And thank you to Keket Gipsy for helping me pull it all together :)
Ian knelt on the bathroom floor. This was not how he had first imagined his first sexual experience. But what he really didn’t expect was the slap against his cheek. He looked up slowly when the sting began to fade.
“You dirty slut. I told you to take out my dick.” Ian looked up at the man in front of him and wondered why he had chosen this day to go to the seedy bar on the edge of town. What had made him think there would be any gay guys there, let alone any his age. The man above his wavered in Ian’s eyes. The man had bought Ian a drink, and Ian had drunk it, and the next, and the next. And now he was kneeling on the bathroom floor looking up at the man who had to be at least 15 years older than him.
“The fuck are you waiting for slut? Get to work.” Ian couldn’t seem to make himself move. He gazed up at the man and considered all the decisions that brought him to this place and cursed each one.
“Stupid slut.” The man hit Ian again- this time with his fist.
Ian opened his eyes slowly. The man had beaten him steadily until he lay on the floor unmoving. It seemed quiet so Ian sat up, his head was pounding and he felt disgusting inside and out. He felt hands in his hair pulling him slowly to his knees.
“There you go, now open that pretty little mouth.” Ian closed his eyes, and opened his mouth.
“What are you doing?” There was another voice in the room; Ian was pushed to the floor, his teeth clicked shut on his mouth and fresh blood seemed down his chin. He let his eyes close and listened to the sound of someone else being battered with fists stronger than his own.
Ian felt warm and safe. The fear that had haunted him for years had faded. He had slept without dreams.
“Good afternoon.” Ian’s eyes shot open, well one of them did. Nothing hurt but he was aware of all the places he had been hit. His swollen left eye one of them.
“Who are you?” Ian tried to push himself away but his limbs moved as if he were swimming through Jell-O.
“My name is Luke.” The man's voice was soft; it didn’t seem to fit his features. His dark wavy hair fell into his eyes and his dark eyes betrayed no emotion.
“My name is Ian. Where am I?” Once his surprise wore off the feeling of safety and comfort returned.
“You are in my home. I have to leave soon but feel free to stay here until you feel better. You took quite a beating.” Ian nodded, he was remembering now. He blushed slowly when he imagined what he had looked like on the floor, what he had obviously been planning.
“There is no need to be embarrassed. The only one at fault is the one who meant to harm you, who struck you. You could have died and he cared not.”
“Well if I hadn’t gone, I could have said no, I could have run away…” Ian trailed off; there were so many decisions he had made. And any one of them could have prevented the incident.
“Ian, it is not your fault. I do not want you to speak- or think this way any more. You can be angry, upset, whatever- just as long as what you are feeling is not guilt.” Luke’s soft voice sounded almost angry. Ian nodded and slid down under the covers. Luke smiled slightly and tucked the covers around him.
“Sleep a bit more, then we’ll have lunch.”
Lunch? Ian wondered, it had been early evening when he left for the bar- now it was nearly time for lunch? There was little light in the room, and none of it natural. Ian also didn’t see any clocks. Figuring it would all work out Ian let himself slip back into sleep, and dreams of comfort and warmth.
Bennet pulled his arm away from the doctor for the third time. Ever since his 18th birthday he had gone through this each year. And this year he could barely stand to feel the doctors warm dry skin on his. He couldn’t stand for anyone to touch him.
“Bennet, you are only making this harder for yourself.” Dr. Stevens had a point, but the logic didn’t help Bennet relax. “Your father will be very upset if this isn’t finished in the next 15 minutes.”
“Just say you did it, and leave.” Bennet suggested. No one needed a tetanus shot every year whether they worked with rusted metal routinely or not. It was excessive, just like everything else Bennet’s father insisted on.
“Bennet you know that is not an option. Just sit still for one minute.” The doctor’s hand clamped around Bennet’s elbow and slid the needle home. The burn of the injection was more painful than Bennet remembered, and it seemed to spread slowly even as the Dr. Stevens pulled out the needle.
“That wasn’t so bad was it? “ Bennet glared and slipped out of the chair. “Your father wishes to see you.” Stevens called after him. Bennet flipped him the bird.
“Son, your attitude has to improve.” Bennet stood in front of his father’s desk in his study. His hands rested behind his back. He didn’t answer. “It has to improve today as you will be helping your mother host a business dinner later this evening. You will be dressed and downstairs at eight sharp. You will be civil to all the guests.” Bennet stared at his father.
“It is six now. I have to shower and I planned on taking a nap, or going to bed early. You know I just saw Dr. Stevens and-“
“You will do as I say.” Bennet considered continuing to argue but knew it would do no good.
“May I take your coat?” Bennet asked for the seeming millionth time.
“No thank you.” Bennet looked up. The blond man looked nothing like his father’s usual associates. His blond hair hung in his eyes and the hint of stubble graced his cheeks. And he was under the age of 60; in fact he couldn’t have been more than five years older than Bennet.
“Uhh hi.” Bennet was at a loss. Usually these events and the small talk that went with them were easy for him, but his tiredness and this mans beauty threw him.
“Hello. You must be Bennet. Pleased to meet you.” The man turned and walked away. Bennet would have followed but there were more guests to attend to, more coats to store, more middle aged associates to impress.
“Do we have to go?” Ryder crawled back under the covers and looked up at his lover. “I just want to stay here with you.” He reached a hand out to brush down Tove’s coat tails.
“Yes we have to go. Get up.” Ryder pulled the covers over his head and squirmed down to the center of the bed, sighing as the silk brushed against his naked body.
“Ryder get up and get dressed. Stalling will get you nothing but punishment, and you will still have to go, only with a sore ass.” Ryder considered then slipped out of bed at the foot. He stalked across the room to the closet where his suit hung on the door. He shot is most enticing look over his shoulder and slipped on his pants- sans underwear. Tove groaned and left the room.
“I’ll bring the car around.”
Ryder listened to Tove’s footsteps leave the room. When he was sure he was gone he sighed and flopped back on the bed. He guessed he had about ten minutes until Tove came looking for him. After watching the fan spin lazily for what he estimated was seven minutes, Ryder put on his shirt and coat and made his way to the drive.
The party was just as Ryder expected. Boring stuffy and with no one he wanted to talk to. The son of the host looked like he might be interesting but he disappeared early in the evening leaving Ryder to follow after Tove like a very bored puppy.
“This is Ryder.” For the millionth time Ryder smiled at another important businessman.
“Hello, pleased to meet you.” Ryder said it in one breath and stuck out his hand. When the man didn’t take it Ryder raised his eyes to the man’s. He was tall, solid without being bulky and looked the faintest bit familiar.
“If only I could get my son to behave as well as you.” The man had gloves on his hands and did not take Ryder’s. Ryder lowered his hand and blushed. What was he supposed to say to that?
“You make me feel old Daire! I hope your son isn’t quite as old as Ryder.” The man laughed and Tove pulled Ryder into a one armed hug. Ryder eyed the man. He didn’t look old enough to have a son his age. Then Ryder looked at Tove and realized he didn’t know how old his boyfriend was. Feeling vaguely uncomfortable Ryder slipped from under Tove’s arm in search for a drink.
“Are you old enough to be drinking that?” Ryder gripped his appletini protectively. He needed it. Especially if people he didn’t know kept talking to him.
“Umm, I just- yes I am old enough.” There were no police here, worst came to worst and he would just have to put the drink back. He could always drink Tove’s. The other boy laughed quietly.
“Don’t worry, these parties are awful. I would never come, but seeing as it is my house they are rather difficult to get out of.” So this was the ill behaved son.
“I met your father.” The other boy flinched.
“Oh, well I guess giving you a fake name won’t work then. I’m Bennet Daire. And you are?”
“Oh umm Ryder. Ryder Sionn. I came with Leo Torvald. I am not nearly important enough to rate an invitation.” Ryder leaned against the wall. He was glad he wasn’t required to participate in the actual dinner that was to follow, and especially the discussion. He always got the impression that everything was a code for something else. He usually just played games on his phone under the table. Well until Tove noticed. Then he just had to wait till the dinner ended.
“I’ve never heard of him. Does he have another name? It seems all my father’s associates call themselves something other than their Christian name.” Bennet mimicked Ryder’s position, then slowly slid down to the floor, Ryder followed.
“Umm, some people call him Tove, if that is what you mean.” Bennet went very still.
“That name I have definitely heard.”
“Why do you say it like that? In a bad way? Anyway do you know anything about what this dinner is about? Tove never tells me, he just drags me along and I am always more confused after.”
Bennet let his head fall back against the wall.
“I try to stay out of it, but I know-“
“Dinner is ready. Everyone is invited to make his or her way to the dining room.” A woman in a black dress and white belt walked through the room ringing a small bell.
“Well maybe we will talk later? If I ‘lollygag’ my father will have my head, maybe we will be seated next to each other.” Ryder nodded, and the two walked, rather quickly, to the dining room.
It turned out that Ryder and Bennet were nowhere near each other on the massive oak table, but Bennet was just across from the golden hired man.
When Ian woke again he knew where he was, and he was comfortable with it. He wasn’t worried about hurrying home; his mother couldn’t care less where he was. It wasn’t entirely her fault, when Ian’s father had been killed she had never recovered. No matter what drugs the doctors gave her, she would never come back. And is brother had never cared for him and probably never would. He knew his family could be worse, but he couldn’t help but resent them. Now, somehow, it didn’t matter. He felt like he was out of time, he knew it was passing. He had felt rested, and sharp pains were fading into bone deep aches.
