Series: Four Seasons
Title: Eternal Summer
Chapter: 11 – Something Resembling An Ending
Pairing: Grif x Simmons
Summary: Simmons isn’t the only one who’s not completely human.
Author’s Notes: Good lord, has the ride been fun… Maybe a bit bumpy until Miss Poppet signed on to consult… But enjoyable beyond what I expected. And considering I wasn’t expecting much feedback and people wise for an AU as weird as mine… *snicker* I’d just like everyone who’s been reading to know I’ve appreciated every moment… Which is part of why I worked in my free time to get a chapter out before the wedding (well… I needed a distraction that would let me unwind, too).
I AM currently collecting prompts that might be used to create drabbles. If you’d like to give one, feel free to be as vague or detailed as you want. I may or may not use them. They can be set Before, during or after Eternal Summer… But in accordance with the fact that the sequel, Autumn Colors, will be showing up in the next few months I’ll be avoiding things that would having me writing beyond where that is set to start.
**scampers off to get Married in 24 hours!**
Special thanks go to miss_poppet, who has offered up her services and does a wonderful job as the Beta of the series!
It had taken him a few extra days, but his growing frustration at being caged and the associated inactivity had finally driven Dick Simmons to start pacing. They’d spent eleven days on Kael, ten of which had been locked in this very cell.
“Bored?” Grif shifted on the cot, folding his arms to rest his chin on them. His eyes were still half-closed with sleep, but devoid of the clouded and distant look he’d had for days immediately after the Rashra had bitten him. Even the bite to his face had healed well and the stitches were gone, having been removed days ago. Since the old lady had started leaving them alone Grif had calmed considerably and regained his control over the Kael instincts to return to his former indolent self.
“Staring at the wall gets old quick.” Simmons dropped to the floor, leaning back against the cot. His head ended up next to Grif’s elbow. “Can’t sleep again?”
“I swear I see that thing every time I close my eyes.” Grif shook his head slightly without actually lifting it from it’s resting place. The bags under and the exhaustion behind Grif’s silver-edged hazel eyes were a testament to the truth of his statement. A tug on one of his heartstrings came from a part of his psyche that Simmons preferred not to think too hard about. Instead he brushed the bangs back from Grif’s forehead and out of his eyes. The eyes closed and the tousle-haired head moved from Grif’s arms to Simmons’ shoulder. “I don’t think I’ve actually slept since the last time I was unconscious.”
“Maybe it’ll improve once we leave Kael.” Simmons tried to ignore the fact that their heads were so close their cheeks were brushing.
“Never thought I’d say this, but I think I miss Blood Gulch.” The seriousness of his tone outweighed the humor implied in the statement. Grif’s head shifted slightly to lean his cheek against Simmons.
“We’ll be putting up with Donut again in no time.” Simmons smoothed Grif’s hair again, trying to ignore the warmth rising in his chest.
“In no time.” Grif murmured in agreement, turning his head slightly to nuzzle the conveniently placed cheek. Even though his personality had evened back out into something significantly more familiar it was now easy for Simmons to spot moments that he would have brushed off as Grif being weird two weeks ago. Now it was just Grif being what he was. Grif’s grip on the human act he’d kept up for so long was back, but he hadn’t been putting much effort into it. Moments where he marked Simmons were common, as was a disregard for personal space that Simmons had started to associate with the concept of pack. The nuzzling and cheek rubbing continued for a moment before Grif fell still again, sprawled on the cot with an arm around Simmons’ chest and their faces still touching. Grif’s forehead rested heavily on the side of Simmons’ head, and a soft breath whispered over his ear. “Still bored, Richie?”
Simmons paled slightly, ignoring the pounding of his heart. He dragged his mind away from the overly friendly nip behind his ear and fixated on the first thing that he managed to latch his mind onto. “What did you just call me?”
Grif took his time answering, letting his tongue rasp over the stubble that lined Simmons jaw before the word came out in a puff of air that ghosted over the other man’s lips. “Richie.”
“That’s not my name, Dexter…” The words came out as a tiny whisper, the motion of them causing their lips to barley brush.
“Sure it is.” Simmons’ eyes didn’t need to be open to know that Grif was smirking when he said it. A heartbeat passed before he was prepared to turn his head and finally surrender to what he had to admit was desire for Grif, when there was an all too familiar click of a lock.
Grif wasn’t able to contain the snarl he turned on the old woman as she entered, followed by the gray-haired one and his two younger pack-brothers. Grif sat up, releasing his grip on Simmons. “Trying to change the dynamic of your pack, Spartan?” The arrogant words were in snarled K’sar. For all the world she looked like the cat who ate the canary.
He countered with a question of his own. “What do you want?”
“Just to inform you that the UNSC Dark Tide has entered Kael orbit. UNSC D77-TC Victor 23 will be making landfall tomorrow.” She tapped the cane impatiently on the concrete floor. “The pair of you are to be returned to the Space Command as soon as various formalities concerning the agreement are finalized.
Dick Simmons hated K’sar and fully intended to continue disliking the language until he understood enough of it to not be in the dark every time the old lady barged in and interfered with… whatever had been about to happen. He dropped his head back onto the cot, tuning out the droning growls in favor of napping. It was easier to sleep than analyze what he’d wanted Grif to do. Or what he’d wanted to do to Grif.
