Still love these dorks XD
Still also hate how I can't pick more than four characters on this site. -_-
Fallon takes a deep breath, planting his hands on his hips. "No place like home, eh?"
"Yeah," Philip grouses, fiddling morosely with the clasp of his instrument case. "No place like home."
Yuliy stifles an amused eyeroll as Fallon pointedly ignores Philip—the redhead doesn't like Britain, and the blonde doesn't care much for Ireland. The biggest point of contention between the two over their home countries seems to be the food served there, to Yuliy's neverending confusion; food from either place tastes good enough, in his opinion.
Willard clears his throat, tucking his pocket watch back into his coat. "Lead the way, Fallon."
The five Jaegers hop in a car borrowed from V Shipping, though it's a bit of a tight fit with them and their weapon cases. Fallon seemed to be extra careful in putting his cello case in the back for some reason.
"So what's your family like?" Dorothea asks as Fallon starts the car.
He just laughs heartily, turning to get a better view while backing out. "Ah, I couldn't tell you if I tried. You'll have to meet them to really find out."
Recently, there's been something of a lull in vampire activity. It has everyone on edge, wondering if they're planning something—rather, wondering what it is they're planning. But the Jaegers are making the most of it, like always. Willard suggested that they visit their families for a day or two, Fallon agreed enthusiastically and called home, and the next thing they know, they're all on a ship to Ireland because apparently, the Murphys want to meet the whole Jaeger gang.
Yuliy shivers as he scoots out of the car reluctantly, his breath fogging in the air. Even he can appreciate the beauty of the snow-blanketed trees and fields, but he'd be happier if they picked literally any other time of the year to visit.
"So this is the place that that big lug grew up in," Dorothea muses lightly, surveying the Murphys' home with interest.
From their position on the treeline, it looks to be two homes cobbled together by structures built in between over time. Some parts of the buildings look significantly newer than others. The spontaneous, chaotic jumble of architecture seems fitting for Fallon's boisterous, exuberant personality.
"Oh, by the way," Fallon adds as he shuts the car door, "I apologize for my family in advance."
Philip deadpans at the burly redhead. "Come on, they can't all be as bad as y-"
Something white explodes upon contact with the back of the blonde's head, and he whirls around with a cat-like screech. "WHO DID TH—HEY!" Another snowball hits him square in the face, and he goes down like a sack of potatoes.
Fallon ducks behind the car. "Been nice knowing you guys!"
Yuliy vaults over the hood, narrowly avoiding another icy missile (literally a missile; he has no idea how they're coming in so fast). He grabs Philip by the sleeve and yanks him behind the car for cover as Dorothea and Willard join them, the latter looking significantly more alarmed than the former.
"Alright, who did that?!" Philip hisses, frantically dusting snow and dirt out of his hair. "No one should legally be able to throw that hard, not even Fallon!"
The initial barrage seems to have stopped. Meanwhile, Fallon scrambles underneath the car to get a safer view. A moment later, he snorts out a laugh. "Oh, they're not."
Philip scowls. "Not what?"
"Not throwing." He chuckles, a distinct note of pride in his voice. "They sure are putting that potato gun to good use…"
"I got hit with a snowball from a potato gun?!"
"I think they might've replicated that potato gun," Yuliy comments. "There seemed to be more than one firing."
Fallon's still under the car, but he sounds like he's choking up (knowing him, he could either be dramatically faking it or be totally sincere). "They've made me so proud!"
The good professor looks absolutely bewildered, to Yuliy's mild amusement. "What is going on here, Fallon?"
The redhead pops back out and grins, ignoring the snow and dirt caking the front of his jacket. "Just a classic Murphy welcome-home greeting. The usual."
Dorothea grins predatorily, flexing her fingers. "How about we give them a taste of our classic Jaeger combat strategy?"
"You read my mind!"
"We have a classic combat strategy?" Philip asks skeptically as Dorothea peeks out from the side of the car.
Fallon packs a fistful of snow into a dense projectile with his bare hands, apparently unbothered by the cold. "Sure! Make it up as we go!"
Philip facepalms. "Should've known."
"Fallon, you know our targets best," Dorothea states, narrowing her teal eyes. "What do you think their plan of attack is going to be?"
"Well, if I know them at all-"
"I should hope you do," Philip mutters, obviously disgruntled about this impromptu assault. "They're your fam-"
Yuliy's head snaps up. "Above us!"
A flurry of snowballs rains down out of nowhere, and Yuliy vaults over a fallen tree to use as cover. Philip and Willard join him within seconds, both of them having been marked at least once by the projectiles. Yuliy's sharp eyes catch flickers of red darting through the trees, their paths trailed by echoing giggles and laughter. As fast as he can, he scoops up a handful of snow and launches it towards one of the blurs.
