Several hours later Sage stopped by to check on Thea and her brother. She wasn't expecting to find Asil still there sitting in the chair beside the bed though. "I'm surprised you're still here," she said quietly. "Where's Thea?"
"Sleeping. I told her I would watch over him for her."
"Ah. That was really sweet of you, if surprising. You don't normally offer to watch over strange wolves. Do you need a break? You could go get something to eat, a drink, go check on your roses," she offered.
"No. I'm fine," he replied.
They both heard shifting in the bed and heard Cyrus's breathing increase which indicated he was waking up. They turned their attention to him just as his eyes opened.
Cyrus awoke expecting to see his sister beside him but found two strangers instead. "Who are you?" he asked as tension filled the air.
"Easy big guy," Sage said gently. A scared wolf could be dangerous. "I'm Sage, this is Asil. We're friends of Thea's. Asil offered to sit with you a while ago so Thea could go get some rest. You just take some deep breaths to calm down and relax and I'll go get her. She's just down the hall, I promise." At his nod Sage left. She'd had no idea Thea's brother was so good looking. Of course some of that might be the Change but not all of it. When she reached Thea's door she knocked before she stepped inside.
Thea was awakened by the knock and sat up quickly. "Sage?" She was confused for a moment before her tired mind cleared. "Cy, is he okay?" she asked worriedly.
"He's fine Thea. He was a bit tense when he woke up to find two strange werewolves in the room with him but he's fine. I told him I'd come get you. The question is how are you? How are you holding up? I mean, this can't be easy for you to deal with."
Thea sighed. "It isn't, but I have no choice. What are the odds that two people, from the same family, could survive the Change? How often does that happen?"
"Honestly? I don't know. You'd have to ask Bran or maybe Charles that. Come on, let's get to your brother before he and Asil start growling at each other."
"That... would be very bad," Thea agreed. She scrambled out of bed and followed Sage to her brother's room. Even before she stepped into the room she felt the tension coming from Asil and Cyrus. Two dominant males in one room, one of them newly Changed and still very unsettled by all that had happened to him, could be a dangerous mix. 'Think calm thoughts' became a silent mantra in her head. "Thank you, Asil, for making me go get some rest. You were right, I needed it. I'm still a little tired but I feel better," she said softly. As she moved past him she touched his arm gently and then took the chair next to the bed he'd been sitting in. "Hey Cy, how are you feeling?" she asked and touched him as well. Immediately the tension in the room faded.
Cyrus watched the other werewolf when Thea walked into the room. When she slid past him and touched him it was clear the man was interested in her. Was this the man their papa had mentioned meeting? "Okay I guess. Hungry, still a bit unsettled, but okay. I always thought the only thing we had to fear was the fae, you know? I mean sure, some of the tales are pretty bad but I thought they were the only thing out there that wasn't human. It's just a little unsettling to find out I'm wrong."
"I know Cy, I felt the same way. But we'll help each other through this. You know, you'll probably be given the chance to decide if you want to become a permanent member of our pack here or go elsewhere. There is the pack back in New York... if you wanted to go home."
"What about you? Are you staying here?" His eyes kept drifting to the other woman in the room then back to Thea.
"I am. This is my home now," she replied and smiled a little at the way he kept looking at Sage. "By the way, this is Sage," she added.
"We met, sort of, when I woke up. Pleasure," he said to Sage.
"It is indeed," she replied with a smile. "Asil, why don't we let the siblings talk. You can help me get them something to eat," she added and tugged on Asil's arm. She saw the way he was hovering near Thea and kept locking eyes with Cyrus. If he didn't ease up on the dominance shit he was going to start growling soon.
Asil reluctantly allowed himself to be pulled from the room. He glanced back at the door several times until he was at the top of the stairs and could no longer see it.
Sage was silent until they were in the kitchen. "You really need to ease up Asil. He's her brother, he's not a threat to you, not like some of the other unmated males are. Don't you glare at me. We both know you want her and we both know you think it would be unfair to her because she's newly Changed and you're an old wolf. Instead of deciding for her why don't you let her decide for herself?" she asked.
"I have already informed her that she will no doubt have many potential suitors soon," he replied.
"That's not what I meant and you know it," she replied and threw up her hands. "Fine, be stubborn, I've said my peace," she added and after filling a platter with sandwiches she headed back downstairs.
Asil followed her. It wasn't that he was concerned about Cyrus losing control, not with Thea in the room. He just found it extremely difficult to be away from Thea for long.
Cyrus took the food gratefully and devoured it. When he had his fill he turned his attention to his sister. "Why did I feel tense and ready to snap earlier and then you walked in and the feeling just went away?"
"Thea is an Omega," Sage said before anyone else could. "They're special among werewolves. Some call them wolf-tamers or peace-bringers. They have an ability to calm others with their presence. She had some of that even before she was Changed, it's just more potent now."
"That explains why people were always drawn to you adelfi. But then I always knew you were special. Tell me what it means to be pack?" he asked suddenly.
Thea looked to Sage and Asil for help. That was something she was still learning herself.
"Being pack means being connected, bound, to others. It means that if a pack member is in trouble the rest of the pack can feel it through the pack bonds. It also means if a pack member is badly injured the Alpha can aid their healing by giving them strength through those same bonds," Asil replied.
