Author Topic: Grimm Arrival  (Read 309 times)

Ailis Grimm

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Grimm Arrival
« on: March 17, 2013, 10:26:33 AM »
[size=9]((Contains situations of an adult nature. And is really long.))[/size]

With the initial chaos of Snowstorm Hannibal well and truly over with, the Chief had finally found the time and means to contact the pair he had unintentionally abandoned on Earth in the wake of the disaster that had killed most of his team. His involvement in the clean up of the neighborhood he had holed up in with Ailis and Rory had been rewarded with accommodation in a house that was far more structurally intact than the original derelict they had found, and Rory was thankfully on the mend. It would be a couple of weeks before he was anywhere near fighting fit again, but at least he was well enough now that Ailis could be persuaded to leave her brother to his own devices for a few hours at a time. She hadn't come with her father on this little expedition, however, after being bullied into catching up on some of her sleep.

Besides, Colm Warren didn't believe it would be necessary. He was still capable of dealing damage if he had to, and he knew at least one of the two who were on their way to join him was more than capable in his own way. The portal was an easier journey than the Ark, which was a blessing in itself, and only a matter of seconds passed by before the Chief was standing on the far side, lounging innocently enough against a wall close to the portal itself. For all his seeming relaxation, however, he was alert, tense. He knew people were out to kill him, though he did not truly know for what reason yet. He was just hoping that Reaper, as the man was now known, was on time. Chief didn't want to stay here any longer than was absolutely necessary.

Six weeks of idleness was enough to drive anyone batty, but for Marine Sergeant John "Reaper" Grimm, it was especially maddening. Six weeks in hiding with only his sister for company and no contact with the outside world. It wasn't that he disliked his sister - quite the contrary - but doctors tended to make the worst patients, and even though he'd more than likely saved her life, the scientist in her was still sore at him for destroying all her work, and maybe more importantly, all their parents' work.

As for John, he was a soldier, not a medic, and the last six weeks had been nerve-wracking, at best, both of them anxious to get on with their lives, whatever those lives might be. Neither knew what had happened while they'd been holed up at the safehouse. Six weeks had come and gone without word from Chief, and John had started to worry that something had gone wrong when they'd finally received word. When word had finally arrived, he and Sam had argued, but John had eventually convinced his sister that this was the best course of action, that they really had no choice. She had reluctantly agreed, choosing to put her trust in her brother's judgment and their lives in the hands of the one man he trusted implicitly.

Anxious to move on and worried for his sister's safety, John made it a point to be on time, not wanting to miss Chief and their one and possibly only opportunity to escape. They'd packed their meager belongings and made their way as quickly as possible to the rendezvous point, both of them a bundle of nerves.

The older soldier spotted them almost before they spotted him, pushing nonchalantly out of his lean against the wall, one hand innocently resting in the pocket of his coat. Only a professional would recognize that hand held a gun, ready to fire if necessary. Chief nodded to the Grimm siblings as they approached, jerking his head toward a small space between the church he'd been lounging against and an abandoned garage. "You first, John," he told them, used to giving orders and expecting them to be obeyed. "Non-hostile environment, urban center, keep your weapon slung. Samantha, you'll follow. I'm right behind you. Go."

John's only reply was a nod of his head, putting them both into Chief's hands. He was armed, as well, his own weapon of choice hidden beneath his coat. His glanced darted briefly to his sister, whom he knew had no choice but to do as she was told, at least for now. Any questions either had would have to wait until they reached their destination, wherever that was. It rankled Samantha that John was so quick to follow the man blindly wherever he led, but she had to put her trust in her brother's judgment. She owed him that much. He had saved her life, after all. John stepped through the small space without hesitation, and Sam was quick to follow on her brother's heels. He wasn't getting away from her that easily or quickly. What they found when they emerged from the portal gave them both pause. They sure as hell weren't in Kansas anymore. Or Nevada either.

They'd emerged into a chilly but bustling square, obviously part of a much larger city, seemingly medieval in style but for the technology on display and in use. No one gave them a second glance as they came into sight; indeed, three people stepping out of nowhere was nothing much to be remarked on in this city. There were people of all races moving with purpose around them, any race they could name and a few more besides. Chief stepped up to them, smirking a little at the looks on the siblings' faces. "Welcome to Rhy'Din," he told them a little gruffly. "We've got digs a few blocks on from here - food, clothes, shelter. Sunshine's holding the fort."

"Great," John remarked sarcastically, only partially under his breath as he swung a look around. It was unclear which part of Chief's statement he was responding to, but from the eyeroll Samantha threw Chief's way, it seemed obvious to them both that her brother wasn't exactly eager to meet up with the man's one and only daughter any time soon.

"Where are we?" she asked, taking in their surroundings with an interest that was partially professional.

"Looks like a Renfaire on crack to me," John remarked again, as his gaze swung back around to his companions.

"It's a hub," Chief told them, prepared to take the time to let them get their bearings. He knew there was nowhere safer than Rhy'Din for them, at least right now. "Familiar with the concept of a multi-verse? All roads lead to Rhy'Din. Best and worst kept secret on a thousand worlds, not all of them Earths." He met Sam's eye-roll with a slightly less contained smirk. It was blindingly obvious to everyone what was or wasn't going on between John Grimm and Ailis Warren, and as far as the Chief was concerned, it was only a matter of time. He jerked his head to the south. "This way. Plenty of time for recon when you're settled in."

Samantha seemed to absorb this information more quickly than her brother, or at least, to accept the concept of it, but Chief's explanation only sparked more questions for John. "So, where are we?" he repeated his sister's question, which the man had only half-answered. They were obviously no longer on Earth or any place that was even vaguely familiar to him, outside that of a mission simulator. Rhy'Din was just a word, a name of a place that gave John no point of reference. Chief might as well have told them they were in Timbuktu for all the help his explanation gave him.

Sam's scientific brain absorbed and processed this information more quickly than John's and she beat Chief to an answer. "Another world in another galaxy would be my guess," she postulated.

"And again I say, great," replied John grimly. Well, it was his name, after all.

"Safe," the older soldier added firmly. "This way, kids." He turned to lead them from the little market. It wasn't the Marketplace in Rhy'Din, merely supplying this poorer area with fresh produce at reasonable prices once a week, but it did its job. Chief led the Grimms into a rabbit warren of two and three storey houses, terraced and interconnected by alleyways and gardens, some derelict, some standing, some showing signs of the damage caused by the heavy snow that was still piled high at the sides of the roads. "And safe's something we all need right now. You two have a little explaining to do."

"Snow," John observed, casually. While he might not be a trained scientist like his sister, he had inherited his parents' scientific intellect, choosing to put it to use in the military, rather than in the scientific field. Still, it didn't take a forensic anthropologist to deduce where they were or that they had arrived following what appeared to have been a particularly nasty winter storm.

Sam traded glances with her brother, knowing he was thinking the same thing. Six weeks on their own had left them feeling anxious, worrying they'd been forgotten or worse.

"So do you," John replied quietly to Chief's comment, knowing this wasn't the time or the place just yet. He took the rear, putting Sam between himself and Chief, more out of habit than necessity. He still wasn't quite sure where they were yet and even though Chief had said it was safe, he wouldn't feel safe until he decided that for himself.
[size=9:9aa1933e78][color=darkred:9aa1933e78][b:9aa1933e78][i:9aa1933e78]Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.[/i:9aa1933e78][/b:9aa1933e78][/color:9aa1933e78][/size:9aa1933e78]

Ailis Grimm

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Re: Grimm Arrival
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2013, 10:27:28 AM »
"Full marks for observation." The Chief wasn't known for his cuddly personality, but that was a little acerbic, even for him. He didn't say much as he led them through the warren of buildings, finally pulling up at a sturdy-looking front door. He knocked in a specific pattern, and pulled out a key, unlocking the door and calling through. "Easy, kids, no trouble." Pushing the door open, he reached out to take Sam by the arm and physically push her inside, and would have done the same to John if the man had let him, before stepping in himself and locking the door securely behind them.

The door opened onto a hallway with stairs, at the top of which was crouched a blonde woman sighting down a handgun. She put it up as the Chief locked the door. "Took you long enough."

John stepped inside behind his sister, his military training causing him to immediately take in their surroundings, windows, doors, exits, hiding places, and eventually to the stairs and the woman at the top of them. He said nothing, but from the tense look on his face, there was obviously history of some sort between them. While Sam relaxed at the sight of a familiar and friendly face, John tensed. She'd been the only woman among men for too long. It was nice to have another woman to relate to, even if that woman was at odds with her twin. "You're sure it's safe?" she asked, looking to Chief for an answer. "No one knows we're here?"

"Everyone thinks you're dead," the older man told her confidently. "Made sure of that myself." He glanced between John and his own daughter, standing loose at the top of the stairs, and his jaw set for some reason. "They think we're all dead, too," he added, before raising his head. "Sunshine, where's -"

Ailis didn't let him finish, knowing what the question was. "In the main room," she told her father, tucking her handgun into the back of her jeans as she straightened up and began to walk down the stairs. "Being an ornery bastard, just like his Da." She flashed the Chief a fond smirk, and softened the expression for Sam as she reached the bottom of the stairs. "See you survived. Good on you." As her hand squeezed Sam's shoulder lightly, blue eyes rose to John, the smile gone but the expression oddly far more intimate. "John."

The twins watched this exchange between father and daughter with mixed curiosity. John was trying not to watch Ailis as she descended the stairs, purposely turning his attention to her father and studying his response. Something was wrong, but he couldn't quite put his finger on what yet.

"Thanks to you," Sam replied with a warm smile as Ailis met her at the bottom of the stairs. Thanks to John, too, but she'd already thanked him a dozen times over. She glanced at her brother as Ailis greeted him, feeling the tension mount a hundredfold. She wished they'd just admit their feelings for each other already and get on with it, but any suggestion of that sort always ended with John clamping down on his emotions and stomping out of the room.

"Ailis," John replied, attempting to appear calm and casual and failing miserably. He still couldn't get over the feeling that something was very wrong. "Where's Con?" he asked, out of the blue. Her older brother had been the closest thing John had ever had to a best friend, and he'd sorely missed him these past weeks.

Something almost akin to a growl made itself known from the Chief's throat at John's blunt query, the older man pushing past the three now crowded at the bottom of the stairs and into the main room beyond them.

Left with the task of breaking news that was still only just sinking in, Ailis stiffened, her gaze dropping from John's as her hands clenched uncomfortably. "He's dead," she said, the simple words choking her for a moment.  "They all are. Chief got me and Rory out; the others didn't make it." She shook her head, forcing another smile for Sam. "He's been asking about you since Chief went for you," she told the scientist, nodding toward the main room. "Burnt his back up, but he's healing."

"God," Sam whispered, gasping, her face turning suddenly pale at the news. She didn't know the circumstances yet and didn't have to know. Rory had been asking for her and that was all she needed to know. She hurried after Chief toward the main room without a second glance at her brother, leaving him behind to deal with Ailis and his own reaction to the news on his own.

As for John, his expression was more one of disbelief than shock or grief. He watched as his sister hurried away, turning his gaze back to the bearer of bad tidings. "What do you mean, dead? Got you out of where? What the hell are you talking about?" he asked, needing answers and needing them in a hurry.

She turned away, almost as though she were about to go back up the stairs, walk away from having to answer his questions. But she stopped herself, her eyes fixed on the threadbare carpet covering the stairs, her hand clenched with white knuckles on the bannister between them. "We got ambushed," Ailis said in a tight voice. "Someone took out a bounty on us, it's the only explanation. One team couldn't have done it alone - there were three of them, John. Three twelve-man teams, to take down one eight-man team by surprise. As far as they're concerned, they got their payday. We're all dead."

He was about to reach out and grab hold of her arm, to stop her from turning her back on him and walking away from him for what seemed like the umpteen-thousandth time when she paused on the stairs to explain in a voice that told him more about what had happened than her explanation. "Jesus Christ," he muttered upon hearing her out. For his own part, he didn't turn ghostly pale like his sister. He was a soldier, well acquainted with death. Still, so many deaths at once and of those he'd once thought of as an extended family of sorts was a bit much, even for him. Con was dead? All of them were dead, except... His gaze darted back to Ailis, his stomach flip-flopping inside him, a wave of relief washing over him that it hadn't been her, mixed with the anguish of regret for his friends, her brothers. He took a heavy lean against the wall, suddenly needing to sit down.

"We nearly lost Ror, too." The heaviness in her voice contrasted in an ugly manner with the natural lightness of the Irish accent that colored every word she spoke. She didn't walk away, wood protesting on the edge of hearing beneath her fingers as she gripped the bannister, her head turning toward John as he thumped against the wall. "Con saved my life," she told him quietly, not quite able to meet the grim gaze she knew remarkably well. "Threw me bodily out through the back window of our truck when the grenade landed." She twisted, lowering herself to sit on the stairs, resting her forehead against the bannister. "We'd have been with you in a couple of days if they'd not found us. Glad to say they found us before we caught up to you."

He took this all in stoically, at least on the outside, the only visible reaction a clenching of his jaw and his continued lean against the wall, as though his legs didn't want to hold his weight up any longer. He watched as she turned to face him, the story coming out in bits and pieces. Though he knew she was strong, her grief was palpable, weighing heavily between them. Five brothers all dead in the space of one day. He wondered how she could bear it, but already knew the answer. Con had died saving her life, and to give up would have insulted the sacrifice he'd chosen to make. Besides, she had another brother and a father who needed her. And him, but he didn't want to think about that now. Something she'd said caused him to flinch and straighten a little, almost defensively. "What do you mean?" he asked, sensing her grief and her weariness. Was she saying the men had been after them or just that she was glad they hadn't been there when it had happened?

