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.”
“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.”
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.