Ian rolled out of the bed slowly. His pants and shirt were gone, he still wore his purple briefs, but they were- rather brief. He wrapped himself in a blanket from the bed. It smelled safe and he wrapped it around him tightly breathing in deeply before he ventured from the room.
The house was small but cozy. Ian had no trouble finding the kitchen. The smell of tomato soup and toasting bread lead him right to it.
“Awake again, how do you feel?” Luke’s soft voice seemed to draw Ian in, he walked to the island and slid into a chair, but really he just wanted to walk into Luke’s arms. Ian shook himself telling himself it was only because Luke had saved him, and he hadn’t had many hugs, or saviors since his dad died, but deep inside he knew it was something more.
“I feel like-” Ian tried to think of a good analogy, one that wasn’t overused as ‘hit by a Mac truck’ but “-like I was hit by a really big car.” Was not better. Luke smiled.
“I guess that is slightly less bad than a truck?” Ian felt his cheeks heating and he curled the blanket tighter around him. When he looked up again he found himself looking into a bowl of soup with delicious crusty bread next to it.
“I know you aren’t sick, but comfort food seemed to be in order.” It was perfect. Ian didn’t want to appear rude, or like he had been raised by wolves but it was too good to eat slowly. The fact that someone cared enough to make him food, and wonder if it was the right kind of food was overwhelming.
Ian put down the spoon and pulled his right hand back inside the blanket, he shivered once then began to cry. He never cried. Startled by his own reaction, Ian hiccupped, then began crying harder. He had finally found a place he felt safe enough to show what the past years had done to him, and it was in a stranger’s house dressed in only in a blanket.
Luke stared at Ian for a moment. The beautiful boy looked beyond miserable, but Luke didn’t know what to do. He had been alone for a long time; he had been restless and had only gone to the bar for something to do. Usually he would never think of going to such a place, but driving by hadn’t seemed an option. And it had lead him to Ian.
“Shh, you are safe now.” Ian was soft and warm in his arms, he shivered beneath the blanket. Luke could smell the boy’s scent mixing with his own and was disgusted with himself as he began to harden under his soft sweats. Ian was hurt, he had just been assaulted, and he was sobbing. And yet he was the most beautiful, sexy thing Luke had ever see, and by far the most beautiful thing he had ever held in his arms.
Luke pressed his lips to Ian’s hair, partially to keep himself from kissing anything else, partially because he just couldn’t resist burying his face in Ian’s soft, sweet smelling hair.
“Why are you doing this?” Ian’s sobs had faded into soft snuffles and occasional shivers. Luke had pulled him onto the couch and held the younger man curled in his arms.
“Doing what?” Luke looked down at Ian and loosened his arms, did he not want to be touched. “Don’t” Ian burrowed deeper in the blanket and closer to Luke’s heartbeat, almost as if he was determined to make himself a part of his heart.
“Why are you being so nice to me, you already rescued me?” Ian paused as if he were going to continue, but instead pulled the blanket to his nose.
“I don’t really know.” Luke blinked and realized he spoke the truth. “I couldn’t just leave you even after- that man was gone, I couldn’t let you go.” Luke cut off his words. He didn’t talk about feelings, he didn’t have feelings, but here he was cradling another man in his arms, one that had been crying a minute ago.
“I just couldn’t let you go.” Words that Ian had never heard, and had needed to hear for years.
Bennet couldn’t keep his eyes off the golden haired man. It was a good thing he wasn’t expected to participate in the conversation, because he was not following it. He also was not eating. All he could do was watch every move the man made. Each trip his fork took to his mouth held Bennet in rapture.
“Hello?” Bennet snapped out of imagining the man's lips wrapped around something much closer and more personal than his fork.
“Huh?” Bennet looked around, he wasn’t even sure who had spoken.
“Are you alright you seem a bit out of sorts.” It was the man that was speaking. He was talking to Bennet.
“Umm.” The man had a perfect voice, each syllable made Bennet’s spine tingle and nerves sing, it was like it was traveling through him.
“Do you need to go lie down?” Bennet nodded, he did need to lie down, with the golden haired man, sans clothing, preferably soon.
“Do you want me to walk you there?”
“Oh, umm where?” Bennet took a breath, he had to think, what had the man asked, what was he saying. “Oh no, I’m fine, here I mean I don’t have to sex-sleep now… I have, need hungry.” Bennet finished his speech and grabbed the first available thing on his plate, it was an artfully arranged tossed Caesar salad, Bennet picked up the anchovy.
“Food, to eat.” He said and put it in his mouth. The golden haired man watched with a concerned expression.
“I think you do need to lie down.” Bennet was silent, still possessing enough mindfulness to avoid speaking with his mouth full, or spitting out the less than appetizing bit of food in him mouth. He watched as the man walked to the head of the table, past Ryder who was watching intently, and whisper in his father’s ear. His father frowned, blanched, and then nodded slowly. After another agonizing minute of whispers the golden haired man came around the table and gently pulled Bennet to his feet.
“I wish we had more time, and that you hadn’t drunk so much.” Bennet nodded, not really understanding the man's words, but knowing he would agree with anything he said.
Bennet stood in the shower stunned. The cold water had shaken him from his trancelike state. He finished washing himself and wrapped a fluffy soft towel around his waist.
“What the hell is going on?” The golden haired man was sitting on Bennet’s bed looking through his journal. “Put that down!” Bennet hurried to grab the journal but the man was too fast. Bennet ended up sprawled at the foot of the bed, his towel barely holding on, the man, wisely handed him the journal.
“Well, as I believe beginning at the beginning is always the course of action, that is where I will start. But first I think it would be wise if you dressed yourself.” Bennet did then sat, as patiently as he could, and waited for the man to continue.
“My name is Sawyer, and I have known you father for many years, we went to school together and now are members of the Indigo Hour, it is the society that I meeting today, it is a bit business, a bit club, and mostly a council of behavior. A ruling body if you will.”
“What does this have to do with me, or whatever is happening? Get to the point.” Bennet crossed his arms and began to pace.
“If you will be still I will tell you.” Bennet looked at the man and considered for a moment. HE no longer wanted to fall at the man’s feet, but he did want his approval. Bennet sat in his desk chair, and was still.
“The Indigo Hour is an old organization, and one that while not hidden, is not flaunted. Only a very special group of people know of our existence.”
“Don’t lie to me. I’m not completely stupid.” Bennet moved to stand, but a look from Sawyer stopped him, it did not, however, stop his pout.
“I will not lie, if you will be still and let me tell you.” Sawyer paused to gage Bennet’s agreement, then after nearly a minute, continued.
“We are quiet about our group because of the secrets we hold, secrets that are not only ours, but that are many peoples.” Bennet wanted to ask what secrets, but stopped himself, something told him another offence would make getting the story much harder.
“Your father was planning on telling you when you were poised to take his place, but time is moving in a pattern that will not allow that. The Indigo Hour protects, and to do that as few people as possible know about us. Just knowing brings danger. As your father’s son you were already a bit at a risk; as my consort the danger will more than double.” Bennet couldn’t stay quiet after a pronouncement like that.
“Hold on- your what? I’m not your anything. You are just my dad’s friend, his frat buddy or something. Plus if you want to go out you should, you know, ask. Who knows I might say yes.” Bennet stood and began to pace again. “Maybe I am sick and this is some crazy fever dream. Hmm, good thing you are kind of hot, else I might have to kill myself to escape. You know that if you know you are dreaming you can control them. I want- flying cake, and a pile of gold and I want to fly!” Bennet opened his arms and imagined himself taking flight. He stayed firmly on the ground.
“Bennet, it isn’t a dream and you know it.” And deep down inside, Bennet did know. He flopped back in his chair and sighed. He knew he didn’t want this party. Plus he had stupid shots already today. He just wanted to go to sleep and forget all of this.
“I know you are tired, but you should know what is happening.” Sawyer ached to go to Bennet, to wrap him in his arms and tell him it would be all right. But in reality, things weren’t going to be all right for a long while.
“There is a conflict in the society. It will not affect you directly. But the society will. You see we are all shifters. We can shed our skin in a variety of ways, and so can you. Your father is not sure what you will become but there is no doubt that you will have the ability.”
Bennet sat unmoving, each word that emerged from Sawyer’s mouth was more unbelievable than the last, and yet he couldn’t help but believe it. Bennet could feel Sawyer’s truth as if it was his own.
“The shots you have gotten each week prevent this change, but now you know your father will probably stop them. He just wanted to protect you as long as he could.”
“Why stop now then, I could have gone on just as I have?” Bennet curled his knees up to his chest and considered how much of his life had been a lie.
“The bond cannot be completed if you do not change forms- plus, more urgently, you must learn to defend yourself. The- conflict- has not become physical, but as more members from around the world arrive it is bound to happen.”
“What bond? Plus why can’t you just talk it out? I mean one douche can ruin everything for you, why would you fight?” Bennet chose to ignore the bit about shape changing for as long as he could. But he had to know what type of bond he was supposed to be making. Bennet wasn’t close to anyone. His father was more of a controller, a boss. And that prevented him from getting out enough to make friends; his mother had disappeared hours after his birth. Anything permanent was sure to make him uneasy.
“The bond between us, most shifters have some sort of equivalent, between consort and regent.” Bennet frowned at Sawyer’s words.
“What am I supposed to be then, as far as I know a regent is some sort of royalty and I don’t know-“ Bennet didn’t know how to ask his questions, but Sawyer understood.
“Old fashioned terms, there is not necessarily a dominant partner, though it often such, especially in nonhuman forms-“
“What the hell? No, I won’t do it. This is all crazy. Next thing I know there will be vampires and werewolves running around under the full moon. Nonhuman whatever- no. I can’t, won’t be running around submitting to any nonhuman anything.”
