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    astone2292
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Rising in the Shadows - 26. Chapter 26: Discordant Dinner

Breathless, Kaplan stared into the emerald irises. He did it; he gave himself to Cyrus, and there was no regret.

The soft fingers caressed his chin, “I will make you the happiest man alive.”

He reached for Cyrus’ hand and held it in place, “You already did. That was amazing, Cy.”

“I didn’t hurt you, did I?”

Shaking his head, Kaplan whispered, “A little at the beginning, but it was better than everything I imagined.”

Cyrus’ smile was heartwarming, “Good, because I’ll be making love to you often, my little pup.”

The two separated and made their way to the walk-in shower. The wolf was stunned when Cyrus took a soapy scrub to his body. What is he doing? “Cy?”

“You’re mine now. I’ll always be there to take care of you, even in the smallest of ways.”

He watched as the alpha lathered him. When he was covered in suds, Cyrus moved him under the rushing water. As the bear put away the scrub, Kaplan took it, “Same with me then.” A flicker of green could be seen in Cyrus’ eyes as the beta washed the larger man. He’ll always be there. So… maybe I should do the same. “Cy?”

“Yes?”

“Do…” The question he wanted to raise made sense in his head, but was unsure of the outcome. Gathering the guts, Kaplan asked, “Do you want to live together?”

The panda’s posture straightened. Did I go too far?

“I would love nothing more, my pup. Is that what you want?”

Eager from the response, Kaplan nodded and was met by Cyrus’ soft lips. “Then we’ll need a bigger place to live. We can start looking after my inauguration. How about a three bedroom, so we each have our own office?”

My own office? The thought thrilled the beta. I never thought about having something like that! “I’d like that!”

After sharing a kiss, they prepared for future plans as they rinsed and prepared for bed. Laying next to Cyrus, the wolf never felt more comfortable. I can’t imagine going back to my apartment. Hell, I’m not sure Cy would let me.

A warm and smooth arm draped under his armpit. The hand pulled him into Cyrus’ chest, “You made me happy, Kaplan. No one else has done such a thing.”

Something in the suave tone sounded sincere. Kaplan rolled to face his partner, “You don’t mean that, do you? Your mom or dad? Surely they did something.”

A grimace appeared on the bear’s face, “In a different time, they did, but I haven’t spoken to them in so long.”

“You haven’t told me about them. Can I ask what they’re like?”

***

Nineteen years ago. He counted the years as they passed. Staring at his loving wolf, Cyrus exhaled, “I’ll tell you, but to do so, I need to tell you my story, Kaplan. It is a long tale, and I might stop in order to control my emotions.”

The brown eyes he’d grown to love looked eager, but the frown on Kaplan’s face exhibited hesitation, “You don’t have to tell me now if you don’t want to.”

“No, I must. If we are to be together, it’s unfair for me to know your history and you not know mine.

“I was born in Alexander Bay, South Africa. My parents are Mandla and Kaya Sibisi, from a small panda embarrassment outside Oranjemund, Namibia. They were on a lovely date while my mother was still pregnant. As you’ve come to know, I demand a stage, so I wanted to come out a few weeks early. They rushed to the local clinic just in time for my debut.”

He watched Kaplan’s blank stare. When no further question came from the wolf, he continued, “My birth was both celebrated and hated. Mandla and Kaya cared for me with every ounce of love in their soul. But they were in a territorial ailouros’ land. From what I was told, one of the nurses was a trustworthy member of the local pride and notified their king. He came into my mother’s room and laid down their law. Since I was born in his land, I was a member of his pride.

“My parents either had to forsake their home embarrassment and join the king’s pride, or abandon me. The choice was made for them, whether they liked it or not. My parents taught me the life they left behind; peace, kindness, and willpower. I proudly hold those virtues close to my heart.

“I want to say I had a decent childhood, but the pride’s children were not exactly friendly towards me. There was plenty of teasing towards my larger size, but I could shoulder it. By the time I was twelve, I was in the beginning phases of puberty. It wasn’t long until I towered over them. I even grew taller than my parents and many of the other adults.

“The teasing turned into silence and harsh stares. Everywhere I went, it was the ultimate goal to stay away from me and my family.”

Kaplan’s brows indented, “But you were members of their pride. Why would they treat you like that?”

He caressed the wolf’s face and giggled under his breath, “Because we were admitted into the pride by their own law. They had no say, just as my parents didn’t.”

