Chapter 4


They walked hand in hand back to the house enjoying the early morning chill. Reese knew his wife loved the dew on the leaves and he bent and took some of the condensation on his finger bringing it to her nose. Kim snorted and shook her head dislodging the dew and smiling at her crazy husband. Kim brought out a whole other side of him that no one had ever been able to besides his parents. He had missed that side of himself a lot over the years.

Reese's shoes slowly started to get wet as they walked and he glanced down at his wife's feet and saw she was only in flip flops. He stopped and slung her up in his arms as she laughed and swatted him but he twirled her around instead so she couldn't get down. They cleared the tree line with him slipping in the grass at the foot of the path and them both cashing to the ground laughing and soaking their clothes with wet stains from the ground.

"Good try Reese," Kim laughed and crawled over to him kissing him lightly. Reese grabbed her around the waist and pulled her on top of him falling back and instantly feeling the cold seep into his hair and the back of his shirt but the kiss was worth it. It would always be worth it.

When he opened his eyes to look up feeling more than satisfied and satiated he saw Ira at the sliding glass door window. He was watching them with his hands pressed up against the glass. "It would seem we have an audience." Kim looked over at him and smiled waving. Ira stepped back and crossed his arms but continued to watch. The boy was like a sentinel.

"I don't think he's happy right now," Kim said. Reese sighed and muttered that he was never happy. Kim gave him a sympathetic look and got up, slipping on the grass a little, before holding out a hand for him and they proceeded to the house. By the time they were sliding the doors open Ira was back in his seat at the table with his book.

"Hey buddy, how did you sleep?" Ira shrugged and continued to look at the book feigning no interest in the world around him. The tensing of his muscles and the way his eyes didn't move over the page told Reese he was listening intently though. Something was wrong with him. That was abundantly clear. He reminded Reese of the stories Nick told him about Clay as a child. He was always watching and waiting, he was always studying. He wondered if he would ever stop studying and just live.

Nick said "hello" across the room and walked forward coffee cup in one hand and little girl on his hip. He settled Clary down and she immediately picked up the paper and began reading out loud while Dominic banged away at his cheerios refusing to eat. He started squishing the pieces of his banana into his cereal bowl for good measure as soon as Reese and Kim walked in.

"Hi sweethearts," Kim called and walked to the table. She kissed Dom on the head and he looked up with a big grin and held out a mushed up banana to her which Kim accepted as he laughed. She did the same with Clary giving her a big hug. At Ira she hesitated and bad him good morning. He nodded and then looked back at his father quickly before going back to his book. Reese had told Kim it was best not to touch Ira as he reacted badly. Hopefully someday they could hug him, kiss him and tell him they loved him. He wasn't ready for that yet though. He wasn't sure they were either but children were easy to love and he already knew he loved his son even if the sentiment was not returned.

Reese couldn't even count the amount of hugs and kisses his parents gave him as a child. Even when he was grown up they continued to administer their affections on him and he loved it. He was a very affectionate man because of them and he wanted his children to be the same way. Ever since he lost his parents he had dreamed of creating a new family that would mirror the one he lost but he would be the father. He would act like his own father who was the best he could have asked for. Ira was throwing a wrench in the plan though.

"Ira refused to eat until you got here Reese," Nick informed. "Also, we should talk." Reese's shoulders slumped at this. Why was it that every time he left Ira with someone they wanted or needed to talk? Maybe it was because they were still figuring the little boy out but he seemed more complicated than the hardest physics math equations.

"Ira, are you ok in here?" Reese asked. Ira shrugged again which seemed to be his main form of communication this morning, or any time really. Reese sighed and swiped a hand through his hair wondering when it would start falling out. It should be soon if his son had anything to say about it.

"I'll start breakfast. Ira, are pancakes ok?" Kim asked. Ira said it was, provided they had chocolate chips, and watched his father carefully as he walked across the room. Reese wanted to hug his son badly as he passed him. The urge was almost obsessive. He wanted to be a father to him but Ira might never let him be. As he grew would it be this awkward relationship where Ira was half son and half-brother to him because he refused to have Reese as a parent? He almost wanted Daniella back now just to help explain the kid. If he could stand her presence here that would be the best option. Unfortunately, he couldn't.

