WRITING Dwindling Glory - Fated

Discussion in 'SHOWCASING' started by Malkuthe Highwind, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. <div style="float:left;margin-right:8pt;"><img src=http://i185.photobucket.com/albums/x167/goldendercon/JasonCollins.jpg></div>There were worse ways to live, worse places to be, worse people to be with, he mulled as he stared out of the airplane window at the clouds passing below them. He was sixteen. He was gay. He was out. Maybe in 2012, it would've been okay, but the world had changed since then. The Christians argue for the better. Pretty much everyone else argued for the worse. Either way, it didn't change the fact that the Westboro Baptist Church had had an immense influence on the small community in Kansas that he had lived in and the fact that he was out made life a living hell both for him and his mother.

    His father had been a drunkard turned pastor and not one of the good ones. He had been accused of paedophilia on more than one occasion too. Either way, it wasn't long before "God Hates Fags" banners began going up around the community and inside the young green-eyed Irishman's home. It wasn't even being gay that had made Jason's early life difficult. It was the fact that his father was part of the Westboro Baptist Church that made people throw dirty glares in his direction. As much power as it had obtained over the years, during Jason's childhood, the church had been spurned and scorned by pretty much everyone.

    How his mother had managed to put up with such a hateful man, he would probably never understand. Even her sisters urged her to leave him and take me with her already. Even so, she stood her ground and said that she was confident she could talk him out of it. She certainly tried. Although, talk was probably a euphemism for having long shouting matches that lasted well into the morning and left little peace at the dinner table. Still, Jason had been well taken care of and he himself had been relatively undisturbed.

    It wasn't until high school that he began to notice guys and while he never really adopted Christianity as his religion, and while he never really saw his father's beliefs as valid, he was still afraid of the social stigma and kept it to himself, denying it as much as he could. Eventually, it had been just too much. Pining after boys, blushing every time they would come near him, it wasn't difficult to tell for anyone who knew where to look. Unfortunately, Jason was the kind of guy who could not tell between gay and straight.

    A deep crush on the wrong person ended up getting him outed both to the school and the community. It was at this point that his father had been able to wrestle more families into the same point of view, and the Westboro Baptist Church had gained more influence on the national level. All hell broke loose.

    Jason was pushed around, bullied, taunted, called names and even physically harrassed. Most school officials turned a blind eye. Except maybe Ms. Owler, the beautiful young Math teacher that no one, not even Jason liked. She actively tried to help the young man. It didn't help him much.

    Soon after, after a heated argument with his father, Jason found himself homeless. His mother refused to leave his father before giving it the bastard one last time. Knowing no one else to turn to, he asked Ms. Owler if he could stay for a while. For a week or two, Jason stayed with the math teacher. School quickly became a problem for him. While he tried to avoid fights, they came to him.

    The children of WBC churchgoers brought fists to him. Everyone else brought stinging words. Rumors were everywhere. One of them made him lose his temper and got him suspended indefinitely. The girl had said "Maybe his father fucked him and that fucked him up." She hadn't gone home that day. She went straight to the hospital.

    It was three days later when his mother had shown up with passports in hand. There was a gash on her forehead and her cheek was caked with blood. Ms. Owler was quick to bring out the first aid. Jason, on the other hand, fainted. When he came to, his mother was talking frantically with the teacher whom he had come to know over the weeks. She wasn't as bad as everyone else painted her. She was just really strict when it came to schoolwork.

    "We're going to Canada, Jason. We have to get away from him." It was a disturbing sight, seeing your mother bandaged, trembling and terrified. All the tension that had been in Jason, at least for that moment, melted away and he hugged his mother, crying in relief. The very next day they had pulled away from Ms. Owler's driveway, on the road to a new life.

    Had he looked back, he would've seen Ms. Owler holding a picture of an inhumanly, boyishly beautiful woman and crying silently. Regardless, that was the last day anyone heard or saw the math teacher who was reported missing two weeks later.

    "I'm scared, mum" he had said as they entered the Vancouver airport.

    "So am I, Jason. So am I" she replied, smiling weakly.

    As he walked away with his mother, he took a look around at the people in the terminal. There was an Indian staring intently at a laptop screen. There were two Asian girls talking over coffee, their trolleys right beside them. There was a rugged looking man standing nearby, looking anxiously at where the new arrivals were still streaming in from. Not far from them was a middle-eastern man, crying as he hugged his wife and children.

    A loud roar of delight, from someone he figured wasn't much older than him made him whip his head around. He saw the source of the voice; a young blond man, couldnt've been over twenty, embracing someone who looked like an exact carbon copy of himself, only much older. The sight of the younger man made his heart flutter.

    It wasn't long before his mother dragged him on. He kept looking back and while on the elevator, got a good long look at the blond. He let his gaze settle on the man until the elevator blocked him from view. Sighing under his breath, he faced forwards.

    Towards a new life. Towards a new tomorrow.
  2. <div style="float:right;margin-left:8pt;margin-right:-30em;"><img src=http://i185.photobucket.com/albums/x167/goldendercon/Guy4b_zps8f3af175.jpg style="width:35%;height:35%;"></div>The weathered were-lion had not been with them for over two years now. Even when he had been, he was always out doing things for the pack. Then again, he couldn't really blame the packs' head diplomat for not being around as often as he would've liked. Alexandre Ethan White, a detective still going through university, youngest son of the weathered were-lion, had missed his dad. Were-creature families were far closer than mortal ones and two years was an incredibly long time to not have someone around.

    Sure, his dad was away for most of the day for most of the week, but he had always come home. Gabriel White looked like he had aged five years during his short venture to Israel. The packs there had splintered under the threat of an American invasion. Following the instatement of the current president from the extreme right wing Republican party in 2024, it became a question of when, rather than a question of if. Of course, the packs had panicked and in the ensuing chaos, splintered into a couple dozen minor packs.

    It had proven a headache and the largest still-standing pack in the world was the Ile de Vancouver pack, his own pack. As a result, Gabriel was sent to Israel to get things settled. It had been a harrowing process and on more than one occasion, he had forgotten to send word of what was happening back home, much to the distress of his family. "How are things in Israel, da?" asked the young were-lion from the driver's seat as they drove back to their considerably large home thirty minutes away from downtown.

    "Well, the packs have been reformed. Tensions are still high what with the impending invasion... But that's out of my line of work, sadly" said Gabriel with a defeated sigh. It was true though. Even if the packs had been stabilized in Israel, things were still downright chaotic. Pretty much the entirety of the Middle East was. Muslims were up in arms about being branded as inferior and needing to be exterminated. Not that the Christians had paid them any heed when they did the same for the western world. Whatever the case, things were getting ugly.

