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Fox Verse: In the Face of Adversity

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Extract from THE DAILY HOWL: CALIFORNIA'S PREMIER DAILY NEWS PROVIDER
Banner Headline
April 27th

Government Statement on Vigilante Crackdown.

Washington has issued a statement urging ordinary decent citizens of our fair country to assist the authorities in their search for members of the underground Urban First movement.

The rise of radical opposition groups, who seek to destroy the new fragile peace that has grown between urban and wild citizens, has become the focus of the Justice Ministry.

The Attorney General recently met with The Joseph Wolf following the Urban/Wild Wolf Alliance Conference in New York City. After the meeting both parties committed to bringing extremists into the mainstream and to focus on bringing to justice those who resort to violent means.

Senior Senator for the state of California, Beta-Donald Monroe, has pledged his support of the crackdown.

We would like to remind our readers of Senator Monroe’s turnabout in his views. Some say it is a sign of the times, others a sign of a politician.
“The only way our state can be at peace with the wild is the destruction of the Star Valley Fox Pack and the Eight Gullies Wolf Pack, who insist on blocking urban expansion”
Senator Monroe, speaking on campaign ten years ago.

The Solidarity Treaty allows for authorities to send defense forces onto pack lands, with a Pack Alpha’s permission, if a threat is posed to the safety of wild citizens. The treaty also permits pack enforcers to journey with safe passage into urban areas, if seeking justice for violence committed against wild packs. The West Coast has been at the frontline in the actualization of these binding clauses. Three years ago the murders of the Star second and third and their families led to a military presence being supplied by the state. The National Guard continues to patrol the borders of Star Valley.

Last week this paper broke the story of the handing over of three urban betas to the North Bay Jackal Pack. The betas were accused of attacking Jackal pups who were travelling to visit relatives in another wild pack. The North Bay Pack would not sanction their pups being subjected to a testifying in open court. The mayor of North Bay Town complying with the terms of the treaty handed over the three urban wolves for pack justice.

A confidential tip-line has been opened for anyone with information about vigilante activity in their area:
Call 0800-555-7153. Lines manned 24/7

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PRESS RELEASE:

APRIL 29th

ISSUED FROM ONE BLOOD

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact Royal Spokes-alpha: Adrian Brody on 518-555-1125 or brodypr@royal.court.com

The King and his consort confirm their attendance at next week’s Wild Were Council Pack Alpha meeting at Fell Creek Fox Pack.
The Joseph Wolf will present the outcome of his meeting with Attorney General Westwick to the assembled Pack Alphas for their discussion and approval.
Sanction has been given for The Daniel Wolf to co-chair the inaugural meeting of Wild Omegas Together with the urban omega rights campaigners.
The David Wolf and his new mate will attend.
Prince Nathaniel will remain at One Blood.
The Joseph Wolf regrets that not all packs will be represented.

Seal: ( JW )

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www.omegaequalitynow.omegaapprovedsite.org

Fell Creek confirmed as Venue for Urban/Wild Omega meeting.

Thank you for your supportive e-mails and messages. Trent and I have been sorting through them and apologies that we may not have time to reply to everyone individually before the meeting. Thus we have decided to post an update here on the home page. We will post during the conference if it is possible to get a connection and will give a complete report next week.
We are encouraged by the large attendance expected to the first meeting of Omega Rights Group, Omega Workers Union & Omega Equality Now with our counterparts in Wild Omegas Together.

The Omega meeting is not only controversial in urban society. It has also been divisive in the wild.

Wild Were Council member Alpha Padalecki is coming with four of his five pack omegas. Two you will know are founding members of WOT, Jensen Padalecki and Misha Cohen. The names of the other two are unknown but are believed to be the brave controversial mates of Padalecki returnee Alpha Star (if you believe that celebrity rag Gossip Hound).

We understand that other packs are boycotting the event, including the high ranking Three Mountains Wolf Pack. Don’t shoot us we are just relaying the quote of Pack Alpha paper mill magnate Kenneth Branagh here: “The Omega Movement is ridiculous. Inequality of Alphas, Betas & Omegas exists in urban society not in the wild. This is an insidious campaign by urban subversives to cause unrest in wild packs. Wild Omegas are perfectly content with their treasured status. The Three Mountains pack disassociates itself from this ludicrous exercise.”

Blah to you Alpha Branagh, we omegas all know about your pack situation.

Our leader, Christian Kane, will head up the urban delegation and he disputes the views of The Three Mountains Pack Alpha. We have issued Christian’s statement to the press. In it he points out that since internet access has spread in the wild packs, Omega Chatrooms and help lines have noticed a marked increase in calls for help from Wild Omega-mates. “Many packs have a culture which treats their omegas with respect, if not freedom, however there are packs with a persisting culture of punishment and subjugation, where wild omegas are left with no source of aid. No Abuse Shelters exist in the wild.”

Too true Christian.

Christian will be at Saturday’s San Diego Rights Rally, speaking on behalf of OEN. Please show your support.

Next posts from Fell Creek:

Signing off. Trent and Milo.

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THE GOSSIP HOUND

BRINGING YOU THE INSIDE TRACK ON ALL YOUR CELEBRITIES' SECRETS

MAY 2nd edition

Omegas in Public

Last Winter when the *shocking* picture below of Alpha-Alexander Star’s omega mates was posted on collarless.free.omegaapprovedsite.org the voice of omega rights took a step forward, backwards or sideways?

From rarely being seen in the media and a code of honour existing amongst the paparazzi, the two young omega-mates whose Alpha was Second of the Star Pack at that time, thrust the publication of photographing of omega mates into public debate. If Omegas want to be treated equally then should they not be equally subject to media attention? Or should they?

Alpha-Kenneth Branagh of the Three Mountains pack successfully sued this publication for publishing a group photo of his pack which showed his omega-mate.

At the same time The Joseph Wolf began including his omega-mate Daniel at photo calls.

Yet the vocal Alpha and Omega rights advocate Alpha-Jared Padalecki has yet to allow a single photograph to be taken of his omega mate.

The Star Pack finally after weeks of speculation issued a press release through the Wild Were Council condemning the publication of a photograph which was taken in their omega den, without the foxes’ or the pack’s knowledge. They did not comment on the intimate nature of the photograph or the removal of the omegas' collars.

As reported elsewhere, following the dramatic regime change in Star Valley, Alpha-Alexander Star has returned to the Padalecki Pack, officially replacing Ian Fell, the new Fell Pack Alpha. Does he leave the Star Pack in disgrace or return to his old pack in glory?

Readers ask yourself, would you want your Omega-mate to remove their collar?

Would you want your Omega-son’s mating status obscured by claimed omegas going collarless?
Or do you feel that collars are outdated and unnecessary?
Comments Welcome to the Gossip Hound.

Bradley Star (23, side face) First Omega-mate and
Colin Star (22) Second Omega-mate of Alpha Alexander Star (21)
(pic: www.collarless.free.omegaapprovedsite.org)

Bradley and Colin

 

IN OTHER NEWS.....
Speculation mounts as to whether the press will be allowed access to Fell Creek ahead of the council meeting.... rumor goes that international news media have a market for unauthorized photographs, with prime rates going for the first clear photographs of a certain royal wolf brother’s omega and a certain pack vixen omega.

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TBC...

Chapter Text

*Passengers alighting at Meridian, please be advised that this is not a rest-stop, the train will continue to Birmingham, Atlanta, Greenville and Charlotte. This train terminates in Charlotte.

 

*You are listening to Radio KFM bringing you the sounds of the south on this last day of April.

Coming at you with an exclusive interview with Were Council Member and Pack Alpha Fox Jared Padalecki, regarding the Omega Meeting. Our news reporter attempted to ask Alpha-Padalecki about some of the more salacious stories surrounding his pack.

“Alpha-Jared, Welcome to Radio KFM”

“Thank you, Beta-Jolene, happy to be here.”

“I believe you are supportive of the Urban Omegas meeting Wild Omegas Together?”

“That is true, Beta-Jolene. Omegas are people just like the rest of us. In wild packs omegas are considered treasured sacred life-bringers. Without them our populations would never grow and thrive. They are the future of our packs, of our families. We consider true mating between Alphas and Omegas blessings from the Gods. In light of this, most packs care for and cherish their omegas. Unmated omegas enjoy the same status as other unmated weres. In fact omegas have an additional luxury in that they have the Omega den or safe space to socialise with other omegas and retreat from pack-life when necessary. I believe that in so-called civilised society omegas are excluded from normal life, many kept as virtual prisoners in their homes or in Unclaimed Omega Homes.”

“So do you consider that your wild omegas will be trying to teach the urban omegas that feral.... sorry wild ways are better, because Omega Christian Kane has said he is going to the meeting to show the wild omegas how they are being subjugated?”

“I have no comment to make on Omega Kane’s spin doctoring for the Omega Equality Now movement. All opinions will be welcome and may be freely expressed at Fell Creek.”

“Alpha-Padalecki, what is your personal view on omegas .Your own pack has notable omega members?”

“Was that a question? I will not be making any statements on behalf of Alpha-Cohen or Alpha-Eccleston.”

“What about your own omega-mate? Is he attending the meeting?”

“Yes, Jensen is attending.”

“I believe you have quite a brood of kits together? Any hopes of an exclusive for the station and you might tell us their names and ages?”

“I have been blessed with seven wonderful kits.”

“Plans for any more?”

“That is an inappropriate question.”

“Apologies, Alpha. We understand that The David Wolf is staying on your packlands with his controversial omega-mate. Will they attend the conference?”

“Yes. Are we done here?”

“One final question. Why have you allowed Alpha Star to return from exile?”

“That is pack business. Not suitable for discussion on the airwaves.”

 

Alexander flipped the switch to mute the piped radio. He didn’t want his nervousness or ire to wake his family. He was jiggling a dosing Elise on his lap. He looked over at the bottom bunk of the sleeper cabin. His two omegas were entwined in each other, wrecked from the long journey from California.

Elise woke up “Dada?”

Alexander blew a raspberry into her ear, “Shush, baby girl, you’ll wake Papa and Colin.”

“I go fox and we talk in our heads?”

Alexander laughed softly, “No, Ellie, you shout in the fox-mind, you’d certainly wake them.”

“Don’t. I can do whisper whisper shush shush.” She raised her little finger to her petal pink lips and her blue-green eyes twinkled with fun.

“No stay a little girl for a while.”

“Yes Dada.” Elise sighed and leaned into her father, “We’ll see Grandpa Stephen and Gran-gran Sammie and Uncle Felix?”

“We will, Ellie, very soon.” Alexander knew Bradley couldn’t wait to be back with his family but they were all nervous about the rest of the Padaleckis. Alexander prayed the vixen would welcome his mates back into the Omega den, because if Jensen didn’t, he knew they would be devastated. He had already decided that if Bradley and Colin did not settle, they would not stay. He would leave the country if necessary, travel to Europe, live in a city, try their luck with Ian, he didn’t know where but they would be together...

His thoughts travelled back to the night they fled Padalecki Lake. Bradley would have followed him to the ends of the Earth and he would have pulled the moon from the sky for his mate. Hell, he had taken his family to the other side of the continent for him. Poor dear Colin, he had been dragged away from his home pack, his very own omega den to start a new life in an enormous pack in dangerous territory.

Alexander noticed Colin twitching and muttering in his sleep. A nightmare perhaps? Bradley’s arm drifted up and Alexander noticed it rested at the nape of Colin’s neck. Bradley was such a good first-mate, taking care of Colin. Alexander knew that Bradley offered Colin something that he could not, the unique bond between mated omegas, a mating not permitted in any family arrangement except their own.

His musings were interrupted when a young beta-train attendant popped her head into the cabin “Would the little one like anything Alpha?”

“Have you cherry muffins?”

“No Alpha, but I have blueberry or toffee, or a cherry and raisin cookie?” The slender racoon dog lifted the items from her trolley to display them.

“Dada, dada, cookie?” Elise bounced on Alexander’s knee.

“We will have the cookie and two bottles of mineral water for my boys when they wake up.”

As Elise left most of the cookie in crumbs on his grey sweater and smudged raisins into her blue dress, Alexander watched his mates’ chests rise and fall in their sleep. He found his eyes skirting over the new permanent Padalecki style collars that Jared had insisted on.

He hated them. He didn’t mind if Bradley and Colin wanted to remove their collars in their Omega den. Frigging Hell, the doctor’s mate barely wore that strip of velvet and when he did he was constantly opening and closing it, and Jared still let Cohen join the pack as a non-resident member. Alexander suspected that Jensen had wanted Misha in the pack, so the collar issue was overlooked.

Yet dragging his poor boys away from the safety of the patrolled Star Packlands, so they could have those things soldered onto their necks in San Diego by a true smith, was a condition of his return to the Padalecki Pack.

Bradley said he didn’t mind, that he loved that Alexander’s collar was never coming off. However Bradley was his true mate. Colin was really conflicted about it. Bradley said that Colin thought he was being punished by Jared, and that he was uncomfortable with the nailed on yellow button tag, which clearly marked him as of the lowest status in the family. Alexander had tried to comfort Colin. He even offered to breed him on his next heat, but Colin just bawled at that and disappeared into the Star Omega den until they had to leave.

Alexander knew that the blame for their situation was laid squarely at his feet. He never could stay out of trouble. It followed him around like a black cloud from the day he was born. He had been one of the kits who wanted to play at the river that day when the urban army team took them away. He couldn’t stay quiet and obey like the others in his dormitory, and when his teenage alpha hormones kicked in, he couldn’t keep his mouth shut. He had tried so hard to stay below the radar in the ST House but being the “Baby-Alpha” meant he was never going to go un-noticed. Then, even though he had been seriously injured, he had escaped his imprisonment and found his home at Padalecki Lake. Found his home and his true mate. Only to get his family exiled in action if not in decree. If Jared wasn’t letting them come home now, he didn’t know where he would decide to go, because there was no place for them at the Star pack after challenging for Pack Alpha and losing. Jacob Star had made that clear when he gave Alexander a week to clear out of all Star lands.

He knew that they had been lucky to be allowed to stay by the previous Pack Alpha, Robert Star, after the leaked photo of Bradley and Colin without their collars. Robert had confined the omegas to their alpha’s den for three months.

There was only a week of his mates’ sentence left when he got Omega-Stellan to agree to bring his boys their meals to his den. He had to attend the Western Foxes’ meeting in Los Angeles as Robert’s proxy with Lucas, the pack third. Jared attended as the observer from the Eastern Fox Council. Alexander approached him in the neon strip lit bar of the LA hotel that the packs were using. Jared was formal and stiff with him but allowed Alexander to lead him to a tall chrome table in a private corner. They sat awkwardly on the modern sculpted metal bar stools. Alexander swallowed his pride and a shot of bourbon courage. Jared listened to him as he dropped some hints about the possibility of a return, explaining about the punishment and how Bradley and Colin confined to den, not seeing daylight, was reminding him of his life in the ST House. He told Jared that Robert Star was not cruel but the pack alpha had been shamed by Bradley and Colin.

Jared didn’t say in so many words that Alexander could come back. He talked about how his pack omegas have to be seen to behave properly and that he wouldn’t be as tolerant as Robert. He said that he had no pack third since Derek Fell had died and the Fell pack had called for Ian. Oliver had become second. He told Alexander that James and Christopher both were candidates to be third but he was waiting to decide. He explained that if he was ever to take someone back into his pack, they would not be allowed to defy him, they would have to live under his rule and if their mate was omega they would be expected to follow Jensen’s example. Finally Jared told Alexander to think about what he really wanted.

When Robert died suddenly, the Star pack was crushed. He had been their Alpha for over forty years, through all their struggles with their urban neighbours. There was no clear successor. Robert’s own children had been lost in the terrible years of government attacks. Mark Star’s younger brother Jacob stood up at the burial ceremony, once Lelia Robert's beta-widow had spoken. He announced he was standing for Pack Alpha. Alexander and Lucas, as pack second and third, stood and challenged him. Alexander knew Jacob wasn’t Mark, but the other alpha had a poor opinion of omegas, stemming from his long held blame of the omegas who had committed suicide, when their kits were stolen, for weakening the future of the Star pack. Before Bradley and Colin had arrived the only omegas in the large pack were the elderly Callum and eccentric Stellan, who had survived his true mate’s death and was convinced that Alexander was one of his stolen kits returned to him. There had been four, but the omega mates of the former second and third had been murdered with their families in the week before Alexander arrived. Lucas Johnston, Alexander’s immediate junior in rank, would be a good alpha. He was a fine fox and Alexander had been surprised when Robert had ranked him above the decent alpha. Lucas was in his forties and had been fourth for many years before being given third.

The morning of the vote, Stellan had presented him with a soft old leather Star studded jacket. It had been Stellan’s alpha’s formal jacket. The omega sadly explained that he couldn’t leave it go and had kept it all those years, lovingly keeping the leather supple in memory of his alpha. He said Zander would have wanted his kit to have it. Alexander didn’t remember from the before times. Stellan said it didn’t matter and bowed his grey-blond head to the floor like an oriental omega whispering luck and words of prayer. My father’s jacket? Alexander wondered and looked at the duffel where he had carefully packed it in tissue paper.

The pack voted in a pointless ritual as there was never going to be a unanimous decision with three contenders. The pack spilt almost exactly in three. Alexander withdrew, offering his support to Lucas, and in the recast ballot Lucas had the majority of support but not all.

Nine days ago Jacob had stood bloodied and victorious over Lucas’s corpse and declared himself Star Pack Alpha. Alexander had led his mates and daughter up to the Star greeting dais but Jacob had not asked if he accepted his rule. Jacob had given him a week to leave. Alexander rang Matt Cohen and asked him to get Jared to call him.

This time truly exiled, Alexander, Bradley, Colin and Elise stepped from the train in Charlotte. Stephen ran down the platform and caught his son in a tight hug, before putting out a hand to shake Alexander’s.

“Felix is in the people carrier. I’ve parked in a loading bay to be close enough for your luggage.” Stephen smiled.

“Good to see you, Father-in-law.” Alexander returned the smile as he restrained Elise from leaping from his arms.

“I am sorry Bradley but Jared gave me these to pass to Alpha-Alexander.” Stephen produced two omega leashes.

Colin blanched, but Bradley just sighed sadly. Alexander said grimly, “I expected them, but I think we can forego them for now.” Turning to Bradley he asked, “Take Elise for me?”

Bradley took his daughter out of his alpha’s arms and walked to the car with his father.

“Come Colin, help me get the bags and we can walk out of here together” Alexander threw an arm around Colin’s shoulders and they headed for the luggage car.

 

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Stephen and Felix had left before dawn to bring Alexander and his family back to the den. Jensen knew it would be hours before they returned but as he sat on the flat rock by the water collection point the knot of anxiety for his pack clenched his stomach muscles tight.

The first proper rays of daylight were breaking through the scattered clouds. Beta-Lilly and Beta-Pasha were heading across the field to milk the goats in Stephen’s absence. The morning sounds of a stirring pack filled the mildly chilled air.

He closed his eyes for a moment to sense-check on his kits. Devon and Alan were still in deep sleep, probably still in their basket in the kits’ chamber. The babies Hunter and Hillary were stirring, hungry, but not yet awake, in the basket too, Jensen felt. Jennifer and Cissy were awake and the little terrors had woken Jared, curled up in his fur in the nest. Jensen smiled to himself and pushed into the wider pack looking for Olivia. She was a rogue. If she woke in the night she would sneak out and try to make her way to her hero and namesake “Big Ollie”, so that poor Katie and her own twins, Jade and Justine, ended up with “Lil Olly” pushed in between them in their nest. If that failed Olivia would tip toe into the Eccleston den and wrap herself around Daisy’s hind legs. This morning Jensen could sense Olivia with familyalphawarmhappy so figured that Oliver had been chosen.

If Jared was awake it was time to get the bathing water heated. Jensen dipped the wooden basin under the tumbling water and filled it with the crystal clear liquid. Balancing the bowl with practised ease he strode up to the home fire and placed the basin on the trivet. He wondered how to tempt Jennifer and Cissy back into their own room so he could shave Jared without distraction.

There was the sound of twigs snapping on the path and Sherry stepped into the clearing holding a squirming Olivia-fox.

“Vixen” She acknowledged.

Jensen didn’t expect any other greeting.

“I found this kit in my nest. You know Gerald needs his rest in the mornings. The Pack Alpha gave Gerald the evening patrol. Could you maybe take more responsibility for your kits, I wonder? I always knew where Jared was as a kit.”

Jensen’s mouth dropped open in shock. She could not seriously have just said that to him. Knew where Jared was? Always? Every time her son was being assaulted? He was not going to rise to her bait, and he wondered if she was in such denial that she didn’t even realise what her words had implied. He settled for saying, “I’ll take Olivia from you. She likes to wander but I know she is safe in the pack.”

“Do you? I am sure that is what the Star omegas thought when they let their kits wander.” Sherry thrust Olivia into his arms, causing the kit to squeal.

“Sherry, stop being irrational. We are not under attack. Thank you for bringing back my daughter and please pass on my apologies to Alpha-Gerald that she woke him up.”

“Oh he didn’t mind.” Sherry sneered as she turned to go, “He would have stayed awake and played with her, and then have been over tired on his patrol run tonight.”

Jensen cuddled Olivia in one arm while he tested the water temperature with his other hand.

“Wash Dada?” Olivia asked via the fox mind.

“Yes baby, I’m going to give Dada his morning wash. Will you bring your sisters back to your bed while we are busy?”

“No Momma... I want to help. Dada is very very huge. I’ll help you.”

