“Do we really have to do this, I mean I have other family we could see.” Julian said as he walked side by side with Lucius, their fingers laced together.
“You said anything.” Lucius replied with a warm smile.
“Yeah, but I didn’t think you would pick my parents.”
“I’m sure your mother misses you.”
“It’s not my mother I’m worried about.” He sighed, running his fingers through his hair. “You know I could…”
“Don’t you dare use one of your tears to get out of this, you know I’d be pissed when you get back. I’ll cut you off if you do.”
Julian chuckled. “You wish you could.” He leaned in and pressed a kiss to Lucius’s cheek, grinning at how his heart raced. “See, that’s all it takes and you’re jello.”
“Shut up jerk, you can’t seduce your way out of this. I want at least your mother to meet me.”
“Alright, alright, just don’t be surprised if my dad says something stupid.”
“You know I’ll be fine. I’m one of those beings that I have to truly care about your opinion for it to bother me. Unless of course they are rude to you, then I’ll set them straight.”
“My entire pack sucks except my mother. Sometimes I feel it’s a shame wolves mate for life. She deserves better than that pack.” Lucius took his hand in hopes it would make his wolf feel better. It did, Julian held on tightly to his mate, hoping this all went at least okay. He knew good was completely out of the question but he could dream of a not wholly terrible visit. He took comfort in the fact his mate truly had the thickest skin of anybody he had ever known. It had been hard to even get into his heart when they first found each other so he knew Lucius really could take whatever his father did.
Julian became more tense as they drew closer to his parents home, every muscles was wound tight and ready in case he had to jump to his mate’s defense. He wasn’t surprised to find a couple of his father’s pack members wrestling on the front lawn and they both stopped as soon as they noticed him. The older of the two shoved the other one off of him and they both stood, dusting themselves of and meeting them as they crossed the yard. “Well, well, if it isn’t little Julian.” His eyes moved to Lucius. “And who is this?”
Julian moved in between them so the other wolf had no choice but to look into his eyes. “He’s my mate, I would move back if I were you.” The wolf growled, but Julian held his gaze, not intimidated in the least. “How about you tell me if my mom’s inside.”
The wolf huffed. “Yeah, making lunch. I’m sure she’s excited to see her wayward, homo son and his freak vampire lover.” Julian grabbed him by the throat and slammed him onto the ground to Lucius’s surprise. “You forget who you talk to, I might not spend every moment humping every female that looks at me sideways as some proof of manhood, but you can bet your ass I’ll send you into a dimension so dark not even your night vision will save you.”
“Julian, that’s enough, you made your point baby.” Lucius said as he rested a hand on Julian’s back. “Let’s just go in an see your mother.”
“You’re lucky today, Terry, if it wasn’t for him I would have made you apologize.”
The wolf didn’t even dare to growl as Julian let him go roughly and began walking with his mate inside. Julian’s father was sitting on the couch when they walked in. “Julian.”
“This is your mate?”
“Yes, his name is Lucius.” The wolf on the couch looked him over then went back to the magazine he had been reading so Julian guided his mate into the kitchen to see the one wolf around worth seeing. She was wiping off her hands when they entered so she wouldn’t get anything on them.
“Julian.” She said happily, a far different demeanor than everyone else.
“Hey mom.” He held her tightly, wishing deeply he could see her more without seeing the other wolves. She hugged Lucius next which surprised him even though he had heard so many pleasant things about her. “Welcome, I’m so happy he’s finally letting me meet you. I can tell how happy he is when I talk to him.”
“It’s nice to meet you too. I hope you’re well.”
“Very well, especially now. Lunch won’t be long. My name is Xin, in case my son hadn’t told you yet.”
Lucius smiled “I like that name, it’s really pretty.” These wolves had such bad attitudes he wondered how often she heard something nice so he wanted to compliment her and he truly did like her name.
“So, how was the trip?” Xin asked as she went back to cooking.
“Uneventful, but it usually is.” Julian answered.
“Staying out of trouble?”
“Define trouble.” She gave him a look and he cracked a smile. “The only trouble I get into is work related, but other than that, yes, I’m not doing anything illegal. Lucius would try killing me.”
“Try?” Lucius said.
“Yes, try because you and I both know it would be nothing but a tongue lashing.”
“I heard your scuffle outside with Terry.” Xin said.
Julian shrugged. “He was being rude, I just put him in his place.”