He drifted half asleep until Grif nudged him with his foot. “Wakeup, Simmons.” The grin plastered on Grif’s face was a counterpoint to the underlying exhaustion. To Simmons’ surprise the four Kaelsar were gone.
“What did they want?”
“Believe it or not, some of it was good news. We get to go home. Dropship lands tomorrow.” Grif shifted, unable to contain the excitement. “I can’t wait to get out of this cage…” Simmons just stared at the back of Grif’s head.
“We’re going home, Richie!”
Grif shifted in his bonds and ignored the Kaelsar bruisers standing to either side of him. In front of them was a small detachment of UNSC Marines who stood at attention in an ordered group. The Kaelsar were less organized, but Grif knew that the dozen Kaelsar would take him and Simmons down in a heartbeat and be able to mow through the Marines before they could be stopped. Kaelsar had been intended to replace the Spartans. They would have if they’d been obedient.
The old woman had made a show of using her cane around the Captain, who seemed to have no idea how to cope with a commanding officer who looked as frail as she did. Knowing the truth, Grif hadn’t fallen for a heartbeat of her limping and puffing. The Captain had, offering up an arm for her to ignore any time she needed to get somewhere.
So far the meetings had been mind numbing and endless while the old woman and the Kael Governor Elect laid out the Kael demands on the UNSC for recognition and colonial rights. Her offers were for the soldiers to be returned, and the armor to be delivered when the UNSC made good on their promises. One fact that became quickly apparent that the UNSC owed Kael recognition. They’d held the planet long enough that by law the planetary government was indisputably legal.
“Very well.” The square jawed Kael governor spoke with finality. “You take your personnel now, and the armor will be delivered when our place as a UNSC Colony is affirmed.” The Captain gave a nod and extended his hand. When the two had shaken on the matter, the Governor grinned. “Then the Spartans are yours again.” Grif stumbled slightly when the flesh-and-blood tank gave him a shove forward, but recovered and was able to walk with his arms bound behind his back to join the Marines.
The dropship flight to the carrier UNSC Dark Tide was uneventful, but the moment they docked things went insane. They were whisked off to take turns in debrief and with the medics. Grif suffered both quietly, all while fighting down his own instinct to keep the pack together. He’d spent days exclusively in Simmons’ company, first landing on Kael and fighting the Rashra, then simply bonding as a pack. An endless series of hoops and red tape later Grif found himself staring into space while leaning against a rail before a window.
The gentle tap of footsteps sounded on the deck behind him. He didn’t turn his head to see who came to stand beside him. He didn’t need to, because when the man griped the rail one of the hands whirred with the quiet sound of metal on metal came instead of the brush of skin on steel.
“So, no problems?”
“Naw. I think they were happy I refused any treatment they had to offer.” Grif shook is head, marveling at the metal of the arm that brushed his. It was sleeker, cleaner, and clearly improved. “What’d they do to you?”
“They replaced most of it. It’s weird.” The hand lifted, flexing. “I can feel again. I haven’t been able to feel anything with my left hand since Sarge did it.”
“Why’d you ever let him?” Grif finally turned his head to look at Simmons. The auburn hair was shorn into a perfect crew cut again.
“I’d already agreed to do it. To replace Lopez.” He looked down at his hands. “It was always the plan, to send me to headquarters to be upgraded. Just kept getting put off.”
“Upgraded or not, Sarge screwed you over.” Grif patted the cybernetic arm. “You shouldn’t let him get away with this shit. He treats everyone like dirt, even you. And I think he likes you.”
“Are you going to be watching my back from now on?” Simmons frowned slightly.
“You’re pack now.” Grif sighed. “It would take awhile for me to get my brain to think otherwise… If you wanted me to.”
“I thought it was an act.” He was still frowning as he reached up to run his hand through his hair. He paused in a moment of confusion when his hair wasn’t there and settled for running the metallic palm over the soft bristles.
“Thing that bit me broke down all the separation between human and… otherwise. I already had a pack complex about Blood Gulch Outpost. This…” Grif gestured between the two of them before returning his eyes to the starscape that spread before them outside the window. “Is just a change in pack dynamic.”
There was a slight laugh from his right that reassured Grif. “So, Dex, what does this mean when we’re back at the base?”
“We can just play the cards as we draw them. Sarge and Donut are pretty clueless. I was playing dominance games with you right in front of them and they didn’t notice.”
“Dominance games? You mean snarling and chasing me around the roof?” Simmons was laughing outright now, the metal of the cybernetic implants glinting as he shook his head.
“Blood Gulch is never gonna be the same, Richie.” Grif quirked his eyebrows suggestively. Simmons sighed and shook his head.
“I thought you missed the Blood Gulch we left behind.”
“This Blood Gulch will be better.” Grif bumped his shoulder against Simmons.
“Yeah. It will be.” Simmons leaned down to brush his lips against Grif’s. They stayed like that, foreheads together for a moment, before he straightened up and stepped away. An auburn eyebrow gave a suggestive quirk before he turned to walk down the hallway to the happy dance of light reflected off a sleek cyborg arm.
Grif stood frozen for a few moments, thrown completely from his element, before turning his eyes back to the stars beyond the window. He smiled for a moment, then turned to walk down the hall in the direction Simmons had gone. A pack belonged together.