Author: Anne Academy PM
COMPLETE. After one late night phone call, a sarcastic bookworm is pulled into a mysterious underworld rife with intrigue and violence. One man's desperate quest for freedom and an ancestral legacy will lead her to secrets wrapped in blood.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Romance - Chapters: 23 - Words: 115,506 - Reviews: 129 - Favs: 125 - Follows: 13 - Updated: 07-03-06 - Published: 12-21-04 - Status: Complete - id: 1787949
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May 13, 2006
Uig's Hunt Farm
My mind slowly came back from its wanderings and I finally felt the frantic tugging on my shirt that had apparently been going on for some time. I looked down to see Eloise, one of the Pack's toddlers, gripping a swath of cotton material and pulling quite forcefully.
"Yes," I answered, trying not to panic at the look of urgency on her face.
"Ang keeps nipping Sissy's toes," the little blonde tattled worriedly.
"Sissy" was Eloise's little sister, actually named Cecile, but since that was a bit of a linguistic challenge for a five year old, Sissy had become Cecile's nickname.
I quickly ran over to where I could hear Sissy's tinkling laughter (much to my relief) and found a little black wolf with violet eyes jumping hurriedly over Sissy's kicking feet in the grass.
"Is everything all right, Sissy?"
She smiled at me with her warm brown eyes and pointed a chubby hand at Ang, "Tickles," she giggled.
I let loose a dramatic sigh of relief. Last thing I needed was my kid to bite off a packmate's toe. Lucky for me, Ang was very self-disciplined, much more so than any seven-month-old should be.
When Ang had first turned into a wolf about a month ago, Rowan had to practically peel me off the ceiling. It's not that I didn't expect him to change, but certainly not so soon. One minute he was a baby cooing in my arms and the next he's a boisterous wolf pup staring up at me with his tongue lolling out the side of his mouth. It was so incongruous that it's still taken me a few weeks to get used to it, although I have to admit, playing with wolf Ang was a lot more fun than playing with baby Ang.
"I think it's time for his bath? Don't you think Sissy? Eloise?"
Eloise put a hand to her nose and scrunched up her face, "He stinks."
I smiled, trying to keep my laughter from bubbling over. Eloise was an overprotective older sister and she was more than happy to agree to anything I said as long as it kept Ang from playing with Sissy.
Scooping up my squirming child, I gave both of the girls a playful rub on their curly golden heads and marched inside to give Ang a bath. I found our bathroom and sat Ang inside the tub. He blinked his puppy eyes up at me and cocked his head to side, like Dom had when I first came to Uig's Hunt.
I crouched down next to the tub and asked, "You're not gonna do it with me staring at you huh?"
His started to wag his tail. Then he sort of barked at me, though it was more of a tiny "ruff," then a real bark.
I nuzzled his face with my nose, "C'mon, just this once for me, please?'
"He's not going to change for you now, Theryn. He prefers his wolf form at the moment," Rowan informed me from the threshold.
I was so unprepared for Rowan's booming intrusion that I lost my balance and fell backward, nearly knocking myself out on the front of the toilet. I say nearly because Rowan was there in a flash with his hand at my back before I even had the chance to realize I was still conscious. He was much more protective of me, more now then ever before and a lot less willing to act "human" than before we were mated. It was times like this I couldn't complain.
I smirked up at him, "Uh, thanks."
"RUF!" Ang yipped at us.
Rowan pulled me up off the floor and looked at his son the way fathers do when their child is not obeying its mother.
"Angus, your mother needs you to change."
Then he started grumbling and rumbling in that weird wolf language I would never understand and next thing I knew, Rowan turned me around abruptly. Seconds later I heard the squeal of a human child in my ears.
"Why did you turn me around?"
"Because he'll show you when he's ready."
I cut my eyes up my husband in a none too friendly gesture of disbelief, "What's the real reason?"
"I've told you, he senses you're human, instinct tells him not to change directly in front of human eyes," Rowan added quickly, sensing my frustration, "It doesn't matter that you're his mother."
This was a newfound wound that Rowan knew was a sore spot. Ang would change in front of everybody in the Pack but me, his own mother. I began to have that old feeling of otherness, that outsider looking in label that stuck with me until last Christmas. I'd thought I had gotten over this whole "only human in a wolf pack" thing but apparently I was wrong again.
I should have known not to let it get to me because every time I did Rowan would get all self-conscious, he'd start to cling, second guess every move I made for ulterior motives, and start tailing me around the compound like a remora.
"I know, you're right. He'll do it when he's ready."
Rowan looked at me for a moment, as if to judge my sincerity and when I'd been established as genuine, he smiled.
"Let's get the little guy clean. He smells like shit. Literally."
