“Romulus.” His name being whispered close to his ear woke him. His arms wrapped tighter around the sleeping Isobel and he became still, taking in every scent and noise. There was no one there, not physically anyway. “Romulus.” This time he realized the voice came from within his head and it sounded more masculine, more familiar.
“Remus?” He said under his breath as he slowly released Isobel and sat up. “Brother.”
Blinding white pain lanced through him and he fell back on the bed, waking Isobel. She was startled into complete wakefulness at the sight of what she thought was a seizure. “Romulus?”
His eyes were suddenly not his own, but his brothers. He could see everything, feel every sharp, ugly pain. The words torture and experimentation echoed in his head. “Where?” He managed to say. “Tell me where.”
“They call it Costa Rica, brother. They betrayed me. I need help.”
Romulus was pulled away from his brother and back to the room where Isobel was panicking as she repeated his name over and over again. He knew Remus had not meant to hurt him, but to Isobel what she woke up too must have been terrifying. “I’m okay.”
She hugged him and he did his best to comfort her. “What happened? Should we go to the hospital?”
“I’m not sick my love, but I need your help. Someone has my brother.”
She put a hand over her heart “okay, should we go now? It’s still late but if it’s your brother we can get up and go wherever we need to go Romulus”
“He’s in pain, how would we get to Costa Rica, that’s where he is”
“We’d have to fly, I’ll find us tickets”
“I’ve explained airplanes, haven’t I?” he thought for a second, the stress of his brother mixing up his mind “Oh..OH”
“yeah, I’ll just quickly buy us two tickets on the soonest flight” The soonest she could find left in five hours but the airport was an hour and a half away anyways. They packed small bags and went ahead and drove there. “do you know where in Costa Rica?’
No, but he sounded weak and he was in pain. It seemed like he was in a lab? I heard the word experimentation.”
“Okay so he’s probably hidden somewhere. We’ll explore the jungle.”
“I haven’t seen him in so long, I should have been there instead of sleeping.”
“We’ll find him, I promise.”
Isobel had never seen him worried before. He was the epitome of confidence and calm. She reached over and took his hand and he gave it a squeeze, but said nothing. She could see he was deep in thought, his brow knit in confusion. Once they were at the airport, they went ahead and went through security then stopped to get something to eat. “Are you alright?” She asked in a gentle tone.
“Yes, just going through the flashes of memory I saw. I could see everything through his eyes, but it went by so fast I didn’t have time to grasp it.”
“It’s amazing you two can communicate that way. I’m glad he reached out so we could help”
“I wonder how they caught him in the first place. It should have been impossible”
“Anything is possible with the right drugs and if you can manage to take someone by surprise or be able to get to wherever they sleep at night. Nobody can really protect themselves while they sleep” Romulus huffed in irritation at the thought of somebody taking advantage of his brother when he was vulnerable. It was sickening to him it was such a normal thing for others to do his mates mind would even know so quickly ways he cold have been taken and imprisoned. The world had truly rotted while he laid dormant.
He felt the flicker of connection as they headed to where they would be boarding and he felt pain radiate through him. This time he was ready and he stayed upright. “Where are you?” He asked.
“The jungle, underground. I remember seeing a volcano, it reminded me of home.”
“While you slept, it killed many.” He felt his brother’s consciousness dip away for a moment. “Can’t focus, they gave me something, they keep me weak. I haven’t seen wolves, so…”
“You cannot command them.”
His brother suddenly became more alert and Romulus’s vision filled with the image of a man. “Scientist, betrayer, remember him.” Remus was gone again and Romulus had to suppress the growl threatening to rise in his throat.
“Are you alright?” Isobel asked softly.
“I saw one of them, a scientist. Remus said he’s near a volcano.”
“The Jungle as you were suggesting” They boarded the plane and he quickly fell asleep, connecting with his brother wearing him out. Isobel asked for a blanket and covered him in it, gently holding him close to her. She hoped his brother hadn’t gone through too much misery and that they could find him quickly once they were there. She could see how uncomfortable it was for Romulus but she even hoped his brother would be able to connect again to keep giving them information on where they should be going. This man was Romulus’s brother and she couldn’t stand the thought of someone hurting him.
Romulus jerked awake a little while later, startling Isobel who had been watching a movie. She removed her headphones, smiling lovingly at him. “Hey, you okay?”
“How long did I sleep?”
“About two hours, maybe a bit longer.”
