There are times when we’ve written a lot more on a scene than is actually needed. This is one of those moments. I didn’t want to lose the scene, but we’re not sure where it would fit, either.  It may get lost in the final revision. But on here, we’re sharing. Hope you enjoy!

 

Devon shook his head as he watched Sen walk away from him. He looked to Gabriel in time to see the man approaching the succubus.

“Damn..” Devon was right behind the Councilor and stood at his side to make sure the female didn’t do anything stupid in her moment of fury. Keeping the man safe from others wasn’t going to be a problem; keeping him safe from himself? Well that was trickier.

“Mira, I know you don’t want to talk to me but at least listen.” Gabriel took a deep breath and went on before she could say one word. “I will figure this out.” Skinner thought this game was over and Gabriel was about to show him that it wasn’t even close to over. The Director had started this but the Councilor was determined to finish it with quite the show. He turned to walk away and heard the lycan talking to the half demon.

Mira was glaring at Gabriel’s back as Devon cleared his throat. “What he means to say by that is he got ya brother into this and he’ll get him out. Just give him time gal.” Devon was a touch slower as he turned to follow Gabriel. They’d join the others outside and head for the estate.

Largros looked to Mira as he passed, still holding the girl in his arms. His expression was concerned, very concerned.  But he continued toward the public door with Eva, Zenlial, Devon and Kennedy.

Inea stopped with Mira. “How much time do we give them?” The statuesque blonde crossed her arms over her waist as she watched the others go. As far as she was concerned, her loyalties would lie with her kindred. Mira didn’t yet know of the bond her brother shared with the dragon, but it was real and it was there and the pain having that connection dulled by the magical cuffs Dante now wore flew all over Inea.

“Three days.” Then, she spoke up, “He has three days to fix this then my father will know of it all!” Mira didn’t look at the blonde, she looked to Gabriel’s back. Her focus was on her brother and nothing more. All of them had heard her and now Mira made her own exit. She wasn’t helpless and if in three days her brother wasn’t free they’d know just how cunning and strategic she could be and how dangerous her father was – until he was.

Inea watched the succubus leave in a swirl of her own magic and simply watched the others exit the portal building.  She would need to find a safe place from which to portal herself. But she wanted them to know she would be watching and waiting.  

Out in the parking lot, Devon took the girl from Largros and thanked the boy.

“Do you have a ride or…?” Eva asked Largros as she quickly buckled up the little girl, Serra. The twins were making over the vehicle they were in, for they had never seen one.  

“I must go to the Matthews Farm and face my own music. I can obtain a vehicle and make my way. I…” His concerned eyes took in Gabriel’s face and he added, “If you need me at all, Councilor, I too am a trained Tasker. I will be near for a few days. I fought beside Dante in honorable battle on the other side. I would like to see him freed.”

“Thank you, I’m sure I’ll take you up on the offer.” Gabriel waited for Devon to get his niece settled in the back before he climbed in and buckled himself up. He never argued with Devon on who was driving.

Largros nodded and nodded a goodbye to Devon before walking away.  

Once everyone was in and settled, Devon looked to his right and put the vehicle in gear.

“Well that was enlightenin’ now wasn’t it? Ya got ya time frame so I suggest ya get to workin’ on this son. She doesn’t strike me as the patient type.” The look he traded with Eva said they knew that Inea wasn’t the patient kind either and if the two got their heads together? Well it would spell a whole lot of trouble for Gabriel. Not to mention if the twins’ daddy got involved.

Instead of responding Gabriel was simply staring out the window. His mind was already at work trying to pull things apart to find the loose piece within the intricate threading inside that he could pluck to unravel it all. The threads were there he just had to dig deep enough to find the right one. Gabriel simply wasn’t sure that three days was enough time to do so.

