"I wasn't expecting Warren to come with you this early." Scotty said as he and Kyle paddled their boards out. "And he looks like he's still half asleep."
"He probably is." Kyle agreed looking back at the beach where Warren was stretched out on a blanket with his eyes closed. "I told him he could stay at the hotel and have a lie-in but he refused."
"How come?" Scotty asked. "No one else is here yet." Only the surfing members of the Walker family were there, which did include Taylor, Luc and Brody. The last two were still on the beach with Justin getting a few pointers on how not to fall of straight away but Taylor was out on the water and showing most of the men up.
"We ran into some trouble with a member of the local pack earlier this week, the guy got a bit threatening and now Warren won't let me out of his sight."
"That's a little bit obsessive." Scotty said with a frown.
"I'd call it over protective but it's not bad or like he insists on been glued to my side constantly." Kyle point out. "He just didn't want me here without him. Which makes sense when you consider I am rather breakable compared to a werewolf."
"If you say so." Scotty said but he was still a little concerned though he wasn't sure exactly what about.
Sarah was the first of the Walkers to arrive, Paige and Cooper had been up not long after Luc left but she'd insisted on breakfast and at least two cups of coffee before she'd even consider that it was time to go. Paige and Cooper both had their swim suits under their clothes and their boogie boards from their Christmas trip to Mexico, Cooper threw his clothes everywhere as he hurried down to the water, Paige was a little more careful with her clothes but no slower about getting wet.
"How long have you been here?" Sarah asked as she laid out a blanket next to Warren's.
"A while." He said without opening his eyes, he groped on the blanket beside him and then handed a camera to Sarah.
It was a good deal more fancy than a standard digital camera and it took Sarah a few moments to work out how to switch it on and get to the photos it had already taken, which she figured was why Warren had given it to her. What she saw made her laugh. There were quite a few pictures but there was at least one of each surfer falling off his or her board. "I like this one of Justin." She said
"I'll make sure Scotty gets copies of them." Warren said, opening one eye to look at her. "I'm sure he'll pass them around."
"You're good with a camera." She told him as she handed it back.
"Comes with a job." He reminded her. "Always need evidence and as they say, a picture tells a thousand words."
"Most of those need a lot less words to caption." Sarah laughed. "Idiot would work for most of them, or ouch for that one of Kevin." Warren laughed, Kevin certainly had hit the water hard and he'd been lucky he'd had his camera out to capture the moment. Scotty would have to go easy on his husband for a few days because Warren was prepared to bet that Kevin was going to have quite a few bruises in some uncomfortable places from that impact with the water.
The other Walkers didn't waste their time in arriving. Kitty arrived with Seth and Evan not long after Sarah had appeared. And if she set out her blanket on the opposite side of Sarah to Warren she still greeted him politely enough and introduced him to Seth.
"Nice to meet you." Warren said in reply. "Kyle is out there or I'd introduce you." He waved in the direction of the surfers.
"Kitty told me about the other night." Seth said. "I hope you don't mind."
"Nothing stays secret in this family." Sarah said with a laugh. Warren grinned while thinking that there was a pretty huge secret in the family that was only been kept because he and Kyle weren't telling anyone.
"I'm fine with it." Warren assured the younger man.
At that point Evan, who had been making a pile of sand that might be a castle, grabbed hold of his bucket and Seth's hand and pulled him down to the sea. "Well at least he's learnt not to go near the water on his own." Kitty sighed.
"I was expecting you to be here before me." Sarah commented to her sister.
"Morning sickness." Kitty explained. "Who ever said it was only for the first bit of the pregnancy was a lying bastard who should be shot."
"I take it Seth is taking good care of you then." Sarah said with a smile.
"He's been an angel about it." Kitty said.
"He's quite young." Warren said absently.
"Please no cradle snatching jokes." Kitty interrupted.