Reese followed Nick out into the hallway and made sure the swinging kitchen door was shut before he turned to his mentor and raised an eyebrow. "Ira, he had a rough night," Nick admitted leaning against the wall and crossing his arms. Some of the pictures against the wall moved slightly catching Reese's attention two seconds before his annoyance took hold.

"Why didn't you call me?" Reese asked exasperated copying his posture against the opposite wall. They were both a bit defensive and both a bit on edge. Change does that to any werewolf.

"He didn't want me too." That stung. Reese said nothing but he tightened his face and ground his teeth a bit. "He had a bad dream around one or so. I made him warm milk and stayed with him until he fell asleep. This morning when I went in to wake him up I found him taking the sheets off the bed and trying to hide them." Reese raised an eyebrow to this and Nick put a hand behind his neck rubbing tight muscles. "He wet the bed sometime in the night and he didn't want anyone to see. I told him it was ok, we all did it but he's really embarrassed. I promised him I would only tell you. I already washed the sheets and his clothes and he took a shower. The room still smells but I opened the window." Nick scrutinized Reese for his reaction and Reese looked away. He was embarrassed that he hadn't been here. Was private time with his mate, who he had known for a decade, more important than time with his son who he had known for only a few days?

"I am assuming this is natural since he has gone through so much," Reese said uncertainty and Nick nodded. They had certainly both done the same thing a few times as children and both of them had had an idyllic childhood. He couldn't imagine what kind of trauma could inflict enough stress to do this to a child though. Maybe he didn't want to know.

"It is. I did some research and Clary has done it once or twice. I just wanted to let you know. Maybe it would be a good idea to stay here for the next little while just in case. That way when he wakes up you are there," Nick suggested and Reese nodded. "I love being a dad Reese but you're his father. He needs to know and understand that."

"Yeah, of course," Reese said rubbing the scruff on his jaw and adding this to the list of things he had to research about Ira. He may well spend the rest of his life trying to understand his son, researching new scenarios and concepts every day. It would be his new full time job. At least he would not need to deal with irate clients though, just an irate kid.

When they walked back in there was a plate ready for Reese and Kim was sitting down but Ira was not eating the food in front of him. He'd tell Kim later. Reese kissed Kim on the head thanking her for the food and sat down. He looked at his son who looked away quickly staring at Nick instead looking worried and annoyed. As soon as he began to eat Ira did too. He had no idea what that meant but he'd put it on his figuring it out later list.

Beside Nick, Dominic reached out for Ira's pancakes and Ira, looking over at him, cut some off and handed it to him willingly. "Say thank you Dom," Nick instructed. Dom laughed and shoved the pancakes in his mouth holding out his hand for more. Ira cut another piece as Nick told him to eat his food and said he would make more. Getting Dominic to eat was a daily struggle but it was the same with most toddlers. At least, Reese observed, Ira seemed to have no lack of appetite. From what he observed the boy was healthy and had the glow of kids who had been fed well their entire lives. He was at least thankful for that.

"Ira, I was thinking we could all spend the day together, you, Kim and I. How does that sound?" Ira shrugged looking back at Nick. He set an elbow on the table and held his head concentrating on his food glumly. Was it his imagination or did he seem more depressed today? He'd monitor the situation. Maybe all Ira needed was some attention to get him started on the path to trust.

Dominic banged his hand on the tray and screamed making Ira jump. He sent the baby a resentful look after a few moments and rubbed his left ear. "Does your ear hurt buddy?" Reese asked concerned. He should get Jeremy to look Ira over just in case maybe. Ira shook his head as Dom held his hand out to Ira opening and closing his fist in a demanding way. Nick scolded him and told Ira to keep his food but Ira handed over some more anyway ignoring the adults.

"He doesn't like loud noises," Kim whispered to Reese who shrugged. He had no idea but it looked like it. No one could blame him really. He was probably used to loud yelling at home. Who knew how much the pack yelled and screamed at him. The thought made Reese clench his fist. His son had been conditioned to fear or dislike certain things without his knowledge and he had no idea what it had been like for him and what he gone through. He wished he had a movie of Ira's life but nothing existed like that unless he could extract the memories in his son's head. He still had the files to get through but they were only words and not what he desperately needed which was an expert on Ira and to make a connection with him.