    Before he could say anything else though, Alex got a sharp rap on the head from the lioness in the back. His sister never hesitated to use brute force. That would explain the martial arts background... and the Drakkan boyfriend, but that was beside the point. There was a sharp hint of annoyance in his sister's scent, one that he was sure his own scent mimicked, but no one else in the family was capable of smelling emotions like he was. They could smell other Shadows just fine, but they could not pick out emotions like him.

    "Alex, dad just got home. Don't you go grilling him about Israel... yet" his sister reprimanded him.

    "Sorry, da." Alex rubbed the area where his sister had taken a knuckle to his head. For a girl she was surprisingly strong.

    "It's alright, Alex" said Gabriel, chuckling. "Now, Alyssa, how is Ken?"

    "He's doing great, dad" answered the lioness, beaming.

    "And your mother?"

    "Absolutely ecstatic" said Alyssa with a tiny laugh.

    "Ecstatic doesn't even come close, sis." At this point, Alex was grinning widely. "I think she means to kill you with all the food she's preparing, da. The whole family's going to be at the house. Even then you'd think she's cooking for an army."

    "Whatever you do, dad, don't go into the kitchen. It's a warzone. Auntie Es arrived early this morning, and Auntie Monica just after noon to help. It's amazing how much food you can fit into the trunk of a car. Uncle Desmond was carrying three boxes of ingredients for Auntie Es!" added Alyssa.

    Gabriel shook his head. "I shouldn't have expected anything less from Alice" there was a wistful smile on his face and a glint in his eyes. Even after all their years together, the two were still in love as much as they were when it all began. Alex couldn't help but feel the least bit envious. He hadn't had much luck finding a guy to call a partner. Sighing softly, he turned his eyes to the road in front of him. "Still no luck, son?"

    "No, da. Not really"

    "Don't worry. You'll find him" said Gabriel, patting Alex on the shoulder. "Anyway, just what is your mother preparing anyway? I would at least want to know what would kill me before I head off into battle."

    Alyssa was more than glad to jump into an animated discussion with Gabriel about all the dishes that Alice was cooking. Alex was glad for the distraction, he was able to brood in silence for the last stretch of the ride home. He just wished he could find someone already. Alas, wishing wasn't going to help him any. "Holy shit! She is out to kill me! And everyone in the house too!" bellowed his dad, laughing at the ridiculousness that was his mother's turducken appetizer.

    "I mean sure, much of the clan is were-lion and everyone else is from the panthera genus, but goodness, she can't expect us to wolf all that down!"

    "To be fair, da, you did finish a whole turkey the Thanksgiving before you left" said Alex, snickering. Well, he had been pissed as hell to learn that day that his dad had eaten the whole turkey, but looking back, he found it amusing.

    "For your information, I had had a long day."

    "Riiiiiiiight" came Alyssa's snide remark, followed by peals of high-pitched laughter.

    "Seems like the McCoys were expecting someone, huh?" said Gabriel.

    "Yeah, da. Ms. Else is expecting her sister and her son from America. Didn't know they would be coming today, though" said Alex, peering down the road to the McCoys' house. In the driveway was Else's car, and luggage was being unloaded. A young man, probably a few years younger than him caught his eye. He didn't know why, but his gaze just locked onto the young man. The young man turned and for a moment, Alex caught the most brilliant green he had ever seen, sending his heart fluttering in his chest.

    That was all he saw before snapping his eyes back on the road and driving the rest of the way up to their humble home.
  3. <div style="float:left;margin-right:8pt;"><img src=http://i185.photobucket.com/albums/x167/goldendercon/JasonCollins.jpg></div>The sun came up and streamed through the windows of the small guest room that Jason had been shoved into. Grandma had promised to find them better accommodations in a few days, but he was just glad to be away from that horrible horrible town in Kansas. Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, he slowly sat up. He yawned, stretching his right arm above his head and his left to the side, looking like an idiot as he did so. Bed hair for Jason was a big problem. It was sticking out in every conceivable direction, and the poor lad looked like a porcupine.

    The smell of breakfast was leaking into his room from under the door and he could hear footsteps coming up the stairs. There was a sharp rapping at the door. Stifling another yawn, he said "come in!" while stretching. Things so far had been peaceful. He was almost sure he was dreaming. Well, even if he was, he was certain he'd rather keep dreaming than wake up, he mused. By this time in the morning it would not have been uncommon to see his father out on the front porch yelling obscenities and waving a placard saying "God Hates America!" as part of his morning sermon.

    It wasn't uncommon to hear the jeers and boos either. The relative serenity of his grandma's neighborhood was going to take some getting used to, he guessed, but anything was better than Kansas. The door knob turned and the door opened to reveal his grandda's face weathered face. His grandda had the same eyes as him and his mother, his hair was streaked with white and gray, there were bags under his eyes, and a tiredness to his movements, but his face was creased with lines that spoke of a life spent smiling and laughing. His grandda was an amazing man. The stories that his mother had told him about his grandda amazed him and inspired him to strive harder.

    "Top o' the mornin' young'n" said his grandda with a toothy smile.

    "C'mon grandda, I know you don't really speak like that" said Jason, smiling back at his grandda's strange antics. Auntie Laura had warned him about it.

    "And who told you that, young'n?" asked his grandda tenderly. He was made familiar to Jason's plight by his daughter and he couldn't help but love the young man for his courage and strength even more. Although, it would probably never do to acknowledge it publicly. He knew how finnicky teenagers could get. After all, he had had four of his own and they were headache enough.

    "Auntie Laura, while we were driving from the airport to here" said the young Irishman. "It's been a while grandda."

    "Well, your old man never really liked your mother's side of the family being Wiccan, now did he?" said the older of the two. The glint of anger and resentment in Jason's eyes was quick to appear and vanish, but it had come and the elder noticed it all the same. "Sorry, young'n. Couldn't help it. Either way, you're safe now."

    "Are we really, grandda?"

    "Here. Wear this." The older Irishman slipped a small silver chain with an emerald pendant engraved with a sigil on it over Jason's head. "There. Now you're really safe."

    "What is this, grandda?" Sure, he was sixteen, and jewelry wasn't his thing but the pendant looked pretty and he decided to keep it. It also seemed to buzz against the skin of his chest, but he thought that was just the coolness of the stone. There was also something about the tenderness and perhaps a hint of hopefulness in his grandda's voice that intrigued him. Was there more to the small, etched stone than met the eye?

    "You'll learn when you get older, Jason. Now come on, before your grandma comes and gets us herself. She cooked breakfast and when she does, you better be at the table on time or else you'll receive an earful." His grandda was grinning, but his ambiguous answer to Jason's question caused a slightly raised eyebrow. Jason's grandma was known for her cooking and her powerful voice that could be heard from down the street.