Warren laughed. "I'd be a hypocrite if I did, Kyle is more than a century younger than me and we hardly have the biggest age gap I know of. I was going to say that he's very mature and good with Evan, I think he'll make a good father."
"So do I." Kitty said a little dreamily, making Sarah laugh.
"So they haven't drowned Brody yet then?" Warren had known Nora was coming but it made both of her daughters jump.
"No." Sarah said, turning around to look at her mother. "But Warren has some good pictures of them all falling off."
Nora had Olivia and Daniel with her, since their fathers planned an early start both had stayed with their grandma the previous night. "Here." Nora said handing Daniel to Warren since he was nearest. "Olivia sweetheart, can you help me get the rest from the car?"
"I'll help too." Sarah offered and pulled her sandals back on.
Meanwhile Warren had been left quite literally holding the baby. "You're good with him." Kitty noted as Warren bounced Daniel in his arms and pulled faces to keep him happy.
"I've dealt with little children in my job." Warren told her. "But the main kid I've been around is Jesse, my Alpha's daughter, so I'm more used to dealing with teenage girls than babies."
"Ouch." Kitty said in sympathy. "We've only got Paige at the moment but life is sure going to be fun once Olivia hits her teens too."
"Jesse's a good kid and she's good about knowing her boundaries and that sort of thing. Comes from growing up with us wolves I reckon. She just dyes her hair bizarre colours and sometimes whines about the babysitters thing though I think I'm only one of her favourites because I let her get away with more than the women do."
"A bit of a push over are you?" Kitty said, now she was talking to Warren it was hard for her to remember why she had been so stressed over his been a werewolf.
"She reminds me of my little sister." Warren told her. "We were a big family like yours but she came along as a late surprise."
"Like Justin, there's a ten year gap between him and Kevin."
"Yeah something like that." Warren smiled a little sadly. "She premature and so small that everyone was sure she'd die but she didn't, she was strong and once she could walk she'd try and follow me everywhere and do whatever I was doing even if it wasn't suitable for a little girl."
"And what exactly do you mean by that?" Kitty asked.
"Well daughters weren't expected to do work on the ranch like sons were but she still tried to do what I was doing rather than her sewing lessons."
"How did you lose her?" Kitty asked.
"I was changed and I couldn't go back, people would wonder why I wasn't aging, I just suppose it was lucky it was me that was attacked so I wasn't leaving a family behind who were dependent on me." Warren sighed. "Imagine that you suddenly had to leave all this behind you, you can never see them again, never know what happened to them."
"That would be hard." Kitty said softly looking around at her family, most of whom were in the water.
"Immortality is something that humans seem to crave but it's a curse." Warren told her. "In the end you watch everyone you love die."
"I watched my husband die." Kitty said softly, remembering when she had made the decision to let Robert go.
"I'll have to let Kyle go on day." Warren said. "Even if he tries to become a werewolf the odds are not in his favour. He will age and I won't and one day he'll be gone and I think that day will kill me." Warren added the last part softly enough that Kitty wasn't sure she'd heard him right. Fortunately Even ran back up the beach at that moment and saved them from any further depressing conversation.
Nora, Sarah and Olivia also returned laden down with blankets and bags. "Have you got enough food there?" Warren asked having been able to smell what was in some of the bags.
"Just some snacks." Nora insisted as she shook out a large blanket and set it out on Warren's free said. "And drinks too, there's more in coolers in the car."
Paige ran up the beach, having spotted her cousin. "Hey Olivia, have you ever been boogie boarding?" The younger girl shook her head. "Well you have to, Uncle Justin said you can't be a Walker and not surf but we're still a bit young for that, according to mom at least." She shot her mother a look and Sarah just shrugged and smiled with a look that said 'I'm your mother and I know best'.
"Go on and have fun." Nora told her with a grin. "And you've got a new swim suit to show off haven't you?" Olivia shrugged but stripped off her clothes to show off the swim suit she had underneath.