“Bennet, you don’t have to.” Sawyer’s words settled Bennet slightly.
“You still aren’t making sense. Use small sentences I am beyond anything else. What does any of this mean to me, why should I care?” Sawyer paused considered Bennet’s words. He then cocked his head before bringing up one finger.
“One, you are my true mate, once bonded we will not be able to live without each other.” He raised another finger.
“You will have to change soon, into your ultimate form, it will most likely hurt.” Another finger-
“Three, there is conflict, and maybe violence coming, you must prepare.”
Bennet nodded slowly.
“That is good for tonight. Maybe tomorrow, I will be able to think, maybe tomorrow-” He felt dizzy, overwhelmed, tired, and just a little bit buzzed.
Sawyer tucked him under the covers, then lay on top of them, next to Bennet.
“Rest well dear one.” Sawyer whispered as Bennet drifted to sleep, “It may be a while until you can again.
Ryder watched Bennet watch Sawyer in interest. When there was a lull in the conversation he nudged his mate.
“Hey, looks like the boss man’s son has been bitten.” Tove smiled at him.
“Indeed it does, I remember you watching me like that, I remember it quite well actually.” Ryder blushed, he remembered what happened next. He had been reading in the library of this very same house waiting for his father to finish reporting to Daire, when a beautiful, powerful man had entered the room. Ryder hadn’t been able to keep his eyes off the man. He had been stricken by the power the man seemed to hold within him. He had been unable to speak when the man had come to him; he had also been unable to keep his hands off him. It was only luck that they had made it to Tove’s house before Ryder had managed to rip all of his and Tove’s clothing off. Ryder blushed harder when he remembered how long it had taken him to learn Tove’s name- it was afternoon the next day before he had the presence of mind to ask.
“I remember every moment my pretty.” Tove whispered, “I remember how eager you were. Unstoppable really. I was so worried I was going to hurt you.” Ryder crossed his legs, his embarrassment and arousal almost strong enough to stop him from seeing a dazed Bennet trail after Sawyer.
“Poor baby, I hope he makes it.” Ryder felt for his new friend, he had at least known about the Indigo Hour, but he knew Bennet didn’t. Learning had broken several people’s minds, it wasn’t pretty and Ryder didn’t wish it on anyone.
“Me too, he’s a sweet kid.” Ryder frowned.
“He’s not that much younger than me, do you think I am a kid?”
“Ryder, this is neither the time or the place to be a brat. You know the answer to that question. Plus you have seen more, done more than him, as close as you are in age you are far in experience.” Ryder pouted. He had been being silly, but he didn’t like to be told off.
“Can we go soon? Isn’t the real meeting tomorrow? That’s what you said yesterday, and my skin itches.” Tove nodded knowing once Ryder slipped into bitchiness there was no going back.
“After dinner we can leave, that will leave time for a short run.”
“Before dessert?” Sighing Tove nodded.
Ryder stretched happily. Running as a fox always made him feel better, it had been a while since he changed, and even though it hurt at first the relaxation was worth it. Plus scaring the small brown mice into their holes was a rather fun game, and one he could beat Tove at. Besting Tove always made Ryder feel better.
Tove shed his other skin slowly and smiled down at Ryder who was lying on the grass at the bottom of the porch.
“You look better.” Tove said, Ryder smiled and sat up.
“I feel better, and I will feel even better if you give me what you owe me.” Tove frowned, what could he possibly owe Ryder?
“You can be really slow sometimes, slow and dumb.” Ryder smiled as he stood.
“You will pay for that!” Tove growled, Ryder giggled sharply and darted up the stairs and into the house.
“I sure hope so!” He called as he sprinted toward the bedroom.”
Sprawled across Tove’s knees Ryder did pay for his cheekiness. His lower cheeks smarted deliciously as Tove’s hand came down one final time.
“Ten!” Gasped. He was torn between pushing up to Tove’s soothing aloe covered hand or rubbing his erection over Tove’s still clothed thighs.
“God, please, more, more, fuck me- something.”
“Shh.” It was an impossible request. Trembling Ryder tried to still his movements, to stop from crying out as Tove’s slippery fingers slowly slipped deeper between his cheeks. They tickled and brushed ever so softly across his twitching hole. It was torture and Ryder wouldn’t trade it for anything.
“Tove! Now please, anything- I’ll do anything, I’m sorry please!” After an eternity Ryder couldn’t stay silent any longer, and he was rewarded for his efforts. Tove slipped one thick finger inside his heat. Ryder clenched hard and pushed back. Tove rolled Ryder from his lap onto the bed and stood. He slowly began removing his clothes, Ryder panted and grabbed a fistful of himself. He hurt.
“No.” Tove’s soft command brought agony, whimpering Ryder forced his hands to his sides; he writhed on the sheets, wishing he could turn over and knowing if he did he would have longer to wait.
Finally naked Tove pushed Ryder further up on the bed and settled into the cradle of his hips. Tove kissed Ryder’s sternum and poured more aloe on his hands before slipping two fingers inside him. Ryder panted against the fullness, even after almost two years together he felt the slight pinch of stretching, and just like the first time it only made him want more.
“Dear god, Tove please, more, more now, I am dying, dying I need you, need you now.” His words were breathless.
“No gods here, just us.” Tove brushed a kiss across one of Ryder’s nipples before nibbling on it. Ryder arched and hissed wordlessly. The moment his back fell back to the bed Tove entered him with another finger and Ryder writhed. He couldn’t think of forming words, his mind was full of sensation and want. When Tove saw Ryder holding his breath, and felt his body relax from its vice like tightness he removed his fingers. Savoring Ryder’s howl of denial Tove slicked himself with one more layer of aloe and slid home in one slow glide.
Ryder shoved against Tove’s hips wanting more, now but unable to form the words. Rubbing Ryder’s stomach to encourage breathing Tove began to move.
It was better than he ever remembered. Ryder’s body held him tight and protested his every withdrawal. Each time then came together like this Tove wondered at Ryder’s heat, he worried at first that he had a fever, now he just enjoyed the perfection of Ryder’s superheated walls.
Ryder tried to breathe, he really tried but each breath brought him closer to completion and he never wanted this to end. He shuddered with each thrust and pulled Tove closer for a kiss, Tove breathed for him, each thrust in an exhale and each withdrawal a breath.
When Tove pulled up to his knees for more leverage Ryder gave up on breathing and just felt. Tove’s thumbs rubbing the crease of his hip flexors pushed him over the edge, stars filled his darkening vision as Ryder tumbled over the edge, he didn’t hear his own screams, but felt Tove’s roar of completion as they fell together.
After Ian had showered and dressed in too big, borrowed clothes he returned to the small living area. He felt rested and clean and better than he had in ages, even with the bruises still in place.
Luke had showered in the other bathroom and was dressed in a charcoal grey dress shirt and black slacks, he looked positively appetizing.
“Why are you so dressed up?” Ian had to say something to prevent drooling on his borrowed clothes.
“I actually have to go to a meeting, but feel free to stay here. Make yourself at home. I would actually like it if you would stay.” Again Luke’s carefully neutral face faltered. Ian nodded. He didn’t want to go home. He liked it here, and if he was free to look around…
“I’ll stay.” Ian didn’t even wait for Luke to leave before he wandered back toward the bedroom to begin his search.
Ian had found nothing personal; he had searched the closets and every dresser and drawer her could find. Luke didn’t even seem to have a porn stash. He definitely didn’t have any family pictures; there was no evidence of any interaction with anyone. Sighing Ian flopped back on the couch and pouted. It wasn’t fun to be here by himself without some personal diary to read… Ian paused- then ran back to the office like room, he hadn’t checked the bookshelves.
Ian didn’t find a journal, but he did find a small-unmarked bluish leather bound book. It looked old and wasn’t something Ian would usually look twice at, but since he didn’t have anything else to do he carefully slid it from the shelf.
The book was strangely light, it seemed delicate, Luke carried it back to the couch and his newly claimed blanket. Curling in the blankets warm arms and delicious smell Ian opened the book. Only to find it was written in a font he couldn’t easily read. After running his fingers across the skin smooth pages he realized it want a font- it was handwriting. Wishing he had his reading glasses Ian began to read.
It was slow going but an intriguing story was beginning to take form. Years ago, according to the book, there had been a huge war, but one that was hidden. There were shape shifter and their protectors, but there had also been some crazy power hungry warlords. Ian hadn’t liked fantasy since he was a much younger, but the immediate nature of the writing made the fanciful scenarios sound almost like the nonfiction Ian had grown to love.
Ian was so involved in the story and a rather descriptive bit about the supposed bond between two of the main characters, two male characters, that he missed the sound of the door opening, and Luke entering the room.
“What are you doing?” Ian looked up slowly, Luke sounded almost- pissed.
“Just reading, this book is pretty good. I didn’t think I would like it, but it is better than I expected.” Luke grabbed the book from Ian’s hands ripping one of the pages.
“I didn’t leave you here, ask you to stay in my house to have you snooping through everything you can get your grubby little human hands on.” Ian was shocked.
“You said- to make myself at home-” The happy safe feeling was beginning to retreat, this new Luke was not what Ian wanted…
“I don’t know what sort of place you call home when digging through corners and closets was something you would do as a guest.” Luke’s voice had lost its anger, he now sounded cold, all emotion had fled his body.
“I’m sorry, I’ll just go. Is there somewhere I can return your clothes?” Ian tried to bury his disappointment, but could hear the waver in his voice. After not crying for years Ian really did not want to cry twice in one day. Sniffing Ian walks toward the door only to realize he doesn’t know where he is, or how to get anywhere without his wallet, the wallet he lost before even making it to the bar’s bathroom.