“Then the law should have been amended. I’m guessing the leadership wasn’t smart enough to do that.”

“Correct as always. They never bothered to change the law since it added numbers to their population. But for three pandas to live among lions… we were treated as the black sheep of the community. My parents pleaded to the king’s council to let us return home to southern Namibia, but they abided by loyalty to their leader. King Uideke was firm in his decision.”

Cyrus watched Kaplan’s face carefully. The brown eyes darted downward, then the eyelids drooped down. He’s connecting dots. He knew where the wolf’s mind was going, but was unsure if either was ready for the story. The tale stayed in the back of the bear’s memory, but it’s place was solidified, both from the weight it carried and the burial Cyrus gave it. He’s seen my scars, and has encouraged me to show them with distinction.

Tell story.

My bear?

Tell him. He… he fix too. Wolf fix us, so wolf fix story too. His bear’s tone sounded hopeful, yet frightened.

There’s nothing to be scared of. You’re right; Kaplan has proven himself to be at my side. If he doesn’t hear our story, then no one shall.

Before Cyrus had the chance to continue, Kaplan closed the minuscule distance between them, “I think… I think I know where the story’s going, but I’m here for you, Cyrus. All I know is that I love the man with me now.”

Phlegm built in his throat as tears formed in his eyes. Cyrus was overwhelmed by the beta’s statement, “I love you too, Kaplan. You’re the first I’ve felt this way for. I just don’t want to scare you with my past.”

“I’ve heard the worst, mostly from my cases. I’m not going anywhere, and no matter what you tell me about yourself, I’m not changing my opinion about you.” Kaplan raised a finger to wipe away a falling tear from Cyrus’ face, “Tell me.”

Cyrus took a shaky breath as he prepared, “The pride’s treatment continued for a few more years, but as I reached my peak from puberty, their behaviors changed. They grew more welcoming and friendly. I found it odd, so I kept my guard up. Over the next few weeks, I could call a few of the ailouros my friends. We ate at school together, even played a little football.

“The full moon… my parents and I suspected it would be my Turning Day. We planned a small outing between the three of us, but were floored when King Uideke demanded the pride to throw a celebration. It was tribal and elegant in every way possible. We were surrounded by everyone in the community, with a bonfire in the middle. The silence I was given wasn’t harmful, but instead… regal. I felt respected by the pride. The king brought me and my parents forward, and asked for forgiveness from all the selfish years of torment we had suffered. Just before my father could say anything, I fell, succumbing to my bear’s birth.

“For weeks, my mother warned me of the pain, and I felt ready for it. For lycan, you look to the moon for comfort during the first shift, but for ursus, we feel the ground beneath our feet. I immediately dug my fingers in the dirt and searched for the soil’s heartbeat. Several of the pride members tore my clothing in assistance.

“But it wasn’t for me.” Cyrus felt his eyes darken. He wanted to stop, but his bear’s consciousness flew to aid him. “Through my screams, I heard my parents. Uideke’s beta and delta held them down. I couldn’t get the words out to ask what was going on. Between my mother’s pleads, I heard footsteps. The pride was closing in towards the fire. A few brandished knives, and even more took small timber from the flames.

“Uideke’s voice rang out into the night. He declared that we were not worthy of his pride, that only his race was true and dominant. I barely heard his orders for his council to force my parents to watch as the king grabbed a whip from behind his throne. It had metal beads between its knots. I was still in the beginning phases of my shift when it came down.”

Pausing, Cyrus shivered as he visualized the thick laceration from his right shoulder blade to the lower back. That was the first one. “The king lashed me several times before growing bored. He then let his pack have their way with knives and prods. Each time the metal touched me, I tried to find solace in the earth. My mother’s screams and father’s yells did nothing to help.

“My fur grew, and the pride brought out the fire. As patches came up, lit torches were pressed against them. I can’t remember if I was screaming or not. The only thing keeping me alive were my parents and the earth’s pull. I completed my shift, which prompted the pride to stop. I can only assume they had enough of their fun.

“From the moment my bear’s mind formed, he understood my pain and who caused it. I pleaded with him to remain calm, but he was rightfully incensed. We were too exhausted from the shift to do much… until he pushed the barrier.”

Kaplan gasped, “The barrier? The… instinctual barrier?”

