Brigadier General TC McQueen US Marine Corps (Retired) strode through
the pine trees. He was furious, someone was in deep serious, and he
knew who it would be. He didn't need this on top of the trip from
Loxley. Despite no longer being on active duty since the end of the
Chig war, he spent a great deal of his time in an advisory capacity
with the US military which required the patience of a saint, which he
wasn't even at the best of times.
The journey home had been it's usual tiresome trip, after all
Alabama to the Scottish highlands wasn't exactly a short hop, and on
arriving home, instead of the warm welcome he'd expected he'd been met
with the news that they were AWOL again. He knew of course where
they'd be. It was always the same place, and they were drawn to it
like moths to a flame. As he got closer he could hear voices, he
smiled at the sound, it wasn't until he came home after a few days
awaythat he noticed the soft lilting accent that they had, just like
" Oh be careful Hamish! Please!" came the sound of a young girl.
"Hurry up! Mum'll go mad if we don't get back before dad,and he'll
ground us forever for being late again!" came another voice, a
boy this time.
Emerging from the path and onto the banks of the loch, he could see
two children aged about 8 and 6, standing at the waters edge,
watching a third, another boy, blonde and bigger than his twin who
stood watching him, swimming strongly towards something floating in
" Hurry up Hamish!" the boy called "Get it and lets go home!"
The little girl jumped up and down, her brown curly hair bobbing as
she did so. McQueen smiled, she was so much like her mother, never
able to sit still, full of excitable energy.
" Hamish is gonna be in trouble! Hamish is gonna be in trouble!" she
" Shut up Izzy!" The boy standing next to her told her hitting her on
the arm, " He's saving it, and mum won't be angry when she knows he's
" Ouch!" she squealed, " I'm telling daddy on you Cameron!"
" Oh stop it Izzy I hardly touched you, you snitch!" he told her,
hitting her again.
" I hate you Cameron!" she cried before turning to run, her eyes
widening as she saw McQueen standing behind them, " Daddy!" she
He wasn't sure if it was from fright or happiness, but she ran to
him, hiding behind him from her brother.
" Cameron McQueen, you had better be able to explain why your brother
is in the loch fully clothed, again, when you should all have been
home an hour ago and not here worrying your mother!"
" See I told you!" Izzy said, clinging to her fathers' leg and poking
her tongue out at her brother.
" I'm waiting Cameron." he looked past the youngster in front of him
to the boy in the water, " Hamish! Get out of there right now!" His
hand reached down unconsciously to stroke his daughters' hair.
The boy was half fish he was convinced, he'd learnt to swim at an
early age, and would swim in the loch whenever he got the chance, no
matter how many times he'd been told not to. Though McQueen was
content in the knowledge that his son was a strong, excellent
swimmer, he still didn't like it, and he'd `discussed' it with Hamish
more times than he could remember. Still, somehow the boy always
ended up in the water again.
Hamish looked up and waved to him, but carried on swimming.
" It's a puppy dad! Someone threw it in the loch. We saw them do it
from the old bridge down by the waterfall." Cameron told him.
" And what were you doing down there? How many times have you been
told to stay away from there?" Despite his desire to fold the two
children in his arms and hug them as he missed them terribly whenever
he was away, he was stony faced and stern as he spoke to them.
The boy reddened, " I'm sorry," he mumbled.
" I don't want you to be sorry Cameron, I want you to do as you're
told. I explained why you guys shouldn't go down there. The bridge is
collapsing. What would happen if it collapsed with you on it, or
" I'm sorry dad."
" But daddy! We saw them throw the puppy into the water! Hamish is
saving it! Can we keep it daddy? Can we? Please?" The little girl was
McQueen looked at his small daughter and suppressed a smile, "Right
now Isobel, I want your brother out of the water, " he turned and saw
his eldest son, by a few minutes, emerging dripping but smiling from
the loch, a tiny puppy clutched to his chest.
" Look dad! Look what some bloody..." he caught himself quickly.
" Some bloody what Hamish? What is it with you? Why do you always do
exactly what we ask you not to?
He looked at all three of his children, his anger dissolving at their
worried faces; they knew they were in trouble. He knew he'd never lay
a finger on them and they knew it too. He sighed.
" Give me the dog Hamish, and now home before your mother sends out a
Handing him the dog as the other two fled Hamish said, " I'm sorry
dad, but I couldn't let it drown, how could I do that? I should have
gone and got mum I know, but she can't swim, not with the baby
He smiled at his son, so much bigger than his twin, far more powerful
and muscular looking even at 8 years old, his invitro genes clearly
showing through. With the dripping puppy in one hand he used the
other to ruffle the blonde curls on the boys head, " Go on, run.Your
mom's pitching a fit. You really shouldn't do this to her Hamish."
" Sorry dad," he said with a grin and took off after his brother and
McQueen shook his head smiling and examined the tiny scrap in his
hand. It couldn't have been more than 4 or 5 weeks old, with brown
wiry hair and large brown eyes staring at him devotedly as it
shivered uncontrollably. Looking at it he realised that he'd just met
the latest addition to his family whether he liked it or not. He'd
never really been an animal person, but it looked like he was about
to become one. With a small chuckle he followed the children home.
When he arrived, a few minutes after the children, he found them
sitting at the kitchen table eating their supper, Hamish naked but
wrapped in a huge fluffy towel, his wet clothes in a heap in the
doorway. His wife Dylan, 8 months pregnant with their fourth child,
this pregnancy as unexpected as the previous two, bustled around the
table seeing to the children. He smiled at the sight of his family
gathered together. Not bad for someone who was told he'd never have
children, he thought.
