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Chapter Notes: Cor's father, Aaron, reflects upon the unlikely but not unwanted addition to his family. Set loosely around Bookends.

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That chair had covered a lot of distance in its life; went from his bedroom in high school -- the one now belonging to his oldest child -- to college, to storage, to his dorm room in Belfast in the Academy, then back again to an apartment in Damariscotta, overlooking the brick and street of the downtown. And now, back in the home it started out in.

Aaron rarely sat in it these days. He'd been thinking of having it replaced; it didn't match any of the rest of the living room furniture, and it was getting a little bit ratty. It had been reupholstered twice in its life to date already, and the springs didn't quite have the same amount of spring. It wasn't so much sentimentality as it was a lack of time that had stayed its execution; there wasn't enough time between assignments in the SCE to waste on getting rid of a chair, and it always managed to slip his mind in those times when he was home. And now that he was retired from Starfleet, and there was time, the chair was no longer his to decide upon.

He leaned on the door frame to the living room, his coffee in hand, and regarded the kid sleeping in it. And marveled, honestly, that anyone could be that comfortable sleeping in a chair like that. Scotty wasn't sprawled in it, he was curled up with his arms tucked around himself, and his head on the arm rest, one leg kicked out and the rest of him taking up as little space as humanly possible. To Aaron, it looked like a recipe for a neck and back ache, but then again, he wasn't in his early twenties anymore, either.

Andy brought home a lot of people over the years; more, even, than Rachel did. His cadre of friends was large and impressive, and there were several times as he was growing up that Aaron would walk into his house and find a dozen kids raiding the fridge, tracking mud all over the floor, and his son right in the center of it directing his troops. Andy had his best friends, the ones he would host sleepovers for and hang out on the living room floor with, chomping down popcorn, laughing too loud, making crude jokes, and then sprawling in a mess of blankets and adolescent limbs, snoring and surrounded by crumbs. He never had any trouble making friends; Aaron had always been on the quiet side, all of his life, and there were many a time when he looked at the boy growing up to look like him and marveled at the fact that he was such a social butterfly.

His own friends were few and close, and he kept them close; refused to allow time, life, distance or events tug those friendships apart or weaken them.

It was gratifying to see that aspect of himself in his son, personified by the young man asleep in Aaron's old chair. Unexpected, but gratifying. More brothers than friends, now -- Aaron had never thought one to be stronger or weaker than the other, merely different -- but something other than he had seen in his son before. Protectiveness, and sensitivity, and admittedly some overbearing possessiveness, like an older lion cub trying to drag a younger one around by the scruff of the neck. It was endearing, and it was also funny, especially when they squabbled about it.

His wife, too, had essentially decided that Scotty was hers, and Aaron had no trouble following the lead of the two more gregarious members of his family. He couldn't always claim to understand it, but he loved them for it, and did his best to back them up on it. While he never planned on having more children to care for and be responsible for than Andy and Rach, he accepted that he now did.

He wondered if the boy in the chair realized it yet; that this was his home, now, and how much he was loved by the people in it. He didn't know if Scotty understood or not, but seemed to respond to it anyway.

Which was why Aaron's chair wasn't his anymore. And would remain, ill-matched and slightly ratty, in the living room.

He didn't say anything, as Andy came down the steps sleepily and automatically went to pick Scotty's boots up from where they were laying on the floor, setting them beside the chair, and he didn't say anything when Melinda came down the steps, looking awake and ready to start the day, to pause and throw the fleece blanket back over from where Scotty had kicked it off.

She looked at Aaron, standing in the door, and grinned a warm grin, tipping her head towards Scotty in a silent gesture of motherly pride and self-directed amusement. Would you look at that?

Aaron grinned back just the same, then wound an arm around her when she came over, with one son stumbling around behind them looking for his coffee mug and the other asleep, peaceful and safe, in a recliner.


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