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    kbois
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Spirit Wolves - 20. Chapter 20

Let's see what a little reconnaissance brings to the table 

Ben flipped the numbers into place on the lock box for the Airbnb Sebastian set up for them. It was close to the ski resort, but far enough away that there were no neighbors within sight. They passed several other homes tucked back into the forest, but there was plenty of woods in between them and the closest neighbor. 

Zev was unhooking the truck from the trailer with the two snowmobiles they brought along. The main reason Sebastian chose this house was for the location. They would be able to unload the sleds right here and not have to leave the truck and trailer in a public parking area. There were plenty of trails behind the house and they should be able to reach their target in less than an hour, if necessary.

Right now however, Ben just wanted to stow their gear and fix something to eat. He unlocked the front door with the key he fished out from the lock box and picked up the grocery bags he’d set down. It had been a long day. They’d detoured to check out the two abandoned properties that Sebastian mentioned to Caleb. Both were abandoned farms, and neither showed any signs of activity, but at least they’d done their due diligence  by checking them out. 

The front entry was warm and welcoming. There was a coat closet to the right and a bench to sit down and take off boots. A small space heater could be turned on to speed up drying out wet outerwear. 

Ben hefted the groceries and dropped them on the large island that separated the kitchen from an amazing living room area. The kitchen itself was large, with blue-gray granite counters and white oak cabinets. Stainless steel appliances and plenty of drawers and cupboards were well laid out. The living room had a large stone fireplace with wood and kindling already set to go in it. The wall opposite the fireplace had floor to ceiling windows and a set of sliding glass doors that led out to an expansive deck. The deck held snow-covered patio furniture and…. Hello there! A fully functioning hot tub! The tub was covered, but the snow had been brushed off and the deck around it had been cleared of snow too. 

“We are so using that tonight,” Zev said as he came up behind him and planted a soft kiss on the base of his neck. 

Ben hummed his agreement. “But first, food. I’m starving.”

Together they got the rest of the stuff they had brought with them into the house, putting the two duffel bags with clothes and toiletries in the master bedroom adjacent to the living room. Two other large bedrooms, each with its own bath were down a short hallway off the kitchen. 

They wasted no time fixing dinner. Hunger was a great motivator. They made a good team, and it wasn’t long before two plates heaped with rotisserie chicken, pasta tossed with sauteed onions, mushrooms and spinach, were on the table, ready to be devoured. 

“What are you thinking about? Ben asked, noting the look of concern on his mate’s face. 

“I’m worried about Elijah. He must be nervous, waiting, and wondering what’s going to happen. This whole situation is so incredibly dangerous. Honestly, I’m second guessing the entire plan. I mean, I understand why Sebastian decided to go this route. Putting Elijah out there to get kidnapped? It’s scary.”

Ben knew Zev’s concern stemmed from the phone call they’d had with Sebastian on the way here. Wayne, Sandi and Elijah were heading out to Idaho the next morning. Once they left, there would be no turning back. 

“I know it is, and I’m worried too. I hope Sebastian knows what he’s doing. He’s a sharp guy and I’m glad he’s pulled Caleb, Jack and Silas into the loop. I know he’s worried about information getting into the wrong hands, and it worries me too. I hate the lack of information. It must be even more infuriating for Sebastian, knowing that Alberts and Nichols are holding all the cards right now.”

“Which is why it’s important we get the drone up in the air tomorrow. The sooner we can check out that mine, the better. C’mon, finish your dinner so we can clean up and then put that hot tub to good use,” Zev winked. 

“I say that’s a great idea. I saw the instructions on the counter. Why don’t you open a bottle of wine or something and I’ll get the tub fired up. I don’t think it takes too long to heat up,” Ben said. “Leave the dishes, I’d rather be in that tub.”

Ben was right, the hot tub was easy to use. The homeowner kept the heat on low while it was covered and all he needed to do was turn the control knob on the wall next to the slider to high. 

“Rock, paper, scissors to see who goes out first and uncovers it,” Zev teased. 

“I’ll do it. My wolf will keep me warm, ya wuss,” Ben shot back, zipping out the slider into the cold air before Zev could smack his ass. Not that he would have minded. He flipped back the cover and was happy to see that there would be plenty of room for both of them with only half the cover off, so he left it like that and hit the button for the jets. A light cloud of steam drifted up from the heated water. He stuck his hand in and pulled the thermometer out. It was eight-five degrees. They’d be fine getting in now and letting the water heat up while they enjoyed whatever beverage Zev had chosen. 

