Family Ties - (Book 3 of the Marvelous 3 Saga)

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23 - Run with Wolves

“GODDAMMIT!”

Leo stared wide-eyed as he watched his brother stumble backward, clutching his bleeding shoulder. Nick tried to stop the bleeding by putting pressure on his wound, but the dagger got him right in the tendon.

“Shake it off. Start again,” Vadim, their father, said quickly as he twirled the two daggers in his hands.

Nick looked up at him incredulously. “Come on, Pops, I-”

“I didn’t ask for a fucking response, Nicholas,” Vadim barked at him. “Again!” Vadim glanced at his youngest son sprawled out on the ground, still panting on the floor. Leo was trying to catch his breath after being ordered to shift for the 9th time that day. “Leonardo?” Vadim said, looking at him. “How long do you plan on just laying there like a goddamn fool?”

Leo ran his hand over his face in exasperation. “I’m just... I’m tired, Pa... I’m in so much pain...”

“Eрунда! Pain is subjective, Leonardo. Control it. Don’t let it control you,” Vadim instructed him. “Now, pull yourself together. быстро!”

“Ai ya! Can we at least take a break?” Leo pleaded.

Vadim growled as he jammed the two daggers into the wooden floor they stood on. He quickly rushed Leo, grabbing him by the shirt. “We’re in the middle of a fucking war, Leonardo. There’s no time for breaks. You’re a Volkov! ACT LIKE ONE!” Vadim shoved Leo before he walked back over to Nick and picked up the daggers from the floor. “Until you can lay a finger on me, I don’t wanna hear either of you complaining,” Vadim said to them. “You’re not nearly the warriors you should be.”

“Yea?” Nick grunted. He wiped the blood away from his shoulder that started to heal. “Easy to say when you’ve got freaking daggers for weapons.”

Vadim scoffed as he flipped the daggers backward and precisely threw them in the wall behind him so they stuck. “Alright then,” Vadim said. “You both manage to get me on the ground... and maybe I’ll think about giving you a break.” Nick and Leo exchanged apprehensive looks, unsure if they should take him up on his offer. “Come on now,” Vadim beckoned to them. “This offer does have an expiration date. You take your old man down, and I’ll let you walk right out them doors to your Mama. Smells like she’s making shashlik again.”

Nick pulled his shirt over his head and wiped the remaining blood from the dagger wound before tossing his shirt to the side. “You ready, Leo?” Nick said, eyeing his brother. “L-T 22... just like we practiced.” Leo nodded as he maneuvered behind his father.

Vadim glanced behind him to his youngest son and smirked at their strategy. In seconds, Nick charged at him full speed. Nick went for Vadim’s abdomen, hitting him hard as he tackled him backward. He grunted as he managed to slide his father’s feet back from the sheer force. He felt his father wrap his arms around him and start lifting him off the ground. But Nick quickly leveraged this by flipping over Vadim’s back. He pushed Vadim forward just as Leo ran and quickly slid between his father’s legs. Leo grabbed Vadim’s ankles to make him lose his balance.

But Vadim was quicker. He flipped out of Leo’s grasp and over Nick completely. Nick looked at him astonished before his father high-kicked him in the chest, sending him flying into Leo. Leo and Nick groaned from the harsh impact when they heard their father chuckling.

“Oтлично сработано. Nice effort. You two work well together. But you still have a ways to go,” Vadim walked to the daggers in the wall and pulled them out. “If you can’t even take me down, you don’t stand a chance against those bloodsuckers out there,” he said, turning to them.

They noticed that his voice had become darker, more menacing, and his eyes were starting to glow bright gold. Despite his massive and toned physique, their father’s weary face, rugged pepper-gray beard, and greying hair showed signs of fatigue and strain from constant fighting.

“We don’t have the luxury of being anything less than perfect. Those witches are my responsibility... soon to be yours,” Vadim said, pointing to his eldest son with the bloody dagger he had stabbed him with. Nick swallowed hard as his jaw tensed. “A dagger wound doesn’t mean shit,” Vadim said. He harshly sliced into his forearm with the dagger several times. The brothers watched as their father’s arm bled vigorously from the self-inflicted wounds before they quickly healed.

“What will you do when a vampire is clawing your ass to pieces, trying to get to some innocent young witch child who is the target of his century-old vendetta?” Vadim asked. “I need you both to convince me you’re ready for this. I need to know that when the day comes that I die-”

“Pa!” Leo said abruptly.

Vadim quickly put his hand up to silence him. “When I die... that these witches will still be well-protected under the Volkovs,” Vadim finished sternly. Vadim looked at his eldest son with an unwavering glare. “I need to know that you can effectively lead... as Alpha.”

~

Leo poked around at the large piece of steak on his plate, his eyes glazed over, completely lost in his thoughts.

“Leonardo?”

He looked up at the woman that always made him feel like everything would be okay. “...Yea, Ma...?”

“Are you okay? You’ve barely touched your second steak,” Natasha said.

Leo looked down at his plate. He could still hear Nick and his father going at it in the basement below them. It had been hours before his mother finally came down to come get him and nearly fought Vadim herself just to free one of her sons from his harsh training. “Pa... brought up his possible death again...”

Natasha frowned. “It’s just a hypothetical, солнышко моё... Nothing more...”

Leo loved it when his mother would refer to him as ‘my sun’ in her native tongue. She was the softness he so desperately clung to in these rough times. But he also knew she usually did so when she was feeling overly emotional, which was rare for a Volkov. He found her to be more affectionate lately while his father seemed to grow more impatient, desperate, and strict, especially when it came to Nick. His father had grown increasingly more demanding when it came to training his older brother. For training to be Alpha was no easy feat.