“Well, this is an awkward meeting, I suppose I need to stop going back and forth through that portal. Seems I bring bad luck, each time.” Zenlial didn’t like too much silence. She was sitting in the seat behind Devon, so she could see Councilor Kennedy. Reaching up, she touched the man’s shoulder. “I find that if you speak things through with someone who has not a clue what’s happening…perhaps you will remember things that are relevant to your need or the person you’re speaking to will be able to help. Since there are three other people here that aren’t sure what just happened, that increases your chances of getting help?”

Gabriel’s gaze moved to the elf and then to each lycan, clearing his throat he spoke, “I took on an investigation for Director Skinner while my Tasker was recovering from poisoning. Eva was with me at first so she knows that we were sent to look into a possible connection between Councilor Petrard and the demons. There was plenty of evidence to support the accusation and I presented my findings to the Director. The Councilor has been conspiring with the demon Lord Darius and since he can’t travel to that realm on his own there are only certain ways he could have gotten to the demonic realm to meet with Darius. Careful deduction led us to Dante being his mode of travel. That’s why he was arrested today. I wasn’t expecting that today to be honest. I expected the Director to review our findings and request further investigation into the twins. That would be protocol.” Gabriel took a breath and let the others absorb and process what he had said.

“Then he sped up due process of the law? Is that allowed? Usually people complain about their process taking too long… but this is the opposite. And if Skinner hasn’t covered everything, Dante can be released and like in American court systems, he would not be able to be prosecuted for the same thing twice. So why take that chance?” Eva was no slouch in such matters.  Of course, a lot of her knowledge came from reading and watching criminal justice shows on television when she got the chance.

He rubbed his forehead and the bridge of his nose for a moment in thought as he sorted it all out and let the pieces fall into place. “It is against his rights, but his Councilor would know this and be able to get it all dropped.” He paused a moment and looked at Eva then at Zenlial, “Unless his Councilor wasn’t of concern for some reason.”

“His councilor should have been here. I might be new to this realm’s practices, but I have been the Councilor for the Elven High Court on the other side for several years. If there are any cases involving an elf or fae, they would be brought before me first… same as humans for you, Mr. Kennedy. Many cases, once we look over them, are discarded. We do not wish there to be a prosecution and we simply argue against it before the person even knows he is being investigated.  Others, if an arrest is made, we are either there for it and ready to defend or will meet with our new clients immediately.”

“This was quite a public show. Where was his Councilor?” Eva asked, looking between the adults in the large vehicle. Gabriel and Zen had found a very good thing to investigate.

“What do you know for sure?” Zenlial asked.  

Gabriel frowned in confusion, “What do you mean?”

“As in, you said that careful deduction led you to Dante… which tells me that it’s a theory, not a fact. But you seem to know for a fact that the Councilor was conspiring with the Demon Lord. So if that is the fact, you should begin there. How did this person get to the other realm?”

“As it was explained to me he could only travel to the realm and the inner throne room with the aid of one with a blood connection to the Lord. That led me to either Dante or Mira and given how often the travel would occur leaned towards Dante. Mira wouldn’t be that strong and besides Dante wouldn’t let her take such risks.” Gabriel wasn’t sure where this was going but he let it continue, “Darius can’t cross over so if not the twins then who?”

“Darius can’t cross over, because?” Zenlial asked.

“He was banished by a family of hunters. His body is no longer able to survive in this realm.” Gabriel explained.

“Oh, I see. So are the twins the only blood relations to Darius? Are we overlooking someone? Or is the scope of this too narrow? Are there other demons powerful enough and not yet banished that could do this? Or would do this?”  the Elven Councilor asked.

“That I know of yes they are it.” Gabriel sighed heavily.

“Wouldn’t Dante know? Or Mira? Much of their magic revolves around familial ties and blood work,” Eva pointed out.

Devon rumbled low, “Yeah they would, but gettin’ ‘em to talk is different all together, especially to him.” The lycan looked from the women to Gabriel through the mirror.