Horrified I grabbed the anti-bacterial soap and started scrubbing with abandon. That's the last time I'd let him go rolling around in the woods without a stronger nose around…
October 14, 2006
It had been a long time since I'd come to visit Lisa. She'd been by the Hunt dozens of times but there were always prying eyes and ears around, trying to get a scoop on what the alpha's human mate and friend were talking about, I was visibly more relaxed and Lisa said so.
I took a swig of iced tea and smiled up at my best friend, "It's nice to be away from the Hunt."
"Speak for yourself girl, I happen to love hanging out there."
I rolled my eyes theatrically, "You just like hitting on all the guys in front of Dom. Remind him what he's missing out on…right?"
"Oh, am I that transparent?" Lisa asked laughing; throwing a now chest length curl of recently dyed reddish-blonde hair behind her.
"Please, we'd have to declare a dominance fight if you threw yourself any harder at them."
Lisa smirked, "Yeah, but it really gets Dom riled up huh?"
I had to agree with her there. Ever since she and Dom had "broken up" a few months ago Lisa had gone out of her way to flirt with every breathing male, human or not, in the tri-state area. I could tell she had actually fallen pretty hard for him, unlike most of the guys she dated, but for some reason the two of them had just stopped seeing each other. Now that we were alone, I was going to find out why.
"So what exactly happened between you and Dom?"
Lisa looked at me and snorted, "It's nothing; we both realized it wasn't going to work out."
I wasn't buying it, "Lease, I know when you like a guy, for more than just his money, cars, or yacht docked in the harbor. You guys really seemed to be happy; I'd never seen Dom so…carefree. What's the real reason?"
"You're gonna laugh when I tell you."
"More than likely, yes, but tell me anyway."
Leaning forward on her chaise, Lisa swung her legs to the side to look me straight in the eye, "He can't commit to a human."
"You heard me. Apparently, there's only room for one human/lupinara relationship in the Pack at a time and since you and Rowan have that slot firmly filled, Dom thinks he should do his duty and mate with a fellow wolf."
"Are you kidding me? You've been seeing each other for over a year and now he decides that you being human is an issue? I swear to God, just wait until I see that bastard--"
"Theryn no! Don't you dare say anything! Look I understand; I'm not so immature as to realize it was a short-term thing. I mean, we did have fun and it's not many men that I meet with a closet to rival my own, but still--"
I knew what Lisa was doing, and I wasn't going to let it happen. She'd been there to whip me into shape when I had second thoughts about Rowan, even after the baby was born. I wasn't about to let her one chance a true happiness slip away because of some stupid interspecies quota.
"You can't just let this go Lease."
She smirked and her eyebrows rose dramatically, "Oh but I already have, you see, I have a date with Marcus tonight."
I wasn't sure if the name was supposed to mean something to me, "Who's Marcus?"
"A guy I met at the pharmaceutical conference in Philly. He's smart, chivalrous, and utterly and completely human."
"Are you sure?"
"My God Theryn, what do you want me to do, shove a silver cross up his ass and see if starts burning?"
"Nah, that's too obvious. Wear a silver ring or something."
"You're ridiculous. Come on, I'm supposed to pick the restaurant, help me find one that's not on the Snib only list. I don't want a repeat of the Blue Coat Inn, otherwise known as 'the night I was drugged.'"
I popped up and headed to the computer with Lisa. I marveled at my friend's ability to move on so quickly after Dom, but I knew she just wouldn't admit to herself she was truly hurting. Jumping in headfirst with a new guy was classic Lisa and she dealt with the pain the only way she knew how, ignore it and maybe it will go away. Fat chance.
Uig's Hunt Farm
Today was Ang's first birthday and the whole Pack was here to celebrate. Rowan and he were playing four-legged tag and in wolf form you'd never know the two of them were related except for their matching purple eyes. Seth decided to join in with another young wolf, his double fang glinting prominently below his muzzle. I spent hours grilling Doc about what my brother had inherited from Nikolai but nobody knew much of anything beyond, it was legendary and powerful and not entirely beneficial, blah, blah, blah.
I'd have to keep an eye on Seth as he grew into this lupinara thing. He was already one of the more powerful Weres in the Pack. My parents had a birthday party planned this weekend for Ang; Seth would come with and hopefully get to remember what life was like as a human.
Katie had come to visit with her new baby, Gage. He looked like his dad with big blue eyes and shaggy sand colored hair. The former alpha female had decided to move to her brother's Pack in Vancouver, Canada. Rowan had argued with her for a week to stay but she said it just didn't feel right without Gage.
