Chapter 25


It happened on a cold day at the beginning of April. Ira had started on his after school snack, though he was not at school yet, with a chatting Clary and a Dom who was banging his hands on his highchair tray and throwing cheerios around. Noah was humming and cutting up a pepper when Kim made an odd noise in the hallway. She held on longer than they thought she would springing back to stable and keeping the babies in a little longer. Ira looked up hypersensitive to sounds ever since the drugs invaded his system. He stood glancing at Noah who was looking at the hallway as well and waving for Ira to sit again. He ignored him and rushed into the corridor.

Kim was holding her stomach and his father was holding a stop watch. Ira swallowed and watched as Kim finally relaxed and his father looked relieved. "It's time," he announced helping Kim to stand fully. A lot of things happened at once then but Ira felt like he was frozen in the middle of it all, voices and orders and chaos.

Ira sat outside the birthing room hugging his knees and listening as their cries cut the cold night air. Kim had been in labour for a day now. He had been reading books about it all fascinated by the process. When he heard his brothers cries he stood and looked at the closed door and then glanced at Noah who was sitting in the hallway with him. Noah smiled and nodded. "Your brothers are here," he grinned. Ira glanced at the door wondering when he could see them. They seemed like a foreign concept to him and like they would always just be in Kim's stomach.

After a few minutes Noah took Ira's shoulder and let him inside. Kim was lying on the bed looking tired and holding a small bundle that looked like a dishrag on her chest. His dad held a similar bundle and gestured for Ira to come forward. He walked silently across the floor and looked down at the small scrunched up face. "This is Wesley and Kim has Reuben, they have bracelets with their names until we can tell them apart," his father said lowly. Ira nodded and reached up touching the babies face. The tiny child moved his hand up and then wiped it on his face again letting it rest there before opening enormous brown eyes and staring up at them. Wesley Reese and Reuben Wren, one named after Reese's father and Reese and one after Kim's grandfather and father his dad explained.

Ira moved forward and glanced at the other baby who looked like an exact copy but was not moving as much. He blinked and waited for a full minute for the baby to open his eyes which were bright blue. Kim half smiled and commented on the easy way to tell them apart now. She sounded exhausted after the whole ordeal but happy.

"Reuben didn't open his eyes until fifty seven seconds after Wesley," Ira announced studying them. Kim nodded and told him that babies sometimes take a while to open their eyes after they are born. Ira immediately wondered about the details of his own birth and made a mental note to ask Gavin about it if he ever saw him again. His dad wouldn't know since he wasn't there. Maybe he had an interesting story too. He felt a sudden stab of jealously about this but pushed it aside swiftly. It still hurt but there was nothing either of them could do about it.

When he held each of them one by one he felt an instant connection. Their eyes locked onto his face and he felt like they were watching him, studying him instead of the other way around. Once they were done with him they looked around taking in the world. The spark of intelligence as their bright cerulean blue and chocolate brown eyes took in the world seemed impossible to him. A few minutes old and they were already analyzing, searching and understanding. "It's probably not as complicated as that," Reese chuckled taking Wesley from his arms and set him in the twin bassinet by the bed alongside his brother. Ira watched them until they both closed their eyes and fell asleep side by side, so close one could roll over and hug the other. He loved them already. He'd do anything he could to protect them and suddenly he was glad he stayed here so he could see them and be part of their lives.

"We need to keep talking to them, in adult voices and touching them too," Ira said repeating what he learned from the books he had been aggressively studying since he got back. Kim nodded closing her eyes. She had been hearing his information for weeks, along with everyone else and he was sure they were tuning him out now.

"Let's let them sleep," Noah said after he held them and all the attention had died down, countless pack members had been in and out Jeremy had checked them a few times. Now Kim and Reese were both tired and both lying down with their eyes closed listening to the babies sleep after their arduous journey.