“It’s okay, you’re exhausted.” She reached up and pressed the back of her hand to his forehead.
“What are you doing?”
“Checking for a fever.”
He chuckled. “Isobel, I can’t get sick.”
“Oh…yeah that’s right.”
“I’m glad you care though” he kissed her “My incredibly sweet Isobel”
“did your brother talk to you at all again?”
“Not yet, what are you watching”
“From Time to Time, it’s an accidental time travel movie”
“I see, how would one accidentally travel through time?”
“I guess in all sorts of ways, admittedly my mind was wandering when it happened so I missed how he did managed it”
“Your brother is being hurt somewhere”
“He will survive, we are near impossible to kill”
“still, he;s in pain and I hate it, for you and him”
“we will save him Isobel, don’t stress. It isn’t good for you”
When their plane finally landed and they were out of the airport, Isobel looked up hotels and called one to set up a room for them. Romulus scented the air, wanting to get used to these new smells so he could isolate them. “Alright, we have a room.”
“Hmm?” He looked at her and her heart skipped a beat. There was always something predatory about him, he was one of the first of his kind, but now he seemed even closer to the wolf.
“A room, I rented one.”
“Oh, of course, sorry. My predatory nature took over, the wolf wants to know everything.”
She waved down a taxi and gave the driver the name of the hotel. She held Romulus’s hand, continuously glancing at him. It was amazing how he took everything in without missing a single detail. “The volcano.” He seemed to perk up and she knew if he had been in wolf form his ears and tail would be sticking straight up.
“That’s the Arenal volcano.” Isobel said. “There’s a lot of jungle to cover.”
“As you know my stamina is also near limitless, even if I feel myself growing tired I can push on easily. I will just carry you when you need it so we can cover more in less time. ”
“says my wolf who slept on the plane” He smiled at her teasing, this was a serious situation but he still had playfulness in him for his mate. “I didn’t need to be awake so I let my body rest from connecting with my brother” she kissed his cheek then gently laid her head on his shoulder. He went back to looking out the window as she just thought of what lay ahead for them.
Once they were checked into their hotel and had their luggage set aside, Isobel did a little research on the volcano. “There are hiking trails we can take so it should be fairly easy to get around until we have to go off trail.”
“What kind of predators do they have?”
“Jaguars, pitvipers, caimans.”
“Then you must stay close to me and watch your feet. It would kill me if anything happened to you because I pulled you into this.”
“I’ll stick to you like glue.”
“And if we come face to face with other wolves, do not intervene.”
“I envy your super powers.”
He smiled and gave her a kiss. He wished to linger there in her warmth, but he needed to start searching, Remus was counting on him. “I love you, so very much.”
“I love you too.”
They got ready, went some place quick to eat then started off where they needed to go. Romulus took Isobel’s hand and pulled her close to him the second they were on the path and she smiled, loving how much he cared about her. He was such an incredibly loving man and she hoped if they were trying to figure out how to kill his brother they didn’t find the answer before they got to them. She just couldn’t watch him go through that sort of loss. They walked along hastily, it wearing Isobel out as the hours passed but he just swept her off her feet as he had said he would.
“Has he said anything else to you?” Isobel asked as he stepped effortlessly through the forest.
“No, he’s been silent which in itself is troubling.”
“Maybe he’s waiting until he’s alone.”
“Hopefully that’s all it is. I will search every inch of this rain forest for him if I must.”
Isobel pressed a kiss to his cheek. “You’re a good brother, Romulus.”
Romulus let his sense spread out, searching for his brother’s scent. He had been out here, but he didn’t know why. He had said the men holding him had betrayed him so they must have become friends and earned his trust. Knowing Remus, he had shown them his true form, his power and they had realized what they had in their hands. “Romulus, where are you?” His brother’s voice filled his head and he froze.
“What is it?” Isobel asked.
“Remus.” He replied. “See through my eyes, direct me.”
“Who is the girl?”
Romulus growled at him. “She can handle herself, now tell me where to go.”‘
He could tell his brother wanted to say a million things to him but he started directing instead of chastising him. Romulus was glad he wasn’t going to waste their time because that would be all that would be. Nothing in the world could make him leave Isobel, nothing. He would protect her and he knew with his entire being she’d never hurt or betray him. Isobel was his life and Remus would have to come to accept that. Isobel stayed silent though a million questions ran through her head. Why had he growled at his brother and why did he seem even more serious and tense now.