“Yes. We knew it was there and not to be touched for another year. My bear demanded power and energy at that moment. His argument was concrete, so I agreed. We opened the barrier and let the instinctual waters wash over us. I barely remember the shift, but all that remained was the anger. It wasn’t even about the disrespect or the damage they did; it was about their disregard for humanity. No one should be treated as such, and I couldn’t allow them to do it again.

“So I slaughtered them. I don’t remember what I did, so I only have my parents’ recollection to tell. The king was my first kill. I ripped his head off before he could get halfway into his hybrid. The beta and delta were next to fall. Before I ran to the rest, my bear looked at my mother. She told me I had tears falling from my face… and blood down my claws. Then I tracked the scent of every pride member in attendance and I ended their life, regardless if they participated in my mutilation.

“I, nor my beast, could care about them at that moment. They all were witnesses or contributors to the worst day of my life. Some of them deserved a fate worse than death, but I couldn’t provide it. I could only hope the goddess of death gave them all fair treatment for their crimes.”

Cyrus stared at Kaplan, waiting for any movement or a statement. Instead, the wolf was motionless. I’ve scared him. “Kaplan, are—”

A slender finger landed on his lips. Much to Cyrus’ surprise, a smile appeared on Kaplan. “You did what was needed. I already told you when you showed me your scars… you are here because of your past. Those events shaped you into the man I love.”

Lip quivering, Cyrus struggled to comprehend, “You… You don’t judge me for my actions?”

“No, I don’t.” Kaplan caressed the bear’s cheek, thumbing away a stray tear, “You’re the strongest man I know, Cyrus. I would never judge anyone who went through all of that.”

“Kaplan…” His voice broke. No one had ever seen him in such an emotional state. Compassion was a mystery to the alpha, and he grasped desperately for it. No one has spoken to me like this, not since I was a boy… “ Thank you for accepting me into your life.”

“What happened to your parents?”

“They moved back to Oranjemund after the incident, and are still there as far as I know.”

Cyrus’ eyes drooped, “They did their best to ignore my rampage, but I sensed their fear. My bear had the hardest time dealing with it all. The blood never washed off my hands, and we avoided people whenever possible. For one year, I consoled my animal, trying to coax him out of his depression. In time, he recovered, but paid the price of being shy around others.”

Cyrus continued his tale; how he wandered from town to town for a year, at least until he was confronted by a representative from the Executive Council. From there, he was offered relocation to another pack, but there was no interest in an alpha ursus. Cyrus expressed an interest in politics after explaining how the pride treated them. One councilman examined him and questioned his beliefs. Vernon Bylus vouched for the panda, and decided to take him under his wing.

Five years later, Cyrus was sent as an apprenticing auditor to New Zealand. His mentor was thorough with the training, explaining proper speech tactics to find hints of deception. Even on his first assignment, he caught onto disingenuous behavior and dialects, and decided to specialize in communication stratagems to find information.

After four more years of training, Cyrus, at the age of twenty-seven, became a certified auditor and investigator for the Executive Council. Along the way, he acquired the lightning affinity, and had to take a break from work to master manipulation. The council supplied several teachers to assist him without hesitation. “In a way, the EC replaced my parents. They gave me the tools and resources to better myself, but my values stayed the same. Those… will never go away, and I’ll always credit my parents for teaching them to me.”

After a moment of silence, Kaplan raised his head from the bear’s arm, “I do have one question.”

“Anything, my pup.”

“You’ll always be Cyrus Vonder to me… but can I ask what your birth name was?”

Cyrus giggled. I haven’t said it since that night.

“Thabo Sibisi.”

***

Arriving at the airport, Vincent groaned, “Remind me why we’re flying again.”

“Take that up with Cyrus; he paid for the tickets and the hotel.” Grabbing the suitcases from the truck bed, Mason rolled them at his sides. “Plus, we’re all on the same plane. It’s just a simple cab ride to the hotel from the airport.”

“I guess that’s okay. Maybe I can freak out the flight attendant and disappear from my seat. I’ve always wanted to ride in an airplane’s shadow.”

Mason smirked, “As funny as that sounds, I don’t think that’s smart. Maybe you can whip out your laptop and work on that book you and Drego want to write.”

Oh yeah, I almost forgot about that! “Sounds like a plan. So, are we waiting for everyone to show up?”

