Rebecca had kept closed off in her room with the duffel bag for the rest of this morning and the next day. Sebastian had made sure to get the results of her tests that were ready and was actually quite happen with them. Apparently the ursa had been good for her. He just didn’t like that Cody had moved forward so fast. Sebastian hadn’t expected that at all. But then, he wasn’t accustomed to ursa lycan.

So here they were, Sebastian, Evan, Avery and his mate Ashley Matthews were all gathered to handle the youngest of Eva’s first-born children. All of them had endured life in a coven that used them. Being a coven lord himself, Sebastian supposed part of the reason he was doing this was to prove that vampires weren’t all villains. He knocked on her door and when she let them in, he smiled for her. He hated that she was angry with him. Normally, Sebastian could care less about what anyone thought of him, but this girl… there was something about her.

Becca was hugged by her brothers. She looked ready to go out on the town or go out to the country for some dancing under the moonlight. The girl had put on the jean skirt and strapped shirt that Cody had bought along with the boots Cody had found for her at the mercantile. They were second-hand but they were soft and comfy and she liked the threading. She’d fit right in with the rest of the pack.

What was different? There was a girl hanging back in the hallway from them, blond and pretty – larger than herself. She was human but she smelled like a mixture of human and Avery.

Sebastian caught her attention before she could ask anything.

“Good evening, I trust you slept well?” Without giving her a chance to answer, he went on with “How would you like to meet your mother, Becca?” Sebastian then realized how much Becca reminded him of his eldest daughter. They were similar in a lot of ways. Helping Becca made him feel better. He hadn’t been able to help his own child.

“Do you know her?” Becca was nervous immediately. She looked at the human female again.

“We all know her. But here, first, I wanted to introduce you to my mate, Ashley Matthews.” Avery held his arm out to Ash so she’d come forward and meet his sister.

Ashley held her hand out and smiled at her Azer’s sister. “Hello Becca, I’ve heard a lot about you. Azrael.. I mean Avery has told me many stories and is very glad to have you back.”

“So, I get to meet my mom? My tests were okay?”

Easing her unshaken hand back to her side Ashley was rather surprised by the rude brush off and blatant way she’d been ignored. She glanced at Azrael and quietly stepped back. Perhaps this hadn’t been a good time for their introduction after all. But as her mother had taught Ash bit her tongue and smiled at her husband.

Avery looked over at Ashley and winked. A gesture that let his mate know he’d handle it.

“Yes you get to see your mother and all the labs have returned with good results.”

Since Sebastian didn’t lie to her, she asked, “What is my mother like? I don’t remember much about her, to be honest.”

Avery poked Ashley in the back, knowing that the girl had known Eva longer than any of them except maybe Sebastian. Eva had helped raise her mother, Rose, after all. Maybe he wouldn’t have to call his sister on being rude if Ashley offered something other than a hand.

“Very energetic and wild at heart. You look a lot like her and seem to have some of her attitude. Eva is also a great listener though she’ll give her opinion on a situation even if you don’t ask for it. But she and Devon have very big hearts. You’ll love them.” Ashley answered as her husband nudged her.

“You know her through Avery…Ash…ley?” she asked, curious that this girl had answered before either of her brothers had.

“Ashley knew the Weylyns before we really got to know them personally, Bec. The pack and her family are kind of entwined. I only met mama a few months ago and Evan? Well, he knew ‘em but he had never reintroduced himself until all this went down in the last month. See, Ashley’s little sister and one of our little brothers got swept up in the Eriksson Coven wanting to get back at Pack Weylyn. They’d thought mama was dead and she’d thought we might be. All that blew up and here we are.”

“I’ve known her and the family most of my life. Your mama and my mother are very close. The Pack calls some of my cousin Gabriel Kennedy’s land home. In return they act as security for him and his company.” The pretty blonde hoped she was giving useful information to Eva’s daughter.

Becca’s eyes were assessing, Ashley. “Is your sister and my brother… is… no… are they safe?”