“No Olly,” Jensen laughed and put her down on her paws so he could pick up the basin. “You are a big vixen now, what did we say about calling me Momma?”

“That I am four. A big girl. I should call you Papa, and only baby boys like Hunter and Hillie get to call you Momma. I think it is stoooopid. I am going to live with Oliver and when I am big I am going to mate with him.”

Jensen laughed loud enough that he knew the rest of his family could have woken.

“I think Cousin Katie might have something to say about that.”

“Don’t care, I’m gonna ask Dada if I can. He is the pack alpha, so if he says I can, I can.” Olivia ran between Jensen’s legs and flung herself into the main room of the den. Then she leaped onto Jared’s back, “Dada can I mate with Oliver when I am big?”

Jared’s fox eyes opened. He stood slowly dislodging the three vixen-kits and shifted to his human form. “Good Morning Lil Olly. I will have to think about it.” He picked up each of the kits in turn and gave them a morning nose rub. “Of you go now, back to the basket, Jen and I have things to do.” All three filed out to the other room.

Jensen set down the water and got Jared’s razor and the flannels.

Jared came up behind him, pressing his morning erection into the small of Jensen’s back. “Good morning lover, you want to come back under the blankets for a spell? I’ll make it worth your while, I have a big throbbing knot with your name on it.”

“Mmmm Jared-mate, tempting me with your dirty talk...”

“It’s working, I can scent you, my hot needy bitch...”

Jensen used his reserves of will power to stop thrusting back against his mate, and clenched his hole in an effort to stop the release of slick. “Jay, please...”

“I love it when you beg...” Jared mouthed over the back of Jensen’s collar. Blowing warm air on the claiming mark which made Jensen’s legs feel hollow and his need to be filled and taken by his alpha grew.

“No, please, Jared, we have to get ready for Alexander.”

Jared pulled back and flopped onto the blankets and started to deal with his own arousal with sharp hard jerking hand movements. He teased Jensen, “Leaving your alpha to waste his seed on his own hand, you naughty disobedient omega.”

Jensen knelt next to his mate and covered the larger hands with his own, “I never said I wouldn’t help.” He smirked at his alpha and blew him an air kiss. Then he warmed his hands on the edge of the water bowl. Once he was satisfied that his skin was no longer cold, he moved one fist around Jared’s swelling knot and teased the slit of his mate’s cock with the thumb of his other hand.

Jared took his own hands away and laced his fingers behind his head, enjoying Jensen’s rhythmic pulling and tightening.

Heated desire coiled within as Jensen pleasured his mate. His pant seat damp with his own slick, Jensen raised his ass from his thighs to kneel higher and shifted his hold on Jared’s knot. When Jensen smacked his balls playfully, it was too much and Jared decorated their chests, Jensen’s face and the blankets with long streams of ropey come.

Jensen used a flannel to wipe his face, “Now I’m going to have to wash my trousers and those blankets again.”

“Ha! That wouldn’t have happened if you had let me knot you!”

“Alphas and their knotting obsession!”

Jared sat up and pulled Jensen in for a lingering kiss, “Only you, Jen. Only ever you.”

Just then Hunter started crying. Jared looked up at the ceiling, “Go Jen. I’ll shave myself this morning.”

Jensen stood regretfully. He loved their morning ritual and missed it when Jared was away on Council business.

He quickly slid out of his trousers and slipped on a clean pair.

In the small kits’ room Jensen picked up Hunter and Hillary. He carried the boys to the nursing chair and made himself comfortable. Approaching two years old they were eating solid food but Jensen let his kits cuddle sleepily into his chest, for their comfort and omega-mother bond. He had loved the secure warm feeling of his kits suckling but he was glad that his body was finally returning to its pre-pregnancy appearance after two litters.

With the babies out of the basket Devon stretched his paws to claim a larger share of the kits’ bed. Alan just yawned and ignored it. Jensen had to laugh from his spot on the nursing chair.

His omega instinct told him that Devon was alpha. He felt Daisy Eccleston was one too. Devon and Daisy ran rings around all the other kits, and Daisy had to be a strong spirit with everything she survived as a newborn. In his heart Jensen thought Hunter was an omega, but that might be due to him being the baby-kit of the family. He never said or thought a word of this to Jared, afraid his mate would think he sounded like Sherry. Although this speculation was a normal indulgence of families about their kits, Jensen didn’t feel comfortable voicing it with Jared.

He could hear his alpha moving around and the thought probed from his mate that Jared was going for a dip in the lake.

Left alone with his sleepy kits, Jensen’s mind took him down familiar but troubled lanes.

His and Jared’s reign as Pack Alpha and Vixen had started in fire and blood, but then everything seemed so good. The pack settled and re-bonded together. Even Fagan and Liam Star the two teenage rescued alphas slotted in, becoming fast friends with Felix. Jensen spent nights re-living old movies and television shows with them and Candice and Alexander. When he was pregnant with his first litter, life seemed almost perfect. He had worries about carrying so many kits, but they had been unfounded. He sometimes found it difficult to accept Jared’s tight possessive control and when his alpha named the first five without his agreement it had hurt, but Jared promised he could name the next litter and later he kept that promise. Jensen had seen with new eyes the gentle side of his mate, as Jared tended to the babies, helped them take their first steps and rejoiced with Jensen as they spoke their first words. His daughters were pretty little vixens. All his first five were handsome kits; mini-Jareds in complexion, hair and eye colour. Although Devon’s eyes settled finally to green and he had a smattering of freckles on his cheeks. Only poor Hunter had been cursed, in Jensen’s opinion, with all over freckled skin and dirty blond hair.

As time went by strange tensions grew. Jensen wondered if he should have felt them as Pack Vixen and been able to act on them. Fagan and Liam grew restless and wanted to head out west to their birth-pack. That made Alexander restless and curious about his origins. Colin started to receive suitors but spent more time in the Omega den with Bradley than allowing them to court him. Allyson suffered a second beta-miscarriage and James and her retreated more from the rest of the pack. Sebastian continued to walk around with his head bowed in dull acceptance of his fate, only sparking to life for Daisy, or to follow an order from Christopher. Christopher looked like he had aged a decade. Jensen tried to talk to Sebastian but the other omega would just shake his head and go back to the Eccleston den. Jared spent more time away on council business leaving Ian as his proxy. During his second pregnancy Jensen had a harder time and was confined to his nest many days on Matt’s orders. Only Misha and his grandiose plans for Wild Omegas Together let Jensen escape his loneliness when Jared was absent. It had been the departure of Alexander that had hurt Jared most and by default something fragile and precious that been lost in the pack.

Jensen hoped fervently that the Star family’s homecoming would help heal some of the hairline cracks in the pack bond. They were not broken, but they had been bruised. When Ian and Candice left for Fell Creek, it was another blow. Jensen didn’t begrudge Ian becoming Pack Alpha of his birth pack, nor Candice her new role of Pack Vixen, but he missed them. He longed for Candice’s bright smiles often transmitted behind Sherry’s back, when Jensen had to count to one hundred in his head to keep his patience with Jared’s mother. He knew Jared felt the loss of his confidant and second.

Soon he would meet little Elise again. He wondered how the pretty little kit had grown. His first five kits were excited about her return too. They didn’t truly remember her but had heard many stories, including how they had all learned to walk in human form together.

Hunter and Hillary, his second litter, were unimpressed. The toddlers were more interested in hanging off Sebastian, like every kit under puberty in the pack. Sometimes Jensen was jealous of Sebastian. He felt rotten for being jealous. Sebastian deserved every scrap of happiness he could get and his decision to take over as kit-caretaker the previous year had brought some colour back into the omega’s cheeks. But it was hard as Pack Vixen seeing him walking around like the pied piper with Jensen’s seven kits, Katie’s two, Amber’s two, Jack, and Ashley trailing after him, while he had Daisy on his shoulders and Basil in his pocket.... Jensen had suckled Sebastian’s Basil with Hunter and Hillary, yet all three of them joined the Sebastian “crèche”. Jensen wondered if Elise would run out on Bradley.

He guiltily wondered if Jared’s possessiveness; his focus on the Pack and on his mate, unconsciously pushed the kits away. He knew Jared adored his kits but some nights Jared lifted the basket of sleepy kits out of the den and took it to the Ecclestons, so that he could spend hours with his knot buried inside his mate.

When Jared was not on council duty he was busy catching up on his pack. Jensen pondered again if his mate was spreading himself too thin. He wished there was the equivalent of an omega den, somewhere Jay could go to recharge his batteries and take a break.

Maybe when The David Wolf left, Jensen could suggest that Jared take the old cabin as a place to retreat from the pack. Jensen shifted in the chair uncomfortable with having David and Vincent mating in the cabin. Just because he was a Wolf Prince, David assumed it would be fine to break into an Unclaimed Omega House and steal a teenage wolf, who had been taken from Eight Gullies Pack as a child. The urban society didn’t understand wild royal bloodlines and how David was entitled to mate with Vincent. The wild packs frowned on David for not having the restraint to return the boy to Eight Gullies and his parents, to give the boy and his parents some time to reunite before his mating. When David had turned up with the sixteen year old in his arms, Jared said nothing and had given David sanctuary until he was ready to face Joseph.

On second thoughts maybe they should knock down the old cabin. It was where on that awful night three years ago, he had turned his back on Bradley and Colin. He regretted it afterwards, berated himself for failing to be a supportive Pack Vixen to his fellow omegas, but there was no way to turn back the clock.

 

It all started with the arrival of the wolf envoy Ralf from Two Moons. He had a message for Jared about an emergency council meeting the next week. The newly emerged violent Urban First terrorists had broken the Star Pack border. They had gone on a violent rampage, burning communal buildings and the Star school. They had beaten and murdered the pack Second and Third and their mates and kits in a brutal attack. Fagan and Liam had wanted to go home that day, but Jared asked them to wait promising to offer their assistance to Robert Star at the meeting.

Ralf had rested in the cabin that night and left before midday meal the following morning to continue on to Lenard Coyote’s home.

As they bade the wolf farewell at the lake, Paul Wesley, the Second from Fell Creek emerged from the treeline. Paul was on his own mission and had not heard of the tragedy in California. He had come to persuade Ian to leave the pack and return with him to challenge Derek Fell for Pack Alpha. Paul, Ian and Jared spent the afternoon under the canopy debating what could be done, short of a challenge, to help the Fell Pack who were suffering under the rule of an irrational and disliked Pack Alpha.

When Jensen brought Colin with him to carry some elderflower wine and slices of cheese to the canopy, Paul’s eyes locked onto Colin. Jensen saw the shake in Colin’s hand as he poured the wine and overheard Paul complementing Jared on having such a handsome unclaimed omega in his pack. Then as they bowed to leave the alphas, Paul was telling Jared how his beta-mate Nina had been unable to carry a kit to term and they were looking for a triangle mating.

Colin literally grabbed Bradley off Alexander’s lap in the new cabin and ran for the Omega Den.

As evening approached Jared asked Paul to stay the night, but the other fox made his excuses, saying he didn’t want to be missed for too long at Fell Creek.

Jared took Ian and Jensen to the old cabin and asked Pasha to find Oliver and Alexander. Pasha turned up with Oliver saying he couldn’t find Alexander. Unconcerned Jared, Oliver and Ian discussed how bad things were at the Fell den, with Derek losing the pack’s assets in unsound investments, while alienating the surrounding packs and discriminating against any of his own pack members with outside origins. They discussed what help they could be to Paul if he challenged for Pack Alpha and won, but Ian was pessimistic that Paul was alpha enough succeed.

There was a light tapping on the door and Sebastian put his head in.

“Come in, Sebastian,” Jared said warmly, “Is there a problem?”

“Umm, I need Jensen. He needs to come to the omega den, Alpha.” Sebastian looked at the floor and Jensen could scent the distress coming from him.

Jensen pushed out seeking Bradley and Colin but could only sense Alexander when he did it. As Jensen tried to understand this confused sensation, Jared let a roar out of his lungs. Sebastian’s knees hit the floor, and Ian and Oliver bared their necks automatically.

Jared bellowed, “Ian, Oliver get James and Christopher and go up to the Omega Den and drag that eighteen-year old idiot down here by his knot. Sebastian go and get Elise and take her back to your den. Jensen you stay here with me.”

Jensen could feel waves of anger coming off Jared and moved to kneel by his leg, letting his body weight try and over some support. He didn’t know what had happened but was nervous to ask, even when Jared’s hand found the back of his neck and began kneading in search of solace.

A few moments later, a naked Alexander was dragged in by the four other foxes and thrown on the rug at Jared’s feet. The door burst open behind them to reveal a sobbing Bradley supporting a very naked Colin who had come, slick and blood sliding down his legs and a linear rivulet of blood coming from the back of his neck.

“How could you?” Jared roared at Alexander, “Why did you go behind my back and take Colin? Why did you defy me?”

Alexander stood up and Bradley rushed to his side. “Bradley said you were mating Colin to Paul Wesley as an omega baby machine.”

“So you decided to give him a lower status in your family as a second omega mate?” Jared fumed.

“No. Bradley said that he would never see Colin again and that he wanted us to be a family and Colin said he wanted that too.”

“What kind of alpha are you, Alexander? Letting two omegas lead you around by the nose. Why would you think I wanted Colin to mate Paul?”

“Bradley said that Colin saw you toasting his mating with the celebratory wine....”

“Bradley said, Bradley said....” Jared mocked and roared, “Didn’t you think of asking what your pack alpha said? I would never, you hear me Alexander Star, never have mated Colin to Paul or have given him to you. I wanted Colin to be the single mate of a pack alpha or a second. Ideally I wanted Colin to find his true mate, no matter who they are. I would have used the fox mating service to find them for him if he asked me. I would never have forced a mating.”

“You forced Sebastian.”

“Get out.” Jared said dark and low, “Get out of my sight the three of you. You know I had no choice. I saved Sebastian and Daisy’s lives that morning. Get out of here Alexander.”

Alexander and Bradley turned around and pulled Colin in close from where he had been trembling behind his new alpha and first mate.

Colin turned and said, “Please Jensen, can you talk to Jared, I couldn’t leave Bradley...”

Jared bellowed “Out” and Jensen turned his face into his mate’s thigh, unable to face the other omegas and the mess they had made for themselves.

During the night Alexander and his family, with Fagan and Liam, secretly left the pack and began their journey to California.

Chapter Text

Bradley had Alexander’s hand in his as they waited at the Padalecki Pack Greeting Stone for Jared and Jensen. Small spring flowers were crushed under his knees. He closed his eyes for a moment, listening to the familiar sound of the stream rushing over the collection point and spilling as a fall into the home lake.

Elise-fox was dancing around a poor kid-goat somewhere to the right. Colin was kneeling marginally behind him. The leather of Colin’s leash burned in his right hand. Surely it must be wrong for one omega to hold the end of another’s leash. He wished he could take Colin in his arms for a reassuring hug but it could only be moments before Jared appeared.

He looked up from his position at Alexander standing tall and strong. Alexander used his free hand to tuck a stray lock of his hair behind his ear. Then he straightened his back and prepared to face their fate. Bradley pushed his own shoulders back in synchronicity and played his alpha’s name silently across his lips. His mate who loved him fiercely, so much that he took Colin when Bradley had asked.

Bradley’s heart burst with the love he felt for his mates.

He had never regretted facing Jared’s wrath, fleeing to California, leaving his family and living in the suffocating atmosphere of Star Valley. His Alpha and his omega-mate were worth every ounce of suffering. His only regret was being caught out in the Star Omega den. He was sure it was the visiting Omega Xavier who had taken the shot but that raving lunatic who thought he was Elise’s grandfather might have been involved somehow. The shame that Alexander had to bear because of him and Colin was almost too much for Bradley, but Alexander had forgiven them in an instant.

Bradley could see Colin nervously picking at his new yellow tag with his bitten down fingernails. He tried to send a wave of calm out to Colin but was unsure if his mate was receptive to it. Alexander must have sensed what he was trying to do because he took his hand from Bradley and moved to cup Colin’s neck and whisper something in his ear.

There was motion in the trees and Bradley saw his grandmother coming to the lake, leaning on a walking staff now that her legs weren’t what they used to be. His father had warned him that she had aged in the last three years but Bradley was emotional at the evidence in front of him. The formerly ramrod straight alpha had now a curve to her posture and she hesitated at the stream bank.

Sebastian appeared with a tiny kit on his shoulder and a trail of kits following him. He gave Alpha-Samantha a helping hand under her elbow as she crossed the stream.

Alexander called Elise to him and told her she had to be a good girl and wait to play with the others.

“Ellie, Ellie” Some of the older kits called to her, but they stayed behind the marker. Bradley caught the end of Elise’s tail in case she got any notion of breaking ranks. Alexander swatted her lightly on the nose when she turned and tried to nip Bradley’s hand.

Distracted by their daughter, Bradley didn’t see Jared and Jensen approach until they were crossing the stream. They were in formal clothes and Jared was leading Jensen by two paces. Jensen kept his head bowed. The red tag was on, making a point Bradley assumed. He wondered whose idea that was. Jared making another statement Bradley hoped, because he really didn’t want to think that Jensen couldn’t bear to touch him.

He looked up at Alexander again and realised that the two alphas facing each other across the stone were now the same height. Only Jared’s broad shoulders and pack alpha aura made him seem more intimidating.

Jared asked the formal question, “Who dares cross the Padalecki Border?”

Alexander spoke clearly “I, Alexander Star, former Second of the Star Pack, currently of no pack, do seek refuge, solace and home for myself, my first Omega Mate, Bradley son of Stephen, our daughter Elise Star, and my second Omega Mate, Colin son of the late Devon.”

Jared nodded “Will you accept my word as law as your Pack Alpha?”

Alexander knelt before Jared, “I will.”

Jared rested his hand on Alexander’s hair “Welcome home, Alex. Do you accept and undertake the position of Third of the Padalecki?”

Bradley felt the leap of joy and acceptance in his alpha’s emotions as Alexander gasped, “That is more than I could have hoped for. Thank you Alpha, I do so accept and won’t let you down.”

“I know you won’t, three years is a long time. It can change a fox. I understand if recent events had run differently you could have been Pack Alpha of the largest pack in the country. Don’t you have a mating bond you need me to sanction before we go and celebrate?” Jared prompted.

Bradley had honestly forgotten that Colin needed to be re-introduced to the pack as their mate. He stood to his feet and moved to the other side of Colin. Alexander gave him the signal to speak so that their words were heard as one, “Pack Alpha, this is our omega-mate, Colin son of the late Devon.”

Jared leaned over and rested his hand on the back of Colin’s neck, “Welcome home, you silly boy.” He continued to bend until he pressed a kiss into the top of Colin’s head. Then he straightened up and motioned to Jensen to step forward.

Jensen tilted his neck at Jared, who clipped off the red tag. Jensen’s hand rubbed Colin’s neck and he spoke to the two omegas, “I missed you guys. The omega den is not the same without you.”

While Alexander helped Colin to his feet, Bradley found himself being pulled into a Jensen-hug. Once free, Elise almost leaped into Jensen’s arms, “Your are The Vixen and you are nice.”

“Ha! Sebastian,” Jensen called over his shoulder, “I have snagged this kit’s loyalty before you.”

“Just you wait Jen, darling,” Sebastian called in response, “They all come to me in the end. I have the allure, you know.”

“What is that about?” Bradley asked as they started to make their way to the stream.

“You will find the omega den a little different than when it was Colin’s residence. It is part Sebastian’s crèche, part Misha’s headquarters for world domination.”

“Are you really going to Fell Creek, Vixen?”

“Yes. All the omegas except Sebastian. Unless Alexander is against you going?”

“No, Alexander supports the campaign. Why is Sebastian staying?”

“Christopher doesn’t want to go and someone needs to tend to the football team of kits.”

Bradley found himself with a face full of Alpha-grandmother at that point, and got lectured about his health and when he was having more kits and how she never let Stephen’s omega mother feel less in her mating, and that he had the responsibility to make sure that Colin never felt that way either. He tried to reassure her that he had Colin’s welfare constantly in mind, but she just tsk-ed him and talked about the isolation felt by secondary mates when the other two are a true pairing. He wondered was there more he could do to help Colin be happier in their mating. When Colin had freaked out a few days earlier, after Alexander broached Bradley’s idea of giving Colin his own kits, he had tried to comfort him in the Star omega den. Bradley had asked Colin if they would like to be pregnant together, but Colin had sobbed that all the kits would be Bradley’s children. Bradley protested that he and Alexander would never feel that, but Colin responded that it wouldn’t be true, that any kits would never be his and if Alexander ever put him aside, he wouldn’t even be entitled to fight for the kits as they would be Bradley’s family. Bradley hugged his friend, lover, omega-mate closer and tried to convince him that Alexander would never put him aside, that they loved him. Colin sobbed into his chest until Bradley rocked him to sleep.

Guiding his grandmother to her seat at the lower half of the long eating table which was set for midday meal in centre of the den, Bradley felt a certain rightness and satisfaction to being home. Elise left Jensen’s hold as they seated themselves to eat.

Jared sat at the top with Jensen kneeling beside him. Alexander sat mid-table with Elise on his knee. Bradley took his place with Colin kneeling between him and Oliver. Oliver bent over to welcome his cousin back. Sebastian knelt for a moment between Christopher and Rosie. When his alpha passed him down a full plate of food, he stood with it and headed to the gathering of kits at the end of the table to eat his own lunch and help them to take theirs. Elise fidgeted and Bradley asked, “Do you want to go eat with the other kits, baby?”

“Yes Papa, I can see they are all together here not like at Star home, please. Dada can I go?” She looked up at Alexander, who released her to run down to the others.

