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The three Alpha’s hadn’t gathered for a meeting since Harper and Lachlan had taken over their positions. They all had their own lives, jobs and species branch to look after and Harper was still a bit sore with him, that much he already knew. Time had passed and hopefully soothed her anger but if not that was something he was going to have to ride out since he wasn’t one to grovel nor was he going to give an insincere apology. Did he anticipate her trusting him again right away? Not at all but he would stand by his decisions even if they were viewed as risky mistakes.
Ryker had oved on once more, apparently the stag was a nomadic creature, he left Orion with more knowledge than he had before but explaining the changes to the other Alphas was not going to be easy. Though he was the Ambassador to the species as a whole until he survived the challenge against Elijah he was like every other Alpha within the city and after that night everything changed within him, a switch having been flipped. His eyes shifting from neon green, to a pale and soft feline green before turning to a glowing, deep red, the shades of each Alpha. So it was time to finally have that conversation with the rest of the Council since it wasn’t going to be easy with Harper still angry and untrusting of him.
Given he had no idea how this might go over, he had rented out the backroom in Kane’s bar knowing that was neutral territory for all the Alphas and wouldn’t be open for a few hours so they didn’t have to worry about humans wondering in. He had texted both of the other Alpha’s a few days prior to make sure they could get the time off in order to devote their full attention to the meeting at hand. As he stared at his own reflection and felt the partial shift coming on, his skin itching and feeling far too tight since the animal within was anxious for obvious and good reasoning. A shot of whiskey sounded pretty good but at the same time he needed to go into this with a completely clear head.
Sipping on a glass of ice water he allowed the condensation to play through his fingers and give him something to focus on instead of the impending blow out to come. Though he knew they could all be mature and civil, he also knew emotions were likely to run high and that was what he wanted to avoid. Raising it up he pressed it against his forehead taking a slow and calming breath trying not to over think or over analyze the current situation.
Lachlan woke up that morning with a jolt as he pulled himself for the nightmare that seem to be happening more and more every single day. He ran his hand over his tired face as he sat up looking over his empty bed before pulling himself out of it to try and shake off the overly tired feeling that seem to cling to him every single day since Kevin came back into his life. His adoptive brother was the only tie he had kept from their family. After all their parents were dead and their sister the murder of them. The alpha picked up his phone as he made his way into the bathroom seeing his day had already begun without him.
Though he had the morning off to meet with Orion, text and emails seem to flood his phone before he could even wake up fully. It was true this city never seem to sleep. Lachlan's team had been helping out with the string of murders looking for patterns that would be unseen by the everyday bump and grind cops. Lachlan looked at the letter and his heart sank, he knew someone was trying to leave a message and he thinks he knows for who. He turned the shower on and sat his phone on the edge of the sink, to grab a quick shower before he got dressed in jeans a plain t-shirt and a flannel over it, moving his way out the door.
In no time the dark skinned male was standing in front of Kane bar his bag hung around his shoulders with a soft sigh. He had taken over Alpha when Krystal left and his biggest fear even if he would never express it, was letting the pride or what most called it Pack down. He wondered what Orion wanted to talk about though, Things seemed off for the last few weeks to him, but with the line of work he was in, it was never not off. He over analyzed everything, even what people said to him, it had become an unhealthy way to live, but nothing was healthy with him it felt since he couldn't physically feel. Shaking his head he moved through the empty bar to the back room following Orion scent.
Lock pushed open the door seeing Orion sitting there taking a sip from a glass of water. He gave the Alpha of Alpha a grin and moved into the room. "And here I thought we would be sharing a few rounds, not sipping water." He chuckled and moved over taking one of the seats and let his long legs stretch out underneath the table. Now he had met Orion many times, keeping contact and asking for advice when he needed it but the Alpha of the Lycan's he had not meet yet. "Hope I am not overly early." He slide his bag off his shoulder around his chair to hand there. He wanted to focus on what the Alpha wanted to talk about, after all being an Alpha was as important of a job to him as his day job.