“You’re the one that wanted to get here an hour before the flight. Caleb, Dave, and Stacy are carpooling, and Remis is on the way.” He let the tailgate down and patted it, “C’mon, sit with me.”

The couple sat until Dave’s white Silverado parked next to them. As the three were coming out, a black Cadillac Escalade stopped nearby. Remis closed the door and joyfully greeted everyone, “Oi! Who’s ready to party on the panda’s dime?”

The flight to New York lasted two hours, and Vincent thought it was smooth. He remembered his first time on a plane with his parents many years ago. It felt like a rollercoaster back then. Thinking of that helped me out. Walking out of the LaGuardia Airport, Mason’s phone sounded off. After a moment of looking at the screen, he smirked. “What’s going on, big guy?”

“Our ride’s here.” Everyone followed Mason, who seemed to be guided by directions on his phone. A few minutes later in the parking lot, the alpha waved at a SUV, “Dirk!”

A burly hand rose from the lowered window. Stacy leaned closer to Vincent and whispered, “Who is Dirk?”

“That’s the Head Enforcer to the New York State Pack.” When she raised an eyebrow, Vincent chuckled, “Morrine’s boyfriend’s bodyguard. He’s their Caleb.”

“Oh! He looks like he should be bouncing bars.”

“Yeah, but don’t worry. He’s a teddy bear when you get to know him.”

As they crammed in, Remis took the passenger seat and grinned widely at the bear, “Holy fuck, big fella!”

Dirk cackled as he dipped his head in respect, “Alpha McCabe, I presume?” Turning in his seat, the enforcer scanned the riders, “Everyone got seatbelts on? I’m dropping you off at the Equinox. After that, you’re on your own for transportation. Kaplan’s off limits since he’s in charge of Cyrus’ inauguration, and Tierney’s out too. I’m sure Mason and Remis’ll get an email, but just a heads up, tomorrow night’s an open NYSP meeting. Cyrus will be crowned as the Pack Alpha and will be announcing his council cabinet.”

“Oh shit?” Mason leaned forward, “We’re invited to this?”

“Per the request of Cyrus himself. There will be several greyhounds taking everyone from the hotel to Yankee Stadium at nine tomorrow evening.”

Stacy whispered to Dave, “This all seems so serious.”

Dave’s chuckle broke the tension, “It kind of is, babe. One of the largest packs in the world is getting a new leader, and we’re invited to the event. He’s normally like Mace with the alpha title, but I think we’re giving him as much respect as possible.”

“Is he a wolf like you?”

“Nope,” The beta’s grin widened, “and I’m not telling what he is. You’ll see tomorrow, and I think you’ll freak out.”

She reclined against his arm, “If you say so. What is he, a polar bear or something?” Mason tried to stifle his laughter, but Stacy lifted her head and pointed, “Ah ha! He’s a polar bear!”

Nearly everyone in the vehicle snickered while Remis smiled genuinely, “Sorry, Dave, but I’m bursting the bubble. Better for her to know now than in the middle of a public meeting. Miss Boswick, Alpha Vonder is a panda.”

“A panda!” Her squeal could not be contained, “Holy shit, that’s awesome! Is there anything else I should know?"

"Aye, we'll be witnessing his Mage's Dance; a magical performance that acts as a rite of passage into a group." The Irishman turned back to face the windshield, "I will keep what affinity he has a secret though."

Stacy pouted, "I guess that's fair."

The drive took half an hour, and with Vincent crammed between Mason and Caleb, his wolf grew anxious to get his feet back on solid ground. Arriving, the group checked into the hotel and took the elevator to the top floor. They were surprised to see several other alphas and their councils coming in and out of rooms. "I think Cyrus booked the whole floor!"

Mason nodded, "Yeah, I'd say. I don't recognize a single person here, Remis?"

"I see a few familiar faces, but I bet we'll see them at the restaurant later. Did everyone get their own rooms?"

"We got a room, but I think Dave's sharing with Stacy and Caleb."

Remis smiled and closed the distance between him and the lion, "What'cha say, furball? Let the couple have the room and bunk with me? I got an extra bed."

Caleb snorted, "Sure. Dave snores anyway."

A growl came from Dave, but it was interrupted by Stacy's pinch, "You do, so don't deny it."

