid through his fingers. He glances up, shyly meeting the amber eyes. He holds the gaze as he presses the braid to his lips. Then he drops it and looks back down at his bare feet.

“What?” Tyr’s voice is gentle and soft.

“The sound of your voice. I could hear you reading to me.” Harper flashed a tentative smile. “It sounds stupid, right?”

“No. It’s not stupid. I enjoy reading to you.” Tyr smiles.

“I want…nah…you don’t want to hear it.”

“Seamus. You are welcome to talk to me about whatever you wish.” Tyr dares to brush his fingertips across the drooping spikes of Harper’s blond hair.

Harper bites his lip and sits still. “I’m not ready to talk about…what they…everything, okay?”

“Whenever you’re ready.”

“Thanks.” Harper shivers and pulls his sheet tighter. His hands knot in the folds of fabric.

“Trance says that you are recovering nicely. You should be able to return to our quarters soon. She thinks it’s best if you recuperate in comfortable surroundings.”

Harper glances at Tyr and away. His hands clench on the sheets, twisting in the fabric. He feels so cold. Like the chill from that damned cell has seeped right into his bones. A fine trembling runs through him. It seems oddly hard to breathe right. The dizzy feeling is back. “I…I…I don’t think I can stay there.”

Tyr’s eyes widen with hurt and shock. “You don’t want to return to our quarters?”

“Tyr, it’s not that. It’s just that. I feel so…I’m not sure how I feel.” Harper rubs his hands over his arms. He glances up and quickly away from the dismay reflected in those beautiful amber eyes. “I didn’t think you’d want me near you.”

“I always want you near me.” His voice deepens as Tyr moves closer to stand between Harper’s legs. His big hands cup the human’s face, tilting it up. “I’ve missed you messing up our quarters. I’ve missed you in our bed.”

Harper glows with relief. Tyr still wants him and misses him. He needs that wanting so very much. He tries to move back. A panicky-trapped feeling is rising fast with the realization that he has nowhere to go and the feel of Tyr’s leather covered, muscled thighs pressing against him. “I…oh god…Tyr. I…can’t.”

Tyr pulls Harper into a tender, protective embrace. “I don’t expect us to go back to the way it was….before…I just need you near me. I need to know you’re okay.”

Harper trembles with the urge to fight, to scream, to struggle. He presses his face into the thick mass of braids but otherwise can’t stop himself from being rigid and unresponsive in Tyr’s arms. He can only endure this for a second or two.

Tyr’s arms drop and his hands slide gently away. He steps back. Hisamber eyes are desolate. Tyr looks down quickly, trying to hide the pain in his eyes. “I’m sorry, Harper. I did not mean to upset you.”

“I know. I am okay…I think.” Harper flashes a feeble imitation of his usual brash grin. “At least as much as I can be right now.”

“I want you to be comfortable, Harper.” Tyr takes another step away from his lover. “I thought you would want to return to our quarters.”

Harper shivers and huddles in his cocoon of sheet. “I know. I do want that. It’s just that I’m so confused right now. I need time to think. I need my own space back…for a while at least.”

Tyr nods stiffly. He crosses his arms defensively across his chest. The chain mail shimmers in the light. His fingers brush over the locator on his gauntlet and linger on it. “Your own space? We share the same space, Seamus.”

“For right now…I need to be alone. I mean when I get out of medical. So much happened to me that I can’t….” Harper is mortified to realize that his voice is breaking and tears are sliding down his face.

“I know. I saw.”

“I don’t feel safe, Tyr.” Harper sniffs. He swipes at the dampness angrily with a corner of his sheet. “I feel like any minute they will come in here and snatch me. Make me do…what they did.”

“Look at me. Please.” Tyr urges gently. Harper glances up into Tyr’s eyes. “The ones who harmed you will not harm you, or anyone else, again.”

“You swear?” Harper asks softly. He knows that Tyr wouldn’t say it if it were not so but he needs the promise.

“Oh, yes." Tyr whispers solemnly. "I swear it.”

Harper nods. He looks back down at his bare feet. It helps a great deal to know that the ones who touched him are dead. That he will never look up one day and see them again. He feels suddenly exhausted. He slumps down in his cocoon of sheets. “I’m so tired.”

Tyr moves hesitantly closer. His touch is tentative and then more confident. Harper allows Tyr to ease him back down on the biobed. As Tyr leans over him, Harper frees his hands from his sheets and grabs a handful of the dangling braids. He fills both hands with the silken braids and presses his face into them, breathing deeply of the comforting scent.

“Rest. Do you require anything before I leave?” Tyr smiles with pleasure as Harper continues to delicately fondle his braids. He is reluctant to leave his fragile lover alone. Harper shakes his head but does not let go of Tyr’s hair. “Do you want me to stay with you for a while?”

“Yes. Can you stay until I fall asleep?” Harper slowly, reluctantly releases Tyr’s hair.

Tyr straightens and lays his hand over Harper’s. “I’ll stay right here.”

“Would you….would you…?” Harper’s voice trails off. He turns his head away in embarrassment.

Tyr cups his hand under the human’s chin, urging Harper to turn back and face him. “Anything you ask, Seamus…anything.”

“Would you…hold me…please?”

Tyr sits on the bed. He gently eases the smaller man into his arms. Harper slides his arm across Tyr’s wide chest and snuggles closer. He is finally beginning to feel warm, pressed into the heat of Tyr’s body.