“As safe as they can be. Both of them went through a lot. You’ll get to meet them, I’m sure.” Ash held herself proudly at her man’s side then as she grasped his hand and lifted her chin a notch. She’d never been one to cower and slink away before and she wasn’t about to over their sister. “The Weylyn’s have been friends with the Kennedy’s for many years. I had hoped we could also be friends.” Ashley leaned into her love.

“Mmmm…maybe,” Becca said in a very non-committal voice. “So my mama and her mate are nice? They accept you?”

“So far as I can tell, yes. I brought Avery back from the other side with help from my parents. They were kind of cautious at first, but your brother and I, we kind of clicked from the first time we met. So, they’ve not told me off yet, if that’s what you’re asking.” Ashly giggled just a bit at the thought.

Listening to Ashley explain Eva to Rebecca made Sebastian chuckle and couldn’t believe what he was about to say concerning Eva Weylyn.

“Your mother is a wonderful woman and the bonus father is a good one, too. They both love their children and are very protective of all of you. Trust me when I say Devon Weylyn honestly doesn’t see any differences between any of you. Whether he’s the biological father or not. He’s even got an adopted son.”

“Do I get to keep my bonus father? Because, I kind of like him,” she asked, a bit of worry in her eyes. She didn’t know what to think of a lycan father. But she truly enjoyed having a vampire father.

The Coven Master could feel Becca’s two brothers staring at him as if unable to believe what they were hearing. Of course, it was quite a surprise to him as well that she wanted to have more to do with him.

“What you said and did, I understand. You were looking out for me,” she nodded, indicating the entire mess with Cody.

“I’m not going anywhere Becca. You’ll always be able to reach me.” Knowing what was coming next he held his arms open for her.

When Bastian allowed, Becca hugged him. “Thank you.”

The two young men were watching, kind of mystified. Their sister was sweet, but not that sweet. She gave as good as she got, and so too did Sebastian Evansworth, from what the both of them had witnessed. So seeing this side of both of them was kind of… odd.

~ What is that all about?~ Ashley asked Avery.

~ Apparently, he made a good impression on our little ball of fangs and claws. That’s kind of wild. But acceptable. ~ Avery assured with a shrug.

“Let’s go see your mother.” Keeping an arm around his young patient, Sebastian waited until everyone had gathered in and shadowed them all to the pack lands on the Kennedy estate.

There were small howls, letting the Alphas know they had company. The pack had guardians and scouts out and about since the kidnapping. Devon didn’t want to take anymore chances.

The two boys purposely stood in front of Becca, Avery with Ash to his side. They wanted to surprise their mama and papa, and this would be cute.

Glancing out of the curtains, Devon opened the door and saw Sebastian with two of their boys and they were acting strange. “Uh.. Eva, darling, I think the pups are here to see ya.” He looked at the four people he could see. All of them had that shit-eatin’ grin thing going. He wasn’t sure he liked that.

“I mean, I know I’m short, but really?” Becca growled in annoyance from behind them all. When they chuckled at her, that was it. Becca leapt up and grabbed Evan around the neck, pretty much becoming a back-pack with claws and a nice little bite to his shoulder.

“Owww! It was just a joke! We were gonna open up like a curtain or something, Goddess! OW!” He turned around, the little slip of a gal holding on tight to her big brother while growling.

Avery laughed his ass off at the sight. None of them noticed who all else was coming out of the house to see this silliness. Eva walked out, pulling her shawl closer in to her. There was beginning to be a chill in the air. Her eyes caught sight of her eldest pups and when she heard the little growls that were coming from the girl riding Evan’s back, her hand went over her mouth. Was it really?

“Apologize! I came here to meet people, not be hidden, you jerk! Everything’s a show for you. Not me!” Becca held herself on him with one arm and tickled his rib cage with the other. Evan was dancing around like he was out of control.

“I told you she was tough,” Avery laughed. Now this was something they did… good memories were there in these antics. “To be clear, you’re still a show, Becca!”

