A/N: This is a direct continuation of Hadyn. When I first started writing it I split it up into three sections in my head and that just stuck. So this is Hadyn: Building the Pack. It's all one book but I separated them for FictionPress. If you haven't read Hadyn this story will make absolutely no sense. Also thanks for all the reviews on Hadyn especially to Shalaman Grey who was nice enough to point out minor things I missed because I have no proof reader and I was able to go back and fix them. *Grin*
"What would you like to talk about?" Bob asked.
"Well for starters, what exactly dose a pack do?" Hadyn glanced over at him. "I mean seriously any information would be good. What the Guild knows about Weres is pathetic. I could tell you very little that you would be interested in. I pretty much know nothing."
"Well, if you know nothing or close to," Bob began, "we should start with the little you do know and build off that. So what do you know?"
Hadyn winced and turned back to his cooking. "I know what spells work best and basically how to kill you in the most efficient way possible, which sure doesn't help with the whole 'building a pack' thing."
Bob blinked. "No. No, I'd say it doesn't. Well, umm." He looked to the others for help.
"Well, a pack is basically a large family. So what was your family like?" Denise asked.
Kerien winced. "Not the best question." He said before Hadyn could answer. "It's not an exact science, Hadyn. We'll all pretty much learn to work together as we go."
"What ever." He said carelessly. "As long as you're going to tell me before I mess up."
Kerien smiled at the dumbfounded looks on the new pack members faces. "Is there anything about you that we should know?"
"Like?" Hadyn asked. "You can ask anything you want. If I don't want to answer; I won't."
"I'd like to know more about your health." Kerien said flatly. "You've been in the hospital way too much for my comfort. And the medicine thing. Is it just meds? Or all chemicals?"
~Chemicals only bother mages if they are ingested. Chemicals in foods can be a problem. Everything that is here leans toward fresh foods so that should pose no problem. Anything that goes on skin or washes clothes won't affect him.~ Zalan answered. ~Nothing bothers us. We can't even get sick.~
~You don't even need to worry about his life force either.~ Mel spoke up.
Hadyn and Kerien stared at him. "What are you talking about?" Hadyn demanded.
Mel shrugged. ~What ever he did to keep you breathing is still in place and slowly but steadily fixing the damage your magic has done to your life force.~
Hadyn was staring at him openmouthed. "How is that even possible?" he finally demanded.
The elementals shared a look and then shrugged. ~ We asked Her about it but She never answered.~ Seim said. ~It isn't hurting you. It's fixing you so we never tried to get rid of it.~
Hadyn looked to Kerien who just shook his head. "I have no clue. I don't feel any different so if it's coming from me like they say then it's not affecting me. I can ask the Keepers about it later. Maybe Julia will know something."
Hadyn frowned staring off into space clearly thinking. He snapped out of it as Jonathan commented, "Your onions are burning."
He spun around and quickly turned down the heat and stirred them before going back to chopping. "You don't have any allergies, right? Since I'm cooking I'd like to know."
"Were's are only allergic to silver." Kerien answered.
"There are some things the kids won't eat." Bob said cautiously.
Hadyn shrugged as he added the chopped vegetables to the pot. "That's normal for kids yes?"
"Yes, I just didn't want you to be offended."
Hadyn was silent for a moment as he stirred whatever was on the stove. "Just how bad was Samuel anyway? He's starting to remind me of Polly and I'm basing that on your reactions. It's not like I actually knew the man."
"Let's just say we wouldn't have been upset if you had killed him." Denise answered voice tight.
~What did he do?~ Seim asked puzzled.
"We only have suspicions." She evaded. Kerien growled softly. Denise glanced at him before dropping her eyes and answering. "We believe he killed Henry, Grace's mate."
Hadyn frowned. "Why can't you prove it? Can't you just ask him? You could smell a lie."
"We could smell a lie, but one dose not question a pack master." Denise explained. "Especially with something like that. Samuel would have ripped out the throat of the offender."
"What if it was proven now?"
"The Keepers would be obligated to dispose of him even though he is an outcast." Kerien answered, when the others looked blank. "They would also be obliged to start a fund for any family left to assist living expenses, especially for schooling. Not that it would do any good. You can't speak to an outcast. So we'd never be able to prove it."
"Zalan and Keev are pack right?" Hadyn asked.
"Yeah." Kerien said slowly, clearly wondering where this was going.
"Well, they can scry the past as easily as Rae looks into the future. What they See is evidence, right? They would be witnesses." Hadyn said reasonably.
Denise looked hopeful. "You would do that?"
"Sure it's not like it's hard for them."