The area where they were lead, was in the middle of nowhere. It had Romulus turning in circles as he sniffed. He could smell people, but there was nothing here. He wondered if maybe his brother’s memories had been altered after being drugged. “This can’t be right.”
“Let me down.” Isobel said and he lowered her feet.
Isobel walked around, scanning the ground until she found what she was looking for. She reached down, grabbing onto a piece of cloth covered with leaves. There was a metal hatch underneath. “Found it.”
“How did you know?”
“It’s the same thing we do when we find something out in the desert and we don’t want someone messing with it if we have to leave. We put a blanket over it and cover it in sand then mark the spot on our GPS.”
She smiled. “I know.” She reached down and grabbed the hatch handle and pulled it. The door lifted open with ease, not even making a sound.
“Let me go first.” Romulus said and climbed down into the hole then held his hands out for her.
“Wow, an underground base. They probably have security, we should be careful.” He nodded and held out his hand and Isobel watched in fascination as two wispy white wolves appeared. “You’ve never done that before, that’s amazing.”
“I know.” He took her hand and started walking.
“Are you going to tell me what made you so mad earlier?”
“Hmm? Oh, Remus isn’t much for relationships because of how we lived before. Women did not want us for love, it was about pups, about telling others they had been blessed by the Gods. They used us and he had a different reaction to it than I did.”
“I can understand him being worried for you, even if it didn’t hurt you like it did him. I’ll just have to prove him wrong” she said with a big smile and he couldn’t resist giving her a quick kiss. “I hope he finds a woman who wants to actually be with him. He’s a good guy, he wants something real. I think the difference between us two is I never cared about having something real until I woke up and saw you. He’s a romantic but with the way the world is now, if he opens his heart again I’m sure he’ll find a woman who will heal him.” They became quiet now that her question was answered, they didn’t want to give themselves away and talking could easily do that now that they were so close.
The wolves with them stopped and started growling and it took Isobel a moment to realize Romulus had joined them. They had heard or smelled something she had not and were now on high alert. “Stay here.” He said under his breath as he moved forward. The two wolves stayed with her. It was eerily quiet for a moment and then Romulus was back, dragging and unconscious man behind him.
“No, he had his back to me, that would have been cowardly.”
She squatted down and started patting him, taking his gun and a key card from him. “This should help us.”
“What is it?”
“Do you know that card I wear around my neck when I go to work?”
“Well I slide it in this little reader and it opens the doors to the back rooms at the museum. This does the same thing.”
Romulus kissed her head “My brother is lucky I have you to make this easier. I rely on you more than you or probably he knows to navigate this new world I woke up in”
“well I ask you a million questions too so we’re pretty even. Lets go though, we’re so close” He let her lead but only slightly, he was glued to her, making sure he was as close as he could be without running into her. The second more people came into view he pushed her behind him and his wolves attacked but Romulus made sure all that would give up stayed alive, just unconscious. They were surprised at how big this underground place was as they went from room to room but finally they found him.
Remus was face down on his cell floor, fresh bruises on his back and ribs, a collar around his neck. It was concerning his bruises had not disappeared yet and Romulus knew his body must be weak from what had been done to him. “Remus, it’s me, wake up.” He said as he shook him. “Remus.” His brother groaned and his eyes snapped open, a growl rumbling in his throat. “Easy, it’s me.” Romulus helped him sit up.
“Collar.” Remus said and Romulus gripped it, breaking the metal ring off. “Thank you.” Romulus helped him to his feet, pulling one of Remus’s arms over his neck. Isobel went to his other side and Remus gave her a look.
“I’m Isobel, your brother’s mate.”
“I know.” He didn’t sound very pleased, but he left it at that, too weak to say any more.
“You go ahead, Romulus, I’ll help your brother.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, go on.”
Romulus left the cell first and the minute he stepped out a bullet hit him in his right arm. His eyes moved to the scientist who looked shocked he hadn’t gone down and before he even had the chance to fire another round, Romulus was down the hall and snapping his neck. The bullet pushed out of his arm and hit the ground, flesh and bone mending itself as he motioned for Isobel and Remus to follow.
They hurried out as fast as they could with how wounded and weak Remus was. They kept up the same pace even once they were out again and Isobel actually worried about Remus. That this might be too much and he just wasn’t saying he needed them to stop. She didn’t say anything though, knowing Romulus probably knew his brothers limits and would stop if he truly needed it. They took Remus to their hotel room where Romulus started looking him over. Remus at this point seemed to largely ignore the fact Isobel was even there but it didn’t bother her. From what Romulus had explained she understood. To him she was nothing more than another woman who would leave Romulus one day.
