Delia’s head rested on his shoulder as he drove and he glanced in the review mirror at his cousin Finn who was staring at his iPad. He could sense his nervousness, his fear and worry. Delia’s family had invited them over for a week and Delia had insisted on taking Finn with them since he didn’t get out much. Jubal had had to reassure the boy time and time again that if anything went wrong, he would stop him, but Finn was still terrified. “How’s he doing?” Delia said softly.
“He’s watching something.”
“Probably someone he can relate too.” She sat up and turned around, the movement catching Finn’s attention so he paused his show and pulled his headphones out. “What’re you watching?”
“Yeah, well I like it anyway.”
She reached back and tussled his hair. “You’ll do great, just do what Jubal used to do if things get too overwhelming, focus on my scent and mine alone.”
He nodded, his face still filled with worry even as he put his headphones back in to watch Tokyo Ghoul. Her heart was heavy for him as she turned back around in her seat “he has such a good heart. I know that’s why he worries”
“Our kind carry a great burden unless we just don’t give a damn”
“Maybe he’ll find someone soon to make things easier” Still watching the road he brought her hand to his lips and kissed her knuckles “I hope so, it does help immensely, especially with the right mate.” Delia moved closer, laying her head on him again and relaxing.
Finn only put his iPad away when Jubal turned off on the road that lead up to Delia’s parent’s home. It was out in the woods, the road lined with cherry blossom trees that Finn knew should not be blooming, but were. The grass was even a beautiful shade of emerald that he had never seen. “How is that possible?” He asked.
“It’s my parents gifts. They can create any season or even mix them together. I’ve played in fall leaves and springtime grass and snow while trees bloomed.”
“That’s pretty cool and takes a lot of energy right?”
“The older we get, the more powerful we are. My parents have been around for awhile so manipulating the seasons take barely any effort.”
“Oh, so, is it just going to be your parents?”
“I have a younger cousin who has been staying with my parents to learn about magic, then there’s Regan, he’s a shifter and my father’s assistant, and the dogs. Other people might come to visit since I’m sure my parents told them we were coming.”
Hearing there would be a lot of people made him even more nervous but Jubal and Delia were right, he needed to socialize and he needed to get better at control of himself while Jubal and Delia were there to help him learn that. He had to have faith in them that they could get the situation under control if he lost it again and hurt someone. They parked in the beautiful driveway and approached the door. Finn felt the need to flee almost take full control of him but he stood his ground, refusing to be coward or to lose control of himself ever again.
Delia’s mother and father were waiting for them on the porch with a rather large wolf and a young man who didn’t look older than fourteen. There were also two dogs, a corgi and a grey hound. Delia got out, smiling as she met them halfway while Jubal and Finn grabbed the luggage. “How was the trip honey?” Her mother, Sienna asked as she hugged her tightly.
“It was wonderful.” She replied as her mother let her go and she moved to her father.
“No trouble on the road then?” Her father, Salvatore asked.
“Of course not.” She then hugged her cousin, Teague. “And you’ve grown.”
“My dad says I might never stop at this rate.”
“Let’s hope he’s wrong before you’re ten feet tall.” She then turned to the wolf. “Come on Regan, I want a hug from you too.”
The wolf huffed as he shifted and she wrapped him in a hug. “It’s good to see you again, Delia.” He turned to Jubal and Finn. “Hello Jubal, keeping my goddaughter safe I assume.”
“Not that she needs keeping safe, she’s pretty tough, but yes I’m always watching over her.”
“That’s good to hear.”
“This is my cousin Finn.” Jubal introduced. Finn was nervous under the gaze of Delia’s family, especially the wolf who seemed to tower over even Jubal. “Go easy on him for me, he’s a bit nervous.”
Sienna hugged him saying “there is no reason to be nervous” she pulled back, still speaking “welcome, it’s so good to meet you. If you’re nervous because of what you are don’t be. We can all take care of ourselves. We are far from weak beings, even young Teague is impressive. We aren’t scared so please don’t be” Her voice was so sure and yet so warm. Even if just a little bit, her words gave Finn comfort he was going to get through this visit and that he might even enjoy some of it instead of worrying every second. If they could do what was happening outside and not even look the slightest bit worked they had to be strong creatures, perfectly capable of protecting themselves if he did slip up and let the beast out unintentionally.