    As if on cue, a call erupted from the kitchen. "Nathan! Jason! Breakfast!" Jason's grandfather's eyes lit up with mischief. Though she was old, that woman definitely still had her voice, one that had managed to woo him in his young years in Ireland.

    Scrambling to make himself look presentable, Jason followed his grandda down to the dining room for some of his grandma's famous pancakes. It wasn't a traditional Irish dish, but according to his mother, grandma's pancakes made the mouths of anyone within eyeshot water. It was a story that Jason quickly learned the truth of and by the time he had finished, he had scarfed down an impressive fifteen of them.

    His mother was laughing so hard she was in tears. It was a wonderful sight. Seeing the plump woman laughing. Auntie Laura reached over and put her hand on his mother's shoulder. "Sis, are you alright?"

    "Yes, yes I am" she responded, wiping tears from the corner of her eyes. "It's just Jason keeps on talking about dieting to maintain a good body. Mom, I have never seen him eat this much. I swear, your pancakes are just magical."

    There was a lot of fun to be had at the breakfast table, and for the moment at least, Kansas was forgotten. Grandma told stories of the early twenty-first century. Jason was glued to it. He was completely rapt with interest in how the world had managed to fall as far as it had in America.

    Afterwards, his grandda regaled them of tales of Ireland, much to the chagrin of his mother and the amusement of his Auntie Laura. "Really, dad? Those stories again?" said his mother. Grandda waved her away and continued with his stories of the old times and how halloween was owed to the Irish. The stories resonated with Jason, the hardships of his ancestors and their perseverence to survive. It was like a telling of what he had gone through. He resolved then to look more into his ancestry and the history of his people.

    Breakfast ended on a high note. Laura left with Jason's mother to look for an apartment for the two newcomers, leaving Jason with his grandda and his grandma in the house. He didn't have much to do, so he decided he would go to ask his grandda more about Irish history. Before he could, though, his grandma told him "Would you be a dear, Jason, and take the trash out?"

    "No problem, grandma" he said and took out the black plastic bags. Just as he was about to put them in the bin, he caught sight of the older blond man from the airport a few houses down the road. The weathered man waved at him and he shyly waved back. Damn, he thought. He had thought he would never see that attractive young man again.

    As though hearing his thoughts, the young man burst out from the front door of the house and started talking rapidly with the older man whom Jason could only assume was his dad. The old man seemed to be joking around with the younger and with a pat on the back, he walked back towards the house. He was riveted to the spot, watching as the young blond man walked to the trash bin, head down as though he was muttering something to himself.

    Still rooted to where he was standing, Jason momentarily locked eyes with the blond man when he looked up. The trash bin lid almost came crashing down on the golden-haired man's hands and for a moment, he felt lost just looking at the other. "Fuck" he mouthed to himself, blushing furiously, averting his gaze and hurriedly putting the bags in the trash before loping -- perhaps better described as stumbling -- back to his house.
  4. <div style="float:right;margin-left:8pt;margin-right:-30em;"><img src=http://i185.photobucket.com/albums/x167/goldendercon/Guy4b_zps8f3af175.jpg style="width:35%;height:35%;"></div>THUD. A muffled groan of frustration rose from the tangled mess of limbs and sheets on the floor. Pure golden sunlight was streaming in through the windows caught the figure of a man trying to disengage himself from the mess he had made on the floor. "Well, well, what a fucking pleasant way to wake up" growled Alex. He had been dreaming again and it was a dream that hadn't plagued him in almost a year. It was probably because his dad had come home from Israel and probably bore news or a lack of it about the subject of his dream.

    There was a distinct lack of the aroma of food cooking and it was pretty strange for Alex. Looking at the clock, it was pretty late and it wasn't like his mother to not be preparing breakfast already. Finally freeing himself from the sheets and making his bed, Alex pulled on a pair of pyjamas, tossed on a shirt and raked his fingers through his tawny hair. He rubbed the sleep from his eyes - and the unshed tears that made them glitter in the sunlight too.

    He ran down the stairs, careful to make as little noise as possible. Whoever said that cats didn't make a sound obviously hadn't met Alex whose descent was thunderous despite his caution. Stumbling at the foot of the stairs, he nearly doubled-over in shock at what he saw. The house had been utter chaos when he had left to retire for the night. There were tipsy were-creatures everywhere and everyone was groaning about all the food.

    Now, there was not a single speck of dust to be seen, and everything looked like it was very much in order. There were no younger aunts or uncles passed out behind the couch. He knew this for sure. It was the first thing he checked for. Had one seen the state of the house the previous night, it would've seemed like something done by rambunctious fraternity teenagers, not otherwise productive, law-abiding contributors to society.

    He was beginning to suspect that his mother had put more alcohol than necessary in that pudding. He had certainly gotten a buzz after eating it. His mother had been very mysterious about its contents. If it had managed to drive so many were-creatures into such a state, perhaps the less he knew, the better.

    A bout of yawning caught up to him, and he sounded like a cat mewling. Maybe he -was- still a bit buzzed. Either way, he had to wake himself up. Walking into the kitchen, he started brewing a pot of coffee, just in case the other inhabitants of the house would want some. It still struck him as strange that the house was pristine and that there was yet to be any breakfast on the table. He also wondered why there seemed to be no one moving at all in the house.

    Looking out through the windows, he nearly spat his coffee out, seeing his dad outside with two large bags of trash in his hands. He shouldn't be doing chores so soon after getting back. He was fairly certain that after the long flight and the debauchery the previous night that his dad was still tired. He was supposed to be resting, and taking out the trash, no matter how mundane a task, was definitely not resting.

    Rushing out the front door, he caught up to his dad fairly easily. The weariness was apparent in his father's wobbling gait, but he was still balanced and he was still fairly cheerful. He even waved across the street to someone who was probably taking the trash out. Alex was far too focused on his father to notice who it was, but he was quick to say "Da, what are you doing? You should be in bed, resting!"

    "Well, for one, I should be, but your mother dearest woke up at the crack of dawn and cleaned the house!" he said, chuckling, the creases on his face deepening as his grin touched his eyes.

    "So that's why..." said Alex wistfully. "C'mon Da, you should be resting. Here. Give me those." He grabbed the black plastic bags from his father, despite the older were-lion's protestation.

    "I'm tired, Alex, not handicapped. But sure, if it makes you feel better." Gabriel White patted his son on the back with a small smile and started walking back to the house as Alex took the trash the rest of the way to the bins. Once inside, he kept a close watch on Alex, having seen the young new-arrival at the McCoy household taking out the trash too. He suspected Alex felt something, he had caught as much when the young were-lion had seemed distracted all of a sudden after passing the old couple's home.