“I know you don’t get along with them, but please try not to get into any fights. I talked to your father too, hopefully it won’t get too out of hand. You know how he is and I can see what you’re thinking, I stay because I love him and he loves me, he’s never raised a hand to me.” She smiled lovingly at her son. “I know it’s hard for you, but I’ll try to help keep the peace.”
“Well I love you, I know nobody around here ever hits you..I just…I want you to be happy.”
“I know, you’re the best son a mother could have asked for.” They continued talking to his mother until food was served. His father joined and Julian was grateful no other wolves were coming to eat. It was nice eating his mothers cooking again. He had amazing meals with his mate and Uri, but there just wasn’t anything like eating a meal your mother made. He knew most people felt that way, people that grew up close to their mother anyway. His father was mostly silent as they ate but that was another win. His mother truly must have spoken to him because normally there would already be tension between them. It seemed silence was his way of trying to make things peaceful so Xin would be happy.
“So what is it you do again, Lucius?” Xin asked.
“Solve crimes dealing with the occult and preternatural. There’s generally some sort of magic involved, sometimes ghosts and demons, or shifters running amok.” He glanced at Julian.
“It’s how he met me mom, remember my old job?”
She sighed. “Not until after you had stopped.”
“I know, I know, but that how we met.”
“I can only imagine how that went.”
“He got upset when I pushed him into a clown.” Lucius said.
“Oh, I see.” She gave a laugh.
“What’s that all about anyway?”
Julian grumbled and Xin looked to Julian’s father. “Would you like to tell him, Ivan?”
“It may make our son mad at me all over again.”
“Oh Julian, that was years back, don’t hold a grudge alright?”
Julian sighed, “Just tell it dad. I guess my mate has been asking for the story long enough.”
“I was just trying to have fun with the boy. It was a little after Halloween so everywhere was clearance out costumes and I bought a few scary clown costumes along with one regular one. My Betas and I dressed up as the scary ones and we got another male to be the normal one. For about a week , the wolf with the normal costume would just pop up, in costume where my son was and then eventually we set it up to where one second he saw the nice looking clown and the next he saw the scary one holding a severed head, then of course my Betas joined me. He was never okay with clowns after that.”
“It was terrible and it scarred me for life. I started having nightmares. Anytime I saw one after it was like walking past hell personified.”
Lucius had to clear his throat to keep from laughing at such a dramatic description. “Now I feel really bad.” He finally managed to say. “What would you do if you walked into our room and I was dressed like a clown?”
“Send you through the same tear as last time.”
“Come now son, it wasn’t that bad. They’re just clowns.” Ivan said. “It could have been worse.”
“Worse would have been better. Those wigs and the faces.” He shivered. “I just can’t.”
“And I of course gave Ivan hell for it. Poor Julian was shaking and crying and when Ivan tried to explain to him that it was fake by showing him the masks he nearly hurt himself trying to get away. He was maybe ten at the time.”
“It wasn’t the most fun I ever had.” Julian added. “I guess if anything it taught me to run fast.”
“See, there’s a silver lining.” Ivan said.
“Oh yes, very silver dear.” Xin replied. “Anyway, that’s the clown story. So are you two planning on staying here?”
“If it’s not too much trouble mom, can we use my old room?”
“You know you don’t have to ask baby, that room will always be yours.” She cleared her throat. “Just um you know, keep it down.”
“Come on mom.”
“Well, you are an adult and you’re are mates.”
Julian glanced at his father who was looking at his plate and not saying anything even though Julian could tell he wanted to. “Yeah, alright.”
“Maybe after we eat we can look at some old photos. I’m dying to show your mate how adorable you were when you were little.” He really didn’t want to let her do that, but Julian could tell how happy it would make her and it was a normal thing for a mother to want to do.
“Okay but promise me you wont let him take any home with us. I don’t want his brother teaming up with him to tease me.”
Xin smiled, “I think Julian said you two were twins right?”
“Yes mam, we look basically identical. It’s why I have to wear this collar. Your son can tell us apart but besides him, nobody outside our family can.”
“Have you tried to trick him?”
“My brother tried once, just to see if he could, curiosity gets away with him sometimes, but Julian didn’t fall for it for a second. He should have known, wolves are hard to fool.”
“It’s more than just because I’m a wolf. You two are different, I’ve spent enough time looking at you to know without doubt who is who.”
