He lay his head down on his arm and blinked wondering when his dad would move anything but his chest. He watched the man's strong hands for his fingers flexing but they stayed still placed atop his stomach like he was in a coffin. His arms stayed still not flexing like Ira was used to. His eyelids moved a bit while he slept but that was just sleeping. Ira had read on REM sleep which was the best kind, restorative and healing. His dad seemed to be doing a lot of that which was good. Ira had spent a lot of time observing his dad and how he moved and worked. He wasn't working right now and it bothered Ira. He loved his dad with a ferocity he was surprised about.
He wasn't sure how long he laid there or how long he watched. He ignored Kim and Antonio when they told him he should move. He was perfectly fine watching and sleeping here too. Kim had brought out a pillow and blanket for him. He had been drifting in and out of sleep when he finally heard the door open again. He jerked up and looked at the door seeing Elena, Clay, Nick and Noah come in. Clay and Nick had some bruises but it was minor.
Ira watched the Alpha closely and nodded when she said they killed them both. Elena sighed before she came to sit down. Behind her he saw Nick rubbing his jaw and talking to Kim and Antonio lowly. Noah smiled at him and then walked across the room to the couch looking down at his dad with despair.
"Ira, I need your attention." Ira looked at her and she clucked her tongue at his bruises. He said nothing and gave no indication he was in pain at all when she asked. "Did you call Keith at any point in time?" Ira froze and glanced at his dad before looking down at his crossed legs. He gripped the wood with one hand and watched his knuckles turn white.
Finally he shook his head and laid down again watching his father. No amount of prompting and cajoling could make him speak or move after that. He curled into a tight little ball and eventually covered his ears and closed his eyes to make them go away. He didn't want to talk about it and he didn't want to face it. He didn't want to face the enormity of what he had done.
His eyelids were so heavy he felt like they were weighted down. Pain radiated through his whole body but all he could think was "Ira" and "Kim". He was terrified he had lost them both. They told him Kim was ok but it would be like them to say that to calm him down and keep him quiet. He would not be in a good place if anything happened to Kim. He would not be willing to rest and heal. He would need to seek vengeance and now and what about Ira, he was a little boy. What happened to his son?
Reese opened his eyes painfully, one was almost fused shut it seemed, and shut them again with the bright light. He tried to lift his arm but it felt like it was made of metal. He tried to make a noise and his throat was clogged. He hadn't been beaten that hard in a while. It was an unfair fight, two werewolves in their prime attacking him as viciously as possible. He was honestly surprised that they didn't kill him but maybe this was just a message.
"Reese." He opened his one good eye again with an effort and looked up squinting. He thought his brain was deluding him at first when he saw Kim but when he blinked again she was still there. Kim was there and that meant she was ok.
"Hi," Reese managed to croak. Kim broke out into a huge smile and all he wanted to do was hug her as hard as possible and never let her go. He could barely move though and she seemed too scared to touch him. "Come here," he growled relieved. She leaned down and kissed him just as tentatively but his aggression quickly made her realize who she was dealing with. He may be hurt but he was still hers. When they finally broke apart he heard a smaller voice.
He sniffed in suddenly on instinct and turned to his other side to see Ira sitting on the coffee table in an old shirt and socks. He was regarding him curiously not hiding the spark of fear very well. Reese smiled painfully and asked him if he was ok. Ira nodded and continued to watch him without speaking. Reese was groggy and probably not all there but it seemed like Ira had concern in his eyes, much more than usual. He had some fresh bruises on his face as well and some redness on his neck trailing down his collar bone that someone would answer for soon, as soon as he was better.
"Buddy, I was so sacred for you. I'm sorry…I'm so sorry I let them get so close to you. It will never happen again." Ira nodded at Reese's promise but his eyes said they didn't believe that. Once again his son had managed to sting his pride. He was used to shoring his pride so he did this now and closed his eyes to take a breath. Little steps with Ira, they were already making progress. It probably was not his fault Ira did not believe him. Too much had happened for him to trust completely after something like this. He felt Kim reach down and grasp his hand and he squeezed back.
