My Immortality

Alex and I were finally alone – again. But even with Rider trying to manage the kids before the night was out, everyone was in our bed. Alex didn’t seem so putout but I hated that we didn’t get time alone. And I knew it would grate on him eventually.

I was up before everyone else and Alex soon followed. Not because he was awake but because he didn’t want to be in the bed with that many people alone. Even though he was pack. He didn’t have the same draw, or maybe he did now and just was denying it. He’d learn he couldn’t do that forever, but he
was human in a therian world. He was supernatural. The demon had called him a name.

Alex said, “Eidolon.”

“Why don’t you go back to bed you are like walking dead right now.” I said without really a question. Alex looked tired.

“I’ll be fine.” He held up his cup of coffee, “I’ll get used to this.”

“You realize most adults are up at this hour.” I poked at Alex.

“Not any sane ones.” He griped and then too a slow sip of his coffee. “What’s for breakfast?”

“Pancakes for you, eggs, toast and bacon for everyone else. But you can have that too.”

“So I’m the only one who gets pancakes, why?”

“Because they need to learn that pancakes are everyday things.”

Alex nodded, “But they are for me?”

“If you want to eat that many carbs whom I to stop you?”

“The man cooking me food?” Alex asked.

“Do you not want pancakes?”

“Don’t make things special for me.” Alex said.

“But that’s my job, Z. I only want to make you happy.”

“Then come back to bed with me.” Alex said just as Jin, Ricky and Ryan came into the room.

I sighed. “I’m sorry babe, looks like they found me.”

Jin looked at Alex a bit confused, “Are we interrupting?”

Alex shook his head, “No. I was just going to go back to bed.”

“Alex…” I started.

“It’s okay pretty boy. You are right, I’m still dead. Someone kept me up too late last night.”

I smirked, “Would you like me to stop?”

He turned back to me with a look of horror playing on his face. “No, not ever. Not even when I’m old and grey.” And as the words came out of his mouth Alex frowned and waved a good bye. Stay pretty boy. He said in my head and left the room. I couldn’t follow after him, the command had been deafening. I stared after Alex afraid things were going to blow up in our faces over something a simple as getting ‘old’ together. Except if the theories were right, I wasn’t going to get old.

Ryan looked the direction Alex left and shoved me out of the kitchen, “Sit down, Nox. I’ll finish up breakfast.”

I moved slowly and sat down and hung my head against the palms of my hands. Ryan busied himself with cooking breakfast. Jin set down the planner, “We have quite a few meetings today.”

I shook my head, “No clear my schedule of everything but lunch. I have missing people to find and an organization to disrupt their plans.”

“Nox, we can’t keep putting these things off?”

“What things?” I growled.

“The appointments to your council are coming in. They want to meet with you. They need to make sure you understand them.”

“Well if they want me to understand them, they need to understand me. Today I’m traipsing through tunnels looking for the rest of their fucking missing people so if they want to join me they can.” My anger ran its course and I was fuming inside. The power outside was consistent with normal, and inside I only felt the heat of my own voice. I was balanced in a way I never thought possible. I was fucking scared.

Ryan interrupted, “Jin. Tell them it’s a walking meeting. And if they don’t want to help then they can reschedule. This is important. As saving the world always is.”

“It’s not saving the world, just a few people.” I said.

Ryan smiled and put his hand on my shoulder. “I know. But that is the world to some. I’m your’s now. Ant sleeps, I’m with you.”

“So you never get to see your best friend again?”

Ryan laughed, “We have several hours of shared awake time. I saw him off to bed, and he will see me off to bed. Plenty of time for the three of us to spar and kick your ass.”

“Much appreciated.” I said.

“You know there is a solution to the problem you and Alex are having.”

“Alex would never agree to becoming a vampire.” I said.

Ryan laughed, “Ant is the second, if not most powerful vampire I know. Cari holds seven bonds at one time because she sires none. Well except Johnny. But still, Ant has no childe. He has me, but my bond is still sorta tied to Cari. I think that it’s stretched between the three of us, most of it to us.”

“But if you die, she dies.” I said.

He nodded, “I think so. But Ant can take another Chevalier. Even if he brings Isabelle into his claim by either vampire or chevalier. Alex could live forever.”

“It’s not my decision to make Ryan.”

“But you could suggest it.” He said.

I shook my head. “I don’t think Alex would take the suggestion well from me. Like he’s not enough. And I will love him forever. I will break when he’s gone. I don’t know if I’d be able to go on.”

“You would Nox. You would because he’d tell you to. You know that right.”

I shook my head, “No. Alex would be gone long before he felt too old. We struggle through this because we both believe the other deserves better than what we offer the other.”

