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Mark Jensen leaned against their car and watched his son sulk, this wasn’t something that was new because Jake’s emotions were mercurial, ranging from the happy go lucky child that they were more familiar with to something so feral that Mark wondered how they ever thought they’d be able to teach him how to hide the wolf that lurked beneath fragile human skin.

The seven year old hadn’t been pleased when they’d told him that he wouldn’t be allowed to enter the pack meeting but this wasn't the time to have cubs running under foot, not with one pack left alpha-less and the lingering fear of discovery, after one of the younger members had almost been caught mid-change by a human, still hanging over their heads like a dark cloud.

A pack without an alpha was unstable, like a hive of bees without a queen and they needed to get the matter sorted quickly but it also meant that the eight largest wolf packs in the area were now gathered in one place, tempers would be running high and Mark had predicted at least one fight for dominance to break out amongst the younger wolves, the older wolves were less likely to let themselves be drawn into all out brawls though that didn’t mean that the meetings couldn’t turn bloody in the blink of an eye. It wasn’t something he wanted Jake to be exposed to yet, so he was willing to put up with the cold shoulder the boy was giving him until Martina found the group that would be minding the cubs.

It wasn’t that Jacob was a difficult child per se but he was the product of an alpha-alpha pairing and Mark had seen the signs fairly early when instead of cowering from him Jake had stood his ground even in wolf form until he was good and ready to back down. It was something that made his chest swell with pride and fear in equal measures because alphas were difficult to raise under the simplest circumstances and nothing about Jake had ever been simple. Worst case scenario Mark would have to send the boy off to another pack when he hit puberty or, if he was lucky, Jake would develop some sense of self control, not that he was banking on that hope but it was something.

Glancing away from where Jake was now bent over his game, pulling the thing to pieces even though he’d only gotten it last week, Mark smiled as he caught sight of Martina making her way towards him, her golden hair glinting in the sun as she talked to the woman beside her. The woman’s dark hair flowed past her shoulder’s ending just above her waist and Mark could see the predatory gleam in her big brown eyes from where he stood and he knew that she wasn’t someone to be trifled with. She was carrying a solemn faced little boy against her hip, his dark curls mingling with hers where he’d pressed their cheeks together.

Martina paused in front of Mark, flashing him that smile that he’d usually seen mirrored on his son’s face before something blew up.

“Mark, this is Maria and she’d offered to watch Jake for us.” Martina explained and Mark nodded at the woman

“Thank you. He’s been a bit....” he paused trying to find the best words to describe Jake’s mood and coming up blank

Maria laughed, waving her free hand “It is fine. Carlos often is....” she twirled her fingers in a similar gesture that Mark guessed meant unexplainable because that was the only word he could think of to fully describe Jacob “Hopefully they will get along well.”

“Jake talks a lot, it’s how he copes when he’s nervous.” Mark explained, shifting so that Maria could see Jake.

The boy had obviously heard them talking and had abandoned his find. Mark smirked at the way Jake was watching the new boy curiously, this would be the first that Jake would get to interact with another cub though Carlos seemed less than impressed.

“Carlos has promised to be a good boy, haven’t you?” Maria cooed, chuckling at the way the little boy scrunched his nose in displeasure.

“Can’t you walk?”

Jake’s voice had them turning around in time to see the blond stick his head out the window, nostril flaring as he caught the new scents.

Carlos shot him a cold look before turning away.

“Carlos, do not be like that!” Maria chided, lowering the boy to the ground before turning to Jake “He can walk but he often wanders off, it’s the only way I can be sure where he is.” she explained

Obviously not taking Carlos’ disregard as rejection Jake hopped from the car as soon as Mark opened the door, circling his mother once so that he could peek at the strange boy without him seeing.

Mark bit his lip not to laugh out loud at the nervous look on Jake’s face, usually his son bulldozed into any situation regardless but this time it seemed that the blond was actually worried about the reception that he’d get.

The adults were silent, watching as Carlos’ little nose twitched once when he caught Jake’s scent on the air. Turning he narrowed his eyes at the blond, lips pursed “Que?!”

Jake frowned taking a step back “What?”

“That is what I said, que?!” Carlos demanded again

Shaking his head in confusion Jake squared his little shoulders and took a step forward “I’m sorry I didn’t think you could walk,” he whispered

Carlos stared at him for a moment, finally seeing what he’d been searching for in Jake’s expression he shrugged “I get lost.” he offered up

Jake’s face brightened and he took another step closer “Yeah? Mom says I don’t remember where I’m going a lot but there’s always something way more interesting....”

Carlos nodded in understanding, cocking his head to the side. “We could not be lost together?” he offered up and though his tiny voice was gruff, a light flush spread across his nose as he waited for Jake’s response.

“Ok!” Jake grinned, grabbing the boy’s hand and missing the surprised look that Carlos shot his way “If I get lost I’ll tell you and that way you’ll know and we won’t be lost because you’ll know where we are!” he rambled, leading Carlos away from the car and leaving the adults to hurry after them.

Maria was watching the whole scene in awe “Carlos never talks to strangers.” she whispered, schooling her expression when her son turned and shot her a disdainful look over his tiny shoulder.

When he turned away both women burst out laughing “I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship.” Martina snickered

“God help us all.” Mark sighed