Parting of the Ways Part 13- Basic Training

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Jaimie Finn was enduring the after affects of achieving her lifelong dream of becoming "complete" in having her gender reassignment surgery. John and Logan Finn became closer as father and son than ever before. Reyna Toro faced down her past and slew her demons. Deborah Peterson had motherhood thrust upon her by being asked to take in and adopt baby Antonio. The Vega sisters were taking their love to the next level with marriage and pregnancy. Rosalind Porter unintentionally reunited a father and sons and found love herself with her sister, her friends, and her boyfriend. Michael Finn made his mark on an industry and a country by simply being himself. The Smiths settled past issues with family while giving Emma the chance to reconcile with the few from her past that she cared about.

The family had changed in two and a half months in California and in Massachusetts. But for the four who joined the Massachusetts Army National Guard? Well they endured a summer of intense heat and constant verbal abuse, abuse that has been handed down for generations by angry, tired sergeants molding young soldiers into warriors. They were in the military now, undergoing basic training to become part of a centuries old organization.

Scott Nelson, Will Bollinger, George Daniels, and Eric Vincent had prepared for their training for months on end. But no matter the amount of preparations can prepare you for the rigors of actually being there in the training platoons. Even though they were stellar athletes, they were still struggling with following orders from male and female sergeants trying to get them to do what they needed to do.

Eric and George had it easier than Scott and Will as they were used to the physical strain as well as enduring nights of a lack of sleep. Being the sons of law enforcement, they had to have one eye open at times for signs of trouble no matter where they were. When their dads were in the state police, trouble found them a few times and if not for quick actions they may have been hurt or killed..

The foursome arrived at training expecting the worst but the training was the easy part, enduring their fellow soldiers was the harder part. The four had targets on their backs almost immediately as Scott was recognized by several former classmates from his former hometown of Newhall, MO who had had long hatred of him. George made the mistake of defending another soldier from larger, ultramasculine soldiers making them look like fools and earning push-ups from their sergeants while he was given a free pass from discipline for his defense of another.

Then there was Eric. His father being gay and married to a man made the rounds of their platoon causing him to get targeted for assaults as he was seen as an easy mark who deserved a beating for daring to join the Army and defiling the uniform with views that didn't fit how real men should act. After the first guy got his knee bent in the wrong direction and a second broke his arm they backed off but he was still the target of harassment for no good reason.

It was par the course for them. Being the smallest in their classes Eric and George learned martial arts to protect themselves and have several black belts for their dedication to the sports. All who tried to have a go at them had gotten the shock of their lives, having to defend themselves while in the military was no different than any other time in their lives.

Their main drill sergeant, Sgt. Alvin York, tried to have a go at them but learned quickly that the four were inseparable and if he tried to break them up it backfired as nothing could get done. The four were actually a great team and took direction better than anyone else, something that could be utilized to show what needed to be done without the need to show them himself. He was a smart soldier, he knew to take advantage and with them the platoon learned what they needed to learn the first time.

During their drill sergeant instruction time in the evenings Eric, Will, and George happily explained how the trio had been together since kindergarten and Scott had joined them four and a half years before. Sergeant York asked about that which only caused the four to say it was too personal for them and tried to move on.

This didn't sit well with the guys from Newhall, MO. Their self-appointed leader, Andrew Davis, gladly told the others about Scott running off after lying to deputies about his father abusing him. Sgt. York had to hold back Eric and George while Will gave the four a lesson in exactly what happened to Scott and why he left.

Will growled "that piece of garbage hit him with everything he could get his hands on and did so for years. We three saw the marks, you didn't. He still has the scars on him from the last week with him, he put up with crap that nobody will ever know."

Sgt. York caught the anger and noted that it was more than just being defensive of his friend. Eric and George didn't react as strongly as Will, they let him take this on his own. Scott didn't react either, it was enough to him to mean that the man had done the unthinkable and harmed his son.

Scott explained that the trio were sons of friends of Scott West Sr. who was convicted of child abuse and assaulting a deputy. He had been systemically torturing his son until he would bully anyone in his way or who his father had said needed to be "toughened up". His conviction was not open for debate since the evidence was overwhelming and the trio had seen it themselves.

Scott just shook his head and added "you three toadies believed the words of a drunk who earned three years in prison and who got himself fired from every job he ever had. Your dads wanted to believe the worst in people because they always hung around with those pathetic McKinnon folks, folks who only produced a few good people in their meager existence. Well he was a loser and deserved a hell of a lot more time behind bars than he got."