Ryan laughed, “That’s life.” He bent over the counter and removed my hands from my face and I looked up to see his green eyes. “Go talk to him about it. I promise you it will be alright.”

I stood up and only nodded, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to do this, but Ryan was right – we had to talk about it.

Ryan grinned, “Hey Nox. I spoke with Margo. She’s going to show me all your therapy sessions. Since you can’t come to the AU building any longer, she’s giving you over to someone else.”

I turned and looked at him, “You?”

He grinned. “I might look sixteen. But I have several doctorates in psychology from children to the arcane crap. I have been bonded to a psychopath for almost all of my life. I had to find alternative ways of helping myself and help her. Let me help you.”

I growled and nodded, “That’s why Ant brought you on?”

“Yes and no. Ant brought me on cause I asked him to. For the same reason Ant follows you. I follow you. Because you give my life a new meaning. One that I need to follow. Ant agreed mostly because he’s my best friend and can’t say no to me. And Cari understood. 800 years we’ve been together, she’s a good friend, but I was always her servant. With you, I won’t be. Let me help you and Hunter, and Alex and just let me help.” It sounded like Ryan was begging.

I nodded. “Alright. It might take a while to get you up to speed. With you being a body guard too and all.”

Ryan laughed, “that’s alright I got you covered in everything bro. Don’t worry. Go talk to him, Tell him. Ant has already agreed. He told me to tell you.”

Ant was on board. I didn’t think Alex would be.

A Gift

Alex almost dragged me into our room but then he saw the wolf trailing behind us and sighed. “Faelen doesn’t want to change back, but he’s not sleeping with us tonight.” Alex said.

The wolf’s ears fell down and he started to slink away. “Fae, no, come here, you can stay with the kids. You’re mine now, part of our family so you can stay. Let’s go find Rider. I’m sure he can find you a place to curl up with the rest of the brood.”

Alex pointed me towards the kitchen. “You go make the charms, I’m going to find the kids, we can have ice-cream and then it’s bed.”

I nodded. Faelen followed me.

Alex laughed, “Nox, Fae wants to change back if we are having ice-cream.”

I grinned, “Alright. Can you have one of the boys bring him some clothes to change into?”

“Yeah. I’ll Send Rider down first. I don’t think I want Quinn anywhere near naked boys.”

I laughed. Alex was already fretting over his daughter and boys. For the record I’m fretting over Cass already too.

I yelled after Alex,”She’s five!”

“So were you.” Alex called after me.

I was five when I met Alex. I wasn’t five when I fell in love, but Alex had been mine since he was five. I adored him even then. I wouldn’t want to get in the way of either of their lives, but we were going to have to teach a lot of rules quickly around here.

When Faelen and I got to the kitchen I sat down behind the bar in the middle of the room and pulled the wolf into my arms. He came willingly and licked my face before he settled. I buried my face in his fur and took a deep breath. He smelled like pack. I couldn’t really explain it other than it was comforting. Danny’s family had always accepted me. Rosies side had always taken me in, I’d helped Sage integrate into their pack because of it. But it hadn’t felt like this.

I let the pack flow through me and I felt Faelen, I felt Adrian and Darywnn and others I didn’t know by name. I felt my pack. I even felt Rider and Laker and Cass and Hunter. But Alex, Quinn and Matt were missing. We’d have to fix that.

Alex came back in to me holding a cleaner looking naked sixteen year old boy who was just as entranced by the experience as I was. I looked up at Alex as he handed Faelen some clothes, “Everyone else is sorta reveling in pack magic right now.”

“Alex.” I said.

He grinned at me, “I know pretty boy. I will and I know Matt will. I think Quinn might need a little more time.”

“I don’t want her to feel left out Alex.”

She won’t. “The kids are doing a bang up job of making her feel part of the family. I’ve never seen her smile quite so much as when she is sitting with your gaggle of boys and Cass and doing silly kid things.”

“Join please?” I said as I held up my hand. Alex took it.

“I don’t know pretty boy. I think we have enough connections.”

“Never too many.” I said.

And I encircled Alex, and I felt Matt too, he’d been holding Laker before and their mating bond pulled him in at my thought. I let out a happy sigh. “Only missing one.”

“Let her come to it on her own.” Alex said.

“I know. I won’t force her into anything.”

Faelen pulled away from me and quickly got dressed before anyone else joined us in the kitchen. “I got the ice-cream. You do the charms.” Alex pulled me up and against him to press a kiss to my lips softly before he turned to grab the bowls and spoons. Rider was already in the freezer getting the ice-cream.

“We really need to make this a thing, Nox.”

