Actions

Work Header

Easter Hunt

Work Text:

-

 

Easter Hunt

 

A cool breeze wafted across Nick’s face as he struggled with his bags out of the fancy delicatessen shop. It was a welcome relief to his hot flustered skin. Titling his head back Nick sighed, basking in the sunrays adorned by the gentle breeze.

 

Spring had arrived with plenty of sunshine and scattered rain showers that were pleasant and refreshing. Nick was terribly grateful as the winter had been rather wet and dark so the emergence of the sun was a blessed relief.

 

“Tough day Nick?” Hank’s amused voice cut through his solitary contemplation and Nick turned to see his friend standing by his car, obviously just arrived.

 

“Hello Hank. Yes, I’ve just picked up the Eggs for the children and Monroe insisted I brought organic and Fairtrade. So I had to drive here and do it since he’s taking a church class now on some sort of obscure element on religion and if we leave it longer it will be Easter Sunday.”

 

Hank laughed even as he looked sympathetic. “Yeah, that sucks, but at least the kids are in school right?”

 

“No, it’s Easter break already – Easter is only four days away.”

 

“Wow, Nick you sure leave it to the last second. On holiday? How did you manage to slip out, please tell me you haven’t left them alone.”

 

“No, they’re with Bud, the poor man.”

 

Hank’s mouth sagged open, “You left an Eisbiber alone with two Blutbaden children?”

 

“Hey, they’re not going to eat him!” protested Nick as he put the Eggs into the car, gasping as he did.

 

“Uh huh, so what is Bud doing with them?”

 

“All this sun has meant the children can get out of the house and go in the garden, which means slightly less noise and destruction inside.”

 

Nick shut the door and got ready to jump into the driver’s seat. “The garden is Monroe’s domain so he may have a heart-attack, but I swear the twins are purposefully trying to drive me insane. Remind me Hank to aim for a girl next time and not two rowdy boys.”

 

His friend chuckled, no pity whatsoever.

 

“Bastard,” Nick said with feeling, though with a smile twisting his mouth, “I do fear for the - admittedly tasty, but don’t tell Monroe that! - vegetable patch as at least one of the twin’s was adamant that vegetables were for cows and not Blutbaden.”

 

“Ouch, is Michael still crying about that? I thought Blutbaden children had to have meat otherwise they ah tend to go crazy and start launching themselves at everybody?” Hank said, alarm ringing through his tone.

 

Nick held up a placating hand, “Don’t worry, even Monroe admits to that and to be fair Monroe lets it slide and I take care of the meaty menu. But the arguments Michael and Monroe have on vegetarian Blutbaden are enough for me to want to pack my trailer, snatch the other quiet twin and flee.”

 

“You don’t mean that.” Hank gently put a hand on his shoulder which was comforting, but Nick did feel sadness wash over him. “Of course I don’t, I’d grab both.” Hank’s horrified expression made Nick quickly add, “but seriously while Michael and Monroe are at loggerheads most of the time I love them both and they love each other. Just typical posturing.”

 

“Yeah, well, if you need to talk just call.”

 

Nick grinned, Hank’s warm affection was greatly appreciated, “Thanks Hank, but I’m sure it’s a temporary thing. By the way, why are you here?”

 

Hank grimaced, “Rosalee wanted some specific tea and as long as I’m crashing at her place while mine is fumigated I better keep on her good side.”

 

Nick snorted, “You could stay with us.”

 

“And two active children and a Blutbad to send me to fancy shops too? At least Rosalee is good-looking and eats meat.”

 

Nick rolled his eyes and waving got in the car and departed.

 

= = =

 

Hank’s conversation haunted Nick as he ducked through the forest outside their house.

 

Monroe and he had moved once they had children, to more a secluded location on the outskirts of Portland. They could set up barriers both physical and non-physical to keep trespassers and any enemies away better than in a bustling city. The issue partly was that their children when they experienced the first changes could be loud and not easy to control. A fear borne out when David had howled and cried the first few days while his twin brother Michael had actually spent the time comforting his brother.

 

Sweet if strange.