Suddenly Ira launched himself from the coffee table into his dad's arms hard making the man wince as Ira squeezed him tightly. Reese rubbed his back as he lay there breathing hard and fighting tears showing his venerability for once. Ira had seen the whole thing and it probably terrified him. He seemed much more venerable and scared then then he had been with the Josef affair, maybe because people he knew and loved were being hurt. Silently Kim reached down and stroked the boy's hair until he quieted and got his breathing under control. He was not a crier but it was when he came close that they knew he was near the edge of his limit.
"You were so brave, sweetheart, so brave," Reese whispered close to his ear and he nodded. Finally he looked up with his emotions under careful control. It was the best hug he had ever gotten. Maybe this was the best part of this scenario.
Ira eyed Kim's stomach next and set his hand on the bulge. Kim nodded and told him they were ok and they were fighters just like him which made his chest swell a bit until he remembered that Darrin had told Keith about the babies. Now they were in even more danger. He glanced at the babies cocooned inside and safe and then back at Elena who nodded and said she knew. Did she though?
He slept between his father and Kim that night in the big bed in the spare room. Narnia, one of his favorite worlds to get lost in, had a spare room too but he didn't want to get lost anymore. He liked it right where he was. He couldn't say exactly what woke him that night, maybe it was the slight hiss of the windows opening or the creak of a doorway but he opened his eyes to pure darkness. He blinked and looked around seeing only the room's shadows. He was locked between his parents and he gently pushed their arms aside so he could crawl to the end of the bed. He had to use the washroom anyway.
The washroom was at the other end of the apartment and he tiptoed across the living room floor where Noah, Elena and Morgan were now sleeping and did what he needed to do. On the way back, cold glass of milk in his hand, he started walking across the room again but something was different. Weren't there fewer shadows before? He sucked in a breath when he heard someone chuckle about his perceptiveness and the light suddenly flicked on.
He dropped the glass of milk before he realized what he was doing and it shattered into a million jagged pieces. The milk seeped around his bare feet soaking them but he didn't look down. His eyes were wide and unbelieving and then he smiled.
He watched the video feed over and over again gripping the wooden desk beneath him. It was the same every time. There was no camera in the apartment but the one in the hallway showed Ira willing walking out with someone beside him setting a hand on his shoulder as they walked suggesting an intimate relationship. The man turned the corner and you see both their backs. The man is very careful to never show his face but he didn't seem to care if Ira did. Of course they know what Ira looks like. The man was tall and Ira was gazing up at him trust and delight on his face so he was not a stranger. He had dark hair and was very muscular.
"Where is he going?" Kim asked for the hundredth time.
Reese sighed and rubbed his eyes. They'd woken up that morning groggy and tired with a bad taste in their mouths, far past the time Ira should have woken them up or they would have been up naturally. Reese had stumbled into the living room looking for his son and wondering why he felt so awful. What he saw made him fall to his knees in shock. Morgan was flat on the floor with his throat cut and a pool of blood under him. Footsteps led away from the blood, both small and bigger.
Across from Morgan on the two separate couches lay Noah and Elena with bloody throats unmoving. Reese sucked in a breath and screamed for Kim, for Ira before he stumbled up and went to them. Whoever was here had been playing games. They had bled the three, after drugging everyone, to the point of death but no further. Morgan had not survived the ordeal.
"Did you find anything?" Antonio asked looking over his shoulder at the screen. Reese shook his head and rubbed a hand over his face in frustration and grief. No, he hadn't found a damn thing, not one clue beyond Keith's scent and an unfamiliar mutt. Ira's scent that led to the door was accompanied by no other scent though. It should have been there but had disappeared or not been there in the first place maybe.
"We'll find him," Antonio assured making Reese feel like it was a few weeks ago and Ira had taken off on them. This time it was different. Ira had left but with someone he knew without a fight it seemed.
"Your acting Alpha," Kim had reminded them shortly after they discovered Elena was alive but not able to do her duty. He was Alpha elect though it hadn't been announced yet they all knew it. He had to keep his head, make the decisions and find his son which was priority number one. Priority number two was to really enforce the lesson that you should not mess with the pack. It had happened far too much too often lately.
"Could it be a relative?" Karl asked from across the room. He was pacing, none too happy to be there but doing his pack duty.
"Daniella only had her father and sister and I don't think either of them would be too interested in Ira. He had my blood so they would have ignored him, I'm…not sure of it but they hated me and they would have hated him as a reminder."