“What ice-cream before bed?”

The kids all agreed happily. “We’ll see.”

I sat down on one of the stools and set the small metal block on the counter. The spelled metal wasn’t really anything different except I felt the magic on it. I could do a flat disc and etch it in, but that felt wrong. I split the block five ways – Matt didn’t need one because he was a null, magic didn’t work on him but then he’d be left out, so I split it again this time seven ways. Seven fucking kids under my roof. When the fuck did that happen? I named each kid in my head and held a finger out for each. Cass. Hunter, that was two. Rider and Laker made four. Matt was five. Quinn was six and Faelen was seven. Holy fuck pretty boy. Alex added to my mental what the fuck.

Seven small orbs of metal now sat on the counter top and I squashed each one. It was actually fairly difficult to do it all at one time. Cass giggled, “Look, Daddy’s sweating.”

Matt laughed, “It’s hard work Cass. How many balls of light can you hold at one time?”

Instead of answering, she made a ball of light and tried to make another. But the second one fizzled and then the first one popped out of sight. “See a light ball is easy. Nox how many can you do?”

I shrugged. I made three light balls while I was still working the seven charms. They were flattened, now I was shaping them into the form I needed. Which was a lot harder than it sounded. I had to keep looking at my hand in order to get it all right.

“Now you are showing off pretty boy.” Alex said.

There were seven balls of light floating around in a circle while I worked on the charms. “Sorry. I wasn’t meaning to.”

Hunter interrupted, “They were making the symbol Daddy’s trying to get in the metal.”

“I guess I got distracted.”

“Show off.” Alex said as he pushed a bowl of chocolate ice-cream in front of me. I was just about finished when he lifted the spoon and feed me some ice cold chocolate goodness. It melted on my tongue and I let out a small moan. Which made the little kids “ewwwww.” And Alex laughed, “So easy.”

But the charms were done. “We only need some cords now.”

“What you can’t make them?” Alex asked.

“I can but I don’t know how good they’ll be. Organic things are harder than metals and the like but I can’t make a chain without taking forever.”

“We’ll go out and buy some tomorrow just make it for temporary usage.”

So I did that. It wasn’t perfect but each charm now had a leather cord to hang from each of their necks. “One for each of you.” I said as I handed them out to them. “It will help balance out magic, senses and emotions.”

“No more moody kids?” Alex asked.

I laughed. “Probably not. But it is worth a shot right?”

The kids didn’t really care, but Hunter sighed a moment of releif the second it touched his skin.

Matt smiled, “It’s kinda weird.”

“What do you mean?”

“I feel more of your magic wearing it, but less of everyone else’s. Like it balances out everything else but can’t figure out what to do with you.”

I shrugged, “I dunno Matt. I’m surprised you feel anything.”

“Me too. But I don’t nullify the rooms at the Acadmey. The fire proofing and the tardis rooms. Maybe it’s the runic magic?”

“It’s a thought. Maybe we can get you to touch the elements with one or let you use your gift differently.”

“Sounds like we have some research to do once you get things squared away with the missing people. We still have quite a list of missing people, and even more added with the new people here.”

I sighed. “I know. We’ll do it soon.”

“No rush. I’m not going anywhere till school starts right? I get to pretend to be human?”

I nodded, “I guess you do. Good thing you are the same age as Lake and Rider.”

“Yeah it is.” he said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

It was going to be interesting come September when all the kids went off to school. It felt so far away.

Charms for the Kids

Alex pulled us towards where Isabel was staying in the Night Life building on our floor. “How the fuck can you forget me?” Isabelle yelled.

“Maybe we should come back later.” I said.

Alex smirked. “No, I want to watch this.” He stepped into view of the door where we could see the inside but weren’t actually in the room.

Ant stood there with his hands behind his back in the military at-ease pose. I only ever saw him stand that way when he was with his mother. He shook his head, “I never forgot you. I thought Nox was you. It wasn’t the first time you’d come back as a man.”

“I’m fucking obviously not a man. Why do you think he was me?” She shouted at him.

“Because I am drawn to him. But I was wrong, I feel the pull with you so close. And I know he’s close. So is Alex. Together they pull stronger than you. You could see why I thought so.”

“So you are saying he’s,” She gestured to us in the doorway, “your soul mate?”

I frowned and looked at Alex. “You knew this didn’t you?”

Alex nodded, “Ant told me we three were soul mates yes. But I’m not drawn to him like I’m drawn to you.”

Isabelle stomped out of her room and stopped in front of us. “I feel nothing Anthony.”