“The way you walk when you approach me, your brother doesn’t have that shy hesitation, your speech patterns are different and Uri never loses his temper. You should see him try to cross his arms like he’s irritated, he looks so awkward. Then there’s your scent, even though you’re identical, your scents differ. He even tried wearing some of your clothes, but it didn’t mask his scent and the fact mine wasn’t on him at all.”
Lucius blushed and glanced at Julian’s parents. “So how about we finish eating and I tease you for a bit.”
Julian chuckled. “Awe, but I’m enjoying how embarrassed you are.” Lucius shot him a little glare and Julian leaned over and kissed his cheek. “Alright, I’m sorry, I’ll be good.”
They continued to chat with his parents, mostly with his mother who included Ivan in the conversation when she wanted him to add to any storied she told. Lucius could see that Ivan was holding a lot back and he had to give him some credit for it. Julian had been worried his father would explode the moment he saw them together, but he was actually keeping his thoughts to himself. It wasn’t like Lucius didn’t get it. He understood that it was sometimes hard for people to accept that their child was gay, but Ivan hadn’t thrown them out or badmouthed them like the wolf outside had.
He knew he might get his head bitten off for it later, but he felt like he should point out how much his father was trying to Julian. If not for that relationship, for the relationship he had with his mother. If Julian didn’t feel so bitter when it came to his father they would come more and Lucius could tell it would make both him and Xin much happier. Lucius could see how badly Xin wanted this visit to go well so her son would come around more. His father would still be head of a pack of man whores and assholes but he knew if the relationship with his father could be mended the other wolves wouldn’t hinder Julian’s relationship with Xin.
Once they were finished eating, Julian helped his mother clean up then he and Lucius sat down in the living room with Ivan while Xin went upstairs to grab the photo albums. Julian and Ivan were silent, not looking at each other and Lucius cleared his throat. “So, Ivan, you’re an alpha, that must be hard work.”
“Not particularly.” Ivan replied.
“You never have anyone fight you for your position?”
“Every now and then, but it’s easy to put them in their place. Wolf packs understand dominance and once you show the more wily of them that you won’t be pushed around, the others tend to fall in line.”
Lucius cracked a smile. “So that’s where Julian gets it.”
“Gets what?” Julian asked.
“That dominating nature of yours.”
Julian huffed. “I do not.”
“Found them.” Xin said as she came down and let her eyes move over all three of them. “What did you say to embarrass them so bad?”
“I’m not embarrassed.” Julian and Ivan said at the same time, causing both Lucius and Xin to laugh as she came down and sat next to Lucius.
“So, baby pictures first then?” She asked.
“Yes, absolutely.” Lucius replied as she flipped the first album open.
Julian was soon glad he hadn’t fought his mother when it came to showing his mate these pictures. Lucius looked so happy and it was rare for him not to look serious so while Lucius studied the pictures Julian just admired him. Xin seemed happy too as she talked about what was going on when she took each photo. Another note Lucius took was Ivan looked at Xin much like Julian looked at him and knew his mate probably didn’t see his parents relationship for what it was because he had such bad feelings towards his father. He knew he hadn’t grown up with them but Ivan did seem to love Xin quite a bit, just the way he looked at her said that clearly.
“He really does look a lot like, Ivan.” Lucius said when they got into the pictures of Julian’s teens. “I mean look at that scowl.”
Xin laughed. “That’s what I told him.”
“Come on you two, you don’t have to rub it in.” Julian said.
“But you look so cute.” Lucius teased and Julian arched an eyebrow.
“You just wait, I’ll show you cute. My parents can’t keep you safe forever.” He gave Lucius a devious grin.
“Hey, be good.” He felt heat crawling up his neck and into his face, turning his pale skin red.
“I’m always good.”
Once they were finished looking at pictures, Xin said. “Why don’t you take Lucius on a tour of our property, I’m sure he’d like to see where you used to play.”
“What about you and dad?”
“We’ll stay here baby, besides, I’m sure you need a break from all of this embarrassment.”
“Alright.” Julian walked over and kissed his mother’s forehead before giving her a long hug.
“I’m so happy you’re here Julian.” She told him again because she truly was.
They walked out and Julian sighed, “Sometimes I wish cameras didn’t exist, but you and my mother seem to be getting along well.”
“She’s wonderful and maybe your dad isn’t so bad either.”
“Okay, I know that last part was a joke.”
Lucius sighed, “We’ve never been a couple who didn’t talk about things or point out when we thought the other was wrong Julian. I mean, I can see you’re right about your dad’s pack. From the two I’ve met it’s clear you don’t have to be any kind of a decent wolf to be accepted into this pack but maybe, your dad himself isn’tÂ as badÂ as you feel he is.”