They were welcomed in and a wave of smells hit Finns nose. He was surprised it didn’t overwhelm the wolf, guessing Regan must have incredible control of his senses. Otherwise he didn’t think Regan could handle everything he was smelling. Finn dialed it back as best he could and thought of this as an opportunity to get better at controlling his senses.
“oh your face, I’m sorry. I should have thought about that” Sienna said and Finn shook his head “it’s okay”
“I’ll open some windows and air this place out for you and Jubal”
“You really don’t have too.”
She waved him off. “I did the same thing when Jubal first visited, he was so nervous so I let in the smell of spring.” She opened windows around the house and a breeze blew through, filling the house with the scent of the outside world.
“Thank you, ma’am.”
“Please call me Sienna, we’re all family here.”
“Alright, which room is mine, Sienna.”
“Just follow Jubal, he’ll show you.”
Jubal threw an arm over his cousin’s shoulders. “Come on, you’ll be in the room next to ours.”
“He does realize that if he lost control, your father and I could stop him, right?” Regan said once Jubal and Finn were upstairs.
“He’s just nervous.” Delia said with a warm smile. “He attacked someone before and it scarred him. He’s so much like Jubal you would think they were brothers. I’m hoping while we’re here you can all help me show him that he can learn to control himself and even if he does go off, he’s not some monster or a freak.”
“well all the better you came to see us then Delia.”
“I missed you guys. I know I don’t come enough” Her mother smiled “It’s easy to get caught up in life. We live so long anyways. It’s not like with humans where it really matters going months without seeing one another”When Jubal showed Finn his room he said “you aren’t staying in here the whole time.”
“I wasn’t planning to”
“Good, I was just making sure you knew. I like her family and even though you’d hide yourself because you’re worried about hurting them it’s still rude and I wont have you being rude to them” Finn nodded and Jubal left the room to return to Delia.
“Is he getting settled in?” Delia asked when Jubal scooped her up then sat down with her on his lap.
“He’s getting there, this will be good for him. Having two very powerful elves and a very powerful werewolf and a very powerful me will hopefully put his mind at ease.”
“He just needs a little time to get used to all the new smells and being so close to strangers.”
“We’ve also taken precautions to ensure he cannot easily leave our property should he have an episode.” Salvatore said. “If he should have issues, vines with spring up and create a wall around our property that way we can stop him before he escapes and hurts someone.”
“Thank you.” Jubal said. “I think that will also help keep him calm.”
“If you like I can camp in front of his bedroom door. In my wolf form it wouldn’t be a problem.” Regan offered.
“He needs trust uncle Regan, besides between you and Jubal there is no way he would be able to run far.”
“alright, well as your parents said there is no real reason to be concerned. Besides, his guilt from the accidental attack will help him keep control. Even just meeting him I see he has a good heart.” Finn came out not long after they finished speaking. Salvator stood as he asked “want to see what Regan and I do?”
“um, sure” Regan stood along with Jubal, leaving the room so it was only Delia, her mother and young Teague “so Teague, what’s going on with you?” Delia asked. She wanted to catch up with him since it had been so long she knew they would have a lot to talk about. “I’ve made new friends since we last saw eachother”
“cool, you all are getting along well?”
“Yeah, we all share pretty similar interests.”
“You’re studying how to mix magic and chemistry correct?” He nodded. “When do you think you’ll be heading to school?”
“When I’m eighteen. Mom and dad said I should study here until it’s time. Uncle Salvatore is such an amazing teacher, it’s not wonder you are so good at what you do.”
“Just remember that the older you get, the stronger your magic.”
“That’s what everyone keeps telling me. They don’t want me to get down thinking I’m not strong.”
Jubal stood next to Finn as the boy took in everything Salvatore said. Finn was intelligent and learned quickly despite what others may think of him. “Have you seen my daughter use her magic?” Salvatore asked.
“Yeah, I mean every now and then. She’s really good with animals and plants.” He looked at Jubal. “Did you guys learn about this stuff?”
“Among other things, yes. Science is important to magical studies.”
“Jubal is right, they are not that far removed. Even Regan’s ability to shift shape is both magic and genetics.”
Finn glaned at the werewolf. “And what about my kind?”
“It’s the same. You were born kage inu yokai, but that in itself was also created by magic to be passed down from generation to generation. Any children Jubal and Delia were to have would possess the same black hound, but also may inherit some of Delia’s magical abilities.”