"That's exactly what I was thinking. Maybe a mall and we can get you some new things?" Kim asked going back to the pervious conservation. She reached for Reese's hand and squeezed it knowing he was feeling lost. He imaged she felt lost too. He was thirty one and a parent but Kim was only twenty six and suddenly she had a nine year old. She was amazing and he would make sure she knew it.

"Can I go too?" Clary piped up always up for a trip to the mall. She was a typical girl through and through unlike Kate who preferred to shop sometimes with Jaime but liked to train most of the time. Clary liked princesses while Kate preferred ninjas. The two girls were polar opposite and Nita, Karl's girl, fell right in between them.

"No Clarissa, this is a special day for Ira and his dad and…Kim. We can go another time," Nick said from across the kitchen. Clary huffed and gave her dad pleading eyes but for once Nick did not give in. Finally she sighed and rolled her eyes going back to reading the paper but silently as if to punish him. Nick shook his head to this saying nothing. Reese was 100% he could not wait for Vanessa to be back. He needed his kid back up.

Ira watched giving no reactions to their clasped hands or Kim's suggestion. He took a bite of his pancakes and chewed slowly cutting another piece off for Dominic who was finally looking satisfied until Nick walked by and dropped a plate of cut up pancake on his tray. He went to town happily eating more than usual for once. Apparently it was about finding the right foods every day for him. Vanessa would be happy at least.

Nick also took half a pancake and set it on Ira's plate thanking him for sharing. "It's ok. It easy to share with him," Ira shrugged. Nick nodded and sat down until Clary, interrupting her reading, told her father she wanted some too. Nick chuckled and messed up her hair a bit before getting up again and announcing he was making enough for an army and they better get eaten. The food the kids did not eat the adults would finish quickly. One more advantage to having kids around was they had a lot more food. No one complained about this.

Reese felt a sudden proudness for his son. He was a good kid at heart and Daniella had obviously taught him well. "Maybe a play or movie," Reese asked carefully watching Ira who only blinked and kept eating, starting in on his second pancake and staring at it like it had the answers to the universe. Interacting with Dom had brought some spark to his eyes but then he seemed to go back to his own little world closing off.

"Oh, I know. How about a museum," Kim asked. Suddenly Ira looked up and Reese saw the familiar spark but he schooled his reaction immediately and shrugged again. Reese could tell that would mean a lot to him.

"I think a museum sounds great," Reese said and shared a secret smile with Kim who winked. The secret to Ira was in his eyes and his expressions. He knew how to school his face quickly but he couldn't help the split second reaction. That was how they would figure him out and get him to react to them. Get him to act like a child and not a robot.

"I just want to stay here," Ira said quietly not looking at them. He had seemed excited but maybe the prospect of time spent alone with his father and Kim was too daunting. Reese exchanged a look with Kim but said that was fine. Maybe they could get him interested in a movie or something around the house instead. Under the table Kim rubbed Reese's leg and he took a deep breath. He needed a patience spell. Maybe he'd ask Lucas and Paige.

"Ir, Ir," Dominic said suddenly making Ira look over surprised. The baby held out mushed up pancake to him and Ira accepted it dumped it onto his plate and thanked him. This made Dom clap and giggle throwing his hands in the air spontaneously.

"At least he can say someone's name," Clary said smiling at her baby brother and setting the paper down. Reese winked at her and took it turning to the business section. He wanted to see how his investments were doing compared to Nick and Antonio's. There had been a lifelong race when it came to stocks between them and Reese was always trying to get ahead. It was all in good fun though.

"My name is Ira, not Ir so not really." Clary rolled her eyes at her new cousin but ignored him. Reese suddenly wondered how Ira would get along with all the kids. He'd have to watch carefully. His interaction with Dominic had gone well but he was a baby and easier to get along with then the older kids might be. He'd monitor the situation.

"Thank you for sharing Dominic," Ira looked up and nodded finally making eye contact. Reese shared a surprised look with Kim and Nick but neither of them said anything. He was interacting with the other kids without being prompted which was critical for pack relations and sometimes he would even let them see his eyes, his emotions. It would have to be good enough for now.