There was a low deep rumble from the porch that would settle the boys down as Devon stood watching with Eva from the porch.

“Just like her mama, I’d say.” He watched as Eva realized who it was he was talking about.
When he made that fatherly rumbling sound the boys had stopped and given him attention. Becca had hopped down and was looking at him, wondering if she should run or cower. But, he had a warm smile. Was this the one they said would accept her? And beside him, was that her mama?

“Becca?” Eva asked, walking down the steps as if she were being pulled to her daughter.

Becca took a step back, unsure. But both of her brothers had hands at her back, not letting her run.

Eva stopped a few yards in front of her girl – not so much a girl anymore. But still, she was her littlest child from a life long before the other children. She’d just lost three… and yet she had three more, right here in front of her that she had thought were lost for so long. She sucked in a rattling sob, her eyes immediately filling with tears, as she held her arms open for her little girl.

Becca was poked in the butt and the back by her brothers before she moved. She was shaking like a leaf she was so nervous. But she moved forward and let Eva hug her. She was breathing quick and her eyes moved to Sebastian for a moment before she finally let her guards down a little more.

~ I’m right here. It’s alright Rebecca they won’t hurt you. You are safe.. you are home. ~ Sebastian soothed her mentally so that their little waif didn’t bolt.

Cody had tried to prepare her, but this was very intense. She swallowed and moved her face into Eva’s hair so she could smell her mother. She smelled so… good… so much like… what home felt like. It was so difficult to explain, even to herself. But she then put her arms around her mother’s waist. Eva looked over Becca’s should to Sebastian and whispered, “Thank you. Thank you, sooo much…”

To the heartfelt thank you’s, the resident asshole of a vampire bowed his head to the overjoyed mother in his acceptance of her appreciation.

“I should go.” Sebastian gave a look to Eva letting her know he was becoming uncomfortable. He’d lost a family and while seeing Eva reunited with her children was a wonderful thing it was also somewhat painful for him. There would never be such a reunion for him with his lost ones. He would never get to say such things to any of his. For Sebastian, it was a painful reminder that for him there was no hopeful doubt. But if he could bring others together? Well, he’d do it.

Eva knew and understood. She had found out his past a long time ago and did not wish it on anyone. It was the main reason she did not treat him badly every time they were around one another. He could still be a snit, though. But right now, he’d made it off her shit-list.

“You… you don’t have to,” Becca’s eyes were worried. She walked away from her mother to the vampire. He’d promised!

Hugging Becca to him, Sebastian gave her the assurance that she seemed to need from him, “I’m not leaving you for good, I’m going back to help Samantha. If you need me I’ll be here. I’ll let you enjoy some time here. I’ll check on you later. Right now though? Meet some of your family and enjoy yourself.”

Becca smiled, her dimples showing. She backed away slowly and let him pass by to shadow away. Her brothers went up onto the porch to greet Devon. Avery with Ashley on one arm.

As usual, Devon clasped forearms with their pups and greeted them proper.

Becca turned and walked back to her mama.

“I don’t remember you. I’m sorry.” Becca said as they both pulled back just a bit. “Just that … there were flower crowns and you called me your princess. Was that you?”

“Yes. That was me. I don’t care that you don’t remember anything else. I remember you. I held you and I smelled you and I cared for you until you could toddle around. I loved you and I still do.” Eva wiped her eyes. “Do you want to meet your daddy? I mean, he’s my mate and has been since I was taken from slavery. He’s taken all of my pups, too. He’s been trying to find all of you, but you were gone. Every time he thought he’d found you, you were just… gone.”

“I escaped, but they didn’t admit it. I didn’t know where to go or how to get in touch with anyone. I wound up so sick I couldn’t remember anything. I’m so thankful Dr. Sam took me in from Crimson and then Lord Evansworth realized what I needed. I might’ve died if not for them.” She let Eva take her arm and lead her to the porch.

