Thank you for joining me, Dancing Tiger, once again on a magical journey of love, hate, and banjo playing sheep! Well, the last one is new but you'll see that all in time. This is in no way related to Unmasking Ghost or Caught in the Crossfire. This is something all it's own! Give a hand for my newest story, To Pride the Humble! The first chapter swears a lot… I promise it will lessen. Enjoy and embark on a brand new story!

Soap was in his office, sitting upright in his uncomfortable chair, and was looking at a paper on his desk.

The only thing was, he wasn't seeing it.

His eyes were half open, his jaw slack, and mind currently playing a movie of three sheep doing a banjo cover of Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a prayer." The only thing is, the odd yet peaceful dream was suddenly interrupted by the black phone on his desk letting out a long, deep ring. Soap's eyes shot open wide and his body went rigid, a small drop of drool falling from his chin to his uniform.

"Fuck" Soap muttered under his breath, but didn't bother to mess with the small stain as he dove for the phone. Dragging it to his ear, he tried to push away all of the sleep that hung over him like a fog.

"MacTavish." A gritting, rough chuckle came through the crackling line. Soap closed his eyes and drew in a breath through his nose, just like he did whenever he knew he was about to talk to Shepherd. The man was a psycho, Soap was convinced of it. Laughing and chuckling one minute, acting like he wanted to piss on your mother's grave the next. But Soap knew he had to listen anyway.

"John, how are you? You sound tired." Soap bit his bottom lip and gently massaged his temple with his free hand to stop the start of another 'Shepherd headache" that he felt coming on already. Soap answered in an authoritative voice, the voice of someone who had been busy working with his men, not acting like a dead man walking.

"It's good sir. Everything is well." Shepherd coughed once, and then made a small humming sound.

"John, what would you think about a few new men to your team?" The mention of this made Soap sit up straight. Of course something like that was a huge deal. Soap knew he needed a few more men to make up for the ones that had fallen on a mission went bad a few weeks ago, and with threats seeming to grow more aggressive, this was always a good thing to hear. Fresh eyes, more people to knock back down to submission, then go send those best of the best out on missions. Soap answered in a genuinely interested voice, and there was even a hint of happiness to it as Soap felt his headache fading.

"That sounds great sir. What are they? SAS? SEALS? Marines?" A pause, and then a nervous yet haughty chuckle came through the line again. Soap cursed under his breath as a throbbing at the back of his head returned. Shepherd was hesitant and had a tone to his voice that made Soap feel like he was being toyed with.

"You see Soap, they aren't any of these. They aren't even trained." Soap groaned. The last thing they needed was a few unruly mutts to tame and train. He responded to Shepherd with a taught ton.

"Sir, it will be hard for us to take in people with little experience, but if you really want it, we'll take them. Army? Navy? Air Force?" Another harsh chuckle, and Soap bit down so hard on his lower lip the copper tang of blood filled his mouth with a vengeance.

"John, hard to tell you, but they aren't any of the above. Three boys will be sent your way in three days." Soap felt his jaw drop slack, and his eyes blinked rapidly, as if that would change what he just heard.

"Um, boys sir?" The general finally let loose a full blown laugh that made Soap want to shoot someone. Or himself. Maybe both.

"Yes, boys MacTavish. Three seventeen year old boys just out of school. Fresh young minds for you to work with." Soap visualized the steam leaking out of his ears, and his face boiling red. He was honestly going to have to train THREE boys, still just CHILDREN with no experience WHATSOEVER to go into heavy combat?! It was like something out of one of his worst nightmares, the kind of dream where there were no banjo playing sheep. Gritting his teeth, Soap tried to respond in a voice that could vaguely be recognized as something related to tolerance.

"With all due respect sir, we aren't a fucking daycare center. We need well trained men who can handle everything and anything. We wouldn't be the best for these boys." There was a silence over the phone, and with a pang in his skull Soap knew that Shepherd was soon to switch to his "go for the kill" voice. It came over the line with uncanny accuracy to Soap's predictions.

