I appeared in the boondocks of Mexico to see my sons sailing backwards through the air, probably about to crack their skulls open on the ground.
Jack wasn't too far away, his arms flung out behind him in a post-throw stance. It wasn't hard to figure out what had sent Alexander and Erik airborne.
Rushing towards Jack, where my sons had been before Jack interposed himself, was a very upset lindwurm.
I caught my sons and held them, one on each hip, clutching them to me and telling them it would be alright while Jack manhandled the lindwurm. Raising mine and Gunnar's sons certainly hasn't softened him any; he's every bit as strong as I remember him being. He didn't have any trouble with the scaly fucker, and I got the chance to hug my sons while I waited for him to finish.
It didn't take long. In less than a minute, Jack knelt in front of the thing, making sure it was dead, then stood up and made a face when he saw me.
I put the boys down and marched up to Jack, more than a little pissed.
"What the fuck, Jack?! What happened here?"
He explained that he and the boys were going to dig a well and that the lindwurm came up through the ground and was about to attack my sons and Jack just threw them back to get them away from the serpent. But a cracked skull will kill a nine-year-old as surely as the weight of a 50-foot lamprey.
"Where did you come from?" Jack asked when he was done with his explanation. "You look like shit."
I did look like shit. Half of my clothing was falling off of me, my skin was black with the dust of Duat, I hadn't slept in like, 39 days, and my lips were hella-chapped.
"Yeah," I smiled a little. "I feel like shit."
I heard one of my sons giggle a little, and Jack and I turned back to the boys at pretty much the same time.
"Boys, earmuffs!" We shouted simultaneously.