Timelined a day or two after Monitoring the Situation
<Shaw> It seemed as good a time as any, and after the fortification of a stiff drink, Sebastian knocked on the door to Hope and Shin- Michael's room.
<Shinobi> Looking up from his tablet, Obi frowned. He had papers spread across the bed, and was researching a final paper in a class where he would not receive any credit for said paper. But, he supposed the practice was worthwhile. "Yeah? Come in."
<Shaw> He opened the door and took in the scene. The boy was studying, those new glasses perched on his nose making him look entirely different from the young convict that Sarkissian had deposited on his sofa last November. "Michael," he said, nodding in greeting. "May I come in?"
<Shinobi> He'd been expecting Jess, but that wasn't Jess. Fuck. "Um, yeah," he said, saving his file and gathering papers as he sat up. "Hope isn't here, you know."
<Shaw> "I know. I wished to speak to you." Sebastian shoved his hands in his pockets and stepped inside, regarding the cheerful yellow walls.
<Shinobi> Obi stopped shuffling papers and looked up, suspicious. "Why?"
<Carol> Having long since lost her patience with the preparations for the imminent Brood invasion, Carol had probably been a little to excited to receive a message from David that he wanted the afternoon off. It was no where near the time he'd offered in the text but Carol was already at the house and landing on the doorstep. She should really ask for a key or something. She pressed the doorbell.
<Shaw> "I wanted to talk." He attempted a non-threatening smile, which was interrupted by the doorbell. "Oh, that's excellent timing," he muttered, reaching for his phone to check the security system.
<Shinobi> Talk? That didn't sound good. Obi smirked when he was quite literally saved by the bell.
<Shaw> "It's Danvers." Sebastian sent Widget to open the door and looked back to his faux son. "Would you... walk with me, please? After I greet Danvers, perhaps?"
<Shinobi> "Sure, I suppose," he said carefully. The fuck was going on?
<Carol> Oh look, the weird robot and the even weirder dog. She patted Widget on the head as she stepped inside and swapped her more streamlined SHIELD uniform for her street clothes.
<Shaw> With Michael's assurance he'd be down in a moment, Sebastian went to greet the agent. "Ah, Miss Danvers..."
<Carol> "You realise the proper salutation is 'Colonel', right?" Carol stuffed her hands in her pockets as she watched him come down the stairs.
<Shaw> "You aren't in uniform," he pointed out with a grin.
<Carol> "That doesn't mean I'm not on duty... even if I'm not technically on duty right now because Hope's not here." She frowned, "Is there coffee?"
<Shaw> "Of course there is coffee. Are you implying you would like a cup?" He stepped aside and inclined his head, gesturing for her to come up to the kitchen.
<Carol> "It's been a helluva week..." she extracted a hand from a pocket to run it through her hair and followed him up the stairs. "Next time we're threatened with an alien invasion... not it."
<Shaw> "Yes... how is everything with... that?" Once they reached the kitchen he pulled a mug from the cabinet and started to pour her a cup.
<Shinobi> After texting Hope, Obi finished picking up his papers and tablet and went into the ensuite, staring into the mirror and slowly removing his glasses. He sighed.
<Carol> "We're making good progress, actually... it's just a lot of work and people keep having freakouts.... plus there's the other versions from that reality through the portal complicating matters." She leaned against the counter, eyes sweeping the kitchen.
<Shaw> "That's still... admittedly odd. Yet, I find the idea of fleeing to one of those alternate realities highly tempting should things go badly." He turned and offered her the cup. "That is not meant as a statement on my faith in your abilities," he added with a smirk.
<Carol> "Yeah, I'm right with you there.... Honestly, I have no idea how realistic our chances are. We know next to nothing about these things but we're getting as prepared as we can be and running drills to get everyone to safety as fast as possible when it does go to hell..."
<Shaw> "That's terribly reassuring." He listened to Michael finally emerging from the room and coming down the stairs.
<Shinobi> He arrived at the kitchen level and moved across to the counter, jumping up on it. "Hey Carol. You're early."
<Carol> "I needed the excuse." She inhaled the scent of the coffee in her mug and took a long sip, "Work's been.... worky."