“He was horrible to me, I mean you heard the clown story.”
“Maybe these kinds of wolves are what he grew up around so he had a hard time learning how to play with you without doing something like that.” Julian was obviously frustrated and feeling defensive but Lucius was proud of how well he was managing to talk without yelling.
“It doesn’t matter.”
“Well at the very least you should accept your mother is happy with him. He looks at Xin the way you look at me and even she says she’s happy. You can look at her and see she’s happy.”
Julian sighed. “You keep comparing us.”
“You have a lot of similarities, Julian and there’s nothing wrong with that.” He laced his fingers through Julian’s, letting his thumb brush over his skin to soothe him. “He hasn’t said anything negative to us, in fact he’s been incredibly civil. I know you’re mad about some things, the way he traumatized you as a child and how he and his pack treated you over being gay, but can’t you just forgive him.” He smiled. “Please try?”
Julian let out a grumble. “I should just shift and hide in the woods.”
“You wouldn’t do that.”
“I know.” He sighed again. “I’ll try, for you and my mother, okay?”
“I know it’s hard, but if I can come to terms with your constant need to show me affection and your sarcastic mouth, then you can do this.”
“You like my sarcastic mouth, it’s very good at what it does.”
He chuckled as he brushed a kiss to Lucius’s cheek. “I love you and I’ll try, I really will. Now, come on, I have somewhere special I want to take you.”
“It’s a secret, I used to go there when I wanted to get away from my dad and the pack. I’d cover up my scent and tracks so they couldn’t follow me.”
Lucius happily let his mate guide him along. He couldn’t believe how well that went and was relived Julian was willing to try to forgive his father. His mother deserved more visits and living with hating a parent was a burden Lucius couldn’t wait to see lifted from the wolf’s shoulders. Julian eventually pulled them deep into the woods where he started feeling the ground. “There we go.” Julian pulled open a door that even up still looked like a piece of ground. “Who knows what’s in there now, but I know little critters and bugs wont bother you…as you know…sometimes I just needed to disappear.”
“I bet your dad would be proud of this.”
“I guess we could tell him about it now that I don’t need it. For now let’s go in, I’ll go first and take the cobwebs that might be around. I haven’t entered here since I was a teenager.” They went in, Julian touching what looked like little stones that glowed when he pressed. There surprisingly wasn’t many intruders but moles had obviously been through a few times.
“This is really cool.” Lucius had to note again.
“I worked hard on it.”
“How old were you when you started this?”
Julian shrugged at Lucius’s apology. “I really am going to try to let it go.”
“Still, it sucks you were this unhappy so young, but it also shows how smart and resourceful you were even that young.”
They continued further in until they came to a room. There was a pile of old blankets and pillows in one corner and a small bookcase in another. There was a rug in the center and some old toys in a box that had Lucius smiling. It was a little dusty, but everything was surprisingly dry. “Wow, look at this place.” He said.
“I used to play here when I was a kid. I’d just get lost in my imagination and forget about everything. Sometimes I would open tears just to see where they went.”
“Such a daredevil.”
“I just wanted to escape. When I was a teen, I started to get a sense for where they all went and I could step into any world with ease.” He looked around at everything. “I need to shake all of this stuff out, maybe get some new blankets down here.”
“Do you plan on escaping again?”
“Only if I get to do it with you.” Lucius felt a blush crawling up his neck and Julian smiled. “I could patch up the walls with something more durable like stone or brick, I could get more lighting and some flooring. We could just hide here all alone for awhile.”
“I have a feeling we’d never leave.”
“That wouldn’t be so bad.” Julian said with a chuckle.
Julian pulled Lucius close to him, hungrily moving his lips against his mates then spoke amorously, “I don’t want to have sex in my old bedroom, but here would be perfect.”
“I swear there can’t be a moment that is ever far from your mind.” Julian began to kiss and gently nibble at Lucius’s neck. It caused goosebumps to already start forming on his skin. After this long together he knew the perfect way to do that. Julian had learned just the right way to do everything with Lucius to make him putty in his hands. Lucius gave in without any more prompting and began taking off Julian’s pants. Julian bit his shoulder, hard, marking what was his before sliding his hands into his pants. Julian felt his soft skin and reveled in the feel of squeezing his bottom.
