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    Tsukihana
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Nobody But You - 5. Chapter 5

Etienne spent the rest of the day turning the invitation over and over in his mind, he’d never been invited to ‘hang out’ at anyone’s house before. On the one hand, there was something about the twins that disturbed his peace of mind, making him super aware of them. The way they dug themselves in made his self imposed solitude twitch with discomfort. Yet he couldn’t pinpoint a single instance in the day where they’d actually done anything ‘wrong’ and it was maddening. He'd spent so much time picking apart his every encounter with them, desperately searching for any reason to say, "No, sorry I can't make it". But the only things that came to mind were the way they flanked him in the hallway despite being shorter than him, the burning in their eyes if he caught them looking at the right moment. He threw himself down upon his bed, black wolf ears tipped in cobalt blue swiveling anxiously against his long hair. Only here in the privacy of his room did he truly let himself be...himself.

He’d been home for an hour, the entirety of which he’d spent pacing a trail through his bedroom floor and tossing himself angst-ly against his bed, a pluming black tail curling against his hip. Something in him wanted so badly to just reach out and take what they offered, but having been kicked so many times when he was down, hesitation won over. What was worse than having nobody? Finally having someone just for them to rip away…

Across the room, his phone screen flashed again, much as it had also done over and over during the past hour. How simple it sounded in his head, picking up the phone and answering the texts, ‘Hang out? Sure! Be right there.’ No sooner he had the thought Etienne began mocking himself in his head. Deep down in the most secret part of his heart it was the one thing he’d always craved, no matter how many trophies and walls he piled up between him and the rest of the world, all he really wanted was for someone to tunnel through it all and rescue him from himself. Maybe he wasn't worth saving in the end.

- The Twins -

‘He’s not going to answer, you've been trying for an hour.’ Tatsuo laid back pressed to back with Tatsuya, threading his dark hair through his fingers as he sent his thoughts to his twin through their bond. ‘You should have just let me do ‘the thing’ to Brett.’ He mentally groused to his twin.

For once Tatsuya was acting as the level headed one, which glaringly showed just how much of an effect Etienne was having on his other half. ‘We’re adults now, Tatsuo, and imagine how embarrassing it would be for Mom and Dad to get called in to the school for something like that. We have to take care of this...subtly.’ Their shining black tails entwined between them, an ingrained habit from since before they were born. Tatsuya wished he was as optimistic inside as the face he tried so hard to keep up, not that it did any good to try and fool his brother. Listlessly he stared at the phone, willing it to prove his worries wrong.

BZZZZZ

The phone shakes and glows against the blanket, catching Tatsuya's attention.

“Hi.” …

Tatsuya blinked at the screen, wondering if the words were really there at all or if his mind was intent on mocking him.

“Thanks again for your help with that guy.”

Like magic the words kept appearing, “ ‘Tsuo, it’s him. It’s really him.”

Tatsuo’s lithe frame flipped over to lay atop his twin, getting a better view of the screen.

“Don’t mention it. Brett’s a jerk. We’re just hanging out if you wanted to come over still.” ,Tatsuya typed back to him.

dots of indecision betrayed Etienne trying to decide what to say in response.

- Etienne -

“Sure, send me the address...send. I sent it...I really sent it.” Collapsing back onto his bed, Etienne fought for air, somewhere between an anxiety attack and the euphoric high of doing something distinctly out of your comfort zone. “I’m gonna do this. I'm gonna go." He could feel his tail thumping enthusiastically against the side of the bed. At least part of him was ready for this. “If I’m gonna, I’m gonna be me.” Etienne murmured, pulling out a Memphis May Fire band tee hung neatly in his closet, pulling it over his head to slide down his slim muscled frame, the fabric hugging his abs. His favorite jeans, worn and soft, to give him every boost of confidence he could get. He was a Cajun, and a loup garous to boot, he’d be as superstitious as he wanted to be. A new message shook his phone, an address popping up for him to click on. It was only a few blocks over in the more historic part of town. Pulling on his shoes, Etienne psyched himself up for a good walk. He had 15 minutes to convince himself this was a good idea.

He only started to turn back home twice before he got himself on track. They were expecting him now and it would be rude to not show up. Damn southern manners. The night air felt good in his hair, and while he was alone on the street he let his ears unfurl, taking note of his surroundings much more closely. The world aglow as dying daylight fought against persistent night. Something in him wanted to fight every step he took, but at the same time he was so tired of being alone and even if it hurt, something else inside him was pushing him to go and see just what happened. Nothing would change standing still, and at some point he had to make a move.