He knew Devon was right, but he had to try. “ I can get in to see Dante, but it’d be alone.”

“Nope, no deal. You get my company non-stop until yer Tasker is returned.” The way Devon said it meant it wasn’t up for argument.

“Well that isn’t happening anytime soon and neither of you are Taskers so you aren’t allowed everywhere with me.” Gabriel didn’t mean to snap at them but this whole situation was stressful to him.

“Largros could do it,” Eva smirked.  “And Dante would welcome that company. They trust one another.” That was one way of putting it.  She’d seen them together.

Tossing up a hand Gabriel conceded the point.

“That’ll do. I trust Largros to watch over ya in there and besides Zennie won’t be that far away if she’s needed.” He trusted the elf too and it showed as he grinned at her. “Three days ain’t much time ya’ll sure that’ll be enough?”

“No but I wasn’t given much choice. I guess if in three days Dante is still being held I’ll find out just how big a temper tantrum Mira can throw.” Gabriel didn’t take the succubus as a serious threat and it showed.

“Too bad we left Derek in the other world. He could persuade her to give more time.” That had been one decision Eva hadn’t been overly keen on. Yes, she understood the underlying hope for their wayward one, but would it ever happen or was it just wishful thinking that some lycan would sweep him off his feet?  

“No, we agreed Eva.” Devon wouldn’t back down from their decision. Derek had stayed to help his sister without realizing that his Alphas had been conspiring together.

“Perhaps that is the perfect timing.” Zenlial settled back in her seat and moved her fingertips over her lips. “Perhaps the Demon Lord knowing what has happened might not be a bad thing.”  

Gabriel simply stared at the elf like she was insane.

“Not that great Zen, he’d pluck poor Gabe here apart and that won’t do.” Devon rumbled low, even the thought wasn’t pretty, not to mention the thought of what his brother’s reaction would be.

“But he would be the very person to answer all of the needed questions. And none of us can get to him,” the elf pointed out. She shrugged, but kept quiet. They had a point. If the demon lord was playing puppeteer from his realm, he would want it kept secret. However, if his schemes had backfired on his only son, it stood to reason that he might be willing to accept the blame and help. Right? Or did she not know demons well enough?

There was a deep inhale and slow exhale, “She’s right, he would be the best to answer regardless of the risk.”

Pulling the SUV over Devon stopped it and turned to look over the seat at both Gabriel and Zenlial, “Have either of ya’ll dealt with a pissed off  demon, little own a demon lord? Well how about an enraged dragon? From what Eva said, Mira just about killed Sen by accident, and she’s just a fuckin’ half-demon with good connections!”

“I’ve dealt with Sen angry before Devon.” Gabriel pointed out patiently.

“Yeah you have, but you won’t be dealin’ with him. If Darius got his hands on ya, it would be Eva and I that would be dealin’ with him. I have no desire to put my brother down anytime soon. Stop thinkin’ stupid cause ya can’t afford a fuck up in this. There might not be a chance to apologize if ya do.” Devon rumbled.

Eva placed a hand on Gabriel’s shoulder.  “I”ve seen the aftermath of an enraged dragon, Gabriel. They don’t stay in mortal forms. They wipe out entire cities, destroy everything and everyone in their path.  Then, when they come out of it, they have to live with what they’ve done… if they live.” She was fairly certain that her human pup didn’t realize the scope of the situation. “You said you were researching the idea of getting them taken off the kill list. Surely you understand this? This is one of the reasons they were placed on that list to begin with.”   

“Alright, so I’ll go with Largros and speak with Dante. I have to present Zenlial at Council tomorrow so that would be the perfect time to speak with him.” Gabriel wasn’t giving up on the idea, he was just putting it on the backburner for the moment.

Eva looked to Devon and put a hand on his shoulder as best she could from the back seat behind Gabriel. Her mate needed to calm down as well. They had pups to see to and she dearly missed their own little ones.  