Another session saw Eric explaining that yes, his father was gay and married to a man. That wasn't up for debate, and he was proud to point out that his father was a decorated federal agent who before that was also a decorated state trooper and who served with dignity and distinction in the military before passing his state police exam and earning his job as a trooper. George added how he was also responsible for breaking up several major gun rings while also breaking up affiliated prostitution, drug, extortion, murder-for-hire rackets and had gotten high praise from the US Attorney General and the Department of Homeland Security alongside multiple other agencies' praise.

Will and Scott merely told their platoonmates that their fathers had "normal" jobs as an architect and a high school principal. Scott's old "friends" ranted that his father was a jailbird but Will angrily pointed out that Scott was adopted by his aunt and uncle so they were wrong and morons for claiming otherwise. He also added that Scott's father was a reserve police officer who had several major awards to his name including dozens of arrests for a multitude of major crimes from rape to kidnapping.

The foursome worked day in and day out for three weeks before they could contact home. They simply pooled their time to have eight minutes of time with their families as their four fiances were called together with their parents there as well. The wait was tiring for them but hearing the girls' voices gave them renewed energy to keep going and to endure the jerks who were jealous of their abilities as soldiers and their close bond as friends.

The four ladies together caught Sgt. York by surprise. Will happily pointed out "Eric's girlfriend is Scott's sister, and mine is Scott's girlfriend's cousin. George's girlfriend is best friends with all three. They are rarely apart and put up with us for some reason."

Scott shook his head as Sgt. York laughed at Will's jokes. He thought it was a big lie but George added "those girls are close and Eric really is dating Scott's sister. Our dads kept away so they didn't cause trouble since some don't like who they sleep with but we can't keep them away next week."

The next week went by quickly as the group shot near the top with their rifles and performed well on their grenade and pugil stick training. It was easy for them to counter their colleagues and only really struggled against themselves as the four were some of the last standing in the impromptu tournament. Sgt. York simply had them go off against one another to allow the rest to have a shot at winning but ultimately Eric was the winner, taking out one of his biggest detractors, a guy named Gary Baker.

The guys were not happy that their dads answered their call when they phoned home as the girls had done exactly as the guys had predicted. Alex Vincent made a crack about the sergeants going soft on them for removing the bayonet course while joking that they had it harder as it was even hotter when they went through basic training. Sgt. York heard all of that and grinned, it was classic father/son motivational banter and gay or not he had Sgt. York's respect for doing that for his son. He would still pay with push-ups though, he had to as per tradition.

Quentin Nelson recognized the voice of the three guys who knew Scott and told him to not let them get to him as it wasn't worth thinking about his former father. The jerks heard that and acted like they were tough guys but a strong word and push-ups from Sgt. York about disrespecting a fellow soldier's family, and more importantly a phone call home, shut them up fast. The platoon were just as tough on them, they were getting tired of their actions and were not going to let them ruing their call home because they couldn't shut up about a guy who clearly nobody wanted to know.

The platoon started to splinter as Eric's detractors, led by Gary, and Scott's detractors, led by Andrew, banded together against those who were in support of Eric and Scott. Scott and Eric tried to keep the peace but they were no match for the few who could not let their views on others stop them from acting against the better interest of the whole platoon. Sgt. York didn't bother to stop it, he knew it would work itself out and if the few who couldn't shut up didn't then the whole platoon would shut them up for their own personal sake as well as for the sake of the platoon.

Things came to a head as the platoon started their qualfying live fire exercises. The jerks were kept in line and forced to shoot first while the firing range instructors had them stop farting around and shoot right. They failed to qualify, blaming Eric and Scott but neither were anywhere near them nor had any influence on them making the firing range instructors tell them to shut up and accept their own failures.

The day only got worse as they were the only ones not to qualify on the weapons despite claiming to be the best shots among them with years of hunting experience to their credit. Will had the lower score among the foursome. It was expected ad he had never shot a gun before compared with Scott, Eric, and George who went to shooting ranges regularly as part of their fathers' job.

After weeks of learning to fire his rifle the correct way Will still qualified as a sharpshooter. Andrew's two buddies failed to qualify and had to repeat the cycle with another platoon and causing the others to laugh long and hard at the braggarts getting their just desserts. Andrew seethed at things turning so badly on him but he had to endure or he too would end up with his friends.

Mail call was the toughest for the soldiers with most only getting a single letter a week if at all. The foursome had at least three a week with one usually being from the younger kids who wrote at the insistence of the older teens and adults while their parents sent them a digested version of what was going on without them. Their girlfriends sent a more personal letter as well as tried to send them pictures but they were a bit too personal, their platoonmates got a laugh out of that as Scott and Eric traded glares over it with Scott winning out with common sense and Sgt. York agreeing with him.

