An Overdue Visit
Timeline: MD 3; 1400 hours
OOC: this is from shore leave before the last mission...so, yeah, a bit overdue.
Chance stepped off the transport, and waited to be sure Kieran and Trisha were still with him. It was 3 days before the wedding, and they'd been working nonstop on preparations, but today was a day to take a break from that. Although, for Chance, that didn't mean he was any more relaxed. It wasn't that he didn't want to do this, it was detrimental for Kieran, and for the boy's grandparents, that he see them. He was worried about how Celice's parents viewed him.
He'd never met them when Celice was alive, and therefore, had no idea what their opinion of him was when she'd turned up pregnant after they'd parted ways--he still wondered why she never told him. And he could only imagine that it had looked bad on him when Trisha, who was no blood relation, had taken the time to visit them and give them an update without him even knowing. Had it given the impression that she had to sneak away from him to get word to the boy's grandparents? At the very least he didn't look as vested as someone who didn't have to be was.
Then they'd gotten stuck in another galaxy for a year, which probably looked more like he was avoiding them.
Trisha had tried to put him at ease--he was making assumptions not based on any solid evidence--but it only had so much of an effect. Perhaps he felt he had to be prepared for anything.
The transport dropped them off a short distance from their house, so when he saw Trisha and Kieran with him, he began the hike.
She was concerned about his body language as they walked. She knew his concerns and they weren't completely unfounded but the last thing she wanted was for him to give off some kind of guilty vibe in meeting these people for the first time.
Were they the kind who would be angry, especially given how they'd vanished for so long on their trip to where no one had gone before? Perhaps. But as cold as it was she also knew they held the leverage. It was the same leverage she was holding hands with as they walked.
"Be careful of the rocks, if you step on them the wrong way you can hurt your foot." She said quietly to Keiran.
"Are we there?" The boy asked, holding onto her hand.
"Almost, it's not far." She looked over at Chance and gave him a wink to try and relieve a little of his nerves.
He was about to answer when she beat him to it. And he caught her look, managing a nod in return. He knew what she was trying to do. Mostly, he needed to keep himself from jumping to conclusions, and he realized that, but it was easier said than done. Instead of concentrating on that, though, he looked down at Kieran. "Don't tell me you're getting tired. You can't peter out on me before we even get to see your grandparents."
"I'm not tired, I don't wanna walk anymore."
"Then lets run. I'll race you."
Chance watched the two of them break into a sprint as they ran down the street. The way his son and Trisha interacted always put a smile on his face. In fact, he had to keep her, at times, from giving him whatever he wanted. But they were bonding, and he was thankful for that. He continued to watch them get farther away, and couldn't tell who had gone faster. But at a certain point they stopped and turned to wait for him. "I'm coming, I'm coming," he said as he got closer.
When he rejoined them, she pointed to a house on the right. "That's their house."
He nodded, looking at the modest dwelling and swallowing past the lump in his throat. "You ready to go see your Grandma and PopPop?" he asked the boy, remembering what he called them.
Kieran nodded enthusiastically and grabbed his dad's hand. "C'mon!"
Chance laughed. "Okay, okay. I'm coming." He looked over at Trisha. "You heard him...c'mon."
She followed up the path to the door, remembering it well from her earlier visit. Hanging to the rear she wanted Kieran to be the first person they saw.
Chance slipped his hand in hers. Even though he caught her hanging back, the gesture was more for his own comfort. If nothing else, he was glad she was here so he didn't have face this different sort of "in-laws" alone. He watched Kieran push the chime as the approached. The boy was practically dancing in anticipation.
A few moments later the door was opened by a stern looking man. He was about to ask what they wanted, likely in a surly tone but he stopped when he caught sight of Kieran. His facade faded as he picked the boy up. "Well who do we have here?" He turned to take him into the house before pausing them nodding for them to follow.
Chance followed hesitantly. Had he not needed to keep an eye on his son, he was certain he wouldn't have entered. But he ventured to respond, "Um, thank you." Although he himself attempted to keep a safe distance, he noticed Kieran eating up the attention doted on him by his grandfather.
Banks followed into the house, noting a few differences since she was there over a year before. She gave Chance's hand a gentle squeeze so he'd take a breath. It worked for the moment, and he flashed a smile her way in return.
Meanwhile Kieran was set down on a couch by his grandfather. "Do you want anything to eat or drink?" It was clear by the tone the offer was only for the boy.
