“I’ll check on food and leave ya’ll to it.” Twilight kissed her mate before turning to make herself scarce. She wouldn’t interfere in the discussions of her mate unless it was absolutely necessary. She didn’t see that she had any need to be here for him to talk to his eldest son – a son who was an Alpha in his own right.
“What’d you want to discuss first?” Devon asked. “I got questions myself that I hadn’t asked. But, I’ll give you the floor. It’s yer house.”
“Why’d that claw just call you brother?” the big man didn’t even growl this time, but his deep, heavy eyes were on his son.
“Because I made him part of my Pack and told him that is what I consider him to be – mt brother. He’s been as close and as loyal as brother should be.” Devon had no problem explaining this to his father. It was obvious this grated on the man’s nerves and Devon had to wonder why.
“You and makin’ grand gestures. Ya know a lot of that’ll get you into hotter water than your fur can take. A dragon’s loyal so long as you provide him with things he needs.” Kieran scoffed. “Ya took the only brother ya had left with ya.”
“Since ya brought him up, what about Gareth?” Devon didn’t get to ask the full question, yet.
“I take it he’s better? Or am I bein’ too hopeful on that?”
“I still have hope – which is a lot more’n I thought you had.” Devon licked his lips. “What do ya think that ya could possibly tell me about my brother? Maybe what you know would help.” Devon moved closer to his father and stared the man in the eyes. His father had never treated Gareth right and like the good big brother that he was, Dev had protected him. He was still protecting him and always would.
“He’s ya mama’s pup. What more’d you want from me?” He growled low. Speaking on such things was not something he liked doing, not something most would do. But dammit, Devon wasn’t like most. Never had been, had he? He’d been sayin’ the same thing since the boy was born. He’d never let bad things be spoken about his mate. So this time, he looked into Devon’s eyes and he repeated, “He’s ya mama’s pup, and therefore my son.”
It dawned on Devon then what his father was saying. He shook his head slowly. He rumbled low, “Who?” He couldn’t imagine who would be brave or stupid enough to bed the Alpha’s mate and not just any Alpha, but the fiercest Alpha known.
“Well, now, who do you think?” Kieran whispered. He still didn’t like talking about it, even with his first mate having gone to the fields not long after her lover. “He was yer best friend. Yer mentor in the fields. What a world our goddess gives us, that the man who took my mate from me, also gave me a true mate before he left.” He looked to where Twilight had gone.
Devon was still reeling from what his father had just told him. His brother belonged to his best friend? His gaze dropped a moment and he turned away from Kieran.
“How’s he doin? Did he ever come out of his own wolf?” His tone softened as he waited for Devon to answer. Twilight came back in with drinks and the servants placed food on the table between the two.
“No.. not yet but I’m hoping that soon he will.” The fact that Kieran asked about Gareth at all was surprising to Devon. He’d never shown such caring before so why now?
“I was younger and wilder and had anger toward all of ’em. I tried ta stay away. The elders didn’t need ta know. We were mated through tradition…not by love. Wasn’t her fault.” Kieran took a deep breath as his eyes went to Twilight. She was his strength.
“You left so quick last time. I barely got anything out of Eva. She told me, that Clint took after me. I hope not in everything,” He smiled. “I always thought I’d see my grandpups grow up and by then there’d be peace. They wouldn’t have no cares in the world. I hope that’s been the case til now.”
“Nothing stopped you from watchin’ em grow through the years. You chose not to visit em.” Devon watched his fathers new mate and kept his tone civil for her. Derek’s sister may not act as ladylike as Devon recalled his mother being, but she was the lady of this place now. He hoped the woman knew what she was getting into. Dev didn’t care to rescue women from his father.
“Goddess, knows, Devon, whether you do or not. I wanted to watch ‘em grow up and play and be free. But our people were dying and being enslaved. I couldn’t just let that stand. And now I’ll not only never get to see my grandpups by you play and run free… I’ve lost your sister’s little ones, too.” Kieran looked down at his drink, feeling old and worn. “I’ll do anything in my power to get Terry back for you. You name it. If I have to run up to the gates of chaos myself.” For the lycan, Chaos was the same as Hell in the other world.
“There’re too many secrets kept and not enough sharing done with you. If you cut that shit, and we get Terrance back, maybe you’ll be outta excuses for not coming over to the other side to see ’em. It’s still too dangerous for my pups to be over here. They’re better off over there.”
“Where they’re raised not as warriors?” Twilight asked.
“We train ’em for anything. Hell, my son, Russ is out there right now looking for Terry. You saw Derek, not my son, but might as well be…”
“He’s not,” Twilight was quick to take that back from the man.
“Twi, sometimes family’s not made from just blood,” Devon pointed out. “Don’t you think she deserves to know? Maybe they all should? Maybe it’d help?”
Kieran’s brows knit at his son. Well, he’d been put on the spot. He’d not known how to tell anyone, and he figured the entire mess would go to the pyre with him. They did not speak of the dead, for fear that the souls – who were happy running in the Golden Fields – would come back.