“You are a good Papa, Bradley, I hadn’t noticed her wish to leave.” Bradley leaned against his alpha soaking in the praise.

“Look at that, young love still blooms,” Felix called from across the table.

“Less of the mocking,” Bradley called back, “you are still my little brother.”

“Hey Omega, I’m still an alpha,” Felix mocked.

“Sorry, my little alpha brother.” Bradley laughed. He saw Colin smiling and his own smile grew. Maybe life could be good back at home.

 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

“You look so pretty in your collar,
Collar, collar, collar,
My Anam Cara, mo mhuirnín,
Your collar green like the skies above
Matching your eyes, An chroi of my love.

A Stóirín, my omega mate...”

 

“Please Misha-mate stop singing for the love of god. Being stuck in the car with a puking Valerie kit is punishment enough for agreeing to chauffeur half the pack to Fell Creek. And since when was the sky green?” Matt called back from the driver’s seat at his mate and car-sick kit.

“Not sorry in the least, Matt baby, Valerie loves my Grandpa Collins’ old ditties and she is going to be a miracle child and stop puking the minute we get to the den. She going to be a good girl for Uncle Sebastian aren’t you, aren’t you?” Misha tickled the child until she giggled and kicked him under the chin. “Ouch Valerie, I need my chin, thank you very much.”

“You OK, Mish? She didn’t actually hurt you?” Matt looked back using the rear-view mirror.

“No my big protective alpha fox.” Misha replied as they drove their beat up red saloon into the barn in the field behind the Padalecki valley. “Do we wait for them to come here? Should I put our bags in the people carrier? Is Stephen coming to take our keys or should we leave them in the car?”

Misha started lifting the Velcro on his collar, but would deny that his nerves were getting to him.

“Misha, stop with the nervous tic, you are making me nervous. You know, it is all arranged. Joseph is sending a car for David and that child he has mated. Jared, Oliver and Jensen will travel with them. We are taking the Stars with us. Felix is coming here to take Valerie and the box of supplies back to the den. I can hear a car coming up the lane now. Stay here and I’ll investigate.”

Matt slipped out of the car and Misha could see him take a deep breath of clean vomit-free air. A long black car pulled in and a small grey haired man hopped out of the driver’s seat to introduce himself to Matt. The driver of the other car had to be a beta wolf; Misha had never seen an alpha that small. He wondered about the dwarves in Valerie’s story books. He put his daughter on the seat next to him, “Now valiant Valerie, can you shift to foxy for me? You can run through the woods with Alpha-Felix.”

Valerie looked at her omega-mother and sighed, “Don’t baby talk me Papa, I am five.” But she shifted to her red coat and black nosed fox form, the image of Matt’s fox.

Misha lifted his daughter out of the car and Matt introduced them to Beta-Larry, a driver for the Royal Wolf family.

They got the feeling of approaching foxes as Larry sunk to his knees feeling David coming nearer.

Valerie jumped from Misha’s arms and rushed over to Jensen, shouting in the fox mind, “Uncle Jensen, Papa sang to me in the car, like his grandpappy sang to him on the Collins Farm Den when he was a very little kit.”

“Did you like that Valerie?” Jensen asked as he picked up the kit, “Your Papa isn’t known for his singing voice.”

“I liked it. But he changed the words...”

“Valerie!” Misha interrupted, “I am sure Uncle Jensen doesn’t want to hear about my singing.”

“Better than hearing you sing” Bradley called out from further up the hill.

Misha was off at that, flinging himself at Bradley and then twirling out of Bradley’s laughing hold to swamp Colin in a hug. Then he leapt onto Alexander and wrapped his legs around the stunned alpha’s hips, planting a kiss on the blond’s cheek. “You are back!”

“Yes, Misha, we are back.” Alexander said carefully and deliberately as he gently lowered the doctor’s mate to the ground.

“... and we get to car-share in the new pack people carrier all the way down to Fell Creek, so you can tell me all about California and I can tell you all about what Jensen and I have been doing with our letter writing to other packs and forming W.O.T. with Daniel Wolf, Rob Jackal and Chad Coyote.”

Alexander shook Matt’s hand, “Is it going to be a long journey Alpha-Matt?”

“Don’t worry, Alexander, you and me will be upfront, they can have their five hours of omega bonding in the back.”

Chapter Text

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

David and Vincent had fallen asleep somewhere over the border into Georgia.

Jensen was leaning against Jared with his head tucked under his alpha’s arm. The purring engine and motion of the vehicle was doing its work to induce slumber. Jensen pushed his body weight further into Jared’s strong chest. He hummed a little to himself, thinking of how they were nearly late for the Royal Chauffeur because Olivia had hidden in the kits’ play den and could not be found as they said their farewells.

“Penny for them?” Jared whispered down into Jensen’s hair.

“What Jare?”

“That’s what they say, isn’t it, penny for your thoughts?”

“Hmm” Jensen rolled his shoulders getting more comfortable in the car’s rear bench seat. The leather was soft and he was unsurprised that the wolves had drifted off. David and Vincent were facing them, their backs to the driver. The screen was up giving them privacy and Vincent’s head was resting in David’s lap, with the uber-alpha’s hand limp in Vincent’s hair.

“You sleepy Jen?”

“No. I was thinking of Olly’s disappearing act. Was that den on the far side of the hill always a kit’s play den?” Jensen mused aloud as the fingers of his right hand found Jared’s warm palm.

“I had some fine fantasises about it growing up. Playing being kings of the world with Oliver.”

“I was only wondering because it is so well constructed, like a full size den inside, though I can barely fit through the entrance in my fox form. Was it built for kits?”

“No it wasn’t. Stephen convinced me when I was four that fugitive pirates dug it out to hide their treasures far from the dangerous coast.” Jared chuckled at his own naiveté.

Jensen snorted quietly at the image of swashbuckling pirates creeping through the den in the dark with their loot.

“It was the Pack Shaman den.” Jared added.

“The pack had a shaman?” Jensen repeated astonished. David stirred a little at the raised voice.

“Yup,” Jared whispered, “every pack had its own shaman in the old times. We were one of the last packs to keep one. The den has been empty since Grandfather Devon was a kit.” Jared closed his eyes for a moment, letting the car’s movement relax him.

Jensen was fascinated by this semi-magical semi-religious side of pack history. After a few minutes he asked “Why did they leave?”

“Who?” Jared asked jerked back to full awareness.

“The shamans or is it shamen?”

“You should ask my Dad. He knows a lot about pack history and has stories passed down from his father. After the civil war as Urban society expanded and prospered they built new temples and drew the younger vocations to them.”

Jensen bit his lip. He remembered the Rock Hill Temple celebrating its centennial when he was in grade school. Many temples were a century or that and a few decades old. That fact fitted with Jared’s explanation. He considered whether the building of all those urban temples had been a deliberate policy of the new regime at the time. He was glad they had such a relic of past times on their packlands and it provided a wonderful play den for his kits.

“Are you surprised that Alexander doesn’t have more kits?” Jensen spoke the thought as it occurred to him.

“Huh? Where did that come from?” Jared shifted in the seat to straighten his back and Jensen pulled himself up so he was leaning against the outside of his arm.

“I don’t know.” Jensen answered honestly, “just... they still only have Elise...”

Jared’s voice was terse and low in response, “Star Valley is not the safest place in the country, Jensen.”

“Oh! I hadn’t thought of that.” Jensen blinked.

“Also it is a mating matter” Jared continued but relaxed his posture, “They are all still young. Bradley and Colin have not yet reached omega maturity of twenty five. They have plenty of years.”

“Do you think Colin is subdued?”

“What do you mean, Jen?” Jared turned his shoulder to face more towards his mate.

“I don’t know. Just.. he wasn’t the same... his energy is quiet.” Jensen bit his lip again concerned for his fellow omega’s state of mind.

“He is probably overwhelmed at being home. Are you worrying again Jen?”

“Just a little, Jay.”

“Don’t babe. Give them time to settle.” Jared advised.

Jensen mused more to himself than his mate, “maybe they will have kits now that they are home.”

Jared grinned and pushed Jensen back into the seat, moving his body in front and pinning him with his large hands. He bent over to nuzzle into Jensen’s neck. “What is all this talk of kits? Hey my yummy mate? Do you want me to fill up your belly all nice and round and full of my babies?”

“Jared!” Jensen hissed in protest, fearful that the wolves had heard.

“All rounded and warm with your luscious milk leaking through your clothes. Hum Jen?” Jared’s eyes were glazed. Jensen looked down to see his alpha’s cock straining against the material of his trousers.

“No Jare.”

Jared pulled back and his eyes widened at his omega. “No?”

“No, my dear mate, I don’t want more kits.” Jensen stated calmly.

Jared deflated as if someone had stuck a pin in him.

Jensen couldn’t bear to see him like that and added after a pause, “Not yet. I want a break.”

“A break,” Jared repeated the words numbly as if he didn’t understand them.

“Yeah. I want to wait a few seasons. I’d like to enjoy our little ones and I’d like to get more involved in WOT.”

“With Misha?” Jared still sounded numb.

Jensen gave a soft chuckle and playfully swatted Jared’s chest, “Who else? Of course with Mish. Bradley and Colin might be interested in getting involved too. I got a letter from O yesterday. Tony collected it from the mail drop while he was buying the flour for Amber.”

“Yeah?” Jared raised his eyebrows in question.

“He said that Kenneth is concerned about the meeting being attacked by terrorists.”

Jared gave a dry snort. He ran a hand over his hair. “Is that the excuse he invented to explain to O why he wasn’t allowed to attend?”

“Should we be worried?”

“No.”

“Are you sure, because maybe we are moving too fast, being too assertive in our actions for full citizens’ rights.”

“Gods above. You are not marching on Washington. You are meeting other omegas on wild pack lands surrounded by alphas. Lenard received full co-operation from Westwick for the National Guard to be deployed. Ian gave his approval for them to patrol all his land. The crazies will be warded off.” Jared huffed but he took Jensen’s hand in his and gave a reassuring squeeze.

“OK, Jared mate.” Jensen squeezed back, but he remained concerned that a military presence had been deemed necessary.

He felt Jared move his free hand between his neck and the seat. He rested his fingers over Jensen’s collar. “Hey my tender-hearted omega, don’t worry. I’ll be there. If anyone even thinks of harming you I’ll tear them up so much even their own Mommas won’t recognise them.”

“I know you will,” Jensen turned out of Jared’s hold to give his alpha a watery smile. The attempt at reassurance had not eased his anxieties.

He mentally jotted Jared losing his temper to the growing list of things he was worried about.

 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

Fell Creek seemed to be swarming with people by the time their cars arrived. Jensen could see a few National Guardsmen and women patrolling amongst the vehicles, noting that the urban government had kept their word to provide additional protection for the meeting. He was glad of their presence. Jared had told him not to worry, before they ended their journey he had explained that the anti-terrorism unit had passed on their intelligence to the council and there were only crackpot threats to the meeting. Jensen supposed that if there had been a serious alert the omega part of the meeting would have been postponed.

He was still concerned. Crackpot threats were still possible actual attacks. He wondered if the heavy uniformed presence was due to more credible intelligence. Perhaps Urban First did plan to disrupt the meeting. Fell Creek had been chosen for many reasons. The pack had no omegas, so could be seen as a neutral ground for their meeting, not favouring any omega’s pack over another. Also and possibly more importantly the geography of the creek and open canyon made it an easily defensible and monitored location. The Governor of Georgia had personally assured Ian and The Joseph Wolf that there was military presence at Fort Benning airfield which could be scrambled if they were needed.

Larry backed their car into the space beside Matt in the designated parking field and Jensen could see The Joseph Wolf lounging against a tree at the edge of the area. He was alone. None of his entourage accompanied him.

When the wolf king saw their cars pull in, Jensen saw him straighten up and bark an order at all the surrounding weres. All the people, wolves or not, went in the direction the Uber-alpha had pointed, heading away through the sparse trees towards the distant cabins of Fell Creek proper. By the time the Padalecki delegation emerged from their vehicles only Joseph stood before them surrounded by billowing grasses and wearing an icy expression.

Larry bowed his head and turned to get their bags from the dark car while Colin and Alexander opened the trunk of the people carrier to get their luggage and the huge basket of Amber’s famous bread rolls, which the pack was contributing to the feeding of the delegates.

David took a pace to the side of the car but kept Vincent tucked under his arm.

Joseph marched up to his brother and squarely punched him in the jaw, knocking the taller wolf to the ground.

“Get up, David, you stupid knot-head. Did you honestly think I would not give you dispensation to mate? If we truly stuck to traditional ways, I could have your head for this. I am not just your brother and your alpha, I am your fucking King.” Joseph spat the words into David’s face, his blue eyes sparking with power.

“I should have, Joseph, but when I saw him in that barren sterile Unclaimed Omega House, I couldn’t leave him there.” David pleaded from his position on the ground before complying with his brother’s order to get up.

“Gods of love and sovereignty.” Joseph sounded exasperated. “I am not telling you that you should have left your arranged mate languishing in an urban prison. I am saying you thought with your knot. You have brought this family into the gossip pages and made us the laughing skit of the urban media. No matter how many events myself and Daniel have attended this month, the only questions we have been asked were about your mating and your whereabouts!”

“I apologise for not coming to you with Vincent.” David lowered his head. Jensen noted he didn’t apologise for not waiting to mate.

“You had better introduce me to my new brother-in-law.” Joseph grinned and tilted his head at the young wolf.

“My King and Brother, Joseph, please accept my mate, Vincent Kartheiser, son of the former Eight Gullies Pack Alpha, promised to me in his birthing den if he should be blessed by the gods to be omega.” David pushed an overwhelmed Vincent on the shoulder so that he knelt before Joseph.

Jensen realised that wolf packs had different traditions to fox packs, when Joseph bent down and took the front of Vincent’s throat in his open jaws, and Vincent lifted his chin up to give Joseph more room. Then Joseph licked the front of Vincent’s throat above the slim beaded choker necklace David had used as an emergency collar.

“Welcome to the royal family, Vincent. Daniel will arrange your body guard and personal beta-in-waiting when we are back at One Blood. Until then you can share Daniel’s staff. David, I expect you to get Vincent a royal collar with your crest.”

David nodded and Vincent said “Thank you my liege.”

Joseph turned to Jared, “I should be on the outs with you Padalecki, for hiding my brother, but I appreciate loyal friendships.” He clasped Jared’s hand. Jensen let out a sigh of relief; it would not do to make an enemy of The Joseph Wolf.

Joseph linked Jared’s arm and pulled him towards the Fell den. The rest of the group trailed behind.

Candice was waiting for them at the edge of the creek. She flew forward and Jensen found himself with a face full of blond hair being air-kissed left and right. “Jensen-Vixen, you are so welcome at our new pack.”

“Candice-Vixen, I’ve missed you and Ian. How are you finding having your own pack?”

Candice whispered “You have to help me with this pack mind thing. It is freaking me out.” Then in a louder voice, “We are so happy to have our old pack mates here.” She turned to Jared and Joseph, “Apologies for breaking protocol and greeting Jensen first, you are welcome to Fell Creek, Alpha Jared. Ian sends his regrets that he is not here at this time; the Equality Now group have arrived and are objecting at sharing a cabin with the two omegas from the Omega Workers Union and their mates. Ian is trying to sort things out.”

“Hello Candice,” Jared smiled, “Do not worry, we all remember when we had the council meeting at the home den. Let me present David’s mate Vincent.”

Candice greeted the wolves and then worked her way through hugs from Oliver, Matt and Misha. She looked at Alexander, unsure of how to greet the alpha. Jensen knew that Ian and Candice were very hurt when Alexander disappeared to the Star Pack without a word to them.

Jared stepped in, “Candice, I must inform you of my approval of the mating of my cousin Colin to my Third Alexander.”

Candice sucked a breath at the developments, “Ian says you always make strong decisions and he hopes to do the same here. Alpha-Alexander, welcome to you and your mates.”

Alexander stepped forward and caught his friend’s hand in both of his, “Thank you Candice, I missed you and Ian very much.”

Jensen thought he could see a tear in Candice’s eye as she moved back from Alexander and gave Bradley and Colin quick hugs.

Candice guided them through the scattered cabins and temporary marquees along the river bank to a cabin in the centre of the creek, while Joseph took David, Vincent and Larry to where the wolves were residing.

“Candy, do all the cabins have electricity?” Misha pointed at the solar panels.

“Most do, Misha, as well as rudimentary plumbing from the creek, we are blessed with great volume in our tributary of the Chattahoochee, and Ian has plans for the rest of the dwellings. We are even considering some kind of wiring for our four precious caves.”

“Is there an omega cave?” Colin asked.

“Yes. Even though our pack currently has no omegas, there is a small high cave dedicated for omegas. The earth here is too rocky and compact to dig dens. Our four caves are in the cliff above the creek waters. We use the lower three as birthing nests or mating dens. Our omega cave is too small for this kind of meeting, so for this weekend we have assigned one of the large open plan cabins for omega use. It is also where the urban/wild omega meeting will take place.”

“How many pack omegas have come?” Jensen asked curious at the turn out.

“We still have a few pack representatives to arrive, but there has been a good turnout. Some packs have sent their Alpha/Omega couples instead of their normal Alpha/Beta representatives. Five Rivers have sent their business manager, Two Moons sent their Fourth, and the Accola collective sent Jonathon and Fabrice, as well as Aiden and Neil from Accola Hamlet in Vermont. The Anubis isn’t coming. His Queen is due to have her pups soon, but he sent his relation Percy and his mate Rob, who I know you will be glad to finally meet after all the e-mails about WOT. Of course Three Mountains are boycotting as are North Bay Jackals, and we don’t know if the Atlantic Coyotes will send someone yet, Evan Lindberg and your other WOT omega Chad are here from the Pacific Coyotes. No omegas from Eccleston Caves either, but William came alone for the Pack Alpha meeting.”

Misha was beaming at the turn out and gave Jensen the thumbs up. Jensen found he had a fluttering of nervous excitement in his stomach at the prospect of meeting so many new omegas. He hoped the urban omegas would not be judgemental of his mate’s traditional standards. He sighed wondering if that was a vain hope. He was also going to miss Ty and Amy, and Laurence and the Queen. He also normally found Five Rivers’ Alpha Danai, a wise counsel. Her pack bordered Rock Hill and she often passed news of his hometown on to Jared for him at council meetings.

The Padalecki group got themselves settled in their cabin. Jensen wondered which family had made way for them. It was comfortable accommodation, but would be cramped with so many sharing. Oliver was the only one getting his own sleeping mat.

Misha piped up that he was getting the first shower and that Jensen should get the second as vixen. Jensen thought it was quite underhand, as they understood that there was only so much solar heated water and the later foxes would have a cold one. Alexander raised an eyebrow but left the omegas get away with their game.

Jensen couldn’t be cruel to Jared and dragged him away from his strategy talk with Oliver to take a shower with him. As he soaped Jared’s chest the water was already cooling. “Misha stole the hot water, Jay, but I knew you would enjoy a hot rub down.” Jensen blew the words onto his mate’s nipples.

“Mmmm sneaky Misha, but sneaky hot Jen, my omega, taking care of me.” Jared spun Jensen around and massaged soap into his mate’s back muscles with his thumbs working his way down in circular motions. As his hands got lower muted moans left Jensen’s mouth.

“I’m not even close yet, my sweet vixen.” Jared wrapped a hand around to find Jensen’s throbbing cock caught between his body and the shower wall. He used the other hand to massage the globes of Jensen’s cheeks. Then he pushed his thumb against his omega’s rim, prompting a release of slick. “So ready for me, so good” Jared moaned as his positioned his own throbbing head.

“Gods, Jay, give it to me. Fill me up. Please. Ready for you.” Jensen panted as he closed his eyes. His heart pounded in his chest and his breathing quickened with desire.

“I love it when you beg. My needy vixen. I’m going to fill you up so much you’ll think of me while you sit on those hard conference chairs with all the other omegas.” Jared moved his hand to spread it across Jensen’s chest and pull his mate closer, so that their skin was touching. Jensen threw his head back to rest against Jared’s shoulder and let the warm water flow over their joined bodies.

After a moment’s pause his longing made itself known. “Stop talking Jared and just take me.” Jensen cried pushing back to try and find Jared’s cock himself.

“Demanding much?” Jared braced his mate with his hands over his omega’s hips and pushed his way into the hot wet home of his waiting hole. “So good, Jen, taking all of me, filling you up, clenching and holding me tight.”

Jensen’s own release blinded him as he slammed back into his alpha. Jared knot was stretching him, completing him, satisfying his need.

As the knot pulsed inside him and Jared gripped him fast, Jensen came again in quick succession, until he was shooting dry and painful, and he pleaded for Jared to pull back and withdraw, even though he knew that physiology had taken over and they had to wait for the throbbing knot to go down. Jared eased him onto the floor of the bathroom so that Jensen was seated on his lap. Jensen leaned forward resting his head sleepily on his alpha’s shoulder giving dozy kitten licks to Jared’s collar bone.

Misha appeared with an armful of towels. “Thought you might be cold, after your loud extended shower,” he laughed draping them like blankets over his pack alpha and vixen, after shutting off the cool water. “Don’t worry about everyone else, your noisy mating drove Oliver off to look for Ian, Matt has gone looking for some other doctors and the Stars are gone looking for Alexander’s maybe-omega-mother.”

 

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It was a beautiful evening as the large crowd gathered by the waters of Fell creek. A feast had been laid out, buffet style, for the guests to help themselves. It was a formal welcome meeting. Jensen found a disadvantage to having his body back to normal as he was able to wear the ludicrous green formal jerkin again.

