Up Ghost mountain, the motorcycle went, its engine softly purring its power, and as it reached the end of the road, the engine cut, and the stranger got off, taking in the home of the Alpha couple.
Behind the visor, his lips twitched in amusement, noting children's toys littering the front lawn, four pink bikes and one blue one graced the porch, and the considerable washing line was filled with children's clothes.
The front door opened, and out strode the Alpha, his steel-grey eyes drilling into the leather biker and his nose sniffing the air, gauging the challenge before him.
Slowly, the biker took off his helmet, shaking his messy black fringe from his mischievous blue eyes as he grinned at Shadow, moving quickly forward to embrace his older brother. Lucien Stalker had finally returned home.
"Brother." Shadow's voice mumbled, raw with emotion, as he hugged Lucien tightly. It had been so long, and Lucien was only a boy when he was sent away, but he returned as a man now, all lean muscle and dangerous aura. Shadow worried that a fair few of the unmated she-wolves' hearts would be broken all over again at Lucien's return. Even as a young lad, he had a way with the ladies, and the Alpha found himself relieved that Bella was well and truly spoken for.
"Daddy, who is this?" A young boy's voice asked from behind him, and Shadow stepped back, smiling at his son, "Tarakona, this is your uncle Lucien. Lucien, meet your nephew."
Lucien was unprepared for the little ball of fire launching itself at him and was thankful for fast reflexes as he caught the six-year-old in his arms, laughing and swinging Tarakona around as his nephew cackled in glee.
"We named him Tarakona Lucien Mikhail Stalker, after all the important men in his life." Isabella's soft voice told Lucien as she stood beside her mate. He put the little boy back down, watching him scoot across the lawn, no doubt going in to say to his sisters that Uncle Lucien had arrived. Then he found himself looking into Isabella's big violet eyes, "I'm sorry about Mikhail, I wish I could've been at his funeral, but they wouldn't let me out, Izzy."Lucien admitted; Isabella's eyes welled with tears before she swiftly brushed them aside, gulping, "Mikhail and his mates died bravely to save us all, he met the Moon Goddess as a true warrior, and that's what he would have wanted." Despite her lips trembling, Isabella was strong, a formidable Luna, and Lucien admired that; even as a kid, she was always looking out for everyone else.
A squealing commotion interrupted the adults' melancholy, and as Lucien looked for the source, four dark-haired beauties ran down the steps, still dressed in their pajamas, and bolted full tit towards him...oh hell! He must have looked like a deer caught in headlights as a tsunami of excited Alpha pups bolted closer; then the chaos began.
One girl was lifted in midair by the wind and found herself blown back towards the porch, "Maria, no fair!" she screamed and pointed to the girl who was slightly in the lead.
The ground began shaking, and Shadow's eyes widened. "Abby, no!" He yelled, but it was too late, and Maria disappeared into a hole opening up at her feet.
'What the hell is going on!' Lucien's wolf snarled, freaking out at the elemental storm in front of his eyes.
"Shadow, Lucien, they're too far gone; get out of the way!" Isabella yelled, taking off running in the opposite direction, but Lucien couldn't move; his feet were rooted to the spot, watching as two remaining girls closed the distance on him; out of nowhere, black clouds formed above their location, and with a loud crash of thunder a tornado touched down, picking up another of the young girls and spiraling her off into Goddess knows where...
"What the fuck?"
Lucien didn't know what he was seeing, but he was unprepared for it, and as Shadow tackled him, sending them both sailing down a shallow embankment, Lucien watched in horror as his precious Harley went up in flames. "Noooo! Not Lucille!" He bellowed, trying to get up, but Shadow pinned him firmly on the ground, "I'll buy you another one if we make it through their tantrum." Shadow muttered grimly.
And then Lucien understood; it was like a lightbulb switched on in his brain. Four girls were causing the wind, storms, fire, and earthquakes. They were Elemental wolves; Goddess help them all.
A firestorm heralded the return of the sister taken away by the tornado. As she rode on the tips of her creation, she screamed "Serena!" looking around wildly before the rain started bucketing down on her. "Yes, Jasmine?" Shadow's fourth daughter replied sweetly, emerging from behind a statue of two wolves.
"If Tarakona can't stop them, this is going to turn ugly, "Shadow warned, grimacing at the fact that they were hiding down a bank from four six-year-old girls. Lucien was mind-boggled, his bright blue eyes popping out of their sockets at the raw display of power from his nieces.
Then the singing began, a small boy's voice ringing out clearly over the storm. Lucien could see Tarakona standing on the front porch through the rain, Isabella with her hands on his shoulders as he sang to his sisters.
“Lay down your head, and I'll sing you a lullaby. Back to the years of loo-li lai-lay, And I'll sing you to sleep, and I'll sing to you tomorrow. Bless you, with love for the road that you go….”
Tarakona's voice was clear and accurate, the hypnotic way he sang, casting a spell over all that listened. On and on, TK sang, the Irish lullaby lilting beautifully in time with how the earth itself breathed, and Lucien felt a calm feeling begin to engulf him; he turned to Shadow, only to find his brother holding his hands against his ears. At Lucien's quizzical look, Shadow muttered, "Cover your ears if you don't want to be asleep for the next twenty-four hours."
Lucien did as he was told, and as he looked around, the weather was returning to normal, the ground stopped shaking, fires ceased their raging, turning instead to phantom mist before disappearing completely. The four girls lay peacefully sleeping, scattered along the lawn. As Tarakona came to the end of his lullaby, he collapsed in Isabella's arms, and the Luna carried her son inside.
“Why didn’t Izzy fall asleep? Her hands were on TK’s shoulders the entire time?” Lucien demanded.