He pulled him up, making Lucius wrap his legs around him as they kissed. Julian sat down on the old blankets then jerked Lucius’s pants down so he could work him loose, all the while still hungrily kissing his mate. He relished the slow change in how Lucius kissed him and when he was obviously ready Julian plunged himself inside, his heart going wild with Lucius’s first, deep moan. Julian bit his other shoulder now, feeling more territorial than normal now that he was around his pack. It wasn’t rational since none of them were gay like he was, but he still wanted to make sure any wolf around knew Lucius was his and his alone.
Julian kept him right on the edge of release, wanting to prolong their lovemaking as long as possible. He couldn’t help himself, losing himself completely to his need for his mate, even making Lucius unbutton his shirt so he could mark his chest. Lucius whimpered when Julian turned him around, the fingers of one hand coming up to hook in his collar, the other sliding between his legs to stroke him. Lucius’s body shook with his release, his loud cry filling the room as tears filled his eyes at the overwhelming pleasure. Julian’s teeth clamped down on his shoulder and he let out a growl as he came. Lucius collapsed back against him, panting loudly, unsure if he would ever be able to walk again.
“I think we should stay away from here.” Lucius finally managed to say.
Julian chuckled as he pressed a kiss to his shoulder. “Oh? Why?”
“I won’t be able to move if we keep coming here.”
Julian lifted him and turned him so he could kiss his lips. “Good, that means you can’t get away.”
Julian grinned. “You know I can’t when I’m with you. I need you always, it’s a craving that can never be sated.” He ran his fingers gently through Lucius’s hair. “You’re just such a temptation, I love you.”
“I love you too.”
Julian held Lucius until Lucius insisted they had been gone too long and needed to head back. “We can just go home you know, we saw them.”
“Julian, you said you’d forgive the past and try to just see him as he is now. We’re going to stay and give this a real chance. Just keep telling yourself how happy your mom will be if you were able to come more.” Julian kissed Lucius, mostly for strength then they walked out together, making sure the door looked as natural as it always had before Julian swept Lucius off his feet. He was going to carry his mate back to his parents house and he dared any of his fathers rotten pack to say a word to him. This would be part of him coming more. They would have to learn that he wasn’t going to hide how much he loved Lucius to make them comfortable.
“Did you two have fun?” Xin asked when they walked in, causing Lucius to blush.
“Yeah, I showed him my hideout.” Julian said.
“Hideout?” Ivan asked.
“Yeah, I built it a long time ago. It was a home away from home, clubhouse sort of thing.” He was doing his best not to let the real reason it had been built slip out, but he could see the knowing look on his father’s face regardless.
“Hmm, I had no idea.”
“I hid it. Maybe later I’ll show it to you or something.”
“You don’t have to, it’s your place, I wouldn’t want to intrude.”
Julian shrugged. “I mean maybe you could look it over for me and help me rebuild some stuff. A few moles dug into it so, you know, it might not be up to code.”
Ivan nodded. “If you want me to.”
“Just, could you maybe keep the other wolves away from it. You can use it for emergencies, but can you not let them trash it.”
Xin wore a grateful expression as she looked over at Lucius. She knew that had to have something to do with him. When they did return to Julian’s old hideaway Ivan noted, “This is very well made son. These stones, I’m impressed you were able to collect them. I know where they come from and therefor know it was no easy task.”
“I needed a good source of light. They’ve been worth the effort.”
“I wish I could have helped you with this place back then, but I know this was a hideaway from me too.”
“Well, you can help me with it now.” The way his father almost steered the conversation made Julian too uncomfortable. He knew they’d have to talk about it at some point but not yet, he had only just gotten home.
His father took the hint and just continued inspecting. “Ah, I see what you mean about the moles”
“What can we do?”
“We can reinforce the walls with wood and then brick over it. We can also lay stones into the floor and make a venting system to fresh air can get in here.” He looked around and noticed the box of toys. “Look at this. I thought you lost all these.”
“No, I just brought them down here.”
“They’re still in good shape, a little dusty, but there’s no mold or anything.”
“Anyway, I could also look into some bedding, maybe some cushions or animal hides, a new bookshelf. I mean if you’re going to escape to somewhere then it might as well be comfortable. I’m sure your mate would appreciate it.”
Julian was surprised at how much his dad seemed to truly want to help and thought of this as a good way for them to attempt to get along. “Do you want to maybe start now working on it?”
“Sure, your mate can hangout with your mother right or would you prefer them stay with us?”
“That’s up to him.”
“I’d love to spend time with your mom. Hopefully there’s more pictures somewhere.”
