Sage

Sage snuck another glance back at the wolf following him. He wished they'd hurry up and kick him out or attack him or something. The tension was seriously getting to him. Every other town he'd ever been in the local wolves drove him out, but these ones were different. They just kept following him everywhere.

Sage dodged around a man in a three piece suit talking on his cell phone. He made a face at the man's back. He wasn't sure if he liked the crowds of New York. He'd always stuck to smaller cities before. 'Maybe that's why the wolves are acting so different?' Sage thought doubtfully.

He sighed as his stomach rumbled. He'd run out of what little cash he had from his last under the counter temp job. Heading to the shadier parts of town, Sage searched for any businesses that would let him work for cash. He hit what he considered to be the jack pot in a crummy bar. He proved he knew how to mix drinks and was hired for the night, no questions asked.

The owner, Jack, was actually decent, which was surprising, and let him use the shower in the apartment upstairs. The man had a whole slew of clothes from old employees and told Sage to find something that fit. Sage hesitated giving the man a wary look. Jack caught the look and met his eyes. "No one hassles my people. If you show off a bit of skin you'll end up with more tips, but I don't require it. All my regulars know to keep their hands off my people and are willing to toss out new people that don't listen," Jack told him. "I have a bouncer that will keep an eye on you and Jane, my other server."

Sage relaxed slightly, Jack's scent said truth. "Ok, I don't mind showing off, as long as I'm safe."

Jack nodded. "You'll be safe. I guarantee it. Get cleaned up and meet me downstairs."

"Alright," Sage answered as Jack left. Sage picked through the clothes checking tags to see what would fit like he wanted. There wasn't much color, mostly black with a smattering of dark reds, greens and blues, but he soon put together an outfit. As he showered he wondered why Jack couldn't keep his servers since the man seemed so nice.

Clean and dry, Sage dressed in tight fitting black jeans with silver studs down the sides, a black leather belt with matching studs, a dark green sleeveless shirt to finish. The shirt draped like silk and barely brushed the top of the jeans. Sage rather liked the affect and left the bathroom to find his boots. The black combat boots would work and he liked his shoes too much to leave them lying around.

A girl was waiting in the living area reading a magazine. She looked up as he stepped out of the bathroom. "Hey, Jack was right you are pretty."

Sage flushed.

The girl laughed. "I'm Jane. Jack said he mentioned me?" Sage nodded. "Good, you'll have the bar and I'll take the tables. I can mix a few drinks, but not many. Jack said you knew everything he named."

"Yeah," Sage confirmed. "I've done it before."

"Just as legally?"

Sage flinched.

Jane shrugged. "I get paid the same way you do," she informed him. "I'm actually twenty one, though, and you don't look it. I just don't want to be on record or my family will find me."

Sage frowned. "Why are you telling me?"

Jane smiled. "Mainly in hopes you'll stick around. I've been here for a year and Jack's gone through seven bartenders. Weird shit happens around his place. I don't ask questions and he keeps my family from finding me."

"Why don't you want your family?" Sage asked hesitantly.

"My family believes in arranged marriages," she answered flatly. "I didn't want to marry that looser so I split with my boyfriend. Carl's wonderful. He got me the job here and works hard to keep me happy."

Sage nodded. "Makes sense," he murmured.

Jane nodded. "Yep and I don't expect you to tell me what you're hiding from or if you're down on your luck or what. Oh, Jack's waiting for you. Tell him I kept you. He knows I like to talk."

Sage nodded and headed for the door as Jane rose and went toward the closet. The jeans and t-shirt clearly not what she wanted to wear. Sage collected his boots, pausing to tie them before slipping down the stairs. Jack spotted him and beckoned him behind the bar. Another man was standing on the opposite side and Jack waved toward him. "Sage, this is Mitch, my bouncer. Mitch, Sage."

Sage stared up at the man. Dark eyes, dark hair, pale skin and, Sage was dismayed to note, a werewolf. Sage didn't know why other wolves didn't like him, but he didn't think this was going to end well. To his absolute and utter shock the wolf merely nodded to him. Sage gulped. "Hi."

Jack laughed. "Mitch has that effect on people," Jack said. "He's why I can promise you safety."

"Oh," Sage managed. "Ok."

"Mitch!" Jane squealed from the stairs. Now wearing a mini skirt and crop top, Jane threw herself forward and gave Mitch a hug. Mitch endured, but made no move to push her away or hug back. "Carl's ok?" Jane demanded stepping back.