The chronicle of the family's summer caused the platoon to gather together during the three hours of personal time before lights out to listen to them talk as the multiple stories of the family were almost too outrageous to believe. The way they talked so freely about them and with the usual inside jokes and laughs caused the majority to hang on every word. It was good entertainment and for most it was a way of escaping the loneliness of training as they were brought into the stories instead of just being told what happened to everyone.

The number of different people involved and their own backstories, which the four learned early on to include, were almost unbelievable. A look at the foursome's Facebook photos confirmed their large family and showed why Eric and Scott were at odds over Jessica, Eric's girlfriend/Scott's sister, as she was the most beautiful girl among the ladies. Will had to reluctantly point out that his girlfriend came with a younger, sassier, quicker witted version of herself with the trio adding she was the kind of girl that made you run for cover if she was upset at you- and all that in an 8-year-old's body no less!

The four finally got to the stories about Jaimie and what she had done as a person. Andrew and his toady Victor Ellis listened and made snide remarks about her being a freak who deserved what she got. Scott didn't say a word, but Will added that she was a multimillionaire whose family had more wealth in their bank accounts than everyone on the fort combined.

Scott added a harsh "nobody deserves to be hurt, especially not the way she was. I hated every second of what I did to her and would have given anything to take that moment back. She was mutilated, could have easily lost her life, and if not for the two pieces of garbage covering for me I should have been put in prison for what I did."

The platoon asked what he was talking about. Will told about the final day Jaimie attended school with Scott, Andrew, and Victor that saw Scott being forced by his father to brutalize Jaimie resulting her needing to have an orchiectomy performed on her. Eric added "he almost killed her, if she hadn't covered her kidneys and ribs he would have caved in her chest."

Scott looked away in shame, adding a firm "she recovered. You saw what she looked like but didn't connect that she was the same girl you two tormented in elementary school before her parents died. She is blessed with the largest breasts, biggest butt, and all around best figure among the girls. Some of you were drooling over her picture, so don't you dare say anything about her being less than a woman as she is more of a woman than a lot of mothers, sisters, aunts, and grandmothers we have encountered."

The four talked a lot about the terrible parents they had known in the years since Scott moved east. The worst of them, the Vegas and Clarences, caused a couple to be visibly sickened while Sgt. York grinned as the four had opened up a can of worms about humanity that the group would have to learn on their own. They may have been going into support branches but in this new era of the military even those in their fields could find themselves encountering individuals who were total scum and have to not react.

Sgt. York was no fool as the impromptu bonding was part of their normal training, it just happened to be a new integration that he had put in to get them to work together better and it worked brilliantly. It even helped put Gary in his place as he made cracks about Eric's father only to see that he was larger than him and with more connections in the law enforcement community than he would ever have. He tried to make fun of the other civilians to make a point about them but unknowingly chose Mick Jones to crack his jokes at, a man who was former military and was one of the best agents in the ATF with eyes on him being groomed to be put in as the #2 in their Boston office with intent to run the whole region in the future.

As expected, Sgt. York was quick to jump on that as another learning opportunity as he pointed out that in this era you couldn't judge someone based on what you see, you needed to investigate further. For an engineer it was a matter of life and death at times as they may be put into danger as they had to work with locals to build, secure, fix, and expand local infrastructure. For the four, they knew the real stories but it was a chance for their colleagues to see that real soldiers can blend into the background of regular people and without vigilance they could fall prey to the enemy hiding in plain sight.

Time went along quickly as the soldiers learned and learned until what they were learning became second nature and they could recite word for word the manuals that they were required to know inside and out. Runs became longer and with more weight making the infamous hills of Ft. Leonard Wood torturous, wearing down even the strongest constitutions among them. The foursome even started to show signs of straining, they were used to long runs up and down hills but the heat and humidity of the fort was nothing compared with the cool sea breezes they got from the Mystic River.

Things came to a head as they were completing their seventh week of training. The soldiers were worn out and close to ripping into one another. Sgt. York was easing off of the discipline for their sake as they had learned long ago to keep the peace among themselves but it was only so much he could do before things became violent among the soldiers, especially those few who were borderline and had a grudge against others.

Scott was again the target, as Andrew and Victor still saw fit to complain about him despite all others accepting him as one of them. During one of the few times they weren't with Sgt. York, Victor and Andrew finally went after Scott. He simply ducked and made them pay by striking him hard in the sternum, knocking the air out of them while they collapsed in pain, gasping for breath.

He was seized by the platoon with the sergeant instructors about to drag him off for the MPs to handle but one of the sergeant majors observing the action canceled that, instead putting the offending soldiers in custody instead. Scott was cleared for defending himself with a non-lethal yet disabling defensive blow, it wasn't his fault that they chose to go at him and leave themselves open for the proper move that any good soldier would be proud to have made against an assaulting enemy.