The Pack was still investigating the whole Nikolai/Darastus/Meghan affair and had come up with nil. Nikolai had been sentenced in January and the punishment the Pack gave was death. Fortunately for him, his heart was fused with mine so the execution has been postponed until someone found a way to make our life forces separate once again. Joe was looking into the finer details with his warlock friends but I wasn't holding my breath for a quick fix. For now, I had a lupinara's life span and I'd age slower as well. Lisa is incredibly jealous.
Darastus was nowhere to be found, he'd disappeared off the face of the earth. I still looked around every corner twice and Ang always had some high-ranking member of the Pack watching him at all times. Privately it was Rowan, but outside our personal chambers, the poor kid had no privacy at all. It didn't seem to bother him right now but I knew eventually it would and I couldn't bring myself to care. I wouldn't let him be taken by Darastus, no matter what the cost.
I'd been doing some homework on pixies, trying to see how that little assassin fit into this dead end puzzle. I wanted to take a trip to Ireland where there was much more information on the fey than in North America, but Rowan nixed that idea right away. I of course ignored him and started making plans for an "extended visit" with my friend Ian. Lisa could come with me and I'd leave Ang with the Pack of course, but I wasn't going to let this thing go and suddenly find myself deranged and childless five years down the road because I pretended Darastus' absence meant he had gone away for good.
I felt an arm snake around my waist and turned to see the stern face of my mate.
"You're plotting something, I can smell it. It's like your brain starts smoking when you think real hard."
Playing innocent I crooked an eyebrow at him, "I was plotting something but it involves wine, candles, and werewolf-grade restraints." Turning his mind to sex always got me out of hot water, it never failed.
Sure enough, his face darkened and his mouth curved in a delicious grin, "I don't think we'll need werewolf-grade restraints for you my dear but if it pleases you to be extra cautious--"
"They're not for me, Rowan."
"We'll see about that."
Seconds later, Dom strolled over to us and pulled Rowan away for some "pack business." I looked over from where he had been and Lisa was walking furiously away, her back held ramrod straight, marching over to her Jeep with angry, heavy steps.
I heard the rumble of the engine and a spray of stone as she roared out of her parking space. Guess that hadn't gone too well.
Sighing, I picked up my now human-form son and trotted him over to the big chocolate birthday cake with a single giant candle in the center. A quick whistle from Loretta brought the entire Pack over to sign him happy birthday. Rowan told him in the growls and yips of the lupinara language to blow out the candle and make a wish.
Fifteen minutes later, after all the cake had been cut and devoured, Ang was busy digging up a hole in the garden, back in wolf form of course. Rowan and he had just exchanged a quick burst of rumbles and barks and then his father left him alone to play in the ever-widening hole.
I was throwing out the last of the paper plates when Rowan came and pulled me into the house.
"Wait, what about Ang--"
"Alistair's watching him."
"Oh, well in that case--"
I didn't get to finish the rest of my sentence until an hour later when we were both entwined on the bed, lazy, sated and wonderfully unaware of the rest of the world. Oh yeah, and we were both glowing, literally. A bath of warm golden pink and silver light emanated from our bodies. Rowan told me I'd missed it the first time around but now I always stared and marveled at the incandescent halo over the bed.
"Ang told me what he wished for, you know."
I perked up on one elbow and continued to caress his soft tawny skin, "Oh really. What was it? Oh God, don't tell he wants to go on a hunt with you guys or something like that."
Rowan chuckled, "No nothing like that. He wished that you could turn into a wolf too."
I stopped petting Rowan's arm and looked up at the ceiling.
"I can't do that."
"I know. He'll understand when he's older--"
"He already thinks I'm weak. He can sense it; he knows I'm not 'normal' in this house."
"He still loves you."
I looked back at Rowan, feeling the old anger bubbling up and trying to tamp it down before I lashed out at him, "I'm a liability and he knows it. You knew it too and married me anyway. Maybe our kid's smarter than we are."
Rowan pulled me into a tight embrace; he always did this when he thought I wanted to leave him and the Pack.
"Don't worry," I whispered in his ear, "I won't ever leave you and Ang. I'll just feel better when he's older and can understand my humanity, and maybe his own."
Rowan leaned back and offered me a radiant smile, "Me too."
We kissed happily and I breathed a sigh of true contentment, "Now about that trip to Ireland--"
Rowan shoved his face in the pillow and groaned, "Not now, Theryn."
I smiled sheepishly, "All right."
Yay, it's done. Finally. I know I mentioned a sequel and that might occur after I've graduated from school, around Christmas. Please let me know if you guys come across spelling, grammar, and sentence structure errors as you read this and I'll go back and edit this story eventually. Also, let me know who you want to see in the sequel, it's going to revolve around the Ireland trip so we'll get to delve into the world of the fey.