“Is that better?” Tyr asks softly. He lightly strokes Harper’s hair.

Harper nods and yawns. “I’m just gonna nap for a sec. ‘kay?”

“As long as you wish, Seamus.” Tyr presses his lips to the soft blond spikes.


Harper is standing next to the biobed. He fidgets, fingering his dark blue shirt. Drumming his fingers over the fabric of his cargo pants as he watches Trance do a last minute check of his vitals. He’ll be glad to get out here. Had it only been a week since Tyr had brought him back from Hell? Harper shudders. He’ll feel better, more like himself when he is back in his old quarters. He can turn the heat up as high as he wants and finally, finally be warm. Funny how he had never noticed before how cold it is on the Andromeda.

“You’re doing good, Harper.” Trance looks at the reading on her console. Her voice is cheery. “Very good. You should be back to normal in no time.”

“Oh, ya think so?” Harper asks sharply. His blue eyes are suddenly cold and bleak. “I don’t think I’ll ever be back to normal. But you think a few nanobots ought to do the trick, right?”

“Harper, you know that’s not what I meant.” She gives him a hurt look. “I just meant that…”

“Yeah, right, whatever.” Harper looks toward the door as the twins walk through. He grins in honest delight at seeing them. “Hey guys. Come to walk the old man to his quarters?”

“You’re not an old man, Harper.” Bellerophon smiles uncertainly. Despite his talk with his father, he is not sure how Harper feels about him and Chimera. They did abandon him to the enemy. Then before they came over, father had said that Harper wanted to live alone for a while. That is confusing and upsetting. He didn’t think that shieldbrothers lived apart from each other unless there was something wrong. He knows there is something odd going on but what? Why had father ordered them to not touch Harper?

“I feel pretty old today, kid.” Harper sighs. He looks tired and there are shadows in the blue eyes. “I understand you two managed to get the Maru back safely. I’m proud of you.”

The twins look at Harper and smile. “It was hard trying to get through the slipstream but we did it.”

“Yeah, kid you know the old saying.”

“What old saying?” Bellerophon moves to let Harper pass.

“It goes: ‘slipstream…it’s not the best way to travel faster than light…it’s the only way.’”

“I think I get it.” Chimaera laughs.

Harper laughs but it doesn’t reach his eyes. Bellerophon looks carefully at the small human. Something is very wrong. Why won’t their father tell them? Is it their fault?

Chimaera smiles widely. His dark eyes reflect his happiness at seeing Harper again. “It is good to see you, Harper.”

“We have been worried about you.” Bellerophon frowns, watching the slow stiff way that the human moves. What had their father’s enemies done to Harper? Why wouldn’t father discuss it? Why had father absolutely forbidden them to ask Harper anything about it? Why does Harper smell of fear? Bellerophon glances warily around but sees nothing to be afraid of.

Harper moves toward the door. “Come on guys.”

Bellerophon falls in next to Harper. He keeps glancing in silent worry at the human. Strange, he has never noticed before, how small and fragile looking Harper is. Harper always seemed much bigger before. It does not seem right that Harper is ill and insisting on being alone. He should be staying with father so that Tyr can look after him. He looks at his brother over Harper’s head and sees the same knowledge and worry reflected in Chimera’s eyes.

“Harper, may I ask a question?” Chimaera asks quietly.

“Depends on the question.”

“Why are you not returning to your quarters with father?” Chimaera tilts his head. His long hair slides over his brown leather vest. “Why are you going to stay in your original quarters?”

“That’s technically two questions.” Harper smiles wanly. “There are a lot of reasons. Your father and I have talked about this and we both agree that it’s for the best right now.”

“For who?” Bellerophon asks with a frown. He does not see how this can be best for anyone. Harper belongs with father. Surely Harper will not be afraid if he is with father. There is no one stronger or fiercer. “Father does not seem happy about it. You don’t seem happy. Who is this best for?”

“Very good question.” Harper sighs. “I’m not sure right now.”

“Are we allowed to visit you?” Chimaera asks. “We asked father and he said to ask you.”

“We’d like very much to visit you in the machine shop…or your quarters…if you don’t mind.” Bellerophon adds shyly with a quick glance at the human’s pale face. Perhaps they can help Harper in some way. The increasingly slow pace is worrying. If Harper is too weak to have the energy just to walk from the med deck to his old quarters, the human does not need to be alone.

“We’ll see.” Harper pauses by the door to his old quarters. His face is white and his blue eyes seem enormous.

“Is this it?” Bellerophon asks as he peeks around the room. It looks dark, stark and empty. Nothing like his father’s comfortable rooms. He doesn’t like leaving Harper here.

“Yep. Home sweet home.” Harper’s usually cheerful grin flickers weakly.

The twins share a thoughtful look over Harper’s head and turn away. “Okay. We’ll see you later.”

Chimaera turns back as if suddenly remembering something. “Oh, right…almost forgot. Would you like to have dinner with us tonight?”

Harper sways and leans against the doorway. “What?”

“Father is cooking dinner for us tonight.” Chimaera looks down at the small man.

Bellerophon smiles fondly at Harper. He’s going to see that things are back like they should be. Once Harper is back with his father, everything will be okay again. “Actually, he’s trying to teach us how to cook so we won’t starve on our own.”

“So you two are cooking?” Harper laughs. “Who’s going to be there? Just you guys?”

Chimaera nods. “Just family.”

