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Chip off the Old Block

Title: Chip off the Old Block
Rating: G
Summary: Uncle Zev accuses Nathaniel of becoming a helicopter parent.
Note: Part One in my multipart mission of Let’s Keep Issa Sane.

And by golly, this makes me want to edit their main story just so the number of kids they have is different.


“How many times now?”

Zevran grinned and leaned back against the wall. “Only seven or eight times now, ragazzo mio. You’re improving.” He didn’t take his eyes off his student when he heard the barely audible footsteps to his left.

“What are you two doing?” Nathaniel asked, watching as his son spun around in the middle of the garden.

Tristan’s boots crunched over the gravel and he beamed at his father, his smile showing where he had recently lost one of his front teeth. “Uncle Zev is teaching me to fight with daggers, Papa! See?” He held out both of his wooden knives to illustrate his point. “And I’m getting better; I only got killed seven or eight times! This morning it was fifteen!”

Nathaniel arched his eyebrow and gave Zevran a sidelong glance. “Tristan is five. Shouldn’t he be taught something else?”

Zevran tilted his head. “I considered instructing your son on how to properly use a garrote against his mark, but I figured that his mother would not approve. Knife work seemed a safer route.”

He sat down on the nearby stone bench. “And strangulation is age appropriate?”

The assassin shrugged. “Amongst the Crows? Yes. Once he turns six, we’ll begin touching on basic poisons.” He turned his attention back to his pupil. “Now, again. Show me stances one through five.”

“He has good form,” Nathaniel commented, pride brightly coloring his voice.

Si. Considering his parents, I was not surprised to find out that he already knew which end of the dagger to hold and which end to stick into people.” Zevran smiled, unfolding his arms and going over to sit on the far end of the bench. “I see a lot of Moira in him when he fights.”

Nathaniel nodded. “He does like to watch when she trains.” Secretly, he was pleased that Tristan was also taking an interest in archery; Nathaniel had been busy fashioning a child-sized bow for his son and he’d taken care to replicate the smooth lines of his own weapon. Tristan’s name day was in two weeks and all he needed to do was fletch the miniature quiver full of blunted arrows and wax the bowstring before the gift would be ready. He’d even commissioned Wade to create leather arm and finger guards so that he could start to seriously teach Tristan how to shoot. “Pick up your feet,” he suggested to Tristan. If he kept the stance he was currently in, he was bound to get himself killed at least thrice over.

“His feet are fine,” Zevran countered. “It’s his arms that I’m worried about. I’ve stabbed you through the ribs again. Guard your right side, piccolino.”

“He needs to dip his shoulder for that move, which means that he needs to pick his feet up.”

“When he starts to learn how to use a bow, I’ll hand him over to you. For today, he’s my student and I say he needs to guard his right side.” He muttered something under his breath that Nathaniel couldn’t translate all of, but he did catch the phrase overprotective, smothering parent somewhere in there.

Both of them turned their heads when they heard the whisper of silk close by. “Teaching our Tristan how to be an assassin already?” Moira asked, leaning over and draping her arms around Nathaniel’s shoulders from behind. “I thought you would have at least waited until he was ten to start.”

Zevran’s smile was all flashing white teeth. “Ten is when he will start learning stealth. I don’t care how much noise he makes for now as long as he learns the moves correctly.” He gave Nathaniel a pointed stare.

“Hmm. He needs to keep his right side guarded,” she commented, resting her chin on Nathaniel’s shoulder. Zevran sat up straighter and grinned triumphantly. “And he also needs to move his feet more. I think he’s gotten himself killed about three different ways with that move.”

Nathaniel smirked and reached up to run his hands over his wife’s arms. “How diplomatic of you,” he murmured, kissing her knuckles.

She laughed and rounded the bench so she could sit between the two men. Tristan finished his forms and then ran towards his parents, his wooden blades in his hands. Moira laughed again and easily disarmed him before gathering her son up in her lap and messily kissing his cheek. “What did I tell you about headlong attacks?” she asked playfully, snuggling Tristan closer.