<Shinobi> "Mmm. Yeah. School's been... schooly." He smirked and reached over to nab a cookie.
<Carol> Carol laughed and shook her head, "I wish I wasn't in charge... it's such a pain in the ass."
<Shaw> "The burden of command." He gave Danvers a winning smile and nodded at Michael. "If you'll excuse us, colonel, Michael and I were just going to step out."
<Carol> "You're going to leave me in your house unsupervised?" She raised an eyebrow, a mischievous smirk on her lips as she took another sip of coffee.
<Shaw> He turned his gaze back to Danvers. "I'll chance it. I do have your employer's number, after all."
<Shinobi> Sensing he wasn't going to escape, he texted Hope again and slid off the counter.
<Carol> "Where are you going?" She asked, putting her mug down on the counter, "You know... just so I know what I'm denying if I'm interrogated later."
<Shaw> "Actually, I was taking him to the construction site... behind the house,' he said, pausing.
<Carol> "Construction site, huh? Building anything fun?" She attempted not to show her interest because it really wasn't any of her business.
<Shinobi> He looked over at Sebastian questioningly. Perhaps he was intending to give him concrete shoes?
<Shaw> He sighed. "Point of fact, yes... I suppose. It's the renovation of the building behind us. I purchased it some time ago to build an indoor garage and guest quarters."
<Carol> "You could have just bought a house with more rooms and a garage... you have way too much money."
<Shaw> "But this house is now home." He tilted his head and regarded her curiously.
<Shinobi> Why did he want to show him that? He'd heard the construction crews for weeks now.
<Carol> "I kind of meant in the first place but whatever, have fun," she gave them both a grin and picked up her coffee again, "I'll just drink all your coffee, I guess."
<Shaw> "I'll trust you to show at least a modicum of restraint." He started toward the stairs. "Michael? If you'd please?"
<Shinobi> Obi gave Carol a last look and followed. Well, at least there was a witness he supposed.
<Shaw> "Thank you," he said when the boy fell into step beside him at the bottom of the stairs and they entered the walkway to the other brick building.
<Shinobi> "Yeah... what is this about?" He realized then that the other old brick building seemed deserted. The crew was done for the day.
<Carol> Carol finished her coffee and helped herself to another cup. Her gaze fell to the dogthing and she mimicked his headcock.
<Shaw> Sebastian drew in a deep breath. "I wanted to take this opportunity to apologize to you."
<Shinobi> He stopped walking and just stared at the man.
<Shaw> "I realize I've given you little cause to believe in my sincerity, but... I am attempting to the best of my abilities to... better our relationship."
<Shinobi> "Right..." Obi continued to stare. What the fuck kind of mind game was this?
<Shaw> Sebastian's eyes narrowed and he tamped down on his temper, continuing to walk into the building.
<Carol> After a long staring contest with the dogthing, Carol sighed, "Yeah, you're right... it's boring in here. Let's follow them." She topped up her mug and picked up the dogthing then headed for the stairs.
<Shinobi> "We don't have a relationship," he pointed out, trotting for a couple steps to catch up. "And you made it pretty fucking clear you didn't want to have one."
<Shaw> Once again, Sebastian stopped. "No, that's not true," he said, looking over his shoulder. "Not entirely.” Frowning, he forced the words out. Though he knew what he wished to say, it was still difficult to speak openly. “Not anymore."
<Shinobi> "Yeah, yeah I'm a Shaw, just because of biology... you feel responsible for me, because I was made from you." He still didn't like the implication and scrunched his nose. "But you didn't really want me around."
<Carol> "This is much more interesting than the house, huh?" Carol whispered to the dogthing, within earshot of the Shaw men she put her finger to her lips to remind Sharky not to bark or something crazy.
<Shaw> "I told you I did not. Not then. But..." Sebastian pretended to examine the interior carpentry. Most of the walls were roughed in, some even had drywall now. Plumbing was complete, electrical close behind.
<Shaw> "I was completely honest about my motivation. You were a tool, a potential weapon in the battle against Oyama." He slid his hands back into his pockets, trying to remember Jessica's warning not to loom, and turned around to face him. "But, things have changed."
