“Seriously, Dad... you can’t actually tell me what to do,” Roy said, slightly irritated. “I’m two hundred and eight years old, an accomplished doctor, and if I want to work as a Commonwealth consultant, I will.”
Shelby lifted the edge of the pancake, testing to see if it were the right color, head tilting, violet eyes narrowing. “No.”
Roy was taller than his dad now and had been for a long time. His bite was still poisonous, but he wasn’t really biting anyone’s ankles and his wife took a daily antivenom. Much to Shelby’s enjoyment, they were having an interesting parenting experience with their five year old daughter, Moody Ford. Roy’s problems were more centered on his dad at that moment though. Hands on his face, upper lip drawn back in a snarl, his slightly longer than normal canines shiny with green saliva, he groaned, took a deep breath. “I don’t think you understand how this works. If I want to be a Consultant with the Commonwealth, I will be.”
“Fine,” Shelby snapped, smacking the spatula against the counter hard enough to snap it in half. He spun, pointing the broken handle at his unfazed adopted son. “Be a god damn consultant! Get all up in their new fangled government! Suck their fucking fascist dick, for all I care! Just don’t go on that rescue mission. The Harvey went missing on the same day and time and time as The Rage. Did you think think I missed that bit, Chompers? That ship should be pushed into the sun.”
Teeth on edge, one eye squinting. “Why does everything come back to that one ship that you and Papa were on two hundred years ago? You’re so void sucking secretive over it, Dad. What DID. YOU. DO?”
Shelby threw the broken handle across the nearly empty kitchen.
“Whatever I fuckin needed to,” Shelby spat. He turned the stove off. Hands up, framing his face, violet eyes hard and serious, “I’m down with you doing emergency services for the Commonwealth, Roy, but you don’t like monsters! You know you don’t like monsters, Roy.” One hand turned to an accusing jab downwards, “If you’re there with them with when they breach that hull, there are going to be monsters.”
“Dad,” Roy snarled, moving forward, nose wrinkled, shoulders hunched, his own hand jabbing accusingly back, “That ship is lost for 300 years. How do you KNOW there’s something walking around that’s not in a cryo pod, uh? How do you know there’s monsters, Dad?”
The fight went out of Shelby suddenly. “I’ll come with you. I want to eat first. You’re going to want to take an anti-nausea.”
“There’s already a primary consultant on this mission,” Roy pointed out, eyebrows up, nose pinched. “You think you’ll just call HQ and bounce them?”
“Yeah. Ima make FUCKIN breakfast.” Shelby gave him the eye, one eye half closed, the other glaring.
“Fine,” Roy said with a sigh, slumping down into the same spot at the long glorified picnic table he’d sat as a child. “They’re not gonna let you do that, you know. Just who the hell do you think you are anyway?”
“How many pancakes you want?” Shelby snarled.
Hiro walked in, one eye watching a small sphere as data flowed rapidly over it. “Four please, and two eggs, that is if you two are done arguing.”
“Well, are we done, Roy,” Shelby said with a brilliant grin.
“We’re done,” Roy grumbled, “Morning Papa. He pointed at Shelby. “He’s impossible, and arrogant! And he thinks I’m a child!”
“Yes,” Hiro agreed, kissing the back of Shelby’s neck, which made Shelby make this purring, moaning little noise. “You’ll be home safe tonight, right,” he asked by way of demand.
“Yeah,” Shelby squeaked. He reached back and pulled his braid out of Hiro’s way. “Roy an’I’er gonna go clean out The Henry, now that they found’er.”
“Oh,” Hiro said, suddenly ten degrees more somber as he kissed Shelby’s neck tenderly. “I’ll stay home and make dinner then. I’ll postpone my trip for a bit.”
“Thanks, Hiro,” Shelby whispered, leaning back against Hiro, as he flipped the half dead pancake finally.
“What the hell actually happened on The Rage,” Roy asked quietly, hoping Hiro would give him some kind of answer.
Hiro kissed Shelby’s neck apologetically, then his shoulder, before turning to Roy. Arms at his side, he bowed slightly. “I intended to ask Shelby to marry me on that mission, but we were attacked by someone who wished to use a new mind control technique on me. I went insane. There were serious consequences. Shelby saved me. Not all of the consequences have been resolved. There are still four missing ships that were affected by my actions I took while not myself aboard The Rage. My actions were inexcusable, even with insanity. Shelby saved me beyond what any person deserves to be saved. I will understand if you feel ashamed of me now.”
“What?” Roy stared at his papa. He hadn’t much liked him when he’d come into the house as Alexander and didn’t believe in monsters. Over the rest of his childhood, he’d come to love and trust Hiro Kuno like the calm at the center of the universe. Hiro had been there for him for every significant moment of his life since the moment he’d come into his life. Shelby was always there too, but he was like white noise, always moving, always doing, always a hurricane. Hiro was the center and the focus. Hiro had officiated his marriage. Shelby got drunk at the reception. “What did you just say?”
Shelby set a plate of food down for each of them, then lifted his hands dramatically. “Eat my lovelies! For today we cure ZOMBIES!”
“WHAT? What the hell?” Roy stared at him like he’d lost his fucking mind.
Then the portal opened between their homes and Moody came running through in blue jammies with white clouds, her little green braid swaying behind her. “Granda!!! I want pancakes too!”
She ran into Shelby’s arms and he lifted her up, spun her around, tickled the tip of her nose with his braid. “Do you want mousie pancakes or dinosaur pancakes!?”
“Dinosaur! Can we go see dinosaurs today? Please, Granda!? Please! Daddy’s gonna be away at work!” She grinned and it was totally Shelby’s grin.
To which Shelby pointed towards her daddy who was sitting at the family table with a twitch in one eye. “Moody may not go time traveling,” he said firmly. “Moody, do not ask your grandfather for things I’ve said no to.”
“But...,” she whined.
“Is okay,” Shelby said cheerfully setting her on the counter.
“Off the counter,” Hiro said, without even looking.
Shelby sighed, motioned for a section of the bench and it slide across the kitchen, motioned for it to be higher, set her on that, so she could watch him draw a velociraptor in the pan with pancake batter. “Don’t worry, M-Chan. I’ll bring one home for you.”
“NO,” Hiro and Roy said at the same time.
This time Hiro turned to look at Shelby, blue eyes very serious. “You will not bring hostile biological material into this station.”
Shelby wrinkled his nose, shrugged one shoulder. “Meh. I brought you two didn’t I and it’s been okay. Think of how well Maki did?”
“I can not believe you gave my daughter a shark,” Roy said, mouth full of pancake. “It tried to eat the neighbor’s cat.”
“Yer wife’s allergic to dogs,” Shelby pointed out. “Shark’s are hypoallergenic. Besides, M-Chan likes Maki, don’cha?”
“Yes, Granda! Make me a shark pancake!” She said, bouncing on the elevated bench section.
“Maki’s a good sharkly.”