 

Nick pushed his way through some bracken and to the tree house. Ensuring the bags were looped over his arms, he climbed up. He knew his children wouldn’t climb up without permission since they understood already that daddy was a Grimm and that many Wesen – even their own kindred – would attempt to kill him.

 

So unless daddy or their father said so, neither twin ventured near here. Perfect place to conceal the Easter eggs.

 

Hauling himself in Nick crawled through the trapdoor and shut it behind him. In the dim lighting he could just make out the sleeping bags and ‘table’ crafted to create a homesih appeal. In Nick’s eyes it seemed more like a den, but as both his children and husband appeared offended by such comparisons Nick remained quiet on the subject.

 

Deciding the travel box was the best place Nick rose and carefully walked over, stepping over…

 

“Bones?” Nick bent down, foot slipping and crunching on more, “Oh Michael really? Don’t I feed you enough meat that you have to hunt?”

 

Sighing, Nick cleaned up the mess then stashed the eggs in the box. It was a lovely thing crafted in the Black Forest with the famous cuckoo clocks carved into the polished surface. On either end of the box were an engrained wolf and a hooded human, lines painted in black, shaded gold. The hooded human Nick liked to joke was him as Red Riding Hood. Well, it was him, symbolising a Grimm, but the red Riding Hood aspect was Nick playing games.

 

Not as good though as the games where he and Monroe re-enacted Red Riding Hood in the forest. Flushing in the lonely treehouse Nick gathered his thoughts and exited after one last search for incriminating evidence.

 

Distracted as he climbed down the rustling only registered due to his training. Suddenly alert Nick dropped the last yard to the ground and immediately knelt, knife drawn from his boot pocket.

 

He cursed the fact he was without a gun and scanned the perimeter. Lush green forest stared back at him, the small plants swaying in the gentle breeze.

 

The sunlight filtered through to create a patterned effect and Nick squinted. Nothing. Just about to relax the rustling came again and closer. Heart thumping, Nick dropped to his belly and contemplated his chances of reaching for his poison darts without alerting whatever it was to his position: not much of one unfortunately.

 

A light rain started; little droplets that hardly made an impact but after a while would soak you to the skin. Now it created a mist that Nick had to blink to see properly through, thankfully his Grimm nature enabled him to see reasonably better than average humans. The slight edge it gave could mean life or death. Nick was also very aware that his children and Bud were in the house only metres away. He was frightened for them but he swallowed that emotion knowing it would dull his logic and actions. So he waited and searched for the increasing thump thump that was approaching.

 

Then out of the gloom it appeared.

 

“What?” uttered Nick, barely moving the grass blades with his breath, as he stared astonished at the sight.

 

A white rabbit had materialised in the near distance, the rain curtain obscuring some of its movements. Tawny areas on its hind legs and on the ears reminded Nick of a lion’s colouring. The rabbit was hopping yet not with the same gait as its smaller cousin, more of a longer stride in-between. Through the trees it ‘walked’ and Nick felt his throat go dry at the bag slung over its head and shoulder. Something colourful was poking out from the material, which made Nick believe his eyesight was no longer Grimm powered.

 

As soon as it came it disappeared and Nick after a good ten minutes stood, shaken.

 

“Easter eggs?” he asked bewildered.

 

Stumbling back to the house Nick realised he had just seen the Easter Bunny.

 

= = =

 

The twins and Bud had been concerned for him, but Nick had assured them he was fine. He had just fallen that’s all. Apart from Michael they appeared to believe him and Bud left not long after.

 

Nick hadn’t wished to ask about the Easter Bunny in case he had seen things. Perhaps the rain-mist had distorted the image? Trying to maintain that belief Nick worked in the kitchen for his and the children’s supper. He would do the meat portion, Monroe the vegetable part.

 

As he worked Michael and David were practising their howls and Woge. Nick thanked the inventor of double-glazing, because if he had heard his children on a dark night as a weary traveller he would be either running for the hills or wielding a pitchfork. Glancing up as he rinsed his hands from beating pork chops, Nick choked. The rabbit was there! Sniffing at the edge of their cultivated garden. This time there was no mistaking it: about the size of an Alsatian and wearing a bag and a brightly coloured waistcoat Nick was certain hadn’t been there before. The Rabbit was testing the carrot bed and scratching at the damp soil.