“A soul mate is energy that once possessed a body and then was split after death and brought together again in separate bodies. So what happens when it’s split three times? Ant has half of one soul, Izz has the other. Alex and I share another, and a third is split between the three of us?”

Isabelle gasped, “A triumvirate. And you already are bound twice.”

“What happens if the third is completed?” Alex asked.

Isabelle shrugged, “The legend says a triumvirate is a powerful source to be reckoned with. And to have the apex be the third Ascendant.”

“Who says Nox is the apex.” Ant griped with a fanged grin.

Isabelle didn’t think it was funny. She rounded on the vampire and growled, “You need to keep your mouth shut vampire.”

Ant looked at her and opened his mouth but he said nothing. Isabelle punched him in the shoulder harder than I thought possible. Ant shifted his stance to remain standing. “Nox is the third Ascendant his is and always will be the most powerful in any union.” She looked at Alex and frowned, “Our King, The Alpha Omega, the Last Phoenix, Mors Praetor, The Imperordo.”

“Wait, wait, wait. I’m not the Imperordo.” I corrected, the others I had been called before or I understood.

“Are you not the most powerful Magnus of the Venatori. Is that not who the Imperordo is?”

“I’ve been exiled from the Venatori. Any titles would have been stripped had I had any to begin with.”

“But you are the most powerful Cesari born to the Venatori in a long time.”

“You know an awful lot about me.”

Ant laughed, “Nox, you are know throughout the tri-state area. If a supernatural creature doesn’t know of your name, then they haven’t been here long. And now you are king.”

I sighed. “I’m not king.”

Alex laughed, “Yes you are. You should have heard all the people down stairs. Ooooh he’s so cute, a strong jaw, oooh those eyes.”

“You sure that wasn’t you?” I asked.

“Oh maye that was. Those weren’t the thoughts you wanted to hear. He’s king, he’s so young, feel that power. ooh those eyes, a strong jaw.”

Ant rolled his eyes, “There he goes again.”

I kissed Alex to express my love for him. “I’m still not king.”

“And that is why you are king.” Isabelle said.

Alex rolled his eyes. “We came to ask about about making a charm for Hunter, Isabel.”

I held out my hand where I’d drawn the symbol. “I don’t want to draw it on Hunter’s skin and do this until he’s able to understand what it truly does and make that decision himself.”

Isabelle took my hand and looked at it. “I can give you spelled steal to fit to him. I imagine you can do the rest?”

I nodded. “Yeah. I can do the rest, I was thinking a pendant is better and we wouldn’t have to change it as he grows.”

Isabelle nodded. “Whatever you want. I’ve never seen it, I’m surprised by it but it works?”

Alex nodded fervently. “Too well. I think he freaks out a little more because of it. What did you say the runes were?”

I wove fire in the air and drew the overlapping symbols. “Magic. Emotions. Senses. And Balance.”

Isabelle nodded, “And you just decided to lay them all on top of each other.”

I shrugged. “I just did it.”

“What else did you learn in the book?” Ant asked.

“A lot of things, but I can’t really tell you cause I don’t understand it.”

Isabelle growled at me. “You need a teacher.”

I sighed. “The man who can teach me is the same man who sent Alex to spy on me. He has eyes and ears here. And his hacker has breached the security. I won’t be taking any lessons from him. So either you are going to have to teach me, or I’m going to keep stumbling through it like I have been.”

There was a large smile on Isabelle’s face. “It would be my honor to teach you.” She grinned at me and then flourished a bow and giggled softly, “My liege.”

I rolled my eyes, “Get with Jin and schedule time. Eleven to Three is taken unbreakable and uninterpretable.” I grinned at her and grabbed Alex’s hand. “Thank you, Isabelle, I’ll take that metal now.”

Isabelle stepped quickly into her room and came back out quickly with a small chunk of metal. “Good luck. Maybe you should make a few for all your collection.”

“My collection?”

“Laker, Rider, Drake, Cass, Hunter, Quinn, Matt.” Isabelle gestured to the wolf curled up on the floor. “Him.”

“His name is Faelen.” I said.

“Part of your collection.”

“They are my family, not my collection. You are part of my family now too. So unless you like being called part of my collection you’ll not spread that rumor.”

Isabelle put her hand on her stomach and nodded, “It is an honor really Nox. Alex. I’m sorry.”

Alex laughed and pressed a kiss to her cheek. “We are his fucking collection. He just keep getting more of us.” Alex grabbed my hand and pulled me towards our room. “We got things to do. You two can resume fighting. Just keep it down.”

The New World Order

Our bed remained empty as Hunter handed me the drawing he had finished, and there was a shocked scream from the kitchen where Ricky was staring at the glowing book. “It’s been like that for a while now. It just flipped open though.”