Ira nodded but moved past Noah ignoring his hand. He ran to grab his notebook and pencil and quietly turned the knob to his parent's room again and walked in. Reese opened one eye and put a finger to his lips and Ira nodded. He walked to the bassinet and began writing as he studied the sleeping babies listening to them and his sleeping parents as well. His dad had hit a light sleep and was snoring slightly and he wrote that down too, he wasn't sure how it was important but it seemed like it. He then doodled a quick sketch and took a silent picture with his camera phone.

He watched them for a few moments before fingering the USB in his pocket. He had wanted to bring it up a few times but he had kept quiet. Gavin had sent it to him a few weeks ago, in a letter, but he wasn't sure he wanted to see it or he wanted his dad to see it. They all knew Gavin and his mother sent him stuff from different locations and it would do no good to keep it from him. He was curious but the videos would show his mum and although he wanted to see his mum he wasn't sure he was ready or his dad would care. If his dad didn't care or just thought he was trying to get attention then it would hurt a lot.

Gavin had given them one phone call and Elena reluctantly agreed to let him speak to Ira. It wasn't good news. His mum was gone, dead this time. Gavin said she couldn't take everything that had happened or her not being with him or the fact that she was pregnant again, he had only overheard that when Gavin spoke to his father. Ira did not want to talk about it. He refused with anyone and although he didn't pretend he was ok he did make himself live. That was important. He read a book on that too. His heart had broken when Gavin told him but his dad had held him and helped him glue the pieces back together again. He'd never be ok, he wasn't ok now but expressing his anguish late at night by himself but much preferable to talking to anyone about a woman they all hated.

He was puzzling over it a few mornings after at breakfast looking at the USB key when Reese walked in looking tired but happy. He smiled at Ira and kissed his hair before walking to the coffee pot and starting a brew. "Babies are asleep; let's keep it quiet for now." Ira nodded. He was not a noisy kid and the house was big enough that sound did not carry.

Outside Ira heard Clary dancing around in a circle holding Dom's hand as they jumped up and down. Reese smiled as he looked out the window and sipped coffee. Ira turned back to the USB key and turned it in his fingers, looking at the black device like it held all the answers to the universe. "What's that buddy?" Reese asked. Ira shrugged and went to put it away but Reese caught his hand, in a lightning fast move, and took the key to look at it.

"Dad," Ira protested but stopped when his dad raised an eyebrow at him. He swallowed and looked at his cereal again playing with the spoon and holding his head with his other hand on the table. He heard Reese sniffing and then he went silent. "Gavin? Did he send this to you?" Ira nodded but didn't look up until his dad put a hand under his chin and made him look up. "Talk to me, Ira." He was tired but the man's authority cut through that.

"It's not that big a deal, dad," Ira sighed but his dad didn't let him go or look away. Finally in a low voice he explained. Reese looked down at key now wide eyed and smiled letting Ira go.

"It is a big deal, son. This is amazing. Come on," he said and stood. He took Ira's hand but Ira held onto the chair and stayed put. "Ira?" Reese asked when he protested. He shook off his dad's hold and bit his lip. "What's wrong, buddy?" he asked pulling up a chair and sitting so they were on the same level.

"I'm not ready," Ira said quietly, "Mum, she's…" he tried to say. Instead he fumbled and balled his fists annoyed with himself. Why couldn't he just talk when he needed to? He'd had trouble with this all his life and it was not getting any easier now.

"I understand sweetie…remember, Ira I lost my mum too and my dad, I can understand what you're going through. Talk to me, ok?" he said. Ira nodded as his dad pulled him into his arms and hugged him tightly. "It gets easier, I promise. It doesn't feel like it now but it does get better." Ira nodded; it didn't feel like it would get better right then. How could it ever be better?

Just as his dad let him go the sharp cry of a baby hit the silent air and one second later the other baby started until both was crying together a shrill small cry that resounded loudly all over the house. Apparently babies' cries were one sound that did carry. Reese sighed and let him go; downing the rest of his coffee before telling Ira they would talk later. Ira nodded relieved his brothers chose that moment to be noisy. Maybe their noise could be a little bit much sometimes but they did have a habit of getting him out of talking and trouble sometimes.