 

Nick bit his lip and quelled the desperate desire to rush outside. His children would be undefended if he left. Remaining still Nick watched incredulously as the rabbit hopped closer, nose still on the ground, long ears twitching. The movements jostled the bag and again colour flashed.

 

And yes!  Those were eggs!

 

The Easter Bunny had come to Portland.

 

He must have issued some noise for the rabbit looked up, dark eyes meeting his before bounding away.

 

“Daddy?” Michael stood there, poised and ready to leap, red eyes scary after what he had witnessed.

 

“Nothing son, just a flicker of the imagination.”

 

Nick could tell when Michael smelled the lie, but chose to be quiet. Those red eyes surveyed him then his boy was beside him peering at the meat eagerly.

 

“I’ll help daddy.” Nick smiled, happy, yet he noticed how frequently Michael checked the windows and tilted his head to listen in on his brother, now gleefully occupied with sole occupancy of the TV remote.

 

It seemed his eldest had inherited all those police & Grimm genes. Nick was sad yet proud.

 

= = =

 

Later when having dinner, Monroe ignoring the pork chops and Michael who was literally wolfing it down and lapping at the sauce which had blood in it, Nick watched anxiously.

Nick knew Monroe would never mention the fact that Nick added blood to their twin’s food, but it was necessary to prevent bloodshed. Especially in the case of Michael who seemed to grow hungrier and thirstier for raw meat each day – now that was something Nick had to discuss with Monroe, but only once the Easter Bunny was sorted. Pushing his pork chop around Nick decided to clear his throat to gain the attention of his brood. David immediately paid attention, grey eyes curious while Monroe smiled amused. Michael however was alert, mouth still industrially chewing the remnants of his chop, sauce dripping down his mouth.

 

“Yes darling?” asked Monroe.

 

Nick rolled his eyes, “Thanks sweetie,” Monroe’s eyes flashed. “How are my dear sons? Prepared for Easter?”

 

David grinned, bouncing in his seat, “We’re painting the eggs tonight! Father said so!”

 

Nick laughed, “Awesome. Now I can see you’re finished so why don’t you go into the living room and pull out the paints?”

 

David yipped in delight and raced off. Michael stayed where he was, lapping the sauce on his plate. Monroe gently reached over and picked up the plate, Michael glaring at him.

 

“Would you like more sauce?”

 

The surprise was painful, but Nick saw Monroe persevere with a wince. His husband trying to make amends with their eldest son, no matter his own hurt.

 

“Yes father.”

 

Monroe ladled more on, careful not to breathe deeply.

 

“Thank you father,” quickly Michael bent and drank deeply from the plate. Nick was thankful it had raised edges. Knowing he had no choice but to continue, Nick ensured he was casual.

 

“Monroe?”

 

“Hmmmm?” Monroe was busy keeping an eye on Michael, one hand still cradling the pot for sauce.

 

“What Wesen represents the Easter Bunny?”

 

Even Michael stopped drinking eyes wide in astonishment.

 

Monroe was staring at him as if he was crazy. “None Nick.”

 

“But Santa Claus…”

 

“I tell you one time about the Gefrierengeber and you start be- thinking that the Easter Bunny is a Wesen?” saved Monroe at the last, since their son was present.

 

“So no rabbits bound about carrying eggs?”

 

Monroe now looked a bit concerned, “No Nick. Are you sure you’re okay?”

 

Nick forced a smile, wondering the same thing, “Yes, just a bit tired. Early night I think.”

 

Monroe agreed, “Yes well, if you want to rest I can go out tonight?”

 

“No, I’ll head out and come back, just a hasty patrol.”

 

Monroe still reflected worry in his warm brown loving eyes, but he let it slide and instead smiled at the remaining twin.

 

“Ready to paint?”

 

“Yes father!” Yet as Michael followed he exchanged a strange gaze with Nick.

 

Nick was uneasy.

 

= = =

 

Midnight was approaching when Nick crept downstairs, Monroe sound asleep in bed. He had been weary after days of working on a special clock and then his ‘class’ of today. Painting with the children had topped him off, so he was off quickly.