"Thank Goddess for that," Shadow stated, getting up and dusting himself off before reaching a hand out to his brother. Lucien took it gratefully, standing up and looking around at the destruction.
"What the fuck just happened?" He whisper yelled, earning a bark of laughter from his older brother before Shadow slung his arm around Lucien's shoulders. "That, dear brother, was your nieces fighting to be the first to greet you; clearly, TK didn't mention he already said hello. My boy's a smart one, thank Goddess."
"Be thankful you didn't see them pull a full-on tantrum; Dr. Packard calls them his regulars at the clinic; they tend to get injured a lot." Isabella piped up from the porch, and Lucien couldn't think of anything suitable to say in female company, so he just nodded. Later on, he would thank Shadow for reminding him why he never wanted sprogs of his own, bugger that! As he passed the scorched remains of his pride and joy, he sent a prayer to the Moon Goddess, hoping she liked motorcycles, Lucille was the closest thing to a mate he had, and he would miss the old girl.
Later, while munching on a homemade breakfast, Lucien learned that Maria (the firstborn) could control the weather in all its forms, making her the strongest of the girls. Jasmine (second born) produced fire and illusions, something Lucien sorely wished she had used on his bike instead of incinerating it. Abigail manipulated the land, causing natural disasters, and little Serena was an air bender. However, the most interesting thing was his nephew Tarakona, or TK as he was affectionately called.
TK was the strongest of all five siblings. His voice could manipulate things, he would sing, and whoever he sang to would do precisely what TK wanted them to do, which explained why the girls were now peacefully sleeping in their rooms. Shadow explained that TK was also developing his telepathic abilities outside of the pack link. All five siblings attended Ravenclaw Academy, a school for magical supernaturals on the far side of pack lands.
Putting his fork down after his plate was clear, Lucien stretched, "That was delicious Izzy, Shadow's a lucky man." He complimented.
They had a lovely home, it was large enough for their family, and Lucien was genuinely happy for them. Shadow and Isabella went through Hell to be together; even from the slammer, he heard of the wars, the sacrifices, and the losses. The madness consuming their father; mother's infidelity, not to mention Isabella's own family, she lost her mother, murdered by her father, watched her brother Mikhail, his mates Ethan and Elena sacrifice themselves to take Magnus back to the dark realm and carried out the death sentence of her father, having to execute him publicly for his crimes, only to find that Santos managed to escape death for the second time. And little Raeann now resided in the Warlock Royal Kingdom, ruling alongside her mate Valenar, the last of the Royal blood princes. But Shadow loved her, and Lucien had a feeling that was enough. All those two had ever needed was each other, even as kids. It was no surprise that they ended up as mates.
"So, little bro, how long are you in town for?"
There it was, the question on everyone's lips, and Lucien took his time before answering. "At this stage, bro, I'm just looking for a roof over my head and a place for my wolf to run without being shot at, so if you are okay with it, I'd like to stick around until I figure things out? A couple of months, maybe longer?"
Shadow grinned, pleased that this wasn't just a flying visit, and he had the perfect job lined up for Lucien while he was here.
"Braxton and his mate Aimee own a mechanics shop on the west side of town. They're looking for another grease monkey if you want a job while you're here? It comes with a one-bedroom apartment on-site, or if you prefer, you could pick a room at the packhouse? I'd offer you a room here, but it would be at your own risk if you catch my drift."
"No offense, bro, but your kids scare the shit outta me."Lucien admitted, and Izzy and Shadow guffawed, "They scare us too." Shadow replied.
So it was settled; after a quick call to Braxton and hugs from the Alpha couple, Lucien found himself driving Shadows Range Rover back down the mountain towards his new home.
Braxton and Aimee Hayes were not what Lucien expected.
Aimee was heavily pregnant and still as sexy as Hell, and Braxton was a giant of a man with a powerful Alpha wolf. That didn't stop either of them laughing like little kids when he told them of Lucille's fate, though, and soon Lucien was clutching at his sides as tears pooled in his eyes from laughing so hard. Just like that, they had become firm friends over the sheer destructive force of the Stalker Quins.
Lucien's biggest surprise came when Aimee stood, explaining that she had a church meeting to get to, before shrugging on the President's cut for the local MC. In a lightbulb moment, he realized why the name of the garage sounded so familiar. Aimee was heading out the door when Lucien asked, "Do you know Eric Gallows?" Her back stiffened slightly as she turned around to look at him directly.
"Why?" a stormy pair of topaz eyes bore into him as Aimee waited for his answer, and in their depths, Lucien caught a glimpse of why she was in the top dog's vest.
He hastened to reassure her, "Eric had my back when I did my first stint in Juvey. I'd heard over the years that he was in tight with Aces and Eights and hoped I would meet him again one day. He really saved me as a kid."
Aimee smiled at this, murmuring, "Yeah, that sounds like Eric. I'll let him know that you were asking about him. The club comes over for dinner most Sundays anyway, so you might get your reunion after all." The kiss she gave Braxton before she left even made Lucien's toes curl bordering on indecent, and with a bashful grin, Brax showed him his new digs for the next few months. Lucien had a feeling he was going to like it here.
It was small but clean and homely looking- certainly several steps up from the cell. Walls were colored in pale yellows, and french doors opened out to a small balcony overlooking the pack lands. The apartment was studio-style, with a modern kitchen, lounge, and bedroom located in one ample space. Lucien guessed that the two closed doors led to a bathroom and laundry area.
Tossing his keys on the counter, Lucien turned and shook Braxton’s hand, “Thank you, this is perfect, man.”
Braxton grinned, “Just returning the favor, I’ll leave you to get settled in. If there’s anything you need, just dial 555-876-442; that’s our home line. Welcome back, Lucien.” The big man nodded once and backed out as silently as he entered, leaving Lucien to unpack the little belongings he had.