Mitch raised an eyebrow. "You saw him an hour ago."

"You dropped him off at work," Jane countered.

"He was fine when I left him," Mitch answered.

Sage could smell his amusement, but his expression gave nothing away. "Let's get to work," Jack cut in. Jane and Mitch nodded and headed to the floor taking down chairs and setting up. Jack motioned Sage closer and started showing him where everything was. Sage absorbed it all, nodding at the appropriate moments.

As soon as Mitch unlocked the door and flipped the closed sign to open, a group of vampires walked in. Sage took a breath and smiled. The vampires all headed for the bar and gave him rapid fire orders. Sage grinned and flirted as he mixed their drinks. The group wandered away to sit down and Jane popped up to give him a list of drinks she needed.

Sage caught the looks of surprise that Jack and Mitch shared. He guessed that they were puzzled by his change in attitude, but really what did they expect? Shy and quiet didn't get you good tips and he really needed the money. Anyway the last bar he worked at the owner expected good customer service.

Once the place was closed down and cleaned, Jane headed up to change her clothes. Sage tiredly watched Mitch talking to Jack. He had wondered how long it would take for the wolf to get rid of him. Jane came back down and Sage pointed at the tip jar. "Do we split that up now?"

Jack shook his head. "No, that's yours."

Sage stared at him shocked. "What?"

"Jane gets her tips handed to her and Mitch gets his added onto his paycheck. Everything in the jar goes to the bartender," Jack informed him.

Sage looked stunned. He'd never had that much money at one time before. Hesitantly Sage emptied the jar and organized the money casting the others several wary looks.

Jane smiled at him. "We'll see you tomorrow, Sage," she said and followed Mitch out the door. Dimly, Sage remembered Jane saying something earlier about Mitch taking her home.

Sage was unnerved when Jack followed him up the stairs to change back into his own clothes. "Where are you staying, Sage?"

Sage glanced away. "I'll find something."

"You don't have to," Jack said firmly. Sage gave the man an incredulous look. Surely, he didn't trust Sage enough to let him stay here. Jack smiled and pointed at the door leading down to the bar. "This door locks from both sides. The outside door connected to the stairs," Jack continued pointing to it, "has an electronic lock and is rigged to lock when it shuts. You can stay here, Sage." He pulled an envelope from his back pocket and held it out to Sage.

Warily, Sage edged closer. "What is it?"

Jack smiled faintly. "That's yours for tonight. If you want to take it and bail, you can. I'd rather you stay. You're a good worker."

Sage gave him a hesitant smile. "Thanks, but didn't you already pay me?"

Jack shook his head. "Tips are separate. This is for your work tonight." He locked the door down to the bar before pressing the envelope into Sage's hand. "Good night, Sage," Jack said heading to the outside door. "I hope to see you tomorrow."

Sage didn't answer as the door closed behind Jack. Slowly, Sage explored the small apartment. The living area was all one decent sized room with a kitchen area set against one wall and the door to the bathroom kiddy corner to it. The couch was really a futon and Sage gave a mental shrug and set it up to lie flat. He changed back into his own clothes and curled up on it tugging up the blanket that had been folded over the back.

"At least I'm safe for one night," Sage murmured, curling tighter. He let his mind drift thinking over the night. This place seemed to be a godsend, but Sage knew better then to trust anything. For some reason Jack's bar had just paranormals as his customers. The wolves were easily explained because of Mitch, but why were there vampires, demons, witches, sorcerers and god knows what else all thrown together? He'd never even heard of a paranormal only bar.

Sage rolled over to face the outside door. He wondered how long Jack was going to stay nice. He smelled nice so far, but that would change with the full moon. He guessed that Jack didn't know what Mitch was, but Mitch knew Sage was a werewolf, too. The man kept calling him pup all night. Luckily, Jack laughed it off and said Mitch called a lot of kids pup.

With a soft sigh, Sage let himself relax and finally fall asleep.

/~/~/

Jack sighed softly in disappointment as he looked around the empty apartment. Everything was exactly as he had left it the night before. Even the clothes Sage had worn the night before were hung back up in the closet. Pulling out his cell phone he hit a speed dial. It rang twice before it was answered with a simple, "Yes?"

"Hey, Anthony, the pup you wanted watched bolted. I can't even tell if he stayed the night or left right after I did," Jack said.

"Damn," Anthony snarled.