“Don’t go.” Luke spoke the words quietly, his anger has been replaced instantly with fear and longing the moment Ian stepped toward the door. Luke had been alone a long time, but longing for company did not explain the flood of panic that flowed through him.
“Oh fuck.” Luke whispered and Ian stopped. The whiplash of emotions could only mean one thing, something Luke was so not expecting, something he was so not ready for.
“Oh fuck.” Once just wasn’t enough.
Bennet opened his eyes; he was suddenly awake, and he remembered everything. The golden haired man, Sawyer was still there, watching Bennet with a blank expression on his face.
“Don’t worry, I remember. But I still don’t understand. If all you say is true, then this is one fucked up world. Really fucked. Like, fucked up beyond recognition. Like-“ Bennet tended to ramble when overwhelmed, and he had never been more overwhelmed than he was at this moment. Sawyer continued to study him.
“The easiest way would be to show you.” Bennet watched as Sawyer stood, and was remained how beautiful the man really was. And even with everything Bennet got a tingle in his lover stomach, it got stronger when Sawyer began to remove the shirt he was till wearing, and intensified to liquid pooling heat when Sawyer pushed the shirt off his shoulders and began to work on his belt.
“Umm, why are you so fucking- appealing?” Sawyer smiled and pushed the pants off.
“You find me attractive because we are mates, what kind depends on what we both want, and what you turn out to be, but there is no question that we will be together.” Bennet was only half listening. The majority of his mind was following the narrow trail of golden hair from a soft looking patch at Sawyer’s chest down through his abs and to gloriously tight, extremely low cut, black boxer briefs. The golden trial reminded Bennet of a certain song from the Wizard of Oz suddenly the words had a wonderful vision to go along with them.
Bennet reached a hand out to the impressive bulge in the shorts, he was sorely disappointed when Sawyer stepped away.
“Bennet, try to focus.” Bennet would have been taken aback at the harsh words if he didn’t hear the strain in Sawyer’s voice. He tucked his hands under his chin, and settled in to watch the show.
Sawyer turned to the side to pull down the underwear, it gave Bennet a slightly intimidating view of his, prodigious, endowment. Bennet was wondering what he could do with such an impressive toy when Sawyer’s skin seemed to shimmer, then his muscles seemed to move under the skin. Bennet blinked hard but the impression remained.
“What are you doing?” Sawyer didn’t answer, his bones seemed to flex, then bend- and with sickening cracks, move and change. Bennet was frozen in shock. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing, but he also knew that there was no way it was a trick. Moments later the thing that was Sawyer let out a sound that was almost a sigh, and soft golden fur spread in a wave from tail to head, and mane.
“THE FUCK!” Bennet scrambled from the lion at the bottom of his bed. The massive animal turned to look at him. The eyes were calm, they knew him. “Where’s Sawyer, there is a lion, a lion, lions are really big.” All the while Bennet was talking he was scooting himself as far from the beast as he could.
“Big kitty, sweet kitty, don’t eat me kitty.” Almost whimpering Bennet bolted for the door. He nearly fell down the stairs trying to make it to safety.
“DAD, there’s a lion, a lion in my room DAD!” When Bennet made it to the living room he found his father, and the more important of his guests sitting drinking coffee and scotch.
“Bennet, stop shouting and speak slowly.” Daire was calm, he looked at his barely dressed son and waited.
“A lion. In. My. Room. Sawyer was there. Then he turned into a huge fucking lion and the bones were snapping and now he is gone and there is a lion and what the fuck is going on DAD!” Bennet couldn’t make it to the end of his speech, he was too busy looking for the beast, he realized he hadn’t shut the door behind him. It could be in the room now. It could be hiding under the couch, or behind the plant, it could be behind him. Tears gathered in Bennet’s eyes as he stood completely still. When he got the courage to turn he saw his last thought had been accurate, the beast was behind him.
“Please don’t eat me.” Bennet whispered. The cat seemed to smile. Bennet nearly swooned.
“Well Sawyer, that didn’t seem to be the best way of showing my son what we are. If there is permanent damage to his mind I may have to deny your claim.” There was laughter around the room. Sawyer, the lion, bumped his huge head into Bennet’s chest. Bennet fell onto his butt. And stared.
After a pretty hard slap, another shower, and a few minutes of cartoon network, Bennet was ready to talk.
“Basically you all turn into animals and have a secret society. I can turn into one too only not right now?” The men sitting around the table nodded. “When were you planning on telling me this?” Bennet’s father shrugged.
“I suppose when you moved too far away from the shots. I hoped you would never know.” Bennet frowned.
“Why not, you seem okay, so do the other people. And if it is dangerous already, why shouldn’t I be able to protect myself? I could have been practicing all this time. You had to know it couldn’t last forever.” Bennet felt remarkably calm. Now that he was sure he was being told the truth he just needed everything to fall into place. He was usually a pretty down to earth, stable person. And if this was going to be his life, his down to earth, he could handle it. It had just been a big surprise.
“This is going to sound ridiculous.”
“You have to tell him, it’s only fair.”
“Sawyer should know too, before they-“
“I’m telling!” Bennet watched the quick conversation between his father and two closest- associates. They didn’t seem like friends, not quite.
“Bennet, it is probably just the ramblings of a sweet but slightly mad old lady.” Bennet nodded, his father wasn’t one to stall, so he braced himself for another dose of crazy. “But at your birth, your great-grandmother said a prophesy over you. According to her the magic of the past will breathe life through you and into you.” Bennet frowned.
“Say the whole thing.” Sawyer spoke quietly. Prophecies were usually nothing good, and that was just a bit to neutral to be the whole thing.
“It is rather long-“
“Say it.” Daire shrugged his shoulders, straightened his cufflinks, and began.
“She said: To the one born in winter, to the one born today, the magic of the past will breath life through you, and into the world. The magic of the past will choose you as its vessel and your love as its ladle. Your greatest joy will fade with knowing what it brings to the earth. Pain will be your companion in your quest. A challenge that will take moments to begin, and hours to complete. It is a quest that will end only with your life. Well, that is how I remember it.”
Bennet shivered. The whole thing was infinitely disturbing. Nothing good could come from something like that.
“What is that supposed to mean, minutes plus hours is way shorter than my life. And I don’t like pain. And I don’t get it.”
“That’s the thing about prophecies. The tend to be a mystery until they come to pass, and sometimes don’t become clear for generations.” Sawyer was watching Bennet closely as if the answers would appear on his face. Bennet shivered.
“Is there any other crazy shit you want to unload on me?” He figured he could use all the curse words he wanted in this sort of situation.
“There isn’t anything else that you need to know at the moment. You aren’t a member of the Hour, so there are still things I cant tell you.”
“Dad, after all this, you are still going to keep secrets? If I ask you the right questions will you answer them?” Daire shrugged. Bennet tried to think what his most pressing question was.
“Okay, can someone explain this bond thing?” There was silence around the room. A few of the men even shrank down in their chairs.
“Really it can’t be that bad, can it?” One of the men nodded and the rest laughed. Bennet scowled.
“Well, Bennet, son, it isn’t something that one discusses in front of company.”
“I don’t care tell me.” Bennet ignored the flinches and the hint of color on Sawyer’s cheeks. Daire took a deep breath and began to speak. The other men seemed to suddenly find their drinks, the lawn outside, or the bookcases infinitely interesting.
“The is between a man and a woman- or a man and a man. If they are mates, true mates the bond is almost impossible to resist. Once it is acknowledged, it becomes even harder to resist. The biological imperative-“ Daire began to speak slower and slower, and swirled his scotch, “the urge to mate becomes unbearable and when the relationship is- consummated and body fluids-“
“Basically you find your soul mate, then you fuck- really hard and loudly- then you have babies and can’t cheat.” One of the less familiar men had cracked under the awkward stillness.
“Oh.” Bennet blushed harder than he thought possible. “I see.” He looked at the lawn and found it just as engaging as the other men had.
Ryder looked up from his book when he heard Tove’s car in the driveway. He looked quickly back when Tove entered the room. Ryder hated it when Tove was away, but he didn’t want to look too eager, or like a spoiled brat.
“Anything interesting today?” Ryder asked after he counted to 100, the amount of time he had decided wouldn’t make him sound too needy.
“Yes actually. Bennet had a bit of a tough morning, ended up all right, then asked his father- in front of the counsel- all about the bond. And Daire, being he, answered in the most clinical way he could think of. Then Lacour clarified.” Ryder laughed.
“I wish I had been there!”
“You don’t really. It was awful, that poor boy. Plus the meeting after was really boring and difficult. And you wouldn’t have been able to witness.” Ryder pouted and let himself roll off the couch. He considered crawling to Tove, but decided that would fit into the too needy category. He settled to walking into Tove’s arms and nuzzling his neck.
“I always miss you.” Tove cupped the back of Ryder’s head and kissed the top of his head. After standing for a moment the two separated.
“We may have to move away for a bit, until this is all resolved.” Tove had pushed his plate away and crossed his arms. “Hopefully not for long, but I don’t want you in the middle of this. It seems the Day and Night really can’t work it out this time. The Night plan on being in town in a week.”
“Tove” Ryder could hear the whine in his own voice and tried to moderate it. “Tove, I don’t want to leave. How bad can it be? They only have a few people and we have lots. We can just avoid them till they wear themselves out, or run out of food or whatever happens in a siege.” Tove laughed.
“Babe, this is why you aren’t on the counsel. They won’t get tired and sieges are from the Middle Ages, it is the 21st century, they won’t run out of food.” Ryder frowned and tried not to pout.