“All of our pups are home.” Eva said to her mate. She was so happy she was still shedding tears, so the woman licked her lips and wiped her eyes. “Becca, this is Devon Weylyn, Alpha of the pack. He’s my mate and would love to be your father. Devon, meet my baby girl, all grown up.”

It wasn’t until Eva had finished introducing them that Devon did as he had with each of the boys. He pulled the girl into his arms and hugged her. Their family was whole now, even if they had lost the triplets back to the fields… his heart couldn’t remain heavy over it with this new addition and Terry back home.

“Welcome home Rebecca. The rest of ya brothers are gonna be so excited to finally get to meet ya.”

Becca stiffened a bit at first but closed her eyes and took deep breaths like Cody had taught her. She thought of Sebastian and how she felt about him and reminded herself that Devon was going to be like him. Her panic began to subside. And then she felt her mother’s hand on her back and saw that Eva had placed a hand on Devon’s arm. She was thankful.

“Mate, not as… not as much hug on this one, yet,” she giggled to keep the moment light. When he looked at her, Eva’s eyes kind of moved to the girl. She then spoke to Becca, “I was just worried, he’s so used to the boys, he’ll knock the air right out of ya.”

“Oh yeah right.. sorry.” Devon gave a chuckle and grinned even as he flushed in embarrassment. The Alpha shrugged his broad shoulders, “I forget myself sometimes. Eva has ta reign me in.” He winked at his love and rumbled softly while rubbing the back of his neck.

Becca put her hands on her shoulders and rubbed and nodded. She was excited, a little scared, but mostly excited. And so, she wanted to move on. Like with Ashley, she engaged the one making her nervous and hoped it would pay off.

“How many brothers do I have?”

“Okay so brothers…” Devon had to wipe the corner of his eye and clear his throat before continuing. “Yeah, let’s see ya got those two in there that ya already know and then the trio Clint, Russell – or as we call him – Russ, and Ryan. After that, there’s the twins in the house Terrance – Terry – and Ryker, then the youngn’s Aaron and Mical. That’s it so far, unless I have some I don’t know about which.. ain’t ever ruled out after the wars I been through.”

“You let him say stuff like that?” Becca was beginning to get a bit more comfortable with the big man. She wasn’t uncomfortable with his size, after all, Cody was bigger, but very gentle. it was just… she didn’t know him yet. But she was trying.

“Truth is truth. If he ever has pups show up from one of those elves, I’ll welcome them as he’s welcomed you all. They’re part of him. Now… I never said I’d be welcoming a mama…” Eva’s eyebrow shot up in a challenging arch toward Devon Weylyn.

“The only mama I want is you darlin’.” Devon rumbled deep for Eva.

“Oh, your words get you into trouble, too?” Becca smiled. “Cody says I’m a talker without a filter. Maybe I’ll fit in better than I thought.” She walked with Devon and Eva to the big kitchen and dining area.

Avery and Evan shared a glance between them. Ashley was still a bit lost on this so she was curious. She was pouring tea into glasses on a serving tray for everyone. Eva had always made them feel at home here, so she had no issue with it.

The mention of a male name had Devon pausing as he lifted a brow at their girl. “Oh, and who’s this Cody that seems to know ya so well?” He was still relaxed and his voice never changed as he waited for Becca’s answer.

“My bear. He’s coming to court me. But he lives pretty far away, so it’s gonna take a while. Lord Sebastian had me drink from him. He helped refresh my memory on reading and writing. He fed me. He helped me when I was scared and he helped me shift. So, I can shift, now, which I never was allowed to do before.”

Avery walked toward the door. “I need to check on Terry. Doctor’s orders.”

Evan looked at his brother incredulously. ~ Really, coward? ~

Leaning back against the door frame, Devon drew in a deep breath.

“Somehow I’m thinkin’ we’re missin’ a big chunk of the story here lil bit. So yer gonna have to go back a pace and tell us from the beginnin’. So why don’t we all sit at the table so you can catch us up on what all went on with ya and how this Cody fella ended up in the mix of everything.”