Scott's move was asked about earning the sergeant a simple "self defense taught by a former boxer and a few former soldiers including a green beret." There was nothing more to be said, it was clearly a mix of one of several styles. Sgt. York just chuckled as the other drill sergeants asked about the foursome, only to be told "they are what we need- soldiers who don't look like normal soldiers. I think that those four could be Green Berets or Rangers if they chose to be but just want to be normal."

The foursome worked their tails off, frequently helping those who were fledgling and in danger of being put back in the next cycle keep from doing so. Little things like marching and learning simple commands and signals were worked on, the larger things like their performance on the rifle and grenade pit were impossible to work on though. They were left on their own by Sgt. York, it was for the entire platoon's benefit that they worked with their fellow soldiers while the others rested.

During the eight week of training the field training exercises were conducted causing the platoon to wear down fast necessitating the foursome to act as support for them as they helped several of their fellow soldiers who were almost fully drained emotionally and physically continue on. It was the hardest thing they had done so far but they endured worse than any of the others since they took the worst shifts as guards and cleaning while dragging the others along to keep them from falling behind. Scott and Will were nearing the end of their physicality while Eric and George were tapping into reserves they had never tapped before, even being the most athletic they were still drained mentally.

Things were only made worse as Gary, Andrew, and Victor were egging them on, hoping they would make another mistake but only seeing themselves get snapped at by the foursome's platoonmates. Their defense upset the detractors, so much so that they shot their mouths off at the wrong time in front of the wrong people. The sergeants just shook their head and gladly gave the platoon extra duties while causing a meeting with the regimental commander, ensuring that they were about to be kicked out of the Army for failing their tests, causing actions detrimental to their platoon, and worst of all- misconduct, for assault and for inciting a near riot against them.

The trhee were led away in disgrace to the jeers of their platoonmates. The foursome simply ignored them, not letting them get to them and showing that real soldiers act like mature adults not like spoiled children. Scott simply chose the high road and was discussing their next part of their training, knowing full well that it was about to get a lot easier as they approached graduation in a week.

The final week was spent finishing up tests and ensuring all equipment was in working order. Sgt. York gave the four the lead, as they were some of the few who had been around soldiers before and who knew how to put their uniforms together. The platoon laughed as they joked about sewing with Sgt. York fondly recalling his own drill sergeant saying the same thing about his time in training, giving the platoon a rare glimpse at his softer side while joking about it being a hilarious tradition.

Family day was their biggest treat with the platoon eagerly awaiting the four ladies as well as the rest of four's family. Andrew's stories about Quentin Nelson being a skinny nerd who didn't deserve his wife loomed large but seeing Quentin in his suit alongside Mike Daniels, Alex Vincent, and Jake Bollinger caused them to hold back on any statements as the men were nothing like they believed and were anything but skinny nerds. Mike and Alex were built like trucks with Alex being smallest among them in height but looking like he could easily tear you apart if he got upset.

Alex's husband Ricardo caught they eyes of the platoon and even he was bigger than they imagined. He was larger than Alex, and looked like he was any other father especially as he blended in among the family so completely. If you didn't know his sexuality or marriage you would have mistaken him for any other father seeing his son, which again caused Sgt. York to point out that looks are deceiving.

Quentin, Jake, Mike, and Alex hugged their sons tight, while their younger brothers looked on with wide grins. Diego Vincent acted like it was no big deal until Eric grabbed him in a hug as well, with TJ Daniels trying hard to not hug George but getting pushed forward by their mother Chloe. Jack Bollinger just grinned at his big brother, knowing that he was a big, strong soldier now and wanting to give him all of the attention he deserved and had missed out on giving to him.

The foursome got a big shock as Sean Kelly was there with his wife, children, and four grandchildren. They were using the graduation as a chance to visit an old friend of Sean's, a man named Austin Woods, who also happened to know his wife Danielle. The foursome being so close to him was a perfect reason to visit him and for them it was a great chance to catch up on old times.

Danielle and Austin were close while Sean was in medical school and away from contact and was the one who helped her raise Sean and Danielle's son William for the first several years whenever he wasn't off on a mission with his him. William saw him as an uncle and despite knowing the truth about his lineage Austin never told William about Sean. It was a great scene, with Sean blushing as the four gave him knowing nods and thanks for coming with their families.

The four grinned and tried to salute Austin, getting a smirk as they put their hands out to shake the old sergeant's hand. Sean shook his head at that, adding "I was about to have a word with your drill sergeant about proper saluting but I might have him give you four 'fire watch' overnight instead. Then again it's never too late to see the four of you repeat the cycle and endure some more time out in the field eating another few days worth of MREs and doing thousands of push-ups and sit-ups."