A giggle cuts off into a shriek, then more laughter. "You weren't kidding, they're fast!" a young voice squeals in delight.
Fallon's booming laughter comes from somewhere behind the car. "Toldja!"
Another voice, similar to the first, calls out, "We're going on ahead! Seeya guys there!"
Yuliy zeroes in on a pair of figures crouched in the branches above them. Gap-toothed grins glint brightly in the winter sun from the young redheads before they take off, darting through the treeline like little monkeys. Some of Fallon's relatives, no doubt.
"Yuliy, Philip, Professor, you guys still alive?" Fallon's voice calls.
"Your family has a rather unique interpretation of welcome," Willard responds, to which Fallon just laughs heartily.
"Anyways, they're not gonna let us anywhere near the house without a fight, and they've got us outnumbered, two or three to one."
"Why are there so many of them?!" Philip demands indignantly, looking none too pleased with those odds.
Dorothea's voice cuts in. "Yuliy, you'll be the bait. Buy us some time to stock up on ammunition and waste some of theirs. Every snowball will count in this upcoming collision."
Yuliy hunches lower in his coat with a frown, predictably unenthusiastic about being the target for lots and lots of snow and ice, and also somewhat exasperated by how seriously a pair of adults are taking this. Dorothea sounds as if she's talking about an all-out clash with a horde of vampires—same 'I'm going on the warpath, try to stop me' tone, except the word 'bullet' is replaced by 'snowball'.
"Why do I have to be the bait?" he asks indignantly.
"Because you run the fastest."
"But they'll all be aiming at me!"
"You've dodged bullets before, for heaven's sake. A few snowballs shouldn't be a big deal."
"But they're snowballs," he complains, and Philip laughs through his nose.
"Hey, don't discount my family's potato guns! They sure pack a punch, right, Philip?"
"Shut up! Whose side are you on anyways?"
Dorothea huffs loudly. "Look, just buy us a few minutes, and we'll come back you up soon!"
"Here, catch!" Fallon adds.
Instinctively, Yuliy reaches up to catch what the redhead throws him—a long branch more or less the size of his staff. His eyebrow twitches, and he sighs. If nothing else, he's learned a thing or two about snowball guerilla warfare from his childhood days, and he'll be a much more difficult target to hit now than he was before.
"...Fine." He twirls the branch a few times to test its balance, shrugs in acceptance of his fate, and gets ready to run. "Guess I'll just have to not get hit…"
Much to four-fifths of the Jaegers' relief, a ceasefire is called instead of a match to the death, by way of a long call from some kind of horn. The snowballs abruptly stop flying from the enemies, and the next thing they know, the Jaegers are being mobbed again, this time in person.
Yuliy, Philip, Dorothea, and Willard watch in a mixture of bafflement, fondness, and affection as Fallon's family practically dogpiles him, especially the younger ones, a solid majority of them gingers. He eventually resurfaces with a set of twin sisters on his shoulders, the same ones that sneak-attacked them from the trees earlier, and more kids clinging to his torso and legs gleefully, laughter of various pitches and volume mingling in the wintry air.
"It's an army," Philip states, looking floored by the mass of redheads.
Willard winces, rubbing his shoulder, where there's a damp spot from a melted snowball or three. "An apt description."
Incredibly apt, in Yuliy's opinion. Apparently, some of the Murphys were stationed as lookouts in the city and along the road up to the house, relaying messages about the Jaegers' arrival in the city and their whereabouts regularly so that the front-line combatants had time to build up their ammunition. They were literally better organized than some vampire attacks that the Jaegers have seen over the years.
Philip huffs and turns to level a peeved look at Yuliy. "I can't believe you didn't get hit once. That's not fair."
Yuliy just shrugs, brushing off some snow from his makeshift staff, which turned out to be quite a reliable tool for deflecting snowballs.
The Murphy clan inevitably reminds him of his village. When he was younger, too young to go on hunts with the older villagers, he would wait restlessly at home with Mother, running to the window every few minutes to try to catch a glimpse of the hunting party. When Mikhail came back, proudly hauling his catch on a sled behind him, Yuliy would be the first to greet them all. Mikhail would swing him onto his shoulders with a laugh and hardly any effort, barely seeming tired despite a long hunt, and Yuliy would ride on his brother's shoulders all the way back, happy they returned safe and longing for the day that he could accompany them.
So lost in thought was Yuliy that he didn't notice Philip sneaking closer and closer until-
Slowly, Yuliy peels himself out of the snowbank that Philip shoved him face-first into and spits out a mouthful of snow, giving the blonde a deadpan look as he dances away, snickering gleefully. Well, since Yuliy's already freezing…
Philip shrieks as Yuliy lobs a handful of snow at his face, and the black-haired teenager deadpans, "Revenge."