The traffic light turned green, her mind automatically firing out the instructions to her body. Hand squeezes the clutch while boot presses down on shifter putting bike into first gear, hands squeezing clutch and break ease off while turning the accelerator to propel her forward. Despite the reflexive actions that had become second nature the blonde’s mind was solidly elsewhere, her thoughts engaged in what was to come. Counsel meetings didn’t happen often and were only called when things of import needed to be discussed, and this particular meetup had been called without any preamble or warning as to what was going to be discussed.
The last time the blonde had been in the same room with Orion they had disagreed heavily on the events surrounding the arrival and subsequent death of the Alpha Elijah. Harper had left that meeting fuming, her ire driving her into the woods where she had run until her legs had give out. After that she had had very little contact with the kitsune, pushing the infuriating man from her mind whenever he was brought up. It was her way of dealing with what she viewed as a no win situation, a way of coping with her anger towards the man who had put her pack in danger. Since then the pride had switched hands, Krystal had disappeared and another took her place. It was a bit disgraceful that she hadn’t met him yet, the rumors of his transition into power should have seen her contacting him at least to make introductions but she hadn’t.
Blowing out a breath then wolf pulled into a spot just outside the pub they were all meeting at, killing the engine and yanking off her helmet. Out of habit the lycan pulled in a deep breath, sifting through the scents that drifting through her olafactory cavity to give her all kinds of information. Frowning as she caught not only Orion’s scent but that of another male Harper checked her watch, noting that she was right on time. Shrugging as she swung off the bike, locking her helmet to the seat, and pocketing the keeps she pushed through the front door and ambled into the back room. Her crystal blue eyes swept over the two males, her gaze locking with Orion’s for a moment longer than was necessary. “Boys, hope you didn’t start anything without me.”
Her tone was conversational, light even as she crossed to the dark-skinned male who was presumably the newest Alpha in Evermore. “Lachlan right?” She offered him her hand and a friendly smile before moving over to Orion. Rumors had been running rampant through the Therian community, even some of her own pack members had come to her with some strange tales and all over them revolved around Orion and the young Therian Ryker he had housed for a couple of months. While suspicion ran through her blood like venom, making her burn with curiosity she did have an olive branch to extend to the male.
“Hey. Been a while.” She grinned, offering her hand to him as well which was as close to an apology as she was going to get. Time and distance had cooled her ire, the situation forcing some innovative changes among her pack to ensure safety, and people changed. It was time to move on and move forward. “So, what’s the sitch?” Striding over to a table she hopped her behind up on top, crossing her legs at the ankles while easing her weight back on her hands.
There was a lot that seemed out of balance within the city and there were more than a few tabloid articles about himself and Sariah in the underground supernatural gossip rags. It was incredibly frustrating to say the least since he liked to keep his personal life to himself. Plus there seemed to be an odd tension surrounding not only the city but his faction as well and that was something he didn’t want, which was why he had invited Lachlan and Harper to this meeting. They needed to all get in line and on the same page in order to weather what might be to come. They may be three branched but they were one overall species and faction and they needed to come together once more as one.
Hearing the front door open he knew one of the two had arrived but by the sound of the footfall and then scent he knew it was Lachlan before the other male had even made it into the room. A glass of whiskey might very well calm his nerves but he didn’t want to be accused of not taking this all seriously and he needed a clear mind more than anything else. He did respect and care about the opinions of both Lachlan and Harper even though the latter didn’t seem to think so. “Maybe after, I try to keep a clear mind about these sort of things. May very well need a few drinks when this is all said and done.” Taking another deep gulp of the water it seemed to cool him down a bit but his mind was still whirling. “Early is never a bad thing, they tend to say those who are on time are actually late.” He didn’t even know why he said it other than it was something to say.