“Oh there is.” she said cheerfully.
“Then it’s settled. We will work on making this place more comfortable and our mates can get to know each other better. Your mother has been eager to spend time with the man you’ve chosen to spend your life with.”
Soon after the four parted ways Xin hugged Luciu.s “I hope hugging you is okay..I’m just so grateful to you.”
“I’m not stupid, you’re pushing him to hangout with his father”
“He doesn’t seem so bad”
“He’s not, he did mess up quite a lot as a father but it was never because he didn’t love Julian. You have to be loved to know how to love and before me his father never had that. His parents were as cold and selfish as the rest of this pack and truly at this point, he’d make a great father. I think we just had kids too fast. We should have waited but then again who knows, maybe he had to push Julian so far away to really learn how to be better. He’s missed his son and even though I tell him not to he feels guilty over the pain it causes me that Julian won’t come very often due to his childhood. I want us to be a normal, close family so badly and because of you that might actually happen.” She had let him go now so he could see her tearing up.
Lucius wiped the tears away. “I’ll do my best if there are any bumps to keep Julian’s heart open to him.”
Julian started to feel a little more comfortable around his father while they worked on fixing his hideaway and they even chatted a little here and there, though it was awkward. “So, you and Lucius, planning on kids or anything?” His father asked without looking up from what he was doing.
Julian shrugged. “Don’t know, we haven’t really discussed it. Our jobs are pretty dangerous and I don’t even know how he feels about kids. Besides, I probably wouldn’t be a good dad.”
Ivan raised his head then and turned his gaze on his son. “That’s probably the stupidest thing you’ve ever said.”
“Really? I’m sure I’ve said worse.”
Ivan sighed as he rubbed the back of his neck. “We need to talk.”
“Because, your mother would want us to and I’m sure your mate would too.”
“There’s nothing to talk about. I’m the gay son of the alpha, the disappointment.”
“Can’t we just save it for later? I don’t want to end up getting in a fight with you. Lucius would get upset if I lost my temper after I promised I’d try.”
Ivan nodded. “Alright, once we’re done fixing this place up then.” He turned back to what he had been working on, but added quietly, “You were never a disappointment.”
His father had backed down but Julian couldn’t let that comment sit “The way you treated me said I was. The way you’ve never stood up for me with the pack said I was! You let them talk to me however they want.”
“I always knew you could handle yourself.”
“I could, but if you didn’t agree with them you would have said something. They are your pack, you’re the alpha.”
“If I would have stepped in it would have only gotten worse. You needed to defend yourself.”
“They won’t change and they are who you are. Mom may buy your crap and maybe even my mate now, but you choose to stay in this pack and you repeatedly choose to let them, for lack of a better term be dogs. I’ve met many packs in my travels and wolves or not there’s no excuse to be as horrible as this pack is.”
“I grew up in this pack. They are family.”
“You’re just as cowardly as they are.”
He didn’t even hear his father move. One moment he was facing the wall, the next he was eye to eye with his father. “You have no idea what the burdens of my responsibilities are. You think I don’t control my pack? You’re wrong. Trust me when I say that they could be a hell of a lot worse. They may be dogs, but I have lines that will never be crossed. You don’t know how many I’ve had to put in their place.”
“Then you should have done it when I was a boy instead of letting them push me around, instead of telling me to mate with some woman and have puppies.”
“I’m sorry I made you feel isolated, but you didn’t have it nearly as bad as you could have. Do you want to know what kind of man your grandfather was? He was the kind that beat his son when he was disappointed, who let bigger wolves beat me up to teach me a lesson, who left me out in the wild to fend for myself because I was weak and incompetent. He was the kind of man that threatened to rip my throat out during a training exercise. He had his teeth right here, clamped down on my throat. I may have been a bastard, but at least you grew up tough enough to stand up for yourself instead of letting some…some animal threaten you. I didn’t do the things I did because I was disappointed, but because I wanted you to able to walk through this world without worry.” He stepped back, taking a deep breath. “I said some things to you I should have never said, done things no father should ever do and I am sorry. So stop avoiding this place because of me, hate me if you wish, but at least visit more often for your mother.”
“I don’t want to hate you anymore, I’m trying.”
“Good because I love you. As hard as it might be to believe I have always loved you son.”
“Well…I guess I’m starting to see that now…this place is going to look good…I can already see it.”