“I think I can do that.”

“Good. We’re going to be in the kitchen father likes. The small one where he made us breakfast,” Bellerophon adds. He frowns, troubled, as his gaze goes past Harper to the bleak room.

“I know the one.” Harper notices the worried look that the two boys exchange. “I’m okay, guys. Really. I’ll be there.”

Bellerophon hovers, watching uneasily as Harper disappears into the rooms. He glances as his brother. They had better tell Tyr that Harper is expecting a family dinner. He grins. Somehow he doesn’t think that Tyr will be too upset with them for persuading Harper to dinner. “I guess we need to find father.”

“Yes. It would be better to tell him now than surprise him later.” Chimaera rolls his eyes. He turns and walks in the direction of the command deck.

“This will be good. It’s just what they need.” Bellerophon pretends not to see the dubious look that his brother gives him.

Tyr drops meat into the sauté pan and watches it as it browns. He glances hopefully at the door but still no Harper. He needs to see Harper; to be with Harper. For now, he must be content with occasional glimpses and the knowledge that Harper is somewhere on the Andromeda. He wants Harper back in their quarters. At least, his clever sons have maneuvered Harper into spending some time with him.

He turns his attention to the stir-fry. Harper is fond of this dish. He hopes it will please Harper and encourage the human to remember what it was like between them. Tyr glances over his shoulder. His sons are pacing the floor and watching the door, anxiously waiting for Harper. Tyr sighs. He hopes that the boys are not expecting too much from one meal. It is good that his sons care so much for his shieldbrother. “Sit before you wear a hole in the deck.”

Bellerophon slouches in a chair. His fingers worry nervously at the silver buttons on his leather vest. “What if he doesn’t come? Should we go to his quarters to get him?”

“Father. He was in pain and he was walking so slowly.” Chimaera shakes his head. He slides into a chair. “It was quite unlike Harper.”

“He has been through a great deal.” Tyr glances at the door again. Still no sign of Harper. He adds a couple of handfuls of diced vegetables. “It may be some time before he is back to normal.”

“What happened to him?” Bellerophon asks. His dark eyes reflect his worry.

Tyr sighs. He can tell from the questions that his sons suspect that there is something more going on than he has chosen to tell them. “As I told you…both…Harper was tortured by some very ruthless people.”

“Those women…the ones who killed mother and Wallace…they were involved?” Chimaera pushes back his chair and walks over to sample some of the food.

“Yes.” Tyr puts a clipped note in his voice to discourage further questions as he begins quickly mixing a sauce. Harper does not need to walk in and hear them talking about this.

Bellerophon glances at his brother and then his father. “We owe them two deaths already father. Now they harm our father’s shieldbrother. We should declare a blood feud.”

Tyr looks up from the pan where he is stirring the sauce. He frowns. “You are too young to know that you are saying. A blood feud is not a minor thing.”

“They killed our mother and the man we knew as father for most of our lives. Our siblings are now in the care of that man…Griffith.” Chimera snatches a leftover peapod and bites into it with a sharp snap of white teeth.

“I never trusted him.” Bellerophon sniffs disdainfully.

“Nor I, brother.” Chimaera waves another peapod in his brother’s direction before popping it in his mouth. “We will not tolerate this from those women, Father. We will kill them.”

“Such action will not be necessary. Their fate will be sealed soon enough.” Tyr pours the stir-fry into a bowl and drizzles the sauce over it. He looks up sharply at the door opens and Harper eases into the room.

“Something smells good.” Harper grins with false cheer. He forces himself to step further into the room. It seems awful small with the three big Nietzscheans in it. Cold as well. Harper shivers. This is a mistake but too late to back out. He will have to see it through.

“Harper! You made it!” Bellerophon leaps to his feet, shoving his chair back. He moves toward Harper with a happy smile.

Harper gasps involuntarily and takes a step back at the sudden motion. Instantly, Tyr is between him and Bellerophon.

“Here.” Tyr holds out a bowl of sauce to Bellerophon. “Put this on the table.”

What’s wrong with him? It’s only Bellerophon. He knows that the kid would never harm him. Will he ever get over this damned twitchiness? Harper plasters his smile back on his face and edges around Tyr. He brushes his hand over Tyr’s braids as he passes. “Yep. Can’t miss a meal. Especially one of your father’s.”

Chimaera pulls out a chair. His voice is eager. “Come sit by me, Harper. We’ll double team father and Bellerophon.”

Harper moves to the chair and gingerly sits down. He winces. A blush spreads over his face as he catches Tyr’s worried eyes on him. Harper quickly looks away, giving his attention to Chimaera. “Why are we double teaming your brother and father?”

“Because they hate surfing.”

“Works for me.” Harper grins weakly. His gaze flickers uneasily around the table. He feels hemmed in, sitting next to Chimaera while Bellerophon looms over the table, setting out the food.

Harper accepts a small portion. He stares down at the stir-fry. It’s one of his favorites. Tyr used to fix it often for him…before. He isn’t hungry. He hasn’t felt hungry in…he can’t remember. Aware of Tyr’s eyes on him, Harper picks up a fork and forces himself to nibble at a peapod.

He glances around the table. The boys seem happy and excited, talking about their day. It’s nice to listen to their chatter. He looks at Tyr. The deep-set amber eyes. The amused smile ghosting over the lush lips as he listens to the boys. The rich sweep of braids tossed over one shoulder of his mesh shirt. The smooth flawless expanse of skin. For a second, Harper stares longingly, remembering the plush texture, protective warmth of Tyr’s arms then he catches the hopeful gleam of amber eyes watching him in return and looks quickly away.