“I’m not stupid don’t patronize me.” He pushed away from the table and flopped on the couch picking up his book. “Siege or not they will run out of resources. You would stay if it weren’t for me. I’m not completely defenseless. And if you go it is an advantage for them. Fucking Bennet is probably staying and he is a total virgin.” Ryder paused and thought about his last words, his lips twitched into a small smirk. He could never stay angry with Tove for long.
“You dirty boy. I can believe you would say that, but I wish you wouldn’t. Though- he probably won’t be for long.”
“Just imagine it.” Tove shook his head.
“I’d rather not.”
After a few moments of mutual imagination Tove broke the mood.
“I know that you want to stay, but if this gets bad you will go to a safe house.” Tove’s voice left no room for argument and Ryder conceded with as much grace as he could muster.
“If I have to go, you have to explain what is happening.” Tove frowned, but settled down next to Ryder, pulled the smaller man into his lap and began to speak.
“You know that there are groups in the Hour, almost like political parties, and they usually get along, but sometimes they clash. Through the years the sizes of the groups and their motives change. Now the Day is the larger group. The group Daire and his followers are in is called the Day.”
“That is ridiculous, its like calling it the good guys and the bad guys, couldn’t they come up with anything better?” Tove put a gently hand over Ryder’s mouth and continued.
“It will make sense if you will listen. The Day is in power, Daire is the chancellor, the night does not like this, they have a leader, but they will not say who it is. They have not met with the counsel for many months. But now they want to come back and ‘talk’. They left because there have been whispers of scientist that are on our trail, people who want to learn, not dissect. The Day wants us to cooperate, to reveal ourselves to them and help them use our genes to help people. The Day wants to do it on our own terms, to bring our existence into the light of day. It is corny but it works.” Ryder moved to speak, but Tove’s hand tightened.
“The night want to hold out till the bitter end, then fight the scientists, and if necessary all the humans. They would do anything to keep us out of their eye, even kill us, all that want to bring science forward. To help people.” Finally Ryder’s mouth was freed.
“So the good guys and the bad guys. Like I said.” Tove laughed and pinched one of Ryder’s nipples.
“Cheeky brat.” Ryder only moaned.
“What is it? Am I leaving or not?” Ian looked at Luke. The other man was watching him with a look of fear, caring, and just a bit of lust.
“You are staying, I don’t know how, but you are definitely staying.”
Ian took the news of shifters rather easily. He had loved fantasy as a kid and had always felt there was something else in the world. His father had always told the best stories before he died, stories that weren’t in books, ones that you had to see to believe, see to recall.
“So you turn into a massive wolf whenever. That’s cool. And you suddenly love me forever. That’s cool. No one has ever loved me forever before.” Ian smiled Luke stared.
“I always had a feeling this would happen. Maybe that why I’ve never dated…” Ian paused remembering how he came to be here. “I feel like I should apologies. I’m sure mates are supposed to be some pure innocent thing-“ Ian ran a hand over his face and felt the bruises. “Just a few days ago and you would have got it-“
“No?” Ian looked up.
“You are perfect, and as pure as ever. Assault is assault. You didn’t do anything wrong, and you didn’t really do anything at all. Pure white silk would still suit you.” Luke paused for a moment. “Actually it would really suit you. Amazingly, not just metaphorically.” Ian blushed.
“I don’t know, I’m not really that angelic.”
“I don’t mind at all.” Luke smiled as he spoke, Ian took a step back. He knew what was going to happen next and he wasn’t sure he was ready for it.
“What?” Luke took another step forward.
“You are going to kiss me. I don’t think I deserve it.” Ian brushed his hair back again. “Plus I don’t look very good.” It was a good excuse. He took another step back.
“You look perfect to me, you deserve everything. I don’t deserve you. You are so clean of everything. My whole world is full of death and fear and you are so clean. My very touch will dirty you, I can’t resist, and that is why I am so much worse than you.” Ian paused when he felt the door behind him. It was open, but he didn’t want to continue to run away.
“I’ve never kisses someone. What if I am bad at it?”
“You can’t be bad, you are my mate, and you are perfect.”
“But I don’t even know where the prostate is.” Ian couldn’t believe he had just said that. His face flamed and he hung his head.
“I’ll help you find it, I would love to help you-“
“I can’t flirt, I can’t have normal conversations, my family is crazy, I believe in angels, I-“ his words stopped when his lips brushed Luke’s and suddenly it didn’t matter.
Ian gasped as Luke’s hands wound through his hair to support his neck. He moaned when he felt the moisture of Luke’s tongue against his lips, then in his mouth. After a moment Ian got the courage to thread one of his hands through Luke’s hair. It was just as soft as he remembered. The silky strands tickled his wrists. Every tugged a place behind his belly button. His pants grew tight and he rubbed himself against Luke’s thigh, the soft fabric rubbing softly against his quickly hardening length. Ian felt he could come just from this, it was better than anything he could remember, better because he could feel the love in every touch.
Just as Ian was tottering at the edge of a huge climax a sound cut through the sound of his heartbeat. Luke paused. Then pulled away. Ian whimpered.
“Poor baby, sweet little one just a sec.” Luke petted Ian as he searched for his phone. “It’s the urgent ring, just one minute babe, just a minute.” Ian couldn’t see, he was so close, he thrust at the air. His hands were still in Luke’s hair, he wanted release, but he didn’t want to let go. Ian held back a dry sob, and Luke answered the phone.
“Yes, what.” He paused, Ian whimpered louder, he could feel his heartbeat in his whole body.
“Please” Ian whispered and tugged at Luke’s hair.
“That was today? Sorry.”
“Luke, Luke, Luke” Ian chanted.
“I’m a bit busy- I’ll tell you later- I don’t care right now. Later!” Luke threw the phone. “Sorry baby stupid counsel, I know poor baby!”
Ian gasped as Luke’s hand slipped into his borrowed pants. It took only a kiss and a few light tugs before Ian shattered. He held onto Luke desperately. He came almost silently, he only sounds his soft gasps for air and the soft swish of Luke’s hair.
Ian opened his eyes to look right into Ian’s.
“I love you.” He whispered. Luke kissed him and smiled.
“Tell me in five minutes and I’ll believe you.” But in five minutes Ian was asleep.
Bennet looked around him, the restaurant was lit with candles of all shapes and sizes. It should have been tacky but managed to be devastatingly romantic. The mood was only ruined by the rather conspicuous others watching. Bennet couldn’t concentrate on his menu with them all watching. He should have known that a date his father agreed to wouldn’t include any privacy.
“Do they all have to be in here?” Bennet asked from behind his menu. “It can’t be that dangerous. In the meeting they said there is a week!” Sawyer shrugged.
“Daire is very protective of you, I think you are just going to have to accept that.” But with his words Sawyer winked. “Just order something. Everything here is good.” Bennet frowned harder, but tried to find something on the menu that sounded acceptable.
“Where are we now?” Sawyer seemed to have knowledge of every hidden spot in the city, this one was even more secluded and underground than the restaurant, in fact it was underground.
“This used to be a wine cellar, and huge one at that. It was built as a catacomb-“ Bennet flinched and looked around for piles of skulls “-but the Hour decided that would take away from the individual deeds of its members, and it was converted before it was even finished.” The cave like area was also lit by candles, the air smelled like cool damp earth and growing things. Bennet felt safe there, even though it was underground.
“Where did the watchers go?” Bennet reached out and took Sawyer’s hand. He couldn’t look at him when he did it, but he didn’t want the distance he could feel building between them to grow. Sawyer had seemed to steer clear of Bennet since the unfortunate meeting of the morning. Bennet had been surprised when Sawyer appeared to pick him up for dinner.
“They don’t know of this place. I’m sure they will be searching all the clubs they can think of now. I told them we were going dancing.” Bennet frowned, dancing? He couldn’t dance, and surely not like he guessed they did in pubs.
“But, I don’t know how to dance, and there is no music.”
“We don’t need any.” Bennet found himself in Sawyer’s arms, his head rested in the crook of Sawyer’s neck. They fit together like puzzle pieces. Bennet sighed and closed his eyes as they began to sway, and Sawyer began to hum in his ears. It sounded like the most perfect lullaby. Bennet melted into Sawyer’s arms and imagined what it would be like to remain there forever, and he realized, there was nothing he wanted more. Bennet felt a few tears of release slip from beneath his closed eyelids. Finally he knew where he belonged.
After the melody of Sawyer’s songs shifted several times Sawyer stopped swaying and pulled back to look at Bennet. Ocean blue eyes looked into caramel, time paused, the candle flames ceased to flicker and the breath stopped in Bennet’s lungs, and after a moment of eternity their lips met.
Bennet felt like he was in a fairy tale, kisses like this couldn’t exist in real life, they were something to dream about and long for- not something to experience. Kind of like having a boyfriend that turned into a lion. With that thought Bennet smiled, then let out a soft giggle. He had a boyfriend something he had never expected- and one that turned into a giant fuzzy cat.
“What’s so funny?” Sawyer smiled back at Bennet.
“You turn into a giant lion, and you are mine. I’ve never had a cat- or a boyfriend.” Bennet giggled again and pressed his cheek against Sawyer’s, happy he could reach only lifting slightly onto his toes. Bennet felt more than heard Sawyer’s growling laugh and felt his lips against his own again.
Bennet was inching his hands under Sawyer’s shirt when a rumble shook the earth beneath their feet.
“What?” It came again and clumps of soil began to fall from the ceiling.
