Title: Patriarchal Lineage
Beta: That Girl Six
Notes: Rhesa wanted something about Joshua and Max and some info about Harland. Ridley thought it would make a good Chronicle and so here we go.
After staring at his work for too long, Joshua knew he would
need to go to
They had been quiet for an hour now, allowing him time to get some more work done. Yet he knew that they were up to something. With Max, quietness had meant he was sleeping; with Jocelyn it meant she was plotting.
Sure enough, he found them in the bathroom filling up their plastic tea pots with water. He watched them for a moment; treasuring moments with both his kids that he knew were never appreciated by his own father. His daughter's chestnut hair was wavy to her waist. She was wearing it pulled back in a headband. She was more like Carolyn, but still was reminiscent of her namesake with her dimples.
They were startled at having been caught playing in the bathroom. Carolyn did not like them using water since they had overfilled the tub in their quest to be mermaids. His daughter rebounded quickly. "Daddy? Can you play tea party with us?"
While Jocelyn was trying to distract him, Mary reached to shut the faucet off. Mary was the spitting image of Sam, albeit with blonde hair, also long, caught up in a braid.
Joshua went to great lengths for his daughter, had been involved with many tea parties. She gave him a shy smile to win him over, but he held firm. "No water, girls." He made eye contact with both of them. "I have some phone calls to make, so why don't you and Mary use all the bears and dolls for your tea party?"
"It's not the same without a prince." Jocelyn had that exasperated tone of having to explain everything. "It's a princess tea."
An idea brewed in Joshua's head. "Uncle Caleb is going to be bringing Max home. I bet he'll join in your tea party."
That quieted both the girls as they were spoiled by their uncle Caleb. He went into his upstairs office, leaving the door open so he could hear them and his son when he returned home. Carolyn was spending a girls' day with some friends—having their hair done, lunch, then going shopping.
The country music scene and the charitable organizations
supported by them made for interesting work and had proved less stressful than
politicos and more lucrative, as Drew pointed out. Drew had followed him from
Joshua heard the sound of Caleb's Ferrari pull up. He kept two vehicles with Dean—an SUV for trips with the kids and the Ferrari otherwise. Joshua placed his computer on standby to go downstairs to greet his son and Caleb.
"Hey, Dad." Max came through the kitchen, placing his backpack on the table before hugging him.
Joshua didn't shy away from affection by his family, but he
was caught off guard. Since junior high
Max steered clear of his mother's kisses, his sister's hugs, and Joshua's
playful mussing of his hair.
"Did something happen?" Joshua pulled back, but kept his hands on his son's shoulders to study him. Maxim would reach him in height soon. "Are you hurt?"
"No, just having a chick flick moment," Max scoffed, then shrugged. "I'm allowed, aren't I?"
"According to Dean and Caleb you should have the emotional level of a gnat." Joshua watched as The Guardian and The Knight molded his son after them. Mackland attempted to buffer the situation, admitting he had been in Joshua's shoes with Caleb under the tutelage of John Winchester. It was a reminder that things could be worse, and his son enjoyed the connection with The Guardian and Knight.
"Well, you’re my dad, not them." Maxim went to the refrigerator, pulled out a carton of juice, then went to the cabinet for a glass.
Joshua was suspicious of the compliment. "Did you fight with your uncle?"
"Uncle Caleb? I have him wrapped around my finger." He took a gulp of the juice and finished it off. "He's talking to the Sprieses. You know how Mr. Spries has a hard on for the Ferrari." Maxim grabbed his bag from the table.
Joshua winced at the language but made no comment. He picked his battles. "As your father, I am warning you to steer clear from your sister's room. She's having a tea party with Mary."
Maxim did a mock shudder. He had been conscripted by his sister on occasion to join in a tea party. "Thanks. I'm going to put this stuff away."
Joshua went to the door, opened it to find Caleb waiting for him. "I knew you were there."
Caleb gestured with his chin to Maxim's wake. "He needed time to talk to you. Your kid doesn't hide his emotions well."
"It's not a bad thing." His son had inherited that feature from his mother, and he'd always found it rather endearing.
"I didn't say it was." Caleb leaned against the kitchen counter. "Harland ambushed him."
Joshua gripped the back of the kitchen chair. His knuckles went white from the fierceness of controlling his reaction. He knew something had happened, but he hadn't pictured his father's involvement. "He what?"
"Harland cornered him," Caleb started to explain, then stepped away from the counter and gestured for Joshua to calm down. "Hey, man, nothing happened. They just talked."