Harper pushes the food around his plate, stealing brief looks at Tyr and listening to the deep, velvet voice responding to comments from the kids. Gradually the excited chatter slows and stops all together. Harper stares down at his plate as if it is the most fascinating thing that he has ever seen. His hand trembles around the fork. He can’t seem to stop looking at bone blades. His anxious gaze flickers over Chimaera and Bellerophon and Tyr’s arms. He can feel his breathing quicken. Harper drops the fork on his plate with a loud clatter. He can feel all three of them staring at him. He can’t do this. He has to get out here now.

“Well…thanks for inviting me, guys.” Harper is up and moving toward the door before anyone can protest. “I’ve got some repairs that Rommie told me about. Thought I’d get on that.”

Tyr stands, carefully keeping his movements slow and easy. “Harper, a word.”

Harper pauses at the door and glances over his shoulder. He nods and steps into the corridor.

Tyr follows. He stops just outside the door, allowing Harper plenty of space. He can smell Harper’s fear…had noted the steady increase in the scent through the meal. He knew that his sons were aware of it as well and puzzled by it. They do not know that they are what Harper fears. That he is what Harper fears. It breaks his heart to know that Harper fears him when all he wants to is comfort and care for Harper.

Tyr sighs and crosses his arms protectively over his chest. He instantly shifts position to clasp his hands behind his back as Harper’s eyes widen and the human takes a quick step back. Tyr forces his voice to stay neutral, revealing none of his own pain. “I thought you were going to rest. I don’t think Trance released you to go back to work.”

“I’m fine. I need to keep busy.” Harper leans against the wall.

“You’re limping.”

“I’ll be fine, Tyr. I have to do this.” Harper hunches his shoulders. His gaze turns in palpable longing to the corridor behind him. “I have to get back to my normal everyday activities.”

“I see. When do you think you and I might get back to normal?” Tyr dares a step closer. His hands flex behind his back with the desire to touch Harper. To run his palms over the smooth, pale skin. To touch the silken spikes. He aches to pull Harper close and inhale the human’s scent; to put his own scent on Harper.

“I don’t know.” Harper shifts nervously but holds his ground with an obvious effort.

Tyr closes his eyes for a second in pain that his presence should be something for Harper to endure rather than take pleasure in. He steps back and takes refuge in his most formal tone. “Thank you for coming to dinner. My sons are very pleased you chose to join us.”

“The food was good…the little that I ate was.” Harper attempts a smile.

“Would you like to have dinner with us again tomorrow?” Tyr offers. Perhaps the sharing of meals will be a step on coaxing Harper back to sharing quarters again.

Harper makes a tentative step forward, pushing away from the wall. “Depends on the menu.”

Tyr holds himself very still. He wants nothing to scare Harper back into retreating from him. “What would you like?”

“That vegetable thing you do might be good.” Harper moves closer. His blue eyes are wary but determined.

“You hate vegetables, remember? Too nutritious.” Tyr smiles as Harper slowly reaches up to traces the lines of his beard. He nuzzles against the cool palm cupping his jaw. Perhaps this is the key to getting Harper comfortable again; let Harper be the one to touch him rather than trying to touch Harper. Tyr breathes in, enjoying the human’s scent. The smell of fear is fading.

“I’ll try ‘em if you cook ‘em.” Harper lowers his hand to strokes Tyr’s braids. His fingertips stray to the warm skin of Tyr’s shoulder. He steps back. “Well, I guess I’ll go.”

Tyr watches as Harper limps away. The human turns a corner and is gone from view. Tyr moves to stand by the wall. He touches the wall where Harper had leaned. With a soft cry, he presses his face to the wall; greedily inhaling Harper’s fading scent. Nothing in his room smelled of Harper any longer. He feels ashamed of being reduced to this. If he could just coax Harper back, it would be better. A tear slides down his face. He sniffs and pushes away from the wall, roughly rubbing his face.

He walks back into the mess, trying to appear calm for his sons. He gathers up plates and begins cleaning up. He can feel his sons’ worried gazes on his back as he works.

After a long moment, Chimaera asks in a low voice, “Did we do something bad?”

Tyr shakes his head, keeping his back to his sons. “No. Thank you for inviting Harper.”

“It didn’t turn out quite like we planned.” Bellerophon pushes back his chair in a slow, dispirited manner.

“You did well. He did come. That’s the important thing.”


He’s cold. So cold. Harper shivers. He opens his eyes and he is back there, sitting on the bare mattress in the cold cell. His clothes are gone again. What happened to Andromeda? He thought he was back on the ship. Where’s Tyr? He gets up off the mattress and walks toward the door that somehow keeps receding before him. Suddenly three huge Nietzscheans surround him, laughing at him.

Braids grabs him. “Where do you think you’re going kludge?”

“You’re not real. You’re just a dream.” Harper tries to pull away.

“Do you really believe that?” Ponytail sneers.

“This is a nightmare. I’m on Andromeda.”

“Hold him steady! It’s time he was properly trained.” The big blond pulls his leather pants down, exposing an enormous erection.

Harper screams.

He comes awake screaming in his bed. His throat feels raw. His face is damp with tears. He shoves the blankets aside and sits up, looking around the bare room. It takes him a second to identify it as his old room.