“We need to go, now!” Sawyer began to pull a stunned Bennet toward the earthen staircase. Bennet stumbled as another, louder rumble pulled more soil from above them. He fell to his knees and a large rock cut a gash at his temple. He froze, unable to process moving forward. Sawyer hauled him to his feet and dragged him up the stairs as larger and larger stones and clumps began to fill the tunnel. Finally in the Night air the two could see the earth bowing. Sawyer hurried Bennet to the car and buckled him in.
“It has begun. Your father was right to worry.” Bennet didn’t respond, he was too busy watching the blood from his face stain his blue shirt violet.
“This is Ian, he has to stay here.” Luke sat in a chair and pulled Ian down onto his lap. Ian flinched but didn’t move.
“So this is why you missed yesterday?” Daire looked on with a knowing half smile. Luke just glared. He resented having to attend the meetings, no matter how important. And now that he had found his mate there was nowhere he wanted to be less.
“I still don’t see why you can’t just discuss it. Daire, why can’t you just explain to them why they are so insane. I mean how is killing people better than helping heal some of their diseases. I just don’t get it-“ Ryder entered the room talking, Tove scowling right behind him.
“I’ve told you it won’t work. This has been going on for longer than you think.”
“Well you could have told me.”
“Don’t talk back.” Again Daire looked on with laughter in his eyes. No matter the cost those closest to him remained the same. He was still smiling when his own son and Sawyer entered the room.
“It has begun.” Was all Sawyer said as he helped a still bleeding and shell-shocked Bennet lie on the floor.
The group waited as the others entered the room, called from all corners from the world.
Details of the attack were collaborated, the watchers were reprimanded and a plan of defense was begun.
“We should all remain close. There is enough room in the house for the main counsel and family to stay for a short time.” Daire looked around at the ten members and assorted others. “Some may have to share rooms, but there are enough beds to go around. Those with mates all groaned at the prospect of sharing. Daire looked on without sympathy.
“Your safety means more to me than your temporary happiness.” Daire looked at the variety of grudging agreement.
“We should increase our arsenal, and make sure everyone is in shape. We should bring our personal guards here, and also the reserves.” Lacour spoke next. He was the unofficial general, and had many years of strategy under his belt.
“Have you tried to talk, really tried?” Ryder couldn’t believe anyone would fight to the death over such a seemingly simple dispute. “One of you should study conflict resolution, it is a really valuable skill.” Tove was getting really tired of Ryder’s insistence.
“This is the reason you were not told until now, this is the reason I wanted you to leave- you just cannot understand what is happening. What is at stake.”
“Lives, hundreds of ours, thousands if not millions of humans’ lives. I think I understand better than you. You are just so ready to start firing and killing. I just want to know if you have tried alternatives.” Ryder had pushed off Tove’s lap and was now glaring at him, at the end of his rope. “You think I don’t understand anything but I do. And I’m sick of you and all your shit. I can take care of myself. I have ideas. I am not a stupid child you can boss around.” With that Ryder turned and stalked out of the room. The others watched after him, stunned. It was a well-known fact that Ryder had a temper- but none of them had heard him speak to Tove like that. No one spoke to Tove that way.
“Well that was awkward.” Said Bennet from the floor. He slowly sat up- cradled his head for a moment then headed after his newly made friend. They had a lot to talk about anyway.
Ian held onto Luke’s hand, cutting off the other man’s circulation. His face was pale, making the bruises stand out even brighter.
“I think we all need a break. Daire stood and the others followed. Luke pulled Ian with him to the porch. The cool night air felt good to both of them. The stars looked unusually bright.
“Is this your life all the time?” Ian asked softly. He still hadn’t let go of Luke’s hand. Even though he was tucked tight against the other man’s chest.
“Not usually. I try to stay away from this sort of thing. But this has been building for some time. Change is difficult for many, and for a group this large, this old, and this based on tradition- there is bound to be conflict.” Ian sighed and pulled Luke’s hands tighter around him.
“I wish none of this was happening. I wish we could just go somewhere and be together for a while.” Luke nuzzled Ian’s hair and nodded.
“I want that too.”
“What was that all about?” Bennet found Ryder sitting in Bennet’s own bedroom. Staring at the wall.
“I’m not stupid. I just don’t want anyone to die.” Bennet sat next to the other brunette.
“I don’t think you are stupid. But I also think none of the others want anyone to die either.” Ryder nodded slowly, his anger slipping away with his breath.
“I know. I just don’t want anything to happen to any of them. I guess I am just scared.” Bennet nodded, then it hit them too. His family could die, his father, his new friend, Sawyer. They had even come close this evening.
“Why does everything always have to happen all at once? Why do the life changing, terrible, terrifying things take turns?” Bennet pulled his knees to his chest, after years of nothing interesting happening, all this was sprung on him in the day. Bennet studied the wall with Ryder who shrugged.
“I wish I knew.”
A few minutes later there was a soft knock on the door and Tove entered. He held out his arms and Ryder launched himself into them.
“Please don’t do it, don’t die!” Ryder whispered into his chest and shook. Bennet felt he was intruding in his own room. He sat frozen, unable to escape as the door was blocked.
“I won’t pretty thing. I’ll be here for you.” Tove stroked a hand down Ryder’s back slowly, soothingly. And Bennet suddenly wanted Sawyer. Self-consciously Bennet slipped past the couple and tiptoed down the stairs. The meeting room was empty, so were all the other rooms. Bennet stopped and listened carefully, if he stood near an air vent he could hear muffled speech. Considering his options and possible punishments Bennet made his way to the door that had always been forbidden to him. He took a deep breath and turned the knob slowly. It was open. Holding his breath Bennet made his way down the brightly lit stairs, through another closed door and into a room walled in chrome. The bright lights made it difficult to see, but after staring for a few moments his eyes adjusted, to see weapons he had never imagined. The walls were lined with them, and the table where the others were gathered was piled high.
“What is all this?” Bennet asked softly, looking from his father to Sawyer. “You always told me you wouldn’t tolerate any weapons in the house. I couldn’t even have a fucking nerf gun!” Bennet was beginning to wonder if anything his father had told him was true. If any of the principles Daire had taught his son were anything but hypocritical mumblings. Daire stood silently and looked at his son with grief in his eyes.
“I never wanted you to know of any of this. I just wanted you to be safe.” Bennet turned and left the way he had come. It was all too much. He sat on the couch and closed his eyes. From downstairs he could hear the soft murmur of voices and from above he heard a slow steady rocking, from his own room. Bennet rolled to face the back of the couch and covered his ears. He hummed to himself and tried to pretend the last 24 hours had never happened.
Ian was again sitting on Luke’s lap, this time in a basement that looked more like a hi tech weapons development lab. He looked around slowly, his hands buried in Luke’s shirt. Finally something interesting was happening to him, but it was so scary, in his imaginings there wasn’t so much danger, and it wasn’t so real. It was obvious the others were scared, probably for their lives, and there was nothing Ian could do about it.
Ian thought of his life before, and how he hadn’t cared if he lived or died. He wished he felt that way now, because now dying was an available option.
“How long till they come?” Ian interrupted the hushed planning. All eyes turned to him.
“Maybe a week, maybe less. Luke spoke quietly. “We don’t know now because of the attack earlier. There is no chance of a civilized ending now. we just don’t know if the attack will be a blatant act of war, or small hidden attacks meant to weaken us. We know next to nothing and not knowing is the most dangerous thing.
Upstairs Bennet felt a hand on his back. He ignored it. He didn’t want to talk to anyone. He hoped the person would just go away. He pressed his hands tighter to his ears and hummed louder. The hand moved higher up his back and up the nape of his neck. Worried now Bennet opened his eyes. Before he could turn his head there was a hand over his mouth. Bennet twisted trying to dislodge it, but he was at a disadvantage. His captor had trapped his right arm against his ear, and the other was under Bennet’s body, trapped by the cushions and Bennet’s own weight. The hand over his mouth was removed but only long enough for Bennet to take a deep breath and for a chemical tasting piece of cloth to be placed in his mouth. The free hand grabbed Bennet’s left, flipping him onto his back. Tape was wrapped around his wrists. Bennet tried to twist away again, but he was held too tightly. He couldn’t kick- his captor was standing behind the arm of the couch, behind Bennet’s head. Breathing quickly through his nose, Bennet relaxed. There was nothing he could do now, he might as well save his energy. He looked into his captors face and tried to remember his every feature, and hoped he would live long enough to describe him.
“Where’s Bennet?” Ryder looked for his new friend, knowing he probably was not downstairs in the strategy room.
“Maybe outside?” Tove suggested, tucking in his shirt. “The door is unlocked.” Tove froze, there was a strange smell in the air, faint, but strange. It smelled like chemicals, chemicals meant to hide another’s scent.
“Ryder, get the others. Bennet didn’t leave on his own.”
It seemed the war had started much earlier than anticipated, and it was personal.
Bennet was bundled out of the back of the SUV and onto the ground. He breathed slowly through his nose and tried not to panic. His captor had shoved him into the car, which had been blatantly parked in the driveway, and motioned for the driver to begin moving, and after placing a sack of dark fabric over Bennet’s head, disappeared into the bushes.
Now the sack was removed, and Bennet was pulled to his feet, his arms still taped painfully together. He was lead into a house, not unlike his own. Inside the foyer he met the leader of the other side.
“Hello Bennet, the last time I saw you, you were just a tiny innocent baby.” The man had dark red hair that was obviously died, and green eyes too bright to be natural.
“Welcome to my home, I wish we were able to meet in more favorable conditions. I don’t want to hurt you, so I hope you will do as I ask.” The man came toward Bennet and brushed his hair out of his eyes.
“Such a pretty boy, I’m sure many will miss you.”