"No." Kerien said flatly almost snarling at her. She shied back, startled. Hadyn frowned over his shoulder at him.
"Why not?" He demanded.
"Samuel could Challenge you again," Kerien snarled. "I don't want you any where near him ever again."
"I'd have to fight him again?"
"Yes." He growled.
"What's the problem with that? It's not like the ending would be any different." He considered a moment. "Well, other then the fact that I might deliberately kill him."
"I don't care." Kerien muttered sourly.
"Right, well, it was just a suggestion." Hadyn muttered as the front door opened, and the chattering of children sounded in the hall. They burst into the room two boys darting to Denise and another boy rushing up to Bob, all talking at once as they greeted their parents. Grace was standing in the door way with an arm around a girl. Hadyn stopped stirring and turned to stare at them, stunned.
Grace, seeing his look, frowned worriedly. "Children!" she called sharply. They all froze and stared over at her. "Back yard until you can use your inside voices." There was a chorus of yes ma'am's as they rushed out the door, Hadyn staring after them.
Kerien started to laugh. "You've never been around kids much, have you?"
"No," he answered still staring after them. "Are they always that loud?"
"Not always," Kerien answered, "Weren't you loud as a child?"
Hadyn blinked at him. "No, Polly used to put a Silence spell on me if I was too loud."
The kids chose that moment to file in. As they did so they realized that Hadyn was standing there and they all came on alert and ducked behind their prospective parents. Grace stepped forward and started to introduce the children. She motioned to the girl by her side first, "This is my daughter Serena." Pointing toward Denise, "The older boy is Will, the younger Bran," and toward Bob, "And that is Lyle. Bob's others are in high school and will be here later. They all play sports."
"Oh, ah, nice to meet you. I'm Hadyn." He said glancing over at Kerien with a 'what now' look.
Kerien hid a smile before addressing the youngsters. "He really dose want you to call him by his name. The dragons on the table there are Mel, Keeve, Seim and Zalan." He said pointing to each in turn. "And Hadyn whatever you're cooking is starting to burn again."
With a startled noise, Hadyn turned quickly back to the stove. He could feel the kids all staring at him. ~Why are they doing that?~ He demanded.
~Children are fascinated by any thing new and different and you're about as different as they come.~ Zalan pointed out.
~Well, it's freaky.~
~Then tell them to stop.~
~…I think I'd scare them.~ He said forlornly.
"Hadyn!" Kerien said exasperation sharp in his tone.
"What?" he yelped jumping.
"What are you making?" he said patiently.
"Chicken noodle soup." He answered. "Why did you yell?"
"You weren't answering." Kerien said calmly.
"Well, I'm not really used to talking to people. They do mind speech, remember? I was talking to them." Hadyn said as he started to cut up chicken.
~Sorry! We were distracting him.~ Seim called. ~We're not really used to being around many people either. Oh, should I not talk to the kids? They look scared. I'm sorry.~ she fell abruptly silent, looking dejected.
The children were all clutching their parents looking, as Seim had said, scared. Bob pulled Lyle onto his lap. "It's ok. That was just them," he pointed at the dragons. "They can't talk like we do. They put the words right in your head."
"Felt weird, dad." Lyle protested.
"Did it hurt?"
He blinked, "Well, no." Lyle looked over to the dragons, "But it's still weird."
~Talking aloud is odd to us.~ Me said amused. ~This is normal for us.~
"But why?" Bran asked.
Mel chirped, one of the few vocal noises they made. ~That is one of the loudest sounds our vocal cords make. We can't speak as you do our very bodies don't let us.~
Serena edged closer to the table. "You're very pretty. Do you all talk in our heads? Who is who? What were your names again?"
Seim sat up. ~We all talk like this and my name is Seim. I'm an air elemental.~
She studied Seim. "How do you tell if you're a boy or a girl? You all look the same."
~Technically we have no gender.~ Zalan said, shifting and sitting up to face her. ~Seim we refer to as a girl. The rest of us think of ourselves as boys. And before you ask I am Zalan.~
"Oh, well it's very nice to meet you." She said calmly. "Will and Bran are my cousins and they're ok, for boys. Lyle is nice. He helps me with my homework."
Instantly Will and Bran protested. Soon the children were all vying for the attention of the dragons. Hadyn leaned against the counter looking bemused. Kerien stood and leaned next to him. "They seem to be getting along. Much better then I expected even."
"Normal is people running from them screaming. So yeah, this is better." Hadyn replied.
"When is dinner?"