Noah would say when you're thinking about something intently and for a long time you'd be sitting on it so Ira sat on what to do about the video burning a hole in his pocket not able to concentrate on much else beside the memories he knew would be there. The fact that he would be able to see his mum come back to live again, happy and smiling and Gavin in front of him and not so far away again made his spirits sour. It was like a deep buried hope he didn't think he'd be able to ever look at but he couldn't not look at it either.

Maybe someday he would have the courage but the first thing he had to do was give the speech he had been practicing to his father and Kim. He knew the drill when a new baby came along and he knew about hierarchy. The babies were both his dad's and Kim's and just like Keith's baby back home that meant he wasn't as important anymore. He would accept that. He just wanted to keep living here and getting all his basic needs. Beyond that he would survive even if the twins always came first, were more important in the pack then him or he had to be their servant basically. He was their brother after all and this was how things worked.

He had all his main points written down and once his parents had a spare moment he would address them. The moment came all too soon. Ira was in the living room sketching his cousins when his dad and Kim surfaced. The babies were finally asleep and they had woken from a nap to see they were still sleeping. Ira hadn't complained about the lost time with them or his dad accidently falling asleep before telling him a bedtime story. Noah was doing a good job taking over and Ira never made a big deal of it. He knew his dad loved him but hierarchy was hard.

When they showed up he smiled and said he was fine. He set his pencil down and folded his hands eyeing the two. Their smiles faltered as he stood with his hands behind his back ready to deliver the speech. "What's going on?" Kim asked slightly amused sitting across on the couch across from the coffee table he was drawing at. She glanced at Reese who was staring at his son steadily as he set down a tea for Kim and a beer for himself. Ira eyed the Australian brand familiar with it before moving on.

"I realize that circumstances have changed and I am fully willing to accept them. I understand Reuben and Wesley are now, by blood, higher than me in the hierarchical chain. I have been through this before and I accept it. All I ask is that I get to keep living here and maybe all the basic needs and stuff. Other than that I'll be good and help out. I just want to stay," he said biting his lip that was quivering. He didn't realize this would hurt so much. He was so torn and confused. He knew they wanted him and loved him but the wolf was telling him things had changed. Emotions were riding high when he first came back but now logic was taking over.

"Ira Gavin, come here," Reese said immediately. This was it. This was the moment where he found out if he fell off the cliff or could at least totter there for a while longer. His father immediately grabbed him when he was within reach and set both big hands on his slim shoulders.

"I want you to listen and listen well, Ira. Our children have no ranking. Your brothers are not above you or you above them because of blood. You are older and will be helping them with everything but you are no less important to us than they are. We love you Ira and you will never, never be pushed out of the way for any siblings, understood?" he asked. Ira paused and glanced at Kim. Surely she would feel differently but she only shook her head and took his hand rubbing it.

"Baby boy, you are my son and you were the first. I have loved you as if you were my own and will always love you like I gave birth to you since you came here. I love you sweetheart, your father loves you and that will never change, understood?" she asked. Ira hesitated for a beat before looking back at his father and nodding.

"Ok, but will you ever change you minds? What if I do something really wrong?" he asked.

"Nope, never, we will always love you no matter how rotten you are. That's your burden buddy," Reese joked. Ira cracked a small smile and leaned against his dad's chest with a sigh. He wasn't one hundred percent about this yet but maybe it would work out. He could turn his mind to more important thing like the USB.

It only occurred to him on the twin's first outing, twisting between the pillars at the wharf and bending down to touch the water and the fish and turtles that skimmed back, that if he didn't make a decision soon he would go crazy with the anxiety and the anticipation. He sighed and left his hand in the cold water letting the waves wash over his skin and watching very closely, he'd need to remember so he could write it down later.

"Ira, please don't fall in, with a baby strapped to me I can't jump in to get you," Reese chuckled. Ira turned slightly putting his hands on the rough wood of the dock and looking up at them. Both his parents had babies strapped to their chests. Wes was looking around with droopy eyes moving his little fists and legs on Kim's chest, and Ru had already dropped off to sleep. Reese made a gesture for him to stand and reluctantly he did. He fidgeted with the sleeves of his sweater feeling the crushing weight of the decision once again, the USB.