The waning moon was a shining sliver of creamy gold over his head, and according to the address he was getting close. The road curved down in a gentle bend, the unmistakable sight of Live Oaks looming over his head. In the distance Etienne spied the fluttering glow of gas lit lanterns and a wrap around porch. It was almost like he’d found his way home again. With every step closer, he became more and more entranced, right up until he stood right before the carved oak doors and all his courage seemed to melt away. 15 minutes wasted. He shouldn’t be here. Raising his hand he began to knock before jerking it back again. It was a good five minutes of standing at the door before he got the text.

“Made it here yet?”

To which he promptly replied, “Yeah just walking up.” LIAR he snapped at himself. What felt like an indeterminable amount of time passed before he heard steps approaching from within. When the carved door finally opened into the entryway, Right Twin...no, Tatsuya stood on the other side.

“Hey! Sorry about that, was on the other side of the house. Come on in.”

Stepping back to let him pass, Etienne released the breath he didn’t realize he’d been holding. No going back now. His traitorous feet propelled him forward, crossing the threshold until the door shut behind him with a soft click of finality. Inside it was bright and warm, the smell of polished wood enveloping him. The reclaimed plantation house brought him home again.

“I’m glad you decided to visit.” Tatsuya’s smile made him every bit as warm on the inside as the central heat blowing through the vents. “It’s just us here right now. Mom is guest speaking at an art exhibit in Kyoto, and Dad goes where Mom goes. Our Uncles are having a date night so they won’t be home till tomorrow.”

Etienne let the words wash over him as he followed Tatsuya deeper into the house. He couldn’t help but wonder what exactly their parents did for a living as he took in the vast collection of art and artifacts that lined the walls. It reminded him of the time he’d visited a museum on a field trip, most of the photographs and paintings featured a beautiful woman, one of their ancestors Etienne assumed. She was everywhere from a faded tintype from the shogunate era all the way up to a scantily clad version of her laden in beads at Mardi Gras.

“Strong genes must run in y’all family, the likeness is amazing.”

Tatsuya smiles over his shoulder, “Yeah, Mom doesn’t look a day over 700, huh?”

“700….” He must be messing with me...I think. “Looking great for her age!” Etienne answered half jokingly, and he’d thought his family was weird.

In the living room Tatsuo rose from the sofa, “Hey, good to see you again. Ready to see the place?” With a forthrightness he was still getting used to, Tatsuo walked right up to him, clasping his hands warmly within his own. “We’ve trailed our parents and uncles all over the world and it can be disconcerting to be plopped in a place you’ve never been before. Our home is your home, just make yourself comfortable.”

Etienne smiled stiffly, “A...alright.” No one had ever paid this much attention to him, and it was off putting. Everything in him kept waiting for the rug to be pulled out from under his feet.

Tatsuo smiled warmly, gesturing towards the painting hanging above a roaring fire. “There’s the family portrait, Mom and Dad are in the middle, Uncle Ash and Uncle Attie flanking them and of course, us.”

Etienne stared up at the portrait, the same gorgeous woman from the photographs sat smiling serenely, ebony horns curled from her temples, and myriad tails curled about her hips. Directly beside her was a man with silvery white hair, as though he’d came straight out of an anime, antlered horns sprouting up from his head. Standing up behind them was a tall lanky cat/man person? And an upright bear with honeyed fur. “They’re...lovely.” There was only the slightest pause in his voice, panic and dread filled him as he looked from one twin to the other to see if either had noticed, but they just gazed lovingly up at the picture of their family.

“I wish they’d have been home to meet you,” Tatsuya murmured.

“But they so rarely get to go home to Kyoto nowadays.” Tatsuo finished. There was such obvious love in the hushed reverence of their voices when they talked about their parents.

The feeling was almost alien to him, his parents had never treated him as anything more than a responsibility they’d happened to give birth to. In his family, the Loup Garous was passed by Bloodline, and in some generations it wouldn’t manifest at all while in some others it redoubled in strength. He’d unfortunately been the latter and so his ‘wonderful’ fate had been sealed.

“So what do you think of your new home so far?”

The warm breath of words was murmured next to his ear making Etienne jump. Right Twin was taking up his field of vision, but it was Left Twin’s measured tones that cooed beside his ear. “It’s definitely different from anything I’ve ever known. I’m adjusting.” Again his eyes darted to the large painting over the mantle, his mind racing over what improbable genes made up this family. He’d seen deer, wolves, cats and foxes walking around school, just living their lives. Nothing in this place was anywhere near the realm of reality that he was accustomed to. Etienne was almost afraid to ask, it just seemed rude. So are you Jewish? Catholic? Black? Ancient overlord of the universe? Discretion is the better part of valor.

...ours… Etienne froze at the growling voice within him, looking around to be sure it hadn’t been one of the twins, but they were silent for the moment.

“Want to see more?” This time he saw Tatsuo’s lips forming the words, the scent of cinnamon wafting over his heightened sense of smell.