“What are you not telling me, Ma?” Leo said, looking up at her.

Natasha looked down at her son and deeply exhaled before she sat down at the table across from him. “Leo...” she said, grabbing his hand. He felt like a furnace. Probably due to the fact that Vadim had him shift so many times. “We just... want you to be prepared... for the inevitable.”

“Don’t you mean the hypothetical?” Leo asked.

She looked up at him and plastered a sad smile on her face. “No...” A tear slipped down her cheek, and it completely broke Leo’s heart. He moved out of his chair and knelt down next to her.

“Ma...” he said, holding her hand. “Tell me what’s wrong. Let me help.”

Natasha shook her head as she looked down at her son. She smiled through her tears as she stared into his emotion-filled blue eyes. “I wanted to see you graduate high school. Take pictures of you at prom. Be there to witness you find the one-”

“I did find the one,” Leo said quickly.

“Kiara?” Natasha asked with raised brows. “That little girl from your old elementary school? Leo, it’s been years since she disappeared.”

“She’ll come back to me. I’ll find her,” Leo assured her. “I know she’s the one, Ma. She’s my mate.”

Natasha smiled at him and nodded. “I wish I could have met her.”

Leo frowned. “You still can, Ma... why are you speaking as if... as if you’re already-”

Natasha put a finger to his lips to hush him. “Just... please remember that I will always love you, солнышко моё. You will always be my Leo...”

~*~

“Leo? Leo!”

Leo felt himself being shaken and snapped out of it. He blinked several times before he looked down at Kiara sitting in front of him. He glanced around, remembering that he had taken her to the gym in their basement. “Hey,” she said, looking at him concerned. “You okay? I lost you there... for like... a while... It was kind of creepy.”

“Sorry, Angel...” Leo said, rubbing the back of his neck. “Got lost in my thoughts for a minute.”

Kiara frowned as he averted his gaze. “Thinking about what?” she asked.

“... My parents... my mother...”

“Oh...” she said. Kiara had enjoyed the time she spent with the Volkovs over the holidays when she wasn’t with the Blackbournes. She was grateful that Nick allowed them to celebrate prior to her training and relished the time she spent with Leo, who doted over her not just with gifts but with love. Yet, he always seemed to shut down hard when it came to matters of his family. She felt awkward knowing how uncomfortable Leo got whenever the topic of his parents came up.

She removed her hand from his arm when he quickly grabbed it. “Don’t-” he said quickly. She looked at him curiously. “Marshala told me you can see things... The future? The past?” Leo asked.

“Uh, yea... but I barely have control over that. It comes and goes,” she said.

“I want you to try with me,” Leo said. “It’s difficult for me to talk about them. But... maybe you can see for yourself?” Leo said.

Kiara looked at him surprised. This was definitely a step further. “Are you... sure, Leo? That seems kind of personal...”

“I’m sure, Angel,” he said, smiling. “My parents were amazing and I think you would have loved them. Even though I’m not ready to talk about them yet, I want to open this part of myself to you. Maybe this will at least help?”

Kiara nodded as she readjusted herself in front of him. She ran her fingers over his chest and could feel his heart beating fast. His skin felt hot to the touch, and it ignited something in her. She stared deeply into his blue eyes that peered sharply into hers. “You’re making me feel things right now, Angel,” Leo said, quirking an eyebrow up at her. “Are you trying to see into my memories or turn me on?”

“I told you I don’t know how this works!” she squeaked before her mind suddenly flashed.

~

Kiara immediately felt the heat of fire before jumping out of the way of falling burning wood. She heard screaming before a young frantic Leo ran past her holding two young girls in his arms with a woman on his back. She quickly followed them outside of the fire to realize that they had just escaped from a burning house.

“You’re safe now! It’s okay!” Leo said, putting the girls down. “Where’s your mother?”

“MAMA!” one of the girls screamed as she pointed. Leo looked up to see a vampire tearing the throat out of one of the witches. His eyes burned amber as he quickly pounced on the vampire, ripping it to shreds with his claws. “MAMA! MAMA!” the little girl cried. She crawled over to her mother who lay bleeding in the grass. The little girl slid her small brown hand into her mother’s lifeless hand stained with blood. “Mama…” the girl choked out weakly. The woman stared at her daughter for a brief second before her eyes closed. The little girl sobbed into her mother’s blood-soaked chest.

“Shit. Shit!” Leo said exasperated as he looked up at the burning house.

Kiara’s eyes widened when she saw the look of desperation and anger in Leo’s gaze before he charged right at her. She put her hands up as a shield when he ran right through her and attacked the vampire behind her before the vampire could get to the young girls he had just saved.

“LEO!”

Kiara turned around at the sound of his name to see Nick and a few other men fighting off vampires. Leo looked up at Nick with his hands dripping blood. “Nick?” Leo said.

“Get the fuck out of here, Leo!” Nick shouted in a panic. He jumped on top of a vampire and ripped the vampire’s head off with one hard yank. “Go find Ma!”

Leo dropped from his own hands the vampire he killed and stared at his brother frantically. “But Pa-”

“POPS IS GONE, LEO! HE’S FUCKING GONE! GO FIND HER! NOW!” Nick growled. He got down on all fours and immediately shifted into his large black wolf. He ran at full speed and jumped into a small herd of vampires chasing a group of adolescent witches who were running for their lives.

Leo panicked, unsure if he should listen to Nick and go find his mother or stay and help fight. He still hadn’t processed what Nick just said about their father. Was he really gone? He cursed under his breath before he quickly shifted and took off towards his house. He didn’t have time to think.

~

Kiara abruptly appeared at a random house that had been completely decimated. Dead bodies of witches, vampires, and wolves lay scattered on the lawn. She covered her mouth in horror at all of the carnage. These were truly the worst images of war.

