"Ian! Ian, please come get the children!"
"I'll be right there!"
A beautiful, redheaded woman, in her late twenties, was busily trying to prepare breakfast in a spacious kitchen, but her two small children, both twins, were running around her legs in a ferocious game of tag, almost tripping her up.
"Sean! Terri! If you want to play, go in the living room! Let me get breakfast on, your father has things to do!"
Just when things seemed hopeless, and the two were on another round of running circles around their mother, a handsome, blond haired and blue eyed man in his early thirties came down the stairs, spotting the trouble.
"Oh you rogues! Come here!"
He went to his wife's rescue, grabbing his children up in each arm by the waist and letting them hang there, both giggling and laughing while still trying to grab each other.
"Shana, you need a vacation."
The redhead brushed a strand of hair out of her face, smiling a little as she wiped her wet hands on a rag.
"Is that an offer?"
The blond laughed as he shifted his son's weight, kissing the little boy on the head.
"Don't you think that Snake Eyes would go out of his way to help the most beautiful woman in the world?"
Shana put her hands on her hips, looking up at him.
"Yes, I do think Snake Eyes would do that. And I also think that Scarlett would be well impressed."
"Would she be impressed if he kissed her?" asked the blond as he set the children down.
Shana smiled widely, wrapping her arms around him.
Without hesitation, Ian pressed his lips against hers, one hand on her back and the other holding her head. The twins were quite amused, having gone quiet and trying to conceal their giggling. Once their parents had broken the kiss, Ian turned to eye them suspiciously.
"Alright...now the question still remains: what to do with the two of you."
Sean immediately perked up.
"How about we go outside and play hide and seek?"
"No! I don't wanna play that. How about we go see the horses?"
"Aaaww no. We did that yesterday."
Ian interrupted, first taking Sean up, and then Terri, in his strong arms.
"I have a better idea. Why don't we go outside, give your mother a little rest, and I'll tell you a story."
At this he got a more than enthusiastic answer, the twins agreeing heartily. Shana touched her husband's shoulder, giving him a suspicious look.
The blond gave her his infamous, sly smile, raising an eyebrow.
Shana sighed, trying to keep from laughing.
"The same man I fell in love with had that smile too, you know? That's why I fell for him."
Ian leaned forward and kissed her once more.
"And you still fall for him."
She laughed, touching his nose and turning back to the oven, bending take two hot loaves of bread out.
"Amazingly, yes. Now you three go have fun, and I'll bring you something to eat soon. And Ian,"
The blond turned, cocking head over shoulder, his arms full of two rambunctious children.
Shana straightened, wagging a bread knife at him.
"Remember, they're only five years old. Don't tell them anything too bloody."
Ian smiled handsomely, letting Terri open the door as he stepped out into the beautiful Autumn morning.
"Five and a half, my dear. Don't worry...nothing too graphic or overly disturbing. Just enough to let them know that their parents worked with a secret military agency."
But the door had been closed. The redhead sighed, looking down at the fresh baked bread. She then walked to the window over the sink, brushing the curtains aside and watching her husband and children walk across the lawn. A smile spread across her full lips, and then she began to laugh, shaking her head. Ian Matthew Michaels was the same as when she had first met him.
The weather outside was extremely pleasant, not too cold, but cool. A nice Tennessee breeze rustled the tree tops, sending a few orange-hued leaves drifting to the ground. The Michaels' home was located at the top of a hill, a long paved driveway running from it to the hardly busy road at the bottom. Trees lined the driveway, accompanied by a white fence on either side. The fence ran on for a very long ways, and contained quite a few horses that grazed on the green grass. A small red barn with a tin roof was near the bottom of the driveway, close to the road, and several more horses stood around there. There were about eight in all, some black, some white, some a mixture of both colors.
The sky was a deep blue, with whisps of white clouds here and there. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, and Ian and his two children were going to enjoy it. When they had stepped off of the spacious front porch to the house, the blond let his children down, holding their hands in his as they went for a fairly good walk to a massive oak tree near the fence. Sean and Terri squealed with delight when they spotted one of the horses near the fence, and went running to pet him. The old stallion was huge and jet black, with a strange marking on his forehead that took the shape of a star. The color of the mark was red, an odd color. The horse was very old, and a little skinny, but when he saw the children coming towards the fence, he perked his head up and nickered softly, coming to greet them. His huge head swayed from side to side, and his massive hooves dragged the ground a little, but when he got to the fence, he lowered his head to the children's height and poked his nose through the rails, blowing in their hands softly. Terri giggled and stroked his forehead, kissing the red star.
"I like Samurai, he's a good boy!"
Sean agreed, rubbing the horse's ears.
"Me too. Daddy, how old is he again?"
Ian smiled, stroking the still strong neck as Samurai raised his head, laying his nose against the blond's chest.
"Forty-three, son. He is very old."
Gazing into the cloudy eyes, the blond had a distant look in his own blue ones, remembering times past. Sean noted this, tugging on his father's shirt.
"Daddy, he'll live to be a lot older. Don't worry."
Ian looked down at his son, smiling. He bent and picked him up, kissing his cheek.
"I hope so, Sean."
Terri fed the horse a small handful of grass, and then took her father by the hand.
"Come on, daddy! You said you'd read us a story!"
They went over to the oak tree that stood across from the fence, sitting down. Ian set Sean down by his sister, and then sat across from them, picking at the grass.
"Alright, which one do you want to hear?"
The two were quiet, and then Terri looked up at him.
Sean nodded vigorously.
"Yes daddy! Something we haven't heard!"
Ian raised an eyebrow.
"You've heard a lot of my stories..."
Terri's blue eyes glistened.
"Yes, but we haven't heard them all!"
Sean excitedly agreed.
"From the beginning, daddy! Start from when you were a little boy!"
Ian thought for a moment, picking at the grass. He raised his eyes, and from a distance, saw his longtime canine companion running up through the field.
"How about a story about Timber?"
Sean shook his head.
"No. We've heard that one."
By now, the ash gray wolf had joined the three, greeting them with wet kisses and enjoying the laughter he received. Ian ruffled his wolf's ears, and in return, got a wet kiss on his face. Laughing, he wiped a sleeve across his face.
"Timber, lay down, you rogue."
The wolf complied, laying right beside the children. Terri looked back up at her father, after making room for the wolf.
"Please daddy, a new story. From the beginning."
The handsome blond gazed at his children for a long while, and then sighed deeply, crossing his legs.
"Alright. You win. A new story you shall have."
The twins giggled with delight, snuggling back into the warm coat of Timber, all attention on their father.
"This story begins a very, very long time ago, when I was seven years old. Now, you must listen carefully, and this is a very long story...it is the story of Snake Eyes..."
Sean and Terri took in a sharp breath, eyes wide and hands cold...this would be the story of their lives!