“Okay.” Becca didn’t mind. She didn’t want to hide anything. She sat down and Ashley handed her a glass of tea and as the other sat, she did the same for them, then took a seat herself.

Devon smiled for Becca but the look he gave Evan said answers better be coming quick and fast. This one was slick as could be, more so than Russ. And that was saying something. Evan shrugged and his hands went out to the sides letting Devon know he wasn’t denying that. Before Devon sat, he yelled up the stairs, “When yer finished up there Dr. Weylyn ya can join us at the table.” Then, the big alpha took a seat in his chair beside his mate and taking her hand, he lifted it up to kiss it.

“So lil bit what happened to ya?” He didn’t jump right on the Cody thing because something told him it was best not to and he always went with his gut instinct. His gaze was warm and welcoming as he offered her a glass of water. First he’d hear what Becca had to say and then he’d hear what her brothers had to add. This was how it worked in their home and with their Pack.

“Where should I begin?” Becca asked both of her parents, then her eyes went to Evan. “I don’t know what anyone already knows.”

Exchanging a look with Eva, Devon reached out with his free hand to take Becca’s hand and his voice softened.

“We know some of what happened at the lair up until ya vanished. Other than that, we know yer here now with us safe and sound just like yer brothers. So why don’t ya start off with how ya know this Cody fella? He sounds pretty special to ya, if he’s comin’ to court ya.”

She squeezed his hand. He felt good. She’d never had a father and now she had two.

“I was sick. I’ve always been given the proper nourishment in the coven, but when I escaped, I didn’t know what to do. So, Dr. Sam thought I was going to die. I was a Jane Doe at her clinic and I didn’t really know if I should tell them my name for a long time. Then I was kind of delirious, so I couldn’t. But then Lord Evansworth examined me and that same day he took me to Cody’s place. I heard them talk and make a deal and so he fed me. He was from the same coven. He’d escaped years back. But he knew how to feed someone like me. And it turns out, he also knew when I wasn’t getting well enough. I would improve a few days then go right back down. Lord Evansworth was scared to tell anybody about me, because… you know… he didn’t know if I would make it.”

The idea of losing yet another pup struck hard and though it hadn’t happened, Devon felt his chest tighten just a little and he exhaled slowly to ease the tension. He honestly didn’t know if they’d survive the loss of another and he was in no rush to find out. Two of their boys and three of their girls had stones beneath the great oak, he didn’t want to add anymore. Clearing his throat Devon urged her on, “We’re awful glad ya did make it. How was her problem solved?”

“So it was decided that I needed to feed from Cody more than once a day and keep regaining my strength. So that’s where I’ve been for over a month now. He’s reminded me how to read and write. He’s told me about the lycan he knows. A storm spooked me and I shifted, so he made me feel comfortable about that and I learned to control it better. The coven wanted us to not be able to do those kinds of things if we weren’t fighters.” Becca watched as Avery finally got back and took a seat near her.

“That was very kind of him.” Ashley added in as she took a seat beside her husband.

“Yeah. He even bought me new things and even though he was really stern and kind of scary at first, I… I got to where I really felt something for him. Lord Evansworth was really mad about that. The deal was to feed me and provide me with shelter and that was it. Me and Cody kissed and my vampire father appeared like… like he knew exactly the worst and best time all at once. It was really awkward.” Becca huffed a bit. “Seems I don’t know your rules for courting or mating and neither does he, not all of it anyway…so, Lord Sebastian was really worried we would cross a line. I was so mad at him when he took me back to the lair.”

“Took you back and left the bear there..” He looked from Becca to her brother and wasn’t surprised when one elaborated.

“We went to meet him once we got to see Becca. Sebastian’s not used to other people … well, there are just rules that he’s taking for granted that other people either don’t go by or they don’t know about them, ya know? Anyway, when we got there, Cody was already readying his ranch. He planned to find our sister. So Avery and I explained things to him,” Evan explained a little further.