Someone helps Yuliy up, and from there, it's a whirlwind of introductions that make his head spin. Back in the village, he knew every single villager, if only by name sometimes, but all of these introductions all at once are just blurring together in his mind. He gets friendly hugs and handshakes from redheads, male and female, of all ages, and tries his best to stumble his way through. Philip looks to be as overwhelmed as Yuliy, although Willard is conversing with some older relatives (Fallon's aunt and uncle?), and Dorothea is being fawned over by some of the females of the Murphy clan.
"That was an awesome snowball fight!" a teenage boy around Philip's age declares enthusiastically.
A young man who looks and acts like he might be Fallon's brother throws an arm around Philip and Yuliy's shoulders with a bark of laughter. "That settles it! You guys are honorary Murphys, like it or not!"
They're soon ushered inside into a large living room with (to Yuliy's great relief) a roaring fireplace. They all hang up their coats to dry out a bit, and someone brings in a tray of tea. There's barely enough room to swing a cat, and some of them end up sitting on the floor, but Yuliy finds it cozy.
Some of Fallon's younger siblings and cousins refuse to be separated from him. The twin sisters sit on either side of him on the floor, a cousin sits cross-legged on the couch next to him, and another young girl sits on his shoulders, clinging to his hair happily.
"So, I already told them who you guys are," Fallon says to the Jaegers, "but I'll just go around and introduce you guys again, since my grandpa can't remember where he put his hat when it's on his head."
The children in the room laugh, as do some of the adults, and an elderly man with grayed, rust-colored hair prods Fallon hard with a cane, eliciting a yelp. "Kids these days," the old man grumbles good-naturedly.
Yuliy sips absently at his tea, reminded of Gustav.
"For heaven's sake, my home is not a banquet hall!"
Fallon coughs pointedly. "So, this is Professor Willard, the leader of our team-"
"However do you manage to put up with my idiot brother," a teenage boy deadpans from his perch on the back of the couch.
"Watch it, Nolan!" Fallon barks, pointing warningly at his brother without any real ire, to the family's amusement. "Anyway, that's Yuliy over there-"
"You're really good at snowball fights!" a little girl with pigtails exclaims, and Yuliy can't help but smile.
"And this here is Philip-"
"Hey, stop touching my hair! I swear…"
"-and over there-"
His female relatives pounce eagerly.
"Is she your girlfriend?"
"Is she your fiancee?"
"Is she your wife?!"
At the last enthusiastic question of the little girl sitting on Fallon's shoulders, Dorothea claps her hands together, throwing her head back and laughing so hard she nearly falls out of her chair. Philip chokes tea out of his nose, and Willard's shoulders are shaking suspiciously as he lifts a hand to cover his mouth. Even Yuliy hides a smile in his teacup.
Meanwhile, Fallon is banging his head on the table repeatedly, much to the amusement of his family and the delight of the cousin on his shoulders, who giggles and pulls at his ponytail.
He lifts his head momentarily to glare half-heartedly at Dorothea. "You don't have to laugh that hard!" he complains, sounding mildly offended.
She laughs harder.
The rest of the afternoon passes in a warm haze. Some older relatives, including Fallon's parents, come home from working in the town and greet the Jaegers affectionately as if they were family. It's a surreal feeling to Yuliy, mirroring the close-knit family relationship of the Dogville tribe, although of course it's not the same.
Philip looks a bit overwhelmed, to be honest. Yuliy doesn't know much about what his family was like, except his parents' fate and that he lived with his aunt and uncle before the Jaegers. Judging from his demeanor, his family was never quite like this.
The Jaegers get pulled into a highly competitive game of Go Fish by some of Fallon's siblings and cousins, and raucous laughter soon permeates the entire house constantly. Yuliy happens to notice Fallon's mother's gaze linger on a recent bullet scar peeking out from the edge of her son's sleeve, although she doesn't say anything about it. Willard notices too. Soon, the professor and Fallon's parents are talking quietly off to the side. The latter's tension and concern ease slightly over time, although Yuliy knows there's no force in the world that could ever stop a parent worrying for their child.
After playing a few rounds of cards with the others, Yuliy bows out to take a break, content to sit and watch by the fire, his clothes mostly dry by now. Once in a while, the younger kids come over to talk to him, flitting to and from whatever catches their interest like butterflies. Absently, he swirls his mug of tea in his hand, the leaves drifting and settling in the amber liquid.
He glances up at Philip, who watches the ninety percent redheaded family with a look that seems to encompass what Yuliy is feeling too. The older teen gives a sort of shrug with one shoulder after a moment.