That got a laugh from Austin who added "at least you aren't going to make them 'play in the woods' although I wouldn't mind showing them a few tricks we learned. We haven't had that kind of fun since Devens, not since those bastards went after your friend Brent Finn. Man, what a time that was."

The four went white while Sean added "oh good, they remembered the story! I think they got the gist of it, old buddy. I think they are going to keep an extra eye out when they are training down in Bourne or up in Vermont or even New Hampshire. I don't think we have ever had someone enjoy their time in the deep woods of New Hampshire"

The foursome were still white and visibly sweating as Sean and Austin joked back and forth. Austin gave the four slaps on the back and told them to enjoy their final day. Sean and the rest of the Kelly family went off with Austin with Sean grinning widely as Danielle and the kids joked with Austin.

The four turned to their parents and asked where the girls were, getting grins and a quick "they decided to wait until tomorrow to see you" from Diego. The look on their faces was priceless as all four were saddened to hear the news, with Will trying to hold back his frown while Scott looked away in shame. Diego couldn't hold himself and laughed allowing the girls to hug their fiances from behind, kissing them and nearly causing them to faint from lack of oxygen.

All four couples kissed as their platoonmates looked on in shock. The ladies were real and there in the flesh. Eric and Jessica Nelson were kissing for so long that Scott threatened to hose them down if they didn't break it up causing everyone close by to laugh at the couple as they blushed deeply.

The group were shown around the fort and watched as soldiers climbed up and down the confidence course but mostly spent time apart as the four went their separate ways to enjoy time with their parents. Scott and Stacy Lopez were joined at the hip while Eric and Jessica were joined at the face, rarely going more than a few minutes without kissing deeply. Will and Claire Peterson took it in stride and barely held hands, with Will enjoying the chance to relax while showing his brother some of the places he had to go to while training.

George and Jenna Connors enjoyed showing TJ the museums with the little boy sticking close to them. It was sweet, with both knowing he was trying to keep his mom from doing much. She was almost due to give birth, once she did he would have to be more mature and tried to show he was by following the two around and following their orders like a good boy that he knew himself to be.

Chloe was going to give birth when they got back, but plans changed dramatically. She started to go into labor in the museum and went directly to the base hospital to give birth to her lovely daughter Eve. The birth was quick and "easy" by Chloe's opinion, but she still had to endure a few hours of pain.

The families converged as one with word being spread among them about the unexpected birth with Chloe being kept for a couple of days and unable to see the graduation ceremonies the next day. It was alright with George, he was just glad his little sister was going to be alright and his mom was fine. TJ was unable to express words, he just looked at his dad who was all smiles showing it was alright now.

As the Nelsons were heading to the fort's hospital Scott spotted something that made his blood run cold. Out in the distance was a man who was looking around at all of the soldiers, trying hard to recognize one of them. He told Stacy to stick close, he didn't want the man to see him. The Nelsons went another way with Quentin asking Scott if his restraining order was still valid, getting a shrug.

Greta Nelson had a copy of it in her purse. She wasn't a fool, she had paid a lawyer to renew the order the past three years as Scott West Sr. had gotten only three years in prison for his crimes. Somehow, he had found out that Scott was at the fort but as she expected the man couldn't tell his own son from any other 18-year-old. He was drunk so much he barely recognized his wife let alone his prepubescent son.

Greta was angry at him being there but Quentin was calmer, telling Mike and Alex about Scott West's arrival at the fort and getting the MPs to be on the lookout for him. Sean and Austin had a better idea, they wouldn't tell the others what it was though. The man was about to learn that you don't hurt kids, especially family of theirs and never on a military base.

Big Scott, as he called himself, was struggling to find his son. The bastard had ruined his life and had to pay for what he had done to him. He spent hours looking for him but none of the soldiers were him let alone the shrimp that he knew the boy to be.

The three who told him where Scott was had said he was still the brat he used to be, only this time he had a few new guys doing his dirty work for him. Big Scott could handle the shrimp and anyone with him, his son wasn't very smart and couldn't fight his way out of a paper bag. He had made sure of that, constantly beating into him that he was the big man in the family and Scott would always be a baby compared to him.

Andrew and Victor never bothered to tell Big Scott that his son was bigger than he was or that his friends were no pushovers and would break him easily if he got out of line. They had already felt the wrath of Scott's physical strength, whatever happened to Big Scott was on him. They had done their job and told him where Scott could be found. If Scott was hurt or better, drummed out of the Army, it would be well worth it to them.