“Did they let you eat while you were in there?” Isobel asked and Remus glanced at her and then away.
“No, not a lot, mostly water.”
“I’ll run out and get us something then. Are you hungry Romulus?”
“Not really, but I’ll eat if you do.”
“Alright, just give me a few minutes.”
“Stay safe, don’t wander too far.” She gave him a kiss on the cheek then grabbed her wallet and left them alone.
“So, how long is she planning on staying?” Remus asked when she was gone.
“Forever.” Remus snorted and Romulus growled and prodded one of his wounds harder than he needed too.
“Don’t be an ass, she’s an amazing woman.”
“They all appear that way.”
“She was fated to be mine. She searched for me and I only woke for her, not war or famine, not the end of an age and the beginning of another, but for her.” He sat back, crossing his arms. “Your ribs aren’t broken and hopefully once the drugs completely leave your system and you regain your strength these bruises will disappear. How did they catch you?”
“I thought the one was my friend. I trusted him and I even went as far to show him my true self. I was an idiot to think a human would truly care, would truly want to be my friend. I remember a sharp stabbing pain, probably a needle and then I was out. After that they put that collar on me and every time I would act up they would press this button and a needle would shoot out and inject me. Bastards, they are lucky I was unable to fight back.”
“I am sorry to hear that brother”
“After all we’ve been through and that human betraying me you’d still keep her at your side?”
“yes, I love her and she loves me. She is a good woman and in time you’ll see that. Please, for me, give her a chance. The only thing I demand is you be nice to her. She’s my mate and I won’t tolerate you being rude to her”
“Have I been rude to her?”
“No but you creep close to that line”
“I wont cross it, I respect you enough as my brother to be as nice as I can be to her. I answer her when she talks to me directly”
“I know, thank you” Remus sighed “I don’t think I can ever trust her though”
“that is your prerogative as long as you remain respectful of her. I mean it Remus, she’s my mate” Remus nodded and the conversation was dropped. Isobel found a place nearby that smelled amazing and ordered them all food. She didn’t know a lot about what Remus liked so she just ordered him what she ordered Romulus. When she returned she could tell Romulus had worried. She knew he probably wouldn’t be fully comfortable until they were back home and far away from the place his brother had been kept. She gave Romulus his food then walked over to Remus to hand him his. “thank you”
“I hope you like it, your brother does”
“We have most of the same tastes.”
“Oh good, then you’ll be just as easy as he is.”
“What do you mean?”
“To feed and buy clothes for. You’re coming back with us right? We can’t just leave you here, there could be more of those men lurking around.”
“I don’t think that would be a good idea.”
“Don’t be such a baby, Remus, she has a point and we have the room for you until you find a place of your own. Besides, you’ll like where we live.”
Their gazes collided and it seemed to Isobel that they were having some sort of internal argument. Remus finally huffed and started eating, obviously losing to his brother. “When do we leave then?”
“When you are fully dressed and up to traveling. We have to take a plane.” Romulus answered.
“The flying machines.”
“I’ve never been on one. I took a ship here.”
“It’s a bit strange.”
“I’ll go ahead and hop online to find us tickets. I’ll let you two know the flight times before buying so we can make sure Remus will be ready”
“Thanks baby” Romulus answered and she pulled out her computer, eating as she looked. “so we can leave in in an hour and twenty minuets if that works for you Remus”
“That will be fine, I just want to shower quickly” He got up and went to the bathroom and his brother followed with clothes. She purchased their tickets then shut down her laptop so she could pack it back up. Romulus suddenly hugged her from behind “I’m sorry he is distant”
“I didn’t expect him to warm instantly to me. It’s going to take time and I’m fine with that, I understand”
“he should trust my judgement” Isobel turned in his arms and kissed him “he needs time, it’s okay. Thank you for making sure I’m fine”
“If he’s rude to you and I don’t see it tell me”
“it’ll be fine” Romulus pressed their lips together again, savoring her a few moments before helping her get ready for them to go. It was fairly easy since they hadn’t really spent time in their room. Finding him had been surprisingly quick but they were grateful for that.