Ira grabbed a pair of jeans and pulled them on throwing his second pair of pyjama pants in the laundry. He wrinkled his nose at the hamper but Nick had emptied some of it earlier this morning and done the laundry. He swore he could still smell it though. Keith had called it a weakness but the more they had focused on it the more it had happened. He couldn't stop it. He had no idea what causes it. His mum had always had to hide it from Keith when it happened but it wasn't easy hiding from a werewolf's nose.

Ira walked to the hamper intent on shifting through it and finding his favorite t-shirt but it appeared Nick had done everything. Ira froze feeling panicked before he turned and saw folded laundry on his bed. He rushed over and picked it up scattered most of it on the floor searching for the t-shirt. When he found it he unravelled it, it was a t-shirt for a soccer team in Adelaide he didn't even like but he loved the shirt, he put it to his nose but could smell nothing but laundry detergent. Nick had washed away the smell.

Ira's panic increased as his last tie to home faded. It was gone and he could never get it back. He tried to breathe but found the air was failing him. He needed the scent back. In a split second decision he ran from his room, clutching the shirt, and still shirtless himself, and down the stairs. He headed for the laundry room near the kitchen and threw the door open. Both machines were going. Hurriedly he went to the washer and pulled the lid up looking inside. It was on the spin cycle. He lowered his head and sniffed but smelt nothing familiar.

He let it thump closed and opened the drier next stopping its cycle and sniffed again but only fresh laundered clothes wafted out. With a growl he started taking damp clothing from the drier and throwing them on the floor exploring every nook and cranny. He was half way in the drier with his legs dangling out when someone spoke behind him and took his legs and stomach gently hauling him out. The burning sensation on his skin started immediately and he squirmed until he was let go.

"No!" Ira yelled turning and trying to get back in but Noah, who in his police uniform, shut the drier and looked from him to the clothes on the floor calling for Reese. Ira did not hear anything he said. He felt the waves were crashing in on him and he covered his ears looking around wide eyed for the source of the noise as panic consumed him.

Noah crouched down trying to get his attention but Ira couldn't focus. He couldn't breathe. The smell was all he had, it comforted him. He had been keeping that t-shirt under his pillow but with the incident last night Nick must have taken it all from the bed and washed it all. His mum was gone and she wasn't coming back and no amount of scent would help. The waves crashed down relentlessly and the panic was now carrying him away to another place.

When he looked up again he saw the laundry room had become painfully full. Ira backed into the cold metal of the drier as his father and Nick came in; behind him Kim hovered as well as Antonio. Noah said something Ira didn't catch to them and his father spoke back and then all eyes were on him. Ira brandished the shirt and gave Nick a scornful look as the panic settled and his senses and hearing came back. Suddenly he felt calmer and could take a breath and understand. He had always had these, what his mum called, mini panic attacks when he was overwhelmed but they never lasted long.

"My shirt…" Ira tried to explain but couldn't, he was lost for words. His brain felt jarred. Nick suddenly looked horrified and apologized immediately saying he hadn't known. Reese and the other looked confused until Nick explained about last night and the laundry and then told them about how he used it to the calm himself down the other day.

Suddenly Ira paled. Everyone knew his shameful secret and as soon as Nick saw his face he cursed and apologized again. "Daddy, you need to put money in the swear jar," Clary said suddenly appearing in the doorway with her hands on her hips. Ira turned away from them biting his lip and trying to pretend none of this was happening. No one said anything for a moment until Antonio ordered everyone out, but Reese, so Ira could calm down. He wanted to go home so badly. He was even willing to go to a home where his mum didn't exist anymore. He just wanted Australia back.

After everyone was gone Reese took a few steps back and sat against the wall pulling up his knees and folding his hands between them. Ira held his shirt tightly to his chest and slid down to sit against the drier burying his face in his shirt and instantly feeling his pants get wet from the drier floor. "Ira, I wish I could get the scent back for you buddy. What can I do to help?" Ira didn't move. He wished he was back home where his mum always knew what to do but he was here with a man who hardly knew him and didn't even know how to try and know him. His mother knew what to say and do and knew how to hug him so it didn't hurt. Finally he looked up thinking of the one thing that would help.