“What’s he on about?”
“Twilight, I need to beg forgiveness of you, mate,” He looked up to her, sincerity in his eyes. “I hope you can give that.”
Devon watched the dark haired female turn to his father and arch a brow at him.
“Depends on what ya gonna ask forgiveness for for?” Twilight’s blue eyes pinned her mate to his chair as she walked to him after plucking a piece of meat from the tray in the center of the table. Holding it out to Kieran, her fingers scratched through his beard as his son watched her feed him.
He smiled before chewing and then he took her hands. His lover was a master at getting him off-subject.
“Well, I’d never do anything ta get my balls removed from my body, if that’s what you’re inferrin’,” he chuckled but they could both tell that whatever he was hoping to speak weighed heavily. “Once we find Terry and we take care of whoever thought ta stand up against Pack Weylyn by bein’ a coward and goin’ after pups… and we will,” he looked to Devon, then back to Twilight. “I’m gonna need ta take you to the other world… just to the packlands. I want ta meet my grandpups. And… I want you ta meet yer brother. It’s long past time I talk to the both of ya about everything.”
Twilight took her place on Kieran’s lap as she looked at him rather confused, “I know my own brother, Kie what are ya goin’ on about? I mean Derek will be back with..”
“Not that brother. I’m talkin’ about Gareth.”
Pushing against his chest she stood quickly back up to look between the two men with narrowed blue eyes. “I don’t have any brother named Gareth. My only brother just left with that human and dragon.”
“He ain’t yer only brother. You know I speak the truth. Think about his eyes and his dimples. Dimples are the same as yours and Derek’s. Same eyes. Same dark hair as you and yer grandmother.”
She turned away from both men and took a breath. There was a low growl from her as Devon rose to his feet, “Keep him, I don’t need another brother, especially not that one.”
It was Devon’s turn to rumble her way, “Good cause I don’t intend to give him to you.” He looked at his father, “I get it. You never wanted him and that’s okay cause I gave him what he needed. I love him and I protect him and I gave him family. Don’t fuck that up for him after everything he’s went through and how close he’s come to returning.”
“You wanted the truth ta come out! Well, here it is, son! Deal with it!” Kieran got up from his chair. “And don’t ya dare tell me I can’t come over and see him or my grandpups, now… just because you didn’t get the reactions you wanted. The world don’t work accordin’ ta Devon Weylyn’s desires and schedule!” Kieran growled loudly to take back the floor. “You think I didn’t want my boy? You think I didn’t try? I did want him,” Kieran growled as he moved slowly toward Twilight. “But somebody else kept comin’ around and takin’ him. That’s how he was made. I’d be off on some pack duty as Alpha and there was the fox in the hen house.” His gaze went back to Devon, “Argoth could be a damned scoundrel and there for a while you was right there with him, in every damned elven house you could find. But when he went after …” Kieran shook his head, his gaze returning to his mate. “He was a charmer. He was a damn good warrior, just like you, Twilight… you were both naturals. But he was no innocent wolf.” He looked at his mate. “You deserve ta know the truth as much as Devon and Derek and as much as Gareth. Maybe it’d do Gar some good.”
Devon thought about those words. For one thing, what Kieran was saying about Argoth was true. Maybe he had blinders on? Argoth had been his best friend and yeah, they’d definitely made with the prowling, especially with elven females. But Devon had never thought his best friend would also make a play for his mother. But come to think of it, it was possible. And what he was saying about Gar? That knowing the truth and being able to see that his other siblings and the father he’d been stuck with were willing to speak truth to him? Maybe it would continue his transition. Inea had broken through the barriers. Maybe this could continue that trend?
“Why in the hell would ya think that I’d want the cause of my father’s death to be related to me?” She would have stormed off if her mate had let her. Twilight looked at where Kieran’s hand held her wrist, “Sure ya wanna do that?”
“I’m about ta get slapped either way, so yeah, I’m gonna keep you right here until I finish what I’m about ta say, Twi,” His amber eyes shimmered with his internal passion on this subject. His voice had raised, but not as much as it could have – and they both knew it. “Just listen to me?”
When Kieran let her go Twilight took a step back and looked between both men before once more returning her gaze to her mate. “I’m listenin’.”
“As much as I despised what yer daddy did, Argoth was a damn good scout and strategist. I wouldn’t trust nobody else but him in the fields of battle. Well… him and Sen. But I didn’t have the dragon’s eyes that time. He’d been hit with a harpoon and was still recovering. Argoth chose to take Gar with him that day. He…” Kieran shook his head and took a breath before continuing. “He knew I meant to keep Gar with me and he…he fuckin’ always …he always drew your brother.” His voice had been strained with anger when he spoke those words. Looking to Devon he asked, “You know that. You can tell her, cause she wasn’t there ta see it.” Kieran was asking for Devon to back him up.