"Needs to simmer for about half an hour." Hadyn said, after a moment's consideration. "Hey Kerien? Dose every one live here or what?"
"If you object we can live separately." Kerien said cautiously.
Hadyn frowned. "What do you normally do?"
"Normally packs live together." Kerien admitted. "But I wasn't sure if that would bother you."
"Kerien," Hadyn said patiently, "I grew up in the Guild. Everything you people do is going to be seriously different to me. The Guild doesn't do family. They believe in being the best, fighting for anything they want. Mages don't get along. If you want every one to live together then let's do that."
"I would like that." Kerien admitted. "You sure it won't bother you?"
Hadyn rolled his eyes. "I have no idea, Kerien. I've never lived with anyone since I lived with Polly and I seriously doubt that you're anything like her."
"You'll say something if we do something to upset you right?" Kerien pressed.
Hadyn shrugged. "If I don't Keev will." He pointed out. "He's kinda touchy if you hadn't noticed."
~I am not!~ Keev snapped offended.
"Whatever you say Keev." He said agreeably.
~You're not saying that like you mean it.~
"That would be because I don't," Hadyn spoke calmly, as he checked the food.
Hadyn twisted around and stared trying to figure out what child had spoke. The youngest boy, Bran raised his hand. "Ah, yes?" he said, slightly at a loss.
"Can we go explore? Do we get to pick our own rooms?" He asked sounding excited.
"Explore, sure. Pick your own room? Ask your mother." He answered.
Kerien choked on laughter before clearing his throat, "The master bedroom on the third floor is Hadyns. Stay out of it, ok?"
The children all nodded seriously. "Any thing else we need to know about, Mr. Kerien?" Serena asked.
"Nope," he said cheerfully. "Explore to your hearts content."
The children all scattered with shouts of glee. Denise sighed and rose. "I'll watch them. Dose anyone want a certain area of the house?"
Bob smiled, "If you could steer Lyle toward ground floor rooms it would be appreciated." Denise nodded and left calling for the kids. Hadyn watched her go an odd look on his face. "Is something wrong?" he asked.
Hadyn glanced over at him. "I'm not sure how to talk to them." He admitted.
Bob and Grace chuckled. "You're doing fine." Grace soothed. "They'll ask questions if you confuse them. Honestly, just treat them as you would anyone else. If you use vocabulary they don't know they'll ask what it means. Children adapt much better then adults."
"Oh," he said softly. Kerien frowned as Hadyn's expression closed off. His expression may have been unreadable but his sent showed his distress.
"Hadyn, please don't do that." Kerien said softly. Hadyn looked over at him tilting his head, silently asking him to clarify. "Don't block us out. We can smell that you're upset, but won't know why unless you tell us."
Hadyn turned away and stirred the soup. He was quiet long enough that they didn't think that he was going to answer, but he finally spoke. "You don't really realize how messed up things are until you get examples of what others think is normal."
Kerien looked blank and looked over at Grace, Bob and Jonathan. Jonathan just shrugged baffled, but Grace and Bob looked sad. "I don't believe," Bob said softly, "That the Guild is all that good at raising children. If they were, more of them would be decent, as you are."
Hadyn turned and met his eyes. "Thank you."
Bob smiled. "Don't worry about how you interact with the children. They are all young enough that they will accept you based on what you do, not what you are."
Hadyn considered that and nodded. "I like that thought, people don't react like that to mages. The best I normally hope for is forced politeness."
Grace smiled softly, "We'll teach you how to be a family, Hadyn. Everything will work out, I promise."
Hadyn smiled tentatively, but didn't answer. Kerien grinned, "Yup, if dinner has a while to go, want to see your room? I set it up for you since you were in the hospital. The Keepers were at least nice enough to let me come here with a few guards."
Hadyn nodded and followed Kerien out with a swirl of wings following them. Grace, Bob and Jonathan were silent until they were sure they wouldn't be over heard. "This truly will work out won't it?" Jonathan said wonder in his tone.
"Yes." Grace smiled, "I do believe it will. He may be a mage but he doesn't have their attitude or mannerisms. Kale was right the dragons did an amazing job raising him separate from Guild ideals. It's very sad though."
"What?" Jonathan asked puzzled.
"That child has never had another human like him, forget love him. All of this will be a total shock to him. I don't know what Kerien is going to do."
"He won't act on it will he?" Jonathan asked uneasily.
"Who knows?" Bob answered looking toward the stairs he could just see through the door. "We can tell by sent that Kerien truly loves Hadyn, but will he ever act on it? Could Hadyn handle someone that close to him? Didn't you notice that he stayed out of arms reach? The passive defense of an abused child."