"I want to call her Reese," Ira demanded sitting up further, "I want to call my mum." Reese sucked in a breath. How he wanted to give him the world but this was one of the only things he could not give him. Ira's face was hard but is eyes were pleading with Reese to let him have this link to his mother. The boy looked so desperate Reese had to look away and rub his jaw for a distraction. The toughest mutt could not make him give into his demands but this little boy was so close to breaking him.

"No, sweetie, you can't call her," Kim said suddenly. Ira looked at Reese who confirmed this. His body slumped and his eyes became glassy. He stared at the floor gripping the edges of the shirt and twisting it in his hands repeatedly. The panic was back and no one was doing anything to help it. Only his mum knew how. Only she could hug him so tightly so it would go away and wouldn't hurt. Why didn't she at least teach them?

"I'm sorry," Reese said quietly. Ira didn't reply. Reese reached out for him but Ira scrambled back and up slamming his shoulder into the side of the drier. He saw his father wince and try and reach for him again but Ira ducked both him and Kim running for the stairs. The pain in his shoulder could wait because the pain in his heart was too much.


Reese growled loudly and punched the wall feeling the plaster shake under his fist. He looking at the fist shaped sized hole he had created. He set his hand against the wall and took a deep breath balling his fist. "Can I never do anything right?" he asked lowly. Kim said nothing but she set a hand on his back rubbing gently. She had learned what calmed him down quickly years ago. His mother used to rub his back like this and it was an instant chill pill for him. He wondered if Ira was the same.

"You didn't tell him he couldn't call her, I did. You are not doing anything wrong Reese. Ira is hurt right now and we are all getting used to the new situation. He's is going to be off kilter for a while. Until he can trust us and knows he's safe. It will take time." Reese turned and set a hand on his mate's cheek feeling the connection there, another way to instantly calm himself. All he had to do was touch her, be in the same vicinity and he was ok.

"I know," Reese said quietly. He reached down and took her hands pulling her to him and hugging her tightly. "When will it get easier?" he asked. Not much in his life had been this hard at least in the last decade. Even being a pack enforcer was not as hard as being a father it seemed.

"Let's give him some time and start going through those files. Let him come to us," Kim suggested. Reese doubted that would ever happen but it was sound advice. Plus, they needed to know more about Ira right now when it mattered. Reese had no idea what to do with him and hopefully Daniella could give him some advice. "Also, you should probably fix that," Kim chuckled looking at the hole. Reese nodded and set an arm around her walking from the room. Cleaning the laundry and the wall could wait at least until Nick and Antonio started yelling.

They didn't see Ira for another few hours while he holed up in his room, specifically in his closet where he was reading. He came down only for lunch demanding a peanut butter and jelly sandwich which had to be organic and a certain kind. After a trip to the local healthy food organic market he was satisfied and holed up in his room again not willing to speak, even when bribed by ice cream. Kim even tried soy ice cream which did not impress the kid at all. There had to be a better way.

Papers were spread all over the living rooms furniture and coffee table, Kim had one page open that seemed to correspond with Reese' pages more than the one's she had and so they were organizing. "This one is toddler years," Kim said handing it over. Reese glanced at it. The file was like a journal/progress report. He gleaned that his son had started walking by one year and reading by a year and a half which was odd. He didn't start talking until he was four though.

"Medical info," Reese responded taking the sheets and handing the others over. The sheet said he had hyper sensitivity; it physically hurt him to be touched, which made sense and listed some others things Daniella was worried about but were never confirmed. At least they could read up on that and figure out how to handle it. Neither said anything for a few more moments as they read. Reese hadn't even concentrated on their project files this much.

"It says here Daniella took him multiple medical tests. Why would she have done that if he was a werewolf?" Kim asked lowering the sheet. Reese sighed and rolled his eyes and Kim arched a perfect sculpted eyebrow. He got caught up in the endless wells of her deep chocolate brown eyes for a moment before he answered. He knew what he wanted to do to her but he needed to concentrate on his son right now. Gone were the carefree days with Kim where they could do what they liked. It sucked in a way.

"She was paranoid even when I knew her, always going to the doctor just in case. I let it go because everyone has their hang ups but I'm not surprised. What kind of tests? Did they find anything?" Reese asked moving over to her and looking over the shoulder at the paper. It seemed like a long list and Reese inwardly winced feeing bad for the kid.