 

Nick checked their children: both Michael and David were tucked in their beds sleeping silently. Great affection for his twins bursting through him, Nick shut the door and descended down. Only then switching on his torch he smiled at the colourful eggs scattered on the table. The hard-boiled eggs to be coloured would be done on Saturday, these were wooden. Bright zig-zags, spots and lines covered the eggs in topaz, emerald green and bright ruby. Paper strands also littered the table ready to drape over the Easter baskets.

 

Renewed by the sight Nick determined to solve this mystery and went outside. He checked his coat for his gun and poison darts and boot for his knife. Satisfied Nick almost shrieked as he felt a cold tongue touch his wrist. Steadying himself Nick would have lashed out if he hadn’t heard the small voice, “Daddy? It’s me, don’t be frightened.”

 

Disbelief at how close his son had come, Nick turned and lowered his torch so it pointed at his feet. It was enough to illuminate Michael standing just an inch away, smiling, sharp canines resting on his bottom lip, eyes scarlet.

 

“Son, what are you doing here?” hissed Nick.

 

“Hunting the Easter Bunny daddy, you can’t do it yourself.”

 

Nick smiled at his son’s bravery. “Yes I can dear. Now let’s return you to bed.”

 

Michael shook his head vigorously, furious, “No daddy. If I can sneak up on you so can the Easter Bunny. And I’ll howl if you make me.”

 

Gaping at his disobedient boy Nick wasn’t sure if anger or love were bigger emotions. Finally, knowing that Michael would follow anyway and Monroe would deem him wishful at best for believing that the Easter Bunny existed, (and Nick wanted to ensure his family was safe), Nick consented.

 

It appeared his eldest twin was going to be a protector no matter what Nick wished.

 

“Very well, but obey me son.”

 

Michael smirked, “Yes daddy.”

 

He pressed closer and sighing Nick hugged his son who rubbed his cold nose into his leg. Together they walked into the dark, only Nick’s torch lighting the way, for the stars were veiled.

 

Shivering at the chill tang to the air Nick stopped by the flowerbed and crouching touched the soil. It was definitely disturbed. His son bent and sniffed.

 

“Funny scent daddy, like a rabbit but not.”

 

That was interesting. Nick figured out a question his son would understand, “Definitely not a rabbit? Or a Wesen – can you smell the difference?”

 

Michael raked the soil and growled, “Yes, each have different perfumes as father says and it’s not either daddy. It’s weird.”

 

Nick was worried, what was he bringing his son into? However, after a moment scenting his son rose and pointed into the forest.

 

“That way daddy.”

 

Rising, Nick caught his son’s hand and led him into the dark trees surrounding their house. A curious sensation suffused the space between the tall towers keeping guard over their house. It was as if his clothes and skin were being brushed by a force, a promise in a way for something to come.

 

The strain on his hand made Nick tilt his head to his son who was peering into the dark with fascination. He was fully Woged and when he shifted his head to Nick, he saw the hunger gleaming in the deep wells. It added to the eldritch feel to the place and Nick swallowed the lump of fear.

 

“What’s happening son?”

 

“It’s over by the tree daddy,” Michael now padded on feet so quiet Nick thought he should have been a cat.

 

Relying on his son now not to trip them over stray twigs Nick dimmed the torch’s glow and stuck close until he knew where his son was leading him: the treehouse.

 

Halting then, Nick pulled his annoyed boy back and made him sit. “Is it inside or at the bottom?”

 

Michael understood and opened his mouth to breathe in deep, ears twitching for noise. “Inside,” His words were feather soft yet dark.

 

Gazing at him with woeful eyes, Michael whispered, “Can I eat him daddy?”

 

“The Easter Bunny?” asked Nick horrified.

 

“Yes.”

 

“Why?”

 

“On our territory. Our family must protect. Starving.”

 

Nick shuddered at the raw pain and protectiveness brimming in his son’s voice. “Only if he hurts us Michael, otherwise we let him go.”

 

Disappointment gleamed in the night, but his son consented with a snap.

 

“Then lead on daddy. It’s waiting for us.”

 

That was the scariest prospect Nick had heard tonight. Rallying his will Nick stood and they crept towards the treehouse, pushing past wet bracken still holding moisture from the earlier rain-mist. Up ahead the tall thick column of the tree supporting their treehouse swam into view.