Jonathan winced. "You don't really think…" he trailed off.
"Think he was abused?" Bob asked. "I do. His reactions, the wariness of being touched, and what little the Li's said regarding what they learned of his childhood all confirm it."
"I hate shit like that." Jonathan muttered sourly, "Tessa would have slapped anyone that treated a kid like that."
"Jonathan," Grace said intently. "If things go well, will you ask about Tessa?"
He shrugged, "Maybe, I'd have to be sure. I didn't keep her away from Samuel just to screw it up by moving too fast now."
Lyle raced in before they could speak more. "Daddy! Daddy! I found a room I like. Will you come see? Denise said you'll like it! Please?" Bob smiled and stood allowing Lyle to pull him from the room. Jonathan and Grace followed looking for the rest of the pack.
Hadyn followed Kerien up the stairs eyes roving over the house. He hadn't realized that it was so big. Upon reaching the third floor he was surprised to realize that the master bedroom and bathroom took up the whole floor. The walls were slanted in spots clearly part of the roof and Hadyn spied the trapdoor that lead up to the attic. Hadyn slowly moved forward, looking around. His books were on the shelves and there was a nice dresser and a king sized bed. "Where did all the furnisher come from?"
"Tessa's family." Kerien answered. "They make furnisher and I asked her to help me get the house set up. We got a good discount too."
"Jonathan's fiancé." Was the reply, "She's really nice. Most of the packs get their furnisher through them. Do you like it?"
Hadyn smiled, running sensitive fingers over the carving in the headboard. "Yeah, I do. That's a Celtic knot, isn't it?"
"Yeah, Tessa could probably tell you what it means. I didn't think to ask."
~I like this room.~ Seim decided. ~We get to keep it right?~
"Yeah, you get to keep it." Kerien sounded amused. There was a knock on the door. "Yeah?" Kerien asked.
"Mama thinks the soup is done." Serena called. "She made me and Will set the table already."
"Be there in a moment." Kerien listened as little feet thumped down the stairs. "Hadyn, can I stay with you?"
Hadyn blinked. "I thought we were all staying here?" He said blankly.
Kerien shifted uneasily. "No I mean here," He said waving his hand around the room.
Hadyn's face didn't give away what he was thinking and his sent was so tangled that Kerien wasn't sure what his reaction was going to be. "Pack thing?" Hadyn said finally.
"Something like that, yeah." Kerien said cautiously.
"Something like that?"
"You almost died, Hadyn. It freaks me out just thinking about it. I'd only known you what two days and you almost dying really scared me. I just want to be close, please?"
"You know I'm not going to just keel over and die, right?"
"Yes," Kerien said, rolling his eyes, "but knowing that doesn't help."
"Ok," Hadyn said at length. "But I reserve the right to kick you out."
"Deal." Kerien sounded utterly relieved.
"You are so weird." Hadyn muttered, "Let's go eat." He left, Kerien following behind, grinning.
~If you make a move on him, I'll bite you.~ Keev stated.
Kerien met Keev's eyes, where the Elemental was riding on Hadyn's shoulder. He made a face, unable to reply with out Hadyn overhearing. ~We can talk later. Hadyn will meditate tonight, we can speak then.~ Zalan told him. Kerien nodded his acceptance.
Entering the kitchen, Hadyn was surprised to realize they had set everything up in the dining room. He was more surprised and uneasy when he realized that they had left him the seat at the head of the table. With a look at Kerien, Hadyn sat down. He shifted uneasily as all eyes fell on him. Bob spoke up. "Hadyn I'd like to introduce you to my wife, Francine and my daughters Robin and Sarah." He motioned to each as he said their names. All of them were pretty blondes with dark blue eyes. The girls clearly favored their mother. Hadyn nodded to them politely.
Hadyn twitched and stared at the young man who had spoken. He realized in the next second that he must be Bob's oldest son. He also looked exactly like his mother. It seemed only Lyle favored his father with dark hair and forest green eyes. "Yes?" Hadyn said belatedly as he realized the boy was waiting for a response.
"I am Jeremy Goodman and I swear allegiance to you."
"Accepted," Hadyn replied.
Kerien grinned, "Let's eat. I don't know about the rest of you but I'm starving." Everyone started to eat. Surprised looks were exchanged. "Dang, Hadyn, where did you learn to cook? This is great."
Hadyn blinked at him. "Cookbooks. I can't take them to restaurants, remember?"
"I forgot." Kerien admitted. "They're always so well behaved."
"They still scare people," Hadyn pointed out. "You can find great recipes online."