Ailis closed her eyes, holding in the sigh that would have given away just how hard it was to keep upright and breathing without tears right now. Three weeks wasn't long enough to mourn the loss of almost everyone who'd ever meant anything to her. "Chief overheard some of the comms chatter," she said, her voice dull, almost lifeless. "RRTS tactics. UAC funding. Retrieval of UAC property and personnel by any means necessary."

There had been a time when he'd wondered why she called her father Chief, instead of the more familiar Dad, but he'd stopped wondering a long time ago. He knew her better than anyone thought, better than even he gave himself credit for, and could almost read her thoughts and feelings just by means of careful observation. He knew she was hurting right now more than she'd ever let him or anyone else see, but that wasn't his primary concern at the moment. Her explanation hit him like a ton of bricks.
[size=9:9aa1933e78][color=darkred:9aa1933e78][b:9aa1933e78][i:9aa1933e78]Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.[/i:9aa1933e78][/b:9aa1933e78][/color:9aa1933e78][/size:9aa1933e78]

Ailis Grimm

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Re: Grimm Arrival
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2013, 10:28:23 AM »
Someone had made the connection between them and had gone in for the kill, hoping to what? To retrieve his sister? It was the only thing that made sense. No one knew about him yet, and if he played his cards right, no one ever would. The weight of knowing that his closest friends had died because of them came as a heavy shock, and he found himself dropping heavily onto the stairs beside her. "Christ," he muttered again, looking a little shell-shocked at the news, feeling dumb and dead inside, the gravity of it almost too much to take in all at once. "I'm sorry," he muttered, knowing he could never make it up to her, no matter how hard he tried, no matter what he said.

"So am I." She was silent for a long moment, concentrating on her breathing; in, out, slow and steady, forcing down the reaction to telling that news she didn't dare give a voice to. She knew if she started crying now, she wouldn't stop, not for a long time, and that made her useless. She could feel the shock radiating from John as he thumped down beside her, part of her wanting to give into the more delicate side of her nature and demand that he give her the comfort her father couldn't. But she wouldn't do that to him. "It's not your fault," she said quietly, raising her head from the bannister to look at him. "We made the call to take the mission, we chose to help you rather than hand you in. No one could have predicted UAC would pour so much into getting their hands on Sam. But the upside is, they think we're all dead. Whatever they wanted, they don't know it's still out there."

The upside. Five of her brothers were dead. He wasn't sure he was seeing an upside to that. It was only a matter of time before Sam found out why. Rory might be telling her right now or Chief. How would she take it? Knowing the greedy corporation she'd worked for would stop at nothing to get their hands on her research, even resorting to cold-blooded murder to get it. John realized, not for the first time, that it wasn't just Sam's life that was at stake here or her research or their parents' research. His own life was as much at stake as hers, or more accurately, his freedom.

If anyone knew what he'd become... He didn't want to finish that thought and so he didn't, pushing it aside, at least for now, until he had some time alone to think it through. "They can't ever find out, Ailis. It's that important." Important enough to have sacrificed five brothers? He wasn't so sure she'd see it that way, but if they ever found out the truth, he knew the nightmare would start all over again, and he couldn't allow that. His fingers twitched of their own accord, wanting to reach over and take her hand, let her know in some way that she wasn't alone, but he resisted that urge, sensing nothing good would come of it. Christ, he wasn't even human anymore.
   
She didn't need to be told that. Just the fact that he felt the need to say it, that he seemed to think she wouldn't have grasped that essential piece of information, was enough to spark her from sadness to anger. "It had better be f*cking important, John," she snapped at him, jerking up onto her feet suddenly. "Five of my brothers died for it." She turned abruptly, boots thumping hard on the stairs as she jogged upward. If they were going to go there with this conversation, the illusion of privacy would be nice.

Anger flared inside him at her outburst, wanting to pull her back around to face him and ask if she thought he didn't know that already, if she thought he didn't feel the sting of their deaths any less than she did, but he didn't, couldn't do that. Not to her, not today. Instead, he merely stood up, watching as she abandoned him. Again. Turning her back on him, not for the first or probably the last time. Running away, Sam had called it. Both of them too afraid to admit what was staring them in the face. But not today. He would have offered some comfort if she'd asked for it, if she'd even hinted that it was welcome, but she hadn't. Her grief had turned to anger, and he couldn't blame her for that. Her brothers had died because of them, and he wondered if she held it against him, like she seemed to hold so many other things against him.

He moved to his feet, watching as she retreated up the stairs, unsure whether or not to follow. He knew if he did there would be more angry words, possible accusations. What was really needed was an explanation that there hadn't been time for before. Con had known a little, but Con was gone now and had taken the little bit John had told him to an untimely grave. The weight of that grief had him retaking his seat on the stairs again, fingers shoved through his hair as he leaned an elbow against a knee to hold his head up. It had only been six weeks. How could so much have changed in six weeks?

Her footsteps stopped at the top of the stairs, the pause just long enough to tell him that she'd turned back to look down at him. "Well?" she said, not so much angry as tense. Tense with emotion that wasn't wholly fueled by the losses she'd faced. "Are you going to sit there and wallow, or are you going to come and have this out with me? You can't shout at the Chief, and I'll have your balls if you try it with Ror right now. And I'm not going to snap at Sam, so you get your arse up here and actually face me for once, John Grimm."

"I'm not the one who's always running away," he countered, moving to his feet and turning back around to face her, angry at the accusation that he was the one who was avoiding her, when he felt it was the other way around. Truth be told, there was enough fault to go around on both sides, each of them as stubborn as the other. He didn't really want to have this argument now, and yet, up the stairs he went, his boots thumping as hard as hers had only moments before, warning those in the main room that the eventual meltdown between the pair may have finally reached its head, which might or might not be a bad thing.

Blue eyes flashed warningly at him as he thumped up after her, taking the challenge she'd laid down harder than she'd expected. It probably wouldn't have helped to know that in the main room below, despite the sombre atmosphere, her father and brother had started snorting with laughter the moment those heavy footfalls were answered. "Funny how when I do it, I'm running away, but when you do it, it's just a strategic retreat." Ailis made her thoughts known on that little accusation fairly quickly. She knew she backed off a lot when it came to John; he should have known better than to accuse her of running, though. She slammed in through the furthest door - a bedroom, sparsely furnished but serviceable - and turned to face him, hands on her hips. "Now are you going to tell me what the hell is going on, or are you going to make me guess?"

He heard the laughter echoing in the main room below them, but it only put him more on the defensive, not even sparing a moment to think what his sister might be saying about all this. He really didn't want to argue with Ailis right now, not when they were both reeling from the loss, which he knew was killing her inside, despite her show of bravado. Well, if she wanted to take it out on someone, it might as well be him. He snorted as he followed her into the room, not bothering to shut the door behind him, not really caring what the others overheard below them just yet. "You couldn't guess, even if you wanted to," he challenged. Not unless Con had told her, and he had no way of knowing whether he had or not. She might know bits and pieces, but there was no way she knew everything. No one did, but himself and Sam.

"Oh, so not only am I a coward, I'm stupid as well," she snapped, gesticulating wildly with one flailing hand. "Thank you very much, John. Is there anything else you'd like to get off your chest about me, or are you planning on handing them out slowly so you can watch me fall apart at your leisure?" Pacing away, she turned back to him, deliberately removing the gun from her jeans and dropping the magazine from its place. Disarming herself entirely. "I think UAC found something on Olduvai. I think whatever it was got out of control. And I think that because she's the last survivor of the scientific research team, Sam's the only one who knows the ins and outs of what it was and what went wrong. So ..." Ailis let out a huff of breath, her face red with embarrassed anger. "How stupid am I now?"

"I never said you were stupid," he argued, muttering, "Just like a woman to put words in my mouth." He knew as soon as he said it that he was probably in trouble, but he just couldn't help himself. His sister, his... whatever Ailis was, and his mother before them both, all of them always trying to tell him what he was thinking and feeling when none of them ever had the slightest clue. Or so he thought.

There was barely a split second between the words coming out of his mouth and her reaction. "What?!" The blow, when it came, wasn't a ladylike slap, or a manly punch. It was a bony knuckled precision jab to his chin, with as much power as she could put behind it. And it still hurt like the blazes. She let out a yelp, fully aware of how feminine it sounded, and skipped away, shaking out her hand with a wince. "Care to rephrase that?"
[size=9:9aa1933e78][color=darkred:9aa1933e78][b:9aa1933e78][i:9aa1933e78]Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.[/i:9aa1933e78][/b:9aa1933e78][/color:9aa1933e78][/size:9aa1933e78]

Ailis Grimm

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Re: Grimm Arrival
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2013, 10:29:12 AM »
The jab was well-aimed and connected with its target, forcing his head sideways as he stumbled back, feeling it but only briefly before his quickened ability to heal was dealing with the pain. With his heightened senses and reaction-time, he could have easily caught her hand or avoided the blow, but he'd sensed a need in her to blow off some steam, and there wasn't much harm in letting himself be the target. It was far better than chancing her going off on Sam or doing something stupid that might cause herself harm. "No," he replied bluntly, rubbing his fingers against his jaw, the ache quickly fading. He frowned a little at her yelp, wondering if maybe he should have ducked. She'd hurt herself more than she'd hurt him. "Let me see your hand," he told her, taking a step toward  her.

It was almost an anti-climax. After weeks of holding herself together, of refusing to openly show just how badly the loss of her brothers had cut her, all it took was John Grimm refusing to take offense at being punched. If only he'd stayed angry, if only he'd responded in kind. But no, he had to show concern for her. Ailis backed up a step or two, her expression crumpling as unbidden tears suddenly flooded from her eyes, her bruised hand cupped protectively for a moment by the other against her stomach. "Why can't you just hit me back?" she demanded, her voice weak now as the grief finally came shuddering forth. Her hand slapped against his chest, hardly a firm hit at all, pushing at him as she found herself sobbing, and quite suddenly, she wasn't standing anymore. Ailis Warren pitched down onto her knees, wracked with sorrowful tears and deeply embarrassed that it was this man who had found the crack to let them out.

"I'm not going to hit you, Ailis," his voice turned oddly soft in reply to hers. Why the hell did she want him to hit her? "Just show me your goddamned..." He broke off as she gave in to the grief, and his heart sank. This wasn't quite the reaction he was expecting or hoping for. He didn't budge an inch, even as she made a weak attempt to push him away, instead catching her in his arms as she sank to the floor, softening her fall. There were only so many ways this could go, but he couldn't turn his back on her now, especially not now. Suddenly, he was on the floor beside her, pulling her into his embrace, his heart aching for her, for her family, for himself. "Just let it go. Holding it inside all the time will only make it worse," he told her in an uncharacteristically soft voice, at least for him, a voice that had previously been reserved for his sister alone.

For all the closeness she shared with her brothers and father, it had been years since Ailis had let anyone just hold her. It was that, more than anything, that brought the tears bubbling up, kept them overflowing. For once, she let herself feel everything, she let herself acknowledge the gentler part of her soul that was screaming in pain. And through it all, she held onto John, curled into the embrace he'd given her without needing to be asked, the comfort he had thought she should have asked for.

He had no words of wisdom or comfort. He wouldn't insult her or cheapen her pain by telling her he understood how she felt or that her brothers were in a better place now. Death was death, and it was as simple as that. There was little comfort in it, however it happened. He'd cheated death once, his sister mostly making the decision for him, but Ailis knew nothing of that yet. If he had his wish, she'd never know at all, but it was probably only a matter of time before she found out. He gave her what she needed, what she wouldn't ask for, holding her there as long as she needed him, as long as she'd let him, trying to distance himself and not feel a thing, let his training take over; but this was Ailis - the one person other than his sister who could always see right through him, even if he would never admit it.

She couldn't have said how long she cried for. It could have been seconds or days of slowly bleeding out the worst of the pain that was now such an indelible part of her psyche. But reality was more mundane ... just barely an hour after the storm had begun, it was over, ending quickly. No more tears, no more anger. Just a shivering girl in a woman's body, holding on tightly to someone who had held onto her through it all and not once walked away.

In that hour, he'd somehow managed to get her to the bed and to get his gun off and set aside to join her on the bedside table, never once unwrapping at least one arm from around her, steering her toward the bed more for her own comfort than his own. It was a dangerous position to be in, and he knew it, but he cared about her too much, respected her too much to take advantage of her vulnerability and her grief. He could only imagine what she was feeling, remembering the anger and anguish he'd felt at his own parents' deaths, sharing in her grief at the loss of a friend who he'd considered a brother. He wasn't going to insult her intelligence by telling her it was going to be all right because he knew it was a lie. It was never going to be all right. Her brothers were dead and they weren't coming back. Nothing and no one would ever bring them back, and nothing he could say or do would ever make it all better. But it would get a little easier, with time.

After another while, which seemed long but wasn't truly more than a couple of minutes, she lifted her head, taking one shaking hand from him to wipe the water from her face as she sniffled quietly. "God," she managed in a hoarse voice. "Trust you to be the one who makes me fall to pieces." It wasn't an accusation; it was more of a thank you, though she was unlikely to actually say the words, embarrassed by her outburst. "How's your jaw?"