Taking a deep breath Devon turned back in his seat and started driving again. The rest of the way was a calm ride as everyone quieted down. Devon hated crushing the idea but there was no way that he was letting Gabriel put himself in that kind of danger. They took Zenlial to her temporary apartment and then saw Gabriel home before making their own way to the cabin and their awaiting pups. They had three to get settled and others to reunite with before calling an end to their own day.

Eva had taken shotgun, since the pups were out like lights in the back. She reached over and took Devon’s hand and entwined their fingers.  

“It will all work out. The Goddess didn’t give your brother all of this just to take it from him. But nothing worth a damn comes easy.” She whispered.  

Lifting her hand to press a kiss to the top, Devon rumbled low for her.

“I know, it’s just frustratin’ how he could let it get to this. Sen’s smarter than all of this and so is Gabe. We leave for a few weeks and everything goes to hell ya know?” Devon’s hand gripped the wheel, “And then they were seen Eva, that means if ya boy makes it through this defense of Dante mess, he’s still got ta face this. Ya boy ain’t safe in his own lil world anymore. The world is gonna know who and what he is. So he needs to get ready for that. It is why Jonathan and Amelia wanted those two separated. It’s why we separated them.” Devon hated that tinge of regret he felt.

“He’s so worried about everything else. I don’t believe he’s even thought of that part.” Eva moved her thumb over her mate’s calloused skin.  “They deserve to be happy, Devon.”

 

“They didn’t need each other for that for all these years, why couldn’t that just keep like it was?” the old lycan growled. “We knew better.”

 

Eva huffed.

 

Devon looked from the road to the mirror and over to his mate and back to the road. He was trying to decide if he should ask.

 

“What?” he finally gave in.

 

“Amelia and Jon knew, Devon.” Eva  shook her head slowly. “Amelia was scared for Gabriel when he was just a baby, because somehow, she knew that this would happen and she just wanted him to enjoy his life. But she was also wrong about that. And Jonathan was just trying to keep his promises to the one he loved. But even in the end, he purposely introduced them. He made sure to pass the dragon on to Gabriel and not to Gabriel’s father.”

 

“You make it sound like…”

 

“Slavery?”  Eva looked up at him, now. He continued to drive. “It is. Make no excuses for the Kennedy Family, Devon. They’ve had Senias as their slave for a millenia at least. Jonathan was no different. He may have tried to be, but in the end, he continued it. My only hope was that … since these two found each other despite their very separate lives… maybe, just maybe they were actually destined to find happiness together. Gabriel wants nothing to do with the binding upon Senias. He just loves Senias. And I’ve never seen that dragon care about someone the way he cares about Gabriel. I thought; hoped this was right. And Amelia had been wrong.” Eva felt heavy hearted about all of this.  

 

Devon squeezed his mate’s hand as they pulled down the dirt and gravel road that led to their main house in the pack lands on the backside of the Kennedy Estate.   

 

“Maybe it ain’t about that, love. Maybe she just knew the heartache they’d face if they bonded? Maybe she didn’t want Gabriel to get close, because she wanted Sen to be free? Maybe she didn’t want gabe to get close because wherever Senias goes, trouble tends to follow? We’ll never know, because the woman’s been dead for years now; Jonathan, too. So let’s stop second guessin’ and just help. How about that?” He pulled her over close to him again and hoped to ease her.  

 

“Besides, tonight we need ta focus on our family. We got pups here that cain’t wait ta get our love. I cain’t wait to wrestle with ‘em and tuck ‘em in.” Devon sighed, a weight coming from his shoulders.  “They got cousins here ta enjoy, too. I think maybe we should concentrate on that for just a bit, don’t you?”

 

Eva hugged against him as best she could. He was right. Worrying over these things wasn’t productive. She sighed and nodded.
“Yes, mate. I do.”

 

~  Rachel Diane Adams and Dawn McClellan © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 2018