He went back into the house and grabbed a couple of towels from the bathroom, leaving them inside, on a table next to the door, shucking his clothes off as well. No sense in wrapping their bodies in frigid terry cloth when they were done. Ben enjoyed the inner warmth that his new wolf provided. It definitely came in handy on nights like this. 

Zev, also naked, had two tumblers filled with ice and an amber colored liquid. Ben raised an eyebrow questioningly. 

“Peanut butter and blackberry whiskey,  liquid PB&J. It was in a welcome basket we overlooked in that little nook by the front door. I figured it would be more dessert-ish. We didn’t get any kind of dessert wine, and I think the cabernet would be a little too dry for the hot tub scene.”

“A little too dry for the hot tub scene?” Ben laughed and Zev blushed. 

Handing him his tumbler, Zev said, “Just get in the tub!”

Ben was still snickering when he stepped into the steamy water, his amusement melting into a satisfied groan as the bubbly heat surrounded him. He took a sip of his PB&J whiskey and set the tumbler on the side of the tub, sliding down so that just his head was above the water. Zev plunked down next to him and they leaned against each other comfortably, enjoying the soothing warmth and gentle massage the jets provided. 

“So where do you want to start tomorrow?” Ben asked, reluctant to break the spell of the quiet evening. He knew that they weren’t here for fun. They had a job to do and it was important enough that it needed their full attention. Mistakes at this point could have dire consequences. 

“Get the drone up, find a good spot for the surveillance cameras Sebastian gave us and get them up and running. You said it, we need more information and if we can get an actual visual of activity at the mine, well, at least it’s a step in the right direction, Zev replied.

“Sounds good to me. Now, no more shop talk, let's just enjoy what’s left of the night. We probably won’t  get another chance.” Ben moved so that he was seated in front of Zev, enjoying the feel of skin on skin. 

Zev reached up, gently massaging the tense muscles in Ben’s neck, peppering light kisses along his exposed shoulders. Ben returned the favor, massaging Zev’s thighs and calves. 

Eventually the languid enjoyment of each other grew into a more pressing need. One their wolves took interest in, rather insistently. 

Zev stood up abruptly, hauling Ben up with him, straight into a heated kiss. Hot and spicy. There was no other way to describe the way Zev took his mouth and devoured it. Ben’s pulse beat erratically, every fiber in him humming with arousal. 

“Bedroom. Now,” he managed to say, dragging his lips away so his lungs could take in some much needed air. 

Steam rose from their bodies as they hustled across the deck and inside, not even pausing to grab the towels by the door. 

Zev took his hand and practically dragged him the short distance to the bedroom. They had been so busy lately that other than a few quick handjobs and blowjobs, they hadn’t been able to find the time for proper love making. There was no way they weren’t going to take advantage of the opportunity now. 

Ben yanked the covers off the bed and climbed to the middle while Zev dug through one of the bags for lube. Tossing the bottle up near the pillow, he asked, “Do you want top or bottom?”

Ben grinned deviously. “Both. I want my bottom on top of you.”

“Oh fuck.”

Ben grabbed Zev’s hand and pulled him down onto the soft flannel sheets and covered the long hard body with his own and proceeded to kiss the life outta him. He lined up their leaking cocks and rocked back and forth, delicious friction sending goosebumps down his arms. When Ben’s wolf whined insistently inside him, he reluctantly broke the kiss. 

Zev smiled as he reached for the lube. The snap of the cap might as well have been accompanied by a choir of angels belting out 'Hallelujah'.

Prep work was hasty. Ben really didn’t care. He just needed his mate. Impatiently he straddled Zev’s hips, lined himself up and steadily worked his way down until Zev was completely inside. 

“Fuck, you feel so good,” he told Zev. 

“So do you, but I really need to move. Can I fuck you now?”

Ben answered by quickly sliding upward and then slamming his ass back down. Zev gripped his hips harder and flexed his own hips upwards, humping up into the tight heat. It wasn’t any surprise to either of them, considering the inferno that they had created between them, when the base of Ben’s spine tingled, forewarning him of his impending orgasm. 

Pulling his lips off Zev, he stuttered, “G-gon-gonna come!”

Zev growled and snapped his hips faster. “Do it. Come all over me!”

Ben sat up straight, forcing his ass down onto Zev just as his prostate was hit head on. His wolf howled and Ben’s cock erupted, shooting jets of hot cum onto Zev’s chest and stomach. Zev was mere seconds behind with his own release. 

The only sound for the next few minutes was the sound of harsh breathing as they tried to regain control of their faculties. Both of their wolves growled softly when they tried to move. 

Heeding their beasts, Ben and Zev let their eyes drift shut, allowing sleep to take over. Everything else could wait until morning. 

Morning which came rather quickly. 