“MA?? MA?!”

Kiara looked up to see Leo quickly shift back into his naked human form. He grabbed a random sweater off of a dead body on the ground and wrapped it around his waist.

“MA! WHERE ARE YOU?!” Leo shouted, running frantically through the house. His heart beat sporadically, dreading the worst.

Kiara saw Leo stop in his tracks as his eyes widened in horror. She followed his gaze and quickly covered her mouth in disbelief. Leo threw himself on the ground next to his mother who sat leaning against the wall on the floor, bleeding relentlessly “MA!!” Leo shouted. “Shit, no! Ma, please! Please, no!”

“Leo?” Natasha said, looking up at him weakly. She raised her bloodied hand to his face and gently stroked his cheek, leaving bloody finger marks on his face. “Oh, Leo...my sweet boy...”

Leo looked anxiously at her torn, bloodied body. She had a huge gash in her shoulder and a large blade sticking out of her abdomen. “I... I can fix this,” Leo said, reaching for the blade.

“No, Leo,” she said, grabbing his hand. “It’s silver... leave it. There is nothing you can do.”

“NO! Ma, stop! Okay! You and Pa told me ‘unto our last dying breath’! Remember? So, I’m not giving up! Just let me-” Leo started looking around only to notice more bodies on the ground. “I just need to find something. Something-”

“Leonardo,” Natasha said, grabbing his hand. “It’s too late for me, солнышко моё... But there’s a group of witches. The Moreaus. Two girls I was trying to protect after their parents were killed. Ava and Rhea are their names. Thankfully, they ran while I held these guys off,” she said, gesturing to the dead, ashen vampires on the floor. “You must protect those girls, Leo. Promise me.”

Leo’s eyes welled up with tears as he stared helplessly at his mother. “Mom-”

“Promise me, Leo! Promise me you’ll protect them!”

Leo choked up as he quickly nodded. “I promise, Ma...”

Natasha smiled up at him as tears spilled down her cheeks. “I’m so proud of you, Leo...” she said. Leo grabbed her hand and kissed it over and over again as he sobbed uncontrollably. “Go, солнышко моё. Go now,” she persisted. Leo struggled to pull himself away from his mother. He clenched his fists as he tried to find his resolve. He ran back out of the house, shifting in the process.

~

Kiara shook out of her vision and nearly stumbled to the floor before Leo quickly grabbed her by the waist to keep her from falling over. “Woah there, Angel!” Leo said, holding her. He noticed the tears streaming steadily down her face. “Shit, Angel, are you okay?”

“Leo!” Kiara cried as she quickly wrapped her arms around his neck, holding him tight. “I’m so sorry,” she said, sobbing against his chest.

Leo held her for a moment in complete and utter confusion. He didn’t understand why she was crying so heavily. But then, it clicked that she might have seen the worst of his memories. “Shit... I wanted you to see the good times, Angel, not the bad...” he muttered into her shoulder as he tightened his embrace around her.

“I told you I can’t control it...” she sobbed.

Leo suddenly felt bad for asking her to try to see his past. The way she cried truly concerned him. “Angel... what did you see, baby?”

Kiara shook her head. “I don’t wanna talk about it right now... Just let me hold you, okay Leo?” Leo held her for as long as she needed as she tried to pull herself together. When she finally pulled back from him he looked into her teary eyes and tried to give her a reassuring smile. “I didn’t know you were that involved in the... war. It looked really bad...” she said timidly.

“Eesh... you saw that part?” Leo chuckled nervously. “Yea, it was pretty bad... I was kinda young at the time. Trying to help all those witches felt impossible. Nick came up with the idea to teach some of them some basic self-defense moves. Think that’s why he’s so adamant about training you too, you know?”

“Yea, I get it,” she said, diverting her eyes as she got lost in her thoughts. She looked at Leo and sighed with relief. “At least I have you...”

Leo felt his heart flutter with these words. He gently grabbed her chin, tilting her head back so she met his gaze. “You’ll always have me, Angel... I’ll be with you every step of the way, baby...” He leaned down and firmly pressed his lips against hers, wrapping his arms around her as she melted into his embrace.

~*~

Nick and Levi walked into the matted gym to see Kiara and Leo having a full makeout session. Leo just barely got a nice hold on Kiara’s ass when Nick cleared his throat to get both of their attention. Kiara abruptly pulled away from Leo and wiped her mouth. Leo groaned in frustration as he tried to readjust his boxers beneath his sweatpants.

“Kiara,” Nick said, looking at her. “You have any gym clothes you can change into? You won’t be able to move around in jeans.”

“Um, yea,” she said, sliding her hands into her back pockets. She glanced at Leo rather flustered, already missing his lips. “I’ll be right back.” She picked up her bag from the floor and headed towards the bathroom.

“How you gonna train her when you’re constantly sucking her face off,” Levi teased.

Leo rolled his eyes. “We were having a moment...”

“Well, your moments are going to have to be put on pause for this,” Nick said. “She’s a mortal and she’s a woman, and most importantly, she’s your mate. But we can’t go easy on her, Leo. You can’t go easy on her.”

“Well, I’m definitely not gonna beat the shit out of her, Nick,” Leo said annoyed.

“I’m not saying that. But you can’t wear kitty gloves with her either. Her life is at stake, Leo. Those bloodsuckers aren’t going to go easy on her and neither should you. Her survival is contingent upon your ability to follow through,” Nick said. “You love her? Prove it.”

Leo grumbled to himself, feeling beyond frustrated. He knew Nick was right, but he couldn’t imagine laying one finger on Kiara in a way that wasn’t to love her. This was probably going to be just as difficult for him as it would be for her.