“I want to make things right between us Julian. I want to do much more than just fix up this place for you.” They didn’t talk much as they continued working. Neither knew what else to add since they both felt so awkward after their heated discussion but the tension had faded by the time they went to the house for something to eat.
“How’re things going?” Xin asked hopefully at the table.
“Good.” Julian answered and his father nodded, “Yeah.”
“How did everything really go today?” Lucius asked that night after they were showered and cuddling in Julian’s old bed.
“It went good. We had a discussion and my dad told me a few things that I wasn’t aware of.”
“That he was severely abused by his father.”
“Oh, your mom mentioned his parents weren’t exactly the best.”
Julian sighed. “I want to forgive him, I want to be understanding, but it’s still hard. On one hand he had it a hundred times worse, but his methods with me were wrong.”
Lucius propped himself on one elbow and let his other hand run gently up and down Julian’s chest. “I know, but look at it this way, you’re strong and stubborn thanks to him and if you had never left, we would have never met.”
“That’s a little unfair, you don’t know that.”
“It’s just a thought.”
Julian huffed. “Yeah I know.” He reached up stroked Lucius’s cheek. “He asked me something today that I wanted to run by you and see what you think.”
“Just know, you’re under no obligation to say yes, I don’t even know if I…”
“Julian, tell me.”
“He asked if we ever planned on kids. Do you maybe want to adopt a couple or maybe find someone to carry a couple or something? I mean I don’t even know if I’d be a good father, but if you want kids then I’d be more than willing to try.”
“I think I’d rather adopt. In my line of work I’ve seen so many children who ended up in horrible situations due to being cast into the foster system. If you want kids I’d rather save some than pay a surrogate to help us make more. Beyond that I know you’d make a good dad because you don’t make any excuses for how your dad treated you. You know you didn’t grow up right so you won’t make those same choices with your children. People that continue the abuse normally made a bunch of excuses for their parents but I’m struggling to get you to forgive him at all.”
“How many would you want to adopt?”
“With our lifestyle? I’d say no more than two. We live such dangerous lives. I think it would be too stressful to have more than one or two to worry about.”
“Then maybe after this trip we can go to an orphanage and see what we have to do to adopt a child or two. I wonder how your brother will feel about kids in the house.”
“He’s a softie, he’ll like it.”
“He’ll probably spoil them rotten.”
“With knowledge more than likely.”
Julian huffed out a laugh as he pulled Lucius down to kiss him. “You’re lucky we’re in here or I’d make love to you again.”
“Maybe I’ll stay here forever then.” Lucius teased as he rested his head on Julian’s chest.
“I’d just toss you over my shoulder and carry you out to the woods. I might not even take you into the hideout.”
“You better be good.”
He kissed the top Lucius’s head. “As long as you don’t tempt me my sweet little vampire.”
Over the following days Julian and Ivan worked on their relationship along with the hideout as Lucius and Xin grew closer. Their final day there he let his parents know they were going to look into adopting which excited Xin even more than Julian expected it to. “Please bring them as soon as you have them, please. We’ll make sure the pack doesn’t come around.” She said, knowing that would be a big concern of Julian’s with a child.
“We’ll bring them, don’t worry mom. I’m going to be coming back a lot more in general.” She looked like she might cry and Ivan just looked relieved.
First thing they did upon arriving home was talk to Uri about the addition of children. “That sounds amazing, I’d love to see some kids around here. I can go ahead and start looking into nannies that can keep them when we’re working. I’m going to be picky as hell with who we trust and they’ll be my nieces or nephews or whatever so I do get to be picky.”
“Of course, choose whoever you want, we trust your judgement.” Lucius said.
“Come on baby, I want to go to the orphanage before it gets dark.” Julian said.
“Alright, would you like to come with us Uri?”
“Sure, it’d probably best they know all three of us. I wouldn’t want you bringing any children home and them get confused by there being two of you.”
“I doubt that would ever happen. Like I told Lucius, you two are very different, it’d be easy to tell you apart.”
“Still, better to be safe and sorry.” They headed out, Uri deciding to hold off on the nanny until they knew the exact ages of the children they would be adopting. “What age were you two thinking anyway?” Uri asked.
“Possibly older children. I know they don’t get adopted as much as babies do and I would like to give them a good home.” Julian answered. “Though if I’m not careful I might adopt enough to form my own pack.”
Uri chuckled. “That sounds more terrifying than an actual pack of wolves. Can you imagine a bunch of kids just running and jumping on you. Lucius would be taken down in an instant, you could just step through a tear, and I’d have to lock myself in the library.”