Ian, Candice, Paul, Nina, Joseph and Daniel stood on a raised platform in the dining tent. Ian called the crowd to order.

He ran a hand through his black hair and began “It is a great pleasure and honor for the Fell Fox Pack to host the meeting of Wild Packs, as well as the inaugural meeting of Urban and Wild Omegas. My den is open to anyone who needs anything during your stay with us. Please seek out my Pack Vixen Candice, or my Second Paul or his mate Nina for anything you need. I will pass you over to The Daniel Wolf.”

Daniel stepped to the front of the platform dressed all in black mirroring his alpha. Joseph moved up behind him, keeping a hand in the small of his omega’s back.

“It is an honour to welcome omegas from the packs and the urban world here together at Fell Creek. I am not alone in hoping that this weekend will forge lasting bonds between omegas of different species, packs, and ways of life. Let’s eat!”

Jensen joined in the polite applause. Then he grabbed Jared’s hand for a reassuring squeeze. He wasn’t comfortable in the crowded tent with so many strangers. They strolled through the crowd. Jared was stopped by The Green Forest Pack Alpha Seth who wanted to spout off about his neighbouring pack, Three Mountains. Jensen knew from Jared’s reports of previous fox meetings that Seth had beef with Kenneth. They made their excuses and moved towards the entrance for a breath of air. Alone inside the marquee entrance flap Jared rubbed his mate’s arm and tilted his neck down to plant a sweet kiss on the side of Jensen’s lips.

After a while Jensen looked up at Jared who was watching a group of the urban omegas with their mates. The urban group were talking with Nina. Jensen noticed that all the omegas wore smart but casual everyday clothes and their collars were all unique. One young slim omega had floppy chestnut hair and a beaming smile. He was standing with a slim dark blond haired alpha. Jensen could see that he had a snow white shirt with the collar standing up and the top buttons undone displaying his collar which seemed to be comprised of tags and charms. He was wondering what the meaning of all the items were, when the omega caught his eye and walked over to introduce himself.

“Hello I’m Trent Ford, from Toledo, Ohio. That is my alpha-mate Scott. I’m one of the Omega Equality Now representatives. Christian is around here somewhere.” Trent gestured vaguely and then stuck his hands into his trouser pockets and rocked back on his heels, smiling at Jensen.

“Racoon dog. Is it common in Toledo for omegas to greet other omegas bypassing your alpha-mates?” Jared growled down at the young were.

“No alpha. Just omegas who don’t believe in all the caste system crap.” Trent kept the cheeky grin on his face and winked at Jensen.

Jensen could feel Jared’s blood boiling at the cheeky urban omega, and decided to step in, “I’m Jensen Padalecki, and this is my alpha-mate Jared. You have a very unique collar, Trent.”

“Wow, the Padalecki foxes. Misha wasn’t kidding when he messaged to look out for the most striking couple.”

Jensen blushed. He turned to check Jared’s reaction to Trent’s comment but Jared had noticed Jasper, the Lincoln Pack Alpha, beckoning him over and was making his excuses.

Trent leaned in closer to Jensen, who thought the weird young omega was scenting him. “Jensen, come with me and meet our group. My collar is a symbol of our resistance to our subjugation. I collect all types of charms, pendants and tags in as many colours as possible. I have been given some by other omegas when they removed them from their own collars and refused to wear them any longer. You have a nice red shiny one that would look good next to my blue oval shaped one.”

“So are you a campaigner by day and a tag thief by night?” Jensen quipped, finding the quirky omega open and friendly, and feeling at ease following him to the group.

“Oh no, quite the opposite. I’ll take away another omega’s tag at any opportunity, and the early hours are the best time for a little internet chaos.” Trent winked and tapped another long haired omega on the back.

The new omega turned around. He was only a few inches shorter than Jensen, wearing a beaded collar and buckskin jacket.

“Our esteemed leader, Christian Kane, meet Jensen Padalecki.” Trent grinned and mock bowed.

“I’d shake your hand, Vixen, but I might have it lopped off under pack justice.” Christian said bitterly as he looked at Jensen’s collar and tag, and let his eye follow the hanging leash.

Jensen was not going to let another omega look down on him for his alpha’s choices and the way he lived his life, “Charmed to meet you too,” he said with more than a dash of sarcasm, “Is your alpha here tonight?”

“Kane? He probably has his dirty knot buried up some beta’s pussy in Arizona. Him and me don’t talk. What about your alpha? I am surprised he let you out in public. There are photographers here. Did you put your foot down at a veil, like the vestal omega virgins of ancient Rome?” The other omega sniped.

Jensen wondered for an instant if the coyote could possibly be joking and he should quip back not to give Jared ideas, but the sneer on the other omega’s face stopped him. “Jared is talking with some of the pack alphas,” Jensen replied trying to stay calm and not reveal that Christian was riling him up. He turned his head away from the long haired omega’s stare, “Who are the others in your party, Trent?”

Trent was looking a bit shell shocked at the angry exchange, but blinked and introduced his mate Scott and one of the Omega Workers Union representatives Caspar Fuller and his alpha-mate Kurt.

Caspar was an older jackal omega, small and balding with beady eyes. He had a similar look to his alpha who was taller and more round of face.

Caspar nodded at Jensen and asked, “Would you believe that your file was the first one in my cabinets?”

“What?” Jensen said surprised, there was a slick oily feeling coming from the jackal and Jensen took an instinctive small step backwards into Trent’s space.

“Yes, up until three years ago, I was head of the factory and labourers division of the union and every time I opened the first cabinet, I saw Ackles, J R.” Caspar grinned, giving his face a strange strangled expression.

“Well you have a face to put to the name now,” Jensen wasn’t sure what to say and he wondered what information about his life was in Caspar’s files.

“Sure can.” Caspar nodded as his alpha slung an arm around his shoulder, “Kurt encouraged me to join the campaigning division of the union, and the change has been interesting. I can still see all my working omegas’ files and details. Your subscription is quite overdue Jensen.”

Jensen joined in the polite titter of laughter, but he found Caspar and Kurt a touch sinister. It was hard to remember that he himself had been an urban omega for most of his life, when he found the urban weres so off-putting and different. Trent was off the chart weird with his freakish collar, and Christian Kane was a douchebag.

Fortunately at that moment Misha jumped on top of Trent’s back, whooping that he would recognise the Outrageous Ohio Omega anywhere. “So Jen,” Misha called from his piggyback position, “I see you met Cousin Trent.”

“Your cousin?” Jensen thought that explained a lot.

“Yeah, Libby Collins ran away from the farm many moons ago, she was grandpa Collins’ middle daughter, ran off with a travelling salesman from Toledo.”

“Libby was my grandmother.” Trent explained.

Misha squeezed his eyes in concentration, “That makes Trent here my first cousin once removed or my second cousin or something.”

“But Trent isn’t a fox.” Jensen protested.

“Really Jen, did they teach you anything on that Omega education program? Trent’s grandpappy was an Alpha-Racoon dog, and his father is the same. His fox genes got bred out. Gosh, though wouldn’t it be a blast if you had a litter with Scott and he had some long hidden Fox DNA and you ending up with a kit amongst your pups?” Misha slid off his cousin’s back.

“No it would not be funny at all, Misha.” Scott called from the other side of the Fullers.

Jensen felt a warm hand on his back and turned to see Jared. “Sorry Misha, alphas, I need to borrow Jensen.” Jared had two short glasses of the renowned Fell Cherry Brandy in the fingers of his other hand and held them up for Jensen to take one.

“Do you really need to borrow me? Or did you just miss me?” Jensen whispered as they walked towards Ian and Paul, lifting the brandy glass up to wet his lips.

“Guilty.” Jared pleaded, “You will be talking to those urban omegas all day tomorrow. I want you next to me tonight, keeping me company. Come and sit with me and a few of the Fell Pack and we can enjoy some of the delicious feast.”

“Ha! Caught you out. It was your abyss of a stomach that drew you back to me!” Jensen leaned his side into his alpha and let the tension of the gathering go.

 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

Colin stirred awake. He straightened his legs and opened his eyes to see the bare skin of Alexander’s back. He wanted to shift to fox and curl in on himself but his alpha preferred them to remain human at night. Alexander’s inability to get to sleep in fox-form was a legacy from his days in the foster home where the children were not allowed to shift.

Colin knew without checking that on the other side of the mattress Bradley’s face was buried in Alexander’s crotch. He looked around the cabin in the dawn light. Misha’s tan coat was wrapped around Matt’s stark red body. Oliver’s black nose was lost in his fur as he curled around his cushion on the mat in front of the stove. The pack alpha and vixen were hidden under their blankets on the other queen size mattress by the far wall.

Bradley made a sucking noise in his sleep. Colin’s fingers began to pick at his collar. He was caught unawares by a new wave of regret.

Last night had been difficult. They had done the mingling required, Colin letting Bradley take the lead in conversations as they made their way through all the alphas who Alexander seemed to know from his dealings with the Western Fox Council and eastern alphas from their contact with the Padalecki pack. He had tried to behave as a second mate should, hoping that Jared would be proud of him.

It was a strain, especially when the older Union delegate omega had sneered as Bradley selected his food from the plate Alexander had given them.

The Atlantic Coyote representative, Butch Hills, turned up late without his omega, explaining that his mate was in heat. He had found Alexander and told him in clipped phrases that he was a disgrace to alphahood for letting his omegas run around collarless. The hulking alpha with the black curly beard began to explain how his town would have removed the omegas’ unnecessary junk as punishment, until Alexander clocked him one, sending him staggering back against The David Wolf’s chest. Alexander made a quick apology to David and caught the ends of his mates’ leashes making a fast exit for the cabin. His alpha only stopped spouting about sick coyote bastards, and interfering knot-heads, after Colin and Bradley had helped him undress and settled him on the mattress. Colin finally felt the alpha-rage drain away when Bradley took his nightly position, holding Alexander’s soft cock in his mouth, and Colin made himself comfortable leaning into his alpha’s back.

Colin sensed Alexander wake up. The alpha tapped Bradley on the shoulder to suck him hard. He moved his upper body to lie flat drawing Colin down to kiss his lips and nip at his throat. Colin heard Bradley pull off and move to the bathroom as Alexander flipped them on the mattress so that his body covered Colin. His alpha made his way down from Colin’s throat, nipping and sucking at Colin’s nipples. He murmured how what a good omega he was before licking circles around his navel. Colin bucked his hips and made the responsive noises he knew Alexander liked. He moved his arm to the small of his alpha’s back and pulled him closer, as expected at this point. He was still soft but tried to think of Bradley’s tongue in his hole, Bradley’s head thrown back in orgasm. Alexander pushed three fingers into Colin and crooked them to stimulate him, telling him that he loved him and praising him for taking his alpha’s touch and responding so well, as finally Colin’s dick got on board. Colin wrapped a leg around his alpha’s waist to give him room. Then it was all good because Bradley was back twisting his nipples between his thumbs and fingers and biting, pulling at his ear lobe with his teeth. Alexander’s fingers painted his lips with his own slick and he opened up to take them. He could taste his own grassy peaty essence with Alexander’s ozone skin and under it Bradley’s citrus chocolate goodness. There was a hint of salty-sorrow from Alexander’s fingertips as Colin worked his tongue around them, but he pushed it away and focused on Bradley’s teeth as they scraped down the side of his shoulder and Bradley’s hand as he stripped his hard cock. He could feel his alpha pushing and thrusting to enter him, as his omega-mate took the hand from his nipples to dig his knuckles into his claiming mark. He opened his mouth to scream Bradley’s name as he came hard and long, but Bradley covered his mouth with his own to stifle the cry. Bradley kept gently exploring his mouth as Alexander ground his knot into him, grinding another sliver of his soul away.

Bradley stroked his cheek, wiping away a stray tear, telling him how good he was. Alexander laughed quietly “My boys, sometimes I wonder if you need me at all.”

Bradley moved over to fold himself into Alexander’s arms, “Not true, Alex-mate, my mate, my alpha.”

This time Colin turned his face into the bedclothes to hide the escaping tears that rolled down his cheeks silently. He wouldn’t spoil this moment for the foxes he loved. The sadness was his problem, not theirs, and they didn’t deserve to have it inflicted on them.

Chapter Text

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Jensen was glad when breakfast was over. The spread of breads and fruits had been laid out under the temporary marquee which had three sides open to invite in the bright morning sun. The Omega Rights Group had contributed a sack of Arabica coffee to the meeting and Jensen knelt beside Jared blocking out all the alpha gossip and politics as he savoured the hot liquid nectar. Jared passed him pieces of cinnamon roll but Jensen wasn’t hungry and stopped him with his hand. His stomach twisted with anxiety. He was due to stand in front of all the other omegas. He was to be the one to welcome them to the meeting. He wouldn’t be alone. Misha, Chad, Daniel and Rob would stand with him, but he could feel his heart race at the prospect.

“Coffee probably wasn’t the best choice, if you are this nervous Jen.” Jared grinned down at him.

“Well Alpha-dimple cheeks, I’ll take a second cup, coffee gives you courage.” Jensen laughed to himself knowing that Jared wouldn’t recognise the coffee slogan and jingle for Courage Beans ™

Jared didn’t comment but asked Candice to get another steaming mug of the dark brew for his mate.

Jensen looked across the seating area where Alexander was having some sort of disagreement with Jacob Star. It looked civilised. He hoped it would stay that way. There had been enough rumbling in the gathering after Alexander had decked Butch Hills the night before. Bradley had wrapped his arms around his alpha’s knee and Jensen could see Alexander’s hand resting on the back of Bradley’s collar. Colin was next to Bradley, turned slightly away from his mates, looking at a spot between his feet. Jensen wondered if the words being exchanged were personal about Colin. Jensen felt again his concern about the change he had observed in Colin over the last few days. The old trouble loving joker had been replaced by a quiet submissive fox who was constantly touching Bradley. The only other triangle mating in the pack was Sebastian’s one. Jensen could understand why Sebastian had withdrawn from life in the first years of his mating, having lost his true mate, who had turned out to be a monster, had lost two of his babies, and had been forcibly mated. However by all accounts Colin had chosen Alexander and had asked to be mated. Bradley and Alexander clearly loved him, and Elise spent as much time with him as her Dada and Papa. Jensen decided when they were back at their den he would try and talk to Colin and draw out his troubles. He decided to have a word with Daniel on the quiet about triangle mates.

Jared took his leave of Jensen outside the Omega meeting cabin. “You will do great Jen. If you freeze up, do what I do at meetings and start to babble whatever comes into your head.”

“Jay, I don’t think that is very good advice.” Jensen laughed feeling some of the tension leave him.

“Or you could pass your microphone to Misha, he can fill any silence.” Jared called as he headed to a marquee at the tree edge for the Pack Alpha meeting. “If you need anything, the Pack Alpha meeting is closed, but Alexander and Oliver are going to help Paul with the statements for the envoys and the urban press. They will be down by the creek bed.”

Jensen nodded that he understood and caught up with Rob Benedict who was entering the cabin. “Morning Rob, are you ready to present Wild Omegas Together to the civilised world?”

“As ready as I’ll ever be, Jensen. Anyone would think you weren’t nervous.” Rob winked and scratched at his scraggy facial hair. Jensen wondered if he was trying to grow a proper beard, an unusual effort for an omega.

Rob stepped to the side and waved his arms at his far off alpha, calling out that he was going into the meeting. Jensen turned and marvelled again at the size of Percy. Rob was dwarfed when he stood under his alpha’s massive muscled arms. Percy had at least three inches on Jared and was built like a truck. However the alpha paragon was in fact a big teddy bear according to Rob. Their four children had crawled all over him and even now that they were older pups and a beta-teen, they had Percy wrapped around their fingers.

“No time for nerves, my omega conspirators.” Misha announced gesturing to them to follow as they entered the cabin and joined Daniel and Chad on the temporary stage. Jensen noticed Misha’s hair was particularly tossed as if he had been scrunching it with his hands. He restrained himself from stepping over to smooth it down.

Looking down from the raised platform, Jensen was impressed with the job Candice and her team of helpers had done. There were circular tables and chairs spaced around the room. The room was filling up and he could see some of the omegas he knew from other packs. They were all chatting and introducing themselves as they took their seats.

Daniel briefly left the platform to deal with Trent and Christian who were complaining that both Workers Union representatives were at a front row table while their colleague Milo had to sit behind and separate to them. Milo, being a wolf, even an urban one, was so star-struck that he was speaking with The Daniel Wolf that he offered to take a seat further back, to resolve the spat.

Finally everyone was seated and Jensen took the microphone from Chad. He thought of his confident mate and tried to draw on that feeling. He hoped his voice wouldn’t crack from nerves. He shuffled his notes once more, but then put them aside and took off his reading glasses. He glanced at Misha who nodded and smiled at him to begin.

He tried to project his voice like Misha had coached him. “Welcome to Fell Creek Omega Cabin. We will be undisturbed by our alphas during our meeting. The betas of the Fell pack have agreed to help us with anything we need, and the National Guardsmen and women outside the doors are all beta. My name is Jensen. I am Pack Vixen of the Padalecki Pack. With me on stage are the other founders of Wild Omegas Together, Misha Cohen, the foundation stone of the organisation, or the Overlord, as he prefers. The Daniel Wolf needs no introduction I presume. Next to Daniel is Chad Lindberg, mate of the Pacific Coyote Wild Council Member and Rob Benedict, from the Jackal Anubis’s home pack.”

Jensen paused to take a sip of water and was surprised by a welcoming round of applause.

He continued, “Together the five of us have declared this meeting A Gathering, meaning that all opinions may be expressed freely. Everyone has an equal right to speak and have their views heard. We sincerely hope that we can work together to make life better for all omegas, regardless of where they live and what their status is. We propose to begin with an opportunity for any issues or concerns you may have to be raised. Then we will divide for some round table group discussions. After midday meal, we have guest speakers, beginning with Christian Kane from Omega Equality Now. Doctor Matt Cohen will speak about Omega healthcare. Matt is an alpha but an expert in omega health. Finally Claude Kartheiser, Pack She-wolf of Eight Gullies, will speak from his many years of experience of being on the front lines in the Urban/Wild conflict.”

Jensen breathed as sigh of relief as Rob took the mike from him to answer a query about the Anubis’s level of approval for the meeting from an older distinguished looking jackal.

After couple of hours Nina brought a tray of sweet minted tea and bite sized pastries to his round table and gave him a reassuring smile. He had a wolf from Nine Rocks, a sassy New York racoon dog who volunteered with Omega Rights group, Stellan Star, another cousin of Misha’s named Shane from Collins Farm, Caspar Fuller and Christian Kane at his table. The discussion was focused on unmated Omegas. They had already had a passionate discussion about urban mating parties and pack courting rituals. As Nina left, Caspar declared himself an expert on Omega workers and proceeded to shout down Shane’s attempt to explain how everyone unmated had an equal role on the farm. Caspar wanted to know who stood up for young farm omegas. Shane tried to convince him that the omegas stood up for themselves. Jensen wished that Colin had joined his table rather than staying with Bradley at the under omega-maturity mates’ discussion. He explained how Colin had lived in the omega den and how impressed he had been when he arrived at the den, comparing his OS monitored life to Colin’s carefree one.

Christian scoffed at him and leaned back in his chair. Jensen glared at the rude coyote.

“How is your Pack Alpha deciding where an omega can live and what they can do any different from the OS or an Alpha father deciding the same thing in a town or city?” The coyote asked.

“In a pack,” Jensen explained “the omega is not removed from society. They participate in the pack. It is not perfect, that is why we formed WOT. But it is a damn sight better than being confined to an OS Unclaimed Omega House. If a true mating doesn’t happen in a pack, the omega gets to interact with their suitors and find a compatible mate.”

“You must be kidding me? Are you serious, man, whoo-weee?” Christian shook his head to demonstrate his disbelief. Then he leaned forward over the table and pointed his finger at Jensen, “How is your pack alpha having the final say about who you mate any different from a teenage mating party or an Unclaimed Home Omega Auction? The decision is only as good as the alpha. What happens if he decides to give you to someone you hate, or if you mate without permission? Why don’t we ask the lowest ranked omegas in the room? I know Denham Olsson didn’t volunteer to be Two Moons Alpha/Beta Fourth couple’s baby machine, and why isn’t Colin Star at this table, would his omega master not allow it?”

Stellan’s head whipped around to glare at Christian, “That is my son’s mate, you are speaking of. I will have you know that under a beating sun the wandering soul seeks harbor.”

“Is that a riddle? Are you claiming to be a shaman, old man?” Christian’s eyes widened.

“Cursed of the gods is the omega whose kits go to the forest beyond before him.” Stellan said gravely.

“OK, Omega-Kane, I think that is enough.” Jensen interrupted, “Stellan has his own perspective on things. How about we get back on point and discuss what we can do as organisations to improve life for unmated omegas?”

Caspar took him up on his suggestion and spoke about a program the union was hoping to introduce with the sanction of the government offering vocational training in Unclaimed Omega Houses. Which Christian called making a pact with evil, and said his organisation was going to oppose the union at every turn.

When they finally broke for midday meal and the plates of sandwiches and slices of fruit cake made their appearance, Jensen allowed himself a sigh of relief. He felt like he had refereed a title fight.

 

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Misha looked over at Jensen’s table, taking in his friend’s flushed cheeks and nervous smile. He didn’t envy Jensen having Christian Kane and strange Stellan at his table. He had enjoyed his own table’s discussion on the possibility of omegas being allowed to hold elected offices, although the hard chair had made for an uncomfortable few hours of sitting.