“And what’d he have to say once things had been explained to him?”

“He was grateful and willing. He didn’t fight it at all. He wants to prove that he’s Becca’s mate. When it comes to ursa, they find their mates and they claim one another and there’s no one on the outside to tell them one thing or another about it. They don’t live in packs and they only gather maybe once a year. So if they were to wait on permission, it’d be hell. And since he’s opted for being alone on his ranch for the most part since he was freed, with minimal contact with others, he still goes by that. But he respects Becca enough to go by her pack rules so she won’t be … well… I don’t know what your pack would do.”

Avery looked at his brother. ~ Is that bullshit or… ~

~ It’s what Cody’s thoughts went to when I explained what I did. His memories about their traditions. He didn’t have to explain it with words, I caught it. ~ Evan met his brother’s gaze. ~ So back me up if you need to. You saw that both of them are taken with each other and happy. And I want Becca happy, don’t you? ~ His mental response to his brother was quick so that Devon wouldn’t realize they were doing it.

“I’ve made exceptions when it comes to matin’s. But I ain’t met this ursa yet so he’ll have to present himself to us proper like any other suitor would need to. Yer from the Alpha family and that means you’d get more than a fair share of suitors if ya let her mama work her wiles. But it seems yer truly set on him.” Devon couldn’t say he was pleased over the idea of just finding their girl only to lose her to a mate so far away.

“I am,” Becca hadn’t let go of Devon’s hands with her own. “And you know how old I am. I know I’m your daughter, but I’m an adult. I’m just late to the family, is all. So please…”

“Calm down, Becca. Let your father finish his suggestion,” Eva requested softly, seeing that the girl was about to get wound up.

“So my suggestion is we keep yer Cody outta conversation until he’s here and ya let yerself enjoy life a little with yer Pack and family. Now before ya say it, I ain’t writin’ the ursa off, but if ya do nothin’ but mope around here and pine for him yer doin’ yerself a disservice.” The Alpha wouldn’t force the idea, but he at least wanted her to have the option.

“Yes, sir?” she said respectfully, though she questioned it.

“Everything’s gonna be okay, Becca. I promise. Once he gets here, we’ll give him the same opportunities that any other suitor would have.” Eva placed a hand on Becca’s arm. This Cody was at least lycan. So, maybe the elders wouldn’t frown upon the courting.

“Now, had I known you’d make it home, I would’ve kept Mical and Aaron here, but they’re staying the night with friends. Your older brothers will be floating in and out. They usually eat breakfast with us at least once a week. But they’re like you three – adults with their own responsibilities. So, that leaves Terry and Ryker.”

Trading looks with Eva, Dev offered, “Would ya like to meet Terry and Ryker? I’ll warn though Ryker may stare ya down cause his brother ain’t feelin’ well. We just got him back from the other side. Terry was taken from us but he’s healin’. Ryker’s real protective right now. But they’d enjoy the visit I bet.” It meant more than the girl probably understood that Dev was inviting her to visit Terry with as fragile as their pup was. He was showing Becca that he saw her as one of theirs already with no questions asked.

“Ummm… okay. Sure.” Becca swallowed. She was really part of this big family? The coven had always made her feel like she was part of something bigger than herself, but had never made her feel as safe and wanted as she already felt here among the Weylyns after only what? A few minutes?

Becca slowly walked in and followed Devon up the stairs to the second floor which looked full of bedrooms. He opened the door quietly and she could see past him. There were two teenagers in the bed together. One had dark hair and was lying on top of the covers. He looked bigger and had an arm draped over the smaller one that had reddish hair. When Becca felt Eva’s hand on her shoulder, she realized she had stopped and so, she moved forward.