"Talking is the problem." Joshua sighed. He had inherited his PR skills from the original Slick. Caleb had replaced that nickname with Mama's Boy. It was more fitting in many different ways. He'd also been grateful for one less connection to his father or the man's reputation.
"The Guardian will handle it," Caleb said with a nod. "But you're going to have to talk to Max."
"And tell him what?" Joshua picked up the chair an inch off the ground, then brought it down. "That my father is a traitor and it is only because of my relationship to The Triad that he hasn't been stripped of his ring?"
"That's a good start." Caleb shrugged. "Do you want Dean to take away his ring? Pastor Jim put up with Harland because there were never any direct accusations against him. If you want Dean to-"
"I don't know what I want him to do." He knew what it was like to have a son he wanted to make sure was happy. Harland could never understand that level of self-sacrifice needed to be a parent. Harland had hurt children when he'd been a part of kidnapping Dean and Sam, been involved in leaving the Matthews brothers without a father. "As Sam has said, sometimes doing nothing may be the best course of action."
"You don't want to open up a can of worms."
"He deserves to have his ring taken away—you know what
he did." Joshua had long ago figured out that his father was in on the
"I do because it directly affected me."
That had been another of Joshua's revelations to the men who had become his family over the years. He had told Caleb it was his father who had provoked Ian and Fisher to beat him up. Harland had been proud of their actions. To Joshua, it was one of many things he wished he could have changed.
"Dean has held off doing anything permanent because of you."
"As he probably should continue to
do. I'm afraid he may retaliate in some way." His father was a
hunter, regardless if he was past his prime.
The biting remarks hid a lethal personality which would seek to blame
others: his mother, his wife, his children, Mackland. Joshua would not risk the retaliation. "We can't be everywhere protecting
everyone." As always, The Guardian
would send an emissary. "So Dean will send Silas?" Silas was still on friendly terms with
Harland, and was the one sent to rein Harland in as he grew disgruntled. They had grown up together, and maintained
"I'll tell him that Micah should go with his old man, too. Nothing like a guy with a sharp sword."
Joshua shook his head and smiled. Micah had taken the place of Jessup to teach the new hunters about swordsmanship. "Do you want something to drink?" he offered, remembering his manners, calming down after the news.
"Yeah, a—" Caleb cut himself off and looked at the opening off of the kitchen. Mary and Jocelyn entered hand in hand.
"Uncle Caleb, did you bring us something?" Joshua's daughter asked while Mary had her hand out in anticipation. Caleb had spoiled the two girls.
"Of course." He pulled two little bags from his jacket pocket. "I learned the hard way never to come empty handed when you two are around."
They ripped open their paper bags to find glittering red necklaces. "I love beads!" Mary proclaimed as she slipped them over her neck; Jocelyn did the same.
She pulled on Caleb's pant's leg, and he bent down so she could give him a kiss. "Can you be our prince for our tea party?" Jocelyn looked at her father when he cleared his throat. "Please?" she added after the reminder of her manners.
"Tea party?" Caleb glared at Joshua. He hadn't thought about it so Caleb could not read his mind until it was too late.
"We need a prince," Mary explained.
"What about your daddy?" Caleb grinned.
Jocelyn shook her head. "Daddy is a king, and they don't do tea parties."
It was Joshua's turn to grin. After all, Jocelyn was his daughter; she would protect her father.
Caleb shrugged his shoulders in defeat. "Okay, I'll be right up."
They watched the two girls return upstairs. Caleb turned to him. "I hate you."
"It's only slightly emasculating," Joshua retorted, accustomed to Caleb becoming pouty when he didn't get his way.
"You are so inviting me for dinner tonight," Caleb added before following the girls and embracing his role as the prince. Joshua heard him say, "Princesses, it is an honor. . ."
Joshua rubbed a hand down his face and tried to think about what he should say to his son. He took slow steps up the stairs; thankfully he did not have to pass by the tea party to get to his son's room. The door was closed. When Max turned thirteen he requested his privacy, especially with a little sister running about. Joshua knocked before entering.
On Max's wall was an enlarged photograph of a coven ceremony taken by Max's best friend, Jonathan Thomas Winchester. JT had been allowed to come based on his lineage. He had given Max the picture because he said you could actually see the magic in the picture.
Joshua was surprised his son had accepted and hung the picture up. Max was trying to distance himself from learning about the craft. Jocelyn, on the other hand, seemed to be embracing it.