When Remus was ready they went ahead and headed to the airport. Remus eyed security with suspicion and when he saw the plane through the window he gave both Romulus and Isobel and look that said they were nuts. Isobel sat between them on the plane after boarding and when she saw a look of surprise on Remus’s face at takeoff, she grabbed his arm and gave him a comforting smile. “I’m fine.” He mumbled.
“Everyone’s nervous their first time up, it gets better.”
“I’m never riding another.”
Romulus chuckled and Remus shot him a glare. “Why don’t you watch a movie, to help get your mind off things.” Isobel said as she pulled the package of headphones out of the pocket of the seat in front of him. “You just plug these in and stick them in your ears then tap the screen on whatever looks interesting.”
He eyed it with suspicion but he began using it, selecting a movie and seeming to get interested. Remus was just glad to have a reason not to talk to this woman his brother was with. She seemed nice but they all had seemed nice. He still felt she would just wait to get pregnant and then leave. If not that she was waiting on some sort of other blessing before never being seen again. Women didn’t stay with men like them and he wished his brother would learn that already. When people knew them for what they were greed filled their hearts, nothing else, certainly not love. He’d figure out what she was after, hopefully soon.
When they landed he still didn’t speak much but that didn’t stop Isobel from trying. Once home they set him up in a room and started getting him adjusted to life there and showing him around where they lived. One morning when Romulus was still sleeping and just the two of them were in the kitchen Remus said “I still can’t figure you out. I’ve been here a month now and..I don’t know for certain what you want”
“to be with your brother. I love him”
“I do, you can’t figure out what I’m after because I’m not after anything Remus”
“Please, just tell me”
“There’s nothing to tell”
“I’ll give you whatever it is you want right now if you tell me. No more games, you’ll just have it so you can go”
“I want to be with your brother forever. I really do love him” Remus just stared at her and she stared back, obviously not backing down. He had just offered to give her whatever she wanted and she still claimed to love Romulus. He didn’t understand and he still struggled to accept she loved him but truly what would be the point of a charade now? He hadn’t really hid from her he wanted her gone so she couldn’t doubt he’d actually give her what it took to make her vanish. As he continued to stand there he slowly started to feel like an ass “I’m going on a walk” he said in irritation.
“If you give me a moment, I’ll go with you.”
“I would prefer…”
“Just one second.”
She left the kitchen before he could say anymore and he just stood there, not sure if he should leave without her or not. Isobel went to her room and gently shook romulus awake. “Hmm?” He said as he opened his eyes.
“I’m going on a walk with your brother.”
“What? Let me get up and I’ll go too.”
“It’s fine, just sleep baby.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, it’ll be fine, trust me.”
“Tell me if he says anything mean.”
She smiled and kissed him. “I will just go back to sleep.” She grabbed her tennis shoes and headed back to the kitchen, smiling when she saw Remus still standing there. “Come on, I know a really nice route we can take.”
“Why did you want to come?” Remus asked once they were outside.
“Because I want to talk to you and you keep avoiding me like the plague.”
“I’m confused. Why my brother?”
“Because I looked for him my whole life and I never expected to actually find a living breathing person. I thought artifacts or a few etchings, but I never thought I would actually find him. The only thing I want with your brother is to love him and to be loved by him, that’s it. I would love to get married and start a family, but as long as I have him, I’m happy. I know it’s hard for you, I get it, but I would never dream of using your brother. He’s my everything, my mate as you wolves like to say and I won’t give him up for anything.”
“I’m sorry…I guess I haven’t really been giving you a chance.” She was surprised by his answer and he could see it so he spoke again “I offered you anything and you didnt’ take it, you stayed. It wold be illogical of you to not just take what you want from me and stay when if you were trying to manipulate something out of him it would take longer”
“so you can see that I love him?”
“Yes, I am sorry. I mean it.” she hugged him and he slowly wrapped his arms around her, still feeling uncertain. “are we friends now?”
“Yes, I will make more of an effort with you” They continued walking, him finally willing to get to know her. When they returned Romulus was up waiting on them and Isobel ran into his arms. “everything’s good?”
“everything’s great” Romulus looked at his brother “she’s not so bad after all. It’s good you keep her around” Romulus smiled “thanks brother” That day was the start of an amazing relationship between the three of them. Now Isobel just hoped they could someday find a mate for him too. He may not think he wanted one but she could tell he wasn’t meant to be alone. All those years ago wouldn’t have hurt him as badly as it did if he truly didn’t want someone to share his life with.
~ The End