I looked at the page that had been opened magically and found several runes staring at me. Four of them were glowing and the rest looked like normal. “I guess this is for Hunter.” And the glowing stopped satisfied I’d seen it.

“You can read that?” Ricky asked. “All I see is a bunch of junk.”

“I can read it.”

Quinn looked at it, “There’s nothing to read, just a bunch of symbols.”

“They are runes. We can use them to do sort of spells.” I said.

“So what? You draw them and they do magic? That’s stupid.”

“I don’t think just anyone can draw them.” Alex said as he wrapped his arms around me from behind to look over my shoulder. “There has to be something behind it. Right?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know. But the four symbols it showed me was balance, magic, emotions and senses.” It wasn’t even about sight. Then again I didn’t want to blind Hunter, I wanted to balance him out. His… I smiled and I formed the paper and pencil as Hunter had earlier and Alex laughed, “Jeez, Do we need to keep paper and pencil around you two all the time?”

I smiled, “Nah.” I drew the symbols on top of each other, and when I connected the last line to the rest of the from it gave of a sort of purple glow like the book had and I knew it was what I had needed.

I changed the pencil into an eye liner pen and drew the same symbol on my hand. Easy enough to do and easy enough to remove if it fucked me up. But when I finished the last line it sank into my skin like it was some sort of tattoo and I couldn’t rub it off. “Fuck!”

Alex squeezed tighter, “Nox.”

But my mind was rolling into a direction I couldn’t fight it. I was panicking. “Nox!” Alex shouted beside my ear and I turned to look at him. “Pay attention.”

I blinked at him and he rolled his eyes, “Stop freaking out. Listen. Feel. Fucking get out of your head for just a minute.”

I sighed and closed my eyes. I didn’t know what he was trying to tell me. But I calmed down. Or tried to as I leaned back against him and took a deep breathe. I felt the calm of him, and realized that I wasn’t actually spiraling. My heart was steady, my breathing was right. And I hadn’t done anything more than relax. It worked. Alex said in my head. “What do you see?” He added out loud.

I opened my eyes and found that while the world was still the same, the patterns were muted, the magic around me felt distant but all I had to do was grasp at it. Alex whispered into my ear, “And you didn’t lose control of your magic.”

“I guess I have to live with it even if it was wrong.” I said as I tried to rub at it again.

“Teach you to put shit on your skin.”

I laughed and stuck my tongue out at Alex who promptly leaned in and sucked my tongue into his mouth and I groaned. Ant laughed and took the rest of the family away, though we weren’t going any further. Alex chuckled. “I need to do that more often if it scares away the natives.”

I smiled and pressed my back into Alex’s chest and looked at the drawing Hunter had given me. “This is what he saw.”

“I don’t get any of it. I mean there are people, how is it helpful.” Alex said, “But for five it’s pretty fucking well done.”

I smiled, “I think Michaela made him draw his dreams too.”

“Just like you do.” Alex said.

I shrugged. “I think this is some sort of factory. They mentioned treating the humans like cattle.”

Alex frowned, “In one of the former prisoners I saw them taking blood samples from one area to another. They were all marked.” He looked at me and his frown deepened. “I don’t like that thought Nox.”

I shook my head. “I don’t either. The vampires are using the humans to breed the best tasting blood – cleanest blood.”

“They are becoming gourmet.” Alex joked.

It brought a smile to my lips though Alex added quietly, “It’s sickening.”

“It is. The New World Order intends to live long and prosper on the weak wills of humanity as live stock.”

“You have to stop them.” Alex added.

“We will.”

Alex shook his head. “No We, pretty boy, I’m no vampire hunter.”

I pulled Alex closer and smiled, “I didn’t mean we as in only you and me. Though it is only you and me right now.” I winked and bit my bottom lip.

“You are such a fucking tease.” Alex said pushing me away. “I get all amorous and then someone is going to pull you away from me. You’re fucking schedule is so blow out of the water I didn’t get to eat lunch with you.”

I frowned. “I’m sorry.” My gaze dropped and I was ashamed, work had come first and I’d fucked up the one thing I had set in stone.

Alex put his fingers under my chin, “Hey pretty boy.” I lifted my eyes to meet his, “I was only joking. I know life is shit sometimes. But…” He stepped closer, “I can hear your mind rolling around in all the failure you feel right now, but your body isn’t panicking.”

I blinked at him. Again I was a mess inside, but I didn’t feel the pounding in my chest, or the heaviness of catching my breath. I looked down at the marking on my hand and sighed. “I don’t know if I’ll get used to this.”