The MPs were on the lookout for Big Scott. It wasn't helped that civilians were restricted as to where they could go on base especially with dangerous and deadly chemicals and training regimens going on. This only ended up causing Big Scott to try to find cover every time one of the MP cruisers drove by. It was actually a bad idea as it caught the eyes of drill sergeants then the soldiers. The MPs just laughed it up, Big Scott was giving them more entertainment than any visitor had in years and the soldiers were getting an eyeful that you couldn't teach in class.

Big Scott finally got close to Scott by pure luck. Scott, Eric, George, and Will were returning to the barracks and Scott's name was heard. It took a while but the tallest, largest of the four was Big Scott's own flesh and blood walking past him with the trio just as Andrew had said.

Big Scott called out to his son, causing Scott to stop while Eric and George readied for Big Scott's attack. Big Scott rushed his son, but as he went at him Scott stepped aside causing his father to fall over him and land hard on his face and hands. Scott did a few more rope-a-dopes which only served to get Big Scott dirty and angry leading to him lashing out at Scott one final time but only to be stopped by the MPs who were sitting close by ready to go at him.

The MPs were doing exactly as expected, with Sean telling them that Scott would let his former father cause a disturbance and hurt himself rather than retaliating and causing him any sort of damage that Big Scott could use to get out of prosecution. The duo walked over, handcuffed Big Scott, then informed him that he had an appointment with a few people that were interested in seeing him. Big Scott tried to fight them but only succeeded in getting the MPs to grin and tell him that he was going no matter what and if he continued to fight they wouldn't hesitate to put on a pepper spray and taser demonstration for the soldiers.

Sgt. York watched a the MPs dragged away the desperate Big Scott. Scott just shrugged and acted like it was nothing, while the platoon headed inside to get some rest. Sgt. York did ask the trio what was really going to happen, getting a quick "playtime for a couple of old soldiers."

There was nothing more to be said, the look gave Sgt. York a shudder as he suspected the men were not ones to be trifled with. There were quite a few retired soldiers nearby, several with teal and gold tabs and/or red and black scrolls on their uniform sleeves. If they were either of those Big Scott was in for a serious night of hell.

Over at their hotel, Sean eagerly awaited a phone call. When it came, he kissed his wife, son, daughter, and grandchildren goodbye as he walked off. None of them said anything about him wearing borrowed fatigues, but it was a surprise that he told them he'd be back in three hours, four at the most.

The MPs alerted the local sheriff's department who happily awaited the completion of whatever Sean had planned. Sean walked inside with Austin and introduced themselves to Big Scott who scoffed at them. The MPs just laughed at his arrogance, it was going to be great fun now that they knew their prey was gong to be even quicker to catch and gave them more drive to do so.

Sean and Austin were joined by several other retired soldiers, all of whom were either Special Forces or Rangers. It was rare that they got a chance to enjoy themselves as they used to, but for Sean it was a request they couldn't deny especially as it was against someone who deserved to be scared to within an inch of his life. Big Scott was about to be shown just what real men thought of child abusers especially ones who had no business calling themselves parents.

Big Scott was released and told to run as far and as fast as he could away from the station. They were going to enjoy the hunt and would try every means short of lethal to get him. Unbeknownst to Big Scott, they had already prepared a load of traps and surprises making it a stacked chase from the start ensuring that it was impossible to escape from them.

After 20 minutes the hunt was on. The soldiers waited an hour after that then set out in different directions while herding Big Scott to the rallying point where the local deputies were waiting. Big Scott tried to keep off the roads but every time he went off he nearly got entangled in a hidden snare or fell in a hole in the ground causing him to have to stick to the open roads giving all around a clear view of him running away from the approaching soldiers.

The chase lasted barely an hour and a half. Big Scott was elusive but he left a lot of markers which made it easy for them to track and find him. He went in circles allowing each group to chase him for a bit bringing joy to them as he gave them a lot of exercise and brought wide smiles to their faces as memories of past training exercises came to them.

He had actually made it tougher than expected but it was worth it for all. As he finally reached the cruiser and deputies the MPs gave him his official trespass order then handed him off to the deputies who arrested him for violating the order of protection against Scott Nelson. The deputies failed to notice several men lurking in the shadows and if they had noticed them they didn't make mention of them nor that Big Scott was searching and cringing at something off in the shadows.

Big Scott tried to claim Nelson wasn't Scott's last name but Sean authoritatively told him "you lost all rights to him as a son when you were in jail four and a half years ago. You lost all rights to call him your son when you struck him. His last name is Nelson, as in Greta and Quentin Nelson his adoptive mother and father. That man is more of a father than you ever were and Scott is more of a man than you ever will be. Don't ever contact him again because if you do I will not only ensure that you have some fun with soldiers, I'll ensure they use live rounds. The Kennedy could use a live fire target, as could the chemical corps soldiers."