 

Against the dim light of the torch Nick was forced to use, it appeared massive and almost eerie, the shadows dancing away from it appearing as ominous gaping black holes.

 

Yet as Nick managed to push Michael to the side and cower behind a rather pathetic slim tree trunk, they witnessed the strangest sight Nick had ever seen – and that was saying something.

 

The Easter Bunny, (if it was really was that), was climbing down the same ladder used by Nick earlier in the day when life was relatively normal.

 

Mouth sagging open, Nick watched as furry ivory paws gripped with surety the rungs and the bag flapped against strong muscular thighs. The iridescent waistcoat was neat and seemed made of some kind of silk.

 

Nick sensed his son shifting beside him, movements noiseless, only the brush of air indicating his change in position. Glancing at his eldest twin he saw Michael leaning forward, mouth open a fraction in surprise, his red eyes no longer bloodthirsty, but curious and excited.

 

Then, before he could stop him, his boy leaped out from the cover and asked in the politest voice Nick had ever heard him use:

 

“Good evening Mr Bunny. What are you doing? That’s our treehouse you just climbed out of.”

 

The heart-attack Nick was having was exacerbated when the rabbit turned and actually replied in smooth pleasant tones, “Good evening Mr Wolf, I am simply leaving my eggs in your house. I liked the look of it and that it is protected by your wards.”

 

Michael licked his lips. “Eggs? Are you the Easter Bunny? You don’t smell like a normal rabbit or wesen.”

 

Nick at this point stumbled out, joining the party, deciding he would have to ground Michael until he was fourteen for this fright.

 

“It seems our wards are not sufficient against you so why should they work against any of your foes?”

 

“Daddy!” exclaimed Michael, scandalised. “Forgive daddy, he’s worried.” Red eyes assessed the rabbit. “I can smell you mean no harm, but are you the Easter Bunny? And I suppose I can’t eat you.”

 

Nick wanted to put his face in his hands at his son’s direct approach. As soon as he survived this ordeal he was teaching both of his children subtly.

 

The rabbit however appeared very amused. “I am the closest thing to your Easter Bunny, but not really. I’m a spirit if you like. I move between worlds. But you can call me the Easter Bunny, it’ll do.”

 

The rabbit adjusted his bag and looked at Nick, “As for my enemies, they cannot cross your barriers. I can because I mean no harm and have good magic of my own. As for my eggs…they’re life, hope…good fortune.” The rabbit smiled, dark eyes flickering with an inner light, teeth strong and he smoothed his elegant whiskers.

 

“Upon hatching they inject a dash of goodness and hope into the world, to balance out evil and despair.”

 

Nick blinked, “You mean you’re here to balance the scales in our favour?”

 

The rabbit patted his pocket, “Yes. Now you see why I need somewhere safe for my eggs.”

 

Michael edged forward and the rabbit turned to face him, attending solely to the Blutbad inching nearer.

 

“So you’re a good spirit. Cool.” Michael ran a red tongue over his pointed teeth, his wolfish face hungry, “Can we see your eggs? I’ll guard them carefully, like I protect my brother.”

 

The rabbit debated the idea then consented, “Of course, but something for your appetite first.”

 

He rummaged in his bag and withdrew a beautiful rainbow coloured egg, which had a thick band running across the centre, above it and below were diamond shapes with a medley of hues.

 

It was pretty and uplifting to see in the torch-light. The rabbit held it to Michael who darted forward and took it, dashing back to Nick.

 

He examined the egg and simply tucked it inside his coat jacket. “Thanks Mr Bunny. It’s magic isn’t it?”

 

“Why do you think that?” The rabbit smiled.

 

“Because it’s happy. I can smell it, taste it and hear it. The music is wonderful.”

 

“Then it’s magic. Hold it when your hunger is too consuming and you shall have extra willpower. However, it cannot stop you, only give you a little boost of strength.”

 

Michael nodded, clearly content with his gift, but for Nick this was the greatest present he could have received from the Easter Bunny. “Thank you.”

 

The gratefulness was profound and Nick knew the rabbit understood. Dark eyes now friendly, he began to hop away.