He helped her with that, despite his fear of touching her, afraid where it might lead, brushing the tears from her face with a surprisingly gentle touch, considering his chosen profession. "Is that such a bad thing? That it's me." He thought maybe it was a good thing. She could trust him not to speak a word of it to anyone, and he'd thought she probably needed it. "I'm fine. Don't worry about me."

"It's a bit late to tell me that." Despite the tremble in her voice, the blotched redness on a face wet still with tears, she smiled, something warmer than the smiles she had given Sam when they had first arrived. Her cheek turned into the gentle brush of his fingers against her skin, unconsciously bidden by the unspoken connection she'd always thought she'd been so careful to keep under wraps. "I thought I'd lost you, too."

How should he respond to that? His thumb brushed absently against her cheek, more out of a deeper sense of affection than the need to dry her tears. There seemed to be an unspoken connection between them that both were aware of but had chosen not to acknowledge or speak of, though everyone around them seemed to recognize it. He arched a single brow at her quiet confession. "Why would you think that?"

"Because they were after Sam, and we couldn't get to you without giving your position away," Ailis told him quietly, swallowing the thickness in her throat even as the flush on her cheeks deepened in answer to his touch. "And I knew if they had reached you ... you'd be dead. I knew you would, because in the same position, I'd die to protect my brothers." She held his gaze steady for a long moment, wondering if she really was about to admit to a feeling she hadn't yet decided she should tell him about. "I can't lose you on top of everyone else, John. I won't."

He pulled her close again, whether because he thought she needed it again or because he wanted to avoid her gaze or both. If she kept looking at him the way she was, he was going to end up telling her everything, and he wasn't sure yet if that was a good idea or a bad one. It might relieve her worries about losing him a little, or it might make him a science experiment. "You're not going to lose me." He tried to reassure her as gently as he could, touched by her confession. He already knew she cared about him - that much was obvious, though she had a funny way of showing it sometimes.

There was a fine line between love and hate, and that Celtic temper of hers always seemed to flummox him when it flared up unexpectedly. Yet she could flare up and then forget the disagreement, never holding it against him no matter what had been said. Perhaps that was why they'd never held a long silence, even after some truly mammoth shouting matches. Hugged into him once again, Ailis frowned a little even as he reassured her. He sounded too confident of that assurance, making her wonder what he wasn't saying. But now wasn't the time for more accusations. "Nearly did," she pointed out. "Good thing you were already in that lift when the Ark blew."
[size=9:9aa1933e78][color=darkred:9aa1933e78][b:9aa1933e78][i:9aa1933e78]Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.[/i:9aa1933e78][/b:9aa1933e78][/color:9aa1933e78][/size:9aa1933e78]

Ailis Grimm

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Re: Grimm Arrival
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2013, 10:29:57 AM »
He'd gone over that particular event in his head more times than he could count. He'd have preferred to have gone back through on his own, but Con and the others had insisted on accompanying him, insisting they were there to help. He didn't really want their help and wasn't even sure if he'd needed it, but he'd accepted it anyway, almost getting Rory killed in the process. He hadn't forgiven himself for that and probably never would, wondering if it wouldn't be better for everyone if he'd sent Sam up in the lift and blown the Ark, cutting off his own escape, along with the possibility of anyone ever finding the place again. But what was done was done. He was a walking science experiment that no one could ever find out about, or at least, no one that couldn't be trusted. The problem was that while he trusted Ailis, he wasn't sure how she'd feel about him if she found out the truth. "Yeah," he replied, disentangling himself from her embrace at last and pulling away a little, as she seemed to have regained her composure.

"Don't do that." For a moment, she tightened her grip on him, before remembering his aversion to being touched and letting him go. She shook her head as she sat back, raising both hands to finish the job of wiping her face dry, grateful that the heat of her outburst was receding from her skin. "Why do you do that, anyway?" she asked. "Just when it looks like you might be feeling something a bit softer, you clam up and push people away. I'm not an idiot, John. I know there's something you're not telling me, but I'm not going to push. Not unless it puts my kin in danger again."

Because it hurts too much, he thought. It hurts to lose the ones you love. It was easier to not let anyone get close, not let anyone in, not let anyone care, but it was lonely. Sam had nearly given up hope for him ever letting anyone in - nearly, but not quite. She knew her brother too well, and she knew that, no matter how brave he tried to appear, he was afraid of letting anyone besides her get close, afraid of getting hurt. It was easier being alone. He got to his feet, avoiding Ailis' gaze, turning to reclaim the handgun he'd set on the table, idly checking the safety to make sure it was on, though he already knew it was. "Sometimes I think I should have died in that explosion."

It was Ailis' turn to raise a brow, pushing herself up from the bed to face him even as he turned away. "Not an answer," she told him, her hands twitching where they hung loose at her sides. "Don't make me punch you again, it bloody hurt the first time."

"Nobody makes you do anything, Ailis. Didn't anyone ever tell you that?" He almost laughed at the irony of that statement. No one had forced him to become what he'd become, though he had a feeling if he'd told Sam no, she'd have stuck him with that needle anyway. If he'd turned into a monster, like the others, would she have been able to kill him, or would he have eventually killed her? He tucked the handgun back into its hiding place beneath his jacket, turning to face her, his eyes expressing his own grief at what had happened and his sympathy. "I'm sorry about what happened to Rory. He shouldn't have been there. None of them should have been there. None of them should have died because of us."

"They didn't die because of you," she said, her jaw setting in an angry line for a moment, warning against pursuing this line of conversation. "We might have been attacked because of our connection to you, but they made choices. Con could have saved himself; instead he saved me. Don't take that away from him." She stepped close to John, her hands rising to hold onto the edges of his jacket, not willing to let him retreat this time. "You're still not answering the question, John."

"Which question, Ailis?" he asked, knowing full well which question she wanted answered. She'd only asked one, after all. To his credit, he didn't pull away from her this time, hazel green eyes meeting her gaze steadily. Strangely, he was almost more comfortable with her when she was raging at him. Her tears had gotten to him, reaching into his chest and tearing at his heart. "Con did the right thing. I would have done the same," he said, but whether he was talking about Ailis or his sister was unclear, maybe both. Though he was the younger of the twins, it was only by a few minutes, and like Con, he'd always been a protective brother, even if he was a younger one.

"You know which question I mean." Her fingers tightened in his jacket, preparing for the inevitable tug, the wish to turn away, as she held his gaze with calm confidence of her own, anger still bubbling just beneath the surface. She didn't want to talk about the brother who had decided her life was more important than his, knowing she'd carry the guilt of that death until her own, whenever it might occur. "Why do you push people ... why do you push me away?"

Her question, asked for the second time, more pointedly this time made him furrow his brows, looking down at her with a look that seemed unsure why she was asking, why she cared enough to ask. The problem wasn't so much the question as it was the answer. No one had ever asked him before, not even Samantha. "I don't know. It just seems easier that way." He didn't tug himself away from her grasp, not this time, not yet anyway, waiting to see what her reaction would be, completely confused by this sudden change in her demeanor. It was times like these when he usually found a reason - an excuse, Sam would say - to walk away, to avoid the question altogether.

Still that blue gaze stayed steady, so unexpectedly calm after the storm of her tears, locked to his as he offered up what had to be the most pitiful excuse for his behavior she had ever heard. Not entirely unpredictable, but still pitiful. "Bollocks," was her reply, calling him out as a liar even if he hadn't realized it himself. "Try again. Or shut me up. One or the other, that's the only way you're going to stop me from digging."

"I don't know, Ailis," he repeated, more vehemently this time. He really didn't, or at least, didn't know how to put it into words. "After Mom and Dad died..." He shrugged his shoulders, not really wanting to talk about that, not having talked about that in many years. "I felt angry all the time. I joined the Marines to forget about that, put my anger to good use, but I don't want to always feel angry. I don't know if I want to feel anything." He knew it wasn't much of an explanation as explanations go, but it was the best he could do for now. He was saying more than he wasn't with his admission. Too afraid to let himself feel anything, to care about anyone, too afraid of losing someone he loved again, even though he had. Con was proof of that. "I miss him, too, you know," he said, his voice tight, though he refused to give in to the feelings that were hovering just beneath the surface.

She listened, as much to what was left unsaid as what he managed to put into words. She heard the reluctance, felt the fear, and knew it was just an exaggerated reflection of how anyone felt, built up over years of keeping everyone at arms length. "So everyone else has to feel, everyone else has to let go ... everyone but you?" she asked, wondering whether or not he'd ever put two and two together when it came to her place in her family unit. She wasn't just a physical medic, after all - there were psychological scars all soldiers dealt with that she had been trained to see and treat, if she could. "That doesn't work, John. It just leaves you broken and isolated. And you're anything but alone."

"What do you want me to say, Ailis? What do you want me to do? Do you want me to turn into a sobbing wreck? So long as Sam is safe, so long as you are safe, nothing else matters. I don't matter. I'm grateful that you came and rescued us, for Sam's sake, but you should have left me there. I'm a ticking time-bomb, Ailis. If anyone finds out the truth..." He broke off, saying a lot more than he'd planned on saying. That was when he chose to tug away, to pull himself away from her, before he said too much, though she was certainly going to find out sooner or later, if not from him, then from Samantha. "I should have died on Mars. It's as simple as that." He turned his back on her to make his way toward the door.

"Now you're the one running away." She hadn't missed that her own safety came after Sam's in his mind, not understanding what he meant by being a ticking time bomb at all. As he turned away, she twisted, catching up a discarded boot that lay by the bed, and threw it over his shoulder. It hit the door, slamming it before he could walk through, giving her a chance to catch up while he was cornered. "You turn around and you look at me right now. I tell you that I can't lose you, and you come back with you should have died on Mars? Don't you even try to walk away from that."
[size=9:9aa1933e78][color=darkred:9aa1933e78][b:9aa1933e78][i:9aa1933e78]Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.[/i:9aa1933e78][/b:9aa1933e78][/color:9aa1933e78][/size:9aa1933e78]

Ailis Grimm

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Re: Grimm Arrival
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2013, 10:30:42 AM »
Actually, the two women in his life were about dead even in his book. He'd never thought to rank them and if he had been asked, he wouldn't know how to answer that, loving them differently but equally. That was the problem though, wasn't it? The one thing he didn't want to admit, though Sam already knew. He was in love with Ailis Warren and had been for a long time. He flinched as the boot came flying over his shoulder, spinning around to face her, his face coloring with anger as she denied his retreat. It would have been simple enough to keep going, but she had irked him now, like she always did, it seemed, always poking at things that were better left alone. "I should have!" he retorted, his voice a little harsher than he intended. "I should have died, just like those... those things we found there. I almost did. If it wasn't for Sam..." He snapped his mouth shut, once again saying too much without thinking. She was baiting him.

Ailis glared at him, advancing until he simply didn't have room to turn and open the door. He'd always been bigger and stronger than her; he could have shifted her away easily, but like her brothers, John Grimm had never raised a hand to her even when he was angry. She didn't think he would now. "I don't have the faintest idea what you're talking about," she reminded him. "And as I recall, that's what I was asking about before you got to witness me crying like a child." This time her hands fisted in the lapels of his jacket, pulling him to her until they were nose to nose. "Don't you ever say you're better off dead, or we're better off without you. Sam doesn't believe that, I bloody well don't believe it. Don't be such a selfish arse."

She was close enough that he could have kissed her, and he was sorely tempted to do it, but that would be too easy, and she would have enjoyed it too much. Or maybe she wouldn't. Maybe she'd slap him; he wasn't quite sure. There had always been this tension between them, right from the very first meeting. Sam had said it was because she liked him, but he had his doubts. Still, she had admitted that she couldn't lose him - that had to count for something. Was it just her grief talking or was it something more? "You think I'm being selfish?" he echoed, chuckling ironically at her statement. "That's funny, Ailis. That's f*cking hysterical. I'm selfish." He attempted to pull away from her again, but he didn't really have anywhere else to go.

"Don't you pull away from me -" She wasn't entirely sure what happened next. He was pulling away, she pulled harder on his jacket, and without quite meaning to, she kissed him. It wasn't a gentle kiss, either. It was hard, determined, demanding, and yes, selfish. And she couldn't make herself stop, even when she realized what she was doing. It might have been the grief, it might have been the anger, but underneath it all was the lingering potency of that indefinable something that had been there ever since they'd first met.

He wasn't sure how it had happened, but suddenly, unexpectedly, she was kissing him. It wasn't like what he'd expected at all. It wasn't soft or gentle, tender or loving. It was a searing kiss, branding his lips with a heat that demanded his attention, and he found himself reacting to that kiss in ways he couldn't have predicted, a deeper something flaring to life inside him - need, desire, longing, grief, hope, loneliness, passion, all wrapped up in that one kiss. He cupped her face in his hands, turning his head slightly to fit himself to her lips, the kiss he returned just as passionate, just as demanding, letting loose the burning desire he'd been denying for so long.

Somehow, he was kissing her back, and that just made it harder to ignore the maelstrom she'd let loose without conscious intention. Just as well she'd slammed the door. Breathing him in as her lips parted to taste him, deepening the sparking passion that had flared between them with just a touch, she let her hands loosen from his jacket, sliding up, forcing their way between his arms to grip his collar instead as she felt some barrier she'd held in place for a long time begin to shatter. Ailis felt herself soften, closing the distance between them with a half step that would either send him running or bring him closer. She didn't know which he would do, a little afraid that it would be the former. There was no guarantee she would be able to forgive him if he tried to push her away now.