" Oh here you are, and still with the poor puppy," she said, seeing
him come in. She fetched a towel, and leaning in close whispered,
" I was half afraid for a moment you might call the animal shelter"
at his startled glare she laughed and handed him the towel," Oh I
knew you wouldn't, it'd break the children's hearts, but you were so
angry when you left to find the children. Here, rub him dry."
Taking the towel, he sat on the empty chair next to his daughter, and
setting the puppy on his lap began to dry it. " I think it's a
girl, " he announced, gently rubbing the wriggling dog.
" Are you sure daddy?" the little girl asked.
" Yes Izzy, I'm sure," he smiled, " she doesn't have the necessary
" No penis?" she asked, her eyes wide.
The two boys snickered, drawing a frown from him, and he shook his
head as even Dylan laughed. " No Izzy, no penis."
" Can we keep it dad?"
" I don't know Cameron, ask your mother." he grinned noticing the
tattered, black clad soft doll that sat in his son's lap, a sure sign
that he was worried. He'd had that doll since he was 18 months old;
it had been well and truly loved over the years, the patches had been
re-sewn more times than he could count. In fact one of them, he
smiled at the fact that it was Cameron's favourite, the Angry Angels
patch, looked like it needed sewing again.
" Mum?" the boy asked, his blue eyes pleading, one hand reaching to
clutch at the doll.
She looked at the four sets of blue eyes staring at her, Ty's
twinkling with suppressed laughter, the children eager to hear her
say yes." You have to walk it every day after school, and clean up
after it, even when it poos!"
The boys both grimaced, but nodded.
" That's what you told daddy!" Izzy announced.
" I beg your pardon Izzy?" her mother asked, " When did I tell daddy
The girl rolled her eyes, and looking pleased with herself said,
You told him that when he said he wanted you to have another baby!
You told him that he has to clean the baby's poo! I heard you."
Dylan looked puzzled, " When was this?"
" Oh before you got the baby, " she said casually, waving her fork in
the air. "Daddy said you had to come to bed because he wanted to make
babies, and you told him he had to clean their poo."
Dylan looked at Ty, who hung his head to hide the huge grin
Izzy's statement had caused, " Izzy, where were you when you heard
" I was in your bathroom, doing a wee. Hamish wouldn't let me in ours
so I used yours," she told her mother matter of factly. "But don't
worry mummy, I didn't make a noise when I left." Dylan's eyebrows
rose. " I didn't want to disturb daddy's prayers."
McQueen looked up, " My prayers?"
" Yes, you were saying `Oh, Dear God'."
Dylan met his eyes and they both tried not to laugh out loud as they
realised what his `prayers` really were.
"Well I expect mommy meant I'd have to change the baby's diapers, but
then I did that for you guys too, " he told his daughter, looking
over at Dylan, who mouthed, " good save!" at him. " And those
brothers of yours, oh they were stinky boys!"
Both boys wrinkled their noses at him. " Yuk!" they said almost in
" And me daddy, was I a stinky too?" Izzy asked laughing.
" Oh no Izzy, you were never a stinky," he told her kissing her
hair. " Now, lets find this dog a bed shall we? The poor thing is
frozen, somewhere warm, next to the Aga maybe?"
Dylan nodded, " I'm sure I can find a box and a blanket."
" Can it sleep in our room?" Hamish asked.
" No Hamish it stays in the kitchen until it's house trained. She'll
need a name though, any ideas?" Dylan asked
" Cooper!" Izzy squealed.
McQueen sighed; it had been a two-way love affair since the day she
was born. Major Cooper Hawkes, the only other IV on the USS Saratoga,
and one of his `kids' in the 58th, The Wildcards, had held her in his
hands and fallen for her the moment she'd opened her blue eyes at
him. Cooper was Izzy's favourite person, other than her father,
though he sometimes wondered if she was ever forced to choose, just
who she would. He had a sneaking suspicion it would be Hawkes.
" It's a girl Izzy, remember?" he said
" Boris!" Hamish said.
" A girl Hamish," he sighed. Were they doing it deliberately, he
wondered. He wouldn't put it past them. A sudden wetness on his
lap had him lifting the puppy. " It's peeing on me!"
The children collapsed into fits of giggles, and Dylan hid her face
in her hands.
" Don't laugh!" he frowned, " The damn thing's still peeing!"
" We should call her Pee Wee." Cameron giggled, " Pee Wee McQueen!"
" Yes! Pee Wee!" Izzy cried, " Pee Wee'd on daddy!"
" Pee Wee!" Hamish giggled.
Dylan looked at him. " It seems the new pet has a name," she took the
tiny puppy. " Hello Pee Wee, welcome to the family." She put the dog
on the floor and they all watched as it ran around sniffing
everything. "It's a border terrier, how lovely! How could anyone do
such a dreadful thing to such a tiny puppy?"
" I suppose you'll have to tell everyone why she's called that now
won't you?" he sighed as he slipped off his shoes. " Well if you'll
excuse me. I need to go change my pants. " He strode off trying to
maintain an air of dignity, the tiny puppy following unseen at his
heels, to the delight of the children.
" Look Pee Wee loves daddy!" Izzy whispered.
Dylan and the children burst into fits of laughter as they heard him
yell, " Pee Wee is pee weeing all over my feet!"