"That wasn't a question John. I am faxing you their files. Good day." Then the line went dead with a click. Soap squeezed his eyes tightly shut and ran his tongue over his bottom lip, trying in vain to stop the bleeding. Soap threw open the top drawer on his desk and fished out the well-used Advil bottle. He let two pills slide into his hand and swallowed them dry, jumping slightly as a buzzing occurred behind him.

Despite the nice surprise it had given him, Soap knew it was just the fax machine sending him the files of the new mutts he would have to train into tip top shape.

"No." He thought grimly to himself. "They aren't mutts. They're fucking puppies." With a grumble he pulled the three warm sheets of paper off the fax machine. He settled back down in the chair that he swore was giving him posture problems, and glanced at the paper on top. Reading aloud to himself, Soap started to enter into the mess that would cause him pain for months to come.

"Leonard Kyle Boswell. Turned seventeen just a fucking month ago. No experience in military, lives with mother blah blah" Soap froze at words on the bottom of the page in bold letters.

"Charged with MANSLAUGHTER?" Soap threw the paper down on the desk and stood up, overturning the cursed chair in the process. He used his booted foot to violently kick the edge of the desk.

"DAMMIT! He screeched, and grabbed at his head as if he wanted to pull at the hair he didn't have.

"How in the FUCK did a guy who committed MANSLAUGHTER get past the FUCKING application process?! And how the FUCK did I get him?" Fuming with rage, the captain righted the chair and read the fine print below the bold letters.

"Served community service for two years after being in juvenile detention for six months." Soap growled, and curled his hands around the paper, wanting to scream. Muttering again, Soap moved to the next paper.

"Skylar Gregory Brooks. Turned fucking seventeen three months ago. No experience in military, lives with grandmother and sister, blah blah" Soap scanned over it and felt his heart sink when he saw more bolded letters at the bottom. Rolling his eyes and biting his lip again, Soap read forth. An explosion followed soon afterward.

"Charged with possession of ILLEGAL SUBSTANCES?" Soap threw this paper down as well, and didn't even bother to read the fine print beneath it. He scrambled for the final paper as if it would hold some comfort of getting someone who wasn't a delinquent.

"Merlin Elijah Godard. Who the fuck names their kid MERLIN? Turned seventeen the day that was required to even get accepted with a parent signature this year, just fucking great. A young little snot, huh? Lives with both parents, blah." Soap violently bypassed the rest and skipped right to the bottom where to his body seemed to boil over at more bolded letters.

"Charged with FUCKING RECKLESS ENDANGERMENT? WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THESE?!" Soap stood up again, throwing the final paper down on the desk and wanting to let out an animal howl. He had no idea how the little snots with such criminal charges could even apply and get accepted in the first place, and much less be sent to him. They were an ELITE TASK FORCE that could not spend time wiping up society's messes.

Soap filed the files on the new arrivals away as quickly as possible, and sorted it out quickly in his head. He knew from the way that Shepherd had spoken it was no joke, and Soap also knew these pricks would be coming in three days.

Soap quickly thought it out in his head. He knew that he had to assign something like 'mentors' to each of them so they wouldn't recklessly endanger or possible kill anyone on base, or try to sell them crack. Soap hated nothing more than an undisciplined prick, and it if was a kid, it was worse to Soap, because then they were almost unfixable.

Quickly assigning the kid with the worst charge, manslaughter, to himself, he mentally handed out Skylar to Ghost and Merlin to Archer. Hopefully they would be whipped into shape by the day Shepherd came around. Soap groaned at the thought of having to train the little pricks, but sucked it up and sat back in his chair and fell back asleep.

Who knew that sheep could do such an impressive banjo cover for "Through the Fire and Flames?"

First few chapters are always a bit rocky for me because I still have to get a feel for the characters and how I want to write them… If you haven't already guessed, while this is a serious story overall, it will have much more humor than my others. Please review, and thanks to XxFrostBitexX for help with the title. :D