The sun was barely up when Ben and Zev untangled themselves and showered. Not wanting to waste time, they ate a quick breakfast and cleaned up the mess that was leftover from the night before. 

Zev was antsy to get started as soon as the last dish was washed. “Why don’t we get the drone up in the air?  We can scout out the area and the trails so we can have a better idea of what’s what. Looking at maps isn’t the same as seeing the lay of the land right in front of you. I want to see how well that ridge along the western side of the mine will be able to conceal our approach. We can also make note of any possible hiding spots that may come in handy. Not to mention we need to find a good place to mount the security cameras.”

They grabbed their coats from the front entry and didn’t bother zipping them up before heading out the front door into the cold air.  

Zev carefully opened the case which held the drone and made sure it was ready to go. Ben busied himself with opening up the laptop and linking it to the drone. Within a minute or so the screen turned totally white and nearly gave him a heart attack before he realized the screen was showing the snow which the drone’s camera was currently zoomed onto. 

Zev chuckled at the momentary look of panic on his face and quickly adjusted the zoom to a normal view. The drone was capable of hovering, rolling, diving and ascending quickly. Unlike his own drone, this had a battery life long enough for what they needed. 

The drone hummed softly as it hovered above them, growing quieter as it flew further away, becoming all but invisible. On the laptop, Ben watched the drone’s position on a map in live time, similar to the flight tracking system on planes. 

Zev practiced a few different maneuvers before nodding at Ben. “Ready?”

He split the view on his screen to show the map with the little dot indicating where the drone was, and the actual view the drone was transmitting. Zev turned the machine to the east. By air, it wasn’t a long distance between here and the mine. He gave it the command to hover over the ridge just to the west of their target. Ben scanned the area as Zev zoomed in on possible locations for the surveillance camera they wanted to set up. 

“There!” he exclaimed, pointing to a thick copse of pine trees that took up the end of the ridge closest to the mine. It was just outside of Nichols’ territory, although it was cutting it really close. Until they could actually scent the boundary markers, they would need to tread carefully, so as not to alert the Meadow Creek pack of their presence. 

“If we come in from here, we can get the sleds up to this little clearing,” Ben tapped a small area not covered by trees, about halfway down the back side of the ridge, out of sight of the mine and it’s parking area. “If we’re quick we can get the cameras mounted here, here, and here,” once again tapping his finger on the screen, indicating three sturdy pines, a couple of hundred feet apart, that would give them different angles of perception. “That should give us a clear view of the parking lot and the mine’s entrance. The trees will camouflage the cameras completely.”

Zev’s attention was split between his screen and Ben’s, but a few good looks at what Ben was indicating had him agreeing. He focused back on the drone and, a half hour later, made a perfect landing in the driveway next to the truck. Together they got it back in the case and brought it into the house for safekeeping. 

Inside, Ben stuffed a few bottles of water and some snacks into a backpack while Zev sorted through the pack with all the high quality cameras. Not knowing where they would be able to mount them, there were several types of coverings that would serve to hide what was under them. Zev rummaged around until he found three plastic casings that resembled tree bark. He snapped the casings into place over the cameras they were going to use and set aside the rest. 

As soon as everything was ready they headed out, the steady roar of the snowmobiles echoing off the hills around them. They followed the trails, zig-zagging their way east until after a couple of hours of deliberate meandering, they climbed the trail leading to the top of the ridge. They stopped at the clearing Ben found, out of sight of the entrance to the mine on the other side of the hill, and hiked the rest of the way. 

Reaching the top, everything down below looked tiny, but they were able to make out details they missed from the Google map view. From this distance they could make out a couple of big pickup trucks parked in the lot, but there were no signs of activity, other than the fact that the parking area had been cleared of snow. That, at least, was something, an actual confirmation that someone was using the building. 

The old entrance to the mine was closed up. A massive, solid metal, garage-type door sealed the opening. The headquarters building was adjacent to the door and had a single point of entry in the form of double steel doors. 

Zev pulled in a lungful of air through his nose and snorted. “Be careful, the territory markings are close. Don’t go beyond that tree over there,” he warned, pointing to a huge spruce about three hundred feet from them. 

They made quick work of getting the cameras mounted onto the trees that Ben indicated.

Once they were in place, Zev connected his phone to the feed from the cameras. That way they could check them whenever they needed to. 

As they gathered their stuff to leave, a black pickup truck drove into the parking lot. Even though they were far away, Ben shushed Zev before he could say anything and pulled him down to a low crouch, making themselves blend into their surroundings. Two men got out of the truck, going around to the back, and after lowering the tailgate, they slid a large crate, with a distinctive logo on it, to the edge. It took the strength of both men, both shifter men, to carry the crate to the door.