“We’ll teach her some basic defensive techniques, like the ones we taught the witches during the war,” Nick continued. “Then I want her to practice with you two. She needs to get used to the speed. That’s what always does a witch in. By the time they’ve figured out what’s going on, it’s already too late.” Leo and Levi both nodded their understanding.

Nick looked at his brother, locking eyes with him without saying a word. “What?” Leo asked.

“I need to know that you can do this, Leo,” Nick said.

“I’ll make sure not to go easy on her. I want her to be able to protect herse-” Leo started.

“I mean I want to make sure you won’t try to fuck her the moment you land on top of her. No groping. No kissing. Her clothes should be on at all times. You better keep your damn wolf under control, Leo. I mean it,” Nick threatened.

Leo rolled his eyes dramatically. “You act like I’m some sex fiend,” Leo scoffed. “I can control myself.”

“Bitch, you are a sex fiend when it comes to Kiara,” Levi smirked. “Volkovs can hardly contain themselves around their mates. But Leo’s the worst of us. Nick, best to leave Kiara to me.”

“Shut the fuck up, Levi,” Leo snapped in annoyance. “I can handle it! Damn!”

Nick looked at Leo suspiciously. “... are you sure?”

“Yes, I’m fucking sure! Shit!” Leo snapped out of aggravation. Just then, Kiara walked through the doors wearing a pair of black and yellow yoga pants and a matching sports tank top. She had her hands in her hair, tying it up in a high ponytail. “...oh fuck...” Leo groaned as his eyes quickly roamed her body. He immediately felt himself harden.

Nick sucked his teeth as Levi burst into laughter. “Leo, go sit your ass down. She’ll start with Levi,” Nick said annoyed. Leo could hardly protest. He grumbled as he strolled to the other side of the gym, trying to readjust his boxers again.

“Where’s Leo going?” Kiara asked once she approached Levi and Nick.

“He’ll join later,” Nick said. “Let’s get started. First off, I’m not going to teach you how to fight like Bruce Lee or some shit, Kiara. The point of this is to make sure you know how to defend yourself. Defense is what this is all about. You learn your offense from Shal. Got it?”

Kiara nodded. “Got it.”

“Now, when you’re facing a vampire, what’s the first thing you think they’ll do?” Nick asked.

“Try to rip my throat out,” she said. “Easy, considering it’s already happened twice.”

Nick nodded. “The throat is the go-to. It’s the quickest, easiest, and fastest source for them to feed. However, witches are a huge threat to vampires because, like wolves, they have the power to kill them within seconds. Mind you, not every which has that kind of extraordinary power. In fact, few do. You’re one of them. Vampires are cautious of wolves, but they’re also cautious of witches that can kill them instantly. And better believe they know which ones they are. You already have a huge target on your head,” Nick said.

Nick motioned to Levi who moved behind Kiara. “There are three vulnerable spots on a witch,” Nick instructed. “Your hands, which help channel your power, your neck, which they can easily bite or snap, and your mouth, to speak your magic.” Nick nodded at Levi who quickly wrapped his arms around Kiara’s head, putting her in a headlock. She reflexively put her hands to Levi’s arm, clutching tightly. Suddenly, Levi went flying in the air before he smashed hard into the wall.

“LEO! WHAT THE FUCK?!” Levi said angrily. He stared at Leo whose eyes were bright amber, his teeth bared in a snarl.

“LEO!” Nick shouted.

Leo shook his head as his eyes faded back to blue. He looked at the three of them confused. “I-”

“It’s a fucking practice, Leo!” Levi shouted angrily. “I wasn’t really hurting her, dammit!”

“Oh...” Leo said, rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly. “Sorry, Levi, I... I felt her panic and my... my instincts kicked in and I-”

“Save it,” Levi said annoyed as he rubbed the back of his head.

“Maybe... I should practice with Leo instead,” Kiara said, looking at Leo. He was blushing furiously from his embarrassing blunder. His protective nature of Kiara was far stronger than he expected.

Nick looked at Leo sharply. “I don’t know, little bro. Think you can handle it or do I have to chain your crazy ass down?”

Leo sighed. “I got it, I got it, jeez... sorry...”

Nick rolled his eyes as Levi walked away, grumbling in annoyance. He motioned for Leo to do the same move to Kiara that Levi did. Leo took a deep breath before he hesitantly put her in a headlock.

“Now, Kiara,” Nick continued. “This is a typical move from a vampire. Attack from behind with immediate access to your jugular. They’ll cover your mouth to keep you from speaking any incantations. Sometimes, they’ll go for your arms and rip them off. What can you do in a situation like this that would prevent that from happening?”

Kiara tried to think as she rested in Leo’s headlock which felt more like an embrace than anything. If his bicep wasn’t so hard, she could have napped on it like a pillow. “I’d have to block my face or something... but with my hands out,” she said.

“Right,” Nick nodded. “When faced with a vampire, your first move should be to block your face with your hands, palms facing outward. Think of your hands as the hot part of an oven. They won’t want to touch it, because that’s your weapon.”

“Like Iron Man’s repulsors,” she said.

Nick looked at her confused as Leo chuckled. “It’s exactly like Iron Man’s repulsors,” Leo laughed. “If we were Avengers, you’d definitely be Iron Man.”

“Wait no! I wanna be Black Panther! He’s got a vibranium suit!” she whined.

“I already turn into a wolf, Angel. If anyone should be Black Panther it’s me,” Leo teased.

“Pause! Keep my black heroes black, you colonizah! You can be Captain America. Or Thor. Or the White Wolf-”

“What the fuck are you guys going on about?!” Nick blurted. They both looked at him startled as Leo removed his arms from around Kiara’s head. “You guys need to take this shit seriously!” Nick said sharply. “Leo, I expect better from you.”