He was taken completely off guard by the kiss, but not unpleasantly so. There'd been an unspoken attraction between them for a long time, a palpable tension between them that neither seemed to realize everyone else noticed. The time had come to make a decision, to weigh the pros and cons, but it wasn't his brain that was making the decisions, but his heart and his body. Somehow he knew if he walked away from her now, it would be over between them before it began. His head was telling him one thing, but his heart another; his body reacting to the undeniable heat generated by one simple but devastating kiss. He dropped his hands from her face as her hands came up to tug him closer, and he reached behind him to turn the lock in the door, ensuring their privacy for the foreseeable future.

It wasn't as though the others wouldn't guess what was happening, but if they had any sense of self preservation, none of them would ever mention it to the pair now grappling with one another on the other side of a locked door. Ailis, for all she was suddenly awash with the desire she hadn't truly been aware of keeping under wraps for such a long time, abruptly broke the kiss as she heard the lock click over, her hands tightening in his collar as she locked her gaze to his. Breathless, she stared up at him silently, her eyes saying more than any words could. There was pleading and hope and the flicker of something far deeper than mere affection, mixed within the wild turmoil of desire, of the need to be vulnerable with someone she trusted so well. That gaze flickered to his lips momentarily before rising once again, as much an invitation as a warning that if he didn't kiss her, he wasn't going to have any choice but to be kissed again.

He met her gaze with eyes that mirrored her feelings, some primal urge waging war inside him now that she'd dared to cross the line and tear down the wall they'd built between each other. He kissed her again, harder this time, deeper, even as he tried in vain to resist. But why resist? Why had he been resisting for so long? What was he afraid of? She was just a woman, after all, and one he'd secretly cared for too long. He kissed her again and again, before breaking away for just a moment to look into her eyes again, unable to hide the conflict that was waging war inside him from his face. "This isn't a good idea," he told her, even as he kissed her again, his hands moving to work the buttons of her shirt loose. The hell with it. He'd worry about the consequences later.

"I don't have good ideas," was her answer, muffled between hungry kisses that peppered not only his lips, but his chin and jaw, messy and not all that accurate. "I have great ideas." As his hands eased her buttons loose, her own finally released his collar, daring to actually touch him. Long fingers slid through the short buzz of hair at the back of his neck, lips finding his once again in something that was just as passionate as before but showing the barest edge of tenderness as they began to learn one another. The other hand smoothed down his chest, under his jacket, reaching around to take the gun from where he had tucked it, setting it down beside her own. Disarmed but still deadly, and able to still her with a single glance, she agreed and disagreed with him in the same breath, tasting everything he offered her, offering more in the same moment.

He'd imagined what she tasted like a thousand times in his head, but even in his wildest dreams, he'd hadn't anticipated this. He let her take the gun from him, which of itself spoke volumes. No one touched his weapon, not even Sam. That he allowed Ailis to take it from him showed how much he trusted her. He peeled her shirt back, his fingers grazing her bare shoulders. He answered her words with more kisses, his lips tasting hers as he threw her shirt aside and eased her toward the bed.

Reluctant though she was to take her hands from him, she didn't have so many clothes she was willing to let him tear what she was wearing, forced to drop her hands from him to let the shirt slip from her arms. But she wasn't letting him have everything his own way. Her hands pushed beneath his jacket, tucking under the fabric, over his shoulders, stripping the thick material from him to toss it in the same direction her shirt went. And without quite realizing it, she was obeying the subtle orders in the way he touched her, the way he steered her to the bed, answering each suggestion of movement in the tension of a leg or hand until the bed hit the back of her knees. In the split second of that almost stumble, her lips left his, leaving a tender sigh to warm him before her kisses returned. "John ..."
[size=9:9aa1933e78][color=darkred:9aa1933e78][b:9aa1933e78][i:9aa1933e78]Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.[/i:9aa1933e78][/b:9aa1933e78][/color:9aa1933e78][/size:9aa1933e78]

Ailis Grimm

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Re: Grimm Arrival
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2013, 10:31:29 AM »
There they were, beside the bed, on the verge of shattering the last barrier that stood between them, and she was whispering her name. Was it a plea to stop or to keep going? She hadn't stopped him yet, and had, in fact, seemed to be encouraging him. They hadn't yet gone so far that there was no turning back, hovering on the brink. Did she want him to stop? In another minute, there would be no stopping. "Don't..." he breathed back, reaching to run his fingers through her hair, fingers brushing her cheek in a caress that was surprisingly tender. "Don't say anything," he told her, his lips moving against hers with a rush of warm breath, as his hands skimmed her sides before sliding beneath the hem of her shirt, fingers warm against her flesh.

When had this changed from hard passion to soft tenderness? Why hadn't she expected it to shift so amazingly from one to the other? Ailis couldn't have said either way, loosing the first sound that was purely feminine, totally affectionate, as he found the warmth of her skin beneath the thin tank she wore. The band that had been holding her hair had given up trying to stay in place, snapping free uselessly as he ran his fingers through the pale blonde strands, sending the length tumbling about her face and shoulders, reinforcing the woman beneath the soldier her father had made her into. Something brave inside her gave into his coaxing, and her hands rose, her arms lifting above her head in startlingly gentle submission, giving her consent to what was inevitable.

She was surprisingly compliant, or maybe not so surprising, allowing him to peel the last layer of cloth away from her skin. He tugged her t-shirt over her head and tossed it aside. His gaze moved over the soft curve of her breasts, the heat of his desire flaring inside him, wanting to touch her, taste her, discover all of her secrets. He lifted a hand to trace the curve of one breast with a fingertip, almost in wonder of her, like he'd never seen anything so beautiful before. It wasn't that he'd never been with a woman, but he'd never wanted a woman so much as he wanted her.

She trembled with the soft touch he brushed over her skin, ivory turning to pale pink under his gaze, selfishly delighted that he liked what he saw. So many fantasies spent on him, but somehow she'd never wandered past the first kiss, quietly romantic in the hidden part of her. This unexpected gentleness was as shocking as the first flash of desire, and no less powerful for the soft tenderness implied in his eyes and touch. Don't say anything, he'd told her, asking for her silence in this moment, but she found she couldn't be completely silent. A husky groan liberated itself from her throat as she watched his face, answering the ripple of pleasure that came at his touch with a sound meant for his ears only. Her own hands, fallen idle for a long moment as he looked her over, found new purpose in a skim of their own, insinuating her fingertips beneath the dark hem of his own t-shirt to brush against the heat of his skin.

He flinched at her touch, if only for a moment, as if her touch burned or he just wasn't prepared for it. The only person he'd allowed to touch him in recent years was his sister, and even then, it was rare, a momentary show of affection or reassurance, choosing to hold himself apart and keep to himself, even from her. This was a new level of trust for him, allowing her to peel away the layers of clothing that covered him and kept his safe, exposing himself, letting her see that part of him that no one had seen in many years. It was like they were slowly peeling away the layers that kept them separate and apart, tearing down that final barrier between them. What would come of it, he didn't know, but he had given her his trust, and there was no turning back now. He tugged his own shirt over his head. No dog-tags to ID him, no scars, no tattoos, no marks on him at all, as if his skin was a fresh slate, clean and unblemished.

Just as he had done to her, she swept him with her gaze, noting only vaguely the lack of scars beneath the covetous heat that rose as she absorbed the look of him, so close she could feel the real heat that radiated from beneath his skin. Like him, she reached out with one hand, the soft pad of her middle finger touching the defined dip in his chest with silently eager tenderness. Slowly, her eyes rose to meet his once again, longing heat flaring in the crystal blue depths of her gaze as her palm flattened over his heart, feeling the steady beat there and knowing it was almost synchronized with her own. And the hunger returned with each beat she felt, urging her to him as her arms rose, wrapping about his neck, her lips finding his, bodies pressing flesh to flesh in a shock of bare skin that filled his mouth with the taste of her moan.

His arms loosely circled about her waist as she pulled him closer, hearts beating in time with the other, warm flesh against warm flesh. He swallowed her moan as he kissed her again, deeper still, growing bolder. He kissed her for what seemed like an eternity, until he had to pull away to catch his breath, ragged with longing. No more fooling around. The time for slow and tender would come in time. He wanted her and he wanted her now. He pressed his body against hers, bearing her down onto the bed, fingers fumbling with her jeans in a hurry to get them off and see what lay hidden beneath the denim covering.

Soon enough, her jeans were loose, but her boots were a problem, as were his own, and he hurriedly pulled the laces loose and tugged them from her feet to drop on the floor beside the bed, thumping hard enough to be heard in the main room below them, but he didn't really care. They had waited long enough. They had waited years, and now it seemed all the waiting had come to a head, literally. Whether she was only using him or not, he didn't care. He'd worry about that later. For now, he was going to show her what she'd been missing and give her a damned good reason to want more of it. He tugged her jeans from her hips to join the growing pile of discarded clothing on the floor and slid his hands back up her legs, admiring the view once again, which only added fuel to the fire that blazed inside him.

He had more control than she'd ever given a lover, given up without a second thought as he bore her down onto the bed beneath him, as he fumbled to strip her of boots and jeans, leaving only the last barrier to keep her immodestly decent under the admiring gaze he covered her with. Ailis shivered at the smooth slide of his hands up along her legs, just that touch enough to bleed new tension through her slender, toned frame. She wasn't perfect, by any means; muscular in the way of a soldier, marred on her right thigh by a slash of a scar from a blade felt years ago, a starburst gunshot scar on her left shoulder, newer cuts, burns, and bruises scattered over her skin a healing testament to the last engagement she had attended.

Strange, how her thoughts paralleled his, and yet she abided by his injunction not to speak. Was he using her? Had the news of so many deaths been such a shock he had lost the control he exercised around her every other time? Would he rise as soon as he'd had his pleasure and never look back? God, she hoped not. The last thing she wanted was for John Grimm to ever walk away again. Unbidden, his name rose through her moan, bitten back before the word could make itself known as she reached for him, some part of her ready to beg for more of his kisses, more of his hands on her. Just more, in every sense.

More was exactly what he planned to give her - more of everything - but not until he freed himself of the last restraints of cloth and leather that covered him, eyes never leaving hers - socks and boots and pants, as bare to her as she was to him, only one final barrier between them. He moved back over her, tall and lean, sculpted muscles that came from years of soldiering. His gaze moved over her again, fingers tracing the scar on her thigh, finding it beautiful in a way only another soldier could. To him, the scars didn't mar her body but only made her that much more beautiful, desirable. His eyes declared his need, his desire, though he had still not said a word, fingers grazing her flesh in all the right places before his lips did the same, studying her reactions, what made her breath catch, what caused her to moan.

He seemed to know just where to touch, just how to use every little bit of unlooked for sensitivity in her flesh to his advantage, teasing sounds from her she was sure she'd never made before. But she didn't let him have it all his own way, sharing a faint smirk with his lips as a complex twist of limbs brought him onto his side, legs tangled with hers, her hands as active over the unmarred wonder of his body as her lips were gentle over the line of his jaw. Shuddering under his hands with the need for no more teasing, nonetheless she kept herself from pushing, knowing that while she had begun this, it was his to end. And half fearful of the consequences that would follow.
[size=9:9aa1933e78][color=darkred:9aa1933e78][b:9aa1933e78][i:9aa1933e78]Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.[/i:9aa1933e78][/b:9aa1933e78][/color:9aa1933e78][/size:9aa1933e78]

Ailis Grimm

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Re: Grimm Arrival
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2013, 10:32:19 AM »
Would she notice that his flesh was as unmarred as a civilian's and what would she think or say if she did? In letting her take this little bit from him, he had opened himself to her questions, trusting that when the explanation came, she would understand all of it, hoping she wouldn't blame him for her brothers' deaths. He hadn't agreed to become what he was for selfish reasons, but to save his sister's life, just as she'd done it to save his. But none of that was important now. The questions and explanations would come later. For now, this was just about the two of them and wherever it would lead. Breaking his self-imposed silence, he covered her body with his, his desire apparent, his breath warm against her neck as he whispered beside her ear, as if to ask permission before they went too far. "I want you."

Given permission to speak by his own words, Ailis let his name ghost from her lips once again, her breath hot against his ear as she arched to him, her hands flat to his back as though she was seriously considering not letting him go at all. "John ... God, John, I've loved you for so long ..." It wasn't quite answering in kind, the desire implicit in the confession she was flabbergasted to hear herself making even as her body stilled and softened, tension clear in the sudden catch of her breath. The brave soldier was all woman in that moment, almost too afraid to look at him and see his reaction to something that was dangerous for them both to share.

He tensed a moment at her whispered confession, unsure if he'd heard her right. Had she really just told him she loved him? Why the hell had she said that? Unless, of course, she meant it. No, she couldn't, could she? He leaned back to look at her with eyes that had finally been opened. What should he say to that? Should he tell her the truth? That he'd loved her all along? The words seemed so inadequate to express everything he was feeling. Instead, he chose to answer her with a kiss, loving and warm and tender, wordlessly putting everything he was feeling into that kiss, hoping she'd understand without him having to say it.

She didn't need him to say anything. She just needed him to know. She'd lost so many in such a short time, so many that she hadn't told that feeling to. It didn't matter that they had been her brothers, that they had known without needing to be told. What mattered was that they had gone where she couldn't follow, never having heard it from her lips that she loved each of them in her own way. She didn't want John to go the same way, even if he couldn't echo the emotion. Life really was too short to waste. All this was in her eyes, colored with the confession that had softened her in his arms, there for him to see as he stared down at her. And his kiss ... it wasn't what she had expected, softer, more tender, tasting of the love she hoped for but didn't dare press him to give. Who needed the words when a kiss could start the slow process of patching over the wounds in a bleeding heart?