"Oh that it so cute." Sarah told her with a grin.
"Do you think they do it in my size?" Kitty asked, doing her part to make her niece feel more comfortable.
"Now go and get wet." Sarah told both girls. "And tell Cooper he has to share his board as well." Paige grabbed Olivia's hand and pulled her towards the ocean.
"You must be really proud of that one." Warren said.
"She certainly takes her job of oldest cousin seriously." Sarah said with a smile. "And she's very determined to do what's best for everyone whether they agree or not."
"Yes because she didn't get that from you or anything." Nora pointed out.
"And I got it from you mom." Sarah replied.
"Is Saul not here yet?" Nora asked, suddenly looking around and realising that her brother and his boyfriend were absent.
"Well be fair mom." Kitty said. "They're both getting on a bit."
"Less of that missy." Nora said with a mock glare at her younger daughter. "We aren't that old yet."
"No you aren't." Warren agreed. "But neither Saul or Jonathan had over excited youngsters to pull them out of bed this morning."
"Kyle got you up this morning?" Nora asked, making Sarah, Kitty and Seth laugh at her unintentional innuendo. "What?" She demanded and then realised what she had said. "Oh for heaven's sake, you do realise that not everyone is as dirty minded as you lot. What I meant was Warren, did Kyle force you to wake up at the same time as him and then come to the beach with him?"
"No it was my choice." Warren told her. Truthfully he was still a little concerned that the local pack might cause trouble, especially the one that they had run into a few days earlier. Because of that he wasn't comfortable with Kyle been away from him for hours. However he also wasn't telling the Walkers that. "How could I resist with a view like that?" He asked, looking out at the ocean.
"Are we looking at the view or the scenery?" Sarah asked.
"Both." Warren told her.
Nora laughed. "So what's this Sarah said about pictures?" Warren turned his camera on and handed it to Nora so she could look through the pictures. "Oh I like that on." Nora said. "And that one, Warren do you think I could have copies of these?"
"If you give me an email address." Warren told her. "Or I can send them to Scotty but he might not pass them all on."
"No probably not that one." Nora agreed.
"Our turn." Kitty said, holding out her hand and they passed the camera down the row until it reached her and Seth.
The group on the water had evidently noticed that the number on the beach had grown significantly but only Brody decided that meant it was time to quit. "I've done my part." He said as he took the towel Nora handed him. "I even stayed on the board for a few seconds and now I'm done and plan to forget it ever happened."
"Oh not much chance of that." Sarah said and Brody followed her eyes to Warren's camera which was back with the werewolf.
"Oh joy." Brody groaned. "And I thought the bruises would be enough of a souvenir."
"Not as bad as Kevin's bruises are going to be." Warren laughed.
"Brody, do you mind if I borrow your board?" Seth asked. "It's been a very long time but I wouldn't mind seeing if I've forgotten everything I learnt."
"Be my guest." Brody replied as he sat down next to Nora. "I'm sure Justin will give you some tips, he's a very eager teacher."
While Seth grabbed the board and headed down to the sea Kitty turned to Warren. "Can you get some more pictures?"
"If someone else will hold Daniel?" Warren said. "It's rather difficult to juggle both."
"Hey Seth." Justin greeted his sister's boyfriend as he paddled out. "When did you guys get here?"
"A while ago." Seth shouted back. "But I think Brody is done for the day so I borrowed his board."
"Where's Olivia?" Kevin asked, having turned to look at the crowd on the beach and not seen his daughter.
Seth laugh. "You'll have to look a bit closer than that, she'd getting lessons from Paige and Copper." Kevin and Scotty both turned to where they had seen their niece and nephew earlier and saw that their daughter was with them and laughing as she over balanced and fell off the board. "By the way, you do realise that Warren has a camera that he is very good with right?"
There were several outraged shouts from everyone except Kyle who just laughed. "Oh come on, I'm sure we all look as stupid as each other."