The blonde's gaze flickers to him for a moment. "Yeah?" He folds his arms, leaning back against the fireplace, legs crossed lackadaisically. "Yeah."
Fallon leaves for a few minutes and comes back with his cello case, to the Jaegers' confusion. But when he opens it, it's full of books and toys and trinkets for his relatives, especially the younger kids, whose expressions of sheer delight and joy could warm even the loneliest of hearts.
Philip sidles over with a suspicious frown. "Hey, where are your-" He hesitates; he can't very well yell out the word 'firearms' in a room full of kids. "-you know?" he finishes weakly.
"Ah...I'm afraid I don't know?"
Dorothea crosses her arms. "Fallon."
"I left them at Headquarters," he admits ruefully. "No space."
Philip kind of loses it. "You left them at Headquarters?!"
The redhead has the grace to look a tad sheepish. "Come on, we're basically on vacation."
"We are not on vacation!" Philip hisses, throwing his hands up in the air (but making sure to keep his voice down somewhat). "Vampires stop for no one! With their recent lack of activity, it'd be just our luck if they came calling now."
"Well, you and Dorothea both carry multiples! Besides…" He casts a fond, wistful look at his family as the children 'ooh' and 'ahh' over their new toys. "Who knows when I'll get to see them again? I gotta at least try to make up for all the Christmases and birthdays I'm gonna keep missing."
Dorothea rolls her eyes in a mixture of exasperation and affection, but she doesn't say another word. Neither does Willard, who simply adjusts his monocle and takes another sip of tea. Philip heaves a long sigh, dragging a hand down his face, and Fallon rolls his eyes good-naturedly and musses his hair, ignoring the teenager's protests.
"Oh, don't get all stroppy like that," Fallon laughs as Philip scrambles out of arm's length. "Here, why don't you play something for the kids? They'll love it."
He pushes Philip's violin case (the one with his actual violin) towards the blonde with a grin; true to his word, some of his younger relatives immediately swarm the violinist.
"Wow, you can play violin?"
"That's so cool!"
"What're you gonna play for us?"
"Play, play, play!"
Despite his initial bafflement, Philip soon falls naturally into his role as entertainer, drawing on experience from playing to crowds on the streets.
"Alright, a one-man concert it is from the violin extraordinaire!" he declares, bowing with a dramatic flourish and a grin. "So what'll it be, ladies and gentlemen?"
Willard cups his hands around his tea. "Has Fallon told you much about our job?"
Alan and Maeve exchange a glance. "No," Maeve admits, her gaze downcast. Her russet colored hair is shot through with gray—no doubt her son gave her several of those streaks. "He just calls every so often. Tells us he's fine, everything's good, and that he's still earning money for the family."
"He talks a lot about your team, though," Alan adds, dark gold eyes warm—like his son's. "He thinks highly of you all."
"The feeling is mutual," Willard tells them honestly.
The hubbub of sound peaks suddenly, and all three adults glance over to where Fallon, Dorothea, Philip, Yuliy, and several of Fallon's relatives are playing Go Fish, with his other relatives watching. Apparently, Fallon's youngest sister, at age five, just won the last round and is now taking a victory lap around the room on Fallon's broad shoulders.
"I know I could never tell you that we don't face danger," Willard says at length, turning back to Fallon's parents. "But we protect and care for each other as though we were family." For some of them, it's the only family they have.
Alan's gaze softens. "I can tell. We still worry, though."
"It's what we do, as parents," Maeve adds with a rueful smile. "But you understand that, don't you, Mr. Willard?"
They glance off to the side past Willard, who turns to follow their gaze.
Yuliy seems to be taking a break from the party and is sitting by the fireplace, watching some of Fallon's little cousins show off their juggling abilities. He amuses them by tossing the patchy beanbags, one by one, and the kids catch and juggle them until one of them slips up, sending the beanbags plummeting to the floor. Yuliy praises them sincerely anyway. The children beam, and the hard lines of Yuliy's ever-solemn expression soften into a smile.
One day, he'll learn the truth.
Fallon's parents' expressions are knowing as Willard finally turns away from the Sirius survivor. "I do understand," he admits quietly.
It's not today, though. He can keep pretending for another day—another day to cherish and remember, before that day inevitably comes.
No omake this time, I guess XD Willard's conversation with Fallon's parents was supposed to be the omake, and then it got kinda sad at the end...oops.
I don't know what Fallon's surname is in canon if it's stated at all, so I just searched up Irish surnames. Also, I headcanon that he's just everyone's big brother, like he is with Yuliy and Philip XD and that those two are pretty much adopted by his family, like 'we're adopting you, sign here'.