He said nothing else because there was nothing else to say. Everything that needed to be said, that should be said, was there to see in their eyes, to taste in their kisses, to feel in their embrace. He finished what he started, unveiling her at last, and drawing away the final barrier between them, naked before her, no more secrets, no more resistance. He took her hard and he took her soft, demanding what he needed and yet careful not to hurt her, testing her to see how far she was willing to go, how much she was willing to give. He was neither too harsh nor too gentle, firm when it was needed, but tender, too. His kisses deepened as his body gave and took, driving them both into a frenzy of tangled arms and legs until they were gasping for breath and clutching at each other's flesh, just short of crying out for mercy.

It was the most exposed they had ever been to one another, everything stripped away but whatever they held between them, and yet it was only in the breathless, shaking aftermath, as the hazy intoxication of touch and lust faded, that Ailis felt herself raw and vulnerable. She had told him the deepest secret she'd ever kept, without warning or gentling, and now she found herself afraid for the first time in years. But afraid of what? Of being loved in return, or of being left alone? Which was the more painful, the more dangerous? She couldn't have said, part of her wishing he'd never broken the silence as she lay beneath him, unable to keep herself from staying close, from teasing her fingertips against his shoulder blade. Taking the closeness for as long as it might last in breathless, haunted silence.

In that moment of coupled passion, he felt his heart and soul laid bare before her, more vulnerable than he'd ever felt before, and yet, she'd told him she loved him. Him. Had they only been words said in the heat of passion or had she really meant what she said? To think all these years he'd thought she hated him, and yet, he knew there was a fine line between love and hate. He'd had no choice but to kill a few he'd once called friend. If anyone should ever try that experiment again... No, he wouldn't think on that now. Later.

There was a certain stillness, a certain peace in the moments that followed their passion - a stillness that he wished could last forever. It was almost as if no one else existed in all the world but the two of them, though he knew nothing was further from the truth. He held her quietly in his arms as their breath mingled and the pounding of their hearts stilled, and in that moment, he took a chance to let her know that in some small way that she meant as much to him as he did to her. He pressed a kiss against her forehead, lips lingering there longer than necessary, a tender, protective kiss, the kind that lovers bestowed on the other to show their loving care.

Tucked close in his arms, that kiss almost brought tears to her eyes once again, feeling every ounce of what he put into it strike deep, reassuring the lovestruck girl hidden inside the confident medic that she hadn't just destroyed something very precious to her. Her relieved sigh warmed his skin, her head turning toward him to let her own lips linger in an answering kiss - not, perhaps, as protective as his, some part of her understanding that she needed to feel protected as much as he needed to keep her under one wing - smoothing her fingertips over the skin she touched with that kiss in the moments that followed. "They died without me ever telling them I loved them," she heard herself say, needing him to understand why she'd shocked them both with that unexpected confession. "I don't need to be told, John. But I need you to know how I feel."

Touched by her confession, by the courage it had taken for her to confess both her feelings for him and the grief she felt for her brothers, what could he say to ease her pain, to reassure her that she wasn't going to lose him the way she'd lost them? What they'd shared was more than just a physical connection. She had bared her soul to him, and he had given her his heart, even if she didn't yet know it. "They knew, Ailis. Why do you think Con gave his life for you? It wasn't just because he was your brother. It was because he loved you." He touched her cheek, pushing her hair back from her face, gently, tenderly.

"It should have been me," she admitted in the quiet, lulled into sharing that guilt by this unknown side of the marine she'd spent years pretending not to care for. "Part of me thinks I should have died with them, but ... if I had, Rory would be dead now, too. Chief would be all alone. If I had that moment to do over, I wouldn't do anything differently. I couldn't." She shifted, laying her head onto the pillow beside his, rolling onto her side to face him, blue eyes clear and solemn. "I honestly thought I was going to die. I don't know that I've truly come out of that yet."

He turned onto his side to face her, wondering not for the first time how much he should tell her. Should he tell her that he had almost died, too? Or had he died and been reborn? He wasn't quite sure which it was and probably never would. If he had to do it all over, knowing what he knew now, would he change anything? Probably not. "Would it help to know I've felt the same way?" Unlike her, he didn't feel guilty about it, though he wished he could have saved a few lives besides himself and his sister, but what was done was done.

Her smile was warm, if small, the first real smile she'd ever really directed to him, for his benefit. "You're a soldier, John," she said quietly. "Of course you have. We all have, at some time or other." A little hesitantly, her hand shifted from between them, daring to stretch out her fingers and smooth her palm over his ribs, down to the sharp curve of his hip, her gaze lowering to watch the vaguely unsure progress. No scars, she realized suddenly, the faintest of frowns creasing her brow for a split second before she dismissed the thought. What really happened on Mars? But she didn't ask, not again. He would tell her, them, when he was ready. Not before.
[size=9:9aa1933e78][color=darkred:9aa1933e78][b:9aa1933e78][i:9aa1933e78]Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.[/i:9aa1933e78][/b:9aa1933e78][/color:9aa1933e78][/size:9aa1933e78]

Ailis Grimm

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Re: Grimm Arrival
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2013, 10:33:29 AM »
Her smile was met with a frown, not only feeling the loss of her brothers, all of them friends, but feeling somewhat to blame. No, he hadn't been there when they'd been attacked, but if he had, they might still be alive. Suddenly, he was anxious to tell her the truth. She deserved to know the truth. She deserved to know what they'd died for. It was a crapshoot. He knew she might hate him when she found out the truth, but he hoped she'd understand instead. He rolled off the bed without any warning, reaching a decision. "Get dressed," he told her, the tone of his voice leaving no room for argument. There would be time for sex and sleeping later.

It would seem that tearing down the barrier between them didn't make it any easier to take his stoic, often unfeeling lack of expression. Ailis felt the sting of what might almost have been a rejection, though she knew he couldn't have meant it that way. Setting her jaw hard, blue eyes flashing warningly, she rolled away herself, reaching for her clothes without a word.

Though she might have been put off by his reaction and seen it as abrupt or even cold, it was actually the opposite. It was his desire to be open and honest with her and her father that brought him to this sudden decision. If they were going to build any kind of life together, they had to trust each other. Trust wasn't built on secrets. This was the first step in building that trust. He swiped his pants from off the floor and stepped back into them, knowing she was probably confused and maybe even a little angry with him, but hopefully she would soon understand everything.

The silence was getting colder the longer it lasted. That Celtic temper that confused him so much was simmering again; all Ailis really knew was that she had offered a caress, and he had immediately moved away, ordered her to dress. He'd brought whatever was burgeoning between them to an abrupt halt with no explanation, stinging her pride in the process. Pulling her shirt back on over her head, she stepped into her underwear and jeans, thumping down onto the bed to pull her boots back on with ominous weight, not even looking at him.

He collected his things and finished getting dressed, tossing his jacket onto the bed for now, not really needed it, or maybe he was leaving it there on purpose and claiming it as his bed to return to later. He made sure the safety was set on his Berretta and tucked it into the back of his pants, glancing over to her and giving her the best explanation he could, for now. "I owe you and your family an explanation."

The eyes that met his as she tucked her own gun back in place, leaving her shirt unbuttoned over the tank, weren't cold. No, they were hot with embarrassment and anger and hurt pride, and he was going to have to do a lot better than that if he expected to share that bed with her when the sun went down. As it was, she simply nodded sharply and moved to the door, almost eager to be away from him as she struggled with the misconception that he wanted to be away from her.

"Ailis!" he called, reaching for her arm to tug her back around to face him, sensing from the look in her eyes that she was simmering with anger or maybe something worse than anger. He wasn't trying to push her away, but before this went further, she needed to know the truth.

Her fist clenched as he caught her arm, her body twisting smoothly to pull herself out of his grasp as though his touch burned. And it did, though not physically. She loved him; she thought she'd felt something similar from him. And then she seemed to have been wrong. It was a bad place to be. "I thought you wanted see the Chief?"

He paused, his mouth forming a thin line, sensing her anger and hurt. He wasn't trying to hurt her; just the opposite, in fact. Should he have waited, but 'til when? It wasn't going to be easy, no matter how he chose to explain or when. He sighed, dropping his hand from her arm as she pulled herself away from him. "You deserve to know what your brothers died for, and I only want to tell it once." Couldn't she understand how hard it was going to be for him to tell it at all? Though he didn't say the words, his eyes silently pleaded with her.

"They died for a friend," she told him, her voice quiet and worryingly calm. "What we don't know is why." There was a pause, a brief moment wherein she met his eyes, and the shock of recognizing the plea there was visible in her expression. The anger faded just a little, just enough to lower the new barrier that had slammed up between them. "I wasn't going to ask," was all she said, insulted that he might have thought she would ever push for that story. She turned toward the door again, her face flushed with something that could almost have been shame for the way she had laid herself bare to him.

She wasn't going to get away that easy, and she was making this harder than it had to be for all of them. He followed after her, fast enough that he easily caught up with her, leaning past her to press a hand against the door before she could open it, which she couldn't until she unlocked it anyway. "Would you just wait a minute?" he asked as he cut off her retreat. Who was walking away from who now? "I know my timing sucks, but if we're going to make this work, we need to be honest with each other. We need to trust each other. No secrets. There are things you don't know about me. Things you need to know."

"Make what work, Reaper?" That in itself was a low blow. She had never called him that before, withdrawing into herself rather than charge head on for the first time, not really wanting to share the stinging that was going to linger until he reassured her somehow. She wasn't taking back anything she'd said, but one f*ck did not make any kind of binding commitment, after all. "I highly doubt there's anything you can tell me that will change the way things stand. Or ..." Inadvertently, her eyes strayed to the tousled bed, her cheeks flushing for a brief moment as the hurt flared once again. "On my side, anyway." She looked back to him, standing loose but increasingly feeling trapped as he held the door closed. "I'm a soldier. I take what I'm told, and I don't ask questions. Just the way the Chief trained me."

"God damn it, Ailis!" He flushed angrily, his eyes narrowing at the name his fellow Marines had pinned on him. "You highly doubt it... You don't even know what I'm going to tell you. I'm not what you think I am, Ailis. I'm not..." He sighed again, stepping back and shoving his fingers through his hair, which was nearly always a mess anyway. "If you think what just happened between us meant nothing to me, then you know me even less than I thought."

"And if you think turning your back and ordering me to get dressed without a second word or glance is at all appropriate following what I just told you, then you know nothing about me!" she snapped back. Her hand wrenched at the door handle, forgetting for a moment that the door itself was locked. She swore vehemently, fingers stretching to flick the lock undone once more.

He clenched his jaw in anger as she snapped at him, throwing his own accusation back at him. He grabbed hold of her arm again, pulling her forcibly back around to face him and pinning her against the door with his body, not hard enough to hurt her but forcefully enough that she would have no choice but to face him. "Ordering you?! I decided it's time to tell you the truth because I love you!" he exclaimed, without thinking, pausing for a split second before deciding to reinforce that declaration with a kiss that was as heated as the anger that was simmering between them.

She barely had a split second to absorb what he had unthinkingly let slip before his mouth covered hers. Despite the anger, the hurt, the sting to her pride, she responded, fighting against the pin of his body against hers until he let her grip him tight, using the strength of the door at her back to push closer even as her lips broke from his. Pressed almost too close to hold his gaze with any kind of comfort, she glared into his eyes, the heat passionate once again but under control this time. "You can be a real arsehole, John Grimm," she breathed against his lips, but there was affection beneath the heat in her words. "I love you back."

He felt the heat of passion rush over him again, but he kept it under wraps for now, or they might not emerge from that bedroom for many hours. There would be time for that later. Hell, he'd make time. If she still wanted him after she found out the truth. The thought worried him, but as their lips parted, he smiled in amusement. "Takes one to know one, Sunshine," he countered, leaning in to kiss her again, just for good measure, rewarding her for telling him again or silently echoing the feeling. "Think they know what's been going on up here?"
[size=9:9aa1933e78][color=darkred:9aa1933e78][b:9aa1933e78][i:9aa1933e78]Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.[/i:9aa1933e78][/b:9aa1933e78][/color:9aa1933e78][/size:9aa1933e78]

Ailis Grimm

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Re: Grimm Arrival
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2013, 10:34:19 AM »
Sunshine. The name that only her father and brothers used to refer to her by had suddenly become John's to use, too. His lips found her smile in that repeated kiss, her fingers loosening their fierce hold on his arms as they parted once more. "If they don't, I'm sure as hell not telling them," she told him, one brow quirking in challenge. "None of their business, what we do together."

"He is your father. He's not going to want my balls on a silver platter, is he?" he asked, hoping he knew her father better than that. They had to know what was going on up here; they'd been gone too long. He was a little surprised no one had come knocking at the door by now. Either way, if things kept going the way they were going, they were going to find out sooner, rather than later. "So, am I going to have to wait until Chief is asleep before I sneak into your room at night?" he asked with a teasing smirk, as he loosened his own grip on her and eased back a little.

Ailis snorted with laughter, rolling her eyes. "Good luck with that," she smirked back to him. "No one gets more'n ten feet into his space without waking him up, you know that." She reached up to pat John's cheek a little patronizingly. "Ror's the one you should be worried about." Not offering up any further explanation, she turned her back to him once more to open the door, her shoulders stiffening in the chill breeze that insisted on sneaking through the broken window at the end of the hallway.