Harper hits the lights with shaking hands. He walks in the bathroom and splashes water on his face. That’s better. He studies his image in the mirror. His eyes are large and haunted. There are shadows below his eyes. His face is thin and pale. His blond hair droops sadly. He looks nothing like his self…his before self. He rakes his hands through his hair and turns away from the mirror. “Okay…enough sleep.”

Harper pulls a pair of cargo pants over his boxers. He fumbles his way into his socks and shoes.

Andromeda’s holographic image appears beside him. She frowns in disapproval at him. “You’ve only been asleep for fifty minutes.”

“Power nap. I’m fine. I’m cool.” Harper shrugs into his dark blue tee shirt. “I’m feeling great actually. Thought I’d get to work upgrading some of your non-essential systems.”

“You need to rest. You have not had enough sleep.”

“Sleep’s overrated, Rom doll.” Harper grabs his tool belt and limps slowly out of his quarters. Besides with the right stimulants he can do without sleep for an amazing amount of time. Sparky will keep him awake for a while. Then when Sparky stops working, he can sneak something from the med deck. Sleep is off the Harper schedule until further notice.

Harper limps down the corridor. He can walk a little faster now. It won’t be long before his stride is normal again. He pads down the corridors, wandering aimlessly as he broods. Now if he can just figure out how to put the rest of it away and get the rest of himself back to normal as well.

Hmm. This corridor is familiar. This is where he used to live with Tyr. Harper walks slowly to the door. He stops and walks over to the door. Tyr would be asleep now. He wants to go in; to see Tyr but he doesn’t want to talk. Just to be there. Harper hesitates for a long moment then eases silently inside.

The room is dark but the scent of his lover…of Tyr is everywhere. Harper walks softly around the room, soaking up the feeling of Tyr-ness. He goes to the couch and sits down in his usual spot. It’s the first place he’s sat that does not hurt. He sighs and leans back against the cushions.

Harper glances in the direction of the silent bedroom. He wants to see Tyr. What could it hurt? He snags one of the pillows off the couch and tip toes to the bedroom doorway. Harper stands there, watching. Tyr is lying face down sprawled over the bed; the sheets foam around his narrow waist. Harper smiles remembering how Tyr could take up so much space. He eases closer, moving around the side of the bed as Tyr breathes deeply, evenly. Tyr’s dark braids cascade down the side of the bed like a waterfall.

Harper eyes Tyr’s bone blades carefully. The blades are relaxed, folded against the sinewy length of Tyr’s forearms. Harper reaches out a trembling hand, his fingertips hover over the bone blades for a moment before he pulls back. He can’t touch them just now. Harper shuts his eyes and breathes in, concentrating on the scent of warmth and safety. Tyr smells like home and good things. He whispers softly to himself, “This is Tyr. This is my lover…He won’t hurt me.”

Harper eases down on the floor. He leans against the bed, studying Tyr’s relaxed features. What did Tyr dream of as he lay there? Harper drops the pillow on the floor and lies back. He reaches up to stroke the soft sweep of braids. Harper yawns and snuggles into his pillow. Within moments he is breathing deeply. He is asleep.

Tyr peers cautiously over the side of the bed. His mouth smoothes into a contented smile as he looks down at Harper’s profile. It’s good to have Harper back where the human belongs. Harper probably won’t stay but for now, the human is here. It’s a beginning. Tyr eases back down on the bed.


“Harper.” Chimaera walks slowly into Machine Shop Eleven followed by his brother. His dark eyes are wide with shock as he stares at Harper. The human looks much worse than he did at dinner two weeks ago. Harper’s face is pallid and pinched looking. There are dark smudges under his eyes and an odd gleam in the blue depths. His movements are slow and jerky. Harper smells of fear and pain.

“Yeah. What do you want?” Harper’s voice is hard, curt. He scowls at the boys.

Bellerophon exchanges an alarmed look with his brother. “We thought you might want some company.”

“You thought wrong.” Harper’s gaze flickers away. His scowl deepens. “I’m busy.”

“What have we done to offend you, Harper?” Bellerophon’s voice is hurt.

“Please. Please don’t start.” Harper rolls his eyes and sighs. “Run along and tell your father that I don’t need you spying on me. I’m fine. Got that?”

Chimaera takes step forward, holding out his hands. “Father didn’t send us here. We came because we…”

“Because you what?” Harper picks up a soldering wand and crouches. There is a menacing look in his eyes. “What?”

“Harper, why are you angry with me?” Chimaera backs away. He glances at his brother and sees his own worry and fear reflected in his brother’s eyes.

“Don’t play games with me.” Harper waves the wand wildly. “I’m tired of you skulking around corners and keeping track of my every move. Get out of here!”

“You’re not well, Harper.” Bellerophon speaks quietly as he eases around to flank Harper. “Maybe you need to go back to med deck.”

“Oh, so you’re a doctor now, huh?”

Chimaera looks at his brother and nods. He backs slowly away as Harper follows him. If Bellerophon can get behind Harper and grab him then they should be able to get Harper to medical where the human can be taken care of. Bellerophon slips in behind Harper, deftly sliding his arms under Harper’s armpits and linking his fingers across the human’s neck. He pulls the small man back against him.

Chimaera jumps as Harper begins screaming. The human squirms and thrashes wildly. He steps forward, knowing that if Harper continues to fight like this, Bellerophon will have to let the human go in order to avoid hurting Harper.