Some states already allowed unmated omegas to hold minor positions like town councillor, and others allowed an omega to proxy for a sick mate at state senate meetings. There was also a discussion on whether unmated wild omegas should be allowed to hold positions in the pack, like betas, who could rise as high as pack second. Everyone had open minds and there had been plenty of lateral thinking, of the type Misha admired. The lively exchange of suggestions resulted in the two Omega Rights Campaigners waxing enthusiasm about bringing their ideas back to their leadership committee, and Misha promising to use the WOT website to sound out wild opinion.

At the meal, Chad slumped into the chair next to him pulling at his slim metal collar. “Man that was intense. I practically had to detach Trent Ford from the Ten Islands She-wolf. Who thought I should get the table on tagging? How I am an expert? Jensen should have taken my table. Although I don’t know if I would have swapped with him. I could hear Christian shouting about mating at my side of the cabin. Did you have a hard ride too Misha, you are as flushed as Jensen?”

“No, we were all very civilised. Did you reach any consensus?” Misha asked as he took a second slice of cake.

“Yes my overlord, we all hate tags. Surprise huh? What to do about it? Not so much. Trent wanted to march around the room and collect them off the omegas present. I am actually glad that Kenneth Branagh stayed away. I don’t think O would be able to cope with Trent.” Chad pulled the elastic band off his pony tail and shook out his hair.

“Chad? That is unsanitary around food.” Misha rolled his eyes at his laid back friend. “Would you help Rob set up the sound system for Christian Kane’s speech? I need to get a breath of air.”

“Not a problem. I can’t wait to hear our way of life get slated by that pompous ass.” Chad grinned.

Misha went outside and leaned against the logs of the cabin. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Vincent slinking away into the trees. He quirked a private smile at new mates. A flush grew up his body as he remembered his first weeks sequestered away in Matt’s apartment.

A national guardswoman came over and offered him a cigarette.

“No thank you, m’am, they are very bad for your health.” Misha refused.

“You look like you needed one.” She shrugged and continued her patrol of the cabin perimeter.

Misha felt disturbed. He didn’t know if it was all the omegas stuck together in one room but something was affecting his equilibrium. He would love to go up to the omega cave and either sleep for the afternoon or do some tai-chi at the entrance. He shifted his shoulders and tried to work out some of the kinks in his back, before heading inside.

Christian was already talking about the media campaign that Omega Equality Now was funding, targeting new omegas who had just been excluded from school. Misha couldn’t concentrate on the speech. He was focused on Matt’s appearance, which was next on the schedule. He sensed Matt waiting outside to be called, and his mate’s confidence in his expertise on omega health matters. He wished he could wrap himself around his mate and feel his alpha’s fingers leaving bruises on his hips. His ass twitched and Misha squirmed on his seat, getting a look of concern from Rob.

The omegas around him started clapping and Rob pushed him up out of his chair. Misha took a couple of breaths to get his mind back in gear. If he didn’t know better he would think he was in pre-heat. As he stepped onto the stage and shook Christian’s hand as the coyote departed, Misha realised that it was very possible that he was in pre-heat. Misha had come off suppressants weeks earlier, in the hopes of future siblings for Valerie. With all the planning for the meeting, he had stopped visiting the clinic nurse for his thermometer checks, thinking he had months before his cycle got back to normal.

He looked up at the expectant crowd. “It gives me great pleasure to introduce my own mate, Dr Matt Cohen. Alpha-Matt studied omega health at a postgraduate level. In fact it was during his placement at the Maine omega clinic, that I met Matt, when I brought my cousin Shane in for a check up after his first heat. It was a credit to his professionalism and my amazing willpower that we delayed our true mating until Matt had finished his shift and I had sent Shane home with our den second.”

There was a round of laughter and indulgent smiles.

Misha was encouraged to continue, “Omega health education is sorely lacking in both the wild and urban society. In depth sex education only takes place in schools after the age when omegas have already been excluded. Omegas only receive the homeschooling education if their family alpha approves it. In the wild, omegas educate each other, meaning that a pack with a single omega needs to seek assistance from other packs. It also means that rumors can become accepted truth as the tale is told down through the generations. I am sure I am not stealing Matt’s thunder to tell you that there are packs out there with rather strange ideas about what an omega needs or experiences. Hopefully we will all learn some new and true scientific information today. Matt will also take questions at the end of his talk, so get thinking about your own pack or family myths.”

Misha sensed Matt entering the cabin and licked his lips as his mate jumped up onto the stage. He gave Misha a brief tight squeeze as he took the microphone from him. To Misha’s mortification he released a large amount of slick. He had to clench tight to avoid leaving the stage with soaking trousers. He heard Matt thanking him for his introduction and beginning his rehearsed speech with the story of the first omega birth he had attended as a student.

Matt shot him a few concerned glances. Misha was sure that his alpha could scent the impending heat. He shot back a smile that he hoped was reassuring and nodded to show he wanted Matt to continue.

By the time Matt had discarded his third cue card, Misha knew he was in trouble. Unable to focus on Matt’s words, Misha was bathed in sweat and his mind was drifting towards images of their mating hammock and his alpha’s exquisite knot.

He wished he could remain in his chair and give Matt his support, but he needed to get back to their cabin and change his clothes. He gave Jensen an OK sign with his fingers, so he wouldn’t worry, and slipped out the side door.

Once outside he tried to cool his skin by opening his shirt, but the breeze hardened his nipples and he lost control of his oestrus which freaking poured down the inside of his pant legs. He needed Matt. He needed to be knotted, bred, mate, alpha, now. He moaned and dropped to his knees on the grass. He couldn’t ruin Matt’s speech. He needed to get to the Fell Omega Cave. He needed Jared to take him.

He saw some alphas near the river bank and made his way to ask where Jared was. As he neared the group who were ranged around two picnic tables by the water, he remembered that Jared was at the Pack Alpha meeting and couldn’t be disturbed. He spotted Alexander Star’s long legs and blond head, as the alpha talked with Paul Wesley. Misha felt he wasn’t controlling his limbs properly as a wave of intense heat and sweat broke across his body. Bloody suppressants, the first heat afterwards was always twisted by their withdrawal.

It was all Misha could manage to drop to his knees by Alexander’s legs and bow his head.

The moment of waiting seemed an eternity, then he felt Alexander tap his shoulder saying with confusion “What is wrong Misha? You never seek permission to speak.”

“Take me to the omega cave, please alpha.” Misha begged, he could barely form words, “My heat, came on me suddenly, came off the suppressants.”

“Does Jared know?” Alexander asked.

“No, he doesn’t even know Matt prescribes suppressants, not to mind that we are trying for more kits.” Misha admitted as he swallowed hard trying to control himself.

“OK but wouldn’t you prefer to go back to the cabin and wait for Matt.” Alexander helped Misha to his feet, “It is a steep climb to the cave.”

“No, alpha, please, I don’t want to be where other foxes will come, please take me and tell Matt I will wait for him there.”

They got some intense stares from the other alphas and members of the Fell Pack as they walked to the bottom of the cliff, but Misha only had a peripheral awareness of them.

It was slow going as Alexander had to support Misha several times when his knees gave way with the powerful waves of the heat. Half way up the cliff the path narrowed to single file and Alexander pushed the omega in front of him so that he could support his back.

Misha stumbled as his co-ordination deserted him. He pulled himself to his feet. There was red dirt on his palms and knees.

“Nearly there, good omega, only a little further, you are doing so good.” Alexander urged him on with alpha praise.

They were almost at the cave entrance when the huge bearded coyote alpha appeared coming down the path from above. “So Star, I see your own two omega bitches aren’t enough for you. You bringing a fox in heat up here all for yourself?”

“Fuck you, Butch, get out of my way. Misha needs to access the omega cave.” Alexander growled.

“I don’t think so. You see me and my crew have been planning to cause a little chaos at this farce of an event, and getting to beat my fists into your prissy face will just be the icing on the cake. Gonna make an example of you two, a jumped-up mutt that should be put down and an uppity O who don’t know his place.”

Misha turned around and tried to warn Alexander that there were two bulky wolf alphas coming up behind him. He didn’t get a chance to speak before they grabbed the fox and pushed him up against the cliff-face. Butch took the two steps to stand in front of Alexander and punched him with such force that Misha heard his cheekbone fracture.

As Misha tried to crawl in his hands and knees to the cave entrance, he heard Butch telling Alexander that the first hit was returning the favour from the previous night. Butch continued to taunt as Misha made slow progress, inching along low to the ground, hoping they would continue to ignore him. He was almost at the mouth of the cave when rough hands caught him under his hips and dragged him back out. He was spun over and stared up at the grimaced face of Kurt Fuller, Caspar’s alpha. “Well well, if it isn’t the wild insurgent. Not so powerful now are you, on your knees begging to be knotted.”

Misha shook his head violently. He was not begging to be knotted. He only needed Matt. He was lifted to his feet and pushed against the rocks next to Alexander. Butch had swapped places with a dark haired hulk of a wolf who licked Alexander’s bleeding cheek, “Well hell-ooo Baby Alpha, I bet you thought you would never see me again.”

“Fuck off, Frank, we aren’t in the ST House now.” Alexander spat blood through gritted teeth.

“Such a shame. The sight of your 14 year old lily white ass in the showers always brightened my prison day. Maybe I’ll finally get to sample it, while my friends Kurt and Henry here take care of the omega?”

Misha froze still and tried to sink into the rock. He looked down far below to the river bank and could see that the scene playing out on the cliff had been noticed. People were pointing up at them and there was movement coming from the Pack Alpha tent.

There was the sound of someone approaching from the path above. He sighed in relief but Kurt produced a long knife and held it to his throat as the newcomers appeared around the corner.

It was The David Wolf with Vincent wrapped around him. They were completely unaware of the desperate situation, and so were blindsided when Butch and Henry slammed into them. Henry cracked David’s head repeatedly against the rock-face. Misha watched in horrified awe as Butch caught Vincent under his arm and crotch and tossed the omega off the cliff into the river below. His neck got nicked on Kurt’s knife as he twisted to see The David Wolf down and out on the path and Alexander on the other side almost blacked out from the pressure Frank was applying to his throat.

“I’d be more concerned about myself, bitch,” Kurt growled in his ear, “I bet your sloppy hole could take the whole of my knife and my fist to boot.”

Misha tried to open his mouth to protest but the jackal alpha used the hilt of the knife to butt him in the chin. Misha finally started to cry thinking of the kick from Valerie’s little foot and wondering if he would ever see her or Matt again. His life was going to end on a cliff, raped by a twisted alpha-fuck.

There were people making their way towards them. A national guardsman had a loud speaker and was asking the four alphas to stand down. Oliver leaped out of nowhere to land on Henry’s shoulders and the two of them disappeared, flying off the cliff edge. Misha screamed and Kurt backhanded him, telling him he would use the knife on his mouth if he couldn’t stay quiet. Misha bit his tongue, tasting blood in his effort to comply.

All of a sudden there were pack alphas coming from either side. Jacob Star tackled Frank while Jared head-tackled Butch. Butch rolled on the ground, bellowed his rage and came up sitting on Jared’s chest. He pushed his thumbs into Jared’s eye sockets as both alphas roared.

Misha saw The Joseph Wolf coming at speed from the upper path. In a flash the Wolf King and a national guardsman threw the coyote off Jared. Then Ian was trying to get Jared up, but he wasn’t moving.

Kurt grinned insanely at Misha, “If you think a rescue is going to save you, you are a dumb O”. He plunged the knife into Misha’s body, slashing the underside of his cock and burying it hilt deep through his perineum.

The searing agony burned a path in his mind.

A gun at the end of a uniformed arm blew Kurt’s brains out. Blood sprayed over him, he couldn’t feel it through his crippling pain. Released from the sick alpha’s hold, he slid down the rock. He lost time in darkness. There was deafening noise above him. He opened his eyes. Matt’s face hovered over his own, full of worry. He tried to reach a hand up to touch Matt’s face but the world was going dark and he sank back into the welcome pain-free blackness knowing at least that his alpha was with him.

Chapter Text

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Jensen wondered where Misha could have got to. He saw Matt make secret glances to the empty chair but the alpha continued to take questions from the crowd. Jensen had to admit that the session was a great hit with both the urban and wild omegas.

A chubby middle-aged jackal was mid way into his question about how to best help his teenage son through his heats, when Jensen felt a tsunami of panic in the fox mind. His brain threatened to burst through his skull.

Through his confused haze, Jensen saw two guardsmen burst into the cabin, shouting “We need the doctor now. Emergency! Please Omegas stay here for your own safety!”

Matt ran from the room.

Jensen ignored the request to stay and found Bradley keeping pace with him as they ran towards the crowd gathering on the creek bed. He looked over his shoulder at several of the other omegas who had joined them.

There was a body floating face down in the water. Three of the Fell pack swam out to retrieve it. Two weres were dashed on the rocks on the other side of the river. Jensen knew one was Oliver, alive but injured. He looked up and saw Matt racing up the path with other alphas and guards. He could see three alphas attacking Alexander and Misha, but his mind refused to believe it. Why were they up there? What was going on?

Then he saw Jared, Joseph, Ian and a guard approaching from the upper path. Jared threw himself on the black bearded alpha who had clashed with Alexander the evening before.

“Alex,” Bradley gasped from beside him.

Jensen’s mind was filled with Jared’s rage at the attack on his pack foxes. He felt Bradley grasp his hand, and then his senses were overwhelmed with brutal pain. He thought he was going blind yet he could see everything happening. His mind seized in agony, as he felt Misha’s scream of torture join Jared’s intense pain. He only knew he was not blind or unconscious himself, because he could feel Bradley squeezing his palm, and hear the approaching rotors of helicopters.

Everything seemed to happen at once, yet time moved as slowly as syrup.

There was an enormous grey wolf, like the Dire Wolves of legend, howling on the path. Then Jensen watched as Matt dropped to his knees beside Misha. Three military emergency personnel jumped out of the helicopter on the cliff top and made their way to the cave entrance. One immediately dropped beside Jared, another went to David while the final one moved between Alexander and to Matt as he tended Misha. The second helicopter landed in clear space behind them and that team of personnel ran through the crowd to reach Oliver and the other two weres.

Something was very wrong with Jared. He hadn’t bounced back up. He was in pain, why weren’t the frigging paramedics giving him something for the pain? He heard Bradley telling him in a choked voice that he was going to look for Colin, but he stayed rooted to his spot.

The David Wolf was bolting down the cliff face with Joseph in mid shift running upright trying to catch up with him.

The medical team were moving Jared onto a stretcher.

Too much was happening.

Oliver was being stretchered passed him but he held a hand out to Jensen and the paramedics stopped. “Jensen? Jensen?” he called, but Jensen could only respond by gripping Oliver’s shoulder, “They are taking us to Atlanta to the Trauma centre. Jensen? Atlanta. Ask Joseph, he’ll get you a driver.”

The paramedics moved away with Oliver.

Jensen’s bones were shaken by David’s howls of grief for Vincent. The wolves around him started to keen with their prince and Jensen looked up as the rotors of the helicopter on the cliff started to spin.

Someone was pulling his arm.

The helicopter was taking off.

Taking Jared.

Leaving.

Someone was tugging the sleeve of his jacket. Someone who wasn’t Jared.

“Come on, Jensen, I’ve got a car, move it, you want to follow the helicopter don’t you?”

The force of displaced air from the helicopter was whipping the clothes and hair of the people watching it depart. His arm was being tugged. The person had offered to take him to Jared.

Jensen turned his face away from the airborne copter. It was the outspoken urban omega, Christian, who had argued fiercely against him. Jensen looked at him confused.

“I have got a car. C-A-R. You are coming?”

Gods, he was infuriating even when offering help. How had he gotten a driver? How was Jensen going to get to the hospital? Matt had gone in the copter with Misha. He looked over at The Joseph Wolf, who was on the ground cradling his sobbing brother. He couldn’t see Bradley or Colin.

“OK. Where is the car?”

“In the parking field. Move your omega butt, Freckles.”

Jensen hadn’t the energy to respond. He numbly followed the long-haired radical, letting him take his arm to lead him. At the edge of the car park Jensen broke the silence, “I have a red tag you know.”

“Trent has plenty of them and I’ve had a blow job off him. Nearly there Freckles.”

Jensen let himself be seated in the passenger side of a vintage mustang. He couldn’t stop trembling. It seemed like every nerve in his body was vibrating with MateHurtDarkPain. At the edge of his consciousness he could sense the flow of energy from his pack-mates to their alpha. They had taken his alpha away in the helicopter, which was getting further and further ahead of them as the minutes passed. Jensen felt his distress escape in small hitching sobs. He should be next to Jared. He should be holding his hand letting him know he wasn’t alone. Alexander, Misha and Matt were on the flight. Gods, Misha, he was filled with terrible pain. What had happened to Misha?

Jared had pack around him, travelling with him, but not his mate. He felt a surge of possessiveness for his Jared. He wondered if that was how Jared felt about him all the time. He knew if Jared didn’t... he couldn’t even think it... if his mate didn’t make it then he couldn’t continue, not just biologically... he wouldn’t want to live without Jay.

Christian took the next bend at such speed that two wheels left the tarmac. Once the car was on the straight again he tapped Jensen’s knee. “Are you holding on, Freckles?”

“What?”

“Your alpha-mate. You are not being dragged into his injuries?”

“No.” Jensen replied knowing Jared was using some control to keep the worst from him, “I can sense him, but that isn’t happening.”

“He must be a strong alpha.”

“He is.” Jensen smiled at the urban coyote, “You have no idea....”

Jensen was numbed and his eyes swam as the road disappeared under the wheels of Kane’s car.

“Still with me?” Christian asked, breaking Jensen’s reverie.

“Yup” Jensen responded, “I don’t know how to....” Suddenly, there was nothing, his fox-mind was a blank slate, there was no pack. He tried to sense his omegas. Nothing; no Bradley, no Colin, no Misha, no distant sense that Sebastian existed. Jensen swallowed and gulped air. He couldn’t speak. He couldn’t think.

Christian braked hard, skidding to a stop in the emergency lane. “Talk to me. Jensen... Jensen. Can you.... Gods.... Jensen? Can you swallow? Please take a breath for me.”

Jensen felt alone. He was alone in the fox-mind. He pushed out, desperately seeking Jared. There was a distant flickering presence. Mate. Jared was alive. His presence was secreted away in a pocket of their mating bond, it was fox and dark and isolated but he was alive. He became aware of Christian talking to him, “... your neck? Jensen! Please speak to me.”

“It’s OK. He’s OK. He’s alive. I don’t know what happened.” Jensen blinked repeatedly to try and get his mind back to the car.

Christian sighed and re-started the engine, “Dude, you freaked me out.”

Jensen closed his eyes again, gently searching in the emptiness for Jared’s distant presence to reassure himself. He felt something else nudging the edge of his awareness, something new, but offering solace. He latched on to it and tried to draw it in. It was a warm sweet flow of omega comfort, tinged with authority that made Jensen-fox want to bend his head to this other omega’s energy. In the fox mind, Jensen scented citrus and salt and sweet creamy Bradley.

Bradley was Pack Vixen.

Jared must have handed the care of the pack to Alexander. Please the gods that the handover was only temporary.

Jensen opened his eyes to tell Christian that he had figured out what had happened. He looked over as the other omega beeped his horn and gave a two fingered salute to a slow moving VW camper van.

Jensen said slowly, “You’re driving. You are driving a car.”

“My car.” Christian corrected.

“Your car? What? How?”

“It’s about the only thing I got from the bastard alpha when I left his sorry ass.”

“But shouldn’t we have an alpha with us in the car?” Jensen worried at his bottom lip, looking down the highway for any sign of traffic cops.

Christian growled.

“Just saying, I don’t want to end up in a prison cell. I want to get to the hospital.”

“My car. I drive it. Gods, there is an authorisation in the glove compartment from my no-good piece of shit-mate, that says I own the car and he wants me to drive it. OK Freckles, open it if you don’t believe me?”

Jensen unclipped the glove box and the door dropped down. There was some legal looking document folded in a clear pouch. Two tightly rolled joints spun across the top of the plastic wallet. Jensen banged the compartment door, taken aback that Christian was carrying drugs in his car.

“I thought you were separated from your mate. Sorry it is none of my beeswax.” Jensen realised he was stepping over a line with guy he barely knew, but wanted to ignore the drugs.

“No offense taken. You want me to shorten the journey with a story? Or you want some silence? Either is good.” Christian offered.

“How far out are we?”

“If we stay lucky with traffic, under an hour, we are half way there.”

Jensen thought for a moment. There was nothing he could do for Jared, or for Misha, except worry about them. He was cut off from the pack by distance and the absence of the Pack Vixen link. Maybe he could do with some other distraction, apart from counting down the miles and minutes to Atlanta.

Jensen looked across at the coyote, “So what’s your story? Does it begin with the birth of a young coyote?”

“Naw. We can skip that part. Or you can have the abbreviated version. Pup born in coyote town of Indio, California. Much older sister. Beta parents. Into music, a few drugs, heading into the desert to for drinking parties. Has lifelong friends, Steve, Jason and Chad M. They are revealed to be betas but at fourteen pup goes into heat. No school means more time for hanging around street corners and running in the desert. A bit of the profits from Chad’s home grown weed goes to buy black market heat suppressants. So one day many years later The Band goes to Vegas. It was a freaking blast. We got two gigs off an open mike night and spent our appearance fees in the casinos.”

Jensen watched as Christian’s eyes glowed with the happy memories. “So how long did you stay in Vegas?”