The deputies pretended to not hear that last part and drove off with the shuddering and crying Big Scott. Big Scott broke down as he had nothing left to lose as his dignity had been torn from him by those elderly men. This was strike three. He was going to prison for years and would never clear his record. His son was no longer his son. He had nothing left.

Scott was what Big Scott had always feared- bigger, stronger, tougher, smarter than him as well as better looking and with a family who loved him. He was no fool, his son was going to be great at whatever he did and without Big Scott intimidating him Scott was going to have it all. What he didn't realize was it was true, as Scott had a loving girlfriend, a scholarship to one of the best colleges in the country, and a family who cared about him enough to come across the country to see him graduate basic training.

The next day was controlled chaos as the platoon dressed and formed ranks, each dressed to the nines in their new Class-A uniform. The four were some of the few who had unit patches, but they did not attach them to their uniforms yet as they wanted to wait until all training was complete. Sgt. York gave his approval, adding "you have earned those patches as you have trained with your fellow soldiers. You will make the 26th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade proud when you leave here in 10 weeks."

Scott and Will groaned as the others laughed at them. Will complained "I get to go from the frying pan to the fire- literally! And even then I have 13 weeks before I am fully qualified for service!" Scott added "I still have another 20 weeks here!"

Their platoon gave them a big laugh as they finished the final preparations. George was all grins as he saw that they were on camera with Will joking "just your luck that your mom and newborn baby sister gets to see you from the comfort of the air conditioned hospital." The platoon laughed as George grinned with pride at his mother;'s good fortune.

The platoon joined the fellow platoons of their company who then joined the rest of the battalion on the parade ground where they were put forth before the fort's Major General and other command staff and endured an hour-long series of speeches and congratulatory back slaps from officers who never met them and who didn't really care all too much about the whole situation as they had done this dog and pony show for the families dozens of times before. It was what they expected from the brass and wasn't anything they hadn't been prepared for ahead of time..

After finally being released for the weekend the four went right for their families. Sgt. York had high praise for the four and was given kisses from the ladies while TJ, Jack, and Diego snickered. Will tried his hardest to crack a joke but Claire's glare shut him up getting a big laugh from Sgt. York.

The platoon looked on in awe as Sean and Austin walked over and congratulated the foursome. Sgt. York grinned with pride as his hunch was right as both wore their green berets with Sean catching the eyes of the soldiers once Sgt. York pointed out "a good conduct medal? I'll be darned, a mustang!"

Sean grinned, while Austin added "he gave up a good job with the teams to go to medical school. He was always one to get himself involved in helping people." That last part set Sgt. York off to which Sean added "come on, you had fun last night! It's not my fault he turned out to be great prey!"

The foursome just shook their heads as Scott added "they used to play with the soldiers who got out of line with the local ladies at Ft. Devens." The platoon laughed at that with Sean smirking. Sgt. York could tell a good time was had and a man who deserved it was given the scare of his life by them.

The platoon noticed Eric's fathers and didn't say a word. Sgt. York shook the hands of both with the platoon asking about their job. Mike and Alex flashed their badges followed by Quentin with Jake just grinning at being the lowly civilian among them. It was just fine for him, he had enough to do already.

The ladies were on the guys which broke up their little meeting as the families started to make their way towards the rest of the platoon. Whispers about Alex and his husband were heard but the man had a badge and the respect of some tough soldiers making whatever their beliefs about gays irrelevant. Alex was a soldier and a cop, the fact that he happened to be married to a guy only served to break the stereotype and serve to educate many of them in what people are really like.

The family headed to the hospital to see the newborn Eve and tired Chloe. Chloe was proud to see them with George getting a big kiss. Eve was given to him to hold while the others took pictures, with all of their phones going off at once as their family and friends back east asked what was going on and who the little newborn was. It seemed that none of them had bothered to tell the rest of the family that Eve had decided to see her brother's graduation ceremony and came out the day before.

Jenna's mother was the first to make it through and had a few words with Chloe about keeping that from her but understood full well that she was exhausted. She was glad that she was being taken care of but hoped that she didn't overdo things on the way back. John Finn got through and told them that he'd delay their flight for a couple of days and would have everything ready for them when they arrived, especially the yet to be put together crib and other necessities.

Will had the least amount of time before his next part of training so spent more time with Claire. The two hugged and kissed with Claire giving him a present to keep him safe. The medallion she had bought was blessed by a priest, something that the family wouldn't normally do but she didn't want him taking chances and wanted him to have the most protection possible heaven forbid his air supply, protective suit, or mask fail.