<Shinobi> "Only because I killed him for you, right?" Obi crossed his arms, spine stiff. "You fucking wanted to pay me off for it.” On Shaw's expression, he put on a cocky smirk. “Yeah, I know about that."
<Carol> Carol exchanged glances with Sharky and frowned when he licked her face. Now it was creepy. She put the dogthing down and took a fortifying sip of coffee.
<Shaw> Sebastian swore. "That... was not the intent," he said, schooling his tone again and looking away to speak to the wall. "I did you a disservice. You should not have learned... what you are... in that way. I should have told you. I shouldn't have sworn Hope and Jessica to silence on it."
<Shaw> "There was every possibility when you awoke from your injuries that you'd wish to never see any of us again.” Well, to see him again. Sebastian drew in a breath and met his son's eyes. “If that was the case, I didn't want you to be forced back into crime."
<Shinobi> "I don't want your fucking money," he snapped.
<Carol> Carol shifted a little closer but hovered so she didn't make too much noise. Obviously these things needed to be said... but it could get pretty nasty and it would be a shame if something happened to all the nice work Sebastian's construction crew had been doing.
<Shaw> "Yet, you've been living off of it - quite comfortably, I might add - for how many months now?" His temper rising, Sebastian sneered right back at the boy and took a step toward him.
<Shinobi> This was what he'd expected, and Obi almost welcomed it. "In your debt, right where you want me. Get off on that, don't you, old man?"
<Carol> Wow this was going south fast.... She cleared her throat.
<Shaw> Sebastian's head snapped around. How had he not heard her coming? "Colonel." The surprise served to cool his temper and he sighed. This was exactly what Jessica had warned him about.
<Carol> "Everything okay?" She looked between them, her expression saying she knew it wasn't.
<Shinobi> He snorted and kicked a piece of scrap wood out of the way, wandering deeper into the building. What did he want from Sebastian? Most of the time, he didn't really know, but he suspected. He'd wanted Sebastian to be his father. The knowledge that he had no real father, and never would, made it all so much worse.
<Shaw> "Fine." He gave her a false smile. "May I help you, colonel? Did you already exhaust the coffee supply?"
<Carol> "Got bored... probably just as well I did, huh?" she followed Shinobi's progress with her eyes.
<Shaw> "That is a matter of opinion." He watched the boy as well, cursing himself.
<Carol> "From the way things were going it sounded like maybe someone should step in and referee... I can go if you'd prefer...?"
<Shaw> Finally he let his frown show. "I'm uncertain. He has little reason to trust my intentions."
<Shinobi> Obi rolled his eyes. Surely he realized he could hear him.
<Carol> "Anything I can do to help? I have nothing better to do."
<Shaw> Sebastian gave her a dubious look.
<Shinobi> "Oh, sure, why not?" He turned back toward them. "A referee can't hurt, right?" And if he punched Sebastian she'd potentially arrest him, but he'd already committed now.
<Shaw> He turned the look on the boy. What did that mean?
<Carol> Carol blinked, "I wasn't suggesting you actually fight or anything... just.... talk..." she chewed her lip, "But... if you'd rather hit each other.... this was not my idea."
<Shaw> "No." Sebastian nearly stumbled back from Michael as he approached, hands up. "No, I have no desire to hit you. Never again. That was a terrible error in judgment. I lost my temper."
<Shinobi> Sebastian's gesture made him stop. It looked sincere, but he could never be sure. He watched his face. The man's pale blue eyes were open wide. He looked... afraid? Ashamed?
<Shaw> Licking his lips, he kept his hands up. "I am sorry for that. I would never strike Hope, or Miriam... I should not have struck you." He closed his eyes and swallowed, re-experiencing the disgust he'd felt with himself that night.
<Carol> Well that was reassuring because she really didn't want to explain the damage to either of the women that lived in the house. She looked between them.
<Shinobi> This was... weird. Sebastian was acting weird. Was it all an act? "Thank you for the apology," he said carefully, giving Carol a sidelong, confused look.
<Shaw> Sebastian nodded, slowly lowering his hands. He knew better than to ask for forgiveness. Not right now, anyway.