“We were meant to be gone three days. On day five we met McWilliams and Kane, two coyote knot-heads from Indio. They were a year ahead of us in school. McWilliams was playing bass guitar for a resident band in a rock themed bar and Kane was visiting him. We got passes for McWilliams’s place and Steve persuaded the owner to let us play a short set to warm the bar up. We got an appreciative applause and the owner told us drinks were on the house. You did not say that to The Band. By the time the resident band finished we were so gone. So gone, man. The little blue pills that Chad had conjured up from somewhere just added to the bliss. Next thing I know we are role playing reality TV shows? You know? Dream House Makeover, Omegas Style Alphas, Rapid City Chicks? And of course the Vegas brand: A Little Temple in Nevada?”

“Oh Gods, I remember that show, it was syndicated on the Omega Channel.” Jensen could see his small TV set next to his bookshelf in the corner of his old sitting room. “The best part was when they caught up with the betas three months later and you found out if they had tried to put several states worth of geography between each other, or had they taken the step of officially registering their mating.”

“Well, now remember we were all high as kites and drunk as dirty skunks. So we paired off in some random fashion to try our luck at the wedding temples.”

“But Christian, don’t those temples only do beta-beta ceremonies or rarely an alpha-beta?”

“Yeah, spot on. So me and Kane, we get our asses kicked out of the ‘real’ TV little temple, and Kane hilariously got a bottle of water thrown on him at temple number two. At the third temple, the faux-shaman was having a slow night and Kane said he would use his casino winnings to pay the basic no frills ceremony rate. Mr I-am-not-a-real-shaman thought it was the best prank. So we acted out the whole thing, doing the gooey eyes like they do on the TV show. Kane had to take a break half way to chuck up some neon violet vomit from the alcopop Jason had given him. I remember it splattered all over his shoes. When it was over we walked to the end of the aisle to pause and turn in the doorway and do the... “

Jensen joined in to say the line together, “See you in three months, mates or not mates?”

“Yeah, well we didn’t get to say it.” Christian said ruefully, “the fake-shaman stopped us announcing the ceremony wasn’t over yet. Hey, Freckles? Do you really want to be bothered with my shit? I am an insensitive prick, talking about mating ceremonies.”

“No, go on, I want to hear what happened. You are making the journey shorter.” Jensen had been so absorbed in Christian’s tale he hadn’t noticed the miles flying by. Looking out the window he could see more houses and signs of civilisation.

“So the guy pulls his belt out of his trouser loops. I start giggling like an African hyena bitch in heat, thinking his trousers are going to hit the floor. Next thing Kane is tying the belt around my neck and the shaman and his two hired witnesses won’t open the door until I am knotted.”

“Gods, Christian, did he force himself on you?”

“No dude, I was so out of it, I thought it was a great idea.” Christian gave a dry laugh, but Jensen could see that his knuckles were white from their death grip on the steering wheel, “A great idea until the sneaky fucker bit the back of my neck. Under all my drug and alcohol haze, my coyote was screaming that it was wrong bad not-true-mate. I honest to the gods blacked out. I don’t know if it was the knotting or the claiming or the drugs, but I blacked out with the knot buried inside me.”

“I blacked out.”

“What?”

“When Jared claimed me. I passed out for a while.”

“Oh yeah, but wasn’t your mating the famous one blessed by the gods, the true mates destined for each other alpha-quest romance?”

“Ha! You have got to be joking. I love Jared with every ounce of my being, but if there was one thing I could change about our lives, it wouldn’t be the tag, or the leash, or the jealousy, it would be the claiming. He jumped me in my own back garden, ripped my pants off and took me on the bare ground. He barely spoke a word of English and didn’t even give me his name until he was finished. Afterwards I understood what he had gone through and the power of a true-mating, but at the time it was the most terrifying and painful thing that had ever happened to me.”

“Fuck it, Jensen. That is not the version that did the rounds in the media at the time.”

“I guess not.” Jensen shrugged, “I trust you to keep that to yourself. Misha is the only other person who knows. So what about you? Did you wake up with the mating bond in place to Alpha-Kane?”

“Hardly. I was woken in the back of his dusty pick-up by the sound of him dry retching over the side. When I tried to joke with him, he pulled out a blue candy wrapper from his jeans pocket and tucked it around the rim of the belt on my neck and told me that he always hated my voice and if I knew what was good for me I would keep my trap shut from now on. I was not putting up with that crap. We nearly beat each other to death in the car park, until the fucker alpha-commanded me to stop kicking him. I had to obey but I ripped the candy wrapper off the belt and the monumental asshat started laughing. “

“I can’t even imagine it. How did you live with him? What did you do?” Jensen asked his attention rapt on the tale, just letting a little part of his mind be assured of Jared’s presence.

“For six months we lived together, like two cacti rubbing off each other. Kane did rodeo, and I tagged along. I had no choice. He wouldn’t let me go home to Indio without him. He would get high or drunk and order me around to obey him, but the novelty of that wore off. We hadn’t gotten along too badly as pups and teens and once the shock of the mating wore off, we were able to make allowances for each other. There was no sexual attraction there. Kane was into pussy. He liked nothing better than burying his knot in a tight beta, and he went out and did just that. He knotted me on my heat, because I was consumed by it and begged for his knot like a stereotypical omega-slut. But as soon as he left for the rodeo and a one-night stand with a beta rodeo-groupie, I sourced black market early abortion pills and got rid of the resulting problem. “

Jensen sucked in a shocked breath. He couldn’t imagine getting rid of a kit. The concept of it was so alien to pack life. He knew there were other choices in civilised society with its family planning and heat suppressants. He thought he preferred an omega den and a caring alpha to urban ways. Christian had continued while Jensen had been caught up in his thoughts.

“... It was his fucking around that allowed me to free myself. We were in Prescott, Arizona. Kane got a regular slot in the rodeo and we rented a trailer near the rodeo arena. He must be a fertile douchebag because he got Marie Kingdom up the duff. Her father owned the arena and was the local coyote magistrate. He laid down his law and insisted Kane take Marie as his first beta-mate. I marched into his office and told the old man in no uncertain terms that I would make his daughter’s life a living hell if he didn’t grant me a legal separation. Kingdom didn’t want his daughter in a triangle mating to begin with and was only too happy to get me out of the picture. So I got the mustang and enough money from Kingdom to get back to Indio and I left.”

“I didn’t think omegas could apply for separation?”

“They can in extremis. You know, life endangered or pups’ lives. An alpha can click their fingers and dump their omega-mate, unless they have a true-mate, and then they just have to be sneaky, for example committing their mate to a psychiatric hospital or just hiding them in the attic.”

“I don’t believe it.” Jensen was taken aback. He wondered if his father had kept him too sheltered as he grew up. He turned his attention back to his driving companion, “You don’t have a very high opinion of alphas.”

“I’ve never had reason to until today, watching your wild alphas fighting to save an omega who wasn’t even their mate. It was something else.” Christian pointed at the ten mile marker as they sped passed it. “I don’t know if coyotes would have done that. You know all coyote alphas are created equal. We have no pack alphas. All are equal, wild and urban. Equal as long as you are an alpha or a beta, that is.”

“What about normal coyotes?”

“Freckles, have you ever heard of a normal coyote?”

“No, but they exist, don’t they?” The sinking sun caught the glass of the windscreen and Jensen pulled down the visor.

“They are extremely rare.” Christian slowed down as he joined the commuter traffic ahead. “So, I had my legal separation papers...”

“Sorry. You didn’t break the mating bond?” Jensen knew the bond was unbroken from the wide rows of colored beads that made the collar around Christian’s neck but he was curious.

“No way for a coyote bond to be broken. We have no pack alphas or wolf kings to force a breakage. So I was on my way back to California and got myself arrested in outside Bullhead, Arizona for driving without an alpha. I had to call Kane and get him to vouch for me, and get Kingdom to draw up the papers I have in the car, saying I can drive. The Bullhead Sherriff wouldn’t let me leave town until I registered with Omega Services. The freaking OS control freaks wanted to treat me like an unclaimed independent and get me to check in my whereabouts. I threw the paperwork at the beta-clerk’s head. I couldn’t tell you for love nor money what my OS number is.”

“JRA-29179”

“Huh?”

“My OS number. It’s not so bad being independent. They leave you alone, once you do the check-ins and the questionnaires.”

“Fucking state control and it is bad. Jensen, omegas shouldn’t have to check in with anyone, anytime. Why don’t unmated betas have to check-in? It is all part of the conspiracy to keep omegas under the thumb of alphas and the state!”

“Oh. OK dude, don’t burst a blood vessel on me. I need you to get me to the hospital in one piece.”

“Anyway, I wasn’t putting up with that crap. I went off grid. Once I had seen my family, I headed to San Diego. I removed Kane’s collar and got my own tribal one. The only contact I have with him now is through my lawyer if I need him to sign off on something.”

“What is his name? Your ex-mate?”

Christian gave a hearty laugh. “His parents were just as dumb as him. The town yokels. They called him Cain. Cain Kane. Chad and Steve used to do the Can-Can behind his back at school. I haven’t thought of that in years. Hey, Freckles, we are nearly there, see that long building at the top of the hill? That’s it. Can you sense him, your alpha?”

Jensen closed his eyes and breathed deep. Jared’s presence was stronger but it was deeply subsumed in a sort of sleep.

“I think they have him knocked out but his presence is solid.”

“Can you sense the others? Are they OK?”

Jensen shut his eyes and tried again. There was a reassuring touch of sea-salt and authority.

“Just Alpha-Alexander, and he seems strong.”

Christian swung his mustang into a vacant spot near the visitors’ entrance of the trauma centre. The two omegas ran into the reception area.

“What is your medical emergency?” asked a robotic older beta in a bored voice.

“My mate.” Jensen said breathlessly, “He should have arrived by air vac, Jared Padalecki.”

“I’m sorry but we can’t give information to omegas.” She didn’t sound sorry and seemed to be chewing a candy or her false teeth.

“Listen beta, we just want to know where Alpha-Padalecki is being treated.” Christian barked.

“Where is your Pack Alpha or Representative Alpha? You will have to leave. Unsanctioned omegas are not allowed on hospital grounds unaccompanied.” She pulled a pen out of her blue rinsed perm and made to ignore them.

Jensen couldn’t believe that he had been probably illegally driven there by another omega only to be refused access to Jared. “My pack alpha?” He repeated back to the beta.

“Yes, fox, your pack alpha, is he parking your car, because you cannot be here? Will I have to call security?”

The elevator door opened beside the reception desk, and Jensen’s legs nearly gave way in relief as Alexander, his face and neck covered in fresh bruising, strode over to them. He turned to the woman, “Give these omegas visitors’ passes now. Do I need to sign for them?”

“No alpha, apologies, I didn’t know they were with you.” The receptionist fawned as she looked up at Alexander, “I just need your name and pack.”

“Alexander Star, Padalecki Pack Alpha.” He held out his hand until she deposited two visitor badges on his palm. Then he turned and handed one to Christian and pinned the other on Jensen’s jacket. “Right Jensen, follow me. We are going up to wait for Jared in post-op.”

Alexander guided Jensen to the elevator and Christian tagged along behind.

On the third floor Alexander led them down a long corridor to a family waiting area, where Matt was pretending to read a magazine and Oliver was resting his plaster cast leg on the coffee table.

“Mr Padalecki,” A nurse called from behind their backs as they entered the room. Jensen turned but the guy was looking at Oliver, “Why are you out of your bed? That leg is meant to be suspended.”

“Suspend this.” Oliver made a fist at the poor guy, “My cousin is in surgery. I am staying here.”

The beta-nurse muttered something about alphas and got the hard seat pads off a few of the chairs and stacked them under Oliver’s plaster cast to raise his leg up.

Matt looked at Jensen through darkened eyes, “How are you Jensen?”

“Good. OK I guess, considering. Any news on Jared? How is Misha?”

Matt frowned, “They wouldn’t let me in either theatre, especially not Mish. I logically understand. A true alpha mate wouldn’t let a surgeon operate on their omega, but ‘m a doctor. I could help. He lost a lot of blood.”

“How? I mean what happened to him?” Jensen asked in a hushed tone.

“He was stabbed.” Matt’s pupils dilated when he said it, as if it was the first time he had said the words out loud. “They say he was lucky. Lucky? What is lucky in this? Argh. Sorry Jensen. I can’t focus.” Matt took a couple of deep sighing breaths, “They say they won’t be long with Mish. It is a straightforward surgery, a repair job. They are pumping him full of suppressants to stop his heat. Once he is out of theatre they will keep him under until the heat abates, maybe twenty four hours. That is my own estimate. As for later, consequences, we just won’t know.” He raised his hand with open fingers to cover his face, “I’m pretty useless out here in the waiting room.”

Oliver leaned his upper body over to clap his hand around Matt’s bicep, “Hold it together, Doc. You gotta stay strong for your mate.”

Jensen’s heart, already pulled taut for Jared, seemed ready to rip open as Matt had spoken.

Matt looked up, “I’m sorry Jen. I was so focused on Misha, I don’t know what Jared’s situation is.”

“On my helicopter I could hear the paramedics talking on the radio to the other copter about detached retinas.” Oliver said as he looked at Christian, “What is that troublemaker doing here?”

“He drove me from Fell Creek.” Jensen answered simply.

“Why didn’t you ask Joseph for a car?” Oliver queried.

“The David Wolf’s mate is dead,” Christian replied, “It wasn’t possible.”

“There will be war.” Matt gave an anguished sound, “The royal wolves will never allow that to go un-avenged. They may as well rip up that solidarity treaty that Jared worked so hard on.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure, Matt,” Alexander said, “The wolves can’t just unilaterally declare war on the urban government or urban weres.”

There was a knock at the glass screen. An older alpha doctor and a tiny slim omega in scrubs entered the room.

The sallow skinned omega had a pretty pointed face and soft black curls pushed behind his large elfin ears. He asked in a slightly accented voice, “Which one of you boys is Alpha-Padalecki’s mate?”

“I am,” Jensen swallowed nervously. “I’m Jensen.”

“Hello, Jensen. I’m Rafik. I’m the patient liaison. My job is to support you. Why don’t you sit next to me while the doctor tells you and your Pack Alpha what is going on? If you have any questions or need anything while you are here, you can come to me, OK?”

Jensen followed Rafik over to the seats near the wall and sat next to him. Rafik scented like an omega fox but there was something alien about him.

“Are you fox?” Jensen asked abruptly and then quickly added an apology for his rudeness.

“No need to apologise, Jensen. I am a fennec fox. My parents are Algerian. You think I am small now, you should see me in fennec form.” Rafik smiled.

“You can call me Jen.” Jensen could feel the omega support the other fox was offering him and took comfort in it.

Alexander plonked his long body down on the seat to Jensen’s other side.

“OK,” Jensen looked at the tall white haired alpha surgeon. “Tell me.”

The doctor looked at Jensen but addressed Alexander, “Alpha-Padalecki suffered blunt force trauma to both his eyes. He had lacerated eyelids and surface scratching to his corneas. He also has a radial fracture of his left eye socket, and a subconjunctive haemorrhage in the right eye. A subconjuntctive haemorrhage is not serious. It is the red eye often seen accompanying a black eye. I suspect you have such at the moment, Alpha-Star, as a result of your own injuries. After a preliminary assessment by our paramedic team they radioed ahead for the ophthalmic surgical team to be ready to receive the patient. They had observed hyphema in the patient’s left eye. Hyphema is a more serious haemorrhage, located in the anterior chamber. The blood can fill the space between the cornea and iris with the resulting pressure leading to loss of vision. We will monitor the treatment of this to ensure Alpha-Padalecki recovers his vision. His upper body will remain elevated so the blood can pool safely and we will administer atropine drops to keep his pupil dilated. This eye will have to remain covered with a protective shield until the eye pressure is normalised.”

“Excuse me, doctor. I don’t speak medicine and my English isn’t that fluent. Why was Jared in surgery?” Oliver interrupted.

“The alpha’s right retina had become detached during the gouging. This is at the back of the eyeball. We did an ophthalmoscope upon arrival and decided an immediate surgical intervention was required to prevent a complete detachment. I am happy to report a successful repair. We found all the retinal breaks and were able to seal them using silicone bands. We also drained some of the subretinal fluid to aid healing.”

Oliver still looked confused but didn’t ask for a second translation.

“Will he?” Jensen started to ask, “Will his vision? Will it be normal?”

“Over 85% of retinal detachment repairs are successful. In the other 15% another repair surgery is required but that is normally sufficient. Alpha-Padalecki’s vision will return over the next few weeks. However his visual acuity may never be as good as it had been, and many of those who recover from hyphema find they need glasses for distance. However, let me stress that how important it was that we received the patient via air vac, as if untreated the retinal detachment would have resulted in total blindness.”

“Can I take him home? I mean when can I take him home?” Jensen tentatively whispered.

“Not for some days. We need to monitor his recovery. Rafik will keep you up to date. I am very sorry for your trouble, omega.” The surgeon leaned over and ignored the red tag to pat Jensen’s shoulder.

“Thank you doctor” Alexander stood to shake the surgeon’s hand.

Jensen nodded his agreement with the gratitude expressed but he couldn’t form words. He needed to be strong for Jared but at the moment his mate was not conscious and he could allow himself to feel all the pain, fear and hurt. He was unaware of Rafik taking his hand, and Christian slipping into the seat that Alexander had vacated. Christian squeezed his shoulder in support. Jensen rested his elbows on his knees and buried his face in his hands as he tried to summon up some strength to be a pillar for his alpha and to face this new adversity.

Chapter Text

Jared’s consciousness was being stretched with his own agony driving through his brain from his eyes, but also Misha’s heat intensified pain, Oliver’s pulsing bone-deep aching, Alexander’s raw throat and face, Jensen’s panic, Bradley and Colin’s heartache, Matt’s struggle to maintain his sanity, and the waves of help-energy coming from his distant pack-mates who must be responding to the state of distress in the pack mind.

He couldn’t see a damn thing.

He couldn’t even open his eyes.

Blind.

Useless.

Jared wanted to punch his fist into a wall. He wanted to get off the helicopter and shift to fox and use his claws and teeth on the attackers.

He wanted to rip the alpha who had done this to him into thin slivers of meat. He hoped that Joseph had torn his throat out and wolf-howled his revenge on his behalf.

The medical officer pried one of his eyelids open and he screamed like an omega at the light.

He heard the other beta-medico suggest that he be sedated for the pain.

He growled in protest and called “Alexander!”

“Here Alpha,” Alexander’s voice sounded cracked and hoarse. Jared felt the younger alpha take his hand.

“You are hurt,” Jared stated.

“I’ll be fine, just a busted up face and a squeezed throat. You need to concentrate on yourself, alpha,” Alexander croaked.

Jared considered Alexander’s words and the soft movement of a thumb pad over the back of his hand. It was taking all his energy to keep his agony from spreading through the pack fox mind. The pack could not be weakened by his pain, or his blindness.

“Take both of my hands,” Jared commanded with sudden authority.

He felt Alexander move the alpha-paramedic out of his way and lean over the stretcher so that he could hold both of Jared’s hands in his own. The EMT moved closer to where his two colleagues were attending Misha.

“Into these hands I place my pack...” Jared began.

“NO. Stop Jared, You don’t have to do this....” Alexander protested, his cracked voice betraying his shock.

Jared growled. “Alexander. Into these hands I place my pack. Their care and wellbeing are yours until such time as you can pass that honour back to me, and if that time never comes, I do so by this action, proclaim you my preferred successor.”

The paramedic pushed Alexander aside and Jared felt his hands slip out of their hold. The medic acknowledged what had occurred “Apologies Pack Alpha-Alexander, I need to work on my patient, please go and strap yourself into the booster seat for your own safety.”

Jared tried to detach himself from his pain. He focused on Jen. His mate was coming after him. He was in a car and full of worry but on his way. There was no pack filling his mind. He could sense the other foxes on the aircraft and Alexander’s steady presence. The pack mind was like it had been when he was his father’s second.

He needed to compartmentalise the burning pressure in his brain. He could do this. He knew how, like a sense memory. He had done it when his body was raw with hunger in the ST House. He had done it many times when Mark... He was not letting his mind travel down that route.

Then it was like a switch flicked in his head. He was far in the back of his own mind, in fox form, curled in on himself, nose buried in his fur, its hairs tickling his nostrils and he could breath air that scented only of himself. No fumes from the copter, no medical chemicals, just warm dry fur and he closed his eyes in his mind.

He was vaguely aware of hands holding him down and voices telling him not to shift. Someone was cursing that he would injure himself. His Pack Alpha commanded him not to change form. He obeyed in body but he stayed fox in his mind.

He was Jared-fox, small and tightly curled, eyes shut tight, wanting his mate and kits to surround him. He whined aloud, and then ashamed of his weakness and turned further inwards allowing his mind to drift.

 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

“Good morning Alpha-Jared”

It was the oh-so-cheery Beta-Nurse Lizzie who smelled of soap and bergamot, and had been on morning duty for each of the three days since he woke, still blind but told that he would regain his sight.

“Time for your drops, alpha.”

Damn woman. He knew that. Just because he couldn’t see didn’t mean he was an amnesiac.

He felt her hovering over him and he could scent her wolf form. She teased the shield back from his left eye. The shooting pain from the light hitting his pupil did not seem any less today. The drops stung but he supposed that it was good that he could feel them.

“Do you want me to tilt your bed up a little straighter?”