Orion knew that Lachlan and Harper hadn’t necessarily met yet but it wasn’t his place to set into things which were not his business, Harper had made that rather clear so that fell solely on the Lycan and Ailuranthrope. Though he needed to make things better with Harper and perhaps that could happen with a bit of mediation since Lachlan had no part in anything which transpired with Elijah and the whole thing wasn’t necessarily Orion’s fault, it was Elijah’s but the outcome and fall out was his to bare and he had never said that it wasn’t. His faults, flaws and mistakes were things that he was willing to admit but not when someone came at him with the amount of aggression that Harper did, it cause the Alpha in him to growl and it was hard to keep in check.
Hearing the rumble and roar of a bike outside he knew that Harper had arrived and he was actually ready for his arrive and did his best not to be on edge, on the attack or on the defense he was trying to just be neutral over it all. He and Harper needed to learn how to co-exist and work together once more since it used to not be so difficult or strained between them. As she walked in he gave her a civil smile his icy blue hues looking her over before quickly moving on. “Not at all. You’re both welcome to whatever you want, Kane said we have reign of the back area and bar.”
Moving he allowed to the two Alphas which hadn’t met to do so now since Harper was being civil which was not out of character since she had always tried to be friendly while being true to herself and currently she was still rather ticked with him. Though she didn’t realize it he did miss getting on with her since for a time they had been rather close and it had been like losing a friend and he knew he had lost her support which hurt a bit as well. Pain and weakness weren’t something that you advertised though and people in his position didn’t willingly allow others to know they had power over them. “It truly is good to see you Harper.” He said taking her hand and giving it a firm shake the hint of a true smile ghosting over his lips. Though he had given her space he had also sent the wayward Lycans to her and never had a negative word to say since she was entitled to her views and to be upset with him and he would never try to down play that was something she was entitled to.
“Glad you two have finally had an opportunity to meet, you’re both incredibly Alphas in your own right and I hope you’ll become friends and be able to work with one another. As Harper knows this Council has been built on trust and respect, though both of those have been tested within the last years and I do apologize Harper, you know it was never my intention to place anyone in danger, it was merely to do the right thing. It spilled over and you better than anyone know I’ve done everything I can to clean up the mess.” Taking a deep breath he slowly released it before taking another long pull of water from his glass. “There’s an obvious tension hanging over the city, it make me nervous, both the man and the fox. The Therian faction has always been stronger together than apart and there have been some rather large crack as of late that I’d like to patch up.” There was also something much larger which Ryker had shown him which needed to be explained to the other two Alphas but he would tackle one issue at a time.
Lachlan smiled to Orion as he settled into the chair next to him and the pair shook hands. He offered a chuckled the the alpha of alphas as he said maybe grabbing a drink after the meeting “Well if I didn’t have work later I would stay around after the meeting and drink you under the table.” he chuckled out after all not being able to feel had its advantages. He gave a nod to his words though he didn’t have a chance to comment pack when he heard the roar of the bike come to a stop and the lingering scent of Lycan filled his nose.
His head turned towards the door as it was pushed open by the smaller then he female. He took in the blondes frame for a moment and gave a gentle smile “Nah we were just talking about drinking. No Therian talk yet.” he said as he took her hand as gently as he could since he didn’t know how much pressure he was applying. “Yes Lachlan is the name. It's a pleasure to finally meet you Harper.” after shake he watched the interaction between the pair as it seemed they had their own issues that they were working out.
Ailuran Alpha leaned back to the back of the chair he was sitting in for a moment. “I like to think we are all trying our best when it comes to putting things back together with Krystal leaving the Ailuran’s had been a mess, having them gain trust in me has been a challenge but I think we are getting there.” he said and then crossed his arms to lean on the table causing it to creek looking up to Harper. “Oh yeah I think the pair of us will get along rather well.” he gave the Lycan a wink. “If not I am sure she will rip my head off easily.” he teased before focusing back on the fox.
“Yeah the tension in the city feels like it could be cut with a knife.” He gave a soft sigh as he looked down to the table and back up. He felt out of the loop being a rather big outsider to the faction. Moving to evermore was the first time that he was part of a pack and then shortly after he became alpha. “What are the large cracks we need to work on patching up?” he question as he looked between the pair.