    "Tired, not handicapped, blah!" mumbled Alex under his breath. "As if it wasn't obvious he was about to tip over." His old man's stubbornness irritated him to no end. Couldn't he just go rest for a day or two and not have to go off saving the rest of the world every damn time it needed saving. He was fairly certain there was a number of people in the pack that could take over for his dad for a short while. Of course, they wouldn't be as good.

    After all, there was a reason his father had had his position for most of his adult life; he was amazingly good at diplomacy. Even so, were-creatures weren't immortal and his father had certainly seen more than his fair share of years. The family was already incomplete as it is -- though no one really ever wanted to talk about it -- and he just wanted to keep the remaining part of it for as long as he could. Was it so bad to ask for some cooperation from the others? It was bad enough his dad was working himself to death, but Alyssa was always off doing some martial arts training and dealing with the petty criminals the city didn't have enough resources to deal with.

    Grumbling, he lifted the lid on the bin and dropped the bags of trash in. A sudden bout of curiosity compelled him to look up at just who his father had waved to. He nearly dropped the lid on himself when he did see who it was. It was the same young man that had caught his eye the previous evening and in the morning light he was even more good looking. Those deep green eyes -- were-creatures had naturally better eyesight than most mundane mortals -- seemed to draw him in even from afar.

    Was that a blush? He couldn't really tell. He was so zoned out and focused on the other guy's eyes that he didn't really notice much else. Before he could say anything though, the younger man was already back inside the McCoy household. Struggling to regain his composure, he walked back to the house, trying not to get a skip in his step.

    Once inside, his Dad suddenly popped up. "A bit young for you, don't you think son?"

    "Don't do that, Da! You scared me half to death! And what the hell are you talking about?" he protested, trying to hide the crimson that was beginning to flood his cheeks.

    "Careful now, son. It's the young'ns that are the friskiest. Might end up bucking like a bitch in heat." His father's laugh boomed around the house.

    "Da! NO! Bad image!" he said, waving his hands in front of his face in a desperate attempt to clear his head of an image that made him turn scarlet. Taking a few rapid deep breaths, he began to calm down and in an attempt to divert attention from himself, he asked his dad "Where are mom and Alyssa, Da?"

    Snickering, the weathered were-lion told him "Well, you might've been wondering why there's no breakfast. Apparently, your mom cleaned out the fridge with last night's feast." Alex raised an eyebrow at that. "Oh come on now, son, let's call it what it was. Anyway, she and your sister went out to get some groceries."

    "I see..." said Alex, trailing off. By this time the two had walked over to the living room and sat down. "Da, did you find anything about Nathan?" His dad's sad smile was all the answer he needed. Probably it was time to let his older brother go. It had been three years after all. He was just having a hard time accepting that his idol, his oldest brother, was missing. No one had heard from him since that day the emails just stopped coming.

    "No, son. I looked and I looked whenever I could, but no one, not I, not my connections, not even the Kabbalists that were on our side there could find him." Putting a hand on his son's shoulder, he said tenderly "It's not bad to hope, Alex, but it is bad to let it drag you down. What's important is you keep putting one foot in front of the other. Take it day by day."

    "Thanks, Da" he murmured, wiping his eyes and setting the coffee on a coaster on the coffee table.

    "The Alpha says you've been doing really well. You might even be the youngest detective on the force come graduation." The older were-lion sure knew exactly when a conversation needed diverting. It was part of what made him such a good diplomat.

    "Really, Da? I just want to help bring justice to people..." he said, trailing off. Part of it was because he wanted to find out what happened to his brother and bring whoever was responsible to justice.

    "And you will, Alex. Justice, not vengeance. Vengeance is never the answer. You'll help people, I'm sure of it. You'll help solve crimes, you'll help piece together stories. You'll find out what happened. Maybe even then you can help people deal with the truth. Maybe you can give them the closure they really need."

    His dad couldn't have made a less subtle hint. Maybe someday he could bring his brother's story to an end.
  5. <div style="float:left;margin-right:8pt;"><img src=http://i185.photobucket.com/albums/x167/goldendercon/JasonCollins.jpg></div>Tawny hair, sculpted face, masculine gait, piercing eyes; Jason's head was swimming with images of the young blond. He felt almost nauseous and his heart was thumping against his ribs and thundering in his ears. He closed the door behind him and leaned against it for a while, taking a few deep breaths, trying to calm himself. In his minds eye, images kept flashing by and one in particular brought scarlet to his cheeks. Innocent as it was, he only imagined the blond shirtless hugging him from behind, it flustered and frustrated him to no end.

    He had never experienced such emotion before and he felt as though he both wanted to go jump off a cliff and go traipsing through a meadow of daisies. It was wonderful and frustrating at the same time. He hit his head on the door when he tried to lean back. And at that moment in his mind's eye he imagined himself in the shower with the beautiful man and he hit his head on the door again when he tried to snap himself out of it, sputtering like he had just been splashed with a bucket of cold water.

    "You okay, young'n?" His grandda's concerned voice snapped him out of his trance. He blushed even deeper, realizing the state his grandda had caught him in. Noticing the coloration of Jason's cheeks, his grandda smiled and asked with good humor in his voice "See a dame you liked, hmm?"

    "I'm... I'm okay grandda!" he said, waving the images -- and his grandda -- away. Taking a few deep breaths he was finally able to regain his composure. "Grandda! What makes you think that?" The elder McCoy just looked at Jason, pointed at his own cheeks and raised an eyebrow. They stood there, his grandda just staring at him and him feeling more and more uncomfortable until he finally couldn't take it anymore. "... well, a guy, grandda, not a girl."

    "All the same" said his grandda, grinning, remembering how it was to be struck with such powerful infatuation. "Want to talk about it, young'n?"

    "No, grandda, I'd rather not." Still blushing, Jason let his eyes wander; they suddenly snapped back to his grandda when he remembered what he wanted from the older Irishman. "Grandda..." he trailed off, catching sight of a gilded golden dagger just above the mantel of the fireplace. "Can you tell me more of our family history? And what is that dagger over there?"

    "Well, that dagger is called an athame, one of only five golden ones ever made. It belonged to the high priests and priestesses of the druids back home in Ireland, and that specific one belonged to Lorcán ó Cathasaigh. Amongst the priests and priestesses, he was one of the lowest, and when Christianity came, he was able to slip away with his athame. It has since then been passed down through generations of his family, and it will eventually fall to you, Jason. Its original purpose has been lost, but maybe someone someday can figure it out." For a moment, all thoughts of the young blond man down the street driven from his mind by this fascinating tidbit about his family history.