“It’s okay.” Alex said. “You and me will get through this. It’s what you should have had your whole life so you could deal with the things inside that make you think bad things. We’ll get Margo here, maybe you can finally make some head way. And I think you need to give that to Hunter.”

“I don’t want to mark him permanently.” I said.

Alex nodded, “So a braclet, or a necklace work better?”

“I think a necklace would, the bracelet would need to be adjustable. He’s so slim and tiny.”

Alex grinned, “Just like his dad was.”

I blushed a little, the pink rose and heated my neck and cheeks. Alex pressed a kiss to my lips, “Sometimes you get all shy and cute over the simplest things pretty boy.”

“Because of what they imply in our past, Z.” I said softly.

Alex chuckled, “I love you too.” He took my hand, “Let’s go find Isabelle and interrupt her and Ant.”

Kindred Souls

You’d think after an expenditure of power after bringing 30 some odd people into the pack would have felt draining but it was the opposite, I felt more alive – stronger. I’d have to ask Adrian or Dom about it. Or I would have if Darwynn hadn’t followed me to where the rest of my family was waiting for a ride back to our living space. “Feels good doesn’t it?” He said.

I nodded. “Why?”

Darwynn laughed, “Doesn’t family feel good? It’s like the larger your pack the bigger you feel. The alpha gains strength from the pack, the rest of us feel happier – fuller.”

“More like home.” Alex added. “You were a leader of your pack?”

“My clan yes.” Darwynn said, “But they were of weak minds. They came and went much like the Lone Wolf pack here. Except we weren’t just lion, we were whoever. Like you.” He chuckled, “Though I will admit I did not have any vampire. Yet I feel the undead as part of the whole.”

“You mean as pack?” I asked.

“The same magics bind them in their kiss, and bloodlines. Wiccan too. The Venatori are the only ones that only bind to mates. Or am I wrong?”

I shook my head, “No that’s right. The Venatori don’t form clans even a large one as a whole.”

Darwynn laughed, “Your’s isn’t a clan more like kindred spirits. People who believe in you in the same things.”

“So what do I believe in?” I asked.

“Family above all else.” Darwynn said.

“But family isn’t just about blood.” Ant said, “It’s the people who choose to be there when you need them most. Who stand by your side even if they don’t agree. We don’t follow blindly, Nox. We don’t call you king because you rule us. But there is no other term to call what you are. You aren’t Alpha, because you are so much Omega. You aren’t a pack leader, you aren’t our master, nor a prince. You are so much more than all those things.”

“I don’t need a title Ant. I’m not doing any of this for any other reason other than it’s right.”

Alex laughed, “It is right, but Nox, they need someone to lead and they chose you.”

I nodded. “I know. But find something else other than King to call me. Please.” I begged.

“How can he be Alpha and Omega – that’s first and last right?” Alex asked

“You tell me.” Ant laughed, “You of all people should understand it. The bedroom is only a part of his inclination. Adrian let him go because his power grew beyond what Adrian was able to dominate over. Alec submitted to a greater power. And I’ve known Alec my whole life, that’s over 800 years of watching the strongest dominate I know lord over vampire and human alike with a blink of an eye. And he would never submit to a soul, yet, he bent the knee to this Omega. And you can’t tell me Nox isn’t one. He wants nothing more than for someone to take care of him.” Ant smirked, “And for some forsaken reason he chose you. So in all reality – that makes you the most fucking powerful person on this planet.”

“I highly doubt that.” Alex rolled his eyes.

“Who has more power than Nox?”

“If everything you say is true, no one.” Alex answered.

“Except you. Alex if you asked it of him, he’d grant you anything.” Ant smiled. “He’d kill for you. He’d hate you for it, but he’d do it. The reason people fear my mother isn’t because she’s a cold blooded killer, it’s because she would do what was asked of her without a second thought. She wouldn’t concern herself with the morality of it and she would survive the injustice that was merited out. But Nox. Nox has that soul, that morality. But if he says he’s going to do it, you know he will. And if you ask him, he’ll do it.”

Alex laughed, “You talk to much.”

Ant grinned, “I learned from your boy.”

“Hey!” I complained but there was no heart in it. I knew I talked alot. I knew I fell into thought a lot and lectured myself on things. It was a bad habit.

“An endearing habit.” Ant said. “I love the blank looks.”

I rolled my eyes. “Ha ha ha.”

Alex wrapped his arm around me and nodded, “Can we go home now? I’m not sleeping in this fucking puppy pile. I want my own damned bed.”

Ant nodded, “As you wish.”

What They Know

Alex and I walked around the refugees talking with as many as that would talk, and Alex listened to those who wouldn’t talk to us. Quinn was by our side short after we left from the exam room we’d been in. I put my other arm around Alex’s daughter and asked, “How you doing?”