Orion and Harper had been close once, incredibly so and the rift between them had gone deep, so deep in fact that when confronted with an in person meet up they both seemed awkward. Tentative even. It was an odd circumstance for a pair of Alpha's yet it was one that they would need to figure out how to navigate through somehow, if they wanted to move past the hurt and pain. Neither was going to apologize for their actions or reactions, the blonde was sure of that. Somewhere deep down she knew what had motivated the Fox into making the decisions he had made and she hoped he understood her own anger. Now they needed to find a way to acknowledge that in ways they had both been right and they had both been wrong and move forward. Together.
The wolf smiled, shaking his hand firmly though she noticed he measured the strength in his grip as if the simple handshake might break her. Slightly amused by the action the female chuckled, "I assure you all the rumors you have heard about me are true." She pretended to think for a moment before holding up a finger, "Except for the one about stray cats. I will not take in those many buggers, they always have worms and fleas and the shots cost a fortune. Not to mention I can't stand the smell of a litter box…" she made a face and shivered in a dramatic fashion though her eyes sparkled with laughter and no small amount of mischief. This was how she and Orion had first met, trading thinly veiled sarcastic insults about their species and one another.
Pulling her legs up underneath her in a yoga pose she pretended to consider some idle thought as her gaze slid over to the older Therian, "Then again I would take a cat over an orange fluff rat with a pointed nose. Wannabe wolves with a trouble streak…" she muttered though a little too loudly to be an actual muttered thought, she giggled a bit as she ducked the good-natured swipe from Orion she received that nearly took her by surprise. "Getting slow old man."
Turning she back to the tall Ailuran Alpha the Wolf gave the dark male a wink, liking the light and airy way the meeting had started off so far. Compared to the last time she had been in a room full of Alphas this meeting was off on the right foot and would stay that way if she had anything to say about it. Grinning a very predator-like smile she flashed her teeth and wiggled her brows, "I prefer to rip other, more fun male parts off. If you rip the head off you don't get to hear the howls of pain after afterward." Harper managed a completely dead serious look for a few moments before she broke in peals of laughter at the expression on Lachlan's face, shoving his shoulder for good measure. Her laughter died down when Orion spoke though, her smile disappearing as he spoke of the one fissure that stood between their faction and complete union.
"Me." The blonde answered the Ailuran's question though her sky blue hues remained glued to the Fox. Slowly she stood up, not in an aggressive manner but clearly standing her ground as she addressed a friend and equal. "I won't apologize for what I have said or how I felt and I know you won't either. We both did what we thought was best for our packs. We do need to come together, though, find some common ground and move forward." She took a breath, holding out her hand palm up in an obvious sign of respect. "You eliminated Elijah and protected us all. I've never doubted your heart or your strength, only your methods on occasion." She tacked on the last with a slight smile, waiting to see if he would accept her renewed offer of friendship and trust or if he would snub her.
The tension in the room was almost visible and clearly they fall felt it but it was also lessened by how much they were all trying to keep things civil. Orion chuckled at Lachlan, “You wish that were possible.” Though truth be told Lachlan was one of the few who had managed to out drink Orion, and Harper had before as well. He didn’t trust people who didn’t drink or were lightweights, he didn’t know exactly why, it was just some strange personal quirk.
Watching at the two other Alphas met and introduced themselves he allowed them the time to do so, chuckling and shaking his head at Harper’s cat comment. “That’s not what I heard about your and cats or maybe that was you and something with wings.” He said in an almost pointed and teasing way since Lachlan truly had no idea what he was in for when it came to Harper. At Harper’s comment about orange fluffy rats with pointed noses he raised a brow, “Trouble streak? I like to call it a sly nature.” He mused in return in no way insulted.