“Only attack from the back or the side,” Tristan intoned, his voice solemn. “But did you see me, Mama? Did you see?”

“I did, my darling. You’re doing very well.”

“Do you think that I’ll ever be good like the Black Fox?” he asked, looking up at her.

Moira tapped at the tip of his nose with a finger. “And who has been reading you Black Fox stories recently?” She had long since memorized her favorite girlhood stories and had occasionally told several to Tristan, but she didn’t think that he would remember any of them just yet.

“Papa has.”

“Bedtime stories,” Nathaniel explained. “It seems that the fascination with the Black Fox runs in the family.”

Moira leaned against Nathaniel’s side. “Did I ever tell you what a grand Karolis your father made when we were children?” she asked, her eyes twinkling with mischief.

Tristan’s eyes went huge. “Really?

“Yes, and your Uncle Fergus always wound up getting hit with a rock. Your mother has good aim.”

He scrunched up his face in confusion. “But why would Lady Servana hit anyone with a rock?”

Zevran quirked an eyebrow. “Ah, I see that you’ve been remiss in your education, piccolino.” Reaching over, he plucked Tristan from Moira’s lap and stood, slinging the boy up to sit on his shoulders. “Has no one told you the tales of la lupa scuro?

“I have a feeling that I’m going to be proving my mother right,” Moira mused, watching as they walked away, Tristan’s dark head bent close to Zevran’s golden one, her son listening raptly as the Antivan began to relate a story.

“In what way?”

“She always hoped that I would have a child that acted exactly as I did when I was young. We’re going to have a little hellion on our hands.” She said it fondly, but at the same time the mother in her was already anticipating all the bumps and scrapes and broken bones that Tristan was bound to have between the ages of six and sixteen, especially if he turned out anything like her and Fergus.

Nathaniel wrapped an arm around her waist and brushed his lips over hers. “Oh I don’t know. I mean, we learned the same things and I think the two of us turned out all right.” His own childhood had been spent trying to be as quiet as possible; hearing his child’s laughter ring out through the Keep was a welcome change. It made his home finally feel like a home, and for one, he was infinitely grateful to have the chance to be a father. “Do you sometimes wish that Tristan had a younger brother or sister to play with?” he asked quietly, his breath stirring Moira’s hair. He would have liked to have a daughter as well as a son, to have had the chance to check for monsters under the bed or kill spiders and threaten potential suitors. Realistically, he knew that the odds were against them – the fact that two Wardens had even conceived one child was a rare feat indeed – but still. It would have been nice to have a little girl sweetly kiss him good night and call him Papa.

She twined her fingers with his. “I do. Do you?”

He stared down at their combined fingers. “Yes, I do.”

Moira leaned over and gave him a kiss that stole his breath. “We should do something about that, shouldn’t we?” she asked playfully, nipping at his top lip. Her skirts swished as she moved behind him, her fingertips trailing across his shoulders, beckoning for him to follow her back up to their room.

The leer he gave her was completely predatory and it sent a shiver of anticipation down her spine. “That sounds like an excellent idea,” he agreed, rising from the bench to join her.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
reconnoiterer
Dec. 17th, 2010 01:45 am (UTC)
Man, if they think Uncle Zev is a bad influence now... just wait a few years until Tristan hits his mid-to-late teens!

Nate gifting that handmade bow... and then the heirloom Howe bow later on makes my heart feel all fuzzy.
iceprincessd
Dec. 17th, 2010 01:54 am (UTC)
Oh man... Of course he'd be the one to do The Talk. "You Fereldans are all so squeamish when it comes to this topic. Sit at my side and let me teach you everything I know."

Daddy!Nate in general makes my heart go fuzzy.
liltxangel83
Dec. 17th, 2010 04:15 am (UTC)
*love* Ok seriously, I think Moira and Nate may be my favorite fictional couple ever lol
iceprincessd
Dec. 17th, 2010 04:26 am (UTC)
Awww, thanks! :D
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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