Everyone found their rooms were next to one another. Probably for security reasons. If more alphas brought their enforcers, they'd be nearby. Smart. Vincent slid the card and unlocked the door. Stepping inside, he and Mason were blown away with the modern decor. White walls and flooring were elegantly lit, and a small lounge area rested near the king-sized bed. This must have cost a fortune! Impulsively, he searched his phone for the price of their room. Uh, yeah… that's a lot!

The couple took a moment to explore every nook and cranny of the room. Vincent had never stayed in a hotel of this caliber. Looks like Mace hasn't either. Walking into the bathroom, the mage could only grin. The wooden floors and vanity appeared immaculate, as well as the glass shower.

Mason wrapped his arms around Vincent's waist, "I say we test out the bed."

"I'm afraid we'd break something."

Hot breath landed on his neck as Mason laughed, “Relax, Vinnie. This is the nicest hotel I’ve stayed at, but the North American Lycan Summit’s resort is a close second.”

He nestled into the alpha’s body and whispered, “Really?”

“Yeah, it’s a ski resort in a huge mountain village in Colorado. I’ve gone each year since I took over as Owensville’s Alpha, and I can’t wait to take you in November.”

North American? “There’s more than one summit?”

Mason backed away and removed his shirt, “Yeah, each continent has one, but there’s one the month before them all; the Global Summit. Only the most prominent packs get to go, so think New Delhi and New York. The three largest from each continent must represent, then they help coordinate the continental ones.”

“I get it. That makes a lot of sense. So Cyrus has a lot on his plate then, huh?” Vincent took the hint from his mate’s nakedness and stripped, “I think I’m comfortable with the size of Owensville.”

After their shower, they checked the group chat. I think everyone wants some food. Vincent thumbed the suggestion to head to the restaurant on the twenty-fourth floor. He dug in his suitcase and selected a baby-blue dress shirt and khaki slacks. Business casual sounds about right. I don’t want to run around with t-shirt and jeans just yet. Seeing Mason’s selection of the same style made him more comfortable.

Leaving their room, they found Dave and Stacy at the elevator. The couple had a similar idea for the proverbial dress code, as Dave sported a blazer while Stacy wore a sleek red dress. With her hair put up, she looked as if she was ready for a night on the town. Vincent thought it was sweet how they shared a simple kiss, “You two look adorable together!”

Stacy blushed as Dave took her by the waist, “Thanks, Vin. Remis said they’d be down in a minute. Apparently Tasha’s jealous to all-high-hell when Caleb sent her pictures of their room, so he’s getting scolded.”

Mason snickered, “Then what’s holding Remis?” Everyone’s phones vibrated and Vincent saw the messages, the most recent being a popcorn emoji from the Irishman. “Guess I can’t blame him; I’d want to see that too.”

The couples rode the elevator and entered the restaurant, Electric Lemon. Just like their room, the place radiated modern elegance. They were greeted by the hostess, who bared her neck, “Good evening, alphas and beta. If you’d follow me, I’ll seat you.”

She escorted them to a small table near the bar and handed them menus, “Your waitress will be right with you.” Once again, she gave them her submissive respect and returned to her station.

Stacy caressed Dave’s hand, “What was that all about?”

“It’s a shifter thing. We’re a higher class than her, and her baring her neck is a sign of respect. Since you’re dating me, you get the same treatment.”

“How… does she know we’re dating?”

He could only smile, “She smelled me on you. I wouldn’t think about it too hard, babe.”

Shortly after, their waitress approached, collected the orders, and scurried away. “She seems to be in a hurry.”

Mason smirked, “Look who’s around, pup. If I were her, and the restaurant was taken over by a horde of higher ranked shifters, I’d be shitting bricks.”

Yeah, that’s true. He scanned the room and saw a few more workers. They’re putting on a good face, but I can tell those two waitresses are stressed out!

After idle chatting, their food arrived from two workers. As the food was laid out, the male bared his neck and the two began to walk away.

“Stop.”

Vincent saw the workers halt, but he turned to the man at the edge of the bar. He seemed annoyed with a flatlined brow as he held a highball glass, “You, girl… You didn’t give them your neck.”

The young woman trembled, nearly dropping her platter. Sitting nearby, Vincent reached and palmed the underside, fully prepared to take it from her. Seeing her adjust her grip, he turned to the man. He’s an alpha… but I don’t like his tone.

No, I not like him.

I got this. “I respect your vigilance, but cut her some slack.”

“Excuse me?”