<Shinobi> He just stared at Sebastian for a long, measuring moment. "Why don't you just get to the point. You mostly just ignored me until Hope came along."
<Carol> Carol also looked at Sebastian, wondering how he was going to respond to what was likely a really good point.
<Shaw> Sebastian weighed his options. Honesty was still... difficult. And, now Danvers was also staring. "Hope has been hurt, many times, and at first I thought you plotted to simply take advantage of that."
<Shinobi> "Fuck you! You know that's not true-"
<Shaw> When he saw the boy's reaction to that suggestion, one hand moved back up in a placating gesture. "When I realized you truly cared for one another, I hoped to protect you both..." He smiled, faintly, ruefully. "An impossible task, but it's true."
<Carol> "And how's that working out for you?" She couldn't help herself, she found her shoes interesting for a few moments.
<Shaw> Sebastian shot Danvers a glare. "I believe you know," he said icily.
<Shinobi> Obi snorted.
<Shaw> "It's true, though as Jessica has often pointed out..." He cleared his throat, looking at Danvers again instead of Michael. "I fail to show concern properly."
<Carol> Carol held up her free hand and took a sip of her coffee. She was just going to drink it and be quiet... for as long as possible.
<Shinobi> "You've got a real talent for understatement." He turned away, toeing another chunk of scrap wood. "She put you up to this?"
<Shaw> "Jessica?" He smirked to himself. "After a fashion... but I truly wish to pursue a... less tense relationship. You are my blood, but I would not have asked you to learn to be a Shaw if I was ashamed to claim you. Shame does not become a Shaw."
<Carol> Carol raised an eyebrow. Less tense? In a Shaw? Never going to happen. These guys were wound way too tightly.
<Shinobi> Obi turned back toward them slightly, studying Sebastian. He wondered how long this would last and decided to voice that concern. "Until the next time I look at you cross-eyed and you get all high and mighty."
<Shaw> Sebastian closed his eyes. "I'm going to try my best not to."
<Shinobi> "Mmm. Reassuring." Yet again, he rolled his eyes.
<Carol> "Oh come on, this works two ways...." Yeah she couldn't help it.
<Shinobi> "Yeah, this will last just as long as it takes for one of us to bring up getting married again, then he'll blow the fuck up." None of them needed to know they'd already talked about delaying marriage, after all.
<Shaw> He drew in a deep breath. "I... would prefer you would take your time, since you now have it to take..." The test results had be confirmed and reconfirmed now, both with and without the boy's knowledge, and it was true. He was healthy, and Sebastian wondered if he had Sarkissian to thank for that as well.
<Shinobi> He waited for the explosion.
<Shaw> "You asked for my blessing.” Which had been a shock, in an of itself. Sebastian wasn't blind, and he'd seen how Shinobi and Hope had been powerful positive influences on one another. He drew in a deep breath before he continued. “Someday, I would be more willing to give it."
<Shinobi> It wasn't what he'd expected. Where was the pissy, high-handed speech? Still... "I didn't have to ask," he pointed out tartly. "I just did it out of respect for Hope."
<Carol> She wondered if she should follow up on her impulse to bash their heads together. Instead she cleared her throat and gave Shinobi a pointed look.
<Shinobi> He gave Carol a sour look. "Why would I show him any respect when you've seen how he acts."
<Carol> "Because he's doing his damn best." Carol pointed out, "Look, everyone knows you guys loathe each other and that would be perfectly fine if you only think about yourselves forever.... which would be stupid considering you're married and you're sort of engaged," she looked at Shaw and mini-Shaw respectively. "You both need to make an effort or this is pointless and you'll piss off two women who can kick your asses."
<Shaw> "I do not loathe him," he said quietly. Quite the opposite, which was the problem entire.
<Carol> "Awesome. And you?" she looked at Shinobi.
<Shinobi> Obi tried his best to read Sebastian's expression. It was... odd. "Okay." He chewed his lip, then shrugged, shaking his head. "Okay... I can make an effort."
<Shaw> Sebastian blew out a relieved breath. "Thank you. I will... do my best."
<Carol> "And the world breathes a collective sigh of relief." She took a sip of the coffee again and looked down at Sharky, "I think our work here is done."
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