Ben watched as they carefully set it down, then, one of them poked at a keypad to the right of the entrance. He wasn’t sure if he imagined the slight buzzing noise right before the door opened automatically. The two guys lifted the crate and carried it inside. His gaze slid to Zev, who mouthed, ‘let’s go’. 

 They silently walked back down the slope to the clearing where they’d left the snowmobiles. 

“What the fuck is in that crate?” Zev spat out, as if he’d been holding in the words for the past five minutes. 

“Some sort of medical supplies would be my guess. I recognized the logo that was stamped on it. AllMed International. They provide medical equipment and supplies to hospitals. My parents handle their retirement accounts for their employees. Whatever it is, it’s pretty goddamn heavy if it takes two shifters to haul it from the truck. Let’s get the fuck out of here so we can call Sebastian about this.”

It was a relief to drive away from the area. They knew they hadn’t been spotted but Ben’s wolf was agitated at being so close to another shifter’s territory.

Once back at the house, Ben called Sebastian and put him on speaker phone. Together he and Zev updated the Alpha, relaying what they saw. 

Ben heard Sebastian sigh heavily before saying, “I’m not sure it means anything. They could be restocking supplies, it might be a piece of imaging equipment. I dunno, an x-ray machine or something? We knew going into this they’ve been doing research. It makes sense that they need supplies and machines to do that. Then again, they could potentially be getting ready to abduct another pup. It’s been a few weeks since Milo was taken. Fuck!”

Ben couldn’t help but think of Elijah, and by the stricken look on Zev’s face, he was thinking the same thing. It was looking more and more like Sebastain’s plan to have the shapeshifter kidnapped might just come to fruition. 

Sebastian did his best to reassure them that even with this development, things were still under control. 

“You boys did a great job. Don’t worry about monitoring the cameras. I’ll have my pack on it around the clock. If there’s any activity, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, I suggest a little skiing. Try to make some small talk with the locals. You never know what kind of information they might provide. They’re the ones who know all the gossip as soon as it happens. Be careful, okay? Wayne, Sandi and Elijah left this morning. Caleb is going to keep an eye on things here. I’ve let Donovan know what’s going on too. He’s noticed a general increase in stress among both packs. I’m taking Reilly, Hunter and Kellan to one of the border towns so we can hunker down and monitor everything. Not that I want him to get kidnapped, but if Elijah is taken, I hope it’s sooner rather than later. I won’t let any of you get stuck in enemy territory for a minute longer than absolutely necessary,” Sebastian assured them.

After ending the call, Ben looked at the time on his phone. It was still early so they went to the ski resort for a late lunch. While there, they’d try to wrangle information out of one of the local residents if an opportunity presented itself. Otherwise, they might have to create an opportunity. 

The parking lot was only half full, being a weekday smack dab in the middle of two major holidays. It was a typical ski lodge, lots of wood, exposed beams and a huge fireplace with a massive solid wood mantle. The restaurant only had a handful of people so there was no waiting for a table.    

Their waiter promptly came over and greeted them. “Hi! I’m Connor. I’ll be taking care of you. What can I get you boys to drink?”

His tone was light and held a hint of flirtiness. Ben smiled and ordered a hot cider. Zev asked for the same and added a wink, which caused a slight blush to creep its way up the young man’s neck. 

Connor told them he’d be back in a minute with their drinks and to take their order. Ben and Zev bantered with the cutie each time he came to the table. They asked him a lot of general stuff like which were the best trails for intermediate skiers, where was a good place for breakfast, and stuff like that. 

They were nearly finished with their meals when Connor came to check on them again and they hit paydirt.

 “So, Connor, we brought our snowmobiles and were thinking of hitting some trails over the ridge to the east of here. Do you know if it’s a good spot?” Ben asked.

That got them a little frown from their new friend. “Nah, it used to be a great place. It was abandoned for years, like, since way before I was born.  Growing up, we pretty much had the run of the place. Snowmobiling in the winter, hiking and camping in the summer. That changed a couple of years ago. Someone must’ve bought the old mine. Now the whole area is off limits,  a bunch of ‘No Trespassing' signs went up, and they started up a security patrol. A buddy of mine works for the company that provides the patrols and he said it’s only a few hand-picked guys that have that assignment. They keep to themselves and are a bunch of assholes. My friend’s words, not mine. But anyway, we can’t get within a mile of the place now. As soon as we get anywhere near the old mine, security runs us off. Who the hell knows what they're doing there? The gossipy old ladies think it's a drug den. A few others say it's some sort of illegal research or maybe the government hiding aliens. Take your pick of conspiracy theories. If you’re looking for some great trails though, there's a few really worth checking out just south of here. The trailhead is at one of the local parks and they merge with state land. I’ll write down the directions for you.”