He nodded. "Yes, please!"
Banks looked around some more as the older man disappeared into the kitchen area. Turning to Chance, she leaned in to whisper. "I don't hear anyone else here. Either she's not home or she's dead." Her tact, as usual, was top notch.
He elbowed her with a scowl, made worse by his nervousness. "Stop that!" he said in a harsh whisper. "They're not decrepit."
She shrugged as she kept an eye on the kitchen. A moment later the man returned with several sugary snacks on a platter and a drink for Keiran, setting them in front of the child. "It's been a long time since we saw you."
"Yeah, about that..." Chance began, stepping forward. "Our ship got tossed into another galaxy and for the last year, we've only just recently been able to make it back, so we wanted to make getting out here a priority."
He looked at Chance in silence, as if judging if the story was true or a wild fantasy, before looking back down to Kieran. "Yes, I know."
Banks leaned against the wall. "You do?"
"Yes, Ms. Banks, I do. I'm old friends with Admiral Carpenter. When you visited, and then vanished, he was kind enough to keep me in the loop concerning you and your ship."
Her normal poker face flinched and she glanced at Chance. He knew about their mission and he knew her name.
Chance saw the look and understood her thoughts. He figured he'd add to the news, hoping it would bolster the man's opinion of them. For himself, he thought said opinion could only go up. "Well, after this weekend, she will be Ms. Crow." He looked at her with a smile.
Movement was heard from a hallway, and Mrs. Roskov stepped into the room. "I thought I heard...oh, we have company!" she said with a smile. She then turned to her husband, "Why didn't you tell me they were here?" She settled in next to him and turned her attention to Kieran. "And how are you doing?"
Kieran smiled around the food, unidentifiable, in his mouth. "Mmhmm," was all her could manage.
"Kieran," Chance admonished. "Finish your bite, then answer." The boy nodded, his eyes wide.
The woman's sudden appearance was another surprise Banks had not counted on, having not detected her before. As the scene unfolded she withdrew into her mind and noted the surprises. Was she losing her edge? Was she too preoccupied with the wedding? It was then she knew she had missed something and looked to the older man. "I"m sorry?"
"I said, how long have you two known each other?"
"About three years or so."
Mr. Roskov nodded, turning his eyes to Kieran again.
His wife turned to the others. "Thank you for bringing him by," she said, nodding toward Kieran. Emotion was evident in her voice. "I can't believe how big he's getting!"
Chance felt the guilt from her comment immediately. He hadn't brought Kieran to see his grandparents, and consequently brought the only part of their daughter that remained to see them, untll now. "I'm sorry I didn't get him here sooner. Even under normal circumstances, shore leave here is unpredictable, but we got caught in a far away system that left us unable to communicate with Headquarters. From what I understand, we were listed as lost in the line of duty." When that still didn't feel like enough, he continued. "Before that, I was mostly wrapping my head around the fact that I have a son. Making the rounds was not in my head at the time." The look on her face told him that she might be accepting of any reasonable explanation, but he couldn't help but feel they were more like excuses.
"Maybe since you've got time now, he might stay with us for a bit....if he's in agreement," said Mr. Roskov.
Chance looked at Trisha, a look that asked her thoughts on the idea. "Well, we didn't come prepared for that, but it wouldn't be hard to get his stuff." He looked at Kieran too, not entirely sure how he would handle his son not in his care for the first time since getting him.
Banks gave him a slight shrug. "True, we can get him anything he needs."
Mr. Roskov cracked anything resembling a smile for the first time. "How about it? You wanna stay here for a couple days?"
Kieran looked up for the first time since settling in, somehow sensing that he was being talked to. When the question registered his face lit up, and he nodded vigorously. "Yah!"
Mrs. Roskov chimed in, "That settles it then."
From where he sat, Chance could only smile--it wasn't like he could say no at this point. Looked like he and Trisha were going to be childless for a few days. "I guess we'll go get his things then."
Kieran's reaction made Trisha grin. "We'll be right back with them."
Chance nodded and stood, pulling Trisha with him. "Yes. It shouldn't take us long." He smiled tentatively at Celice's parents. And when the details were finalized, he and Trisha walked out the door to get clothes for Kieran's first sleep over since he'd arrived on the Merc.
"That went well," she commented after they left the home.
Lieutenant JG Chance Crow
Medical Officer, USS Mercutio
Chief Intelligence Officer, USS Mercutio