"I tried, man, but that kid was seriously skittish," Jack said. "I thought he was going to have a heart attack when Mitch called him pup last night."

"He is a pup."

"I know that," Jack said poking through the kitchen to see if Sage had at least eaten something. "Do you know if he's still in town? He's a damn good bartender. Kid didn't even flinch at the vampires."

Anthony laughed softly. "I have some people out looking. Who knows maybe we'll get lucky and he'll come back." As if answering his words someone knocked on the outside door. "Jack?" Anthony questioned.

"Hold on a second, someone's at the door," Jack answered absently. Shifting the phone, Jack looked through the spyhole. "Well, I'll be damned."

"What?" Anthony demanded.

Jack didn't answer just stepped back and opened the door wide. "Good afternoon, Sage. I thought you decided to bail on me." There was a strangled noise from the phone. Jack ignored it and waved Sage in.

Sage edged warily past him and answered, "I went to get something to eat. Waited in the diner across the street 'til I saw your car."

"Ah, well all the food up here is free game. You can eat any of it if you're hungry," Jack told him. "Hang on a sec, ok Sage?" Sage nodded and Jack turned his attention back to the phone where Anthony was growling. "Stop growling at me or I'm hanging up. Honestly Anthony, chill out. Are you coming by tonight or not?"

Anthony took a deep breath before answering, "No, I'll give it a few more days."

"Alright, I'll see you later then," Jack answered.

"Good bye, Jack."

Bye," Jack answered and hung up.

Sage had seated himself on the edge of the rocking chair and was watching him warily. "Do you always treat people like this?"

Jack raised an eyebrow. "Like what?"

"You keep trying to take care of me."

"Ah," Jack said looking thoughtful. "Not every one, no, but you just seem to need it."

Sage gave him a doubtful look. "I've been taking care of myself for as long as I can remember. I don't need anyone to take care of me."

"Perhaps," Jack said clearly disagreeing. "I hope you've decided to stay for a good long while. I wasn't lying when I said you're a good worker."

Sage flicked a glance at him then the door. "I'll stay as long as I can," he said finally.

"Oh? Well, you're staying forever then?"

Sage choked. "What?"

"No one is going to run you out of town here," Jack said carelessly. "Hell, if it gets you to stay I'll make you a deal."

"What kind of deal?" Sage asked tensely.

"If you stay I'll give you this apartment to stay in," Jack told him.

Sage gaped at him wide eyed. "You don't even know me!"

"I've learned to trust my instincts when judging people," Jack said firmly. "You're a good kid. I'm sure of it."

Sage looked away. "You won't think that for long."

"Because you're a wolf?"

Sage went rigid. He even stopped breathing.

Jack sighed. "Kid, I knew you for a wolf when you first walked up to me. If you want to pass as normal, don't walk like a predator. I'm not worried about wolves. I already have Mitch and I'm on good terms with the local Alpha."

Sage stumbled to his feet and backed away from him toward the door. A faint whimper escaped him as Jack looked toward him.

Jack's expression turned sad. "If you want to leave, Sage, I won't stop you."

Sage took another step back before stopping. "You're not lying."

"I make it a practice to tell the truth," Jack said softly. "Too many paranormals can sense the truth in some way. When I said that you were safe here I meant it."

Sage glanced at him and then at the door. "I'm not safe around other wolves."

"What makes you say that?"

"They don't like me."

"Why?"

"I don't know!" Sage snarled. "They always run me out where ever I go. These ones are weird. They just follow me around everywhere."

"You must not have met any decent wolves," Jack murmured.

Sage glared. "They all act like that!"

Jack raised an eyebrow. "And in your vast experience you're sure of this."

Sage scowled. "I may not know my own age but I've been around long enough to know that no werewolf likes me."

"You can't have been a wolf long, Sage," Jack said patiently. "You shouldn't have been changed anyway. Wolves don't allow anyone to change before the reach twenty five. When the New York Alpha finds out who is responsible there will be hell to pay."

Sage gave him a puzzled look. "What are you talking about? I've always been a werewolf and what's an Alpha?"

"You can't have always been a werewolf," Jack denied. "It's not possible for a child to survive the change."

"I don't care what you say. I've always been a wolf," Sage snapped. "It's the only way I survived sometimes. Not everyone feeds a child, but most people will give food to a puppy."

"You can't be serious," Jack said in disbelief.

"What do you know?" Sage snarled. "You're just a normal."

Jack smiled. "Maybe I am, but I grew up around paranormals. I think I know a bit more than you, since you don't even know what an Alpha is."

