Upside down

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“Food’s ready!” Someone yells from outside.

“That’s good timing,” Christopher smirks, he was just done showing Damon around the house. “Let’s go.”

When they both step outside onto the porch, they see everyone gathered around a large table, chairs around it. There are little fairy lights hanging in the trees around the garden and on the beams of the porch. Little candles are lit up, making it all very cosy and intimate.

“Wow, this looks amazing.” Damon looks surprised.

“It does, doesn’t it?” Chris smiles at him. “We’re good at making cosy atmospheres, I guess.”

Damon walks over to Sasha and gives her a kiss on her head from behind. When she looks up, she smiles. “Hey honey,” the other women at the table smile at them.

“You guys look so cute together!” Elianne exclaims.

“Well, thank you Elly,” Damon smiles and looks proudly at his mate.

“Are we complete?” Fredric asks from the head of the table. They all nod and everyone gets seated.

“Let’s make a toast,” Chris suggests, and everyone takes their drink in their hands to raise it. “Family isn’t whose blood you carry, it’s who you love, and who loves you back.” He looks deeply into Jolena’s eyes.

“Cheers to that,” Fredric smiles.

“Cheers,” they all say in unison.

Food is passed on between all of them, drinks passed on and overall they have a really good time. After a while of eating and drinking and chatting away, Leo tries to get his father’s attention. “Hey dad!”

Fredric looks at him, as does all the rest and they’re quiet at once. “What is it, son?”

“I actually feel a little sad for you, you know.”

Fredric raises his eyebrows, “and why is that? Is it because I’m the only one who is the adult here?” His eyes twinkle, the brothers chuckle.

“No, it’s not that,” Leo smiles too. “It’s actually because you’re the only one that is single right now.”

“Huh?” Nick frowns.

“Leo! What are you saying? You don’t talk about such things in front of dad!” Christopher scolds his little brother.

“It’s fine,” Fredric raises a hand to Christopher to stop him. Then an amused smile appears on his face. “What do you really want to say, Leo?”

“Well,” Leo smiles, but there’s no teasing traceable in his gaze. “Rumour has it that second chance mates exist. Like when a mate passes away, or breaks the mating bond, there’s a new mate waiting to be found.”

“And?” Fredric’s amused smile is still on his face.

“Well, don’t you feel alone? Lonely? Wouldn’t you like to feel some love again? I’m serious, dad. If you ever would want to find a new mate, either chosen or fated, I would support you, dad.”

“Is that so?” Fredric’s amusement is audible in his voice.

“Yes.” Leo looks around at his brothers. “Don’t you think that dad deserves to be happy just like us? Don’t you think that he can have again what we all have? To share his worries, his happiness, his love, everything that’s important to him. To come home to someone rather that coming home to an empty home?”

Christopher frowns thoughtfully. Nick looks at him as if looking for support. Then Chris nods and Nick follows. Leo looks at Damon. “Damon what do you think?”

Damon instantly blushes as every eye is on him now. “I don’t know. I think that if he’s ready for it, he is free to do what ever he wants. I don’t think we have anything to say about that. It’s up to him to decide, not up to us.”

“But we can give our blessing, can’t we? As it’s a bit about our mother too.” Leo counters.

“Still, you can’t force him to do anything, Leo.” Damon now frowns. “If he ain’t ready, or simply doesn’t want to, you can’t make him fall in love with someone. You just can’t. It honestly is up to him, not to us.”

“Thank you, Damon,” Fredric smiles gratefully. “Though I get what you want to say, Leo and thank you for that too. You are actually saying what Damon is saying. That if I feel the need to share my life with someone again, you will support me, no matter what. Right?”

Leo nods and smiles, his eyes glossy.

“Well, thank you son, I appreciate it.”

Christopher looks at his father. “Are you- Are you going to find love again, dad?”

“I don’t know son, we’ll see what happens, okay?”

Later that night, it’s just the brothers outside. The kids were already put to sleep, Fredric had already retreated to his room, and the women were all inside looking at a movie. The men were sitting in some lawn chairs around a fire. “This is the life guys,” Christopher leans back his head in his chair and looks at the stars. “Whiskey in hand, a smoke in the other and only air between you and the stars.” He smiles.

They all nod.

“Damon, are you truly going to start up that garage you were talking about earlier?” Leo asks.

Damon looks at him and nods. “Sure, why?”

Chris and Nick look at Damon. “You’re going to open a garage?” Nick asks surprised.

“I’m thinking about it, yes.” Damon smiles.

“That’s cool,” Chris smiles too, “need some help?”

“Well, I could actually use some help, but not with the garage. I’m going to renovate the little cabin higher up on the mountain, if you want, you can come and help me. I need to get it ready before Sasha gets to far into her pregnancy. I need her settled in before the urge to nest becomes too strong, I can’t have her stress over that.”

They all nod. “We’ll all help,” Nick smiles.

“Don’t you have to go back to your pack soon?” Leo wonders.

“I don’t know. My Alpha is my father-in-law; but is Damon’s father-in-law too, when I tell him that I’m staying here to get his daughter settled in, I don’t think it’ll be that much of a problem. Krane is quite humane, you know.”

“It’s actually quite interesting how you are related to each other. You are not just brothers, but also brothers-in-law,” Leo laughs, “weird.”

“So, when are you going up?” Chris looks at Damon.

“I don’t know, tomorrow?” Damon shrugs. “I’ll have to recheck to see what needs to be done. The last time I was there, I got abducted.”

“Oh god, I never thought about that,” Nick looks shocked. “Will you be alright there? Won’t it be too confronting for you?”

Damon shrugs, “I’ll get over it. And if not, I’ll just talk to your dad. Err, our dad.”

“Let us know when you go up, we’ll go with you,” Christopher assures him, “you shouldn’t go there on your own when it’s the first time after the things that happened. Just let us know, alright?”

Damon nods and smiles gratefully, “I will, thanks.”

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