"Epilepsy, autism, cancer and fedal alcohol syndrome to name a few," Kim said looking up with a raised eyebrow again. Again Reese could not help but sigh. You would think growing up in a family of werewolves would teach you a male werewolf child was almost 100% safe from any of this.

"Knowing her she had a drink before she found out she was pregnant and thought he might have it." Reese took the notes and looked them over. Next to each test she had written down the similarities to each syndrome like hyper sensitivity, non-communication, temper and preference to be alone. He was an enigma and the files were really only making it worse.

"He is smart that's for sure," Reese said picking up another set of pages, "I doubt he has any of these though." He wound an arm around Kim's neck and kissed her hair lightly taking a momentary sniff and smiling.

Kim chuckled and grabbed his arm with one hand, holding up a page with the other. "Smart, yes. She had an intelligence test down every few years. The last one was a few months ago. Ira is officially very smart; his I.Q. is 125 at age nine." Reese nodded. "I'm not surprised, he is a Williams after all," Kim laughed. "Or I should say a Robinson. Well, he's mine and that's what matters," he grinned. Kim playfully batted his arm and shook her head. Their last name had been changed so many times it was sometimes hard to remember their original one, Robinson had been Wes's last name, his dad. Not his biological dad but his dad nonetheless.

"Um, I.Q. test at that age are more about potential though. Ira thinks more spatially rather than logically, at least at nine years old, but he has the potential to learn and apply knowledge and to be challenged in the future," Reese said. When he looked up Kim was watching him with interest. "We went through this with Noah when he first came. The school insisted on giving him an I.Q test and Nick studied up on what it meant to ease Noah's mind.

Kim nodded to this. "So, we should send him to a school that challenges him more like the one Kate and Logan went to." Reese nodded. School was a far thought from his mind right then. He hadn't even gone over his school records yet or where he was at with his home schooling or socialization. Would school even be a possibility? Probably not for a while at least but maybe they would start some homeschooling soon and see if Jeremy would be willing to oversee it.


Ira had been eavesdropping on them for a bit but when they mentioned school he decided to show himself. Reese looked up to see Ira hovering in the doorway eyeing the papers. He set his sheet down and smiled at him beckoning him forward but Ira stayed put. "How would you feel about school Ira?" Kim asked.

Ira ignored her. "I can't speak to mum because the Alpha said so because she's a bitch, right?" Ira said calmly. He was still carrying his t-shirt and holding it tightly in one fist like a toddler with a blanket but it was his last link. If he didn't take it with him he might lose it forever too.

"Ira, come here," Reese demanded. His father, who had been leaning over Kim not moved back and sat on the floor gesturing for him to come to forward. Ira saw his dad's eyes darken a bit and his facial muscles tighten. That mean he was in trouble so he stayed put not moving from the doorway but ready to bolt if he needed too. "Ira, I'm not going to hurt you but you will come here." His father stood now and Ira looked up swallowing. Finally Kim stood as well and put a hand on his father's shoulder.

"Ira, please," Kim asked. He took a few tentative steps forward but stopped when he felt he was too close and took a step back crossing his arms and looking at them. His lips were pursed and his eyes narrowed. They were faster but he could scream louder.

"You will not speak about the Alpha that way. She is your Alpha now too and no swearing," Reese said more forcefully than he had ever spoken to his son before. Ira tensed and his eyes filled with ire. "The reason you can't speak to your mother is that she is on the run right now. She has a pre-paid cell phone that she ditches every week for a new one. We don't know her number. She has to get a hold of us," Reese explained calming a bit. Ira calmed as well seeing him relax a bit but he didn't drop his guard.

Ira bit his lip and looked at the hard wood floor and dropped his arms tracing circles on his thigh with his left hand. "What is something happened to me? Mum wouldn't know? She wouldn't come?" Ira asked in a quiet voice still staring at the floor. He'd be able to see if they moved forward in a millisecond and be able to plan accordingly.

When he looked back up Reese and Kim were exchanging a glance before Kim fielded the question. "We can take care of you Ira. When your mum calls," she began and Ira's eyes lit up like he was just told he was going to Disney World. His heart soared at the thought. Reese heart clenched at this. He wanted to give the boy everything but the only thing he wanted was the thing he could not give.