“We’d appreciate that Connor, thanks,” said Zev. 

Connor left them the check and went to greet a couple that had just been seated. As soon as he was out of earshot Ben remarked, “Now that’s interesting. I’m willing to bet that the security company is owned by none other than Nichols. Jack mentioned he had expanded his holdings and invested in some local businesses. I’ll mention it to Sebastian when we call him.”

“Speaking of, we need to do that tonight. But now, let’s blend in, take advantage of the lull and get a few runs in. My wolf is itching to stretch his legs, but flying down a mountain with the wind whipping by oughta hold him for a bit.”

Zev paid the bill, leaving a very generous tip for their cute waiter. He and Ben rented ski equipment and took the lift to the top of the mountain. It was a clear day and the view went on endlessly. Vivid blue sky draped over blinding white mountaintops, blending into the dark greens of the forest and the grays and black of the rock formations towering over the landscape as far as the eye could see. 

The wind whipped around them, its teeth biting into exposed skin. They didn’t linger, but pushed off, skis scraping along the icy terrain. They enjoyed the fresh air and took turns chasing each other down the slopes until Ben had a hard time keeping his wolf in check. The beast needed to run, but they were too close to Nichols’ territory and he would just have to wait. 

They got in a few more runs before calling it a day. Darkness was taking over as they turned in the equipment. 

On the ride back, both men were lost in their own thoughts, most of which centered around their friend Elijah, as well as Wayne and Sandi.

“I wonder if they made it okay?’ Zev said. 

“I hope so. I’ve already got directions programmed into my phone, in case we have to get up there in a hurry,” Ben replied. 

Zev turned and shot him a smile. “Me too.”

“I guess great minds really do think alike. Damn. This waiting, and not knowing, is killing me.”  

“We’ll call Sebastian and see if he’s got anything for us. We need to fill him in anyway.”

As soon as they got back to the house and shed their outer layers, Zev called Sebastian. He agreed with Ben and promised to ask Jack about the security company. It might not lead anywhere, but at least it would be confirmation that Nichols had his hand in the proverbial cookie jar. 

Even hearing that Sebastian had gotten a quick text from Wayne using their code word which indicated they were okay, didn’t do much to ease their anxiety. 

Though there were a lot of miles separating Ben and Zev from Sebastian and the others, they both felt a wave of calmness wash over them. It was as if it had been pushed at them. 

Sebastian chuckled on the other end of the phone. 

“Did you just do that?” Ben asked. 

“Yes. Apparently, our wolves’ connection allows us to have some sort of awareness of each other and it seems that strong emotions can be felt, even across large distances. My wolf felt your anxiety and he had to do something. Quite honestly, I don’t have any control over it. It’s all him.”

“Huh, that's, ummm, weird. Reassuring, but, yeah, just plain fucking weird,” Zev commented.

Ben agreed. 

Wrapping things up, Sebastian told Ben and Zev to hang out on the slopes tomorrow and see if any more information fell into their laps. 

They were now playing a waiting game, one in which no one really wanted to participate. 

Reluctantly they agreed. 

They soaked in the hot tub again, this time just letting the soothing jets ease the lingering muscle twinges that their wolves hadn’t bothered to heal after hitting the slopes. It took a while, but finally they relaxed enough to know they wouldn’t be awake all night worrying. 

They fell asleep cuddled together, wolves happy at the closeness. 

The next morning as they were eating breakfast, Zev’s phone rang. He glanced at Ben before answering it. They didn’t expect to hear from Sebastian so soon. Apprehension threatened to turn into panic inside Ben’s chest as Zev answered the call. 

“Sebastian?” 

A moment later, Zev put the phone on speaker. They listened as Sebastian relayed that Elijah had been snatched from his bed. 

Sebastian told them to stay put. He and the others would be there this afternoon and they would decide the next course of action as a team.

Waiting was hard. Guilt over enjoying themselves was harder. Even though they’d been instructed to hit the slopes and enjoy their day, Ben couldn't help but wonder if they could’ve done more. If they had, maybe Elijah wouldn’t have been taken.

“This was the plan all along,” Zev reminded him.

“I know…but what if it goes wrong? I thought we had more time.”

Quick disclaimer: this chapter underwent a big last minute overhaul. If there are any discrepancies, I'm claiming brain drain. Hopefully it's a better version of the original, thanks to my beta's and editor's suggestions. (The original draft sucked)

So, as usual, comments are appreciated!

Copyright © 2021 kbois; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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