She looked up at me and smiled. “Good. Everyone is so nice. Well their thoughts are grateful. They keep talking about their king. I didn’t know there were kings anymore.”

Alex chortled on the other side of me and I just gave him a glance before I grinned at his daughter, “There isn’t anymore kings here in the US.”

“No just you.” Alex smirked.

“What are they saying about their king?” I asked.

“How happy they are he saved them. And some of them about how cute he is for being Feras.”

“Well I can’t help but agree with them on that one, Pretty boy.”

I stuck my tongue out at Alex and he pulled me closer and gave me a sideways hug. “Or should I say your magesty.”

“Please don’t.”

“Why do they think you are their king?” She asked.

“Because I supposed lead several different factions of the supernatural kind.”

“Really? Like who?” Quinn was curious. I liked that. She reminded me of her father in a way. Though Alex didn’t actually ask the questions he just sort pulled them from my head.

“Hey. I resemble that thought.” Alex griped.

Quinn giggled. “Dad, always says it’s polite to ask the things you want to know more about instead of rummaging through someone’s mind.”

“Isn’t that noble of him. And then the thoughts sort of just trickle to the front and you get all sorts of other tidbits.”

“With most people.” Quinn grinned and nodded, “But not with you. You tell it exactly how it is. It’s kinda boring.”

Alex laughed hard. “She is right, it’s boring.”

I removed my arms from both of the telepaths and stepped away from them, “I think I’ll go over here.”

Quinn giggled again, but Alex wrapped his arm around her shoulders and smiled. “That’s fine, we’ll just go over here and play with the other telepath.” Alex nodded in the direction of Cass. “I think your son needs you.” He nodded in the direction of Hunter who was crying in Rider’s arms and inconsolable.

I sighed but headed over to my son and brother, “What’s wrong?”

“He won’t stop crying.” Rider exclaimed. “I don’t know what happened, he was happy and then all of a sudden he just started crying.”

I took the little one from my brother and held him close. I didn’t bother asking him what was wrong. He’d seen something that scared him and there was nothing to do, or maybe he was still seeing it. I lifted his shirt and saw the rune was mostly rubbed away. We needed a more permanent temporary solution than ink on skin.

I magicked a eyeliner pencil and drew on a quick balancing rune hoping it would help. I would need to figure out what one worked best for me before we got something that he could use easily. And then hoped it even worked for Hunter. As soon as the last line was drawn Hunter calmed down a little and wrapped his arms tightly around me. “What did you see, little man?”

He hugged me tighter. His breath was ragged in my ear and he pressed his face against my neck. “They were tortured.”

“Yeah.” I agreed.

“Daddy,” Hunter said pulling away from me and looking deep into my soul, at least that’s how it felt, “Mean men did this. They want to do it to everyone.”

“I know. I’m going to stop them.”

Hunter smiled. “I will draw you what I saw.”

“Thank you.”

Hunter ran over to a table and magicked up a pencil and his own peice of paper. It was really sort of awesome watching my kid do the simple things. Alex was standing next to me staring, “When did he learn to do that?”

I shrugged, “I don’t know but they watch everything we do and I’ve done that before.”

“I don’t think you’ve done that with them around though.” Rider said. “I’ll stay with him.”

I clasped my brother on the shoulder and thanked him. He was such a great little brother, even more so when he took care of my kids. I knew I was supposed to be his guardian but sometimes I thought he watched over me more.

Rider grinned back at me after he’d walked away. I was proud of the man he was becoming.

Alex laughed, “I swear sometimes it’s like you two are the same. Laker is not his twin.”

“He’s proud of you. Thinks the world of you, wants to help you out cause you deserve it. Deserve the love your Mom never gave you. I think he’s trying to make up for that.”

“He doesn’t need to. I’m going to love him the same no matter what. Even if he was a prick. I loved my Mom. I understand why she did what she did. And it wasn’t her fault.”

“No it wasn’t but it still impacted you in a way no one can ever change, Nox. Love her but she impacted your little brain so much you still think you are a monster. It never goes away. One little misstep and instead of saying oh I made a mistake, you spiral into that dark place. Rider knows above everyone else what she did. I don’t know why, but there is a familial bond there I can’t explain. Laker has it too.”

I grinned, “It’s pack. The family bond is strong.”

“You share it with Cass and Hunter then?”

I nodded, “I guess so.”

“But not me.” Quinn said.

“Do you want to be part of the pack?” I asked. “You are family, always will be. Pack is a bond we can extend to you. Like Danny did for Sage.” I added mostly for Alex’s benefit. “That goes for you too Alex. Matt is part of the pack through Laker.”