Covering his mouth he tried not to laugh at Harper’s comment about ripping off other parts of the male anatomy, “She’ll uh…grow on you eventually.” Orion said to Lachlan before listening to what he had to say about his own pack, “Trust will get there Lachlan, it’s earned and not given freely and when broken…well it’s rather hard to mend.” He said as his eyes shifted over to Harper quickly before looking back at Lachlan, “You’ll get there, you’re an Alpha for a reason and we’ve all taken over for someone in one way or another.” Orion once had to pick up the pieces of the Kitsune when Ivory had left and it had taken time but it had been done.
Harper answered before Orion could, “No, us. There were and are two involved in that mess that is a certain past situation.” He said as he heard her voice become defensive as her stance did the same. Orion however didn’t go on the attack or defense, he remained neutral well aware that he didn’t want to start a fight or point fingers. “I never asked you too and there’s more than enough blame to go around but if we can’t even trust each other we can’t rebuild the strength in the species in general.” He said as she spoke of needing to come together, “I am sorry for the fall out but I can’t apologize for what I did. But right we have a larger issue than Elijah could ever hope to be and the issue now is we have no idea what we’re facing. What I do know is we need to show a unified front and be able to work together again.” He said looking her into the eyes, “I never meant to break your trust Harper, not after everything we’ve been through. I don’t want to stand on my own nor do I want either of you to have to do so.”
Lachlan was used to having his chain yanked by other Therian. Ever since his first change and finding his way among his Therian life, he noticed many like to poke fun of one another. The way she caught him measuring his pressure made him flick his gaze to Orion to see if he noticed. He wasn’t sure how to go about explaining his situation without steering the meeting in a completely different direction. So he just gave her a smile pulling his hand back to himself and only chuckled, “So you are saying I can’t just move in with you Harper?” He placed his hand over his heart “I’m hurt.” He chuckled at her dramatic fashion. She reminded him of his own sister before she took a darker path. “Guess it's for the best, won’t have to put up with the wet dog smell.” he sniffed the air giving a laugh.
Lach watched the two have their back and forth, the playful strained manner made him feel like he was sitting at his childhood dinner table. For a moment he felt home and then his chest ached softly. Lachlan held Harper gaze for a moment as she tossed him a wink before choosing to roll his dark orbs at her talking about pulling other parts off. “Remind me not to call this bucket of fun to an Ailuran rave, she may actual start biting things off. Not sure I could explain why the Lycan alpha lost her mind on all those poor kittens.” He shook his head not feeling her push against his shoulder so not reacting to it until Orion voice filled the room. “Ah she doesn’t scare me much.” he turned to the blonde.
Orion had so much fate in making him alpha, he only wished to live up to what the fox saw inside of him. Though with an old Ailuran alpha hanging around, his leadership had to be strong. If it was one thing Lachlan could do, it was stand his ground, and not move while being hit. “You are right, Just takes some time. I think me being on the force doesn’t help the issue sometimes.” He gave a shrug at the thought. He knew that some of each pack had a shady past, he had no right to judge after all he had a gang tattoo on his own arm. He had a past not many knew besides the Alpha of alpha, and that was because if Lachlan lost it, Orion needed to know how to stop him.
Lachlan eyes flicked between the two of them as it became clear to him that they both had issues they were working past. Lachlan shifted in his seat slightly and cleared his throat. “If it helps you both I know a great marriage counselor.” He chimed in more so to break the slight tension before he reached into his bag and pulled out his tablet. He placed it in the center of the table and looked to the both of them. “Orion is right though, we don’t have time for infighting among the packs. There is something coming, the animals are thinning out in the woods. And the numbers of bodies are starting to increase.”
The male opened one of the folders and started to flip through the photos of the victims each a woman, most having similar traits. “They are all different species, they don’t looked to be from Evermore but bodies are being dumped here. Until we started getting missing persons reports of women from Evermore going missing. There is no pattern I can figure out yet. But there is a threat and its very much real.” The Ailuran slide the tablet over to Orion. “Sariah wants answers, since Cornelia passing things at the department haven’t been smooth. A lot is falling through the cracks and I am just the net catching it all.”