Jared nodded. He did. He understood he couldn’t lie flat because of the hyphema, but the angle medically recommended for sleeping was playing riot with his back. If only he could shift to fox, but he had been told that shifting his eyes was an uncertain variable and could do more harm than good. Alexander had the gall to command him not to shift until he had the doctor’s say so.

He felt the motorised bed lift behind him, pressing into his back, and raising his body to a more comfortable angle.

He wondered how Alexander would do at Four Valleys for the Pack Alpha emergency meeting to respond to the attack at Fell Creek. Jared had refused the offer a television or radio. The noises of the hospital, the beeping of the monitors and the paging of staff members drifted into his private room. He had overheard snatches of talk in the corridor about how the alphas involved in the attack were discovered to have links to Urban First.

Last night Felix had turned up, sent by Alexander to collect Oliver, Matt and Misha. Jensen whispered that he thought it was too soon for Misha to be discharged, but Matt wanted him home. Wanted to be the only alpha to care for his recovering mate.

When Jensen went to see Misha off, Oliver clumsily learning to move on crutches turned up to say farewell to Jared. His cousin responded to his request for information on what had happened at the Fell Pack. Oliver had sat on the end of the bed causing it to dip ever so. A nameless orderly had dragged the visitor’s chair over for Ollie to rest his cast. Vincent’s death was international news. The Joseph Wolf had demanded a meeting with the President, which was granted and would happen after the pack alpha meeting. Oliver said many were talking about a second civil war. David had gone back to One Blood and Daniel had told Misha on the phone that David could not be tempted out of his den. They were concerned. It was not unknown for an alpha to fade away following his true mate’s death.

Oliver’s satisfied smile was audible in his tone as he told Jared how Joseph and Ian had killed Butch. Once they had the hulking coyote pulled off Jared’s body, they tore into him. Joseph had shifted to his enormous grey wolf form and taken his throat while Ian held him down. The wolf that Oliver had fallen from the cliff entangled with had died from his injuries on the helicopter. One of the National Guard had blown Kurt Fuller’s brains out, and his true-mate Caspar had been found suffocated as a consequence in the urban delegation’s cabin. The only surviving attacker was Frank Asher. Jacob Star had pinned him down until he was arrested. Joseph was demanding pack justice. Asher was claiming that he was driven insane by his years in the ST Houses and had lawyered up, seeking a court decision that he would be tried as a citizen in an urban courtroom.

Jared adjusted one of the pillows at his back. His sheets were still fresh and clean. They had helped him to a solid wooden chair after Oliver departed so that the nurse could change his bedding.

Knowing that Jensen would be late this morning didn’t lessen his impatience at having to wait for his omega. The simpering grovelling aid Rafik, whose voice grated on Jared’s already frayed nerves, had ‘helped’ Jensen explain that this morning they were going to give his mate a lesson on how to take care of Jared’s eyes. Rafik pleaded with him to understand that Jensen would attend to him as soon as the class was over, as if Jared would punish Jen or be angry with him for some reason. Rafik The Ridiculous, but Jen seemed to like him. Jensen was going to administer his drops and do the pressure and light sensitivity tests with the nurses, and if the doctor approved, they would let him be moved to Matt’s clinic in the coming days.

There was a waft of rosemary and home. Jensen came into the room and made his way to the bed and caught Jared’s hand, lifting it to his face. Jared moved his fingers lightly, tracing down Jensen’s cheek to find his lips and caressing them gently with his fingers. So soft, a small rough loose flake of skin...

“Jen, you have been biting your lip again” Jared admonished.

“Good day to you, Jared-mate. Nothing escapes you, even now, my alpha.” He could hear the smile in his mate’s words.

“Just concerned that when I get to open my eyes again, you’ll have chewed away your bottom lip.” Jared said trying to keep things light and not let his disharmony show.

“I might make some radical changes while I get the chance, how do you feel about purple hair, blue contacts, or a tattoo?” Jensen laughed.

“Don’t you dare change the colour of your eyes, and the only tattoo you can get is my name, my cheeky omega.” Jared grinned.

“You’d like that wouldn’t you. I really shouldn’t give you ideas. How is your pain this morning?” Jensen asked turning to a more serious tone.

“Bearable, without having to apply any of my techniques.” Jared admitted. Jensen had freaked out when he explained why and how he had retreated from the pain. His mate thought it was dangerous mentally. He had raved some crap about disassociating and being stuck in fox-mind, science fiction mumbo-jumbo about a Dingo-beta-boy novel where the hero was captured and tortured. Really Jensen had a vivid imagination.

Jared heard the approach of the food cart with the dodgy wheel and his nose was assaulted by the reek of sour bacon.

“What will it be this morning, Good-Alpha-Jared” Great! Just great, it was the French immigrant omega jackal, Pierre, who had no volume control and screamed his name as Jar-reed, as if he was deaf not blind.

“Nothing.” Jared replied, angling his head up to where he figured he had heard the jackal speak.

“Jay, stop that.” Jensen used the tone he did with Devon when he refused to do what he was told, “You need to eat. We will take scrambled eggs, toast, butter and OJ. Thank you Pierre.”

Pierre checked that this was acceptable, “Will you take the breakfast, Alpha-Jar-reed?”

“Yeah.” Jared whispered. Maybe if he whispered, Pierre would stop shouting at him with his French accent. He phased out the bustling jackal and Jensen’s fussing as they straightened his upper back with more pillows and put the bed tray over his legs and got all the damned plates and cutlery nicely arranged on the plate where he couldn’t see it. Fucking omegas. Couldn’t they bloody well make a sandwich and stick it in his hand and he could shove it in his own mouth?

The squeaky wheeled cart left the room, and Jensen caught his hand and placed a glass in it. Jared wrapped his fingers around the cold glass of orange juice. It was all wrong wrong wrong. He should be feeding Jensen, not the other way around. He took a long drink and went to put the glass down on the tray, only to have Jensen push his hand a little to the right to avoid the plates.

Jensen passed him a fork with a morsel of toast and a little of the rubbery tasteless hospital eggs. He handed the empty fork back and managed to force himself to swallow. Jensen passed him another fork full. He heard his mate humming to himself.

“Something amusing?” Jared asked, trying to keep the frustration out of his tone.

“Just remembering. My first meal at the pack. Do you remember Jay? You came to our den with soft bread and goat’s cheese and fed me so carefully and patiently. It was the first time you were affectionate with me.” Jensen’s voice had a misty tone. He took back the fork and Jared could hear him buttering and cutting up the second slice of toast.

“Wait, what did you say, Jen?” Jared wasn’t sure he had heard the end of that correctly.

“That was when I knew that my life was not over and you would take care of me and that you intended to be kind to me.” Jensen explained casually as his pressed the handle of the fork against Jared’s fingers.

Jared pushed the fork away with the back of his hand, “But I told you that the moment I saw you.” A siren was coming closer outside, an ambulance arriving at the hospital.

Jensen was laughing, but it was a dry disbelieving chuckle, the one that would not light up his eyes. “Jared-mate, you so did not. You growled at me, called me your pretty bitch and ate a chunk out of my neck.”

“I did tell you,” Jared protested. He wished he could see where Jen was, lock eyes with him. “Didn’t I save you from dying of smoke inhalation as soon as we were mated?”

“You mean when you flung me out of my kitchen, threw a burning oven tray with such force it smashed my back fence, and left me alone for a time out?” They were angry words but Jensen’s tone of voice was calm and resigned.

Jared was confused by his mate’s memories of the evening they mated. It was the best, most glorious night of his life, free and mated to Jensen. Yet Jen was saying that he had been unkind to him until they were in their den. Why would he say that now, when he was surrounded by darkness? Why had he said nothing over the last five years? He hadn’t been unkind. He had cherished his mate, licking him and tending to his needs. The claiming had not been perfect, marred by his own deep scars, but afterwards he had taken care of his new mate, carried him home.

“Jensen-mate,” Jared kept his own voice deliberately calm, “Do you really want to talk about this now? Are you unhappy with us? Have you had doubts and can only express them now that I am lying here and you are stronger than me?”

He felt the bed tilt as Jensen sat next to him and lifted the tray down so that it was over his ankles.

Jensen’s fingers stroked his cheek under his eye bandages, “I’m sorry, Jay. Please forgive me. I didn’t mean to cause you pain. I am not unhappy. I love you Jared-mate. My alpha. My strong gorgeous kind alpha. No doubts. No desire to be anywhere else but with you.”

Jared sighed, “Kiss me.”

Then Jensen’s dry lips were skimming over his. Jared lifted his hand and found the small of his omega’s back pulling him closer, holding the skin warmed cotton under his palm. Jared sought his mate’s mouth with his tongue and Jensen opened up for him, let him enter, run the tip along the bottom of his teeth, push further in tasting his morning coffee and the rosemary vanilla and honey that was their taste, together, one. Jared pulled back breathless, he heard Jensen take a ragged breath and his free hand was being squeezed. He leaned forward again catching the edge of his mate’s mouth with his own and tasting damp salty droplets. Jen was crying.

“Shush, Jen, don’t cry. Please don’t.” Jared squeezed the hand in his.

“Sorry, ‘m sorry. Weepy omega alert.” Jensen quipped, pulling his hand from Jared’s and pushing back against the hand at his back, to have room to wipe his face with the front of his tee. “I don’t think you were trying to be unkind to me when we mated. In the car on the way here, Christian told me the horrible story of his own mating and you know the transition was difficult for me, I guess it brought back the darker memories, rather than the good ones.”

“Christian?”

“Kane. You know the Omega Equality Now guy.”

“Christian Kane brought you to the hospital? Not one of the Fell foxes, or the wolves?” Jared shouted in disbelief.

“Yeah. He can drive. He is still in Atlanta with Trent and Scott.” Jensen told him as he stood up and removed the tray from the bed. He could hear Jensen’s steps as he moved the breakfast remains to another part of the room.

“Jensen which alpha was with you?” Jared demanded to know.

“Ahem, none. They didn’t want to let Chris and me into the hospital until Alexander turned up at reception.” Jared could hear that Jensen was talking to his feet.

“Babe, that was so dangerous. You put your life at risk. What if you were pulled over? What if something had happened to you?” Jared couldn’t stay angry at his mate. He understood the urge to be close to him and he had wanted nothing more than Jensen to be with him on the nightmare journey to the trauma centre.

There was the sticky overly sweet scent of Ridiculous Rafik and Jared heard the shuffling gait of the fennec omega enter the room. He scented particularly syrupy this morning, maybe he was in pre-heat.

“Hi Jensen, Good Morning Alpha-Jared, would you mind if Jensen came for a coffee? We can bring you back a latte?” Rafik asked. Jared could practically hear his desire for Jensen to go with him.

“Come ‘ere, Jen.” Jared said ignoring the other omega.

Jensen leaned over him, and Jared could feel Jensen’s breath on his forehead.

“Are you wearing your tag?” Jared whispered, “Let me feel it.”

“Possessive much?” Jensen laughed quietly, but he guided his alpha’s fingers to the disc. Jared ran his fingers over the metal, tipping the dimpled surface with the pads of his fingertips. He felt better now about letting Jensen go to the cafeteria with the tiny omega.

“I’ll have mocha, when you are coming back.” Jared said and turned his head slightly towards the wall. Jensen kissed his cheek and promised not to be long.

Jared reached out missing Jensen’s arm on his first try and then gripping him around his wrist. “I’ll be here” he grumbled and squeezed. Jensen’s gasp and the slide of his mate’s wrist tendons alerted him that he might have held too tight. Jared let him go struck by the awful thought that he could have bruised his precious mate. He listened as Jensen’s footsteps moved away and his scent faded from the room.

He could feel his jealousy snaking through his veins. He disliked the sensation. He knew he was possessive of Jensen. That was only right, proper. Jensen was his. Only his.

If he let it control him then the jealousy would cloud his judgement. He fought against it, tried not to prevent Jensen from spending time with Misha, tried not to let wicked evil envious thoughts of his baby kits for being able to suckle from his mate, and forced himself to permit Jensen to come into public with him. He didn’t know if his covetousness was something to do with his obsession with questing for his true mate, or his upbringing, or maybe something to do with how attractive his mate was. He resented the together time that Rafik was stealing from them. He was guilty about how unbearable he had been yesterday when Jensen returned from his send off visit to Misha. He was simmering with rage at the idea that Jensen and Christian Kane had shared mating stories.

He was fucking jealous of every sighted bastard in the world who could see his Jensen. The laws of nature had been reversed. Nobody but him should be allowed to see his handsome mate. Jensen was handsome now. No longer the pretty twenty something town-fox that he had claimed, but better, more mature, a papa, vixen, mate. The prettiness was gone, save for when droplets of mist simmered on his lips in the sun by the lake, or his head thrown back after knotting covered in a sheen of sweat, his green eyes open and focused on each other, so pretty. He should be the only one to see Jensen like that, but instead he was the only one who couldn’t.

“Mine” Jared growled fiercely to the empty room.

 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

It was like omega fucking central bloody station at the hospital. Jared was almost ready to make a complaint to someone in authority, if he could think of who to complain to.

He had to cope with Pierre’s screeching at breakfast and midday. Rafik had taken Jensen for coffee and then hovered in the room while Jensen had given him his eye drops and changed his dressings.

Just when Jared thought he could persuade Jensen to close the door and get up on the bed with him, Trent and Scott Ford turned up. They were going back to Toledo and wanted Jensen to come for lunch with them. Jared really didn’t want to let Jensen go, but Trent was Misha’s cousin, and they were leaving town. Omegas were sneaky bitches. It was only when they were all leaving the room that Trent said that Christian Kane was waiting for them down at reception. It was too late then to change his mind, without sounding like a control freak in front of Alpha-Scott.

If Jared could see he would get up and find someone or something to punch. If he could see he wouldn’t be stuck in the dumb hospital.

Just then his door opened and his nose was filled with hot hamburgers and the orchard pear smell of Ian Fell.

“Thank the Gods, an Alpha visitor!” Jared called towards the door.

“Ha! Jared, it can’t be that bad. I come bearing edible food. Can’t stay long, Candice is in the car, we are on our way to Four Valleys.” Ian’s voice got closer and Jared heard him drag a chair next to the bed.

“Did you get my message?” Jared asked.

“Uh-huh” Ian said less than eloquently, as he unwrapped a burger for each of them, and put one in Jared’s hand.

“I want you to take my council seat.” Jared said before he bit into the warm juicy goodness of the burger.

“Straight to the point as normal. I want to go on a mating quest. I want to break out of the ST House. I want you to be pack second. I want you to be Fell Alpha...” Ian paused to unwrap another two burgers from the take-out bag, while Jared finished his first one. “You want me to act as your proxy until you are well?”

Jared crumpled up the burger wrapper and put his hand out for another one, “How many burgers are there?”

“Four. I’m eating Jensen’s one too. Where is he? And you haven’t answered me.” Ian said with his mouth full.

“Jensen is out with his new Omega Equality Now friends.” Jared didn’t bother hiding his bitter whine in front of his best friend.

“And you let him go? I’m proud of you, little Jared. You know you can trust Jensen.”

“I never worry about not being able to trust Jen, you know that Ian. It is the rest of the world I worry about.” Jared bit into the second burger and licked the touch of ketchup that had landed on his lower lip.

“Well I must admit that I find it difficult when Candice goes to visit her parents.” Ian picked up the discarded food wrappers and went to pour a glass of water from the jug on the side table for Jared, “So what do I tell the Wolf King, the Anubis and Lenard Coyote? Will you attend the June council meeting?”

“I’m told there is a closet on the far wall. Open it and in the pocket of my jacket there is a letter that Alexander wrote for me. Will you get it?” Jared held out his hand for the water and sipped at the hospital filtered water which tasted of chemicals and oil compared to the Padalecki spring water.

Ian followed Jared’s directions and returned to the chair with the envelope, addressed to Joseph Wolf in Alexander’s handwriting.

“Open it.” Jared said.

The envelope was not sealed and Ian ran a finger under the flap to open it. He blurted his amusement that Alexander had written in all capitals until he realised it was Jared’s resignation and his nomination of Ian as Fox member of the council.

“Jared, you don’t have to resign. The other alphas want you as council member. Most won’t even care if you don’t get 100% of your sight back.” Ian pleaded.

“Ha! Did you ask Jacob Star or Edward Collins about that? You know how firm Bill Eccleston is about the virile alpha male. The hospital says I will have my sight back in a few weeks. I don’t know if I will be left with some impairment but I should have enough to fight for the council seat if I wanted to. Ian.” Jared took a breath, “I don’t want to, Ian, not any more. I don’t want to spend days away from home travelling to and from Wild Were Council meetings and Fox Council meetings, and weeks in Washington meeting senators and the press. I don’t want to go to the International Peace League in London next September, or spend hours on the phone in Matt’s office teasing out phrases of treaties. I just want to go home to Jen and my children. I will not be my father. I will not neglect my mate and kits. I will not put the council or the pack before Jen.”

“Jared, resignation is a big step. Let me be proxy, put the wild were council seat in my care like you’ve put the fox council seat and the pack into Alexander’s care.” Ian stood and put a hand on Jared’s shoulder.

“My friend,” Jared raised his own hand and placed it over Ian’s, “I already have a kit almost living in Oliver’s den, two infants who probably think Sebastian and Christopher are their parents, and a mate whose loneliness kills me down the mating bond when we are apart. I will not let history repeat itself. Do you remember me the first time we met? Not when we became close when I was sixteen and came to Fell Creek for the summer, but then we were little kits and you came to Padalecki Lake with your father? Do you remember I introduced Oliver to you as my brother and Mark as my uncle, and my father didn’t bother to correct me? I want to be at home with my family, unless I have a pack alpha meeting to attend, or you need me at Fell Creek.”

“I understand Jared. If you are sure?” Ian slipped his hand out from under Jared’s and sank back into the chair, picking up the letter. “Do we need to sign this?”

“Thank you. I guess the traditionalists will be happy that the Fell Pack Alpha will get the council seat back. We need an alpha witness to our signatures. Will you see if there is a nurse or doctor available?” Jared asked.

Ian walked to the corridor and accosted an alpha lab technician who was passing.

“Found our witness.” Ian announced, “Meet Alpha Phillip from Fenrir Avenue, downtown.”

The urban fox alpha’s hand shook as he witnessed their signatures. Jared felt the nervousness as Philip helped Jared move his hand to the correct place for his initials.

“Thank you, Alpha Philip.” Jared acknowledged the other fox.

“My pleasure, Alpha Padalecki, Alpha Fell.” Philip left them alone.

“I will do my best to speak against war, Jared. I don’t want my young alphas and betas dying in an unwinnable war of vengeance.” Ian spoke grimly, “Do I have your blessing? Or are you on the side of revenge?”

Jared cleared his throat, “Ian, I haven’t thanked you yet for your part in Joseph tearing the throat out of Butch Hills. I have cried tears of gratitude to Oliver for killing that wolf alpha and sent my grateful appreciation to the National Guard for saving Misha’s life. I want nothing more for Frank Asher than for David and Joseph to eat him alive morsel by morsel. I want the urban president to commit serious resources and legislate to track down and eliminate Urban First. But war? Not war. Not Felix, Emma, Lilly and Pasha with guns in their hands leaving the den to fight on city streets. Never. If the wolves go to war, I want you and Alexander to argue at the Fox Council against joining them. “
Ian stood as he folded the letter back into the envelope. “I hope we can convince the wolves not to go to war. If we cannot then I can’t see agreement in the Fox Council. Star, Beaver and Green are itching for a fight, but Fell, Lincoln and the Accola collective will stand with you. Please the gods it will not come to that.”

“If They so will it.” Jared prayed.

There was the sound of rustling paper as Ian balled up the burger wrappings.

“Candice will be sending up a search party if I don’t go. Please tell Jensen I was sorry to miss him. We will come back through Atlanta and both come to see you, my friend.” Ian said from the doorway.

“Check first, Ian. I intend to be moved to Matt’s clinic as soon as possible.” Jared called, “and Good Luck Council Member!”

Chapter Text

Alexander walked into the Four Valleys’ barn with Jim Beaver and Jonathon Accola. The long table at the other end of the straw strewn room should have seated the seven members of the Wild Were Council, with The Joseph Wolf in the centre.

Alexander saw the other Pack Alphas stop and stare at the eleven seats around the council table, every one occupied by a Wolf Pack Alpha.

Joseph sat on the left end, chair turned backwards with his legs straddling the seat, so he could meet the eyes of every entrant. To the Wolf King’s right was Ty from Two Moons, Kenneth from Three Mountains, then Jeremy from Four Valleys, Danai from Five Rivers, followed by the wolves from Six Geysers, Seven Hills, Eight Gullies, Nine Rocks, Ten Islands and the final wild pack Eleven Cascades.

Was this some sort of declaration of a hostile takeover? A Wolf coup?

The Anubis pushed through the other alphas and marched up to the table. Laurence slammed his hand onto the wooden surface. “Back down, Joseph. No one here is your enemy. Let the council sit as we should.”

Joseph stared at Laurence through hooded eyes. Alexander was sure the whole room held its breath.

Finally Joseph flicked his hand at his ten pack alphas, “Ty and Jeremy stay with Kenneth, they can fill the empty two seats.”

“No Joseph.” Lenard moved up to join Laurence, “That is still four wolves out of a council of seven. The rest of the wild community will not be reigned over by you. You are not our king, and the raccoon dog is the only empty seat.”

“Alexander Star is not sitting in Jared’s seat.” Joseph growled.

“It is not Jared’s seat,” Ian walked up and stood inches from Joseph, “It is my seat. The Fell Pack has reclaimed the council seat. Here,” Ian slammed Jared’s letter of resignation down on the table by the wolf’s hand, “Jared has withdrawn. The fox packs have given their approval.”