“And Isabel through you.”

I nodded. “Though I don’t think she wants to be part of the pack. I don’t think she likes me much.”

“That would be a first.” Quinn said. She grinned at me, “Will it hurt?”

“To become pack?” I shook my head. “No, it’ll be like coming home.”

“I am already home.” Alex said wrapping an arm around me. He was more right than wrong, but I didn’t know how else to explain it. He added, “But if Quinn wants to I’ll do it too. But it won’t mean we’ll want a puppy pile all the time will it?”

I laughed, “At first it will.”

Alex growled. “Great!”

Faelen had followed us and understood everything he brushed his head up against my hand and I ran my fingers through his fur. The connection to pack was stronger with him standing there within reach. I let that power go again for the third time that day and I let it touch Alex and Quinn. I felt the trees reach through me, and the bonds of pack wrap around them and take a strangle hold on them. But it was like it stole the air, more like it gave it back to them. Like they had been breathing under water and now were full of vibrate air from above.

But what I hadn’t expected was that others would join us. People I didn’t know touched my arm or back and I felt them connect in a moment. In front of me amber eyes stared back. His smile was slight as he reached across the distance and touched my chest. He whispered, “You saved us. You helped without even knowing us, that is pack.”

The whole room was standing around us – all my pack.

Plus One

After everyone else left Alex asked me, “You sure you can do this pretty boy?”

I nodded, “Yeah. I know I can. I’ve done it before.” I picked up Faelen easily and I carried him to the middle of the floor. “Well not at this age, but I’ve forced wolves from wolf to human on many occasions. It’s partially why Dom likes me to go after his rogues. Though he says he loses them a little when I do, but it keeps his people safer so he allows it.”

Alex turned to walk away, “You can stay. Faelen won’t hurt you. He’ll be under my control.”

“You aren’t a wolf.” Alex added mostly for himself.

“But I’m an alpha. It’s why Adrian let me go, and why he swore fealty to me. So I can do this. But if I do, he’s part of the family. He’ll be pack – more so than anyone else. He’ll be mine until I release him.”

Alex sighed, “Yours?”

“I will be his Alpha, his pack leader. I’m responsible for him, his actions. I need to take care of him.”

Alex laughed, “So just like one of the family.”

“More so but yes.”

“More so?” Alex asked, “How can you take care of someone more than family?”

“Faelen is an omega. He will never be able to take care of himself.”

“Wait. Adrian was thinking something about you being an omega.”

I grinned up at Alex. “I would have been if I hadn’t had this power. Why do you think I have that submissive streak?”

Alex sat down with us, “How can you be both?”

I shrugged, “How can I be Venatori and carry Theranthropy? How can I control vampires? How can I know what an ancient language says when I’ve never seen it before.”

Alex laughed, “Point taken. Let’s get on with it.” Alex put his hand on the boys head and ran his fingers through his mostly clean hair, “We got you.”

I hadn’t expected Alex to sit down and be this close, I wasn’t worried, but I was grateful that Alex was who Alex was. He said he wasn’t a good guy – didn’t do nice things without a reason. Everyone has a reason to do nice things. His might be a little skewed, but who was I to talk.

I let the power flow through me, like I’d done earlier, this time I focused it only on Faelen, on the quivering boy in front of me. But the moment he felt the power the shaking stopped and he looked at me with those big brown eyes and here was a faint smile on his downtrodden face. He found home. I knew it and he knew it. Alex knew it.

The first change was always painful and when the first bone cracked he screamed, but Alex and I were there to comfort him. This was Alex’s first time watching a changed up close and personal. It was painful to watch the body bend and break and change. And it was slow the first time as the body learned it’s new form. It felt like forever that Faelen screamed in agony.

But it had only been ten minutes and there was a larger than average sized wolf panting in front of us shaking out his chestnut colored fur. He lapped at my face, and then at Alex’s. “He’ll need to stay a wolf for a while before we help him change back.”

I ran my fingers through Faelen’s shaggy hair and smiled. “That okay with you Fae?”

There was a brief howl and the pup followed after us as Alex opened the door. “Rider and Laker are going to have to go through that.”

I nodded, “Most likely.”

“Will you force them to?” Alex asked.

“No. Not unless they want me to.”

“Free will and all that.” Alex muttered.

“Something like that. More like it feels like I’m raping them, taking something from them if I make them. Which is why it was important for me to get Fae’s consent.”

Alex wrapped his arm around me, “I know pretty boy. What else do we need to do while we are down here?”

“Get what information we can about what was going on down there.” I said.