    "Do tell me more, grandda."

    "Well, young'n, my memory isn't as good as it used to be, but you know what? Come with me, I might have just the thing for you." His grandda beckoned him to follow and they were soon going up the stairs to his grandparents' bedroom. He'd never been in there before, and it looked elegant to him. The dark wooden furniture and the celtic knotwork that decorated the bedposts attracted his eye. There was a certain earthy mystical feel to the room and Jason felt just at home.

    His grandda noticed Jason visibly relaxing. Could it be that the blood of the druids had come back to life in this young man? If so, then all the more reason to show him the family history. He took a raw opal from its place on the highest shelf in the room, right above the books he treasured. It still amazed him to this day, the beauty of the thing. It was in following with the ó Cathasaigh tradition of using opals to hide their most precious belongings.

    He was in no way skilled enough in the arcane arts to replicate the sigil-locking mechanisms of his predecessors, but the opal still served as the key. It was buried in a tangle of wooden "roots" with an embedded magnet that would unlock a panel in the wall. Beckoning Jason to follow him, he slid the opal across the wall and with an audible click, the wall panel slid open, revealing an old tome covered with knotwork and flowing script. It was the ó Cathasaigh chronicle and it recorded their forefathers' stories.

    "Take care of it, please, it has been in our family for a long time. I have yet to finish my contribution, and you will have to write in it one day too, so make sure no harm comes to it." Jason was still looking in wonder at the opal and the manuscript. It wasn't everyday that you see a book as old as the one before him.

    "I will, grandda."

    For the rest of the day, Jason was kept in his room by the tome and he was completely buried in it. The tale of the ó Cathasaigh family tree was entrancing to him and while he was skeptical to the more arcane parts of it, he definitely found it absolutely interesting and it managed to hold his attention quite well. By the time he decided he had had enough, the sun was low on the horizon and it was raining, though not heavily, outside.

    He returned the book to its place, knowing how to do it now and went down to check on the other members of the household. His grandda and grandma were visiting friends down the block and his Aunt was on a date. He was about to sit down and watch some television when he heard his mother, it seemed, talking on the phone in a low, panicked voice. It was definitely cause for concern and he walked to the kitchen where the conversation appeared to be coming from.

    "Mom?" he asked quietly, not wanting to startle her.

    She was startled all the same and she dropped the phone. Too quickly she bent down to pick it up and a frenzied look of panic was visible in her eyes. "Okay, okay, just, please. We're coming." She then pressed the button to end the call. Her brows were furrowed, she was sweating and she was visibly shaken.

    "Where are you going?" he pressed, concerned.

    It was only after a minute or two of intensely uncomfortable silence that the plump woman found the courage and the composure to answer her son. "We're going back to your dad."

    "Who?" Jason raised an eyebrow, getting increasingly worried, though not necessarily for his mother. Dread filled his heart and he almost wished his mother did not answer.

    "You and me, Jason" she whispered, almost as though she was guilty. He knew it. She would just take him back. Why had he even thought that maybe she had changed and that she would stand up for him against his father this time. No. She had not changed. He almost wished he had not left poor Ms. Owler. That way his hopes would not have been taken and dashed against the rocks.

    "No, mom! I am not going back there! I would rather die." His blood was slowly coming to a boil and his hands were balled up into fists. The blood had drained from his face and his eyes were glassy with betrayal, anger, and terror. "Never again, mom, never again!"

    "But, we have to. Please. I can't... He'll..." she looked like she was about to say something else, but she held herself back. Oh great. Now his mother was keeping secrets from him too. "Your dad loved you, Jason. He was just having trouble with it. He promised he'll not be as mad when you come back."

    "No, mother. I would rather die. Go back alone if you want to, I don't want to see that man's face ever again." He was shaking, the rage palpable in the air and in the tone of his voice. No. He really did not want to go back and he was, at this point, prepared to go out and beg in the streets if it meant never having to return to that bastard's household again.

    "But you have to come with me or else--" He did not hear the rest of what his mother had to say. He had stormed out of the house and sat on the sidewalk a small way down the street. The rain was pouring around him and he felt completely alone. Unable to hold them back anymore, he began to cry, drawing in short hacking breaths punctuated with sobs. He half-hoped his mother would come after him to assure him things would be okay, but it didn't happen. He should never have gotten his hopes up.

    He was almost drowning in his sorrow when all of a sudden, he heard a car stop in front of him and saw a pair of sneakered pants in sweats get down from the drivers' side.
  6. <div style="float:right;margin-left:8pt;margin-right:-30em;"><img src=http://i185.photobucket.com/albums/x167/goldendercon/Guy4b_zps8f3af175.jpg style="width:35%;height:35%;"></div>His arms burned... Well, basically his whole upper torso burned. It was a good kind of pain, however, but it was still pain and it took all his effort to not groan because of it. He'd been in the gym for the past two hours. It was one of the pack-owned gyms that belonged to one of his da's friends but it was all the way at the very edge of downtown Vancouver and he was often just too lazy to drive all the way there. It was on the opposite side of the city from the university and it was about twenty minutes from his family's house.

    If you've ever had a cat, you'd know that they spend most of their days sleeping. Lions weren't any different, but Alex liked lounging around at home reading. He occasionally went out to play tennis with friends, but ever since they got into university, those game sessions had become few and far in between. The only exercise he had was a few laps around the neighborhood, way too early for anyone but Shadows to be up and about. He'd not been to the gym for two weeks and he had forgotten how much it hurt.

    He hissed through gritted teeth as warm water cascaded all over his body. It was relaxing and definitely soothed the burn he felt. He just stood there for a few minutes, savoring the feeling before he got some shampoo and soap and began to lather up. Not far away, a silver-haired man was looking at him with a predatory gleam in his eyes. Alex hadn't yet noticed, and the man licked his lips as Alex bent down to soap his legs. "Mmm, yum." he smirked.

    Alex's hearing was sharp enough to hear the comment and he took his time to straighten out, pretending he hadn't heard, but his whole body was already on high alert. There were some humans in the gym, that was for sure, this man seemed human enough. He hadn't picked up on any scent from the man, so he assumed the other was as mundane as mundane could get. Still, knives and other weapons were as fatal for Shadows as they were for mortals.

    Alex shook his head from left to right, as if to get shampoo out of his hair, but in truth, he was just trying to see who was the other person in the shower. The silver-haired guy was well built and definitely taller than him. He also looked like someone who should be a shadow what with the hunterly grace that he held himself with, albeit with an obvious undertone of sleaze. If Alex had seen things right, the guy was stroking himself. Fuck. He definitely hoped it would stop there.