“So they’d have the same problems as Jubal and I.”
“Not necessarily.” Salavatore placed a hand on his shoulder. “Did you know that even Regan had trouble with the wolf?”
“We all do, from the first day we learn to walk until maturity.” Regan said. “Our noses are sensitive to ever scent, our ears to every sound. The wolf wants and sometimes it gets. The point is to accept the beast and learn that it isn’t as scary as you thought. Something Jubal learned well after meeting Delia.”
“Tell you what, you can practice while you’re here. I am sure both Regan and Jubal would help you learn more about the black dog.”
“Okay” Finn answered nervously. He couldn’t help but fear working with the black dog inside him but he realized there was no better place than here. If anybody could stop him it was Delia’s family and Jubal. He hoped if he would just face his fears here where it was relatively safe he wouldn’t have to be so afraid all the time when he went back home with Jubal and Delia. He let himself hope since Jubal seemed to be in such control now. Just Delia alone had done that for him and now he was here with her family.
When Jubal and Finn came back, followed by Salvatore and Regan, the smell of food hit their noses and they knew the women, along with Teague had started dinner. Jubal could feel the tingle of magic in the air as they pushed spells of joy and wellness into their food. Delia was kneading dough for bread, covered in flour up to her elbows and even had a bit on her nose and it had Jubal grinning. She was always so beautiful, even at her messiest. He wrapped his arms around her and pressed a kiss to her cheek. “Looks good.” He said.
“It’ll taste better.” She replied, her face happy as she pushed her hands into the dough. “How did everything go?”
“Regan and I are going to help Finn with the hound.”
“It’s probably a bad idea.” Finn said as he sat down at the kitchen table. “But I want to be strong like Jubal. I don’t want to hurt anyone else.”
“You won’t.” Jubal said. “We’ll start out slow and build your confidence.”
Jubal continued to hold Delia while she cooked, only letting go for brief moments when she needed him to. She loved the affection and they both knew her family didn’t mind the public display of it. It just made Salvatore and Sienna happy their daughter was in a good relationship and was obviously deeply cared for. When it was almost done, as a thank you to those who prepared the meal Salvatore, Jubal, Regan and Finn set the table and served drinks for everyone. The food tasted even better than it smelled as Delia had promised and Finn found himself struggling not to gorge himself.
“So, when will I be getting grandchildren.” Sienna asked and Delia felt her cheeks warm. Being able to feel her embarrassment made Jubal chuckle and he quickly cleared his throat.
“Mom.” Delia said.
“Oh come on, you’re an adult and it’s not like anyone here is oblivious to how babies are made. It’s not like you to be shy.”
“I think you just surprised her with the question my love.” Salvatore said as he took a bite of his food. “I too would like to know when we’ll be grandparents.”
“We’ve talked about it.” Jubal replied. “If Delia is ready then we can start trying. She’s given me so much confidence, that I think I’d be a good dad and I know she’d make the perfect mother.” He reached over and took her hand and she felt his love and adoration wash over her. “Tell me when you’re really ready and I’ll give you all the children you want.”
Looking into his eyes she said “I guess soon then mom and dad’ Jubal smiled and her parents were elated. Delia didn’t know what she had truly been waiting on anyway. It just made her a little nervous to think she would create someone totally dependent on her. She hoped she would be as good of a mother as her mom was but she knew if she needed any help or pointers she could count on her parents guidance. Children seemed to take over the dinner conversation but when the sun rose the next day he woke to a knock on his door. Sleepily he slid out of bed and answered, finding Jubal on the other side “come on, breakfast is ready and right after it’s time for you to start practicing control”
“Re…really? So soon?”
“You can do it, I believe in you, so trust in me.”
Finn nodded then followed Jubal down to breakfast. Delia tussled his hair as she passed him, getting an embarrassed blush out of him that had her mother laughing. “How did you sleep, Finn?” Delia asked.
“Alright, it took me a bit.” He shifted nervously in his seat, looking guilty. “It’s just smelling your family. I had to focus on your’s and Jubal’s scents to get to sleep.”
“That’s okay, don’t look so worried.”
“I know, I’m trying.”
“Would it be rude of me to ask what it’s like being a kage inu yokai?” Teague said.