"Children change things," Antonio murmured looking at the dried blood on the carpet and then glancing at Nick who was pacing and talking on his cell phone. "Maybe they saw Ira and only saw a baby, their blood and that was all. People change when kids are introduced," he explained a little louder. Reese nodded. Antonio had experience with this having introduced Nick to his father at a few months and seeing Dominic change because of it. Dominic was not happy about Antonio becoming a dad at sixteen but when Nick came to live with them he totally changed his attitude and fell in love with the boy instantly.
"So it could be Gavin or another pack member he had grown up with. My money is on Gavin then. From what I heard there was no one Ira trusted beyond his mother in the pack unless he had someone he did not tell us about that he could confide in. Maybe he and his grandfather were close."
"He didn't always tell us everything Reese. It's entirely possible that he did have someone," Kim pointed out rubbing her stomach. Reese nodded and sat back watching the video feed again and again. "How do we find him with no scent beyond Keith's?" Kim asked sitting on the couch opposite. Elena and Noah had been moved to the Sorrentino's along with the other pack kids and Jeremy, Jaime, Hope and Clay.
Reese glanced back at the video feed again scrutinizing it and wondering what he was missing. He felt there was just one piece that would put him on the right track and tell him exactly what was going on here. "Keith's scent is more recent," Antonio murmured as he watched Ira walk down the hall again with the lone man.
Reese looked at the screen again too. The man was definitely not Keith and not someone he knew but as soon as the thought slid through his brain a puzzle piece clicked into place. "He left with this man, a lone man with no sign of Keith. Before he was taken we were all drugged which is not something Keith would do. He'd want us to see what he was doing and he'd want Ira to see it too and he'd want to scare him."
Kim's eyes lit up at this and she was up and pacing again which meant she was thinking. "So someone else came in and drugged us? They took Ira or Ira went willingly and shortly after Keith came? Why?" she asked. Antonio sat back closing his eyes for a moment.
"Keith was coming for him but someone else got here first," Antonio offered spreading one hand in the arm while the other was tucked across his chest.
"Who?" Reese growled pushing both hands though his hair and looking at Ira again, Ira walking out the door, Ira walking away from them and not protesting or pushing the hand away. That meant Ira had known him for a very long time to let the man touch him like that and not react, possibly he had known the man for his whole life and that he was one of the few people he trusted. He hoped it also meant the man would not hurt him.
He thumped his feet against the railings of the chair beneath him and took another sip of his strawberry milkshake, his favorite. Lost in his own thoughts he almost didn't respond to the hand on his leg telling him silently to be still, the familiar hand that had been there all his life, one of the most trusted people in his world.
Ira gave his grandfather an apologetic grin and sat up straighter like his grandfather liked and took another drink as his grandfather looked over his phone and texted someone. Ira sat up a bit more and tried to glimpse it but Gavin pulled it away and ruffled his hair.
"Your mum should be here soon, where do you want to go after that?" Gavin asked. He pulled Ira onto his lap like old times and hugged him tightly. He had gotten used to his grandfather's embraces long ago and they barely hurt anymore.
Ira grinned pointing first to Germany and moving his finger over some of the towns before moving it to Japan and doing the same. The map was old and crinkled and it took up a large part of the table but this was also familiar to him. Ever since he could remember they had lain on the floor on their stomachs and traced the places they would go someday, just like when he used to daydream about it with his mum, or sit at the table and eat looking at the map. His grandfather had stopped being Alpha long ago and ever since his mum said he had been different. They wouldn't tell him what he was like before though.
Ira finished his milkshake and looked towards the door waiting for his mum as the waitress asked if Gavin or his son wanted anything else. People were always mistaking Gavin for his dad because they looked a bit alike and because his grandfather was only fifty five. He had had his mum when he was young and then his mum had him when she was young too. Thanks to werewolf genes his grandfather did not look much past his late thirties.
When the doorbell tinkled Ira looked up seeing a dark haired woman walk through the door. She looked around and then her eyes lit up and she smiled so brightly that Ira thought he had never seen her so happy. Immediately his grandfather let him down and he raced to her almost slipping and falling as he did so. She scooped him up under the armpits and swung him around hugging him close.