    Turning the shower to its coldest, cursing under his breath, and enduring it for sixty seconds, he finally grabbed a towel and dried himself off. He still felt a pair of eyes following his every move and it made him all the more wary. The fact that the shower room was steamy dampened his ability to smell emotions, but he didn't think he needed that for this situation. The man was obviously meaning to do something -- or at least try -- perverted to him.

    He had just pulled on a pair of jeans when the guy approached. He was evidently up to no good. The man wasted no time and got uncomfortably close to Alex, grabbing himself a handful of jean-clad were-lion ass. "Care to come home with me, delicious?" said the man, grinning. It seemed as though he thought Alex liked what he was doing, well, that or he didn't care either way and would get what he wanted.

    "No thank you." Alex growled under his breath as he swatted away the guy's hand and pulled on a shirt before bending down to put his clothing into his gym bag. The man whistled again. Fuck. Why had he bent over? He would never know. For all he knew, he had just enticed the man even more. Fact of the matter was, he preferred bending over rather than getting on his haunches to reach anything he couldn't reach when standing straight. "You're not my type" he continued, slinging the bag over his shoulder.

    "Oh, I can be any type you want me to be..." drawled the man sultrily, making a grab for Alex's ass again. The were-lion blocked the man's hand with the gym bag quite easily before telling the man he wasn't interested one more time. The man remained unphased and Alex was having a problem with the way the man's left hand kept drifting down to his left back pocket as if there was something there he could use. Tired of the harrassment, he strode off with unnatural speed and looked for the management.

    "Eric" he said, calling out to the son of his dad's friend. "There's a man in the shower, creeping on me. It'd be nice if you could do something about it."

    The heavyset were-bear's eyes widened a bit in dismay. "Sorry man, I'll deal with it." They obviously weren't used to getting such undesirable characters in the gym. It wasn't long before he saw the man being escorted out of the establishment by two burly guards. The man winked at Alex who just looked at him disinterestedly.

    Making smalltalk for a few minutes with Eric, he eventually learned that the man had hit on Eric as well. No wonder he'd been escorted out by guards. The guy was straight as an arrow. He was more surprised that the man had left unhurt. Although, there was a strange look on Eric's face. It was probably just the stress of the day's work. Either way, he had little time to spend tarrying in the gym, so he left.

    It was raining outside and he had left his umbrella in the car. Cursing himself, he ran for it. However, he soon heard an audible squelch behind him. He turned around and the man was there. In his hand was a sheet of paper, which, he was holding almost threateningly against Alex. A mage. He should've known. Only an idiot would flirt that openly. Before the magician could open the paper, Alex had lunged at him.

    The mage stumbled backwards, landing on his ass. The paper had landed in a puddle and was now bleeding ink into it. The magician's pants were wet too, so any papers there would be destroyed by now. The roar of rage was confirmation enough to Alex who had only enough time to sidestep the thick stick that had suddenly appeared in the man's hand. The fight that ensued was intense but short. The stick clipped him on the shoulder, in the thigh and the man's fist had connected with his cheek, but Alex was in the end, the stronger.

    The man was dropped to his knees. "You'll pay for this" he hissed and began to crawl away. That had been close. Who knew what was on that paper. The rain, probably, had saved him, but had also managed to get him soaked. Getting into his car, he decided to change back into sweats, which proved to be more of a challenge than he had anticipated. He hit his head on the roof of the car a handful of times.

    He plopped down on the driver's seat, huffing in annoyance. His cheek was beginning to bruise. He did not like it. Of course it would go away in a few hours, but not before his mother saw it... There would be hell to be had later on.

    Putting his foot on the pedal, he began the drive home. Before long, the adrenaline rush from the fight faded and he found himself increasingly wondering about the green-eyed young man that he had seen at the McCoy's. He definitely would not have minded if it was him that was cruising him in the shower. In fact, he probably would've consented. He blushed, thankful that he was alone.

    Speak of the devil. He was driving down the street to his house when he saw the young man sitting on the curb in the rain, probably crying. Fuck. He was not prepared for this. His mind was spinning, but he decided to follow his were-creature instinct and the car skidded to a halt in front of the young man. He stepped out, this time with umbrella in hand and walked over to the young man, shielding him from the rain and leaving himself to suffer the deluge. "You alright?" he asked, quite a bit stupidly.

    "Do I look alright to you?" snapped the boy. "I mean, seriously, I'm sitting on the curb in the rain, and you think it's appropriate to ask if I'm al--" he said, clearly irritated, but with a twinge of sadness on his voice. The boy let out a small gasp and blushed when he looked up and saw Alex. Alex blushed too, seeing those green eyes again. Sputtering, he said "I-I'm okay."

    "Well, as you so eloquently put it, I don't think you are" said Alex. So, the young man was a smart alec. It usually frustrated him on others, but on this young man, it was adorable. "I'm Alex. Do you need a ride home?" At the mention of home, the young man's head shot up to meet Alex's gaze and there was fear in those eyes. "I guess not..." he murmured.

    "No. No. Anywhere but there... Uhm... I'm Jason." said Jason, looking back down at his feet. He noticed the rain wasn't falling on him anymore. Looking up again, he noticed he was being shielded by the man with an umbrella. "Are you stupid? You have the umbrella. Why aren't you using it."

    "I'm not the one on the sidewalk in the middle of a rainstorm, kid" said Alex kindheartedly. "Jason, huh? That's a nice name..." thought Alex, smiling inwardly. "Well, you'd best get in out of the rain unless you want to get pneumonia, Jason. If you don't want to go back to old man McCoy's, would you come with me at least?"

    What the fuck was he doing, inviting Jason to his house? But he'd be damned if he didn't at least try to help the boy. Besides, maybe it would be a chance to get to know him... "Well?" he pressed. He just wanted to hug the boy, comfort him in any way possible. The thought of being that close to Jason made Alex blush... a lot.
  7. <div style="float:left;margin-right:8pt;"><img src=http://i185.photobucket.com/albums/x167/goldendercon/JasonCollins.jpg></div>Blushing, Jason looked back down at his feet. Was he really getting invited into this extremely attractive man's home? It sounded a bit fishy, and nevermind that it seemed like the start to a really bad porno, but the very thought of it was alluring to him. Even if the man did have his way with Jason, it would at least take his mind off of the problem back home for a few minutes -- or hours, if this Alex had the stamina for it. The very thought made him flush even more. He wouldn't mind at all.

    The prospect was attractive, for sure, but he still had reservations about it. You don't get invited every day to another man's home after all, especially not the day after you arrive as a strange man in a strange country. "They might be looking for me..." he said lamely, trying to make an excuse, much to his own dismay, to get out of having to go with the man who by now was probably soaked by the rain.