“Sure…” ...ours… “I must be finally losing my mind…”

Tatsuo turned around, “What was that?”

Etienne just forced a smile, “This place is so big and so full of history, what do your parents do?”

Left Twin beamed, “Our Mom is something of an authority on art, she's studied it all her life. Museums from around the world consult with her, and she can spot a forgery with 100% accuracy.” Every word glowed with pride as he spoke of her.

Tatsuya continued seamlessly, “Our Dad was kind of a big deal in Kyoto. I guess you could say he held a local position of power, but our Mom is his everything and he would give up anything for her. They’re so in love with each other it’s embarrassing sometimes.”

Would his life have been different if his father had bothered to act like one? Etienne immediately felt guilty that he kept drawing comparisons between the twins and himself. They obviously had a close loving family, and they bore no fault for that. No more than he was responsible for the constraints of the traditions that had shaped his life. Loup Garous marriages were decided through Covenants, unions between Bloodline families. Sometimes the Change manifested, sometimes not, but no matter what the outcome Covenants ensured that their secrets remained that way. Rafe Leblanc was the wild son of a prominent Bloodline, but he’d only ever exhibited the barest signs of the Change. Jeannie Montblanc was the second daughter of a respectable, if middle of the hierarchy, Bloodline. Pushed into marriage by the combined pressure of their families, he was born a couple years later. Fetal mortality rates were higher among the Loup Garous, as though the very genes themselves were determined to fight. He had no way to remember but his birth had caused a stir. Brought into the world by C-section, overseen by Bloodline doctors, Etienne was born with black wolf ears nestled in coal black hair, and a furred tail tucked between his legs. Innocent in the world and ignorant of how many times he’d come to wish he’d never been born.

The warmth of Tatsuo’s fingers grasping his shook him free of his woeful thoughts...ours...again the voice whispered across Etienne's consciousness.

“You’ll definitely have to come meet them when they get home, but that’s another day. C’mon, let’s go up to the room.”

Like an excitable child, Left Twin pulled him towards the curving staircase across the living room, another hand pressing against the small of his back.

“He didn’t think you’d come and NOW he wants to show off.” Tatsuya’s breathy words warm next to his ear stirred alien feelings in the pit of his stomach. After only one day of being surrounded by The Twins grasping hands and enthusiastic acceptance, he could feel the barriers he’d spent a lifetime erecting against the world crumbling against their onslaught. Etienne let the twins lead him upstairs, allowing their steady flow of words to wash over him like a balm to his soul. In one day he’d let himself become closer to them than he had anyone else in a very long time, maybe ever. It was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time how easily they made him... feel things. He couldn’t even put a name to the thoughts that burgeoned up inside him.

Tatsuo stopped before a closed door a little ways down the upstairs hall, “Our rooms are in here, mine is on the right and Tatsuya’s is on the left, but the common room is through here in the middle.” He turned the knob, pushing the door inward.

Etienne pushed his feet one in front of the other, immuring himself into their territory...claim what is ours… The scent of cinnamon was strong here, their scent. Instinctively he wanted to growl with satisfaction, and the reaction alarmed him. His control was slowly slipping, and he fought to retain a hold on these urges. Loup Garous reached maturity around eighteen and he was less than a week from his birthday. For so long he’d looked at it as just another day, not like anyone had ever bothered to celebrate his existence before.

“Are you okay?” Tatsuya was looking at him closely, violet eyes intense in their scrutiny.

“Umm, yeah. Maybe a little warm,” a rare real smile curved his lips. Looking around, Etienne could see the stamp of their personalities and their roots on display. Behind him, beside the door, a great frame draped in black silk hung on the wall. It reminded him of old traditions from home where you’d cover any mirrors after someone died so the soul wouldn’t become trapped in the glass. Several sheathed katana hung upon the walls, an aura of reverence and power surrounding them, especially a matched pair in lacquered black.

Tatsuo led him closer, “They were a present from our grandfather for our eighteenth birthday. It was better to see him, though, since he’s rarely able to travel this way.”

“I don’t know much about swords but they’re beautiful. My birthday is in about a week, and I’d be happy if someone just remembered it. My family isn’t very close so it usually gets glossed over.” Etienne smiled with self deprecation at the reality of his life.

Tatsuo stiffened, “In a week? That soon?”

Tatsuya frowned, “You’ll be eighteen? No big plans? Nothing at all?”

Etienne shook his head, “None at all. I don’t think I’ve had a birthday party since the botched affair that ended in me fighting one of the neighborhood boys when I was ten. I acted out a lot when I was young, trying to find where I fit in the world, I guess. After that incident though...things happened. I learned my place alright, you can be sure of that.” Etienne could feel their eyes meeting behind him, and could sense they were doing the weird twin-speak thing again.

