Part 24

May. 16th, 2006 08:28 pm
[identity profile] posting in [community profile] if_i_trace
Days are just like moments turned to hours....


Jake stared after the cop for a moment before giving himself a shake and checking his watch. He was behind schedule, again. With an exasperated sigh, he stalked over to the office and stuck his head through the door.

"Sarah? Hold anything that's not urgent." But if Keiran calls.... "I'll get back to people after five, all right?"

Sarah nodded. "Sure thing, boss. Do cops count as urgent?"

He'd turned away at her nod and had to catch the door before it fell shut behind him. "Yeah, I guess," he said reluctantly. "Unless they just want info you can give them."

"Gotcha," she replied, turning her attention back to the computer.

It was an effort to force his attention back to the cars on the shop floor, but once he'd started working, time passed more quickly than he expected.

When five o'clock rolled around, Sarah forced him to quit for the day. He dealt with a few phone calls from customers who wanted his opinions or estimates on repairs, then headed up to his apartment to shower and change.

Still no word from Keiran. Or the cops.

Annoyed with himself for worrying over it, he accepted Sarah's invitation to join her family for a barbeque dinner and locked up the shop.

He left his cellphone on his beltclip, set to vibrate, but he didn't really expect it to ring.


It was well after eight before Keiran had time to even check his messages. After the lecture, there'd been a seemingly endless tour of the university labs and offices, rounds of handshaking and small talk with his new colleagues, and an eventual invitation to join the Dean of Mechanical Engineering for dinner. Or rather, an "invitation," since refusing would have created an early rift between himself and the new circles of academia.

The dinner itself went reasonably well. The food was excellent, of course, the restaurant cheerfully modern and clearly designed to cater to just this sort of occasion.

But underneath the calm and friendly surface of Keiran's socialization was a steadily building, nameless unease. As the evening wore on, his attention began to drift, and he found himself making excuses in an effort to escape. He was tired, and would have liked nothing better than to retreat to his new apartment, but....

"... Dr. McCullach?"

He shifted his focus from the window to the Dean's lean, weathered face. "Mmh, my apologies, Dean. It's been a rather long day."

The Dean smiled and nodded. "Of course, of course. You've barely had a chance to settle in, I'm sure."

Keiran nodded in return. "Very true, I'm afraid. If you'll excuse me, I really should be getting back to my apartment. There's still much to arrange before classes begin."

Both men rose to their feet, and the Dean extended his hand to Keiran. "It's a pleasure to welcome you to the department, Dr. McCullach."

"Thank you," Keiran murmured, keeping his handshake firm but brief. "Good night."

It was a pleasant surprise and relief to find Tessa waiting for him at the apartment. He'd had the wyvern trailered down, despite her protests, and hadn't quite trusted the trailering company to treat her with due respect. He'd driven the latest prototype from the project down to the university and once it was safely at the lab, he'd picked up a rental to tide him over until Tessa arrived. His team at Braden had taken the extra days to do the latest updates and tune-ups for Tessa.

Taking a moment to fuss over her before heading upstairs, he ran his hands over the curves of her fenders and hood before sliding into the driver's seat. She cooed at him happily, growling teasingly when he only folded his arms over the top of the steering wheel and sat there without starting the engine.

"Not tonight, love," he said softly, resting his forehead on his forearms. There was a headache building in his right temple and he really just wanted (to curl up in bed with Tam... or Jake...) to sleep.

As much as he'd love to take her out on the highway and see how the latest tweaks had improved her performance, he really was too tired. It did serve to remind him, though, that he needed to make sure Calder got the same round of treatment, once he'd been repaired properly. It was why he'd tracked down Calder's current location to begin with, after all.

Sighing, he leaned back in the seat and stretched his arms up to rest his hands on the roof above him. He really should have taken the time to find out just what trouble his brother had gotten himself and, more importantly, the wyvern into, but.... He could call Jake for an update, though that might be only slightly less awkward than speaking to Tam at the moment.

Tessa made a soft churring noise at him and he blinked. Letting his arms drop, he pushed himself up out of the seat. It could wait until morning.



Date: 2006-05-17 02:53 am (UTC)
ext_3521: (wibbles by discordandnight)
From: [identity profile]
This tale gets more and more intriguing....

I'm still mad at Tam for being so mean to Calder.

*pets the poor wyvern*

Date: 2006-05-17 04:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hurray for Jake getting some work done! *laughs* He deserves a Keiran cookie.

Tessa sounds like a sweetie, too.

Date: 2006-05-19 01:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Y'know, I can't recall how long it's been since I last left comment on this fic, and I don't seem to have anything new to say. Rest assured, though, that I am still reading avidly and looking forward to each new installment.

Oh, yes, though. I did have a question - how old are they again? I'm under the impression that Keiran is rather young to have earned his Doctorate, which is very impressive.

And the more glimpses I get of Keiran and his affectionate respect for the wyverns, the more vaguely annoyed I become with Tamsin for his lack of the same. Heh. ^_^

Second fic?

Date: 2006-06-18 11:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Squee! Yes please. What went wrong between the twins has always intrigued me.

Keiran is not going to be happy when he finds out that Calder ran off to find and then away with Tamsin. Hate to be Jake when he tells him (or Tam when he sees him again).

I love the personalities you have given Calder and Tessa.


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