"Why should I know anything? No one ever let me stick around," Sage snapped. "And clearly you don't know much about wolves. I've always been a wolf, always."

"Then you're the first," Jack told him. "Children don't survive the bite."

"I've never been bitten," Sage said with a shrug.

"If you weren't bitten, then you wouldn't be a wolf."

Sage scowled. "I am a wolf and I've never been bitten."

Jack frowned. "You seem to be breaking all the rules."

"Whatever," Sage snapped. "It's not like it matters. They won't let me stay long anyway."

"I already said you may stay as long as you like."

"Sure, like they'll allow that," Sage said bitterly. "If you think they'll let me stay you're nuts."

"Why don't you stay and see?"

"Why? So, these wolves can beat me, too?" Sage demanded. "That's what happens if I stay too long. I don't get asked to leave, Jack, I get hurt."

"Anthony would never allow that," Jack said firmly.

"…who's Anthony?"

"The New York City Alpha."

"You really believe what you're saying."

"I am telling the truth."

"Alright, I'll try it," Sage said finally after a long minute of thinking.

"Great," Jack said enthusiastically. "Let's set up a code for you to get in. If you're going to stay you'll need to be able to come and go as you please."

/~/~/

Sage dressed hurriedly. He only had a few minutes left before he was expected downstairs. He could already hear Mitch and Jane talking with Jack. It had been three days since his scary conversation with Jack. Jack had changed the lock on the door leading to the bar. It now had a deadbolt and only he and Jack had a key. The door at the bottom of the stairs to the bar now had the double sided lock. Jack always unlocked it as soon as he came in so Sage didn't have to go outside to get to the bar.

Sage dashed out and barely stopped long enough to lock the door behind him before taking the stairs three at a time. Jack smiled at him as he almost fell into the room. Jane bounced over to give him a big hug. Sage flinched slightly, but didn't push her away. Before Sage could even get around the bar to start setting up someone knocked on the door.

"He's here," Mitch said dryly.

"Who's here?" Sage asked warily. Mitch still made him nervous.

"Anthony," Mitch answered as he went to open the door. Sage went still and Mitch could smell the fear that surrounded him. "Relax, pup. Anthony won't hurt you," Mitch said glancing back at him.

Sage didn't answer just stared at the man that came in. Mitch lowered his eyes and nodded to him. Jane bounced up and gave him her normal hug of greeting. Anthony absently returned it and nodded to Jack. Jack gave him a grin and waved toward Sage. "Hey Anthony, this is Sage."

Sage edged around the bar so it was between him and Anthony. Sage watched him carefully as he moved ready to run if Anthony made any move toward him.

Anthony watched him move but said nothing until he stopped near Jack. "Hello, Sage. As you've probably guessed, I'm Anthony, the Alpha of New York."

"Hi," Sage muttered, edging closer to Jack.

Anthony gave him an assessing look waiting until Sage looked up at him. Anthony caught his eyes and held his gaze. Sage tipped his head a faintly puzzled look staring back at Anthony. There was a long silence as everyone else watched.

Finally, Sage asked, "Are you going to say anything or just stare at me?"

Anthony blinked slowly. "Interesting."

"What?" Sage asked suspiciously.

"You didn't react."

"To what?" Sage demanded.

"The presence of a dominate Alpha," Anthony answered. "No one meets my eyes for long, Sage. Even vampires avoid my gaze."

Sage considered that. "I didn't feel anything."

"I noticed," Anthony said clearly amused. "Jack tells me you claim to have been a wolf as a child."

"Yeah, so?" Sage growled, unnerved.

"Jack said you claimed to have never been bitten," Anthony continued ignoring Sage answer. "Can you prove that?"

Sage glared at him. "I am not stripping just to prove a point!"

Anthony laughed. "Oh, no, pup. That is not necessary. I can smell truth as easily as you. You need merely answer, have you ever been bitten?"

Sage considered that. "Not in the way you mean."

"I do not understand your answer."

"I've been bitten in fights, but not to change. I've always been a werewolf," Sage clarified. "Jack said you all have bite scars. I don't have any scars."

"That is not possible."

"And I say again, I'm not stripping to prove it," Sage snarled at him.

"I did not ask you to."

"Then stop saying it's not possible. I may not know where I come from, but I know damn well I've always been a wolf," Sage snapped.