"Mr. Hadyn, are you going to keep cooking? I like your soup." Bran asked happily.
"Sure, I like cooking." He said easily, he frowned at the startled looks that flew around the table. "What?"
"Most pack masters think that menial labor is beneath them." Kerien explained.
"Oh," Hadyn frowned. "So I'm not supposed to cook?"
"You can cook if you want," Kerien disagreed, "Especially if you keep making food this good. I defiantly won't stop you."
"It's just chicken noodle soup. It's not like its chicken cordon blue." Hadyn said exasperated.
"You can make that?" Grace asked. Hadyn nodded. She smiled, "Perhaps if you don't mind, you could make it tomorrow?"
"I'll have to check the kitchen to see if all the ingredients are there." Hadyn said with a shrug.
"That would be wonderful," Grace said smiling, "If you need anything, I'd be willing to go to the store and get it."
Hadyn nodded. "Sounds good. Are there any rules I need to know immediately? So I don't mess up and offend the Keepers."
"They'll cut you some slack." Kerien assured him, "They know you don't know anything so you should get a lot of lee way."
~Should being the key word there.~ Keev said dryly. The pack twitched and Hadyn sighed. ~Not knowing things makes us a liability. We don't like that. Too many things could go wrong with our lack of knowledge. You need to teach us your laws and rules as fast as possible.~
"What's a liability?" Bran asked.
~A liability is a disadvantage.~ Mel answered.
"How are you a liability?" Serena wanted to know.
"If another pack leader wants to make trouble all he or she would have to do is point out something I'm not doing right and we'd all get in trouble for it." Hadyn explained. "I doubt that anyone wanted me to become a pack member let alone leader. It's going to make people angry and they'll end up doing sneaky things to get us in trouble."
"They're gonna tattle." Bran muttered sourly.
Hadyn looked blank. "They're going to what?"
"Tattle," Bran repeated. Hadyn's eyes flicked over to Kerien. Bran however caught the look and explained. "Tattling is telling on someone if they're doing something you think is wrong, but it isn't hurting anyone. You should only tell if what their doing is dangerous, otherwise you let the teacher handle it."
"Good analogy." Hadyn murmured.
"You didn't have tattling?" Kerien asked.
"I was pretty much an only child who was home schooled. Who could I tell on?" Hadyn pointed out. "I never went to any classes at the Guild School. I was never around any children. I went from my training to fixing various things around the world. Adult society to adult society, no kids ever."
"Well, you can't say that anymore." Denise stated amused.
"True," Hadyn said softly, looking around the table. Everyone finished eating and Bob sent his two daughters to the kitchen to clean up. Kerien motioned Hadyn to come with him. They went back up to his room and Kerien settled himself on the bed. Hadyn merely followed his lead.
"Alright, rules." Kerien started. "The hard part is there really aren't that many. Other then don't tell anyone about the Keepers. The other pack leaders have their own rules but they only apply to their own pack. If you do offend them they can't do much other then complain to the Keepers or Challenge you. I doubt that anyone will Challenge you after they hear about what happened to Samuel."
"What if the Keepers side with who ever complains?"
"They never do the same things and it depends on the pack." Kerien said helplessly. "I could have predicted what my old pack would do but I just don't know this one very well. We'll have to talk to Julia and make sure that we're there for the next Leader/Second dinner at the mansion."
"I'm not good at things like that." Hadyn said uneasily.
"Social situations." Hadyn answered avoiding his eyes.
"Just be snippy like you usually are."
"Snippy? I'm not snippy." Hadyn protested, glaring at him.
"Bitchy?" Kerien offered.
Hadyn scowled at him.
Kerien grinned back. "Don't worry about it. Just be your normal blunt self to avoid problems."
"Blunt is better." Hadyn said softly, not looking at him.
"If I was blunt then people left me alone and I didn't have to make examples, like everyone else." Hadyn shrugged. "I may not like hurting or killing people, but I will always defend myself. If it comes down to someone else and my self, I will always choose me. People don't win if they go up against me. They loose."
"As a Pack Master you have the right to kill anyone who attacks you." Kerien told him. "They just have to attack first."
"I don't have to kill them though, right?" Hadyn said uneasily. "I can just defeat them like I did Samuel."
"Yeah," Kerien nodded. "I just wanted you to know you won't get in trouble if you have to kill them."
Hadyn nodded in acceptance. "I'm gonna meditate for awhile. I need to check my magic."
"Sounds good. I'll be downstairs." Kerien said as he stood and left. Hadyn settled easily in to his meditation and didn't even notice when his friends slipped out the door.