“Harper. Please. Calm down.” Bellerophon struggles to maintain the hold.

“Get off me! Get the hell off me! I’ll kill you I swear.” Harper’s eyes are wild with rage.

Chimaera moves closer, intending to help immobilize the human. “Ship. Tell father we have a problem.”

“Acknowledged.” Andromeda responds coolly.

Harper suddenly stops fighting. “Hey kid. I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me.”

“It’s alright Harper. I didn’t want you to hurt my brother or yourself.” Bellerophon releases his hold, letting his hands rest on Harper’s shoulders.

Harper twists away and bashes Bellerophon over the head with the soldering wand. Bellerophon staggers back, one hand going to the cut on his head. Harper dashes across the machine shop and flings himself into an access tunnel.

“You’re bleeding.” Chimaera slides one arm around Bellerophon’s waist, offering support. His free hand lightly touches his brother’s face.

Tyr bursts into the machine shop. He glances around the room and then focuses on his sons. “What happened?”

Chimaera and Bellerophon glance at each other. Chimaera stumbles through an account of what happened as Tyr inspects Bellerophon’s head.

Tyr sighs and steps back. “Go to med deck and have Trance check your head. I don’t think there is any damage but go anyway.”

After his sons leave, Tyr prowls around the machine shop. It is obvious that Harper has been staying there. He had hoped, after that night when Harper returned to their quarters, that Harper was ready for more contact but Harper always had excuses for not coming to any of the dinners that Tyr had planned. Harper had kept his distance except for the few times he would sneak into their quarters and sleep by the bed.

Tyr frowns as he eyes the number of Sparky cans crumpled and littering the area. There are many more cans than Harper would normally consume. Is the human trying to force himself to stay awake? Small packets littered the floor as well. Tyr picked one up and frowned. An anti-sleep stimulant. Harper must have stolen them from med-deck. That explains the odd behavior.

Tyr’s frown deepens as he notices the absence of any kind of food. If Harper isn’t eating or sleeping, things are bad. He has tolerated this living apart long enough. Harper obviously needs someone to take care of him. This ends now. He will find a way to coax, bribe or trick Harper back into living with him if that is what it takes.


Bellerophon sits in the shadows on the observation deck, staring out at the stars. He can’t sleep. What set Harper off yesterday? He and his brother have talked and talked but they can’t figure out what happened. Why is Harper so afraid all the time? He doesn’t understand any of it.

He leans back against the rough trunk. He thinks on all the events in his life that have lead him to this point. His mother and Wallace. Finding his father, and Harper. What had he done to make Harper, his father’s Shield Brother, turn against him? How could he undo it?

Bellerophon freezes, blending with the plants and shadows as he hears Harper’s limping steps coming closer. Some one is with Harper. He sits still, watching warily.

“Beka will you get off my fricking back!” Harper yells as he stomps into the room. He stands in front of the stars, staring at them.

“Harper. Wait. What is your problem?” Beka grabs his shoulder.

Harper shrugs her off and glares. His voice is low and venomous. “Don’t touch me, okay. Keep your hands to yourself.”

“What is with you, Harper?” Beka steps back, looking bewildered. “You’re acting like you don’t know who your friends are?”

“Do I? Do I?” Harper jabs a finger at her face. “My fucking friends left me to die on that ship with those…bastards.”

“You know that’s not true.” Beka stares at him with wide, astonished eyes.

“Isn’t it? No one cared what happened to me. I could have rotted for all you or Dylan cared.” Harper turns sharply back toward the broad window.

“Why are you saying this, Harper? You know it’s not true.”

“Yes it is.”

“What about Tyr? What about Rommie?” Beka demands. “They risked everything just to get you out of that hell hole.”

“Tyr was just feeling guilty. He wanted to repay me for saving his sons. They’re all he cares about any way. And Rommie just wanted a little payback ‘cause the Über Bitches zapped her with that EMP emitter.”

Beka’s eyes widen. “Have you completely lost your mind? Tyr loves you…and you love him…or at least you put on a good show if you didn’t.”

“It’s not the same.” Harper’s voice is bitter as he continues to stare out at the cold glow of the stars. “It can’t be the way it was.”

“Okay, Harper, I’ll play. What are you talking about?” Beka throws up her hands. “Because unless you tell me I am not going to figure it out.”

Harper turns slowly and looks up at Beka. His voice softens. “You don’t know what happened?”

“What are you talking about? Of course I know what happened. The Über Bitches captured you and the kids. You helped the boys get away and you were wounded.” Beka spreads her hands wide. “So? That doesn’t explain why you’re acting like this. You’ve been wounded before.”

Harper turns back, pressing his hands, his forehead against the cold glass of the window. “You don’t know, do you?”

“Know what, Harper?”

“What happened after the boys got free.” Harper’s voice is barely audible even to Nietzschean ears.

“Tell me.” Beka places her hand on Harper’s shoulder.

Harper slides away from her touch, never taking his eyes from the stars. “Remember. Remember what I told you about the Drago-Kazov on Earth? Remember what I told you they did to humans?”

Beka looks confused. “Yeah…you said they kept slaves. They would come to the human settlements and get humans for slave labor. They tortured humans.”

“They did more, Beka. Lots more.” Harper looks over his shoulder. “I told you what happened to me, didn’t I?”