"And if a pack member dies we all feel it," Sage added quietly. "It feels like a part of you is suddenly ripped away and there's a gaping hole where they once were. We're a family."
Cyrus was quiet while he processed what they'd said. "You are part of this pack adelfi?" he asked and Thea nodded. "Then this is where I will stay." His gaze shifted to Sage and lingered there. She was a beautiful woman.
"I was hoping you'd say that Cy. It will be nice having you here," Thea replied. She noticed where her brother's attention was and smiled a bit. He and Sage were a lot alike, they'd probably fit well together.
"Would you like a tour of Aspen Creek?" Sage asked Cyrus. "The town's not much but the surrounding area is beautiful," she added.
Asil smirked. Sage was definitely interested in Thea's brother. That was good though. Maybe she was finally ready to let someone in. Of course he would take it upon himself to have a talk with the pup to make sure he was aware of Sage's past so he would be careful with her.
"Is that okay?" Cyrus asked. "I don't want to get anyone in trouble."
"Of course it is. Besides, if this is going to be your new home you might as well get to know it," Sage replied.
Asil and Thea watched them go and when she was sure they were out of hearing Thea laughed. "I think it's cute they're both so interested in each other that we might as well have not even been in the room. What do you think?"
"I think it's time Sage let someone in and your brother seems like a good man," Asil replied.
"He is, and no I'm not just saying that because he's family." She turned to Asil and studied him. "You look tired Asil. You should get some rest."
"Are you trying to give me orders now little Omega?" he teased.
Thea laughed at that. "As if it would work even if I tried. No, I'm just making a suggestion."
"Mm, yes, well I'm fine. You did very good earlier when you came into the room. And you were right, your brother is a fairly dominant wolf."
"I felt the tension even before I came into the room and just kept saying 'think calm thoughts' in my head."
"You did well Thea," he said again. "I should get back to my roses," he added.
"Would... you like some help with them?" Thea offered.
He should tell her no. He really should. But that wasn't what came out. "I would be delighted to have your help." Allah help him, he was losing his resolve to stay away from her.
Thea followed him out to his car where he held the door for her. As soon as they were on their way she sent her brother a text so he wouldn't worry.
"How are you holding up my dear?" Asil asked as he drove. He was genuinely worried about her mental well-being. In a very short span of time her entire life was altered and no sooner was she starting to adjust to that and her life was hit with another upheaval with her brother being Changed as well.
Thea weighed her response very carefully. She knew why he was asking. At least, she was fairly sure she knew why. He was her teacher, her mentor, it was his duty to make sure she was okay. She just wished there was more to it than that. "If I'm completely honest, I'm confused, a little scared, but I'm going to be okay. Part of me is relieved that I won't be the only one in my family still here an hundred years from now. Well, as long as Cy doesn't get himself killed or something. But the other part of me is sad knowing that many of the things we both once hoped to do with our lives may not happen. Does that make sense?"
"It does. What we are does not mean everything we hoped for or planned for can't happen. Some things, yes, but not everything."
"Like having children," Thea said softly. "There was a time I wanted children. I don't see that as possible anymore."
Asil could feel her pain and wished he could soothe it but couldn't. "I'm sorry Thea, but you're right. The change is too violent and any pregnancy is lost within the first few months."
"That's what I thought." She sighed before she spoke again. "It's just something I have to accept. My life is different now so I need new dreams. Anyway, enough depressing talk from me," she said when they pulled into his driveway.
Asil touched her hand a moment then escorted her to the hothouse. He showed her how to deadhead the bushes and soon they were working in companionable silence. It was comforting for him, having her there. He was beginning to see what it might be like letting her in.
Thea enjoyed working beside him as she learned how to remove the blooms that were faded in order to trick the bushes to remain in steady bloom. She felt no need for idle chatter, not like she had when she was married. She was that comfortable with Asil.
They worked for some time before they stopped and he took her back to Bran's. Cyrus's joining ceremony would be that evening, Thea learned, and she took him aside to explain what to expect since she'd recently gone through it herself.
Even with everything Thea told him, Cyrus was almost overwhelmed when the ceremony was complete. "This is... amazing," he said once the rush faded. When the others started stripping to change he shrugged his shoulders and joined them.
Thea laughed and shook her head. "Leave it to you to just go with the flow and get naked too," she said and moved to where she felt she had a little privacy and undressed to change as well.
Once again Asil stayed near Thea as they ran through woods and over hills but he noticed he wasn't the only male in her vicinity. She was unmated, she was free game so to speak, and during the run several males were making their interest in her known. Asil had to fight down the urge to snarl at them. She wasn't his and they were well within their rights to begin courting her if they chose to do so.
Thea felt his rising anger and tension and gave him a puzzled look. She was unaware of the attention she was getting as she moved closer to Asil and nudged him before trying to soothe the tension.
Asil was grateful for her calming influence as the run continued. It kept him from doing something very stupid, like attack one of the males sniffing after her. He knew then that if he didn't come to a decision soon things were going to get out of hand.
That was the thought that played through his mind later that night as he lay in bed thinking about what it would be like to hold her in his arms as they slept after making passionate love. Yes, he needed to make a decision very soon before his control snapped and he did something he'd regret.