Alexander winced as the thought of how readily the fox alphas had welcomed Ian as their council member. Jacob had clapped Ian on the back and warned him that he was only keeping the seat warm for him, because once he had the largest pack in the country back to full strength, he would be coming for it. It had been a thoroughly unpleasant fox meeting outside the Four Valleys’ barn, with Seth Green and Edward from Collins Farm, congratulating Alexander on becoming Pack Alpha and making suggestions on how to hold on to the position. Only Jim Beaver and Jasper Lincoln even asked how Jared was.

He was disgusted with the whole thing. With Joseph and his power play, with the other fox alphas and with Lenard’s sneering attitude as if foxes weren’t as good as coyotes. It was the fucking Atlantic Coyote who had started all the trouble. Alexander felt his temper rising and wondered if he was being affected by all the outraged alphas in the room.

Having found his seat between William from Eccleston Caves and Jim Beaver, he looked up to see the council table looking more familiar. Joseph had taken the middle seat with Ty beside him where Lenard should be. Alexander grinned at the sour look on the coyote’s face as he sat on the far end of the table. Laurence, Kenneth, Ian and Evan made up the rest of the table.

“Order.” Joseph stood and barked the command. Alexander felt the need to obey and remembered once again why the royal wolves could not be allowed to use their power over the rest of the packs.

“The attack at Fell Creek was the final act of urban violence that we will permit against us. My brother-in-law’s death will not go unaveneged.” Joseph stopped and howled long and hard. The ten other wolves joined him. It was spine chilling and sharp with a promise of danger and blood.

“Joseph. To our shame, Butch Hills was the elected representative of the Atlantic Coyotes. He lived in a coyote town, like many of us and like many Accola foxes, but you cannot say he was an urban were,” Evan interrupted.

“Did I give you permission to address me, coyote? Did I?” Joseph’s eyes had turned wolf and Alexander could see he was barely containing himself.

“Joseph-friend, the meeting should proceed now.” Ty spoke calmly from beside his king.

“Yes. You are correct, Ty. The urban jackal and the urban wolf were disposed of at the scene, thanks to a national guardsman and Oliver Padalecki. The other wolf, Frank Asher was abjured by Nine Rocks twenty years ago. He lived as a lone wolf for many years near Seven Hills until he was driven off for attacking a local coyote family under the pack’s protection. It seems now that he was taken by the government and had been in their State Transition Houses until the last wild alphas were released under the Solidarity Treaty. Because he didn’t request to return to pack, his details weren’t given to One Blood. The state attorney informs me that he is a senior member of Urban First and will draw on all the terrorist group’s resources to fight against being handed over for pack justice.”

“We know where he is being held. We can lay siege and demand he is handed over,” Arnold, the Eight Gullies Alpha suggested.

“I am reluctant,” Joseph looked down towards the wolf alpha, “I am assured that Asher has no legal case and such a siege would invoke a military response.”

“Excuse me.” A tall dark skinned Jackal-Alpha stood at the back of the barn.

“Yes Julius?” Joseph acknowledged.

“At this time, we have the sympathy of urban society. Your family has received condolences on your loss from across the world. We should use this to strengthen our position, not jeopardise our peace by making a pre-emptive strike, or demanding such recompense that the government cannot grant it to us.” Julius proposed.

Jonathon Accola stood behind Alexander, “What Julius says is true. The television news is still showing reaction to Vincent-Wolf’s death. There is a dug out of reporters at the gates of Alpha-Jared’s hospital. My Fabrice tells me that there has been international omega reaction on the internet, and that even Omega Equality Now has made a statement of support. We need to harness this sympathy for our position, not shove it away.”

“I do not want to go to war,” Kenneth said gravely, surprising Alexander who would have thought that Kenneth would have been the cheerleader for the war bandwagon. “My pack stays out of conflicts. We have a good relationship with the town below the mills, employing many urban wolves. However Jonathon-fox there needs to be some recognition of what has happened...”

“Not just what has happened at Fell Creek,” Jacob Star interrupted, “What about what has happened to us over the decades? It is fine for Kenneth in his mountain fortress but what about how packs on the front lines have suffered? Arnold Kartheiser of Eight Gullies knows what I am talking about, our children stolen, our mates killed. Kartheiser’s nephew is only the latest victim. Where is our revenge, our justice? Reconciliation and solidarity has only gotten our lives exposed and omegas attacked.”

Alexander stood up. The Joseph Wolf nodded at him to speak.

“As one of the children that Alpha-Jacob speaks about, as Padalecki Pack Alpha, as mate of two omegas, as Alpha to three of those injured in the attack...” He inhaled through his nose and straightened his shoulders, “...as the object of Frank Asher’s stalking in my ST House, as a father, as a fox, as an alpha, I plead with The Wolf King to allow the country to grieve with us. Give them a chance to see us as ourselves, not the feral monsters many still tag us as. Give them a chance to see us dignified and united, better and more civilised than their supposedly civilised society.” Alexander trembled in surprise at his own un-thought-out decision to expose himself and his personal history.

“What do you propose?” Laurence asked as he rested his chin on his fist.

Ian spoke up, “A memorial for Vincent. A ceremony that we allow the media to attend. That we permit their government to send representatives to. That we allow our omegas to attend, showing we are the more open, more tolerant society.”

“How does this get us any recompense?” Danai from Five Rivers chimed in.

“I can still discuss recompense with the urban president at our meeting, use our non-violent response to force his hand at our negotiations,” The Joseph Wolf said thoughtfully, “I like your idea, Alpha-Ian. Not so much about exposing Daniel and the other omegas so soon after the attack.”

“I’ll let Oscar go.” Kenneth said.

There was an audible intake of breath in the room. Alexander hadn’t believed The Joseph Wolf possessed such an expression of shock, astonishment and awe.

“Callum and Stellan can go.” Jacob said reluctantly.

“I’ll talk to Jared about Jensen,” Alexander promised, “but Bradley, Colin and Sebastian can attend from the Padalecki pack, and if Misha is well enough he won’t be kept away.”

“If Alexander can get Sebastian to leave the den and persuade Jared to expose his mate to the media, then the Collins foxes can hardly refuse Shane and Stevie permission” Edward added.

“I hear your voices. Your opinions have been expressed. Can the other alphas leave now for the council to make their decision?” Joseph asked the group.

The assembly broke up and headed out to the sunny pasture. Alexander found himself next to Jacob. “Your support was unexpected, Alpha-Jacob.”

“I know which side of an argument is the winning one,” unable to resist a dig at the younger alpha, Jacob continued, “Besides I was not going to suffer the ravings of your whining insane omega-mother while the other dens’ omegas attended.”

Alexander left the comment go unanswered his eyes seeking Bradley. His mate was sitting on a rock at the entrance of the designated omega den. He had an arm slung around Kenneth’s O, who was picking at the dirt with his ear cocked, listening to Bradley talk.

Feeling a certain amount of guilt, but not letting it stop him, Alexander circled around to approach from the back of the den, and try and eavesdrop on the conversation.

“.... don’t know, what I can do to help him, Colin thinks that Alex is just putting up with him for my sake....”

Alexander turned on his heel. He dived into the trees pulled off his formal clothes and shifted to fox. He pushed away from the den and ran up the slope behind the Four Valleys’ pack home. Finding a tree stump he perched on it with his paws. He closed his eyes letting the sun heat his eyelids.

He used his pack alpha consciousness to explore the mating bonds of his pack, even at this distance he could feel them like vortexes of energy on a dark map. The healthy energies of love and mating pleased him. He took a moment to explore this new pack alpha ability. He could sense Jared’s energy wrapped more tightly around Jensen’s. Matt’s swirling mist blended seamlessly with Misha’s. He focused on his own three way swirl of energies, Bradley’s and his merging breaking dancing together, awesome in the true sense of the word, but the other energy wasn’t engaging in the same way. Colin’s vortex accepted Bradley’s energy but blocked, spun away from the tendrils of his own. It looked like Colin’s and his side of the triangular bond had not settled correctly.

He needed to fix this. How were he and Bradley going to convince Colin that they wanted him always? Had Bradley sensed this as Pack Vixen?

Alexander headed back to the Four Valleys’ home den. By the time he had retrieved his clothes and re-dressed, Bradley was sitting on a grassy slope outside a different den with O and a very old boney omega-wolf. Alexander approached the group and Bradley stood, catching his hand and bringing him over.

“I am pleased to introduce my alpha-mate, Alexander Star, Padalecki Pack Alpha. Alexander, this is Peter Gillies, Four Valleys pack elder and surviving member of the mating union of the old Pack Alpha Cedric and his first true mate Ronald.”

“Pleased to meet you young-alpha,” Peter bowed his head from his position on the ground, “Please excuse an old omega for not getting on his arthritic knees, and please speak up these old furry ears aren’t what they once were.”

“An honour, Omega-Peter, are you related to The Daniel Wolf?” Alexander asked curiously.

“He is my great-grandson, born of the body of my first omega-mate. Thank you for asking. O introduced me to your first-mate. The wisdom of the old can benefit the young.”

Alexander wondered if Stellan wasn’t as loopy as he had thought and all old weres had an inclination to speak in riddles and pronouncements.

“Alex-mate, I have been talking about Colin with Peter, you don’t mind do you?”

Alexander caught Bradley around the waist and sat on the ground, extending his legs and placing his omega on his lap. “No my good mate. I don’t mind. I think maybe Peter has a unique perspective for us.”

“Will you answer some questions honestly for the ears only of us three omegas; an aged one, your true-mate, and one who cannot tell your secrets, young-alpha?” the elderly wolf asked.

Alexander weighed up the benefit of some sage counsel and said “I will.”

“You have left your pack to come here. Who is at den Pack Alpha and Vixen in Bradley’s absence?”

“Oliver and Katie Padalecki.”

“If your previous alpha left the den who was leading the family?”

“Ian Fell was second and proxy alpha. Jensen was still Vixen.”

“Do you think your second-omega-mate is not good enough to be proxy Vixen?”

“No, not at all.” Gods, why hadn’t they considered that. Poor Katie was trying to tend to Oliver with his immobile leg, and act almost as proxy alpha herself. Colin would have been the better choice in many ways.

“Do you bond with Bradley in a mating den during his heats?”

“We don’t have special dens for mating but yes, and I do the same with Colin.”

“Alone? Without Bradley?”

“What? Why would I go anywhere without Bradley?” Alexander’s jaw dropped at the suggestion.

“Does your second mate not deserve alone time with his alpha?” The old wolf asked carefully.

“Colin prefers to be alone with Bradley.”

“Would you prefer to be only mated with your true-mate?”

“No. I love what we three have together.” Alexander realised how true it was as he said it.

“If your second-omega fails to produce cubs for you will you put him aside? If you discover that he favors your first-mate over you, will you put him aside?”

“No, Peter-elder. I will not. I would never do that to Colin.”

“Ronald and I had a very special precious bond as mated omegas. In my heart it was the primary bond of our union, but over the years my relationship with my alpha grew and blossomed into a deep profound love. You can have the same with Colin. Look at other mates who are not true-mates but you would be hard pressed recognised that. Look at my granddaughter Amy and her mate Ty. Mating between those who are not destined to be together always takes more effort and energy on behalf of both parties, or in my case and yours all three parties. Now guests, that speech has tired my bones, O will you help me to my nest?”

Alexander and Bradley thanked the old wolf as O helped him to his feet. As they moved towards the barn where many others were gathering, Bradley leaned into his chest and Alexander whispered into his ear that they would make things better for Colin, ensure the pack knew he was their proxy vixen, and talk to him about what he wanted.

The barn door swung open and the Joseph Wolf emerged leading the council. “On the day of second full moon, five weeks from now, we will gather in memory of Vincent Wolf and all those who have lost their lives to urban violence. We will gather in peace and in public at Eleven Cascades. We ask that every pack member who wishes to attend can do so, alpha, beta, normal, omega.”

 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

Jensen sat in the low armchair in the lobby of their Seattle hotel. He was obvilious to the commotion surrounding him as various packs sorted themselves out in preparation for the departure to Eleven Cascades.

Before they left for the West coast, Alexander had handed back Pack Alpha and Jensen felt the steadying support of his pack flow back to him, as he resumed his role as Pack Vixen. He in turn was able to transmit his gratitude to them and his relief at Jared’s recovery.

Jared had called a mini-gathering and had asked Alexander if he wanted to challenge Jacob for Star Pack Alpha. When the young alpha had confirmed that he wanted to stay at Padalecki Lake, Jared asked him to take the role as Second and to remain their Eastern Fox Council member. Oliver was happy to take pack third, with Christopher fourth and Felix fifth.

Jensen’s eyes tilted unfocused to the pale marble floor, and a random thought popped into his mind of how the shine on the tiles matched the one on last night’s chocolate sauce that had reflected the lights in the restaurant.

“Did you hear me darling?” Sebastian said from beside him, “I’m preggers, up the duff, with kits.” He added a strangled laugh.

Jensen bit his lip. He needed to say something, but he wasn’t sure what. He thought that Christopher would be satisfied with Basil. At Sebastian’s age he should be slowing down on having kits, maybe not having them at all.

“Congratulations?” Jensen offered.

Sebastian laughed again, “Lukewarm, try again!”

“Are you happy Sebastian?”

“Irrevalant. Christopher and Rosie are happy. Daisy is insulted. Basil is too small to understand.” Sebastian leaned back into his seat and stretched his legs, “besides this could be it. I can’t be fertile for much longer. My heats are unpredictable since Baz was born. I can do this for my mates one more time.”

Jensen thought the other omega sounded resigned and accepting rather than full of joy. He wondered if Jared could talk to Christopher about leaving Sebastian work through his heats in the omega den. Maybe Jared wouldn’t. It was a mating matter. Jensen suspected that alphas would be highly insulted if another alpha told them to refrain from knotting their mate.

Sebastian curled his pointer finger into the tip of his thumb and used it to flick the orange disc tag on his collar, “I am not used to having this thing hanging off me. Marked as junior mate to Rosie. Did you say that the tag collector will be at the ceremony?” Sebastian winked.

“Gods, Sebastian, you can’t give the tag to Trent. Jared would freak.”

“... and Christopher would whup my ass. No, don’t worry Jen, I was only teasing.”

Jensen didn’t get a chance to wonder if the whupping was also a tease because he felt Jared behind him. His alpha bent down and rested his chin on Jensen’s shoulder, then wrapped his arms around his chest.

“Mmm, you smell good. Like the Caribbean has mingled with your scent.” Jared murmered in his ear.

“Coconut shower gel.” Jensen laughed and twisted his head so that he could catch Jared’s cheek with his lips. The corner of Jared’s glasses scraped his face and when his mate pulled back he had to adjust them on his nose.

He thought of earlier in their hotel room, as Jared had read his part of the ceremony, memorising his lines over breakfast. Jensen had looked up at Jared’s new wire rimmed glasses perched on his nose. His alpha looked so cute but he wasn’t going to tell him that. He told his mate that the frames made him look distinguished and the sunglasses that Jared had to wear outside in human form made him look tough and mean, when really he looked adorable.

“The others are on their way. Alexander delayed us.” Jared rolled his eyes.

“How so?” Jensen asked.

“Stellan turned up at their room. He wanted to treat Alexander’s formal jacket and show Bradley how to care for the leather. Alex let him do it. Honestly I think that alpha is too soft at times.”

“No you don’t Jay. You would do exactly the same. I know it. You alphas with your big growly aggressive fronts.”

“Hey don’t insult my aggressive front.” Jared grinned back and playfully clipped the back of Jensen’s head with the barest touch. “Here they are.”

Jensen stood as Alexander and his mates, Matt and Misha, and Rosie with Emma and Lilly came into the lobby.

They were all present and correct. Ready to face the day and play their parts in the wild’s efforts for peace and understanding.

 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

The sound of the TV news helicopters would break his head. Jensen understood there was a no fly exclusion zone for the ceremony but he worried how Jared was coping with the sound of rotors overhead.

Eleven Cascades had the nicest omega cave he had seen. It was under one of the waterfalls, shining with stalactites and large enough to cope with the numerous omegas relaxing a while before the main event.

Jensen had found a low outcrop beside a rock pool to sit in solitude for a moment. He looked across the cave to where Misha was receiving good wishes and concern for his recovery from his Collins pack cousins and Fabrice Accola. Physically Misha had a clean prognosis but Jensen knew he was still healing and sensed his friend had yet to come to terms with the attack. He hoped today would help. A lot would depend on what happened in the New Year when the doctors had said it would be safe for Misha to come off the strong heat suppressants they had prescribed until they could be sure he was capable of taking Matt’s knot and it would be safe for him to try for kits again.

Jensen saw O coming in under the cascade of water with Colin and Sebastian. Alexander told Jared who told Jensen that Kenneth had slipped up and revealed that his omega was called Oscar, but Jensen was not going to reveal the secret. The other omegas had said nothing about it, so perhaps they didn’t know. He saw Trent and Christian make their way towards the newcomers and stepped up to control the introductions. He was glad Jared had left off the red tag so he could scoop O under his arm and put himself between the wolf and the omega rights advocates.

“Trent Ford from Toledo and Christian Kane from San Diego, you know my pack-mate Colin Star. I am pleased to introduce Sebastian Eccleston, second mate of our pack fourth Christopher, and O She-wolf of the Three Mountains wolf pack. O and Sebastian meet the founders of Omega Equality Now.”

Everyone shook hands. Trent had a blood vessel pulsing at his temple and his fists clenched as he looked at the tags on the three omegas’ collars. Figuring Colin and Sebastian could hold their own, Jensen dragged O over to his claimed outcrop.

O rubbed Jensen’s collar where his tag normally was and leaned over to give him a shy kiss on his cheek.

“Yeah, Jared-mate figured he could be more modern for the occasion. The tag is in his pocket though O, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it is back for the evening run through the mountains.”

O smiled and caught Jensen’s hand and moved it to rest on his own softly rounded belly.

“Oooh, congratulations,” Jensen cooed quietly, “Is it still a secret? Are they your first cubs?”

O nodded to the first question and shook his head at the second.

“Second litter? I have two as well.” Jensen whispered as O nodded his prior knowledge of Jensen’s children. Jensen wondered why in all the years he had known O, he had never discussed his friend having kits in his letters. Maybe it was because of his own prejudice about the green tag, presuming O wouldn’t be allowed to breed. “How many kits have you?”

O head up one finger.

“Boy?”

O shook his head and frowned.

“A little girl. I have three you know that. Jenny, Olly and Cissy. They are terrors, especially Olly.” Jensen laughed, “Do you know how many this time?”

O gave a shy closed mouth smile and laid three fingers on the back of Jensen’s hand.

“I am very rude but are they Kenneth’s cubs?” Jensen wondered if he should ask.

O gave him a beaming smile and raised his head proudly.

“Your daughter is she Kenneth’s?”

O shook his head and put up two fingers on Jensen’s hand, the pack second.

“Ah she is JP’s daughter. Does she live with JP and Catherine as Catherine’s child?”

O nodded and sighed, letting Jensen understand why he hadn’t revealed his child’s existence. Then O took his hand again and let him touch his belly once more.

“I understand. It is amazing. Your own family. I hope they bring you and Kenneth much happiness.”

Jensen saw Daniel enter the cave. The wolf signalled to get everyone’s attention.

“Omegas,” Daniel called. Everyone stopped to listen, “They are ready for us. I know that you all have prepared for your part today. I will run through the order a final time. Please exit the cave in the order of ceremony. Collect your candle from the table at the edge of the ceremonial area. We will lead the representatives of all packs and species walking three abreast, each row made up of a wolf and two other omegas. I will take the front row with Rob and Misha. Denham, Bradley and Chad will follow. Then O, Jensen and Christian, and so on, ending with Michael, Sebastian and Trent. I am trusting you Trent Ford to keep your paws off Sebastian and Michael’s tags.”

There was a round of nervous laughter relieving some of the stress.

Daniel continued, “The Wild Were Council Members will follow, then the Urban President and senators, One Blood Royal family, Elected Coyotes, Jackal Royals, Racoon Dog Elders and East and West Fox Councillors. Finally the remaining pack alphas and representative betas and normals from each pack. Once you reach the Major Cascade place your candle on the barge and take your place next to your alpha’s designated seat. David will speak first, and then Joseph and I will ask for the blessing of the gods. The President has agreed to cut down that campaign speech he proposed at rehearsals. Finally Evan Coyote, Queen Jackal, Scott Ford, and Jared Fox, will say a few words. The Elders will release the barge away from the river bank letting the rapids take it to the cascade. Once that is done, we can chase the urban media out of here and shift to take advantage of the run to Luna Peak.”

Jensen stood up and found Bradley making his way up to the exit. They exchanged serious smiles. Then Jensen ducked through the water and took O’s hand in his left one. A callused palm slipped into his right hand and he looked to see Christian giving him a wink.

“I overheard where your tag is. Do you know that Trent is a light fingered pickpocket? I could suggest....” Christian jested.

“I know Trent pissed you off taking your Daily Howl exclusive, but do you really want him to face the wrath of an angry Jared?” Jensen joked back, knowing Christian well enough now to kid with him.

Christian laughed, “He is more scared of you, Jensen, you should see your face whenever anyone says anything negative about your alpha.”

O squeezed his hand, and Jensen looked at the wolf to see him nodding fiercely.

As they walked to the assembly Jensen had hope that their efforts would result in a better peace. He reflected on his friends’ words. His moral indignation on Jared’s behalf was right and proper.

No-one should criticize his mate.

Jared was his. His alpha. Only his.