The next hours passed in a blur for Bennet, he was treated gently, and placed in what seemed to be a guestroom. The room had a comfortable bed and attacked bath, a shelf full of books and a TV with many channels. It was a place Bennet usually wouldn’t mind spending time, but there were bars over the window, and after he was left alone, an ominous click from behind the door. After investigation Bennet realized it was a deadbolt on the outside of the door. Seeing no easy why out Bennet flopped on the bed and turned on the TV. He wondered how long it would take the others to even realize he had gone.
The house was in commotion. All felt guilty that Bennet had been taken and how long it had taken them to notice, but most of all the flurry of activity was about bringing him back.
After hours of looking for possible locations Ryder had a simple but elegant solution.
“Why don’t you just go online and find the GPS of his phone, I think he had it, and it isn’t anywhere else in the house.” Surprised at the simplicity of the idea, but worried about its possible failure, the group found a computer and watched anxiously as Ryder and Daire typed in the necessary information. Miraculously moments later, a small blinking dot appeared on a map. The phone, and maybe Bennet were in a small subdivision just minutes from them. But even with a possible location the work was not over.
Hours later a small group of rescuers were ready. They took two cars to the location, copying the blatant show of violence, both parked on the long sloping back line, two from each group walked up to the back door and rang the doorbell.
“Can I help you?” The red-haired man answered in a black and red smoking jacket. He showed no surprise at finding his former associates answering his door with guns and body armor.
“I think you have something of ours.” It was Sawyer. He could hardly hold back his rage. He knew Bennet was in the house, he could feel it, smell it, and see it on the man’s face.
“Pity, I don’t recall taking anything.” He began to close the door.
Meanwhile the other group had gone around the front, and after quickly picking the lock, were inside.
“I don’t think there is a basement.” Ryder spoke softly, running his hand against the wall. “He’s close, really, really close.” Closing his eyes Ryder lead the other two men deeper into the house. They had nearly made it to he rear door when Ryder stopped.
“Here.” He said quietly.
“Sorry, but there isn’t a door.” Ryder glared at the man who had spoken.
“I know he is here.” Ryder turned in a slow circle before fixating on a large painting. “There.” The other two men moved the painting. Behind it was a door locked with a simple turning dead bolt. One of the men reached out and flipped the switch.
“Don’t” Ryder hissed, but it was too late. A loud screeching alarm began to sound. Immediately there were footsteps from both sides of the hall. Ryder pulled the door open and squeezed through the small opening and slammed the door behind him. They could handle the violence to follow. Ryder couldn’t.
Inside Bennet still lay on the bed, listless.
“Good god, get up!” Bennet slowly turned to look at Ryder.
“How’d you get here?” Bennet asked, and calmly changed the channel.
“We broke in, dumb shit. Get up!” Ryder tugged on Bennet’s arm. The other man didn’t move.
“But it’s comfy here.” Bennet rubbed his face in his pillow and changed the channel again.
“What did they give you?” Bennet shrugged.
“I just had a milkshake. It was good.” He flipped onto his back. “You should have one too.” Ryder shook his head and hauled Bennet off the bed. Bennet hit the floor with a loud thud, and stayed there.
“Ouch. Don’t do that.” Halfheartedly he pulled himself to his knees. “Why would you do that. I wasn’t doing anything to you.”
There were no sounds from outside, the room was too tightly sealed. After staring at Bennet for a few moments Ryder wondered what they were going to do if the two men were killed. No one else knew where they were. They would kill the leader and leave, they could be stuck in here forever. Ryder breathed deeply and tried not to panic. After being trapped in a dry well for three days as a three year old he had never gotten over his fear of inescapable places. Small was okay- locked was not. The could run out of air, or starve. Images of trying to climb out of the narrow space, breaking his nails wearing his fingertips bloody assaulted Ryder’s memory. Whimpering he tried the door. It didn’t budge. Tears began to fall slowly from Ryder’s eyes. They were going to die here. Ryder hurried to the curtained window, and sobbed when he saw the bars and wire in the glass. Panting for air Ryder covered his ears and sank down in the corner by the window.
The two were found that way two hours later, Ryder crying facing he wall, fingernails imbedded in his palms, blood dripping down his wrists; Bennet on his knees next to the bed, watching the TV with wrapt attention.
“Oh baby.” Tove went to Ryder first. He pulled the smaller man into his arms and kissed his head. Whispering encouragements he coaxed Ryder’s fingers out of fists. Clucking at the blood he pulled him from the room. Meanwhile Sawyer watched Bennet watch TV. It was a show about a teenage mother who planned to put her unborn child’s ultrasound in a pageant.
“What did they do to you?” Sawyer asked. Bennet said nothing. When Sawyer pulled Bennet to his feet, the brunette didn’t struggle. He was dead weight in Sawyer’s arms, that was until he was turned away from the screen. Then he began to cry and struggle. The further away they got from the screen the louder he screamed. By the time the pair made it to the car Sawyer had scratches up and down his arms and Bennet was screaming, and long unbroken screech.
“Can’t we give him something?” Tove asked looking pointedly at Bennet, his hands over a still sniffling Ryder’s ears.
“Not until we know what he was given.” Sawyer responded.
The trip back to the house was long, the guards were each nursing mild injuries; Bennet screaming; Ryder crying softly.
After a quick checkup by one of the visiting members, Bennet was cleared for a light tranquilizer. After he was tucked in the others settled into what was going to be a stressful meeting.
“The man had dyed red hair. He was tall and had fake green eyes.” Ryder spoke quietly, still shaken. He had a cup of rich Mexican hot chocolate in his hands, the small ripples across the surface revealing the slight tremble in his hands. “I don’t remember much else.”
“He must have escaped with the others. They were obviously expecting an attack. There is no way they could have been so surprised and so well coordinated.” Said one of the visitors, he had dark brown hair and eyes so dark they looked black. His thick eyebrows seemed to touch his narrowed eyes. He was the one that had helped Bennet, but Ryder still shrunk away from him. He looked evil.
“They got exactly what they wanted. We just don’t know what that is yet.” Laquer said softly. “I never expected them to do something so seemingly useless to declare their intent. Taking Bennet has an easy explanation. But why drug him, why let him go so easily?” none of the others responded. Quiet they sat, and thought their own thoughts, what could have happened, what was coming, what the Night could have possibly wanted. After waiting for someone else to speak, and no one did, Ryder excused himself and went to check on his friend.
As Ryder lightly stroked Bennet’s hair away from his restless eyes, the door opened quietly. Ian entered. His eyes were red rimmed and he looked terrified.
“Luke told me to come here. I’m no help downstairs.” Ryder nodded and patted a place next to him at Bennet’s bedside.
“I’m not either. I wasn’t meant for this type of thing. Much too serious for me.” Ryder managed a small smile and Ian sighed.
“I can’t believe that earlier today I was in my house wishing I had someone to love-and now I am here. I got my wish- I guess.” Ryder sighed. He understood the feeling.
“There should be some time before the next attack, maybe you will get some alone time with Luke.” Ryder suddenly smiled. “From the sound of it, you were interrupted, am I right?” Ian blushed, but nodded.
“It all just happened so fast, I don’t know what I was thinking, or not thinking. But now it feels like we have been together forever. I can’t imagine not having someone. It’s amazing how quickly everything can change.” Ryder nodded.
“Well, I have to say I can sympathize. I didn’t even know Tove’s name before we- consummate our relationship. I didn’t know what I was doing. Only that I couldn’t stop. It was quite the event.” Ryder smiled in memory. “You are already doing better than me on the self control front.”
Ian laughed, it was soft but genuine.
“I suppose- I just cant believe all that has happened. And yet here we are.”
“Yes here we are.”
Bennet was waking up, slowly. Sawyer watched anxiously as the young brunette slowly opened his deep blue eyes, only to close them with groan. Bennet turned, then slipped back to sleep, the pattern had repeated several times in the last hour. Sawyer wanted to shake the younger man awake, but knew he would wake on his own when he was ready. And sure enough an agonizing 30 minutes later Bennet opened his eyes and kept them open.
“Hello, who are you?” Bennet asked calmly. Sawyer’s heart dropped.
“Sawyer.” He said quietly.
“Hi, I’m Bennet. Yesterday I saw a man turn into a lion. I think I am crazy. Is this a mental hospital?” Sawyer shook his head slowly.
“DO you really not remember anything?” Bennet squinched up his nose, thinking hard.
“I remember a underground date. There were pretty lights. It was with the lion guy. He looked kind of like you. And there was, umm, some big booms.” Bennet rubbed his eyes.
“That all happened. Bennet you aren’t crazy.” Bennet nodded slowly. He took a deep breath and sighed. He sat up and the lazy clueless air faded.
“I wish it was all a dream. Or some crazy trip. But I don’t do drugs.”
“Do you remember it all?” Bennet shook his head. There are only bits and pieces, but I get the gist. There is some group that wants to help the humans, and one that doesn’t. the bad guys took me, and-“ He paused. “Before that we went to an underground place. It used to be a catacomb? And you said I am your mate. I made a bit of a fool of myself.” Sawyer nodded.
“You are my mate. Your father wants to have a formal acknowledgement ceremony, or he did, but that is looking less and less likely the more we learn.”
“About the bad guys.” Sawyer nodded again. Bennet ran his hand through his hair and sighed.
“Can I kiss you?” Sawyer asked after a moment of silence. Bennet looked up surprised, then nodded.
“I think I’d like that. A lot.” He smiled.