 

Michael called after him, “We’ll keep them safe!”

 

“I know you shall!” cried the rabbit and then to their astonishment he faded as he bounded away, turning into a fine mist that refracted all the colours of the rainbow before dispersing into the forest.

 

Stunned Nick wanted simply to sit, but his son urged him up and excitedly ran for the ladder, climbing with an agility Nick missed. Hurrying after his boy Nick hauled himself up and into the treehouse and bumped into Michael who was staring in awe at the cache.

 

In one of the twin’s sleeping bags was a finely made nest from twigs and cloth. Within a heap the eggs dazzled in his torch. They were splendid and Nick couldn’t describe their beauty or the hope they inspired or the goodness they emitted like sunlight. In the small space it was a heady sensation that infused Nick with  pure joy.

 

By the expression on his son’s face he experienced the same overwhelming peace. Slinking towards the nest his son pulled out his egg and cradling it in his hands positioned his body so he was facing the entrance. Scarlet eyes glinted and Nick watched as his son settled in for the duration.

 

Sighing Nick did the same. “We forgot to ask when the eggs would hatch.”

 

Michael stared at him incredulously, “On Easter Sunday morning of course daddy.”

 

Nick rolled his eyes, the ‘silly you’ at the end was a given.

 

Instead of replying Nick snuck an arm about his son’s shoulders and pulled Michael close who snuffled and relaxed. Michael was quiet the rest of the night until the sun filtered through the windows and they had to leave so as not to alarm Monroe or David.

 

Nick made Michael promise to keep it a secret knowing that Monroe would have a fit. Michael was as good as ever and swore to stay silent even if he was doubtful about lying. He was more agreeable however when Nick allowed him to catch, kill and devour a few innocent birds that morning.

 

= = =

 

 

Easter morning dawned bright and glorious. It was even promising to be a warm day as Nick stretched and rose from the foot of the tree trunk.

 

“Michael?”

 

Nick heard the trapdoor opening and Michael’s voice, “Yes daddy?”

 

“It’s morning, anything happen?” Nick surveyed the area one last time ere he ascended the ladder. He espied Michael’s face peering down at him, grey eyes shining.

 

“Yes! Come and look!”

 

Yanking himself the last few rungs Nick was helped in by his son who scrabbled at him. Wincing as sharp claws raked his flesh and left blood lines Nick inhaled sharply when he saw the egg nest.

 

A shimmering nimbus hung over the eggs, slowly expanding as the sun grew stronger. Into the quiet dawn a sweet music began – or was that continue, for Michael had said he had heard music late in Easter Saturday night?

 

Trembling Nick hugged his son to him.

 

A ray touched the nest and as if on cue the eggs began to crack, lines coursing through their shells as veins. The pure music, lifting their hearts and filling their beings with a lightness consisting of joy, peace and hope was louder.

 

Then as the music reached a high note the eggs broken open and sparks of light flashing off a river of gold flowed forth. Michael struggled in his arms and murmured, “Not really there. Smells good though.”

 

“How can you tell?”

 

“Just can.”

 

Nick grinned and squeezed his son as the river curled over the lip of the nest and defying physics went into the air, expanding until it became particles which floated through the walls and into the world.

 

The light dimmed and the music wafted along with the river so that a hush entered the space. Breathless Nick slumped and felt Michael wriggle free and crawl to the nest. He sniffed the nest and shrugged before gently dismantling it, wrapping the twigs and cloth in the sleeping bag.

 

“Have to bury,” he mumbled.

 

“Okay, I’ll carry them.”

 

His son grinned and bounded over. Nick followed Michael through the trees until they reached an especially bushy area. There Michael stooped and clawed open a pathway through the thorny bush.

 

“I bury my bones here,” he said cheerfully.

 

Nick grimaced but crawled in and had the strange pleasure of seeing his son dig a hole to bury the Easter Nest along with his ‘prizes’. Once completed, Nick took Michael to a nearby stream and they hurriedly washed the worst dirt off.

