How I Met Your Father, by potionsmaster
Rating: M for swearing, sexual situations, game level violence
Chapter 1: Happy Trails
White buds peek through the soft fuzzy green young leaves on the trees as we ride through the orchard, horse hooves softly clopping on the stony dirt path, the air much warmer than it had been earlier this morning. Dad looks at ease on Grandma’s horse George, a clean-limbed, tall, stately dark-bay animal she uses for jumping fences in the ring. The horse himself looks a little out of place in the western saddle he’s using, but I suspect it’s because I’m used to seeing him in what Dad calls a ‘pancake saddle’. It was amusing to hear him and Grandma banter back and forth over which horses to use with which equipment before we left; it’s easy to forget Dad grew up in a farming settlement on Mindoir and has experience with them. Left to his own devices, he’d stay in urban areas and that’s that, but I’ve heard him and Papa discussing alternatives and maybe possibly settling on Earth to be closer to Grandma and the orchard.
We amble along, taking in the scenery and Dad humming tunelessly to himself in time to the hoofbeats. It reminds me of being back home on Arcturus, with him cleaning the kitchen, washing the dishes in the sink, and folding a basket of laundry. I nudge Cinder’s ribs with my heels, goading her faster so I can ride side-by-side with him and we can talk. He gives me a lopsided grin, touching the brim of his baseball hat in a mock salute.
“Howdy, ma’am. You doin’ alright?”
“Yeah! She’s being a good girl…” I pat Cinder’s silky neck, chestnut fur glistening in the dappled sunlight. “Kinda boring, though.”
“Borin’ is good, as your grandmother says, and I’m inclined to agree with her. You don’t want the ride to become ‘excitin’’, because that’s when the chance for things to go wrong occurs.”
“Mhm. I know. But I think I know a way to pass the time.”
“Mhm. You owe me a story. Remember?”
“Mhm. That I do.” He glances down and pats George’s shoulder, adjusting a stray lock of black mane back to the appropriate side of his neck.
“So? How’d you meet Papa?”
His grin turns devious. “On the Normandy, like I said.” I roll my eyes with a groan. “Now, if you want to know how we got together, that’s a whole other thing.”
“Yes. Ok. Fine. You got me. Spill.” The red mare I’m riding snorts in perfect punctuation to my words and we laugh at it.
“Well…” he starts, “It...it’s a whole other thing, yeah, but I’m not really certain where to start. There’s so much tangled up in it all.”
I glance up at him and he has that far-away look in his eyes again. He’s gazing ahead at the trail but he’s not really seeing it. “Why not start at the beginning…?”
He blinks, coming back to the present and messes with George’s mane again, quiet for a few moments. “Well, I guess I really don’t know where the beginnin’ is.”
It’s my turn to blink. “How so?”
He tips his head to the side, considering. “Like, do I start on Mindoir? When I enlisted? The club and Erin? Stuff with me and you? Makin’ Spectre? The first date? If that’s what you wanna call it, I guess. All the shit that led up to the so-called ‘first date’? There’s… a lot of interlockin’ pieces here, and it’s hard to know exactly how far back to start, Monkey.”
“How about you start with the Normandy? Since you say that’s where you first met him. And then go from there?”
Dad nods, faraway look back in his eyes. “Yeah. Aight.” He takes a deep breath, squaring his shoulders. And then he speaks.