“Am I taking you back to the estate or to the office?” Senias was now the driver and Gabriel his passenger – since Devon had suddenly hopped to the other side. The way he said it was pleasant enough. It showed, however, that his mind ws on what had just occurred and the ramifications of it all. 

“The estate, I need to gather some information to take back to the office.” Gabriel was looking down at the schedule that was on his tablet. He too, was nervous about this very sudden change in plans. Plans were good things for the most part. And doing something that was completely OFF the entire grid of the plans was not something he liked at all. 

“I know it may be difficult for you to understand, but, Devon does know what he’s doing. Especially over there, Gabriel.” Senias spoke to Gabriel as he drove them. He wasn’t sure if he was trying to convince Gabe or himself of this. He didn’t like it. Had Devon been correct in his assessment of the situation? Yes. He needed to go and the more people that went through, the more suspicious it would look; the more likely Crimson would investigate.  However, he didn’t like leaving his lycan brother to handle this alone.

Sen didn’t plan on leaving it to him. no. The dragon was already thinking of ways to get over there to help without setting off alarms.   

Looking up and over at his Tasker, there was a low sound of hmm as if Gabriel were assessing the man and his own reaction to the situation.

“I’ve no doubt of Devon’s capabilities, but if anything were to happen to him it would complicate and worsen what may simply be a lycan turf dispute into an all out race war.” Gabriel tapped and scrolled through his days worth of agenda before returning to the conversation at hand. “Not to mention that I know where your head will be until he returns.” With as close as the two men were you’d think that at one point they were lovers, but no, Gabriel knew better than that. Dev wasn’t comfortable with such non traditional things. Most lycan weren’t. 

“We’re best friends. He didn’t include me. I know the ‘why’ of it, but it doesn’t matter. He’s my brother. We’ve been through wars and family together. I was just born a dragon and he was born a lycan. And…I’d be lying if I said this doesn’t bother me. I’ve met Kieran Weylyn. He’s…” Sen shook his head. “He has your father beat by miles, and that’s on his best day. When Devon defeated him to take Alpha, the anger in that man’s eyes… the betrayal? I fear that with Devon being absent this past century, Keiran has been up to no good for the pack.”  

“And yet you still let him go over without you.” Gabriel lifted a brow towards his dragon, “It’s taking everything in you not to follow him isn’t it? Can you say that he’d be as controlled if the tables were turned?” The dark gaze held Sen even as he drove. He watched the way Sen’s shoulders tensed and the way his hands clenched the steering wheel just a little tighter and knew the answer but somehow needed to hear it out loud.

“He’d have beat my ass for trying to do it alone.” The way Senias spoke was almost a growl. His temper was near to boiling. “I said I wouldn’t go with him for now, I didn’t say I would leave it all to him.” Senias looked over at Gabriel then back to the road. “He was right about making it look suspicious. Once we’re past that, I’ll go. After all, we both know there’s another way nearby.”

“And I thought that you said it shouldn’t be used.” Gabriel looked straight ahead as the city faded out into country and soon it would be the estate. “That is what you said isn’t it?”

Senias growled and slammed on his brakes, the wheel turned and they were off the side of the road within seconds. He put the thing in park and glared over at Gabriel.

“You scared of bargains with the twins? I’m not.” 

“I’m not afraid of the twins, but forgive me if I don’t care for the idea of either of them mauling you.” Rubbing a thumb over his bottom lip, Gabriel continued to stare straight ahead. He didn’t like the way this conversation was going.

“I know my limits,” the Tasker pointed out with pride. 

“You say that. And I believe you, Rau…” Gabriel closed his eyes. He’d almost called the man by his alias. It was because of the way he was speaking, the way he was being stubborn and headstrong right now. Sometimes, since getting to know who this creature truly was, Gabriel wondered if he hadn’t stepped into being the lover of someone who had two distinct personalities. He swallowed and when no response came, he continued, “Senias, I believe you. However, I also am cautious around those two. I believe they’re more capable than you may think. I don’t doubt you, but I don’t doubt them either.” 

The draconic man moved his gaze back to the steering wheel. He already had the plan formulated in his head. He planned to carry it out. However, he also felt like he should explain it to Gabriel. Why? He hardly ever explained anything to the Councilor prior to their… being together… but now? 

“Look, I know they’re hurting for any kind of relief. I have a spare ace up my sleeve in knowing that. They can get me there, the portal lets out only twenty miles from the pack lands on the opposite side of the Northern Forest. I’d barely have to even deal with the elves. I’ve been before, a very long time ago. I can go again – especially if it means I can rally help for pack Weylyn. or at least for Devon’s portion of that pack…”  

“They are leeches and to put you through that little portal of theirs, one of them would have to syphon a huge amount of energy from you. Now tell me, would it be the slutty succubi or the leering incubi? One would fuck you until you were a husk and the other would prefer to turn your insides out.” Gabriel turned to face his lover now. This man was his lover, his draconic side had claimed him as his kindred – so why was questioning this decision being treated like an attack? Didn’t Senias realize that Gabriel was just trying to protect what was his? “Which exactly would you trust?