"We might as well face the music then," he remarked, mostly to himself, though he was mostly in agreement with her that it was none of their business. He noticed her stiffen at the chill breeze, but he'd left his jacket in the room, and if they saw her wearing it, they'd wonder what was going on for sure. "If Rory wants my permission to court my sister, then he'll just have to suck it up," he told her quietly as he waited for her to lead the way back down the stairs.

She swallowed the snort of laughter that bubbled up in response to that. It was no secret that Rory was sweet on Sam, but he had a bit of complex about not being as smart as she was, not to mention the fact that he was pretty sure John could snap him like a twig. Courting was going to be a long process, if it happened at all. Her boots thumped on the stairs as they made their way back down, the mixture of voices in the main room not even wavering as she led John into view.

Her eyes went straight to Rory, sitting painfully upright on the edge of one of the two serviceable chairs in the room. Her brother was shirtless, at her insistence, the healing burns on his back open to the air to quicken his recovery. The Chief stood with his back to the fire that had been lit in the hearth, glancing over as the pair entered the room. "Finished arguing, have you?"

"For now," John replied as he followed Ailis into the main room. He nodded a greeting at Rory, who he didn't know as well as some of the others, but the others were gone. He frowned a little at the man's injury, noticing his sister sitting nearby, a little too close to be a casual acquaintance.

Sam glanced up at the pair, a questioning look in her eyes when she turned her gaze to her brother, but his expression remained stoic.

"Time for that explanation, then," Chief said firmly, his words more of an order than John could manage yet.

Ailis stiffened just a little more as she took up an easy lean against the wall near Sam. They were both used to being the only woman in the room, but there was a bit of comfort having another woman nearby. Her eyes flickered to John briefly; she wasn't sure how her new lover was going to take being subordinate to her father, but there was no other way it could go if they were going to work together.

Rory nodded back to John, easing himself just a little way from Sam's lean in deference to the brother who had walked in, and glanced at his sister with a smirk. She glared back at him, both of them silent in the face of the Chief's expectant invitation.

All eyes seemed to be on John, including those of his sister who arched her brows questioningly at her brother again. She'd managed to put off any explanations for now, but she knew they couldn't hold off forever. John remained standing, though he deferred to the Chief, as accustomed to taking orders as Ailis and Rory. "How much did Con tell you?" he asked, mostly to Chief, though he thought if Connor had shared anything John had told him, it would have been with Ailis.

The older mercenary frowned thoughtfully, his mind whirling back past a snowstorm and an ambush to a death-filled research facility that had been all kinds of crazy. "What you told him," he nodded to John, surprising his remaining children with his lack of surprise at the question. "Genetic research on human subjects got out of hand, your team went on containment and retrieval. Got caught up in an outbreak, killed off. Your sarge got infected and damn near took the infection into the world at large. That's the jist, anyway."

Rory, true to form, looked utterly mystified, but Ailis was frowning as she looked from John to Sam. "Genetic research?" she queried, her tone one of absolute horror. "On human subjects?"

Sam shot a look at John that looked not only surprised at the amount of information Chief already had, but worried how much more John intended to tell him. Despite that, she turned to Ailis, mostly because she was the one who'd asked the question. "I wasn't involved in that research. At least, not at first. There was another doctor working on that, but things got out of hand. They were..." She glanced pointedly to her brother, but only for a moment. "They were trying to create a superhuman, but instead what they got were monsters." She broke off, glancing at the group a moment before turning her gaze to her brother again.

John took up the story from his sister and continued. "We were ordered to investigate the situation, but when we got there, it became clear that it was out of control. Some of them got through the Ark. We were afraid they were going to infect Earth, so we followed. Our orders were to contain the infection, stop it from spreading, but Sarge... He wanted to kill everyone, whether they were infected or not."

Already, Chief and Rory were out of their depth, both of them grunts to the core, uncomfortable with the depth of knowledge that was suddenly being offered to them. Ailis, on the other hand, was a little less at sea as she listened, picking up the tells in both Grimms that there was something deeply disturbing in the experiments that had been done, even before the "monsters" came to life. "You said you were on Olduvai," she said slowly, thinking it through as she spoke. "That's an archaeological digsite." Not that they needed her to make that clear, but she knew her own brother did. Her gaze returned to Sam, her frown harsh. "Did you find humanoid remains up there? Were you trying to recreate whatever race it was that made the Ark in the first place?"

Sam and John exchanged another look, unsure how much the Warrens knew of the Grimms' personal history. "I wasn't trying to recreate anything," Sam replied. "I was trying to figure out what had killed them." She glanced at John again, knowing what she had to say next would bother him, but it needed saying. "Our parents died during the early excavation of the digsite. I guess you might say I followed in their footsteps. I wanted to finish what they'd started, solve the mystery of the people who'd lived there. We found some remains, did some tests, and found they'd once been human, but that their DNA had been altered. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, but the Martians had 24." She knew most of this was over the soldiers' head, but Ailis might understand some of it, and John already knew.

John clenched his jaw at the mention of their parents' deaths, but added nothing, letting his sister explain as much as she felt necessary.

The briefest flicker of Ailis' eyes went to John as Sam explained their connection to the digsite, just long enough to convey intimate apology and sympathy without drawing the others' attention to the glance. "24 pairs of chromosomes," she repeated, lowering herself slowly into a crouch beside Sam where she sat, her hands clasped loosely between her knees. "Which is where the genetic research comes in. There must have been some positive results, though, or UAC wouldn't have come after you so hard."
[size=9:9aa1933e78][color=darkred:9aa1933e78][b:9aa1933e78][i:9aa1933e78]Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.[/i:9aa1933e78][/b:9aa1933e78][/color:9aa1933e78][/size:9aa1933e78]

Ailis Grimm

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Re: Grimm Arrival
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2013, 10:34:57 AM »
She glanced between the siblings again as the Chief caught on to where his daughter was going with her audible train of thought. He scowled. "What else happened up there?"

The Grimm twins exchanged another glance, speaking volumes to each other without speaking. John knew Sam wanted to keep what had happened there a secret in order to protect her brother, but John felt he owed the Warrens an explanation as to what exactly it was their family had died for. "I was shot. My own stupidity really. Bullet ricocheted off a wall. It was a fatal wound."

Sam piped in, a worried expression on her face. "John, you don't have to..."

But he cut her off with a glance. "They deserve to know what happened, Sam. They deserve to know what their family died for."

As one, the Warrens flinched at the harsh words. They didn't truly want to revisit the attack that had sundered their family ties, but in order to understand why it had happened, they needed to hear all of John's explanation. Rory, in particular, seemed deepest affected even by the mention of it, lowering his gaze to the hands clenched between his knees.

Ailis, on the other hand, was a step ahead of her father and brother, a mind trained to medicine quicker to understand the implications of Sam's reluctance as John's story seemed to be coming to its conclusion. She rose slowly to her feet, her eyes on John in mild astonishment, even as the Chief spoke again. "Stop winding it out, get on with it," he said gruffly. "You're not dead, Grimm, so what happened?"

Even though it was John who wanted to tell them what had happened, it was Sam who answered. "Doctor Carmack had injected a prisoner with what we dubbed Martian Chromosome 24, but he turned into a monster. I did some more research and hypothesized that the injection enhanced what was already there. If you were a bad person, you became a monster."

She glanced to John again, even more pointedly, the rest of the story becoming more obvious now. "She saved my life. I gave her my gun, told her to kill me if I became one of those things, but I didn't."

"How do we know you're not just a monster waiting to happen, then?" Rory suddenly burst out. The loss of his twin had hit him harder than the others, but even he knew when he was talking rubbish. He subsided almost immediately under the fierce scowl from his father.

The Chief lowered his own eyes to Sam. "You're the last known survivor of that research team," he said heavily. "UAC wanted you. And they thought we had you."

"And they're not going to get her, no matter what happens," Rory added in a low, protective growl, glancing a little shyly at Sam even as the words left his lips.

Standing quiet, Ailis was watching John, letting what they'd been told sink in before she reacted. "Superhuman," she said finally, holding his gaze for a moment longer, one hand gently squeezing Sam's shoulder. She might not approve, but she understood. "Just as well you're dead then, isn't it? They can't use your blood to open that line up again."

Sam glanced at Rory, her expression visibly softening.  Though she loved her brother and would do anything to keep him safe, it was no secret she had feelings for this other soldier that went deeper than mere friendship. "If he was going to change, he would have by now. Besides, I knew he wouldn't." She looked back at John, unable to hide the pride she felt for her slightly younger twin.

John's gaze turned to Ailis, almost feeling her eyes on him before he met her gaze. "That's the problem. We have to stay dead. No one can ever know we're still alive. No one can ever re-create those experiments." He didn't think he had to explain what a disaster it would be for humanity if they did. The same thing would happen on Earth that had happened on Mars. He didn't think he had to spell out how much trust he'd just put in the three of them by telling them their secret. Their fate was in Chief's hands now. It was up to him to decide what would become of them.

Ailis held John's gaze for a long moment. There was understanding in her eyes, an acceptance of why they hadn't given up this information at the first, of what he'd meant when he'd said there were things she didn't know about him. Not that it changed anything. If Sam was to believed - and there was no reason not to believe her - then John was a better man than most, and the addition of a new pair of chromosomes only made him more so. Where was the harm in loving a man like that? "Well, all that means is we can't go back to our Earth," she said finally, turning her eyes to her father, deliberately keeping her tone light.

The Chief raised a brow at his daughter. He wasn't entirely sure he completely understood the implications of what had been said, but he trusted his little ray of sunshine to react accordingly if it was some kind of abomination. Not even Ailis would let her heart get in the way of practical considerations. He grunted thoughtfully, nodding. "Aye, she's right. Anyone asks you, you're from Earth, dunno which one. Don't mention Olduvai, don't talk about UAC. We'll get you kitted out, and keep an ear out for troublemakers looking for Sam. Boomer?"

His son looked up sharply, just barely wincing as the healing skin of his back pulled tight with the motion. "Sir?"

Chief nodded toward Sam, his eyes on Rory. "Primary mission - her safety. Your responsibility." As Rory flushed an uncomfortable shade of red and turned shy eyes to Sam, the older soldier looked to John. "That good enough, or were you expecting some sort of punch for holding the secret, too?"

Sam looked between them, quiet for the moment, not altogether sure she liked people making decisions for her. It wasn't her own safety that concerned her so much. She might hold the scientific knowledge in her head, but it was really John who was the key. Now that the Ark had been destroyed, he was the only proof that Chromosome 24 existed. If anyone from UAC was to find out, it would be him they'd want, more than her. She stifled a shudder at the thought of anyone using her brother as a lab rat, though she'd practically done that very same thing. They'd been over it a hundred times. She'd had no choice at the time, neither of them had. What was done was done. The important thing now was keeping it secret. She glanced to John at Chief's orders, arching a brow and wondering how he was going to take it. He'd been like a mother hen ever since they'd escaped Olduvai, maybe even before that.

John seemed to bristle for a moment, but then he relaxed, accustomed to taking orders, but not necessarily following them. It depended on what those orders were. He wasn't sure he liked the idea of Rory watching over his sister, instead of him, but he understood the reasons for it. There was only one thing that bothered him. "I wasn't expecting anything," he started, looking to Chief. "I appreciate your help, but I don't want to put any more lives in danger." It wasn't that he wasn't accepting their help, but he needed to make sure they knew exactly what it was they were getting themselves into.

"They came after my kids," the Chief reminded him in a harsh tone, standing straighter as his hand clenched in his pocket with a jangle that only Rory and Ailis recognized. "Way I see it, letting you two head out on your own is about as disrespectful to the memory of my boys as I could get. They died for you. We're going to make damned sure you live for them." There was a pause as he faced John, a dangerous challenge in his eyes. "Unless you have reason to be wanting to be away from me and mine?"
[size=9:9aa1933e78][color=darkred:9aa1933e78][b:9aa1933e78][i:9aa1933e78]Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.[/i:9aa1933e78][/b:9aa1933e78][/color:9aa1933e78][/size:9aa1933e78]

Ailis Grimm

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Re: Grimm Arrival
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2013, 10:36:05 AM »
Behind her father, Ailis bit down a groan, rolling her eyes at the strong-arm tactics. She dropped down into a crouch beside Sam with a comfortable bounce, and leaned her head against the other woman's arm. "Loud, were we?" she asked in a low tone, shooting her brother a warning glare as his mouth opened with a grin. "I'm not asking you."

"Loud enough," Sam whispered back with a smile as Ailis seemed to try and diffuse the tension that was palpable between the two Alpha males that were her brother and Ailis' father. She liked the other woman, and hoped they could become friends. There had been a few other women at Olduvai, but they were outnumbered by men. As much as she loved her brother and was fond of Rory, it would be nice to have some female companionship for a change.

"Have to try harder next time, then," Ailis smirked, nudging Sam's elbow with her own as Rory groaned himself this time.

"I don't want to hear you doing that, Sunshine," he complained, earning himself a pat on the knee.

"Best get to working on a way to distract yourself then, hadn't you?" Ailis suggested, her grin tight with the tension that was flooding the room but cheeky enough still to embarrass her brother and most likely the woman he was sweet on, too.

Sam smiled at Ailis' teasing, happy to distract Rory from the more serious conversation taking place a short distance away. "We'll see what happens when he's feeling better."

John frowned at the reminder that Ailis' brothers had died because of him. He didn't really need to be reminded of that fact; it would weigh on his heart for a long time to come. "I'd like to pay my respects, if I may," he told the older man, a strained expression on his face. He'd hardly had a chance to digest the news of their deaths, much less grieve them. It was something he'd do in private, where no one could witness.