Vincent returned to the waitress with a grin, “I can speak for this group. You don’t have to submit to us if you don’t want to, miss. Take your time, we got nowhere else to be.”

“Th-thank you, alpha.”

“Please, it’s Vincent. Thank you for bringing our food.” He watched as she meagerly smiled, but bared her neck to the alpha behind Vincent and walked away. Irritation crept into his mind as he focused on the man, “I said cut her some slack. Hell, cut every employee here some slack, would you?”

The wolf rotated in his seat, “Who are you, whelp?”

Mason rose in an instant, “This is my mate and an alpha in his own right! Choose your next words carefully… whelp.” His voice was low and filled with hatred.

“Mace, calm down.” Holding his hand out, Vincent tried to keep his cool, “I think we all got off on the wrong—”

“Hold yer horses!”

The three alphas turned to see Remis and Caleb coming towards them. Caleb naturally took a position between Vincent and their threat, while Remis approached the stranger, “Keller, mind tellin’ me what you’re hollerin’ about?”

“Remis?” A smirk came across the alpha’s face, “Glad to see you—”

The Irishman’s hand landed on his shoulder with force, causing a grunt to leave his lips, “Answer the damned question. Are you pissin’ off my friends? ‘Cause I’ll tell you right now, this one…” He bobbed his head in Vincent’s direction, “He can kill ya without lifting a finger. If you’re on one about respect this and submit that, I suggest you remember who we’re all here for, and what he'd say about it all. Got it?”

Keller shakily sighed and nodded.

“Then pay for your booze and get the fuck out.” Remis’ words were cold, yet demanding. Even as equal alphas, Keller abided by the instruction by dropping several bills and headed for the exit. The Irishman’s eyes tracked the man until no longer possible. “What a fuckin’ tosser!”

Vincent stood flabbergasted. Although they met recently, he never considered there would be an angry side to Remis. “Who was that guy?”

Remis took Keller’s stool near the table, “Keller Galby. He’s the leader over Montreal. I almost forgot him and Cyrus were friends at one time. I imagine the only reason he’s here for the inauguration is formality. Keller’s a meathead who lives off respect.”

“I can see that.” Vincent glanced in the direction Keller escaped, but returned to his seat, “Thanks, Remis.”

“Anytime, it’s not often I get to bring out my bad side. Almost had fun makin’ him squirm. So, what’s good here?” He eyed Mason’s elaborate cheeseburger, “Did they put avocado on that?” Blowing through his closed lips, Remis scanned the menu and whispered, “Damn Yanks, putting that goop on everything…”

***

Handling the invited guests and planning the inauguration had worn Kaplan out. He was thankful Tierney assisted in some of the finer details. Only he could have booked the stadium for the night.

Slumping on his futon, he gingerly touched his neck. It was still tender from a few nights ago. Unfortunately, it made the wolf miss Cyrus. They hadn’t seen each other since then, as both needed to make preparations. On the bright side, when I see him next, he’ll be performing his dance. Chills ran down his spine. I can’t wait to see what he’ll do with his magic!

Setting his laptop aside, Kaplan rose to grab a soda from the fridge. He popped the can tab and returned to his makeshift office area. Just as he was about to sit down, a familiar aroma caught his nose. An envelope flew from under his door and the scent drifted away. Grabbing the paper, he opened the door and looked into the hallway. Gone. What was he doing here? Examining the envelope, he saw his name written in choppy handwriting.

Locking the door, he set the cola down and tore open the letter.

Head Beta Alvey,

I’m not sure how to start this, but I wanted to tell you that I’m sorry. I’ve been a real ass to you since I was brought on the lower council. It kills me to know it took so long to realize this. You have every right to be angry at me, but I hope I can change that.

I decided to write this letter before talking to you. The past several weeks have bothered me as a person. I insulted you, Alpha Bolton, and as it turns out, a lot of people around me. It took being barred from a pack for me to realize this.

It feels silly writing this, but I heard a song the other day, the lyric’s been repeating itself in my head. If I’m gonna catch up, first I gotta fess up. I’ve been writing letters all day, apologizing to several people I’ve been mean or cruel to. You’re the second-to-last one I’m writing.

You can probably tell from my handwriting, but I’m scared. I want to make this right, and I’m not sure if it’s possible. Saying sorry on a piece of paper won’t cut it for me, and I’d like to apologize properly.