“It’s true enough that Gareth liked time with Argoth. He was my best friend so of course my lil brother would want time with him. I learned a lot from him and in turn Gareth did too. Argoth was older than me, I just… never thought about… you know…” Devon crossed his arms over his chest as he listened to his father rehash old memories while explaining Gareth to Twilight. The woman looked entirely too calm and that seemed concerning to him for some reason.
“Yer daddy was hero worshiped by a many of our younger warriors. He knew who Gareth was to him and he took every opportunity to take him. He made that choice that day. And if it weren’t for him and Gar? We wouldn’t be standing here, having this conversation.” his accent floated between rough and almost aristocratically proper as he spoke on this subject – something he’d not done…ever.
Her chin went up a notch as her gaze narrowed a little, “Sounds like you’re tryin’ to put that feral on a pedestal. Didn’t ya just confirm that Gareth is the reason my father’s dead?” Twilight was taking nice slow even breaths.
“But don’t ya see? It was Argoth’s choice ta snub me – that got them into that situation to begin with. He wasn’t scheduled to scout the chasm til later in the evening, when he’d have had back-up. But he took Gareth with him and he knew Gar wasn’t fully trained as a scout. So he had somebody – might as well have been a kid – out there scouting alone. Gar was just there ta be there, Twilight.” He could tell his mate didn’t want to hear this, by the way she avoided his eyes. Kieran continued. “He ordered Gareth to warn us. He was already dying or believe me, he would’ve made his way back to us, Twi. Your daddy wasn’t one to give up, and that day? He didn’t give up on Gareth or on us. He was just practical when it came to his missions. He stayed there to keep the enemy busy, to make them wonder if there were others…”
“Scout tricks,” Devon whispered. “We found the evidence of it later. He made them think he was the only one… the only scout. He could’ve howled it out, but he wanted them to be overconfident in their plans. Because of him, we wound up flanking them on each side the next day.” Devon remembered being the one to find Argoth… what was left of him. He remembered teaching Wulf the tricks Argoth had taught him – signs left that might be overlooked by anyone else – using arrows and broken brush – quiet things to mark areas that needed to be used or literally marking areas that should be avoided.
“Gareth described what he saw to me more than once. He had nightmares. I don’t want to tell you about it, but I will if I need to. When he was ordered back, Argoth fought Gareth in the trenches and forced him to make a vow to not stop until he found us. We were set to come through that pass the next day and we would’ve all been killed had we done it. But Gareth did as his daddy told him. He made the vow and then he ran. He ran until he was bleeding from deep wounds…all over him. He ran until he got to us, to warn us. He collapsed in my damn arms. I barely even recognized him, he was covered in blood and muck such that scratches weren’t even healing on him anymore. And after he told me what your daddy had ordered him to tell me, all he kept saying over and over and over again was that he was sorry. He saved us, saved Pack Weylyn, and he helped us end a 12 year war and the end of that war brought peace for many a year to this land. And all anybody could think of was that Gareth had been the one to come back, not Argoth.”
Devon clenched his fists as his teeth clicked together as his jaw clenched. He remembered that day and what ensued after. Gareth had nearly died that day and Dev? He had lost his best friend. The only thing that had been worse was telling Derek.
“Argoth made his choice that day. Two months later, my mate made her choice. Helena left this world so she could run the fields with her true mate.” Kieran’s eyes left Twilight’s gaze and lit on Devon. “I’ve never punished or spoke bad about what Gareth did. I’ve always seen it as necessary and damned heroic. I never said anything about Argoth and your mama, because what was done, was done. But, what with the pyres and the loneliness… I wasn’t there for your brother as I should have been. It’s taken me years and years and a good mate and cleaning up my act to be able to admit when I was wrong. Back then, I was in the bottom of every bottle I could find. I was barely aware of my own existence when he finally turned and hid himself under his wolf. I should’ve done a lot more. It’ll always be my regret.” He turned back to his mate. “Now you know the truth. Now you have a decision ta make. All I ask is – ya don’t make a regret by choosing to put one person on a pedestal made from another person’s blood, sweat, and tears, Twilight. Your daddy was a hero, but he was far from perfect.”
“Hmm..” Twilight walked towards her mate and actually walked a circle around him as she looked him over. She breathed his scent in and gave that soft feminine rumble of hers as she moved around him again, “So ya knew this all these years and ya let us think otherwise.” It wasn’t a question, she was making a statement that didn’t require any kind of answer. When she was standing before him this time she growled low and punched her mate right in the nose.
He sneeze-blew the blood from his nose when his head stopped moving. He knew he’d be owed. He was willing to take it. Damn, but she hit good, too! Part of his attraction to Twilight had always been her fierceness. He couldn’t complain when she used it on him, could he?
Devon actually stepped back two steps from them, surprised at what she’d done. “He said slap.. That ain’t slappin’ him, damn woman…”
“Ya shoulda told me long before now.” Twilight was still right up in her mates face as she growled the words at him before glaring at Devon, “And I don’t slap.”
~ Rachel Diane Adams and Dawn McClellan © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 2019