“Neither of them.” Sen met Gabe’s strong gaze. “Trust isn’t important.” Senias took a deep breath and let it out before shaking his head. “They can make their portal work weekly, monthly… when they have enough orders. If I use it, they’d just need to hold off a while before using it again is all. They’ve not had to drain even a human to work it. I doubt they’d need much from me this time.”  

Gabriel sighed and shook his head before turning to tap his fingertips on the cover of the tablet he still had in his lap. He seemed perturbed. He was.

“Are you being protective of me?” The expression on the tasker’s face was a mixture of surprise and amusement. This was new. “Or jealous?” He couldn’t quite place where this was coming from.  

“Probably a bit of both.” Gabriel felt like he’d love to be growling right now. He didn’t like admitting this.  “Look, I don’t play well with others and being an only child I never really learned the art of sharing. Who’s to say that the twins will do this anyway? Do they owe you something that I’m not aware of?” Gabriel looked at Sen once more.

“You seem surprised. Why?” Gabriel felt like he deserved that answer, he crossed his arms in front of him, a bit indignant. 

“I…” the draconic man looked away from Gabriel and out the front window, beyond the steering wheel.  He was having trouble finding the words. This was what they warned you about. Getting too close?  “You do realize there are less savory characters out there that I have to deal with for the sake of Tasking, right?” His voice wasn’t harsh as it had been previously. Actually, it was much softer now.

Gabriel hadn’t angered him with the response. Sen remembered this morning; remembered waking up with Gabriel still in his arms instead of waking up to a cold bed or to watching his lover leave for fear of getting caught. They were taking their risks willingly. Both of them had a lot to lose. Seeing someone give that much of a damn… Hell’s Bells, Gabe had reached out to his estranged son!  That wasn’t something someone who didn’t care, someone who was using you – would do. The dragon was having to adjust his expectations of this man. 

“Yes but how many of them have you made bed mates of?” Gabriel lifted a hand to rubbed his fingers over the back of his neck.

“None. And of the twins, I’ve only ever bedded one. She likes me.” He smirked playfully.  

“Oh I bet she does.” Gabriel laced his fingers together quickly in his lap. His back straightened a little and he glared forward. Clearing his throat, “We are almost to the estate.” He was uncomfortable, but then again he had never been comfortable discussing sex or relationships. It was another reason why he didn’t have relationships.

“Is that some sort of signal?” Sen raised a brow and had a hard time not chuckling. He was fairly certain Gabriel was telling him but not actually telling him that this conversation was over. At least the part about the bedtime with the succubus.

“Senias, I know you love to antagonize me and that it sometimes makes your night to do so, but please don’t do so about this.” The look Gabriel gave him was actually sincere and honest. His parents had a terrible relationship and made each other miserable for it. His grandparents had a fairytale one and the Weylyn’s had a nice one as well, so he hadn’t had a perfect one to live by – but at least had had good ones around him. He hoped he was not making a mistake with Sen, but only time would tell. not knowing for sure? That made him extremely nervous. 

Hot air moved from his nostrils before he put the car back into gear and pulled of and up onto the road again. They wound through the country landscape toward the old Kennedy Estate nearly silently. It was irritating.  

“You know…”

“I have business meetings and you have a trip to arrange.” Gabriel swallowed, “We can continue this conversation back at the sanctuary before you take off.”

Sen drew in a deep breath. He held it and then released it as quietly as he could considering his temper was beginning to flare again. They pulled into the drive. There was a gatehouse, but security was trained to know who was whom. He didn’t even pause there before making the way to the main house, pulling the car beneath the huge awning at the side.  

Unbuckling, Gabriel started to open the door only to pause and turn towards Sen. Reaching one hand up to rest behind his neck Gabriel leaned over and kissed him. 

He wasn’t expecting the kiss. Odd – the simple act made him feel better. Was this what Amelia, Gabe’s grandmother, had warned him about when she had tried to explain love to an old scaley wyrm?

“I’m stubborn and easy to irritate.” Gabe whispered, while still close to Sen. “Please be careful dealing with the twins. In my eyes, I know you are mighty, but they are dangerous.” Gabriel eased back. He hoped he wasn’t being too confusing or pushy.

The look on Gabriel’s face when he spoke reminded the dragon of the man’s grandmother. His vow to her had been broken, hadn’t it? She had warned him. She had told him about love. Had she known she was predicting the future by warning him about love?   

“They know nothing about me. And Mira no longer has a hold on me for anything. But I’ll still be careful. I’m no fool – at least I try not to be.” He smiled and winked at Gabriel before the Councilor had a chance to leave.  

Gabriel smiled and nodded. It was all he could do. The Tasker had a mind of his own and a stubborn streak as large as – well, as large as the dragon he was. Exiting the vehicle, the Councilor made his way inside the large colonial style manor. He didn’t look back, but then he didn’t have to.

~  Rachel Diane Adams and Dawn McClellan © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 2017