Moving around the ladies, Devon made it to the opposite side of the bed and placed a hand gently on Ryker’s shoulder. At 16, nearly 17years of age the two were no longer babies, but to their dad and mama they were far from grown. And even though they were twins, there was so much difference in size between them. Ryker was starting to show his growing while Terry could’ve passed for 14. He looked starved, weak and frail beneath the thin blanket beside his twin. It was no wonder that Ryker was so defensive of him. Devon hoped his boy would push past what had happened on the other side.

“So, you guys want more good news?” Avery asked Devon and Eva as he played on his phone.

“More? Oh, I’d love more good news,” Eva whispered.

“A few hours ago, you guys became grandparents,” the smile on Avery’s face said that he loved being the bringer of good news. “Aiden Weylyn is a happy baby boy. And Derek just made arrangements to have him a chart started so we can treat him if it becomes necessary.”

“Ya hear that boys, yer Uncles!” Devon rumbled in his good cheer as he looked at Becca and explained, “Oh.. yeah Derek’s ours if ya ask anyone. He’s.. well I took claim on him when his own daddy, my best friend, passed in the last war we were in. So far as he’s concerned he’s one of ya brothers, too – which makes ya an Aunt.” He chuckled and watched as Ryker sat up in the bed.

“I love babies. I can’t wait to meet that one,” Before she could say anything more, her attention was caught by the angry one named Ryker.

“Who are you?” Ryker flat out asked as his gaze narrowed on the stranger in the room. He was blunt spoken to the point of sometimes verging on rude. It was just his way and right now his twin was hurting and scared. He was feeling all that from him and it put him on even more edge than usual.

Devon warned his pup with a deeper rumble but it didn’t seem to phase Ryker one bit so he spoke out loud, “Tone it down son, this is ya sister, Rebecca.” His eyes wnt back to their daughter, “Becca, the one with the mouth is Ryker and the other is Terry.”

Ryker laid a hand on Terry before anyone else could. “Give him a minute he’s comin’ around.”

Becca watched as Terry began to stir and wake up completely. She took a step closer, tentatively.

Sensing so many in the room Terry startled awake and twisted a little too fast to sit up and pull the blanket up as his wide green gaze shot around to everyone.

“Easy Terr, ya just got visitors is all son. Ya know ya brothers Avery and Evan. They brought someone new to see ya cause ya special like that, but don’t let it go to ya head. This is Rebecca, ain’t she as pretty as ya mama?” Dev stayed still and hoped the others would follow suit until their boy could get his bearings.

“I’m your older sister. I just made it back to you. I was kind of… being held by people for a long time.” She wasn’t sure what all she should say. She also wasn’t sure why Terry was sick. But there was something about him that was familiar to her soul.

Lifting his arm to put it around his brother, Ryker held him until his breathing steadied and his heart stopped pounding so hard.

Becca looked at Terry. His eyes reminded her of herself. She took a breath and realized she had been holding her own. The other sounds in the room went away. She swallowed and took another tentative step forward toward him. She couldn’t help that her mind went to his.

~ You’re not alone. I understand. They kept me. Told me mama died and I had no daddy. They made me sick. They hurt me. But I’m here. I’m gonna live. The nightmares won’t take me. I’m gonna live. I’m gonna live and they won’t. ~ She held her hand out to Terry, palm up. She’d never met another that had gone through stuff like she had. He was so much younger. Becca knew it made all the difference to not be alone.

Eva was about to intercede, when everything changed. She didn’t realize she had grabbed Devon’s forearm until he moved. She started breathing again at that point. Ryker was growling then as he felt his brother tense up beside him. When she held her hand out, he wanted to snap at it and he was tensing up to lunge and then…

Within Becca’s hand rested Terry’s own. The fact that at least one person understood some of what he had gone through – if not all of what he’d gone through – was a relief. His hand shook but it was there and with that grasp he pulled Becca to the bed and closer to him. Ryker calmed down when he realized his brother wanted to keep Becca.

As Becca bent toward him, Terry hugged her, “Welcome home Becca.”

“Welcome home, Terry,” she whispered back to him, a shimmer of tears in her eyes.

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