The Chief's gaze flickered to the trio discussing something he didn't want to have full knowledge of, returning to John with a slight tic in his jaw. "No graves," he said heavily, showing his age for just a moment. "Only these." His hand withdrew from his pocket, revealing the five sets of dog-tags, some scorched, but each name as clear as the day they'd been inscribed. "Couldn't risk going back for them."

"I'd like to know what happened," John said, as interested in what had happened to Chief's family as Chief had been in what had happened at Olduvai, but for very different reasons. He didn't bother to tell the man that Con had been one of his friends, if not the closest. If Chief didn't know how John felt about Ailis and her brothers, then he didn't know John very well at all. He didn't want to cause Ailis or Rory any more pain, but he needed to know, though he wasn't sure why. There was nothing he could do to change things, after all. John glanced to the dog-tags in Chief's hands, the only thing left of his family, and his mouth twitched, the frown deepening. "I'm sorry for your loss." How pathetic and useless those words seemed.

A new ripple of tension ran through the Warrens at John's request, and Ailis stood up suddenly, her expression very carefully blank. "I'll see about food," she excused herself, not wanting to hear this again, knowing the details intimately. Rory, on the other hand, simply seemed to fold in on himself, sent back to the moment he'd lost not only his brothers, but one of them his twin. He didn't have anything to say that could make the situation any better or worse.

The Chief nodded as Ailis left the room through the door behind her, into what had to be a kitchen, and very deliberately set the dog-tags down on the three-legged table that stood between the two chairs. "Standard recon mission, we thought," he began, his voice weary but strong with anger at the losses. "Scout an abandoned base, retrieve any remaining personnel. Fionn took point in the basement level, the boys and myself started clearing the upper levels. Con and Ailis stayed in the vehicle on lookout. First we heard of anything being wrong was when Fionn's comm went down." He glanced at Rory, seeing the shudder go through his son's shoulders at the memory. "Went to investigate myself and found him shot through eight times, once for each of us. Bastards stripped his weapons from him, jammed our comms so I couldn't warn my kids.

"Next thing I know, there's an explosion outside - our truck's gone up in flames, and Sunshine's on the ground, exposed to a sniper who was taking his own sweet time lining up the shot." The Chief snarled at the memory of that sight, Rory's expression echoing the anger there. "Derry took him down, gave us time to get her inside, but they'd rigged the place to go up. Eamonn defused three of the charges, got us a safe place to hole up while the rest exploded, but the fourth went up in his face." He glanced down at the tags on the table. Perhaps it was odd, that they had collected the tags but not the bodies. But it had been their only option at the time. "Heard Derry go down - he went down fighting, threw his tags to Lorcan before he took an ST to the team that were on him."

Rory let out a low growl of anger. "Lorcan got us out," he took up the narrative, glad in a way to be able to tell part of it, gladder still that Ailis wasn't there to hear it. She had a heartbreaking way of holding the guilt and grief just beneath the surface - you knew it was there, and you couldn't do anything to help. "Hotwired one of their trucks to do it. They were casting flame throwers by then; one of them got me square in the back, but the Chief hauled my arse into the vehicle. We thought we were home and dry when we hit one of our safehouses."

The Chief took up the story once again, shaking his head as his jaw set. "Twelve man team waiting for us there," he said angrily. "Lorcan saved us, spotted the light ahead of time, swerved away from the first mine. Hit the second one - took a shrapnel shot to the head pulling Rory out of the truck. We got three of the bastards, pulled their tags and tossed 'em in the flames. Far as they're concerned, they got their payday - we're all dead. We're going to stay that way, on that Earth, anyway."

John clenched his jaw as he took all this in, glancing briefly to the dog-tags Chief had set on the table, glancing to Rory as he broke in. Sam remained silent, reaching for Rory's hand, torn between the thought of excusing herself to help Ailis and remaining at Rory's side. There had been too much death, too much killing, too much grief. She hadn't become a scientist for this. After a moment, she got to her feet with a mumbled, "Excuse me," unable to listen to anymore and disappeared into the kitchen to help Ailis. To his credit, Rory didn't try to hold onto Sam's hand as she excused herself, grateful in a way that she couldn't handle the dispassionate roll call of deaths as they had occurred.

John frowned as his sister excused herself and he wondered if he should have asked at all. "They knew where to find you," John stated the obvious, visualizing the scene in his head. "So, what now?" he asked, fast-forwarding past the painful memory, back to the present.

The Chief sighed wearily, leaning his back against the warm bricks of the chimney as he studied John for a long moment. "Integrate," he suggested without much enthusiasm. "Or start again from scratch. There's resources here, equipment. It'd be a smaller team, less skills to draw on, but I reckon with a little training we could broaden it out again. I'm too old to change my ways now. But I won't go ahead without consent. The decision is yours. Yours and theirs."

John arched a brow at the Chief's suggestion. There was a time when he'd wanted to follow in his parents' footsteps, like Sam had, but that time had passed. There was no going back. He was a soldier now and a good one, even better now since the injection that had saved his life. It was all he was and all he'd ever be, but he'd never be a Marine again. He'd destroyed his own dog-tags, leaving no evidence behind that he or Sam were still alive. He had no past and an uncertain future. "What are you thinking? A merc team?"

"That's the idea." Chief nodded, pleased to see that John was as quick on the uptake as he'd always been. "Between the four of us, we've got tactics, logistics, transport, demolitions, long-range, and medic specializations that I can see. Have to start small to build up the resources, but there's a wider net to cast from Rhy'Din. Other worlds, other Earths. Could be done."
[size=9:9aa1933e78][color=darkred:9aa1933e78][b:9aa1933e78][i:9aa1933e78]Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.[/i:9aa1933e78][/b:9aa1933e78][/color:9aa1933e78][/size:9aa1933e78]

Ailis Grimm

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Re: Grimm Arrival
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2013, 10:36:44 AM »
"Soldiering for money," John mused. "You gonna head up the team?" he asked, assuming he already knew the answer to that, but in all honesty, John didn't want to be in charge. He preferred being a grunt, taking orders and making sure they were carried out, so long as he was taking orders from someone he respected and could trust. Someone like Chief. Besides, he didn't exactly have a lot of options.

The older man snorted at what, to him, was a silly question. "Too old not to," was all he said. "'Course, we've got a couple of weeks to set up a secure base while Boomer heals up -" There was a sound of protest from Rory, quickly silenced as the Chief continued. "Shut up and listen to your sister for once - as I say, a couple of weeks we can take for downtime or to set up a secure base, scout out contacts. I can pull in some of the finance from accounts set up in my helpfully M.I.A. uncle's name without drawing too much suspicion, but after that, we're on our own. Or you can go civilian, John."

John glanced between the pair, keeping his mouth shut and waiting until Chief was done talking. It seemed the older man had already thought this all out and made his decision. John didn't really need much time to think about it, but he couldn't say the same for his sister. "I'll talk to Sam," he said, making no promises, though he was out of options. What was he going to do, after all?

"No rush on it," Chief assured him amiably. "Sunshine's thinking it over herself." Though it was blindingly obvious to anyone who knew this family that if her father and brother went back into soldiering, Ailis wouldn't let them do it without her. She was a field medic, after all.

John considered quietly a moment, debating the options, the pros and cons. The Warrens were grieving, Rory was healing, and John and Sam needed to come to grips with everything that had happened and get acclimated with their new home. "We all need a little time," he said, agreeing with Chief, not only for his own sake but for all of them. He didn't bother to mention that Ailis' decision would most likely have some bearing on his own.

"You're sticking with us while you work it out, though, right?" It was the first halfway normal thing to have come out of Rory's mouth, fueled as much by a wish to become better acquainted with John as his hope to become much better acquainted with Sam, if she wanted to. He didn't bother looking to his father as he said it; there was plenty of room, especially if John was taking up residence with Ailis.

A small smile flickered across John's face, assuming Rory was only interested in his staying because of his sister. "If you'll have us. We've got nowhere else to go right now." His gaze darted to the kitchen where the two women had disappeared, and he wondered if he should just lay his cards on the table about Ailis, but like she'd said, what happened between them was no one else's business. "I should stow our gear. Where do you want us?" he asked, as he stepped over to their bags, hoisting one onto a shoulder, before picking up the other.

"There's rooms upstairs," Chief said a little superfluously. "Rory's sleeping down here for the time being - close to the fire since he's got to keep his back uncovered for now. I'm at the head of the stairs, take your pick from the rest." And given the way he'd worded it, that included the room Ailis had claimed as her own. Rory snorted with badly concealed laughter, smirking over at John as though daring the man to object.

John glanced at Rory, both brows arching, tempted to tease him about his sister, but decided against it, at least, for now. If Rory was sleeping downstairs by the fire, it was likely Sam would be near by a good part of the time, but John kept that thought to himself, shouldering one bag and carrying the other, as if they weighed nothing. "Thanks," he told Chief before making his way toward the stairs. That one word seemed so inadequate to thank the man for everything he and his family had done for them. John only hoped he could find a way to repay that debt someday. He thumped his way up the stairs and down the hall, eventually falling silent.

There was no need to answer the thanks; as far as the Chief was concerned, the Grimms were welcome to join what was left of his family, as in need of that welcome as he was to give it. He glanced at Rory, frowning at his son's smirk. "He'll tear you to bits," he predicted, chuckling as Rory abruptly shut up.

In the kitchen, the conversation had stayed carefully away from the topic under discussion in the next room when Sam had joined Ailis, neither woman wanting to dwell on the losses or the violence. Ailis was talking about nothing to fill the silence as she sliced vegetables and meat, dropping them into a pot to stew. " ... one good thing about this place is how cheap the fresh produce is," she was saying as she stirred the pot. "Cut up that bread, would you? It's not gourmet, but it does." She trailed off for a moment, listening to John's footsteps as he mounted the stairs.

From the expression on Sam's face when she'd entered the kitchen, it was probably a good thing Ailis was more than ready to change the subject from the morose conversation that was going on in the adjoining room. As if it wasn't enough to know Rory had been hurt, the deaths of his brothers weighed heavily on her heart, knowing they had died in part because of herself and her brother. Unlike her brother, she knew it was a debt they could never repay. She silently went to work cutting up the bread, happy to have something to do to take her mind off her heartache. She paused a moment in the slicing to hear the familiar sound of her brother's footsteps mounting the stairs. "He acts like it doesn't bother him, but it does, you know," she told Ailis quietly, as if she needed her to know that her brother was not without feeling.

"I know." Ailis offered her a sad sort of smile as she brushed crumbs from her fingers against her own hip. "It's harder to deal with him not showing it, though. You've seen what we're like - everything shows. We flare up with just about anything we feel, and it's not a secret. But that's just the way we are. It'll take a bit of getting used to with John, that's all." One shoulder rose and fell in a light shrug. "You're allowed to let it bother you, too, you know," she added mildly. "You're not so used to death and violence as we are. You shouldn't try to shrug it off the way we do."

"I saw a lot of things I never want to see again," Sam said as she focused on slicing up the bread. "He won't admit it, but I know he dreams about it. We both do, I guess. I hear him pacing the floor when he can't sleep. When it gets really bad, he goes for a run, burns off some energy." She frowned, pausing a moment in her slicing of the bread. "I'm sorry for your loss, Ailis. Deeply sorry. I'm sorry we brought this on you and your family."

The sadness flared up for a moment, etching itself over Ailis' face as she seemed to sag. But it was just a brief moment of sadness, before she drew herself up again. Her grief wasn't so immediate as Sam's sense of guilt. Ailis was a soldier; death was something she knew. Sam only knew death as a distanced fact of the bones she had spent her life learning to read. "Someone would have got us eventually," she told her new friend quietly. "Better it was quick, protecting friends, than slow for no other reason than that we put too many noses out of joint. Rory's taking it hard. I can't help him," she admitted regretfully. "I know he and Fionn were closer than the rest of us, but ... well, maybe you can help him more than I can. I can heal his body, but I think maybe you're more suited to helping him heal his soul."

Sam glanced over at the other woman, sensing she was more like John than herself. A soldier like him, though they were both hurting just as much as the rest of them, too stubborn to admit it, or maybe they just handled it a different way. "I know what it's like to be a twin. I felt alone after John left, like part of me was missing, but I didn't want to hold him back. He's the only family I have left. If you want to know the truth about what happened at Olduvai, I couldn't bear the thought of losing him. I didn't know what would happen when I injected him. I prayed to God he'd be all right. He's stubborn as hell, but he's a good man, Ailis. I saved his life and he saved mine. We wouldn't have gotten out alive if I hadn't given him that injection." She paused a moment again, realizing she'd rambled on in hopes of explaining she knew a little of what Rory was feeling. "I'm not sure if I can help Rory, but I can try."
[size=9:9aa1933e78][color=darkred:9aa1933e78][b:9aa1933e78][i:9aa1933e78]Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.[/i:9aa1933e78][/b:9aa1933e78][/color:9aa1933e78][/size:9aa1933e78]

Ailis Grimm

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Re: Grimm Arrival
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2013, 10:37:26 AM »
The rambling helped to explain her own brother better than Sam probably thought. Ailis smiled faintly, pausing to sniff the stew before turning to face the other woman, leaning back against the counter. "I don't know much about genetics, but if it helps," she offered quietly, "I'd have done the same in your place. And for what it's worth, thank you for telling us the truth. We didn't need to know all of it, but I, for one, appreciate knowing. Stubborn sod might try to insist he's something he's not - think I'm going to need all the help I can get to convince him otherwise." She smirked, winking at Sam. It was the closest she was going to get to admitting what was going on, and she knew John's sister was smart enough to pick up on that. "As for Ror ... well, you'd be surprised what a smile in the right place'll do."