"And you feel no compulsion to obey me," Anthony observed. "You are a unique wolf, Sage. I think I like you. You may stay in New York for as long as you wish." Anthony nodded to him and left. A stunned silence fell in his wake.

Predictably, Jane was the one that broke it. "Well, that was weird."

"You're telling me," Mitch muttered. "I didn't expect that to be so calm. How on earth did you meet his eyes for so long?"

"I know you've tried to explain the whole Alpha dominance thing, but I still didn't feel anything from him or you," Sage muttered starting to set up the bar.

"He was right, you are one weird wolf," Mitch said.

Sage glared at him. "It's not like it's my fault. I've always been this way."

"I didn't say it was a bad thing."

"It's never helped me."

"Dominate wolves don't react well to defiance," Mitch told him, watching as Sage set up the glasses to his own specifications. "You effortlessly ignore our dominance, but have none of your own. It confuses the wolf and causes them to lash out in anger."

Sage's hands went still and he looked over to Mitch. "That's why all the wolves hurt me?"

"It is the most logical explanation," Mitch answered. "Speaking for myself if Anthony hadn't forbidden it I most likely would have attacked you as well, but his order to leave you alone gave me time to sort out my problems. I have no desire to assert dominance over you because I have come to realize you are no threat to me."

"I don't get the whole dominance thing," Sage growled. "I don't feel anything like what you keep describing."

"So you've said," Mitch said. "Don't worry about it. Anthony won't let anybody hurt you."

"We'll see," Sage answered clearly unconvinced.

/~/~/

"Hey, pretty one," Josh, a local vamp, said leering at Sage. "Want to earn some extra cash?"

Sage gave him a flat look. "You have three seconds to walk away before Mitch is behind you."

Josh threw a quick look to the door where Mitch was watching him. "Come on, Sage," he said coaxingly, "just a bit of fun. I'm really-" He didn't get any farther as Mitch grabbed him around the throat and hauled him off his feet.

"You've been warned, Josh," Mitch said pleasantly. No one got in his way as Mitch moved through the bar and tossed Josh out the door. "You're banned for a week. Leave Sage alone."

Sage shook his head and slid a shot across the bar to Harvey, another local vamp. "Sorry for the runt, Sage," Harvey said apologetically. "I tried to tell milord that he wasn't ready for decent company, but no one listens to me."

Sage shrugged. "Mitch won't let anyone touch me."

Harvey grinned. "Ain't that the truth," he said shoving money in Sage's tip jar. "Has your Alpha been by tonight?"

Sage flushed. "He's not my Alpha."

Harvey laughed. "Hell, pup. The whole paranormal city knows he has his eyes set on you."

Sage glared at him. "You're taking up space." Harvey laughed again, but moved away from the bar giving others access.

It wasn't more than an hour later when the feel of the bar changed. Sage didn't need to look at the door to know Anthony had arrived. With practiced movements Sage poured a shot of tequila and handed it to Anthony, who had come to stand across from him. Anthony smiled, slow and hot. "Thanks, Sage."

Sage gave him a withering look. "You're welcome," he said dryly before moving to serve someone else.

Not five minutes later, Jack stepped up to him. "You're break," Jack said cheerfully.

Sage rolled his eyes. "It's absolutely amazing that I always get my break when Anthony shows up."

Jack just grinned and shooed him away. Sage easily threaded his way through the crowd, glaring at every wolf that smirked at him. Anthony was waiting for him outside with a steaming mug of hot chocolate from the diner across the street. Sage sighed, but accepted the drink.

"Anyone bothering you?" Anthony asked.

Sage rolled his eyes and sipped at his drink. "No," Sage answered. "Why do you always ask me that?"

"Just in case the answer has changed," Anthony said, watching him with a faint smile.

"What do you want?" Sage asked.

"To court you."

Sage gave him a dark look. "Why?"

"Because you're perfect."

"Ha."

Anthony smiled. "You are. You've been here six months now and fit flawlessly with my pack. Even the other paranormals like you."

"And that makes me perfect?" Sage asked bitingly.

"No, but it makes things better. Your scent makes you perfect," Anthony told him.

"My scent," Sage repeated.

"Yes, it tells me that you're mine."

Sage glared at him.

"Hmmm, I get the feeling I have misspoken," Anthony said amused.

"I don't belong to anyone," Sage stressed.

"Ah, that is a wolf thing," Anthony explained. "I belong to you just as much."

"But you're dominate," Sage said, eyes narrowed.