Leo frowned. “Sorry, Nick...”

Nick shook his head as he rubbed at his temples. Levi returned drinking a bottle of water. “Shit... I’m needed on campus,” Nick said, checking his phone. “I want you two to help her execute the main defensive moves. Show her how she can leverage her magic in the moment. And if she hasn’t passed out from exhaustion, I want her trained on combat combos 1, 3, 8, and 21.”

“21 is a bit much for her, Nick...” Leo said hesitantly.

“Then have Levi do it if you can’t,” Nick said, mockingly.

Leo rolled his eyes. “Fine. I’ll do it.”

“You guys are speaking a whole other language to me right now,” Kiara said, looking on confused.

“Don’t worry, you’ll be speaking it soon,” Levi smirked.

~

“You have to come at me harder than that, Angel,” Leo said, motioning with his hands.

Kiara looked at him apprehensively. “Well, I would, Leo, but then I’m really not looking forward to you picking me up and slamming me on the ground again.”

“Then counteract it,” Leo said.

“How the heck do I counteract that?!” she blurted.

“Like this,” Levi said, running towards Leo. Leo braced for Levi and went to lift him when Levi leveraged his footing and flipped Leo over him instead, slamming Leo down on his back.

“Mmhmm, yes. I see now,” Kiara said sarcastically. “Just one problem there, Scooby. Leo’s like twice my size and at least three times my weight.”

“Did she just call me Scooby?!” Levi asked.

“She’s got dog jokes,” Leo smirked, shaking his head. He turned to face her. “You don’t need to be my size to counteract me, Angel. That’s what your magic is for.”

“...Right...” she said, trying to think of another way.

“Again?” Leo said, waiting for her.

Kiara deeply exhaled as she got into position. She took off on the ball of her foot and charged at him with all she had. As expected, she felt him start to lift her in the air. This time, she harnessed her magic and concentrated on channeling a strong winded force. She aimed it at Leo and he stumbled backward, off of her entirely.

“Well shit, Harmonie actually got skills,” Levi teased.

Harmonie?!” Kiara said, looking at him flabbergasted. “How do you try to clapback and not even get the name right, Levi?! It’s HERMIONE!”

Leo chuckled as Levi rolled his eyes. “Whatever. At least you’re making progress,” Levi muttered.

“If you’re Hermione, can I be your Ron?” Leo teased. He possessively grabbed her hips and yanked her towards him.

“I’m a firm believer that Ron did not deserve Hermione, so no. But you can be... my Leo...” she smiled as he lifted her chin to meet his gaze.

“I’m out,” Levi said, throwing his hands in the air and walking away. “We’ll resume when you guys decide to stop being gross ass dorks.”

“He’s a real charmer that one, isn’t he?” Kiara smirked as she watched Levi leave. She turned her head to face Leo and noticed a soft glimmer in his baby blues. “What?” she asked.

Leo searched her eyes as he licked his bottom lip. “You’re just... God, I love you so much, Angel...” Kiara beamed, shrinking into his embrace as he pushed his lips against hers, claiming her taste again.

“Let’s keep going,” she said, pushing him back. “I’m on a roll.”

Leo smiled, admiring her will to keep going but quickly frowned when he noticed the bruises on her arms. “I think we should take a break,” he said, letting her go.

She looked at him confused. “What? Why? No, we should keep going.”

“Angel,” he sighed as he ran his fingers through his dirty-blonde hair. “Look at you... look what I’ve done to you...”

She furrowed her brows before looking at her arms and was surprised to see all the welts on her skin. “Oh dang...” she said. Leo grumbled in frustration, getting angry with himself. But Kiara quickly grabbed his hand. “Hey, hey,” she said, trying to calm him. “It’s okay. Really.”

“Let’s just take a break,” he said this time, without asking.

“Okay...” she said, feeling bad. She knew how sensitive Leo was when it came to protecting her. She could only imagine how he felt seeing all the bruises on her body and being the cause of them.

He led her out of the gym and to the kitchen. “It’s important to eat after training so hard,” he said. He removed bread, cheese, and an arrangement of meats out of the fridge and placed them on the table. Kiara watched as Leo started making two large sandwiches, piling as much meat and cheese as possible on the two sliced hoagies.

“I don’t think I can eat that much, Leo,” she laughed.

“That’s fine. I’ll eat whatever you don’t finish,” he smirked. He finished putting their massive sandwiches together and perched himself on the chair across the kitchen table from her.

“Jeez, Leo!” she laughed at the ridiculously large sandwich.

“What?! This is like the standard for a Volkov. Just wait till we have children. When we have boys-”

“Leo!” she laughed, shaking her head. “Jeez, most guys run at the mention of kids.”

“Not me, Angel,” Leo smirked while chewing. “I can’t wait to get you pregnant, baby.”

“Good God...” Kiara groaned as she bit into her sandwich. She was super thankful that she started on birth control after their last scare.

~

“I smell kinda gross,” Kiara said, sniffing herself after they finished eating. “Can I use your shower?”

“Can I join you?” Leo said, putting their plates in the sink.

“Well, I don’t know, Leo... will you behave?”

“Of course not,” he chuckled.

Kiara walked out of the kitchen shaking her head and headed towards the bathroom upstairs. She turned on the water and quickly stripped her clothes as she waited for the water to warm up. Standing naked in front of the mirror, she sighed as she looked over the bruises from all the rough training.

“Come on, Kiara, Mama ain’t raise no bitch. Well... Mama ain’t raise you at all... Dang, how am I roastin’ my damn self...” she sighed. “Laugh through the pain, girl, laugh through the pain...”

She heard a knock at the door. “Angel?”

“Yes, Leo?”