“Imagine being constantly controlled by a dark, terrifying beast.” Jubal answered. “It’s always there, it’s nose always working, searching for blood, craving the taste of it. It’s almost like a drug, addicting. If I had never met Delia, I would have feared the creature inside me, I would have let it isolate me, but I learned that it’s just a part of who I am, just like my hair or eyes, it is me. Those of the past were violent and bloodthirsty, but with Delia’s love and understanding, I have seen that I can be more, that my kind are more.”
“Delia believes as much as the rest of our family no race of beings has to be bad. With some it might take more self control than others but everyone is capable of being good.” Teague responded then Jubal spoke again “see Finn? You’re never going to hurt anybody again, I know that. You just need to trust yourself” Finn nodded and began consuming his breakfast. Delias family had prepared Ham, egg and cheese roll ups and once again Finn thought they tasted like heaven. It was a good start to what he expected was going to be a hard day. Finn tried to start cleaning his place at the table when he was done but he was shooed outside with Jubal, Salvatore and Regan “theres plenty of us in here to clean” Delia said with a hug before he went outside.
“So, what are we doing?” Finn asked nervously.
“We’re going to tap into your hound.”
“Generally we would have you shift, but since you lack the control you need right now, we just want you to tap into the energy.” Salvatore explained.
Salvatore and Regan took up positions on either side of Finn while Jubal stood in front of him. “You have to calm down, take a deep breath.” Finn inhaled as much as he could and then let it out again. “There we go, now I want you to feel your hound, just let some of that energy trickle in.”
Finn swallowed and opened himself up to the black dog. He felt it grab onto him, causing his heart rate to spike and his pupils to dilate. He could hear and smell everything, the people around him, the women and young man in the house, even the animals in the forest. He felt panic starting to set in and Jubal grabbed his shoulders, giving him a shake. “Ju…Jubal?”
“It’s alright just pull it back a little.”
Finn breathed in and out slowly as he tried to calm his beast down. He felt both pride and solace when he was actually able to dial it down with just his will “see Finn, when you know you can control it and don’t just fear what we are you don’t have to be afraid. You’re not going to hurt anybody again”
“You don’t want me to let it take me completely yet though right?”
“Probably not today. Rushing you might only hurt the process”
“Okay” knowing he didn’t have to go that far today made him considerably less stressed. They continued little exercises like that until lunch then decided to give Finn a break so the family could spend time together. When they went inside Delia excitedly told Jubal “One of my friends is coming with her daughter! I can’t even remember the last time I saw her”
“Thats wonderful, let me go shower then” he kissed her and walked to the bathroom.
“Does your friend know about us?” Finn asked as he drank some water.
“No, but I’m sure she won’t care. She’s a lot like me, it’s one of the reasons we became friends.” Delia replied with a reassuring smile.
“That and the wolf pups.” Salvatore said.
“Wolf pups?” Finn asked.
“They brought an entire litter here once. They found them alone after a big storm blew through. Their mother wasn’t around so two little girls took it upon themselves to move a fallen tree with magic and carry them here. The mother showed up a couple of days later and we gave them back.”
“She wasn’t upset?”
“She sensed our intentions and Delia’s affinity with wild beasts helped.”
“How old is her daughter?”
“Umm, if I remember right she just turned fifteen so hopefully you two get along. She’s practically a clone of her mother from what she tells me” Delia about leaped out of her seat when her friends car pulled up and the two woman ran to one another, wrapping eachother in a tight hug while her friends daughter just smiled at the two. Jubal had come behind, bringing Finn with him so that Finn caught the daughters eye. “Oh, who is this?” She asked curiously. “Finn, Finn this is Zubeida” She held out her hand with a bright smile and he took it, nervously shaking it. When Delia quit hugging her friend she introduced Finn to her aswell “It’s nice to meet you. I’m glad Zubedia has another young man her age to hang around. Teague is here as well right?”
“Finn why don’t you take Zubedia and get Teague, maybe you could introduce them to the shows you like, see if you have anything in common.” Jubal said.
“Alone, with them?” Finn was trying really hard to be more confident, but he worried what would happen if he was sitting in an enclosed space with the two elves.
Jubal place a hand on his shoulder and gave it a squeeze. “Just remember what we told you, if things get to overwhelming focus on mine and Delia’s scents. It helps if you learn to isolate smells. It was literally the only way I could get through classes after meeting Delia.”
“Alright, I’ll try.”
“You got this, you’re stronger than you think so go and have some fun.”