"In a normal pairing that would matter," Anthony said, watching Sage intently, "but you are neither. I can't give you an order and expect you to obey."

Sage grinned. "I know. Pissed you off didn't it?"

"When you stepped between Jack and a gun, yes," Anthony said dryly.

Sage laughed. "I've been shot before and the idiot won't be doing that again considering you ripped his head off…literally."

Anthony growled. "He hurt you."

"I healed."

"He won't hurt you again."

"I think we've established that," Sage said dryly. "I have to get back," he continued handing Anthony the now empty mug. Anthony took it and before Sage could react darted forward to press a soft kiss to his mouth. Sage blinked, startled, but didn't even flinch. "Hey! You're supposed to ask before doing stuff like that!" Sage yelled at Anthony, who was already half way across the street.

Anthony laughed and didn't answer.

Mitch grinned at him as Sage came back in. Sage glared. "Not a word," he said threateningly.

Mitch smirked. "Of course, Sage, I can't think of a thing to say."

Sage glowered and slipped through the crowd and behind the bar. The rest of the night passed smoothly. Sage gave the bar one last wipe-down as Mitch escorted Jane out. Jack locked the door behind them and turned to face Sage.

"Is there a reason you're so resistant to Anthony?" Jack asked, curiously.

Sage grinned at him. "I'm not, but you don't appreciate things you don't work for."

Jack laughed. "Very true, pup."

"You know if I start dating Anthony you'll have to stop calling me pup," Sage said, collecting the money out of his tip jar.

Jack chuckled. "You don't even know if you're a legal adult, Sage. I can call you pup all I want."

Sage rolled his eyes. "I'm somewhere around nineteen or twenty, thanks."

Jack looked surprised. "You've never offered information before."

Sage shrugged uncomfortably. "I'm sticking around, I guess. You should know a bit more about me, right?" Sage ended uncertainly.

Jack smiled. "Friends tell each other things."

Sage grinned. "I like having friends, never had any before."

Jack smelled sad, but he still smiled. "I'm glad you have friends, Sage. Ready to call it a night?"

"Yeah, I'm tired," Sage admitted.

"Look on the bright side, we're closed tomorrow," Jack said as he headed for the door.

Sage laughed softly. "Night, Jack," Sage called as he headed up the stairs.

"Good night, Sage," Jack answered, locking the door behind him. If Sage hadn't been listening for it even his wolf ears wouldn't have heard the reply.

/~/~/

The ringing of the cell phone Anthony had bought him woke Sage just before lunch. "Yeah?" Sage answered, not checking the caller id.

"Sage," Anthony all but purred.

Sage rolled his eyes, ignoring what that tone did to him. "Hello, Anthony."

"Will you meet me for lunch?" Anthony asked.

Sage smiled, deciding held let Anthony hang long enough. "Sure. Where?"

"Terry's diner," Anthony answered pleased.

Sage laughed. "I'll be there in a half hour."

"I'll see you then," Anthony said and hung up.

Sage rolled off the futon and headed for the bathroom. He showered leisurely and picked out one of his favorite outfits for lunch. He'd been thrilled when Jack had given him all the clothes in the closet to keep. They were the kind of things he liked wearing, but could never afford.

Sage grabbed his wallet before leaving. He walked across the street with five minutes to spare, but wasn't surprised to see Anthony's car in Terry's lot. Terry greeted him at the door with a grin causing Sage to roll his eyes.

"Hi, Terry," Sage greeted dryly.

"Sage," Terry said cheerfully. "Think you can find him?"

Sage gave him a look. "I can smell him from here," Sage said quietly, rolling his eyes again.

"Sure, pup," Terry murmured softly, amused.

Sage gave him a withering look and went to sit across from Anthony. Anthony smiled at him. "I can smack him later if you want," he offered.

Sage shook his head. "Nah, Terry's harmless." Terry shot him a glare that Sage returned with a sweet smile.

"Why today?" Anthony asked. "I've asked you before and you always say no."

Sage smiled softly. "I don't want to say no anymore," he answered.

Anthony gave him his slow, hot smile. "And what does that mean?"

"It means that I'm staying."

"Forever?" Anthony asked.

"Yes."

Anthony hesitated before asking hesitantly, "With me?"

Sage grinned. "When do you want me to move?"

All the tension drained out of Anthony and he reached out lacing his fingers through Sages hair and pulling him gently closer. "Immediately," he answered before sealing the fledgling mate bond with a proper kiss.