It was Sam's turn to smile and blush just a little, the blush saying far more than she'd ever openly admit on the subject of Rory. As for John, Ailis was right on the money about that, too. John had told her once already that he should have died on Mars and sometimes he wished he had, but then he wouldn't have been able to save his sister's life, and at the time, that was of the greatest import. That and saving the countless lives that would be at stake if they'd failed. "Time heals all wounds, so they say. Do you think that's really true?" she asked. She was a scientist, and Ailis was a soldier, neither of them philosophers, but both of them women with a different way of looking at things than the men they cared for.

Drawing her arms about herself, Ailis tried not to let her smirk deepen at the sight of Sam's blush, concentrating on the question she'd been asked. "I don't think anything completely heals the sort of wounds you're talking about," she offered up honestly. "But maybe the more time there is between the injury and the now, the easier it is to cope with. I hope so. And it helps when there's someone to feel it with, I suppose."

Finished slicing the bread, Sam set the slices on a plate and put the knife in the sink, turning to face the other woman who she didn't know very well, but was hoping to get to know better. She assumed Ailis was talking about Rory, but she could have been referring to any of them really. They'd all seen enough death for a while, and she wondered if it worked both ways; if, by helping Rory, he might help her. She'd already noticed how he lit up when she paid him any sort of attention, the feelings she'd tried to ignore flooding to the surface. "I can't take the place of Fionn, but I'll do what I can."

"Well, I imagine there's a few things he'd like to do with you he'd never have done with Fionn," Ailis grinned suddenly, nudging Sam's arm with a decidedly wicked snicker in her voice. "Ror's a lot of things, but he's not that perverted."

Sam's jaw practically dropped at the teasing remark from Ailis, not expecting it from her, but she knew that sometimes you had to laugh, despite the pain, so that you wouldn't cry. She smiled mischievously as she decided to return the favor. "Should I even ask what you and John were doing so long upstairs? Even Colm was starting to wonder."

Ailis inwardly cursed her pale complexion for a moment as heat flared in her cheeks, her own smirk tempered with a snort of laughter. "Resolving an argument," she told Sam impishly. "If I have to draw you a diagram, Rory's in for a whole world of disappointments." She stuck her tongue out at the other woman, twisting for a moment to stir the pot beside her. "Do you mind, at all?"

Sam's smile deepened, warming to the woman her brother seemed to have chosen, knowing without having to be told that he had feelings for her. She was a little surprised at the question, but since she was John's only living relative - and a twin at that - it seemed logical that Ailis would ask. "Who my brother chooses to spend his personal time with is his own business, but if you want my opinion, I'd say it's about damned time. You two have been tiptoeing around each other long enough. And to be honest, he needs someone besides me to keep him in line."

"Oh, he's still your problem where you can see him," Ailis assured with a snicker, though it was tempered a little with faint uncertainty at how apparently see-through she was. "Am I really that obvious?" she asked curiously, sniffing the stew once again. Displacement activity seemed to be her thing for conversations that might embarrass her - she was already reaching for the little pile of chopped thyme as she glanced to Sam.

"Who's her problem?" John broke in as he stepped into the kitchen to check on his sister and let her know which room he'd left her bag in. At least, that was the excuse he was planning on using. He would have loved to have slipped his arms around Ailis and kiss her neck while she stirred the stew, but he wasn't about to do that in front of Sam or chance having Rory or Chief catch him. Instead he only peered over her shoulder to see what doing. "Smells good. What is it?"

Sam smirked as her brother came barging in, unable to resist more teasing. "I don't know. Why don't you ask him?"

"A stubborn soldier with a hero complex is her problem," Ailis answered him, barely even seeming to acknowledge his arrival otherwise. She would have been mortified to know that her blush deepened in direct response to flip and burn inside at John's sudden proximity. "Chicken stew." She flashed Sam a warning smirk of her own, gesticulating in the woman's direction with the wooden spoon. "Watch it, you - I can still sedate you without your consent. See how well you seduce Boomer while you're snoring."

"Have you learned to cook since the last time I saw you?" John asked, with a completely straight face. It seemed the man was capable of a little teasing himself, or maybe he was serious. It was hard to tell. He made a grab for the wooden spoon so he could taste test the stew for himself, arching a brow at his sister. "Seduce Boomer? Is there something going on I should know about?" he asked, with a pointed look at his sister who was blushing furiously.

"You should talk about seducing, Sunshine," she countered. "You two were making the whole house shake."

His grab for the spoon got him a whack across the knuckles with it; spot the woman who grew up with six brothers. "Hands off, you can complain about it with everyone else when I serve up," Ailis informed him with little rancor. She was used to her cooking being ragged on. Sam, on the other hand, was making her laugh now, the merry sound and sight of her animated face something almost entirely new to the Grimm siblings. "Just you wait until I really have something to shout about."

"Who said I was going to complain?" John flinched and withdrew his hand, narrowing his eyes at the woman he now considered his.

"So long as you don't scream in the middle of an orgasm," Sam continued with a smirk, hoping to embarrass them both, as she opened the cupboard in search of dishes. It was John's turn to gape when he heard the O word come out of his sister's mouth.

The crockery wasn't the best quality, second-hand and chipped, but it served a purpose. Ailis' eyes widened as Sam added a new dimension to the teasing. "Gloves off, is it?" she countered, ignoring John's narrowed gaze just the way she always did when he leveled that look on her. It seemed whatever else had changed, some things were never going to. "Seems to me a scream is infinitely better'n not being able to string four words together without blushing. Or is your imagination just that good?" She grinned wickedly, poking backwards with her elbow to get John to move away from her back. "Here, you, make yourself useful," she said to the marine crowding her. "Tell the gimps dinner's ready."
[size=9:9aa1933e78][color=darkred:9aa1933e78][b:9aa1933e78][i:9aa1933e78]Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.[/i:9aa1933e78][/b:9aa1933e78][/color:9aa1933e78][/size:9aa1933e78]

Ailis Grimm

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Re: Grimm Arrival
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2013, 10:38:31 AM »
"Giving orders already? I suppose you expect me to do dishes later," John grumped as he got elbowed out of the way and backed up a few steps. It was far more entertaining listening to the two women try to outdo each other regarding their sex lives, of which, he was fairly certain, Sam's was nil. He wasn't even sure if she was still a virgin. He was observant enough to know that she was soft on Rory, but as far as he knew, nothing as yet had come of it.

"Is that a challenge?" Sam retorted, ignoring her brother, even as he shot a look her way. Now who was intruding?

"No, that's the Chief's job," Ailis informed John with a cheery smile, stirring the pot once again as she glanced between the siblings. "Think I'll have something else for you to do when you're fed." The smile was all in her eyes as she looked at John, knowing from experience with her brothers that the sheer force of intimacy in a look could embarrass Sam beyond any words that might be said. And topping it off with a smirk to his sister was the icing on the cake. "Tell you what," she suggested to Sam. "You get off without opening up his back, and we'll give you a run for your money, how's that?"

John arched a brow at Ailis. "I look forward to it," he said with a smile, before Sam cut in.

"Maybe," Sam replied, with a small frown at the reminder of Rory's injuries, still feeling just a little bit guilty. "I think it might be better if we waited until he was healed." And maybe until he actually told her how he felt. Left to their own devices, Rory and Sam might never get together. As far as Sam was concerned, it was nothing less than a miracle that Ailis and John had finally admitted their attraction, if not their feelings, for one another.

"You might like to know that Chief assigned Rory to be your bodyguard," John remarked, as casually as he could as he stole a slice of bread from the plate and practically ate it whole. He was that hungry.

Fixing John with a disapproving smirk for his bread theft, Ailis knocked loudly on the door that separated the kitchen from the main room to summon the other two, amused that her father was apparently playing matchmaker already. "Carpe Boomer, Sam," she winked to the other woman. "He'd love it."

A snort from the doorway gave away that Chief had overheard that little remark as he held the door for Rory to move into the kitchen, the male Warrens leading the charge to the rickety table and its array of three- and four-legged stools.

Sam cut a curious glance to her brother, who only shrugged innocently, no help at all, completely ignoring Ailis' disapproval at his head-start on dinner. It was only a slice of bread, after all. Any reply Sam might have given was cut off as they were joined by Rory and Chief, and blushed at the realization that at least one of them had overheard. And who was going to get the heat for that? John, of course. He was chuckling to himself at the situation, until Sam whacked him in the stomach to shut him up. "Shut up before I start sharing your most embarrassing moments."

John looked at his sister, aghast. "What embarrassing moments?" he asked, as if he had none. She only glared a warning back at him before taking her seat, purposely waiting for Rory. There was no point in hiding something they all seemed to know about already.

"Betcha nothing he's done compares with Ailis' prom date," Rory piped up, flashing Sam a startlingly charming grin as he lowered himself to the stool beside hers.

"And you can shut up, and all," was his sister's pointed response to that as she dished out the stew, the last to take a place at the table under the cover of her brother's ruthlessly accurate re-telling of her first and most humiliating date. The Chief chuckled at the cessation of tension between the younger people as they fell to sharing embarrassing stories, trying to one-up each other over dinner.

Before long, it was as if the five of them were one big happy family, sharing stories and laughing as if nothing was wrong. Laughter, as some wise man had once said, was the best medicine, and in this case, it seemed to be true. They were all feeling the loss of the Warren brothers, but maybe this was the first step in healing. The stories were bound to include the brothers, and before long John was telling of his first meeting with Connor and how they'd come to blows with each other upon their first meeting. Quickly becoming fast friends afterwards, they'd never shared so much as a harsh word since. John would have said more, but he'd grown quiet again, a little lost in his own thoughts, at least for the moment. He'd enjoyed the stew more than he cared to admit, and the company even more, but it would be awhile before any of them could talk about the loss without a little sadness creeping in.

It surprised the Chief more than he'd care to admit how easily the five of them had settled into a comfortable repartee, though he hadn't been able to keep his own comments on Ailis' frequent glances at John to himself, thoroughly enjoying the freedom to make his only daughter blush crimson with one particularly ribald observation. It had even earned him a faint glare from Rory for making his sister out to be more of a girl than she usually liked to admit, though Rory was more distracted by the pretty doctor at his side than he wanted to admit. In fact, he was so distracted that Ailis handed Sam the med-kit when the meal was over, trusting the other woman to check her brother's burns without incident. Besides, it would give them a little time to grow used to each other's solitary company while the Chief was washing up, and she wasn't above a little matchmaking herself.

Once Rory and Sam were out of earshot, and the three of them were left alone in the kitchen, John asked the one question that had been bothering him all through dinner. "Is he going to be okay?" he asked, with a glance toward the door Rory and Sam had disappeared through, keeping his voice low enough that they wouldn't overhear. He'd seen the man's back and knew his wounds were serious, but he seemed to be recovering. Whether he was asking because he was concerned about Rory or because he was thinking of his sister was uncertain; maybe it was both.

Ailis paused in wiping down the table, glancing briefly toward the door before letting her gaze meet John's with a soft look on her face. "He'll be fine," she promised him. "I know the burns look bad, but the blisters went down days ago. It's just a matter of giving him time to heal the damaged skin now. The deep level damage is healing up, and he's so full of antibiotics, it's a wonder he isn't sweating them."

The Chief grunted quietly from the sink. "Your Samantha'll do him the world of good, John," the older man said confidently. "They'll do, both of them." He turned away from the sink for a moment, eying John thoughtfully. "How about you? Are you going to be okay?"

John's gaze remained thoughtfully fixed on the doorway as he listened to Ailis and Chief reassure him that Rory would be fine. He wasn't so sure about Sam. He'd heard her screams in the middle of the night when the nightmares came out of nowhere. Ironically, his thoughts and worries for his sister were remarkably similar to her concerns about him, but they were twins, after all, and could practically read each other's thoughts, at times. He knew Rory must be feeling the loss of his twin more deeply than the rest. Pulled out of those thoughts by Chief's question, he arched a brow at the man as he collected up the dirty dishes and brought them to the sink for washing. "I'm fine. It's Sam that worries me."

"Bollocks you're fine," Ailis said, as confrontational as ever. He really shouldn't have expected her to change much; after all, she'd only brought something into the open, not developed it overnight. "She's just as worried about you, you know. Maybe a little distance'll do you both good."

At the sink, Chief met John's gaze with resigned good humor. "She's a point there, lad," he agreed reluctantly with his daughter. "The terrors may go quicker with extra hands to help soothe them."

John knew they meant well, and he knew what they were trying to tell him, but if they thought he was going to stop worrying about his sister, they were dead wrong. "We've been apart long enough," he replied as he set the dishes on the counter. "She's the only family I've got left." He got the feeling he'd been welcomed into their family, but it was too soon to really feel a part of that yet, though he was cautiously hopeful. He purposely avoided Ailis' gaze at the mention of terrors, afraid the look in his eyes might give him away. "I'm handling it," he replied quietly, not bothering to point out that he was a soldier and that he was supposed to be accustomed to killing and death, though they'd never trained him for the likes of Olduvai.
[size=9:9aa1933e78][color=darkred:9aa1933e78][b:9aa1933e78][i:9aa1933e78]Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.[/i:9aa1933e78][/b:9aa1933e78][/color:9aa1933e78][/size:9aa1933e78]