When they got back to the table his mum immediately asked why Ira was not talking and Gavin growled and said they had screwed him up somehow and they would fix him later. Then they started discussing plans in a whisper. Ira watched them and started tracing lines to different cities again on the map until his mum mentioned Keith. That made him look up sharply. Gavin did too and then he stood and picked Ira up settling him on his hip. "We're leaving, now," Gavin said and held out his hand.
Ira traced the paper in front of him making Reese and Kim's name over and over again across Europe and Asia. His mind had been on them ever since he left. Would he get to see them again if they left? He assumed he wouldn't. He wasn't sure how that made him feel. He wanted to see his baby brothers and he and his dad had lots of plans and things they were going to do. He liked having a dad. He didn't want to lose him. When he grabbed a pen and wrote his dad's name with a question mark Gavin scowled and took the pen from him.
"I should never have brought him here," his mum said and Gavin nodded and murmured something about her making the wrong choice again. Ira felt the tension between, a normal tension that eventually surfaced when they were together but he swallowed it down deep and tried not to let it bother him. He felt so torn. He wasn't sure what he wanted now.
"I can be your father if that's what you need but you're not seeing your dad again," Gavin said in a matter-a-fact voice that was impossible to argue with. Ira swallowed and nodded accepting and keeping the tears that were forming inside.
With his arm slung around his grandfather's shoulder they walked into the misty day and Ira once again wondered what would happen to him and what was in his future. He wondered when he became so important and special that everyone was fighting over him. He didn't feel special but everyone around him treated him like he was. He wondered why.
He pulled on his leather jacket and watched Kim sling a bag over her shoulder. The scent was so familiar that it was on the edge of his mind. It trailed from the apartment, heavily overlaid by Keith and his men, and followed Ira's trail step for step. It was the man but he knew he had never smelt the scent before though it was much too familiar for him to have missed it altogether.
"It smells like Ira a bit but…totally different too," Reese said and Kim nodded. He knew her opinion that it was a family member and probably Gavin though Reese was sure Gavin would want nothing to do with him. He contemplated this as they walked following the trail again from the house to the street and to a nearby parking lot where it disappeared. They had gotten into a car and gone. The man who took Ira was smart and knew not to lead them too far.
"The only thing we can do is…," Kim started to say before a look of surprise came over her fact. She set a hand below the bulge of her belly and looked at the ground where water was pooling. Both of them just looked at it for a moment before their eyes met at the same time.
"They're early," Reese said. Kim nodded and smiled leaning against the car. Reese quickly took her arm and started back to the apartment where Antonio, Nick and Karl were coming from talking with bags slung over their own shoulders.
"Shit." Noah moved forward dropping his bag and putting an arm under Kim's other shoulder. "Really bad timing guys," Noah said looking at her stomach. Kim had a hand firmly clamped around the rounded part and was holding a painful grimace in.
"Get her to the apartment, someone call Paige. I think she's nearby on a case," Reese said. Nick nodded and ripped his cell phone from his pocket following them upstairs where they set Kim on the bed and Antonio timed the contractions.
"Why didn't you say anything?" Reese asked. Kim smiled slightly through pained eyes and breathing.
"Ira," she said grimacing and then relaxing when the contraction was over.
"We'll find him," Antonio said already in the process of talking to someone else.
"No," Elena said in a raw voice standing in the doorway and holding her bandaged throat with Clay close behind, an annoyed look on his face. She walked to Antonio and took the phone turning it off. "This is a werewolf matter and we will settle it." Antonio opened his mouth but Elena held up a finger. "I am fine, let's get to work," she ordered and no one argued.
"Go," Kim ordered when Reese looked at her again. He could not miss the birth of his children, he missed Ira's birth and so much more and it haunted him and to miss the birth of the twins would be devastating, to lose his son altogether would be even more so. He nodded and Elena organized them into teams. By the time Paige and Lucas arrived they were ready to go.
He sat on the bench in their private waiting room waiting and looking over the information on his ticket. They were flying to Brussels Germany with a delay in England. He wanted to see the Tower of London and the British Museum. His mum had bought him a British and German tourist book and he had been eagerly paging through them. It was his only distraction from leaving here and his dad. He'd only known his dad for six months but in that time he had grown to like him, even love him. He looked forward to seeing him and spending time with him too. Now they would be on the run from his dad and Keith, moving to a new country every year and constantly keeping on the move. He would hate it and he would love it.
