Author's Note- This story is a sequel to "SkyeWard's First Christmas" although it can be read as a stand-alone.
Grant paced around their apartment for the better part of the afternoon, without even realizing it. Skye had to suppress a grin when he rearranged the newspapers on the kitchen counter for the tenth time. For someone who could face down a dozen assassins without even twitching, Grant was a nervous wreck at the thought of seeing his younger brother, Tommy, again.
Skye could understand. Grant's childhood had left him broken and vulnerable and he tried to hide that under a steely resolve when he faced the world. But, when it was just the two of them, his defenses were down and she saw the real Grant. And she loved him, despite all that he'd done, despite everything. It had been a long road towards healing for the both of them, overcoming the pain of their pasts and they still weren't completely whole.
But, they had each other and they were heading in the right direction and that's all that mattered.
Grant pulled out his phone, checking it for the tenth time in the past hour. Tommy said that he and his wife and girls were coming at five and it was nearly that time. "Do you think they got lost? GPS always misses the last turn. Maybe I should call them. I should have just picked them up from the airport," he said, looking at Skye.
She gave him a wide smile and she kneaded the dough for the bread she'd bake for dinner. "I'm sure they'll be here soon. Don't worry. L.A. traffic during rush hour is miserable, especially around LAX. He said that they were getting a rental car, right? I'm sure they'll be by soon."
Grant nodded, but still began gnawing on his lower lip. They had a big weekend planned. They were all going to Disneyland the next day and celebrating Easter together on Sunday. It was going to be the first time that Grant had seen his brother in over seventeen years. Tommy had reached out to Grant a few months ago, sending him a Christmas present and offering him forgiveness.
That offer of forgiveness was the best Christmas gift Grant had ever gotten. He felt a weight lift from him that he didn't know he'd been carrying. Knowing that his brother was willing to let go of the past meant so much to Grant.
Grant heard a car come up the driveway and he had to force himself not to run to the door of the apartment. He did, however, make sure to open it on the first knock.
"Hi, I'm Marta and this is Sandra," said Tommy's wife. She was holding the hand of the five year old. "Tommy's getting the luggage and Sofia's 'trying' to help him," she said with a grin.
"Glad you made it okay. I'm Grant." Grant didn't know what to do and awkwardly stuck out his hand to shake hers. In a normal family, there'd be hugs.
His family had never been normal.
"Are you our Uncle Grant?" Little Sandra asked, head cocked to the side.
"Um, yes," Grant said, crouching down to get eye to eye with the little girl, her dark eyes wide as she examined him.
"Then why don't you give us un abrazo like Tío Ramon, Mommy's brother?" she asked.
Because your uncle Ramon probably never tortured your mother, Grant thought, the simple question stinging him. They probably have a good, healthy relationship. They probably had a normal childhood.
"Sandra," Marta said sharply. "I'm sorry."
"It's okay," he said to Marta before turning back to Sandra. "Would you like a hug?"
Sandra nodded solemnly.
Grant opened his arms to her and she squeezed him tightly. And that simple act of acceptance meant the world to Grant. Reluctantly, he disengaged himself from her embrace and stood up. "I should go help Tommy with the luggage. Skye's inside getting dinner ready. I hope you like Italian," he said.
"Love it," Marta said.
Grant took the steps two at a time to get down to the ground floor. "Hi, Tommy," he said as he approached, not wanting to startle his brother, who was leaning inside of the open trunk of the rental car, taking out suitcases. There was another little girl next to him, her jet black hair pulled up in a messy ponytail, who almost looked like she could be her sister's twin. "And you must be Sofia," he added.
"I'm the oldest," she declared, hands on her hips. "A whole year older."
"I could tell," Grant lied. The truth was that they looked about the same height and he would have been hard pressed to tell the difference between the two.
She nodded sagely and ran up the stairs to follow her mother and sister.
"Hi, Grant," Tommy said softly, straightening up.
Grant's eyes went wide. The last time he saw Tommy in person, his brother was barely thirteen and was scrawny and short. Now, as he stood beside him, he could see that Tommy was a good inch taller than Grant. It felt odd to look up to his "baby brother".
"You got tall," Grant said, wincing at the inane reply.
"Thank goodness for that," Tommy said good-naturedly, sticking out his hand to shake. "It's good to see you, man."
Grant swallowed hard, shaking his brother's hand. "Good to see you, too. Um, how was your flight?"
"Rough, to be honest. Flying with kids across country . . . . it's not for the faint of heart. But, we're here."
"I'm glad you came. Thank you. For the letter at Christmas. It meant a lot," Grant admitted.
"It was a long time coming. Truth is, I should have written it a while ago. But . . .," Tommy shrugged his shoulders.
"Well, still, thanks."
Tommy nodded. "So you're married."
Grant smiled. "Yeah. Come on up and meet her."
"I'd like that," Tommy said.
"Let me grab some of the suitcases," Grant offered.
"Thanks. I swear we're not moving in," Tommy joked as he waved at the four large suitcases.
"No worries," Grant said, heartened by the easy camaraderie between them as he followed his brother up the stairs, carrying two of the cases.
Maybe spring really was the time for new beginnings.
A. I'll be the first one to admit that this ship is in a bit of turmoil right now on the show. So, you can take this story one of two ways.
1) It's been several years since the events of Seasons 1 and 2 and Grant has been through sufficient prison time, therapy, and soul-searching, etc. so that he can enter into a somewhat healthy relationship and marriage.
2) Universe Alteration- The events of Seasons 1 and 2 occurred without Grant's ties to Hydra or Garrett.
One of the fun things about fan fiction is the ability to zig where the original authors/creators zagged.
B. Spanish translation- hug