Summary: It's been a few weeks since the fiasco with the Mjolnir and the brother's are working their next job. Cal's convinced Goodfellow to tag along when the job throws them another curveball. Follow-up to "The Mjolnir".
AN: This story takes place a few weeks after mine and Ames' story, but it's not necessary to read that one to understand this. I started writing this a while ago and after some poking and prodding from Amy I decided to finish it up for her.
So big thanks to her for helping me make this better and Dana for the beta!
Spoilers/warnings: No spoilers, this story falls into the timeline between Nightlife and Moonshine, and the only warning is the language. Then again this is Cal, so is the warning really necessary?
Read, review, and I hope you guys like it!
"Oh, you were serious?"
Sometimes I really wondered why I bothered. Rolling my eyes I ran through a dozen different remarks that came to mind. I settled on one of the least offensive. "Does it look like I'm pulling your leg? Yeah, I'm freaking serious."
Robin looked at me like I had sprouted a tail or some other odd appendage. "And why would I want to do that?"
Having a conversation with the puck was like pulling teeth. He'd only just arrived and I was already loosing what little patience I had.
"Why not? It'll be fun. You, me, and Nik… It'll be like old times."
I heard a snort from somewhere behind me and figured it was best to just ignore my big brother. I wasn't a freaky genius like him, but I was smart enough to pick my battles. One pain in my ass at a time. Plus, I'd learned a long time ago that I'd never win against Nik. Goodfellow on the other hand…
I looked at him expectantly.
"No." Figures, and if he shook his head any harder it'd probably fall off.
I shifted in my seat, getting comfortable. At this rate I was going to be here for a while.
Niko was doing something in the kitchen, probably cleaning. My brother the neat freak… It was better him than me. If I played my cards right I figured I had a little more stalling time before my brother came up with new and creative ways to get me to do my laundry, or worse, the dishes.
I cringed at the thought of chores and possible persuasive tactics, and focused once again on the task at hand.
"Well why the hell not? It's not like you have anything better to do. We go, take care of business, and get paid. Simple. And who knows, this shit could even be a little entertaining." I tried for a hopeful look, but who was I kidding? Still, I was determined to win. The puck didn't stand a chance.
"For one, I already have a job, thank you very much. My current occupation is more than enough to cover my expensive tastes." He smirked, and held up two fingers. "And two, it is one thing to deal with the filth in this city out of necessity. It is an entirely different story to do it for shits and giggles. I refuse to deal with the psychotic…" He waved his arms in the air, searching for the right term. It obviously wasn't working. "…Whatever, that crawl around in the sludge they consider city streets and find it entertaining to dine on anything that crosses their paths. Not to mention I'm hardly dressed for the occasion, and--"
I raised my hand, interrupting his rant.
"Are you done?" If he went on any longer I was likely to fall asleep. It was bad enough that I could see my bed through the doorway across the room. It was calling to me, and my lazy ass didn't need much persuasion to listen. "It'd be much easier if you'd just say 'yes' and be done with it. You're coming anyway so it really wasn't much of a question."
I crossed my arms and gave Robin a smug smirk. I had it all planned out, and Loman not tagging along would throw a monkey wrench into the itinerary.
"Is that right?" God, the puck could be annoying.
Ignoring Goodfellow's question I swiveled around in my seat in search of Niko's assistance. "Aren't you going to help?"
"Nope." Jesus. If I didn't know any better I'd think they were in on this shit together. Was it freaking annoy-the-hell-outta-Cal day or something?
I threw my hands up. "What the hell? Why not?"
"Because I'm finding it more entertaining to watch your poor attempts of persuasion." The corners of my brother's lips were twitching, and I groaned. Bastards.
"Well that's just great. I'm glad I could provide your entertainment for the day. Now how about we get serious and you tell Loman that he's coming with us tonight and we just leave it at that." It really was that simple, I didn't understand why they were making this shit more complicated than it had to be.
"You do realize the longer you continue on the younger you sound, right?" Niko looked thoughtful for a second, walking slowly through the kitchen and into the living room where we were sitting. He was drying his hands off on a small towel, and I couldn't help the slow roll of my eyes. Big brother would make a great wife someday. "I'd say about twelve, maybe ten."
"What the hell are you going on about?" I asked. My brother had the ability to confuse the hell out of me like no one else could.
Robin snorted. "With all this whining? I'd say about eight, maybe even six. I've seen toddlers that didn't throw fits as bad as this one."
I scowled. It was hard not to in the company I was in. Between my brother and Goodfellow they were enough to drive anyone to drink. So what if I was acting like a kid. After our last job I wasn't exactly thrilled about getting back on the bandwagon. We'd found out the hard way how easily the shit could hit the fan, and I wasn't looking forward to this 'easy' job. Easy my ass. The last easy job we'd had nearly put us all six feet under. I couldn't really be blamed for wanting a little backup. At least I thought so.
"Hilarious." Then again, I wasn't sure I could deal with this backup. Robin was likely to drive me over the edge before anything else got the chance to kill my ass.
I looked over at my brother. He was watching me, and I knew he could see right through my act. I wouldn't have even bothered with the charade if I didn't think I could use it to possibly get Goodfellow to go along. But a quick look towards the puck told me that Robin was just as quick to pick up on my hesitance as my brother.
I gave the puck a slight shrug and a look that clearly said I didn't want to talk about it, and turned back to my brother.
"Nik--" I wanted to cut him off at the pass. It was one thing for him to know what my problem was, it was a whole other story to sit and beat the issues to death. It was done, we were still alive and kicking, and the sooner I got over it the better.