“Yeah. You told me you were caught one night by a group of Dragans. You said they beat you and left you for dead in an alley.”

Harper turns, leaning his back against the glass. He meets her gaze for a second before looking away. “They didn’t just beat me.”

“You mean they…they…raped you?” Beka’s voice is soft with shock. She moves toward him, reaching out. “Oh, Harper! Why didn’t you ever tell me?”

“Because I didn’t want you looking at me with that look of pity you have now, that’s why.” Harper holds up a hand to keep Beka from hugging him. “You think that’s bad. That’s just the condensed version of one of my many nightmares. And you know what, that was so long ago it seems like it happened to a different person. It was so long ago that I should have forgotten it, right? Moved on with my life, right?”

Beka nods. Her eyes are puzzled. “You did…you have.”

“Correction…I had.” Harper stares off into the darkness as if seeing nightmares lurking in the shadows. “Until Katherine thought it would be fun to turn three of her biggest, baddest, Niets on me.”

Beka reaches out and places her hand lightly on Harper’s arm.

Harper endures the touch for a second and eases away. “They branded me.” He holds up his hand. “So I’d know I was a Creek-Shalom slave. Then they took all my clothes and left me naked in a cell. They beat me…hell, that’s a given, right?”

“You don’t have to finish, Harper. I think I know what happened.”

“You’re going to listen!” Harper snaps. “Katherine brought three big, bad, Nietzscheans into my cell and turned them loose on me. They…they…let’s just say that they did their job well. The Creek-Shalom must breed for ruthlessness. Those three made my experience on Earth seem like a walk in the park.”

Beka’s eyes are wide and appalled. “Seamus. That’s enough.”

“You think so? Well let me spell it out to you. I was raped…and not just once. Oh no, those bastards used me over and over and over until I cried and screamed and pleaded with them to stop. But they didn’t. And you know the worst part?”

Beka shakes her head. “No…what was the worst part?”

“The worst part was knowing there were cameras recording every single thing. Knowing that Katherine was making a recording to send to Tyr. That tore me up more than what they did.” Harper moves away from the window and Beka. “I kept thinking how disappointed Tyr was going to be when it saw it. There I was crying and screaming. Not very Alpha. Not worthy to be shieldbrother to an Alpha that’s for sure.”

“Harper, Tyr was almost insane with worry and grief. He doesn’t think less of you.”

Harper snorts. “Now you’ve got the inside track on Tyr Anasazi. You know how he thinks? Damn, you’re amazing Valentine.”

“I’m just saying that Tyr would not think less of you because of something you couldn’t control.”

“Yeah…well…” Harper looks back at Beka. “That shows how much you know.”

“That’s harsh, Harper. You know you’re family to me. I’d go through hell and back for you.”

“But you didn’t, did you?” Harper snaps…then sighs. “I’m sorry, Beka….sorry about this…sorry about Bellerophon. I want to talk to the boys but I see all that leather, the boneblades and I think of those men holding me down, forcing me. I know the boys are not those bastards. I know that in my head. You know? But I have trouble believing it in my heart.”

“What about Tyr?” Beka asks softly. “You’ve got to know that Tyr means you no harm.”

“I know…it’s just…I can’t get past the fear…I’ve tried…it doesn’t go away. Tyr’ll walk towards me and I see the leather gauntlets and the bone blades and I can’t deal. I just cannot deal.” Harper sighs resignedly.

Beka nods and steps back. “I think I see what you’re talking about.”

“Beka, I haven’t slept in days. The nightmares won’t let me rest. I close my eyes and I’m back on that ship. I’m back in that fucking cell and they have me pinned.”

“Have you talked to Tyr about all this?”

“No.” Harper shakes his head.

“Why not?”

“Because…I’m so…ashamed.” Harper moves further away so that his expression is hidden in the shadows.

“Of what? You didn’t ask for any of that to happen. You saved the twins.” Beka follows him grabbing his shoulders. Her voice is fierce. “You saved them because you knew what Katherine and Athena would do to them.”

Harper twists deftly away. “They’d have broken them…then killed ‘em.”

“You kept that from happening. You, Seamus Harper, saved the next generation of Kodiak. That ain’t small potatoes.”

“I wish I could get some sleep.” Harper’s voice reflects his exhaustion as he walks toward the door. “I want to apologize to the boys…but that can wait until tomorrow. They are probably asleep by now.”

“What about Tyr? When are you going to talk to him?” Beka demands.

“I don’t know. Soon…soon.”

“Where are you going?” Beka looks confused.

“I still have some repairs I need to do.”

Beka sighs with exasperation. “Harper. Go to bed. Get some sleep.”

“Weren’t you listening, Beka?” Harper asks softly with his back to her. “I can’t sleep. I don’t feel safe when I sleep. I’m safer when I’m awake.”

“You can’t stay awake forever.”

“Oh I don’t know. Anything’s possible with enough Sparky Cola.” There is a hint of faint amusement in Harper’s voice as he walks out the door.

Beka looks around and sighs. “Great Valentine. How’re you going to fix this?”

Bellerophon watches as she leaves. His hands curl into tight fists on his knees. Now he understands. So, this is the source of Harper’s fear. What can he do to help Harper? Where would Harper feel safest? Bellerophon’s eyes narrow with determination. He knows the one place Harper will feel safe…it’s with Tyr.