On another wall was a dream catcher given to Max upon his birth by Bobby. Then there was the requisite pinup, which Joshua had gotten autographed by the country western singer/actress.
"Uncle Caleb told you." Max stopped stuffing rolled up clothes in his bureau.
Joshua attempted to make himself comfortable, however, his son was not neat and there was no place to sit. "Yes, he did. I think you might have some questions for me." He spied the spindle of a back of a chair through some clothes. He picked up the clothes, held them in his hand until Max took them from him to add to the pile on his bed.
Max sat on the corner of his bed and stared at his clasped hands. "I guess he's a bad guy, but I don't know why he is since no one talks about him."
"I don’t know where to start. There were accusations, which were forgiven, but never forgotten involving your uncle Caleb, and then Dean and Sam as children. But that involved Pastor Jim" Joshua wanted to buffer his feelings, spare his son. Harland had hurt him enough for all of them.
"They've never told those stories." Max had heard many of the stories about Pastor Jim, John Winchester and Mackland, the previous Triad.
"I often wondered if Jim pardoned Harland for me or because of lack of evidence," Joshua cleared his throat. "I don't know if you will ever hear those stories."
His son knew not to press. "Mom said that he called when I was born?" Max did this half shrug of insecurity.
Carolyn had not mentioned that Max had asked about Harland. His father had reached out to Carolyn while Joshua was away, trying to wheedle his way into Carolyn's soft heart. However, Carolyn had never forgiven Harland. "A long time ago I was hurt, and my father abandoned me." Harland hadn't cared if he lived or died. "I didn't hear from him again until you were born." Joshua had been nervous about becoming a father. He was worried he had inherited some defective parental gene from Harland, but the first time he saw his son he knew he would always protect him, try to do what was best for his children. It was a concept his father never grasped. Joshua swallowed before continuing, "He wanted to be a part of your life for his own selfish reasons."
"What were his reasons?" Max looked up and cocked his head to the side. He was letting his hair grow. He used to keep it short, but then he had seen a picture of Caleb as a teen and started to adopt the look. Mackland sympathized with Joshua.
"My father has an agenda. He wanted me to be the next Knight." Joshua did not want to tell his son that his grandmother had been hurt by Harland, used because she was the daughter of The Knight he had been named after. "He wasn't satisfied with having an Advisor as a son, one who knew the craft."
"But you're good at it!" Max was incensed on his father's behalf.
Joshua could not fathom explaining to his son that Harland considered Joshua a disappointment. There were so many slights. This was about protecting Maxim, to make sure he would never think he was a disappointment to Joshua. "What did he say to you?"
"Just some shit…ah, crap about being a hunter, and my future in The Brotherhood." Max pulled a shirt onto his lap, sniffed it, then threw it in a corner with what Joshua supposed was the rest of his son's dirty laundry.
Joshua did not want Maxim railroaded into a life. He wanted to make sure the teen knew he had choices and that regardless he would be loved. "Do you want to have a future in The Brotherhood?"
"What?" Maxim's eyes opened wide in surprise. "Yeah, of course I do. Like you, Dad."
He twisted the silver band on his right hand; his gold wedding band was on his left. "Maybe not like me, but better. You don't have to just because I'm a hunter. If it isn't something you want for any reason, you won't be letting anyone down." He thought of his grandfather's ring, hidden away until it was Maxim's time to be an official member of The Brotherhood. He hoped Dean would allow his son to wear his namesake's ring that the silver was still consecrated.
"Dad, it's about protecting people."
Maxim gave the true answer, not the one Joshua would have given at his son's age. He would have said it was his duty, obligation to be a part of The Brotherhood.
"And a secret society is so cool," the teen added with a grin. That was Mackland's influence, his automatic grandfather because of Mac's marriage to Esme, his true grandfather in every way. "Dad, are we cool? I mean, I'm sorry about Harland."
Joshua ran his hand through his hair. He should be apologizing to his son. "We're cool. And don't worry about being a hunter; worry about doing well in trigonometry." He knew what the prospective future role was for Maxim, but they had all agreed the boys did not need the burden. They needed to concentrate on being children, train well to prepare, then there would be the right time to tell them.
"Da-ad," Maxim whined.
Joshua stood up. "In the meantime, your uncle is staying for dinner, but right now he is the guest of honor at your sister's tea party."
Maxim's eyebrows rose. "Really?"
He grinned at his son. Maxim would be gathering some blackmail information on his uncle soon enough. Maxim and Jocelyn had inherited his PR skills in their own way when it came to ammunition he could use against Caleb. Joshua loved his children.