They discussed different scenarios happily until they arrived at the nearest orphanage. They were spoken to right away and were given all the paper work they’d need which the woman told them to start filling out after they finished speaking with her. They explained Lucius’s twin lived with them and then proceeded to tell her about their house and how they were financially. The entire conversation seemed to go well and they arranged a visit to their home by a social worker. It felt like the process took forever but all the while they were getting to know the kids and knew precisely who they wanted by the time it was all over. The one or two Lucius was originally talking about turned into five but they truly felt like they needed those children in their lives.
Weldon was eight and the youngest child they adopted. They were told he was incredibly smart and it showed because he had a robotic dog that even the adults there attested to he built himself. He was human and had shoulder length brown hair that they were told he was very attached to. Terina would be the second youngest of their children. She was a cat demon who frequently kept her cat ears out when she was in human form. She had tugged at their hearts with her constant need to show them her paintings and talk to them when they’d come. The third youngest they’d be adopting was Taryn. She had been dropped at a police station when she was only days old and they eventually figured out she was a Naiad. They warned them about the fact she liked to take multiple baths a day so she might run up their water bill a considerable amount but they didn’t care about that and assured the staff they wouldn’t bring her back because of it.
They were already planning where to put a swimming pool for her and guessed if she had one she might not be wanting to sit in a bathtub most of her day. Aban, the second oldest was an interesting mixture of things. He apparently had panther, wolf and fairy in him. Eline was just shy of being seventeen, only just old enough to be considered older than Aban and she was a pure blooded fairy which was mostly important information due to how she came to them. She had apparently been sold as a baby to an underground group that imprisoned fairies for vampires to feed on. Learning this surprised Lucius since he was a vampire, she’d be living with two vampires and she had never seemed afraid of them. She had even seemed happy when they asked her if she wanted to go home with them. The orphanage seemed to try to talk them out of her as they had Taryn but that only made Julian want her more “she wants to go home with us and we’ll take good care of her” They understood though, people returned children all the time like they were some toaster they didn’t like from Target and they knew the pain that must cause these children.
Uri got to work on hiring a nanny, making sure to find one that would work well with the children, especially the oldest who they all wanted to have her independence. “I can’t believe we adopted five.” Lucius said as they relaxed at home. “But just looking into their faces and reading their files, I just couldn’t leave them.”
Julian chuckled as he wrapped him in a tight hug. “You’re really more of a softy than I am.”
“Am not and now I have to work even harder because we both know you’d probably let them get away with anything short of murder.”
“What? Me? No.” He brushed his nose against Lucius’s cheek. “We’re finalizing everything tomorrow.”
“Are you nervous?”
“Yeah, a little. I want everything to be perfect for them.”
“It will be, you’re already an amazing father.”
Lucius huffed out a laugh. “You too, the kids already really like you. I knew they would, you have such an easy going nature, it’s hard not to like you.”
“I plan on working extra hard for them. I want them to always feel loved and like they can come to me if they need anything.”
“You’re going to be perfect, Julian, no matter what you might think and now you’re on better terms with your father so the kids can know both of your parents.”
“My mom is going to be ecstatic when she finds out she gets five grand kids.”
The next day they went into the orphanage and were happy to see all five of their children waiting eagerly for them in one of the offices. Terina instantly ran to Julian and asked if she could ride on his shoulders for the walk home. The social worker smiled as they signed off on everything and set up a date for their first visit to ensure the children were adjusting well. Walking home together felt like such a wonderful dream, with Terina riding on Julian’s shoulders and Weldon chatting nonstop with Uri. The others chatted about their new home and asked questions about their new parents and uncle. When they finally got home, they showed the kids all the things they had bought for them based on their interests. Taryn was the most excited about the swimming pool and wanted to get in immediately. The rest of the day was busy and by the time it was over, they were all exhausted.
“I hope every day is this crazy.” Julian said when they settled into bed that night.
“Me too, I’m so happy and Weldon seemed extremely excited with the library. I think he and Uri spent most of the time going through books.” He snuggled close to his mate. “Thank you for bringing up kids, I don’t think I would have given them a thought if you hadn’t.”
“Thank my dad.”
“I definitely will, count on it.”
Julian let out a blissful sigh as he pressed a kiss to Lucius’s forehead. Everyday with his love was a new adventure and he had never been happier for this new chapter in their life. He planned to make the most of it and he swore he would never fail his family.