    "Then shouldn't you be going back?" said the blond to him kindly. Was he going to get let go? He almost wished Alex would just press the matter. For some reason, he doubted that was in the other man's nature. The umbrella was still over his head. Alex was still waiting patiently by the side of the road for an answer to his invitation, getting soaked in the process.

    "Oh shit" he thought. "No, don't look up." If Alex was indeed soaked by now, the last thing Jason wanted was to see a wet, semi-transparent shirt plastered to the curves of the tall blond's body. No. That will definitely not help in the least. "I don't think so... I quite enjoy the rain" That was an outright pathetic lie. He was soaked to the bone and his teeth were about to start chattering. He would very much have liked to be dry and out of the rain. Where, oh where had his witty banter gone? The effect this Alex had on him was definitely immense.

    "Well, I'm pretty certain I'm the one doing most of the enjoying right now" said Alex. The humor was apparent on his voice. Had he caught on that Jason was having reservations about him? Or was he just enjoying taunting Jason? Jason shook his head, watching the droplets of water fly every which way from the black hair that the water had flattened against his brow. Unbidden, he looked up and instead of dancing about the wet cloth that clung to every facet of Alex's body, he found himself staring at those piercing brown eyes and that well-defined jaw. "You sure you don't want to dry off and maybe have some tea while you're at it?" said Alex temptingly. He was trying to make the situation more humorous, trying to take Jason's mind off of whatever was bothering him.

    "Tea? Do I look like Queen Elizabeth to you?" Okay, he had to give himself credit for that. He actually remembered that Canada was under England. "...but some hot chocolate would be nice" he said, finally giving in. He let go of the doubts he had. He was pretty sure, by the tone of Alex's voice, that he was sincere. He just told himself "Fuck it. It's not like you're going to mind if he does ask for that in return... In fact you might just be more than happy to oblige."

    Looking up again, he noticed Alex holding out a drenched hand to him. The gesture brought new color to his cheeks and, still a bit apprehensive, he put up his own hand and took Alex's. The effect was immediate. He felt like he'd been shocked. It was like dragging your feet around on the carpet, forgetting that you did that, and then reaching for a doorknob, only a few times more powerful. Had Alex not been holding on to him, he might've fallen back on his ass. The contact between them was almost electric.

    He could've sworn Alex's own eyes were dazed and unfocused for a split second, but then they returned to their normal piercing state. There was a pinkish tinge on the blond's cheeks, probably mirroring his own, but it might've been from the cold and damp. It would do well to not assume anything, he told himself. There would be less of a chance to hurt himself. Even so, the blond's hands were soft and warm in his own, and the warmth was welcome after all the rain.

    "Well, now isn't this fucking romantic" he thought to himself as Alex guided him by the hand into the car. "Uhh... Do you have a plastic or anything? I don't want to soak the seat..." he told the blond.

    "No... Not really. I don't mind. I'll be soaking mine either way. but you are going to get it if the stain is yellow." Alex was grinning. Maybe it wasn't such a bad idea to come with the blond after all, thought Jason. He was amicable enough. He seemed warm enough. Maybe the golden-haired beauty was just what he needed to distract himself from the tyranny of his father and the cowardice of his mother and the threat of being dragged back to that backwater town somewhere in Kansas.

    Even if he felt guilty about running from his grandda's house, he sure didn't want to be there if his mother was. He just wasn't risking it. He sat in the car's soft seat. The car was luxurious. It certainly didn't look like one of the older, rich-man cars, but it looked much better than the one his mother had. The seat was just heavenly, although, he definitely could've done without the wet squelch that accompanied him when he sat.

    Then again, it was funny to see Alex in the same predicament. "Thanks, Alex..." said Jason, feeling somber again for a moment.

    "No, problem, Jason."
  8. <div style="float:right;margin-left:8pt;margin-right:-30em;"><img src=http://i185.photobucket.com/albums/x167/goldendercon/Guy4b_zps8f3af175.jpg style="width:35%;height:35%;"></div>The drive back to his house was quite short, but with Jason in the car, it seemed as though time was being painfully slow. He kept glancing over at the dark-haired boy right beside him, still dripping wet from the rain. The way his locks were plastered to his face was just downright endearing. He tried to bite back a chuckle, but wasn't very successful as the car radio suddenly began to play "Passenger Seat" by Stephen Speaks.

    ...and I can't keep my eyes on the road, knowing that she's inches from me.

    He certainly couldn't keep his eyes on the road, what with Jason just beside him. What more, he couldn't help but feel that his cheeks were warm, and he couldn't suppress the small smile dancing on his lips. The younger man was silently looking out at the road -- or was it at the raindrops that were rolling down the window? Either way, the dimmer than usual light from the sun framed Jason's face in such a way that it was almost ethereal.

    Alex kept glancing sideways at Jason, unable to help but wonder what was bothering young man. "You okay, Jason?" he asked, trying to breach the uncomfortable silence that had settled in. Whatever it was, Alex felt like wrapping his arms around the young man and just holding him until he felt better. The thought brought a sympathetic smile to his face. It began to seem more and more to Alex that Jason came to Canada not because of a visit, but because of something troubling back home.

    "Yeah..." sighed the green-eyed youth, turning to look at Alex who nearly lost control of the car because the depth of Jason's gaze just captivated him. "Just... trouble at home. I'll be alright." It was as though an answer to Alex's unspoken desire that Jason open up to him more. The small smile that curled the corners of Jason's lips was enough to make Alex feel orders of magnitude better. The awkward silence that followed didn't help any. Uncomfortable, Alex coughed. "I'm sorry I shouldn't ha--"

    "No, Jason, it's alright." Alex glanced at the green-eyed young man riding shotgun in his car. He smiled, trying to comfort the younger man. "If you need to get it out there, get it out there and be done with it." Jason's puzzled look made Alex reconsider his words. "What I mean is... If you need anyone to talk to, I'm willing to listen."

    "Thanks... Alex." The young Irishman turned to face the road again at the same time that Alex did. They were near his house now and Alex could feel a certain apprehension building in Jason.

    "Don't worry, Jason. My sister's elsewhere, my dad is good and my mom is hospitable... most of the time" he said with a small sheepish grin. He had to sneak Jason into the house without his mother detecting the young Irishman, otherwise he would get the unpleasant experience of getting pounced on by a lioness. Jason just smiled back and Alex couldn't help but get a whiff of relief from the younger man.

    It wasn't long before they got to the stately home of the Whites. It wasn't anything grand, but it was elegant, spacious and rich in its own right -- except for the lawn. Gabriel White, diplomat though he was, had no idea how to use a lawn mower; Alyssa White could barely keep a pea plant alive for a science fair project, much less tend to a lawn; and, finally, Alice White, genius though she was in the kitchen, could tend only to an herb garden. The memory of a green lawn turned brown and barren in the middle of the summer when his mother had been in charge of tending the lawn was not one that Alex held fondly in his mind.