“Can I come in?”

“Leo, I’m naked,” she said flatly. The door opened as Leo stepped inside. “That wasn’t exactly an invitation,” she smirked.

“What else could that possibly have been if not an invitation?!” he said bewildered.

She shook her head when she eyed the bottle of Crème Of Nature shampoo in his hand. “What are you doing with that black ass shampoo bottle?” she asked.

“I got it for you,” Leo smiled. “I figured since you’d be training with me... us... you’d probably want some things to use while you’re here.”

Kiara smiled as she grabbed the bottle. “That’s so sweet of you, Leo. How’d you know to get this?”

“Marshala.”

“Figures,” she smirked. Kiara eyed him as he started to shed his clothes. “What are you doing?” she asked.

“I’m going to shower with you,” he said, sliding the shower door back.

“I want to actually shower, Leo, not-”

“I promise I’ll let you shower,” he said, giving her big adorable innocent doe eyes.

Kiara shook her head with a smirk, not believing him one bit. She stepped into the shower and winced from the hot water hitting her skin. Leo hungrily bit his lip watching her move underneath the water before following after her. Kiara took the soap and washcloth and started to rub them over her arms when she felt Leo’s firm body press up against her back. He quickly grabbed the soap from her.

“Let me...” he said.

He worked the soap into a lather between his hands before soaping her arms, shoulders, and neck. His hands roamed down her back and around her waist before he cupped her breasts in his palms, squeezing her suppleness.

Kiara let her head fall back against Leo’s chest, as he massaged her. He fought the urge to take her right there, trying to make good on his promise. Crouching down behind her, he continued to soap her as he ran his hands over her hips and to her thick dark mocha brown thighs. Kiara held onto the handle of the shower door when she felt Leo firmly grip her backside. “Leo?”

“...oh fuck, Angel...” he groaned from below as he squeezed her hard. He couldn’t help but nibble on her rear as he took a bit of her flesh between his teeth. He took a deep breath, trying to keep himself from losing control. Kiara felt him continue working his way down her legs, all the way down to her feet. He stood up when he was finally done. “See? I kept my promise,” he said with a strained smile.

She looked at him curiously. “And you?”

He quickly grabbed the soap, soaping up his entire body. She shook her head with a smirk when she felt something hit her stomach. Looking down, she noticed his member was rock hard and standing at attention. The rigid veins popped along his shaft up to the swollen purple mushroom head leaking precum.

“Don’t look at me like that, Angel,” he groaned. “You have no idea what it does to me...”

She quickly looked up into his eyes and could see they were flickering between their emboldened golden and his baby blues. “You’re the one who hopped in here with me, Leo,” she smirked.

“As if I was going to pass up on the chance...” he grinned.

She rolled her eyes just as he wrapped his hands around her waist and pulled her roughly against him. His erection pressed up against her pelvis, eager for action. “I still have to wash my hair, Leo,” she said, pushing him back.

Leo groaned in agony. “... goddammit, Angel, you’re killing me here, baby.”

She laughed as she grabbed the shampoo and worked it into her hair. Leo bit his lip as he watched her. He could feel his intense desire for her building with each second that passed and could hardly contain himself. She stepped into the fall of the water from the showerhead and started to rinse her hair. “I don’t ever remember you being this horny around me before,” she teased with her eyes closed.

“I was never this strongly attached to you...” he said, waiting impatiently.

“Oh yea?” she said. “What’s different?”

“What’s different is that, just like me, you’re responding to a bond that’s always been there,” Leo said. “You ever wonder why you end up speaking Russian every time things get really heated between us?” She popped one eye open as she looked at him expectantly.

“Your line of witches was very close to the Volkov wolves before and during the war,” Leo said, leaning against the shower wall. “Melissa may have been associated with the Blackbournes back before The New Orleans Witch Massacre happened. But generations after that, when wolves and witches fought together against those bloodsuckers that followed the NOLA witches to New England, your grandmother and those before her were closely aligned with my father and the alpha before him. It was the LaFleur witches who not only helped ease the pain of shifting, but you helped make us into the warriors you needed us to be to effectively fight for your people. Your line gave us a special unique power that makes the Volkov pack, one of the most powerful wolf packs there is.”

Kiara was surprised by this news. She had no idea that their family lineage was that close or that historically intertwined. “There’s a bond between us, Angel,” he said, looking her over. “It’s so much stronger than you think...”

“I didn’t know any of that,” she said, pulling her hands out of her thoroughly rinsed hair. “Thank you for sharing more about my family with me, Leo. It’s fascinating.”

“What’s fascinating is that I’ve managed to wait this long for you to finish,” he said, turning on her.

“Wha-” But before Kiara could process his sentence, Leo quickly grabbed her, pulling her body flushed to him. As one hand grabbed the back of her hair, directing her mouth to his, the other roughly grabbed her ass, pushing her pelvis against him. He rubbed his large erection along her slit, his precum wetting her puffy lips.

Kiara was not at all prepared for Leo as his mouth completely dominated hers, his tongue claiming hers once again. She gasped, finally coming up for air as his mouth scoured to her neck. She felt him wrap his hand around her thighs and swiftly lift her onto his waist. She locked her legs around him, clinging to him as he firmly gripped her hips. She found her balance by placing her hands on his shoulders and was shocked by how scorching hot his skin was.

She looked into his emboldened amber eyes that shook her to her core. Leo slipped a hand between their bodies and whimpered in agony when he made contact with her small nub. “...shit, Angel... I wanna taste you so badly...”

He sensually stroked her clit, making her skin tingle as she shivered in his hold. But Kiara was still really taken back by the fiery look in his eyes. “Leo?” she said nervously.

“Yea, baby?”