One eyebrow rose delicately at the aside Orion shot at her, a grin playing with her lips. Her head tilted to the side as she studied him with her steel blue optics, measuring the tone of his voice with the offhanded barb and the general information he seemed to have on her personal life. "Stalker much there dad?" She put extra emphasis on the 'd' word, skipping a little closer as her grin grew a little wider. "So have you gotten the hacker girlfriend to do a background check on him yet or is that after the sex talk? I just want to make sure I get the sequence of events right here. And should we call you dad or old man or pops...papa...daddy-o…..silverfox…." She laughed at the look on Orion's face, shrugged her shoulder innocently, "What?! I didn't really have parents for this stuff so I am asking legitimate questions!"
When all she got was a look in return she glanced over at Lachlan and wrinkled her nose, "I have a feeling you snore and I already have one of those coming and going from my place dude. No thanks." She stuck her tongue out at him when the wet dog comment came out, rolling her eyes because there was no need to dignify that with an answer. Trying to look affront as they both got a good row at her, the blonde tossed her hair over her shoulder in a huff, "I'll have you both know I am a ton of fun and I am not that bad." She pointed at the Fox, trying to be stern though the effect might have been ruined at the slight tug of a smile at the corner of her mouth. "At least not when tequila is involved, at all other times I'm a perfect lady." She sniffed delicately and even stuck her nose in the air trying to effect that of a higher born young woman with some manners.
Her head lowered as Orion addressed her, ignoring her open hand but accepting her offer of truce and moving on just the same. "We forgive and we move on." She nodded, carefully stepping back and sliding back up onto her perch sitting on the tabletop. Her focus shifted to Lachlan who started talking about the bodies of young women turning up and deaths that she had been hearing rumors about. "I've heard about all sorts of weird things happening lately, rumors of people acting out of character others disappearing, attacks, and all kinds of bad mojo." Crossing her legs she stretched her back thinking about some of the customers she had overheard coming through the garage, "You two are better connected than me official wise but the word on the street isn't good. People are starting to get scared."
Amusement spread over his features as Lachlan did what the man did best, kept things light and added a bit of humor. Truly it was something Orion appreciated and enjoyed and he had told the man so on many occasions. “Oh she should scare you more than enough.” Orion mused with humor dancing in his eyes since he knew exactly how much of a force Harper was to mess with. Of course as she began to call him dad he rolled his eyes at her, “Clearly I fit the stalking in after work but before being an actual father and boyfriend, I have a lot of time on my hands. You should be scared once retirement sets in and time is all I have.” He teased as she asked her so called legitimate questions.
“Regardless of their day job they should know they can trust you and you’ll do right by them Lachlan because I know you which means I know that you will.” He also never saw the man’s career path as an issue and it was something to be respected. As Harper said something about being a perfect lady he went dead silent, “I’m sorry I think those words together just short circuited my brain Harp.” He teased at her the tension seeming to release and it almost felt like old times…almost.
Lachlan was good to get them back on track those since this wasn’t some shoot the shit sort of meeting, though Orion was glad they all seemed to have no problem in that department. “For some it’s also been harder for them to shift back, I’m alpha shouldn’t have to step in and command them for their bodies to respond.” It was actually terrifying and adding in all the other odd sorts of events throughout the city which seemed to be plaguing all factions times were for lack of a better word tense and a bit scary. “Hunters from outside of Evermore or coming in as well and I’m afraid for what that means for not only us as a species but us as a city.” As Lachlan spoke of women, Cornelia and Sariah wanting answers he nodded since if it came back on their species it was something the three of them would have to take care of that was something he hoped wouldn’t occur. “Fear can be very detrimental to peace and for the first time in a very long time, I have no leads or even a vague idea of what could cause something on this large of a scale. Magic I guess but I would think only Malva would be strong enough for that and it goes against everything the Ailward believe in so I’d like to think that’s out of the question.” However nothing was ever truly out of the question.