    In fact, in the family, only the young lion could make the lawn appear manicured, at least until he got into university and no longer had time to tend to it. It was, for the moment, slightly overgrown. Alex resolved to mow it the next day. They drove up into the garage and Alex, trying to be as chivalrous as possible, hurried over to Jason's side of the car and opened the car door. "Chauffer, you can park the car elsewhere now" said Jason with a smirk at Alex's manner.

    "After you, young master" Alex said, smiling, as he opened the door into the house. They were both still dripping and he was pretty sure his mother would throw a fit if she discovered them tracking mud into the house. To both his delight and dismay, the remark drew a laugh from Jason. The tension looked like it was melting right off of Jason's shoulders. It was titillating, but it increased their chances of being discovered. "Shh!" he whispered under his voice. "If my mother finds out you're here... Well, there's no escaping that cat's grasp." Alex placed his index finger atop his pursed lips for emphasis.

    Jason nodded in assent. Once he got a good look around though, his eyes grew wide with wonder. The house was beautifully designed and it was downright ornate. It seemed as though whoever designed the house had left no detail unchecked. Even the wall moulding oozed elegance. "Holy shit!" he mouthed. He had seen the outside of Alex's house and assumed little of it, but now that he was on the inside, he was completely blown away.

    Coupled with their incognito entrance and their prowling, Jason just had to whisper "Alex. I feel like I'm a badass spy breaking into a mansion to steal some artifact of great importance." Alex turned towards Jason, eyes wide and trying to bite back a chuckle. "Yeah, yeah, quiet, I get it. Where are we going anyway? and--" he sniffed. There was a heavenly aroma hanging in the air. "--what is that?"

    "To my room" said the were-lion offhandedly, while looking down the hallway. He beckoned to Jason to follow him. "Well, that is my mom's cooking... Another reason it's difficult to get out of her clutch is because she keeps shoving delicious snacks at you."

    Jason was blushing. He was actually being led to Alex's room. "Woah there big fella'..." he said, hesitating. "...I don't think that's something appropriate to do on a first date." His face turned even more red when he realized what he had just said. Alex was too busy worrying about how to sneak Jason past his parents to notice what the young Irishman had just said.

    "What's not appropriate?" he muttered and then stopped in his tracks when it finally dawned on him. It was fortunate his back was turned to the younger man because his face and his ears turned absolutely scarlet. "D-did you just say 'first date'?"

    Jason stopped in his tracks too. Oh no. This was it. Alex was going to turn around, punch him in the face and then yell "What do you think I am? A fucking faggot?!" He had already thrown his hands up in defense and had already come up with an excuse when he realized the punch wasn't coming. Instead he heard Alex mumbling "N-no! I-I didn't mean it like that! I-I have a Playstation 5x... I thought maybe you might want to give it a spin... you know, to get your mind off of whatever's bothering you."

    "A Playstation 5x?" said Jason, his eyes widening. "That was the last game console released in the last 8 years!" he exclaimed. He had always dreamed of having one, but he had been to young when it first came out, and video-games had been made illegal in 2019 under the overwhelmingly republican government. "A-and... I really didn't mean that either... I mean... Unless you want it to be..." he stammered out.

    In response, Alex just turned around and smiled at the green-eyed Irishman. "Is that a yes or a no? Damn it!" fumed Jason to himself. They continued on their way towards Alex's room and they passed the dining room and the adjoining kitchen on the way there. Fortunately, Alex's mother had her back turned to them, fussing over something on the stove. Her golden locks were curled and fell to her shoulders. Her frame was lean and elegant. Even the clothes she wore, jeans and a white shirt with an apron lined with gold thread were elegant.

    She fit in with the house. Her son, not so much, but he was beautiful in his own way. They snuck around the kitchen and were about to climb the stairs to get to the second floor when Gabriel comes around the corner and spots them. "Now who's this, Alex?" he asked, grinning. He knew full well who the young man was, but he wasn't about to let Alex get away with it.

    "Uhm... This is Jason, Da, from the McCoys" he said, trying to keep the red from creeping up his cheeks again. Jason was fidgeting nearby.

    "I see. And to what do we owe this pleasant visit?"

    Before Alex could speak, Jason did. "I... Well I was out in the rain... Problems at home... and Alex was kind enough to invite me over" said Jason timidly, avoiding Gabriel's gaze.

    "In that case, feel at home. And whatever it is--" Gabriel raised an eyebrow, but smiled sympathetically. "--I hope it gets resolved soon" he pulled Alex aside and told his son "Just don't be too loud. I plan on having a cat nap. I don't want poor Jason being unable to walk or sit down tomorrow either."

    He had said it just loud enough for Jason to hear. Unsurprisingly, the young Irishman turned completely red. "D-DA!?" blurted out Alex, red in the face as well.

    "Heh. Well, go on and do whatever it is you guys want to do." When Gabriel finally left, Jason burst out laughing, much to Alex's confusion.

    "Why are you laughing?" he asked, still trying to get rid of the red in his face.

    "Because your dad is awesome" answered the young man. Alex grinned. "Not to mention totally inappropriate." The two then ascended the last few steps and got settled in Alex's room. The rest of the evening went by in a blur of laughs, noogies, and the occasional, tension-laden, awkward moments of silence when the two would meet each other's gaze during loading screens. For a few glorious hours, all of Jason's worries were chased away by the man he would later on call his kitty.

    "ALEX!" yelled his father from downstairs. It was a voice he knew to mean urgent tidings. He put down the controller and was about to excuse himself when his father added "And bring Jason down too!" The two young men looked at each other for a moment, and then put down the controllers and descended the stairs in a hurry. "Go to your grandfather, Jason" said Gabriel grimly, pointing to the old McCoy sitting in the living room. "I have to talk to Alex for a moment."

    Jason's heart was beating like a racing horse. Alex's was doing the same thing. "What's up, Da?" he asked nervously. He almost wanted his Da to not answer, but Gabriel did, and the answer left Alex with more questions than anything.

    "I want you to keep Jason in the house tonight. Don't let him out of your sight. There is danger about. Now, excuse me, I have to make a phone call." Gabriel's eyes were sad, angry, and Alex could almost make out a hint of fear in them. His father's scent spoke the same story. Warily, Alex walked towards the living room, only to be greeted by a crying Jason who ran up to him and embraced him.

    "Shh... Shh... It'll be alright. What happened?"

    "Alex... My mom is missing" sobbed the young man into the young were-lion's chest.