After a few moments they nodded in agreement, “That just won’t do,” Tatsuya began.

“We’re going to celebrate here, we insist.” Tatsuo finished.

Etienne shook his head emphatically, “There’s really no need. It’s no big…”

Tatsuo grabbed his shoulders, his fingers digging into the fabric of Etienne’s sleeves, eyes glowing with violet intensity.

“Stop this. Please.” Suddenly the twin’s face was right in front of his, “I’ve done everything I can to hold back,” long warm fingers drifted up over the fabric of his shirt, sliding along the long column of Etienne’s neck, skin against skin, “Ever since you strode into our classroom today, you’ve fascinated me. Head high, walls even higher, you tried so hard to deflect all attention from yourself. Maybe to anyone else you might have achieved your purpose of playing the Ice King, but not me. I see you.”

Etienne froze like a deer in headlights, too shocked to move. Tatsuo’s breath came in warm puffs against his cheek.

“Even if you play this charade with the rest of the world, don’t do it here, not with us.” Tatsuya’s warmth pressed against his back, pinning him between the two, his murmured words hot against his ear. “I’ll be honest, I didn’t think you’d come, either. But something inside you rebelled against the binds you’re tying yourself down with. You’re tired of being alone, you want to be different, and you came here nonetheless.”

He should have been offended and aghast, righteous indignation should have set off every alarm inside him to push them away. But if he was truly honest with himself, they were right. Etienne didn’t want to run away from them, if anything the languorous warmth that spread up his body from their closeness only brought comfort. “Why me? I’m nothing, I’m nobody.” The tortured words were barely more than a whisper. “Our worlds couldn’t be further apart. Who am I to reach for these things?” The scent of cinnamon was becoming overwhelming, surrounding him completely. Against his will, Etienne could feel his eyes drifting shut, his remaining senses drowning in the myriad sensations.

Fangs nipped softly against the tender hollow of his neck, “Does this feel like nothing to you?” Tatsuo’s tongue traced a delicate trail across his collarbone, “Do you hate this? Just say so, say anything at all and I’ll stop.” The words wouldn’t come to make him cease.

Guilt and pleasure filled Etienne instead, “I can’t.” He admitted raggedly, ashamed to feel himself growing rock hard with wanting against the confining fabric of his jeans. Behind him Tatsuya’s hands grasped his hips gently, making him feel cradled and safe, a far cry from what he should have been feeling.

“Mi Tiefal, lestes anore malchine laefet.” My heart, let us make you ours. The words overlapped in hot gasps, foreign against his ear and at the same time whispered into his mind. Tatsuya’s hand drifted up beneath his shirt, his palm hot against his stomach. OURS. OURS. OURS. The voice screamed through his consciousness, howling with need Etienne had never known before in his life. Something inside him broke free, all control lost as black furred ears tipped in cerulean lifted through his now loosened hair, his tail arched up from the waistband of his pants to brush against the taut planes of Tatsuya’s hard stomach. It was as though cold water poured over Etienne’s head where nothing else had, shocking him into reality. “No...no, no, no, no.” No one can know what you are. Ever. Panic filled him and he pushed himself from between them. “Don’t look! DON’T LOOK AT ME.” His hands flew up to cover the raven ears, futilely trying to shove them back down. “No no no no.” All of the air seemed to escape from him, choking him inside.

Tatsuo reached out for him, “Calm down. What’s wrong?”

Etienne slapped his hand away, “You can’t know! No one is supposed to know! Ever!” The hard wood of the door was cold against his back, another reminder of the reality that was quickly intruding on the dreamlike state he’d allowed himself to feel. “I have to go now, I shouldn’t have come here. I made a mistake.”

Tatsuya held his hands high trying to calm him but everything in Etienne finally found the harsh regret that he should have felt long ago.

“I’m sorry, sorry for everything.” The world flashed by in a blur as he ran for all he was worth down the stairs and through the house. Outside the night air had grown chill with the fall of darkness, perfect to match what he felt inside.

Copyright © 2019 Tsukihana; All Rights Reserved.
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1 hour ago, Tsukihana said:

even though he is part of a were community, the secret is still pretty guarded and they are integrated into regular human places, its kinda rare for one to be born with his level of aggressive were genes, so its usually easier to blend in, as a cajun girl, its hard to change old southern minds, they've brain washed him into constantly needing to hide who he is

Tradition can bind tighter than the strongest chains.

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So when he turns 18, will he realize that the twins are his mates? Or will he continue to deny everything?  I feel so sorry for him. 

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Etienne is in a worse position than I originally thought. Life matches chosen by bloodline. Choosing to mate with twin dragons will raise beaucoup hell.

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