"Hercules, what is your brother doing?"
"What?" Herc twists around on his lounge chair because he knows that tone of voice. And that tone of voice, especially when used in conjunction with his idiot little brother, is never a good thing. "Ah, Jesus wept, what the hell?"
"That's what I asked," Stacker points out in that same tone. It's mild and deceptive, and it makes Herc want to cringe like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Even though it's not his fault.
Scott is perched on the end of the diving board, and he's posing. All lanky limbs and wild ginger hair and a smile that tends to show far more teeth than any human being should have. But it's not the diving board or the posing that's drawn Stacker's attention.
"I’m fairly certain your son is involved somehow," Stacker adds, tipping his head just a fraction towards the other side of the pool. "And his boyfriends."
And sure enough, Chuck is sitting on the edge of the pool, doubled over with laughter, as Raleigh and Yancy tread water close by, shouting encouragement to the idiot who is currently involved in what seems to be a strip tease.
"I swear to God, Stacks, I had nothing to do with this," Herc says, unable to look away as Scott's shirt goes flying.
"Mmm," is all Stacker says.
A pair of thongs whips by them, tumbling end over end before plopping down on the grass not far away. Herc sighs. It's going to be one of those days. And the drinking hasn't even started. Not really.
"You know," Herc says, and then stops. Stacker hasn't moved by so much as an inch and his eyes are hidden behind dark sunglasses, but Herc knows full well that Stacker is giving him a look. And that it's a look that Herc himself has turned on Scott and Chuck and the two idiots he lives with more than once.
It's that 'do not fuck with me, because while I didn't bring you into this world, I will damn sure take you out of it' look.
Just then, from the corner of his eye, Herc sees a pair of cargo shorts sail past. Said pair of shorts looks suspiciously like the ones Scott is wearing. Herc looks. Correction: the cargo shorts Scott was wearing.
Thank God he actually opted to not go commando today.
Though Herc knows that if Scott had known that Stacker was going to be there...
"Pretty sure Mum dropped him on his head a time or two as a baby. And I know for a fact that Rusty did," Herc says by way of explanation. "You know if you'd just –"
"Hercules. Do not."
"I'm just saying, is all, Stacks."
Sharp wolf whistles from the pool draw Herc's attention. He doesn't even bother to turn around. "Scotty, I swear to fucking Christ, if you take those off, you will regret it. And the trio of children best knock it off before they regret it."
"They're whispering," Stacker says after a few minutes.
"Of course they are," Herc mutters. He rubs a hand over his face and takes a long pull from the beer in his other hand. "Is Scott involved?"
"Do you even need to ask?"
"No, not really."
"They're looking over here."
Herc tips his head back and closes his eyes. "Probably trying to figure out if it's worth the risk."
"One would think that Yancy –"
"Please don't finish that sentence," Herc says quickly, lifting his head to look at Stacker. "I swear, that boy only acts like the mature adult. He's just smarter than the rest of them and doesn't get caught."
"You might have a point."
Herc risks another look and is relieved to see that Scott seems to still be decently covered. However, the fact that all four of them are now in the pool and clustered together at one end is more than a little nerve wracking.
And they're still watching Herc and Stacker.
When they notice that they're being watched in return, Raleigh flips them a jaunty little wave. Smart ass Yank.
"He usually keeps his clothes on in mixed company."
"Is that so?" Stacker arches an eyebrow and alright, yes, there have been a few times that Scott might have stripped down completely starkers in public, but there's usually a lot more grog involved.
Herc can't help wondering just how much the four in the pool had consumed on their way back from the market earlier. Probably more than he wants to think about considering Scott had been driving.
"You know what he wants."
There's no answer, but then Herc doesn't really expect one. He knows his brother and he knows Stacker. And he's told Scott more than once that this just isn't a battle he's going to win.
Stacker is far more discreet. And picky.
God, he's a fucking picky bastard.
Something that Scott is assuredly not.
"If you'd just give it to him –"
"Oh, for... Why the fuck not?"
"Because unlike your brother," Stacker says, enunciating his words slowly and carefully, "I am neither cheap nor easy."
Well, Herc can't argue with that.
But then he catches the way one corner of Stacker's mouth twitches. It's barely perceptible, but they've known each other a long time. Narrowing his eyes, Herc turns his head to follow Stacker's line of vision.
And sees Scott fully facing them now, still surrounded by the trio of idiots. He's listening to Chuck and Raleigh, but he's watching Stacker. He's calm, quiet, and – most importantly – normal.
And Scott, like that, has drawn a reaction from Stacker. Even if the little bastard isn't aware of it.
It's almost enough to make Herc believe in miracles.
Almost, but not quite. Because he knows his brother.
And he knows Stacker.
And Hell, last he checked, hadn't frozen over yet.