"Almost sweetie, almost," his mum said sensing his anxiety like she always did. She pulled him closer to kiss his hair, his dad liked to do that too. He was finding there were some similarities between them as parents. His mum was trembling a bit and she kept looking at the airport clock. On his other side Gavin read a magazine and sipped coffee, a little of which he had given to Ira in a Styrofoam cup.
Ira took a sip of the coffee, making a face, which was more milk and sugar than caffeine and looked around. The airport was almost deserted at this time of night and very few flights were going out. Gavin had chosen a small airport rather than the main one in New York City because of the desertion and it would also be harder to track them or that the reason Gavin gave anyway.
They had both promised him that once they were safely in Europe he could contact his dad and let him know he was safe. Until then he would have to wait and hope his dad didn't think he had just run away again. If his dad and Kim though he had run away enough they would stop looking for him eventually and they would concentrate on his baby brothers instead. It hurt his heart to think about it. He could come back in eight years when he was eighteen they said though and be part of his dad's life. When he was an adult he could make his own choices, he could protect himself, but he wanted to make them right now. The real trouble was that he wasn't sure what he wanted. No, he knew what he wanted. He wanted everyone to live together or close and get along so he could see them all. That would never happen though.
Ira fidgeted and opened one of his books again to read until the pre boarding call came over the intercom. "Go to the bathroom before we go," his mum intrusted and stood gathering their bags. Ira got up and walked around the nearest corner ten feet away, his grandfather had gone ahead of him to make sure it was safe and now he was alone in the stalls looking at himself in the mirror and washing his hands.
When he stepped out he thought Gavin was standing there waiting for him and he smiled reaching out his hand but it was not his grandfather who took it. The touch burned and he looked up and gasped as Keith swooped down and picked him up holding him hard. "I've been looking for you," he grinned maliciously.
Ira screamed as Keith walked with him to the outer room. His mum was standing by the seat looking in her purse and Gavin was halfway to the washroom when they both froze with his shout. Gavin growled when he saw Keith and Daniella stood opened mouthed and started forward but Gavin held out an arm.
"Stay," he ordered without taking his eyes off of Keith and Ira, "he will kill him. We'll do whatever you say Keith," Gavin said giving in immediately. Ira watched his mum's eyes then and saw the fresh tears. She thought Keith would kill him and Ira was pretty sure Keith would.
"I know," Keith said and started laughing. Ira immediately covered his ears and watched as Gavin held up a hand to him as well mouthing "do as he says". Ira nodded. Keith snapped his fingers and ordered them to follow. Ira lowered his hands and wondered why Gavin was not fighting; he was at least as good as Antonio and he was always fighting. Then he saw the other mutts and knew why. They were outnumbered, badly.
"Make a move and he dies," Keith mentioned just as if he was talking about the weather. Gavin nodded and his mum sobbed being pulled along by his grandfather who told her to shut up and concentrate.
Ira wasn't sure how long they drove he was too concerned about being separated from his mum and Gavin who was concerned too but told Ira that everything would be ok. He was in the backseat with Keith driving and another mutt in the front. Once they got there he was again separated from his mum but handed to his grandfather. They were both pushed into a room and locked inside.
Keith had immediately taken his mum's shoulder and led her away from them and when Ira made a move to follow his grandfather took his arm. He looked up at him worried biting his lip. Ira watching his grandfather set both hands against the door. He schooled desperation and turned towards him.
"You know where they're going," Gavin sighed interpreting Ira's look and walking forward he hugged Ira tightly. Ira did know where they would go and he knew what Keith would do. It was something he heard repeatedly as a child and was probably the main reason he put his hands over his ears since he was two, trying to block out some of those noises and the crying, the crying was the worse and he never understood why.
His mum would say she was crying because she was sad but she would never tell him why. He always cuddled close to her and tried to make her feel better. When he was seven he finally figured it out by doing some research into what men and women would do together and that is where he learned how babies were made. He never told him mum and never asked questions.
He sent an anxious look to the door and then back. Gavin sighed and rubbed a hand over the back of his neck. He picked Ira up under the armpits and set him in a corner before he answered. He didn't know but he was going to make sure Ira was ok. With that he ordered Ira to stay and started looking around the room for a way out. Ira watched hugging his legs to his chest tightly and hoping his dad hadn't given up on him yet.