“Your... eyes...”

“Sorry, Angel. I hope it doesn’t scare you... It’s just my wolf. He...”

“..He...?” she said, leading for an answer.

“He just really wants to fuck the shit out of you,” he breathed out. He lifted her hips and thrust his erect shaft deep inside of her without any warning. Kiara yelped as she felt Leo tightly grip her hips and roughly start pounding into her.

She wrapped her arms around his neck, trying to hold on for dear life as Leo drilled into her. Their wet bodies made loud, rough slapping noises against each other from the impact. “Oh fuck, Angel,” he groaned, burying his face into her neck. “Every fucking time, baby... you make me so goddamn weak...”

Kiara tried to breathe properly as Leo hardly gave her body a minute to relax. She panted haphazardly until she felt her climax rising. “Oh god, Leo!” she squealed, clenching his head in her arms. She could hear herself speaking in that strange Russian language again, and she swore it only egged Leo on as his pace quickened and his stroke deepened.

“You like that, baby,” Leo groaned. He hungrily sucked the soft flesh of her neck before he pulled back, licking his lips. His hands guided her hips along his shaft as he looked down to see her sliding up and down his hard member. Her cream coated his erection, throbbing for release. “Fuck, Angel, you feel so damn good, baby... Look how wet you are for me... Come for me, Angel.”

Kiara jumped in his arms as he landed a harsh slap against her ass that reverberated against the walls in the bathroom. She dug her nails into Leo’s back as she came so hard she thought she was seeing stars. She felt Leo slap her hard on the ass again before he gripped her cheeks and roughly pounded into her. Her eyes nearly rolled to the back of her head by the time Leo had finally released himself inside her. She rested her head against Leo’s chest as he softly caressed her backside and wrapped her up in his arms. They both panted against each other, trying to catch their breaths.

“I can’t believe you just screwed me in our teacher’s shower,” Kiara joked.

“Ew, Angel,” Leo said, pulling out of her. “Why do you have to say it like that? You just ruined the moment.”

“I’m sorry,” she laughed. “It just hit me.”

“Nick has his own shower. And you don’t wanna know what goes on in there sometimes between him and Marsh-”

“Nope! Nope! You can stop right there, Leo!” Kiara said, covering his mouth. Leo chuckled as he helped her out of the shower.

~*~

Leo sat on his bed with a pair of sweats and a white t-shirt on, checking his phone. He looked up and frowned as he watched Kiara remove the towel from her naked body. The bruises bothered him. “Dammit, Angel...”

She turned around and looked at him. “What?”

“I don’t know if I can do this,” he said exasperated. “I can’t... I don’t wanna hurt you anymore.”

She glanced at her arms and chuckled. “Oh come on, Leo. These are the marks of a champ! They’ll go away eventually.” Kiara tried to joke but Leo’s face remained in a state of frustrated depression. She quickly pulled on her panties and threw on one of his long shirts before approaching him. She stood between his legs and gently ran her fingers through his hair as she felt his tense body relax from her touch.

“Leo... I know that you would never intentionally hurt me. This is a good thing. Nick is right. I can’t always rely on you. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. For what it’s worth... I’m glad that you’re helping me through this...”

Leo looked up at her and she could see the emotion in his eyes. He grabbed her hand and softly kissed the back of it. “Thanks, Angel... I needed to hear that. I need to be reminded that I’m doing this to help you...” he sighed. She smiled comfortingly as she wrapped her arms around his head and hugged him to her pelvis. He enveloped her in his embrace. His biceps hugged her hips tightly to his face as he deeply inhaled. “...Angel...” he hummed into her pelvis. “...you smell so good...”

“I would hope so, I just showered,” she joked. He lifted the hem of the shirt above her hips and gently rubbed his lips against her softness, thinly covered by her panties. “Leo...” she whined. “We literally just-”

“Come on, Angel. I wanna taste you, baby...” he sighed as he continued to kiss her over her panties. “... I crave you. I crave this pussy...”

“Every time we’re intimate, you leave me sore,” she said to him. “And if you haven’t noticed... I’m sore enough as is.”

“I can be gentle,” he persisted. He hooked his fingers into the waistband of her panties and started to peel them down.

“You said that last time,” she fake pouted. “I’m still recovering, Leo.”

Leo chuckled as he pulled back from her. “Okay, Angel... Well then, at least let me massage you. I’ll help soothe all those bruises.” She watched him stand to his feet and walk over to his desk before holding up a small bottle. “This usually helps me with the soreness after training with the pack,” he said to her. “Even though I heal quickly, it does take a bit of a toll on my muscles... especially after going toe-to-toe with Nick.”

She nodded her understanding. “Okay.” She sat back on his bed and lifted the shirt over her head before tossing it on a chair.

His eyes glazed over as he looked at her wantingly. “Lay on your stomach,” he instructed her. She followed suit and lay down on her stomach with her arms folded under her head. She felt the bed dip next to her and a cool gel touch her skin.

Leo worked his hands over her back, across her shoulders, and down her arms, making sure to gently rub into her bruises. She moaned underneath him. “That feels so nice... thank you for this, Leo...” she mumbled into the pillow. He soothingly kissed each bruise on her body, making her skin tingle from such tender affection. She felt his strong hands work down her waist and over her lower back, kneading into her skin. She was surprised when he just subtly grazed over her backside and started working down her thighs and legs.

Leo looked down at Kiara and bit down hard on his bottom lip. Her dark brown skin glistened from the light of his room, reflecting off of her moisturized skin. Before he could stop himself, his hands were tugging down her panties.

