Ancient History, Chapter 9

By Niko

Maxwell grabbed his son by the hair and dragged him towards his office. There was cursing and shouting, short nails digging into the skin of his wrists in attempts to pry his grip open, but it was all insufficient to overcome his rage. Even his ears and neck had gone red.

Julian knocked over end tables and threw vases and ornaments at Maxwell's back as he was made to follow by the pain in his scalp. Maxwell stopped only once to try and blacken his eye while Julian, far too old for such childish behavior, clung tight to the rungs of the stairwell as they proceed down.

"Ashe!" the younger Maxwell screamed.

The elder glared cold fire and knelt to forcibly remove him. His hand on the post, Julian bit into his arm. Maxwell pulled harder on his hair; Julian sunk his teeth deeper into his skin.

Phineas stood at the top of the stairs in beige, corduroy overalls weighed down by overstuffed pockets. He cocked his head, bottom lip poised between baby teeth and the gaps where some had once been as his mind assessed and evaluated the game of tug-a-war. Ashe scooted him aside, a gentle pat to his behind to try and urge him to find some other spectacle to observe. Phineas didn't even appear to notice he'd been moved three feet to the left.

"Mr. Maxwell, that's enough."

Maxwell looked up as his friend walked down the few steps they'd managed before the standstill. His brows crossed in furry. "I can discipline my son however I choose. He's a cock loving fagot; I've got it all on tape."

"I fail to see how you can call this discipline when despite the location it looks more like a barroom brawl." Ashe knelt down beside them, hands on Julian's shoulders. He did not look amused. "Now take your hand off his head and Julian take your teeth out of your father's arm. No one is going anywhere."

Reluctantly they did as told. Blood welled in the divots made by Julian's teeth. Maxwell placed his hand over the bite as Julian tried to scramble his way back up the stairs despite the obvious obstacle that was Ashe. He raises his foot, made contact with Maxwell's chest, and nearly sent him rolling down the grand, imperial stairs. Maxwell's arm reached out and steadied himself on the rungs.

Ashe stood, dragging Julian to stand as well. "That behavior is unacceptable."

"He's going to kill me!"

"No one is killing anyone."

"You ungrateful son of a bitch!"

Ashe lead Julian back to the upstair's landing and Maxwell followed with heavy steps. Phineas made no effort to step aside and distance himself from the hostility. He turned and watched with calculated interest.

"What the fuck were you thinking!? You've thrown your whole fucking life away! You think anyone is going to respect you on that dock now that half the men down there have fucked you? You're a joke! They used to fear you, damnit! You've ruined your fucking reputation--our reputation you sad fucking bastard!"

Ashe moved between the father and son, trying to keep them at least a few feet apart. His presence seemed to embolden Julian.

"You're a murderer! I don't give a fuck about your reputation or your business! If you don't rot in jail I hope you rot in hell!"

"That is enough out of both of you." Ashe pushed them further apart. "Julian, go to your room; Mr. Maxwell, downstairs. We'll discuss this when your tempers have had time to cool."

Julian shook him off, walking backwards from the scene as though unwilling to turn his back on the father.

Maxwell glared. "Try not to fuck anyone on your way there."

"Try not to watch."

Maxwell stepped forward with his fists balled on instinct.

Ashe pacified him with a hand on his shoulder. "Not now. There's a already kettle on. The light will be better in the library. I don't believe you've had a chance to read today's news feeds. I'll have them on stream for you."

Gritting his teeth, Maxwell nodded and turned.

Phineas tugged on his adoptive father's pants, tiny fingers almost immediately more interested in the texture and thickness of the cloth than the intended purpose of his tug. Maxwell looked down at him. Phineas focused again and held up his screw driver.

"For me?" Maxwell knelt down to his child's level. "Tools don't fix everything."

Phineas blinked his large eyes.

Maxwell gave his head a gentle pat and pressed the tool back down to Phineas's chest. "You go play with the scraps daddy bought you. Make me proud."

He walked down the stairs with Ashe behind him tapping into his datapad.

Phineas watched through the banister rungs then walked off when they were no longer there to be seen. He ran on awkward, juvenile legs in the direction his adoptive brother had gone. He caught up to him, his footsteps making the younger Maxwell turn quickly in alarm. Julian scowled. Phineas approached. He raised his screw driver up.

"What do you want? Just leave me alone you stupid brat."

Phineas opened his hand, letting the screw driver sit on his palm in full view.

Julian turned his nose at it. "If you're such a fucking genius why don't you ever talk?"

Phineas blinked. "What, without yelling?"

Julian glared at him, opened the door to his room, stepped inside, and slammed it shut.

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