Alex looked after her and was frowning but I wrapped my arms around him and pressed my face into the back of his neck. He was still home, and I still needed that comfort despite the fact I wasn’t actively freaking out. It was good for now, but it wasn’t dealing with it. I couldn’t go through life with that feeling, just know if I stopped thinking about it that I’d have an issue.
Alex hummed and then whispered, “I need you to let me in.”
And I tried. I tried to think of the symbol and letting Alex in, letting his connection to be the only thing getting through, but there was a tunnel built in the wall and now all my bonds could get through, more so than before. I felt them, but it was even more attention I had to pay. At least for the moment I could do it, but it was exhausting, holding that image, and the tunnel and…
Alex turned in my arms and pressed a kiss to my lips. Let me help. And he took hold of the image in my head and he build his own shields into it, he propped open the tunnel and eased the weight of the image on me, we bore it together. It wasn’t perfect and I felt Alex sweating the initiative on his end too. We couldn’t do this for a life time, but until we got home, where it was safe we could.
We found Isabelle talking with her hands and almost shouting with her mother in the kitchen, “… but Mother, he was all but having a panic attack and then he wasn’t. How stable can you expect him to be, he’s going to destroy us.”
I laughed, “And here I thought you felt it was an honor to bear my children, now I’m the destroyer of the world? Sounds awful Thanos like.”
Alex chuckled, “You spend way too much time with Sage. I’m almost proud of you.”
I grinned at the backhanded compliment. “Only almost? I see how it is.”
“It is Sage.” Ant agreed. “We all need to do a movie night.”
Alex stared at Ant but was nodding in agreement. “So that’s settled.” I said. “Can you two be friends?”
They just glared at me and then Isabelle interrupted our ‘heartfelt’ moment. “You don’t care what your magic does.”
“I do care. But no one understands it so how the fuck can I get a handle on it?” I growled.
“You never asked.” Isabelle said as she strode to me in all her petite glory.
“Oh you can teach me?” I asked.
She deflated a little, “Well, no. But you never asked.”
“So who can teach me Isabelle Milano? Who has the knowledge and the power to teach me if I’m this so called Third Ascendant?”
“Maybe the first two?” Isabelle crowed.
“Who are they?” I asked.
Ant interrupted, “Aeryn is dead by the lore, Prometheus has not been seen in centuries – gone to the winds, bored with humanity. There is no one let to teach him but us, and we do the best we can.”
Isabelle was about to shout at me again, but a young boy rushed into the room. “Mama Milano, papa is gone now too.”
“There are missing people?” I asked.
The priestess nodded, “From all over the Tri-state area. The Venatori have been told but they don’t seem to care.”
“Tell me.” I said as I stirred the pot on the stove. “Smells good, mind if I help?”
With something to do now, to listen and spend my time working on the shielding got easier – my mind was focused on other things. It left me and Alex free to use less will power to maintain my sanity. Alex asked, “You sure you’ll be okay?”
I nodded. “I won’t fret if I have something to do.”
Alex nodded and sat down at the kitchen table to watch. “Tell him what’s going on, so he can deal with it.”
“We can deal with it.” I corrected. “All of us, not just me.”
Rosanna stepped away from the stove and sat down with Alex with a cup of tea. “We have two tribes missing, I hear rumor of several therian packs have gone missing. We sent emissaries out and most of them have not come back. Aiden’s father has now been confirmed missing. We’ve not found anything of the people we sent.”
“Any idea who’s behind it?”
“And any humans gone missing? Other than wiccans?” I asked then tasted the soup Rosanna had been making. I added some salt and pepper and a few other herbs and spices before letting it simmer again.
“I don’t listen to the human rumor mill. That is the Venatori’s concern.”
“I’d like a list of all missing persons that you are aware of sent to me and anything else you have on them. If Isabelle is ready to go I should get back so I can start working through all the information.”
“You owe us nothing.” Rosanna said.
“Are you not my people? Are you not sending someone to advise me. It’s my concern. I will keep you safe, I will keep everyone I can safe.”
Ant laughed, “Rosanna, just do as he asks. Even Cari doesn’t argue with him. He does his job, he’ll do what he says. He’ll find you answers.”
Alex smirked, “He is stubborn. And he has that set to his jaw that says he won’t give up. It’s best to just give in. We need to get home, the children will be waiting, and he’s about to pop even if he doesn’t look like it.”
Rosanna nodded, “I will have the information wired to you via Isabelle. She will finish packing and the lot of you can go.” She looked at Ant, “And if you touch a hair on my daughter’s head I’ll skin your immortal body and when it grows back I’ll skin it again.”
Ant smiled, “On my honor, your daughter will be safe. She hold the child of my Master.”
“I prefer Prince if you are going to be spouting things, I am not your Master, you are no slave.” I said.
Alex snickered but didn’t say anything, “Shush you.” I added for Alex. He stuck his tongue out at me and I smiled at his childish behavior. I love you.
“I know.” Alex said out loud.
“Back to what I was saying, Isabelle carries the child of my Prince and I will protect her with my life as I will his and Alex’s and the rest of his family.”
“That’s a lot of people to die for.” Rosanna said.
“It’s worth every moment of it, Priestess. I follow my own path now, not in my mother’s shadow. I’m not just The Son anymore.”
Rosana laughed, “No you are just the Praetorian and he’s the Twin Flame to our Third Ascendant. A pretty little broken triad of power if only they’d could not bicker.”