Will stayed the night with his family, with his younger brother keeping close to him as he slept in bed. The family saw him off to his flight to San Angelo, TX for his next part of training at Goodfellow Air Force Base while Claire held firm that he had better come back safe and sound. The two kissed at the airport as Will left her in tears and hoping he returned safely at Christmas.

Eric and George had it easier as they only had nine weeks of training to become horizontal construction engineers, or essentially military construction workers. Scott had 20 weeks to become a geospatial engineer, a job that was harder than it sounded. Scott's job was hand in hand with his future job as an architect while the duo's job was more of a way to serve in an important job in the military while having a fallback career for when their jobs as network administrator and a physical therapist fell on hard times.

Eric and George kept their future plans to themselves as they didn't have the focus of the others. They were both going into in-demand jobs that would require a lot of training and focus but were also close to what they wanted in life. Eric wanted to be seen as someone with a brain even if it wasn't like the smarts that others had, George wanted to help others but also improve them as people. These hidden desires were in stark contrast to their friends' chosen fields which were clearly evident early on.

Jaimie Finn was a born psychiatrist. Rick Samuels could argue with the best of people. Will fell in love with firefighting as a kid. Scott was always artistic. Miles Finn was a natural at finding connections nobody else could find. Michael Finn had already shown his skills as a successful stockbroker. Jessica and Jenna were the group's shoulders to cry on and best with kids. Christina Connors was a whiz at running things for others. Courtney Bollinger understood how to make you feel better. Stacy was the best with anything scientific. Claire had been helping animals since she could walk.

The duo though had not found their calling until that last year of school. It took helping out Gabby Bollinger with some of her networking work to give Eric the job he was best suited for. It took helping Diego and later Logan Finn work out to give George the idea for his career. Both were bright and had a chance to show their stuff among people whose job was tied to licenses rather than who they knew.

Jaimie was the one who figured out their careers simply by the fact that they were going to college near their hometown rather than elsewhere and had seen the brochures for their close fields of study that the duo had accidentally left out in the open. There were more jobs in their field around Boston so it was a wise choice to stay put. She was glad that they were doing what they loved, even if she felt a bit miffed that they didn't talk with her about it before.

Eve and Chloe were release two days later, with Mike having a carrier ready to handle their unexpected bundle of joy. They were flying east in a private jet thanks to John's insistence. Once back east, the group showed pictures of the ceremony to the family with all enjoying seeing the guys dressed up in their new uniforms.

Mike insisted that they enjoy the pictures as Eve was not in the mood to be fawned over, or rather he didn't want to endure the constant attention that being a new dad brought despite her being a couple of weeks early. He was still adjusting to now being the father of three instead of the father of two. It also didn't help that he realized he was only a short time away from being a grandfather as George was old enough to have kids of his own even if neither he nor Jenna wanted kids yet.

The foursome were handsome and their pictures made the girls swoon. The only girls not getting the vapors over them were the youngest girls, none of whom were of the age of seeing boys as more than icky people to be avoided. Daisy Peterson, Ella Finn, Faith Jones, Willow Reagan, Trinity Eliza, and Cat Finn seemed to not care one bit about the four as they just wanted to play with the sleeping Eve.

The mothers snickered as they joked that the girls were going to love having to help when Courtney, the Carters, and the Smiths had their babies. That was in addition to already helping care for the young Antonio Peterson. The girls glared at them but it was the truth. Cat added "I may be an auntie this winter but it's a mommy and daddy's job to do the dirty work not an auntie's."

That caused the group of teens who happened to have been forced to change her diapers as punishment to blurt out "no it's not!" Cat grumbled at that backfiring with the adults snickering at her rare foul-up. It was sweet and she understood that it wasn't all fun and games with babies now.

TJ looked at his parents and asked if they were going to make him change the diapers because George wasn't there. The two smiled, adding a warm "not unless you earned it as punishment. Your brother is going to have to help out too, but be glad she isn't eating normal food yet. He gets the stinky diaper changes when he gets home in three months."

The family broke up with the Daniels family being driven home. The house was decked out for Eve's arrival with John grinning at it being a little girl's dream. The nursery was fully stocked with Mike being told "that'll last you about a week" while Mike added "nah, maybe a few days if she is anything like her brother."

The family gave them their privacy for a few days while the rest of the family started to get into school mode as the kids prepared for the new school year with TJ, DJ Lopez, and Liam Byrne-Toro attending for the first time. TJ was thankful for the distraction as he was glad to have something else to think about other than his newborn sister.

The middle schoolers and new elementary schoolers weren't too far behind in their excitement. They had new teachers and new principals and high expectations for the new year. They knew it was going to be one to remember, especially as their classmates got to know them as more than just being part of the Finn Family.



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