"Speak for yourself boys." Taylor laughed.
"Okay, we all look equally stupid, except for Taylor." Justin corrected making her grin at him.
"Your mom also brought enough food and drinks to feed a small army." Seth continued.
"Or us and Warren." Kyle pointed out. "Let's get a bit more surfing in and then see about snacks." Everyone agreed to that.
By the time the surfers dragged themselves up the beach Saul and Jonathan had also arrived seemed caught up in a discussion with Warren about the history of gay rights. Or the lack thereof, which Kevin pointed out was a better description for pretty much everything pre-1960s.
"Did you see me?" Olivia asked as she ran up to Scotty and Kevin.
"Yes I did and you were amazing." Kevin told her with a hug.
"Is that really the first time you've been out on a board?" Scotty asked. "Because I think you were better than Luc, and certainly better than Brody." He gave the two men an apologetic smile that they both shrugged away.
Olivia nodded with a huge grin on her face.
"Warren got some good pictures of the kids." Nora told the proud fathers, she picked up the camera and flipped through the pictures until she got to the one she wanted then turned it so Scotty, Kevin and Olivia could see.
"Oh wow." Scotty said. "Don't you look so grown up in that one and I swear it looks like you've been doing it for years."
"Paige is a good teacher." Olivia said with an embarrassed shrug.
"Why don't we send a copy of that one to Scotty's parents?" Kevin suggested. "And to your brother too?" Things were still a little strained with her brother but all three of the grown-ups made an effort for Olivia's sake and they always had dinner together at least once a month.
"I think they'd like it." Olivia smiled. "Can we eat now?" She asked, looking at the bags that Nora was unpacking.
"Yes we can eat now." Nora agreed. "But everyone use a wipe to clean your hands before you touch anything, I dread to think what's in sea water these days. Paige this is for you." Added handing Paige a separate box. "And it's the first time I've tried that recipe Kyle gave me so I want to know how it is, and don't forget to take your insulin."
"I won't grandma." Paige said absently as she went to her bag where she always carried her diabetic kit. She really didn't need her grandma or mom reminding her about it after five years but she knew it made them feel better to do it. Olivia watched her curiously Paige realised it was the first time that the other girl had seen her do this Every other time they'd been at someone's house and Paige would do it in another room but that wasn't an option at the beach.
"It's alright, you can watch." She told her. "Did Kevin and Scotty tell you I'm diabetic?" Olivia nodded. "So I have to check my blood sugar levels with this." She held up the reader. "Like this." She pricked her finger and was surprised when Warren's head snapped round to look in her direction, could he really smell that tiny drop of blood? She smiled nervously at him and held up the blood sugar reader, he nodded once and turned back to Saul and Jonathan. So yes he obviously could smell a little bit of blood.
"Why do you do that?" Olivia asked.
"My body doesn't make something it should." Paige explained. "So I have to take extra."
"Take it how?"
"Watch." Paige wiped a patch of her thigh with an alcohol wipe since her grandma was right and you really didn't know what was in the sea water. Then she checked the dosage and quickly injected herself.
"Ouch." Olivia said. "Doesn't that hurt?"
"Used to." Paige said as she packed her kit away. "Mom was terrible at it until Uncle Justin showed her how to do it properly and made her practice on his a few times, she got better. I learnt how to do it myself cause mom's not always there and otherwise I wouldn't be able to do normal stuff."
"Kevin and Scotty told me that I have to help keep an eye on you." Olivia admitted. "And if we were ever out and you fainted I had to tell someone you are diabetic."
"It happened once or twice." Paige admitted. "But when I was still learning to deal with it myself. I'm much better now." She zipped her bag up. "Let's eat and then do you wanna go rockpooling?"
"Sounds like fun." Olivia agreed and they went to dig into their food.
AN: Yep, I'm still alive and on honour of finally submitting my dissertation here's a new chapter for you.