Sawyer had been planning on a small soft kiss, just enough for a taste, Bennet though wasn’t having any of that. With the first touch of Sawyer’s lips all the desire of the first meeting came rushing back. Bennet gripped Sawyer’s hair and kissed with all his might. One touch was feeding an addiction he knew would never end. When Sawyer managed to unlock Bennet’s hands he pulled back to look at the younger man. Bennet looked delightfully mussed. Sawyer groaned.
“We can’t do this right now, Bennet we have to stop before this goes further.” Bennet shook his head and pulled the covers off himself.
“Why not, why can’t we do it here now.” Sawyer buried a hand in Bennet’s hair, to hold him away, and because he couldn’t resist such a touch.
“There are others, we are in your father’s house.” Bennet shrugged and pushed himself closer to Sawyer.
“My house, my virginity, my rules.” He whispered against Sawyer’s lips. The next minutes blurred as Bennet quickly stripped himself and Sawyer. Once he finished he slowed, nervousness rushing over him, calming his fever. His eyes cleared as he looked at Sawyer lying beneath him, calmly watching. Bennet slowly reached out one finger to trace Sawyer’s muscles.
“I’ve always wanted muscles like these.” Bennet said softly. He had always had a slender figure, the hours he spent in the gym showing only in faint lines, never sculpted muscles.
Sawyer struggled to stay still as Bennet’s tickling finger slid lower, along the shining trail of golden hair.
“It’s so soft.” Bennet whispered as he traced one of Sawyer’s hipbones, then his steely erection. “So soft, and warm.” Bennet leaned down to rub his cheek against the velvety skin. He scooted down so he could lie between Sawyer’s leg and resume his investigation. A clear drop of fluid had appeared on the tip, Bennet watched as it began to fall, leaving a glistening trail. Sawyer’s body was so like his own, but so different. Bennet marveled at the beauty of Sawyer’s body for a moment more before sticking out his tongue to take a shy lick. Every muscle in Sawyer’s body tensed as he watched Bennet explore, when he felt the soft touch of Bennet’s tongue it was too much. Taking Bennet’s face in his hands he tilted his head so he could look into Bennet’s eyes.
“Enough. My turn.” Easily Sawyer reversed their positions and began his own exploration. Bennet wiggled and twitched with each new touch. When Sawyer reached his own arousal he paused, and Bennet whimpered. Wondering at the beauty he held in his hands Sawyer nibbled at one of Bennet’s hipbones, carefully making his way across the twitching expanse of the brunettes stomach to reach the other. He repeated the pass until Bennet was crying for him to take his touch to where Bennet needed it most. When the twitches became violent Sawyer pushed Bennet’s legs up and to the sides, leaving him completely open. Bennet quieted and waited breathlessly for what would happen next. When Sawyer traced his tongue deliberately between his cheeks his eyes closed and his head fell back. Never has Bennet imagined anything feeling so good. Bennet grabbed Sawyer’s blond hair tightly and held on for the ride. When the tip of Sawyer’s tongue slipped inside his Bennet screamed breathlessly. He rocked his hips against Sawyer’s tongue and felt himself relax with each breath. When his body felt like superheated liquid Sawyer pulled back to look at him.
“Do you have anything to ease the way?” Bennet looked down at Sawyer blankly, he heard each word, but stringing them together was beyond him.
“Lube?” Sawyer clarified. Bennet frowned then pointed at a drawer in the bedside tale. Armed with the bottle of massage oil, Sawyer lowered his head once again. But this time a finger entered with his tongue. Bennet didn’t make a sound, the feeling too alien to feel good, too tender to not. However when Sawyer wrapped a slippery hand around his erection, he made up his mind. It felt amazing. When Bennet was pushing himself up against Sawyer’s finger, Sawyer added another, and quickly another. When his fingers left, Bennet could feel the cooler air of the room against and inside his no significantly looser opening. Panting for breath and with his hands clutching at whatever he could reach Bennet waited for Sawyer to enter him. Sawyer leaned to give Bennet a kiss, and slowly slid inside. Bennet felt a deep burn, but all he cared about the closeness he now felt to Sawyer. Tears pooled in his eyes, it was a perfect moment. Nothing like Bennet had imagined and all the better for it.
Each stroke had Bennet teetering on the edge, and only Sawyer’s kisses kept him from screaming. Bennet didn’t know what to do with his hands, they drifted as if with their own mind through Sawyers hair, along his back, through Bennet’s own hair. Until finally in the moment of completion he buried them in Sawyer’s shoulders, his nails leaving small crescents, Bennet felt like the world had stopped spinning throwing him into space. Galaxies and clouds hurtled past him, and all Bennet could do was hold on.
Once safely back on earth and cradled in Sawyers arms, Bennet opened his eyes, and found the melted caramel of Sawyer’s looking back at him. Sawyer was trembling against him, but he managed to whisper:
“Okay?” Before beginning to move again after Bennet nodded. The feeling was even more intense, Bennet felt like his whole being shifted inside with each of Sawyer’s movements. It was beyond intense and minutes later Bennet could feel another climax building. Each time Sawyer pulled out he brushed against something deep inside Bennet that made him feel like he was turning into melting honey, the feeling was euphoric and when he finally came it hurt with its intensity.
Bennet came to his senses faster this time and with the feeling of soothing warmth entering him. He watched as Sawyer came back to rest in his arms. Slowly the blond became heavier and heavier. Bennet smiled but tried to wiggle away unsuccessfully. Sawyer feeling the movement slowly pulled out. Bennet flinched, both at the twinge of pain, and the feeling of emptiness. Sawyer settled beside him and moaned softly.
“I thought I was dying.” Sawyer said quietly.
“I thought I died and went to heaven.” Bennet responded, blushing at his cheesy comment, but before he could feel too bad he felt his eyes closing in sleep.
Luke was in the shower, and Ian was pacing anxiously. Luke had insisted they go back to his house, against the recommendation of Daire and the others, but now Ian was nervous beyond belief. He wanted to ‘finish the bond’ or whatever but- what if he was bad a kissing, or bad at sex, or bad at everything. What if Luke changed his mind. What if-
“Stop fretting.” Ian froze. Luke walked out of the bathroom without so much as a towel. Still frozen Ian watched as Luke came closer, and closer. When Ian could feel the steam of the shower coming off Luke’s chest he whimpered, but didn’t take a step back. He leaned forward to lay his face against Luke’s chest. The smooth warm skin calmed Ian’s nervousness but fanned the flames of his ardor. Ian panted as Luke slid gracefully to his knees. He put his hands under the long t-shirt that was Ian’s only covering and pulled it over his head. Luke ran his hands down the back of Ian’s thighs again and again, until Ian’s knees buckled. Luke gently guided Ian to rest on his own chest. Once Ian was as steady as he was going to get, Luke took him into his mouth. In just moment’s Ian was bucking his hips against Luke’s mouth, and moments later he was shooting into Luke’s mouth and collapsing backward to regain his breath.
After a few moment’s break Ian pushed himself back to a sitting position, but before he could speak Luke was running slippery fingers across Ian’s hole, Ian gasped as the first slipped inside. He whimpered and pulled away. Gently Luke used his other hand to keep Ian in place. Once Ian relaxed Luke added another finger, all the time Ian was becoming more and more aroused, his tip was red and swollen, but he felt far from orgasm.
When Ian was bucking against three of Luke’s fingers Luke removed them.
“Take me inside.” Luke spoke directly into Ian’s eyes, the pupils dilated and Ian nodded. He grasped Luke in one slightly shaky hand and with Luke’s help slowly took the head inside him. Here Ian paused to breathe. As relaxed as he was, as much as he wanted it, the breach still hurt.
Luke moved his hands to help Ian hold his position. Slowly the pair let gravity do its work, and an age later they were flush. After the blush of exertion had faded for Ian’s cheeks and his sharp gasps faded into deep breathing- Luke sat up cradling Ian to his chest. Ian gasped as the movement caused a burst of pleasure to go through him. He moaned again as Luke maneuvered himself onto his knees, he began to rock slowly. The movement squeezed Ian’s penis between their bellies and massaged his prostate. The twin sensations forced sound after sound from Ian’s lips, and each sound inspired Luke to cause another.
Luke came first, with only a sharp inhalation and faster flexes of his hips to show, once Ian felt the change in rhythm and warmth inside him, he too tripped, decorating both their chests with white.
When the pair recovered Luke began to laugh. Ian blushed, sure Luke was laughing at him. Luke shook his head slowly at Ian’s look and began to finger comb Ian’s hair.
“DO you realize we didn’t make it to the bed, the one that is two feet away.” Ian looked up and began to laugh too, then moan as it stimulated their still joined flesh. Luke helped Ian stand then stood himself.
“We should clean up- but I just want to sleep.” Ian nodded and the two flopped on top of the covers, asleep in moments.
Ryder was curled tightly against Tove’s chest, listening to his heartbeat. He had been in the position all night, and now that he had woken he did not wasn’t to move, no matter how badly he needed to use the bathroom.
“Please don’t pee on me. I am up for most things, but water sports is not one of them.” Finally persuaded by Tove’s words Ryder rolled off the bed and hurried to the bathroom. Feeling much better he freshened up, wincing at his bloodshot eyes and went to the kitchen for coffee. With one mug heavily sweetened and nearly half cream, and another with only one teaspoon of cream, Ryder returned to bed. He handed Tove one cup and kept the sweet one for himself.
“I think a few of our new friends will have a bit of trouble sitting at breakfast don’t you think?” Tove snorted, nearly spitting out his first sip of coffee.
“The things you say.” He chuckled and took another sip.
“No really, do you think they did it?” Ryder was not going to be dissuaded. Tove shrugged and took another sip.
“It isn’t my business, I only care when you are the one who has trouble sitting.” Ryder chose to interpret the statement as an offer.