"Cal…" He started, his voice the comforting tone that had always put me at ease. But I didn't want to hear it. I put my hand up, and shook my head. I knew I was being stupid. This new career of ours wasn't meant to be easy, but they weren't all going to be like our last fiasco. I just had to remind my gut of that fact. Just the thought of a repeat performance had my stomach in knots. If I never saw another fucking hammer, apocalyptic or not, it would be too soon.
"Forget it. It's not a big deal." And if I said it a few hundred more times I might even start to believe it. "Let's just get this shit over with."
Niko nodded, understanding in his gray eyes. There was never any question that I had an awesome big brother. How many people had a freakin' ninja for a brother? For that matter, how many people had a brother who had dedicated himself to keeping his trouble magnet of a little brother's ass alive? Yeah, I was full of fucking guilt. Just what I needed when all I wanted to do was crawl into bed and pretend that the last few months… hell, the last few years had all just been a really fucked up nightmare.
"We don't need to leave for a little while still." Niko explained looking between me and Robin. "It's best to go when it's dark. There shouldn't be anyone around to interfere so we can go in, get the job done, and be home before your bedtime, Cal."
Niko gave me a teasing smirk, and I ran with the easy out and familiar bantering. "My bedtime? I may sleep 'til noon, but I'm not the one that normally goes to bed before the sun has even gone down Grandpa."
Nik gave me a slow nod, and took a small step forward. "Grandpa, huh?"
A wide grin spread across my face but I wasn't an idiot, not really. I was already out of my chair and taking a step back before I opened my big mouth again. "Uh huh. All that going to bed early, getting up at the ass crack of dawn… hell I think I even saw some prune juice in the fridge." A quick glimpse at Goodfellow and I could see the puck practically vibrating with suppressed laughter. At least he was getting a good laugh out of me digging myself into an early grave. "I don't know, big brother. A few more wrinkles and gray hairs and you could be eligible for a membership at the local country club and senior citizen discounts at the stores."
I may not have been a complete idiot, but where Niko was concerned I was definitely too slow. I didn't even get the chance to turn around, never mind run.
I grunted when my back connected with the floor, and had to make an effort to get the air back into my lungs. Of course it would have been a hell of a lot easier if I didn't have all of my brother's weight on my chest, but from this angle I didn't have many options. It was usually best to just go with the flow, accept the fact that my big brother was once again wiping the floor with my ass, and then just whine and complain like hell afterwards.
"Now this? This is entertainment."
Both our gazes swung to the puck. He was sitting back on our couch, arms crossed, and his feet perched on the coffee table. He was the picture of comfort and contentment. Judging by where his eyes were focused I was guessing that the appreciative look on Goodfellow's face wasn't from our impressive sparring skills but more from his view of my brother's backside. I groaned again, only this time it had nothing to do with my brother tossing my ass. I looked up and had to laugh at my brother's face. It was a cross between disturbed and annoyed and I had to wonder when that annoyance would lead to Goodfellow being the one on the floor. Then again… the puck would probably enjoy it. I shuddered at the thought.
"Might as well get used to it big brother, I don't think he's going anywhere." I felt bad for Niko, really I did. However, my sympathy didn't keep the stupid grin off my face… and once again I was airborne.
I hit the coffee table, knocking Robin's feet off the edge. He huffed in annoyance before sitting up fully. "Damn straight I'm not going anywhere. You should always be careful what you wish for. You wanted my help, now you're stuck with me."
I grumbled about 'stupid ideas' and tried to remember what we had even needed a freaking car for in the first place while I slowly pushed myself up from the floor. Freaking Grendels. It was bad enough they'd had the leading role in fucking up our lives, now we had them to thank for the puck currently taking up space on our couch. They were officially off our Christmas card list, family or not.
"Lucky us," I replied dryly, "Should have fucking hitchhiked our asses out of New York… bought a damn car somewhere else."
Robin considered that for a second before smirking. "With that face, people would be more likely to speed away than to drive you anywhere."
Goodfellow motioned towards my expression with a wave of his hand before smugly putting in his two cents. "I rest my case."
"Shut up," I snapped before turning to my brother.
Instantly, both of my brows disappeared behind my dark bangs. Niko was leaning in the doorway between his room and the living room wearing his long coat that was undoubtedly concealing at least a dozen weapons. "I take it we're leaving?"
I hadn't even realized he'd left the room, not that it surprised me. My freaky brother could dance circles around you before you even realized something was moving.
I watched him… he was calm, ready. The thoughtful look in his gray eyes told me he was running through his mental checklist. Assuring himself that he had everything he could possibly need for this job, and probably then some.
Niko's eyes met mine, and he nodded. "Grab what you need. We might as well go now."
"Alright." I turned to Goodfellow who was still lounging on the sofa. "So, you coming?"
The puck released a long suffering sigh, his fingers scratching idly through the hair at the base of his skull, "If I must."
I grinned. Niko only shook his head as I passed him while heading towards my bedroom.
"I don't know why you still want him to come along," Niko commented, the hint of amusement leaking through in his voice. "He's only going to drive you crazy."
I shrugged and replied casually, "Maybe. Or the tables could turn."
I made my way to my room, cleared the doorway, and released the breath that seemed to be stuck behind the lump in my throat. Bugging Loman was always fun, but tonight I was just happy there would be another capable fighter along for the ride. Robin had helped save our asses more than once in the short time that we'd known him, and although my gut was still protesting this job I took a little comfort in him tagging along.
Easy. I sure as hell hoped so.