 

Monroe had brought their story that Nick would keep Michael entertained with ‘Grimm training’ and Monroe would focus on David who wished to learn clock-making, so they could do the past two days of sentinel duty. However, too much dirt and Monroe might wonder what one earth was going on and Nick  had no idea how to explain ‘Easter Bunny’, ‘spirits’ and ‘magical happy eggs’ without actual proof.

 

The chocolate eggs were already safely moved home and Monroe would deal with them.

 

Exhausted yet rejuvenated and cleaned they headed home hoping to return without suspicion.

 

Sneaking in, Nick was relieved to see the table of chocolate eggs and no sign of his youngest twin son or Monroe. Michael glanced at the eggs but seemed to decide he had to have his brother with him for he dashed for the stairs and on feet that made no sound went up, banking left at the top.

 

Nick followed and smiled as he heard Michael’s cry, “Eggs brother! Let’s eat!”

 

David’s squeal was delightful and two rambunctious boys were spilling out into the corridor, the twins hugging fiercely, clearly missing each other after two days and nights separation.

 

Monroe appeared with a loving smile, curly hair mussed and beard unclipped. “Hey stranger, where have you been?”

 

Nick strolled forward and kissed his husband deeply and murmured, “Wishing I could curl up to you in bed, so I was warm and had plenty of kisses.”

 

Monroe snorted and licked his lips, delving in deeply, leaving Nick breathless, “Hmmmmmm, then I suggest the rest of the holidays we spend together and not hunting.”

 

“Agreed.” Sinking into Monroe’s hot embrace Nick was relaxing and hoping for more when distant shouts ruined the moment.

 

Monroe growled, “We better join them before they eat their weight in chocolate.”

 

“That’s your fault wolf-man.”

 

Monroe smacked him on the backside, “Says the man who feeds them pancakes drenched in every syrup and sauce imaginable on Easter morning…and I’m not even talking about the copious bacon and sausages you pile on.”

 

“Hey,” untangling himself Nick started back to the living room, “half of those are vegetarian.”

 

“Yeah I know.”

 

Monroe followed him into a living room frenzy. The painted eggs from four days ago were scattered about the table and on stands. The chocolate eggs had been equally divided but Michael was in the process of portioning off his eggs so his beloved brother had more.

 

Nick shook his head, he adored his twins: they showed such care for each other that it was reassuring. Michael continued doing this as David protested he needed to keep some, to which the elder replied, “Not until you have enough.” Determination was set in Michael’s tight mouth and David just pouted and climbing onto the couch behind his brother, began brushing his brother’s hair. The motion appeared to soothe the twins so they had kept it from their early childhood and it was endearing.

Monroe, who had vanished briefly, reappeared with a mysterious smile. He was lugging a cold box.

 

“Michael,” he called, setting it down, “I have an extra present for you. Happy Easter!”

 

Baffled, Michael paused and warily jumped off and approached, David following, looking excited. So he knew, thought Nick intrigued. The eldest twin crouched and snatching his gaze to Nick and back opened the box cautiously.

 

A shriek emitted from his son that froze Nick’s blood. Monroe’s grip kept him from leaping forward and Nick realised why.

 

Michael dragged out slabs of packaged meat and even a couple of hares and birds. Staring up in disbelief at his father Michael questioned without speaking.

 

“Kinda noticed son that you’re not fond of chocolate so thought you’d prefer meat. Had excellent help from David too.”

 

Michael was too overcome to say anything and just launched himself at his father hugging him, crying. Monroe crushed him and whispered, “Love you always son, no matter what you eat.” Sniffling Michael blinked shocked and content eyes at his father, and breaking away did the same to his brother ere stopping to take stock momentarily.

 

Only then did he go over to the table, settle down and finish checking the chocolate. Michael then calmly reached for a hare and without warning ripped into it, crunching through bone and sinew. Nick slipped his arms about Monroe and murmured, “I love you more than you realise and will thank you properly later.”

 

“Hey he’s my son too and next time we’re having trouble, you don’t need to speak to Hank.”

 

Oops.

 

“Sorry.”

 

“No need,” Monroe kissed him.

 

The sound of chocolate being eaten, moans and flesh being devoured interrupted them and Nick groaned, “You’re tiding this up darling. “Put down a blanket.”

I’ll deal with breakfast.”

 

“Damn.”