“Okay…uh…want to watch some anime with me, Zubedia?”
“I’d love too.”
Zubedia followed him cheerfully, unphased by the exchange. “I’m so glad you could come over”
“I would have canceled anything, you know that. Nobody is as fun as you. I need to visit where you live soon so we can get up to something together”
“Maybe later this week you and I could do something. I just want Finn a little more comfortable first”
“we could take the three teens with us to do something here or maybe we could just all do something since I know your parents have missed you too”
“either situation sounds great. I’ll talk to my parents” In the house Zubedia and Teague had followed Finn to his room and they were all sitting close together on his bed as they watched anime. Zubedias scent was incredibly sweet but he considered this part of learning to control himself. He wasn’t going to run away from her and he wasn’t going to try to block it out just yet, not until he actually feared for her.
That day everyone enjoyed spending time together, Finn actually started relaxing the more time he spent with Zubedia and Teague. It was strange feeling like a regular teenager for a day and he actually found himself smiling freely at Zubedia and easily answering any questions Teague had about his kind. Jubal smiled when he heard Finn let out a laugh and knew he was going to be okay. He had been a lot like Finn as a teen, wanting to isolate himself and get lost in books or wander alone rather than potentially hurt anyone. Delia’s love had had a rippling effect and he could pass on his strength to Finn who had needed it the most. Even when he and Delia were in school, her sticking to him had changed how others perceived him. He was no longer the terrifying kage inu yokai, but Delia’s “pet”. The idea had irritated him at first, but he came to realize that all that mattered was being with Delia. He wanted the say happiness for Finn, for him to grow and flourish, to be brave and love someone.
Zubedia and her mother stayed as late as they could, Venus only deciding to go because she was going to get too tired to drive if she stayed much longer. “you sure you don’t want to just stay? We can make room” Delia asked and Venus replied “With two teenage boys in the house with my daughter?” She winked with a big smile at the boys to let them know she was just teasing. Laughing she said “I dont live far so theres no reason to make things cramped at all. We can come back tomorrow” Delia hugged her while Zubedia hugged Finn and Teague goodbye. “it was amazing meeting you Finn. Make sure you text me, especially when you leave” Finn was profusely blushing. He wasn’t used to being hugged or spoken to so sweetly by such a beautiful girl.
“It was nice to meet you too”
The rest of their visit was split between training Finn and spending time with Delia’s friends and family. Finn was even excited when Venus suggested going and playing mini golf. He knew there would be people there, but spending time with Zubedia took his mind off his worry. Her scent seemed to wash out all others and he followed it like an eager puppy. Delia nudged Jubal when she noticed and he chuckled. “I wonder how long it’ll take him to figure it out.” She said with a grin.
“I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen a boy moon over her like that.” Venus whispered.
“It’s his first time being so close to a female outside his family other than Delia, but he seems to be controlling himself just fine. I have a feeling, she’s going to have the same effect on him as you did me.” Jubal said as he brushed a kiss against Delia’s cheek. “And I hope you won’t worry too much, Venus, he would never touch her. He’s a good kid.”
“I trust him, he seems so shy, I couldn’t imagine him even kissing her without feeling embarrassed.”
“Maybe I should come back so that he can be near her. I miss everyone here anyways”
“well if Jubal and I are going to be having kids I’d rather raise them here. I want them to experience all the things I did growing up and I know my parents would adore being closer to their grandkids”
“everyone would love to have you back Delia” Later that night Jubal and Delia settled on moving back. Jubal was happy wherever his mate was and the things Delia talked about for their kids sounded amazing. Since he also got along with her family it seemed like a wonderful plan and they announced it to her parents over breakfast the next day. Delias mom helped them find a nice house and even helped them with the deposit, claiming them coming there to live was a gift to them so they wanted to do it so there’d be no obstacles in the way.
All of Delias friends and family that were around were excited about Delias return aswell so they had plenty of help moving. The whole process was incredibly easy and it made Delia emotional, prompting teasing from Venus that she could already be pregnant. Jubal knew she was just kidding around but he found himself hoping she truly was pregnant already. He was actually excited to have children with his mate, especially since he knew his kids didn’t have to be scared of what they would be. They would even have help training them since her parents were so close and even had a safe enviroment for training so they could learn to stay in control even during a shift. Things in his life had somehow gotten even more amazing and he knew he had Delia to thank for his ever better life.
~ The End