Ira reached out and wiggled Wes' foot and the babies eyes immediately went to his brother looking curious and a little more awake. The trip was just a family trip to the docks, just for them but Ira knew for certain, though he had not seen them that Noah and Antonio were following them as well. The Alpha wasn't taking any chances especially with the Alpha elect and his family. Reese said he would not be the Alpha for years yet but Elena was training him now, really early just in case.

"Dad," Ira asked as they walked. He didn't dare look at the man or his stepmother. He kept his eyes focused on the ground kicking rocks and pebbles into the water. He liked the splash they made. "Do you think this is forever?" Ira looked up when they got to the end of the dock and watched the setting sun. His hands were shoved in his pocket of his vest layered over his cable knit sweater with the collar popped up, he hated hoodies but this was a good and fashionable compromise.

"What, the sunset?" his dad joked. Ira shook his head.

"This, family…my brothers and you and…," he said glancing at Kim, "Kim." Reese frowned and looked at his wife and then took Ira's shoulder and guided him to a nearby bench and out of the way of other people. Kim walked behind them and sat as well. Ira stood in front of his dad and bit his lip pulling at the bottom of his shirt anxiously. Reese took his son's hands and rubbed them with his thumbs.

"This is for as long as we want it, sweetheart but I for one want it to last forever," Reese smiled. Ira blushed a bit and looked at Kim again who smiled. He knew they said this, he knew he got worried about it all too often and they had to keep reminding him over and over but it was important.

"I want it to be forever too, Ira. I love our family but we're not a family without everyone, right? You, Wes and Ru and daddy and me," she said. Reese nodded and let go of Ira's left hand to hold Kim's as well.

Ira nodded satisfied with this and relaxed a little. The words helped. He turned and scanned the buildings and area that was now deserting as people headed to the rides and games that was starting up. He still didn't see Noah or Antonio, they were too good. Once he was done scanning his eyes landed on the Ferris wheel now lit up and starting to turn.

"Can we go on that?" he asked pointing to the wheel and turning back to them.

"Ru is sleeping," Reese answered automatically. Ira nodded and hid his disappointment. Instead he let go of his dad's hand and walked to the edge of the dock again laying down and skimming his hand over the cold water telling them he understood in as grown up a voice as he could muster. He wasn't a baby; he needed to act older so his parents would have time for the babies.

"Let me take him." Ira turned his head and saw the people he had been searching for. Noah stood over his dad as he undid the straps of the carrier and carefully handed over the sleeping baby who only stirred a little. He helped Noah put the carrier on with no incident and sat next to Kim kissing her cheek.

"Come on, buddy," Reese said and held out a hand. Ira scrambled up almost falling into the water but Antonio caught him around the middle and picked him up swinging him upside down and tickling him. He could never help it when someone tickled him he screeched with laughter becoming the kid he never thought he was once again.

When he finally put Ira down his skin burned but he was smiling off balance feeling optimistic for the first time in a long time. Things might be ok. He hoped they would continue to be ok. He started to take his dad's hand but Antonio lifted him up by the armpits instead and his dad crouched so he could sit on his shoulders.

They walked towards the Ferris wheel with Ira hand's in his dad's hair and his father's hands on his legs. Antonio walked slightly behind them Ira saw when he turned his head and Noah and Kim were still on the bench talking and looking at the babies. Kim had been rubbing Wes' soft spot very gently because both babies seemed to like that.

"Are you excited?" Reese asked.

"Maybe, I've never been on a Ferris wheel before. Mum promised but we never did," Ira said watching the monstrous wheel flicker ahead of them and the steady stream of parents and kids running around.

"There's a first time for everything, buddy, a first time for a lot of things for us."


Thanks so much for everyone reading and supporting and waiting for updates. I have loved working with Ira, he is such a versatile and adorable character. I am thinking of bringing him back a little older and wiser. If anyone has any thoughts let me know!


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