"If she calls," Reese interfered and Kim nodded. Ira liked it when people thought he was old enough and smart enough to have everything explained to him, he was. He didn't like people avoiding reasons because they thought he was a child. He'd find the answers himself if he didn't get the right ones from them or from anyone.

"If she calls then we will tell her." Ira slumped his shoulders and nodded sadly, all anger gone from his eyes now replaced by acquiescence. At first he was sure this was a temporary measure because his mum would realize her mistake or miss him too much and she would come back. She's hadn't come back, hadn't called and Reese was adamant she was not coming back. Maybe this was forever. His stomach clenched at this. Maybe he'd have to go and find her.

"Your mother explained the reason, right?" Reese asked. Ira nodded slowly squeezing his t-shirt with his left hand now and trying to drain some of the anger out. His knuckles turned white before he answered and he regarded them before he looked at them again.

"Keith had a baby, a legitimate son. He's going to be Alpha someday but he wants to get me out of the way first. I understand but it's stupid." Reese and Kim agreed whole heartedly and silence descended as they all escaped into their own thoughts. Reese was about to ask if Ira wanted to help with the files by expanding on some things when he spoke again.

"Keith said he wouldn't hurt me and he won't. He promised," Ira said assuredly. Reese and Kim exchanged a glance and asked about this but Ira refused to open up and found the floor more interesting instead.

"Are you feeling better?" Reese asked now distracting him. Ira shrugged. Maybe his mother didn't want him anymore and that's why he couldn't speak to her. She said she was running and trying to protect him but maybe she was lying. She was very good at it and sometimes it was hard for even him to tell. He didn't see a reason why he couldn't speak to her and he still remembered her cell phone number. He'd call her as soon as he was alone. He didn't believe what they were telling him.

He turned intent on doing just that when his father told him it was bed time. Ira tensed hating when there was a wrench in his plans but made himself relax and ignored them when they asked if he needed help. Did they seriously think he was Dom's age that he needed a bath and a bedtime story? That was just creepy. Ira shook his head and continued upstairs. He'd have to wait until after they thought he was asleep to call his mum like he did with Keith the other day.

He was lying on his newly washed sheets, wet hair splayed out on the pillow, and newly turned mattress listening to the mattress guard crinkle under him and hating it. Kim had put it on before she made the bed and he felt like a little kid. At home Keith had made him use one too but they were noisy and sticky and hot in the summer time, totally worthless in his opinion.

Ira reached under his pillow and took the picture he looked at every night holding it in front of his face. He's turned off the light and brushed his teeth without any parental guidance and tucked himself in as well. If Reese and Kim were so keen on doing this they could have a kid of their own. Ira jumped when a knock came at the door and he hurriedly tried to hide the picture as his father walked in but the light from the hallway glared off the photo betraying him.

"What's that buddy?" Reese walked forward and sitting on the bed as Ira hid it and shrugged. "Can I see?" he asked. Ira looked up and saw Kim hovering in the doorway. She gave him an encouraging smile. Ira looked back at his father's open blue eyes. He didn't push but Ira sensed that he wanted to know everything. Ira didn't seem to have any secrets anymore and he was the secret king. It sucked.

"You won't take it away?" Ira asked concerned. Reese shook his head and said he would never do that. Ira sighed and felt like he was really indulging the man. He took the picture out and looked at it again before he handed it over carefully. He had memorised it in case his father went back on his word but Reese only took it and studied it smiling.

"Are you at the Australian Museum?" he asked. Ira bit his lip and took the picture back. He looked at it again before hiding it and nodded. Reese seemed to be waiting for him to tell him why he was there and what he was doing but Ira stayed silent. After a few moments his father's eyes clouded with disappointment and he said goodnight. Kim echoed him and they started to leave but Ira did have one question.

"Are we going to see the pack tomorrow?" Reese nodded, told him not to worry and reminded him they would be here if he needed anything. Finally he closed the door almost all the way. Ira waited silently listening to Nick walk down the hallway calming Dom who was hyper tonight and Reese and Kim whispering and later on he heard heavier footsteps and recognized Antonio walking by his door. He fought to keep his eyes open but eventually tiredness won out and he fell into dreams without making the call.

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