“Leo-”

“I just want to make sure I get everything, Angel...” he said quickly, pulling them down off of her. He took a quick breath as he hungrily grabbed two handfuls of her ass and tried to hold down his groan. He tried to remind himself he was only there to help her feel better. He gently massaged her, working her plump softness in his palms. Her subtle moans reflected the arousal he could sense emanating from her core, and it drove him wild.

Kiara could feel Leo becoming more aggressive in how he massaged her, and it completely turned her on. She tightened her lips, trying to hold down her moans. Suddenly, she felt his hands descend to her thighs and push her up until she was on her knees. He spread her cheeks from behind before his warm tongue slid hungrily against her aroused, dripping cunt. “Leo!” she groaned into the pillow.

“Fuck, Angel. Let me eat this pussy, baby,” he begged desperately as he pushed his tongue deep inside her. Kiara stuffed the pillow against her face, inhaling his scent. She tried to keep down her cries while Leo’s tongue fucked her mercilessly. He wiggled his tongue out of her cunt before slowly licking her from her clit up to her rosette. His tongue was unrelenting as he licked every bit of her creamy arousal into his mouth.

Kiara nearly died as she felt Leo flick his tongue against her rosette and pump a finger into her cunt at the same time. When his tongue dipped inside her puckered star, she squealed and quickly crawled away from him. She sat back against the headboard, staring at him wide-eyed.

He looked at her confused as he wiped his mouth. “Did I do something wrong, baby?” he asked.

“I’m... I’m not ready for that just yet, Leo...” she said a bit embarrassed.

“Angel, there’s no reason to be embarrassed,” he said, crawling on the bed towards her. “I fucking love your body. I plan to taste, kiss, and lick every inch of you.”

She swallowed thickly. “I see that now...” she murmured shyly.

He briefly analyzed her face before rolling off the bed and heading towards the bathroom. She heard him wash up before he walked back into the room holding his shirt that he used to wipe his hands. “I won’t do anything you don’t want to do, Angel,” he said to her. He tossed his shirt in the laundry bin and lay down on his back next to her. Putting his hands behind his head, he looked up at the ceiling. “No matter how badly I want to...” he finished.

Kiara looked over at Leo to see his friendly blue eyes staring at the ceiling before they switched over to meet her gaze. “Leo…?” she asked.

“Yea, baby?”

Kiara nibbled her bottom lip. “Why… why do you love me?” she asked. “I mean... how do you know?”

Leo took a deep breath as he searched her eyes. “I know because... you’re all I think about, Angel. Your smile... your eyes... your laugh. How the sound of your voice makes my heart beat faster. How the thought of not having you in my life sends me into a panic... How I’d rather die than live the rest of my life without you...”

Kiara felt her throat dry up as she gently touched Leo’s chest. His eyes roamed over her naked body sitting next to him. He brought a hand to her arm and gently caressed one of her blackened bruises.

“I wish I could take this on for you, Angel. I wish I could take you away from all of this and keep you safe... start a family with you... make you my wife and give you 3 kids or more. And they’ll be smart cause they’ll take after their mama. They’ll be so damn beautiful because they’ll look just like you, baby...”

Kiara smiled down at him as her cheeks warmed over. His words made her heart swell. “I don’t know if I’ll ever understand why you feel the way you do about me, Leo.”

“Angel, you don’t have t-”

“Just let me finish. My thoughts are on a roll,” she said, cutting him off. “It still doesn’t make sense to me because I’m still trying to figure out how someone could have such feelings towards me…” Leo furrowed his brow as he waited for her to continue. “But the way you look at me, Leo… the way you touch me… the way you care for me… your love is palpable. And it does something to me. I’ve been thinking about it so much lately with all of this craziness going on. My emotions feel so out of control. But the way you just described it, Leo, it feels so real that I know I am in love with you. So strongly, and holy crap did I just say that out loud?!” she blurted the last part before she quickly covered her mouth.

He stared at her wide-eyed as he quickly sat up. “You what? Angel, are you-”

“I’ve never been in love before, Leo,” she said, wrapping her arms across her chest. “So, I don’t... I didn’t really know what it felt like. Shoot, I just learned what it felt like to have parents that love me after seeing my mom and dad for the first time.” She looked up at him as her eyes watered and nervously bit her lip. “This is all so crazy,” she chuckled. “You and I have been best friends since we were kids... You were one of the first and only people who actually treated me like... like I mattered and not just some… orphan child.”

“There’s nothing wrong with being parentless, Angel,” Leo said, grabbing her hand. “It doesn’t detract from who you are...”

Kiara smiled at him as he took her into his arms. “Guys like you aren’t supposed to be into girls like me,” she said against his chest. “The popular jock in love with the book nerd? How cliche,” she chuckled.

“See past the superficial, Angel,” he said, pulling back to look at her. “I’m also ‘Professor Nick’s little brother’,” he said, rolling his eyes. “A forced-A student because he won’t let me get anything less. I’m only popular because I’m the quarterback of the school football team, which in itself is cheating since I have superhuman strength.”

“Give yourself SOME credit, Leo!” she joked.

“None of that matters,” he said, pulling her closer. “The only thing that matters to me... is you...”

Kiara couldn’t help but smile brightly at him as he rolled her onto her back. She wrapped her arms around his neck as his mouth moved passionately against hers. His hands touching every part of her body that he loved. But their passion was abruptly interrupted when they heard a knock at the door.

“Uh.. hello?!” Levi said from the other side. “What happened to training?!”

“We’re on a break! Go away!” Leo shouted before he went back to kissing a giggling Kiara.

“Leo...?” Kiara moaned as she felt him kissing down her chest. She let out a quick pant as he sucked her hardened nipple into his mouth.

“Yea, Angel?” he said with his mouth full, as he caressed her hips.

Kiara took a deep breath. “Do you think it’s possible to be in love with two people at the same time?”

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