Chimaera sighs as he leans back into the pillows plumped up behind him. He doesn’t feel like sleeping. His brother has gone for a walk, leaving him alone in their rooms. He fingers a book but does not read. He just can’t concentrate on the information. What have they done to make Harper so afraid and angry? Harper struck Bellerophon. Chimaera is still amazed by that. How is it possible that Harper would try to hurt one of them?

He looks up as his brother walks into the room. Bellerophon is moving slowly rather than at his usual brisk pace. His brother drops lightly down beside him on his bed. Chimaera closes the book. “It’s late.”

Bellerophon looks over at his brother. “I know. I was up on obs deck.”

“Your cut is healing. Trance must have injected nanobots, right?”

“I saw Harper there.” Bellerophon pushes his long hair back.

Chimaera asks hopefully, “Did he say anything to you?”

“No. He was arguing with Captain Valentine.” Bellerophon picks up the discarded book and absently turns it over in his hands. “I heard the whole thing.”

“What whole thing?” Chimaera sits up. His eyes are wide and curious.

“I heard what happened to Harper on that ship. I know what’s wrong.” Bellerophon closes his eyes as his fingers tighten around the book. “It was so much worse than we imagined.”

“What…what happened?” Chimaera whispers. He touches Bellerophon’s shoulder.

“Those women…Katherine and Athena…had Harper beaten, tortured…and…raped.” Bellerophon whispers.

“What?! No…nononono.” Chimaera shakes his head violently.

“He knew when he sent us away that they were going to hurt him. He did it…to protect us.”

“We should have stayed.” Chimaera fists his hands. “We should have fought.”

“Harper told Captain Valentine that the women would have done the same to us and then had us killed.” Bellerophon stares unseeingly down at the book clutched him his hands.

“But I don’t understand why he’s angry with us.”

“And it’s not the first time that something like that has happened. The Drago-Kazov raped him when he was much younger and living on Earth. You know that fear scent we get when Harper is near? I know what Harper is afraid of.”


“Us. Harper is afraid of us because we remind him of the men who did…that to him.” Bellerophon looks at his brother. His dark eyes are full of worry and hurt.

“We should talk to him…” Chimaera leans forward. He grips his brother’s arm. “Tell him that we love him and that nothing will change that.”

“NO! We’re not supposed to know this. That’s what father has been worried about.” Bellerophon looks away. “There’s more. They sent a recording of Harper…of the…rape…to father. That’s why he’s not been himself.”

“What are we going to do? We’ve got to do something.” Chimaera leans closer, his voice urgent.

“The first thing we need to do is talk to father.” Bellerophon stands up. He tosses the book back on the bed.

“What? Now?” Chimaera glances at the data on the computer panel. Wake his father in the middle of his sleep time?

“Yes. Come on.” Bellerophon pauses at the door, looking over his shoulder at his brother. “Harper says he doesn’t feel safe. He hasn’t been sleeping or eating. But he always felt safe with father, I know it.”

“How are we going to fix this?” Chimaera gets up.

“Let’s go find father.” Bellerophon walks out the door, followed closely by his brother.


Tyr lies on his sofa, staring at the ceiling. He can’t sleep in the bed. It feels too lonely and empty without Harper beside him. He runs a hand over the soft fabric of the sofa. It no longer smells like Harper. He snags the pillow that Harper uses when he sneaks into their rooms. The scent is pleasantly strong. He sighs as he ponders ways of luring Harper back.

Tyr sits up as the door to his quarters opens. The book on his lap slides off and hits the floor. Hope fills him in sudden burst. Is it Harper?

His sons walk in. Tyr hides his disappointment by scooping up the fallen book and setting it on a table. “What are you two doing up so late?”

Chimaera shifts his weight uneasily and looks at his brother. Bellerophon sits on the sofa next to his father. “I was on obs deck earlier. I overheard Harper and Captain Valentine talking. I know…we know what happened to Harper on the Sharpened Claw.”

Tyr nods. He is not surprised that his inquisitive sons have ferreted out the information. He knew it was going to happen sooner or later. He looks sternly at his sons. “You will not mention anything you heard or that you think you know to Harper. Am I understood?”

“Yes sir.” Chimaera responds immediately.

Tyr frowns at Bellerophon. “That applies to both of you.”

Bellerophon nods reluctantly. “Yes sir.”

“Now. Go to bed.”

“But father.” Bellerophon looks at him with eyes full of objections. “Harper is not eating or sleeping. He told Captain Valentine that he doesn’t feel safe. He always seemed to feel safe with you. You need to make him come home.”

Tyr laughs mirthlessly. He wants more than anything for Harper to return to him; to allow him to comfort and take care of his Shield Brother. “You should know by now that no one ‘makes’ Harper do anything.”

“Have you tried tricking him?” Chimaera asks.

Tyr laughs with real amusement this time. Just what he needs, for two younglings to try to school him in trickery and guile. He is far ahead of them on that issue. He stands and embraces his sons, pressing a kiss on each of their foreheads. “Go to bed. I will deal with Harper tomorrow and you two need to rest before beginning the next level of katas.”

The twins eye him in dismay and turn to leave hurriedly. “Goodnight father.”

Tyr walks over to stand by his communications screen. He will not allow this situation to continue. He will have Harper back where the human belongs…one way or another. It is time to see about supplying some motivation for Harper. “Deception. Cunning. Charlemagne Bolivar. Perhaps it’s time I considered his offer. This may serve to work out beneficially for all parties.”


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