Enforcer Alex Wagner, District Four.

Copyright © 2021 astone2292; All Rights Reserved.
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We knew Cyrus' past had to have been traumatic, but didn't realize it also  cost him alienation from his own parents. I can only hope the rift between them might heal. 

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Damn, talk about a tear jerker. Cy's story had me crying. Dude, I loved Vince standing up to the jerk alpha, then gently and in his own way getting Mason to not immediately tear the other guy's head off. Vince is great at showing his power without flaunting it. 

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I can’t wait for Cyrus mage ceremony. This was an awesome chapter, keep up the good work!

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What Cyrus went through on his first turning just broke my heart; traditionalist rarely make the best anything except forgotten beings.  No wonder his bear is so shy and withdrawn at times; and hate that it caused the rift with his parents, even if it was not intentional.

I swear, you get any meeting like that with a ton of toffs and you always end up with at least one complete ass...  

Wagner is going to have to deal with several people but in the end it might truly make a real difference...

 

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Another great chapter. Been missing this storyline. Looking forward to Cyrus’s performance. That was a pretty traumatic time on his first shift. Glad he shared that with Kaplan.

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astone2292

Posted (edited)

3 hours ago, drpaladin said:

We knew Cyrus' past had to have been traumatic, but didn't realize it also  cost him alienation from his own parents. I can only hope the rift between them might heal. 

It's a sad separation, but one for Cyrus' need. I'm sure there will be more information about them as Kaplan learns more about his boyfriend. 

3 hours ago, Ajbt2001 said:

Damn, talk about a tear jerker. Cy's story had me crying. Dude, I loved Vince standing up to the jerk alpha, then gently and in his own way getting Mason to not immediately tear the other guy's head off. Vince is great at showing his power without flaunting it. 

Can't help it! It was a difficult decision to put Cy's backstory here as I dreamed of writing it as a whole sidestory, but it fit well here for me. I would have been interested to see how Vin would have handled Keller on his own, but I think Remis took care of it well enough. 

2 hours ago, wb22860 said:

I can’t wait for Cyrus mage ceremony. This was an awesome chapter, keep up the good work!

Stay tuned! It's coming and it's coming fast!

2 hours ago, centexhairysub said:

What Cyrus went through on his first turning just broke my heart; traditionalist rarely make the best anything except forgotten beings.  No wonder his bear is so shy and withdrawn at times; and hate that it caused the rift with his parents, even if it was not intentional.

I swear, you get any meeting like that with a ton of toffs and you always end up with at least one complete ass...  

Wagner is going to have to deal with several people but in the end it might truly make a real difference...

 

Wagner's making a rebound of sorts; trying to right his wrongs. I wonder if anyone knows the song he referenced in his letter. It was Bo Burnham's Problematic (warning: it's NSFW, but very funny.)

1 hour ago, JR Tittle said:

Wow…such a sad past for Cyrus…it all makes sense now. 

While it is a sad story, I'm glad y'all are very receptive of it! 

49 minutes ago, VBlew said:

Another great chapter. Been missing this storyline. Looking forward to Cyrus’s performance. That was a pretty traumatic time on his first shift. Glad he shared that with Kaplan.

Sorry if it took some time. Writing has been somewhat slow. Life's been hitting pretty fast as my AC went out and work has been hectic. Next chapter is being edited and I'm working on the next Cernunnos chapter :)

Edited by astone2292
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I am thoroughly enjoying this story.  I look forward to each new chapter.  Thank you for sharing this story.  

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1 hour ago, Tylor50 said:

I am thoroughly enjoying this story.  I look forward to each new chapter.  Thank you for sharing this story.  

Thank you for reading! I'm happy you're enjoying this story! 

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Wow,this chapter had had it all , emotional, anger, hate and help and uplifting, I don't blame Cyrus one bit , but he came out way Stronger plus he is definitely ready to settle down with his mate he and Kaplan are perfect for each other ,I am surprised that Vinnie didn't put that idiot in his place, now onto the the dance , I can't wait, this was an awesome chapter

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1 hour ago, mikedup said:

Wow,this chapter had had it all , emotional, anger, hate and help and uplifting, I don't blame Cyrus one bit , but he came out way Stronger plus he is definitely ready to settle down with his mate he and Kaplan are perfect for each other ,I am surprised that Vinnie didn't put that idiot in his place, now onto the the dance , I can't wait, this was an awesome chapter

You know me... bringing in all the emotions as possible. Vincent probably had intention of putting Keller in his place in the nicest way possible, but we'll never know. 

