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Chapter XLII

Torama - posted on 4 Dec 2016 @ 3:02pm

It was going to be an interesting dinner, that was for sure.

Silverfire was dragging his feet. Helios had said he had to go a fair way to pick up his girlfriend.

Vinnie and Midnight were seated in their usual spot at the head of the table. Down Vinnie's side of the table were Throttle and Carbine, Modo and Dusk, and Stoker and Harley. Midnight had played her usual gracious hostess role, but had seemed rather attached to Vinnie's hip. It was a vast improvement on the unpleasantly tense, borderline hostile interactions they'd had previously. Still Throttle and Carbine in particular couldn't help wondering if it was due to the presence of Harley. Vinnie and Harley kind of glanced at each other on occasion and exchanged pleasantries but seemed both happy and not happy about not really conversing past that.

On Midnight's side of the table, most of the royal offspring sat. Kitai didn't have a boyfriend at the moment but had brought her best friend. The two of them were doing the teenage girl thing, nattering idly among themselves and otherwise looking as though the next place they were headed was the set of The Addams Family. Eos' white-furred blonde boyfriend Bandit was already acquainted with Vinnie. When introducing him, Vinnie had informed his bros that "the li'l bastard" had broken into the palace and was cleaning out one of the parlours when Eos, hearing strange noises, had investigated and caught him. She had loudly demanded what he was doing there and he had been staring like a stunned mullet when Vinnie had caught up and chased him out.

Allegedly he'd cleaned up his act and was taking advantage of the free education plan of Silverfire's to become a qualified chef.

Vinnie didn't look like he believed him really, but Vinnie was probably determined to disapprove of his children's partners, as to his mind no one would ever be good enough for them.

Selene's grey-furred boyfriend, Rocky, with the odd teal coloured puffy hair, sat quietly beside her. He was full of smiles for Selene, and occasionally participated in the conversations going on around them, but otherwise he and Bandit often just exchanged mildly terrified glances and generally seemed to try very hard to avoid doing anything that might annoy Vinnie.

Then there was Helios and his bloody harem. He was perched on his seat surrounded by aliens. One of the twins sat on one side of him, his boyfriend was on his other side, and the other three shifters were lined up on the other side of the Ambassador.

The soldiers couldn't help noticing with some approval that Helios, Sunkiss and Windsong were constantly well protected by the more martially inclined shifters.

"Sorry we're late," Silverfire's voice rang out cheerfully as he entered with a beautiful girl on his arm. "Seems like everyone's out tonight."

The very first thing the long time war veterans noticed was that there was a Catatonian in the room. Logic did not have time to get a look in before their reflexes kicked in.

"Cat!" Vinnie yelled, his voice containing rage and more than a trace of hate as he leaped to his feet, chair flying backwards, and pulled his blaster.

More reflexively than anything else, Throttle, Modo, Carbine and Stoker also leaped up with drawn weapons.

Silverfire and Felina's eyes dilated and Felina's tail puffed up at the sight of guns pointed at them.

"No, Dad!" Silverfire yelled urgently, grabbing Felina and turning his back to the blasters in an effort to protect the love of his life.

The royal offspring and their partners made various exclamations of surprise and fear, Bandit and Rocky valiantly grabbed their girlfriends protectively.

There was a white flash, Vinnie yelped in shock as he was wrenched vertically, and the blasters turned towards him. A collective gasp rose from the non-combatants at suddenly finding Abraxas balanced on the table in front of them, Vinnie dangling by the right hand still clutching his blaster from Abraxas' much larger hand.

Moonshadow was in a crouch practically in Stoker, Throttle and Modo's faces, glowering warningly at them. Nightshade was standing erect on the other end of the table over Helios, who was looking slightly startled as he had been pushed to the ground with Sunkiss crouched over him. Windsong was tense on the edge of her chair, looking frightened but otherwise ready to spring in any given direction.

Vinnie didn't have the best view from where he was unexpectedly facing off with the giant, but the reason for the shifters' sudden hostility was rapidly obvious to the others. When they had all reflexively pointed their weapons at the enemy in their midst, they had had to aim past Helios and the shifters. The shifters, confronted with weapons that could disassemble them as easily as a hot knife could cut through butter pointing in their general direction, wouldn't have bothered to check if they were actually the targets.

The enemy in their midst had arrived on the arm of one of the princes. They could definitely stand to be more polite.

"All right, everyone calm the fuck down," Stoker said sharply. Throttle and Carbine, having taken in the situation, were already carefully lowering their guns. Modo glanced at them, then retracted his arm cannon.

Observing the weapons going away, Abraxas carefully lowered Vinnie to the ground and released him before springing lightly off the table onto the floor behind the royal offspring. Mouths agape, Bandit and Rocky followed it with their eyes.

The twins slunk silently back to their seats, Sunkiss helped Helios up and they also resumed their seats. Windsong carefully uncurled in hers, watching proceedings warily.

"Hi," Stoker called casually to Silverfire when no one had said anything for a while. With everything newly settled, Silverfire carefully led the nervous looking Catatonian girl over to the foot of the table.

"Hey," Silverfire returned. He cleared his throat nervously. "Mum, Dad, everyone," he nodded around the table. "This is Felina." He paused, staring fearfully at Vinnie.

Everyone but the shifters glanced anxiously between father and son. It was almost like watching a tennis match of wills.

"Well. Siddown," Vinnie eventually said gruffly. That was as close to an apology as they were going to get from him.

The tension lifted from immediately around them to dissipate somewhere in the air above in a collective sigh of relief from the observers. Silverfire pulled out a chair for Felina, helped her into it in a very proper and gentlemanly fashion and then seated himself at her side.

"This is gonna take some gettin' used to," Vinnie grumbled as the wait staff started bringing in the entrees. His bros laughed uproariously at the understatement of the century, joined more nervously by the royal offspring and their partners, and observed with some bemusement by the shapeshifting aliens.