Thanks for commenting, everyone! I love seeing all the reactions and thoughts. 

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I may be wrong but hopefully Kaplan got a hold of Cy's parents and they will be at the ceremony as a surprise. Just a thought though. Great story BTW. 

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Philippe

Posted (edited)

Premature release…damn, I’m 16 again! The real post in progress!

Edited by Philippe
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Great chapter. It was sad to hear Cyrus's backstory, but it really explains a lot of his characteristics. The little row in the restaurant showed a side of Remis we had not seen. It was a good side as it showed Remus flexing a bit of his power. Then there is Alex..... At least he is trying!! Looking forward to the next chapter! The mage dance should be amazing.

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People who have faced the deepest wrongs and undeserved pain can become the very strongest because of that. Fortunately, people can also become strong from very positive experiences.  It seems the world of Vincent and the gang has a few of both, making the story captivating as heck.

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2 in a row!  Tears again.... 😭You know how much I love the panda and the wolf!  I figured Cyrus' story was going to be sad but damn, that made my heart hurt 💔.  But like the phoenix, he rose from the ashes!  You put us all on another emotional roller coaster!  🎢 I'm loving the ride!!!  I don't know how you do it my friend...every detail, every emotion, everything in your writing is just vivid and alive with a heartbeat of it's own:heart:.  Even when you don't write a cliffhanger, I still hang on your every word....  Into the grey again....  Another beautiful, heartfelt chapter!!!!!!!!

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9 hours ago, Freddie1 said:

I may be wrong but hopefully Kaplan got a hold of Cy's parents and they will be at the ceremony as a surprise. Just a thought though. Great story BTW. 

Oooooooh! Looks like someone stole my 'I'm Calling It' ball cap. I'm not sure though; Kap had a lot going on while planning Cyrus' inauguration. I'm sure the beta has something in store for his bear.

7 hours ago, Philippe said:

Premature release…damn, I’m 16 again! The real post in progress!

This made me cackle. I can't wait to see what kind of post you got cookin', Philippe!

5 hours ago, wenmale64 said:

Great chapter. It was sad to hear Cyrus's backstory, but it really explains a lot of his characteristics. The little row in the restaurant showed a side of Remis we had not seen. It was a good side as it showed Remus flexing a bit of his power. Then there is Alex..... At least he is trying!! Looking forward to the next chapter! The mage dance should be amazing.

I couldn't have Remis always be happy with ladies and booze, now could I? He needed a little fire and reasoning why he was revered by Cy and Ty before the Mesker Park interviewing process. I wouldn't want to be known as the guy who incurred the wrath of someone who always seems so happy. 

And then there is Alex... I'm so excited to share his upcoming adventures!

3 hours ago, ZekeNix said:

People who have faced the deepest wrongs and undeserved pain can become the very strongest because of that. Fortunately, people can also become strong from very positive experiences.  It seems the world of Vincent and the gang has a few of both, making the story captivating as heck.

I forkin' loved this comment! Some of the backstories for my characters seem a little extreme, but I like spreading the message that anyone could have come from anywhere. You don't know the history of the man who delivered your pizza fifteen minutes late, nor the snobby lady who acts like she owns the world. These people may have gone through hell and we'll never know. 

Thanks Zeke. Your comment caused for me to review some of the other characters' histories and I'll be reigniting those old flames.

2 hours ago, Patch1 said:

2 in a row!  Tears again.... 😭You know how much I love the panda and the wolf!  I figured Cyrus' story was going to be sad but damn, that made my heart hurt 💔.  But like the phoenix, he rose from the ashes!  You put us all on another emotional roller coaster!  🎢 I'm loving the ride!!!  I don't know how you do it my friend...every detail, every emotion, everything in your writing is just vivid and alive with a heartbeat of it's own:heart:.  Even when you don't write a cliffhanger, I still hang on your every word....  Into the grey again....  Another beautiful, heartfelt chapter!!!!!!!!

Your praise makes me smile, Patch. I knew this chapter would be somewhat rough for you, considering you love Kap and Cy. I've been debating on making the next chapter a little bigger, but I'll work on that after I finish up a Cernunnos chapter. 

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