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    Yeoldebard
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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.

Brothers - 39. Chapter 39

JASON

 

The neko stepped off the field with a scowl. Who needed to run anyway? It was going to be a pain trying to keep things scheduled. If Alastair didn’t want him on the team just because of what happened on Varya, so be it. He had other things to do.

Typing furiously into his phone, Jason stared at the distance between the school and the palace. Nearly six miles. There was no way he’d make it there on foot, and he had no money for the bus. But, he had a secret weapon.

His fingers flew, sending a message to Darius. The phone dinged a moment later with a reply.

‘Your friendly neighbourhood guard will be there in ten minutes to pick you up.’

That sounded nothing like Darius, and Jason frowned at the reply. Had the guard been replaced? Or was he being sarcastic? The neko doubted the guards wanted anything to do with someone who couldn’t get to the palace on his own.

He got his answer nine minutes later, as a small car pulled up to the car park with tinted windows. One of the windows rolled down, a human smiling out at Jason. Grey peppered the lustrous black hair tied back on his head, brilliant emerald eyes filled with life staring at the neko.

“Jason Farin, yeah?”

The neko nodded warily, clutching his bag as he tried to figure out if it could be an effective weapon. He had not expected a human to pick him up.

“Darius sent me. Hop in, we’ll get you to the library in just a few minutes.”

The neko’s hand pulled at the door handle fruitlessly, and the man chuckled.

“Sorry, I forgot these cars like to lock themselves.”

The door clicked, and Jason pulled it open. He slid into the front seat, staring at the man.

“You’re pretty quiet. And nervous. Relax buddy, I’m not going to hurt you. I’m Quarian,” the man added.

Jason didn’t know how to reply to that. He frowned out the front window as the car sped out of the car park.

“You’re not one of those nekos who are pissed at elves, are you? Because it’s always the quiet ones you have to watch out for in my experience, and you’re pretty fucking quiet right now.”

Another shake of his head, and Quarian let out a sigh. Jason typed into his hand quickly, finally breaking his silence with the electronic monotone of the phone.

“I can’t talk.”

The words made the man frown deeper. He glanced at the phone in Jason’s hand.

“Oh shit, I’m sorry.”

Jason shrugged. It wasn’t like anyone could help him with his voice now. He’d gotten over the disappointment already, and was just dealing with guilt at this point. Dylan’s words had only made things worse.

“So, are you looking up anything interesting at the library?” Quarian asked.

“Neko theology around the 12th century,” Jason typed.

“Ah, Jasper is going to have his hands all over that,” the human sighed.

Jason frowned at Quarian, the man falling silent. His face became steel, letting no emotion out, and the neko found himself wishing he could shut down like that. His ears and his tail were a clear map of his own emotions.

The neko let the strange comment go.

“Do you know a lot from that time?”

“Oh yeah. My… great grandfather, he lived in Sarelin during the war. Had a few run-ins with the Red Ghost,” Quarian said.

And suddenly Jason couldn’t let it go.

“Jasper,” the phone said.

Quarian nodded.

“I’m honestly surprised his name isn’t that well known. He wasn’t exactly shy… according to my grandpa.”

Jason frowned at the man, shrugging off the awkward mention of Quarian’s great grandfather. It wasn’t like the human had been alive during the war. Jason doubted there was even an elf alive who had been through the Rebellion.

“Quarian is a cool name. Were you named after King Paelias’ consort?” he asked.

“I was. Though it was more a homage to his role as the first werewolf,” Quarian shrugged.

“I thought they didn’t allow werewolves in the palace,” Jason typed in confusion.

“They don’t. Well… they didn’t. Queen Amber might change that. But I’m something of a legacy,” Quarian explained. “I’m the son of one of the former lords. I got a job as assistant librarian, and then decided I wanted to wolf out. My mother was rather upset, but it’s kind of her fault. If I have the name, I might as well enjoy it.”

“And the queen is letting you work there still?”

“I’m a really good assistant,” Quarian smirked. “Ali says I’m invaluable at least.”

“Is that why you picked me up instead of Darius?”

“Darius is the captain of the palace guards. He really doesn’t have time to pick people up personally, so he delegated responsibility for you to me,” the man replied. “Oh, that reminds me, I need to get your number.”

He pulled out an old phone, handing it over to Jason without taking his eyes off the road. The neko took a moment trying to figure out how to use the ancient device, but finally got his number into Quarian’s phone.

“Believe it or not, I can still get texts through there, so you should be able to message me easily enough,” the man chuckled. “If there’s anything you need to tell Darius, message me and I’ll make sure he gets it. It keeps his phone from getting too cluttered.”

Jason nodded absently, staring at a missed text from Margaret on his own phone. He took a deep breath, before tucking the phone into his pocket. The queen’s orders mattered more than any issues Margaret might have with him going to the palace.

 

DEVYN

 

Erith took a deep breath as Devyn lay next to Dr. Aster’s chair. The wolf could tell the elf was upset, and he wasn’t sure why. It wasn’t like Devyn would ever talk about anything that happened here. Dr. Aster had already told him before he started working that he couldn’t tell anyone else what he heard here.

It wasn’t even that Erith was upset. No, he was downright terrified under the cool veneer of his face. Devyn could smell the sour scent of fear, filling his nose, crowding his brain, and the wolf sneezed sharply, earning a frown from Dr. Aster.

“What’s he doing here?” Erith demanded.

“This is Devyn. He’s-”

“A werewolf. We go to school together,” the elf scowled. “Why is he here?”

“Devyn is here to help people. I was hoping he could help you be more at ease around other werewolves,” Dr. Aster said gently.

“I’m not a werewolf,” Erith said. “That’s the whole point of Gara sitting in here, isn’t it? He deals with the wolf stuff, not me.”

The elf pointed toward his head, his eyes narrowed as he stared Devyn down. The wolf yawned widely at the glare, his fur bristling as his eyes stared right back at Erith.

“Erith, can you explain what you’re feeling right now?”

“I’m fucking pissed. I don’t want him here listening to how broken I am,” the elf snarled, pointing at Devyn. “It’s bad enough I have to deal with his brother asking for favours, pretending to be mated to someone I feel no attraction to. It’s all fucking Gara, isn’t it?”

The wolf took a deep breath, letting out a loud huff as he settled into the ground. It wasn’t the first time he’d heard people complaining about him, though it was the first time he’d heard of a werewolf being scared of a wolf.

“Devyn.”

He looked up with a frown. Dr. Aster smiled at him, motioning toward the door.

“Why don’t you go see if Dr. Shane needs help?”

The wolf stood up with a small grumble, wandering back out of the room. The door closed inches from his tail, and Devyn flinched slightly, sneezing again to clear his nose of Erith.

“Bless you,” someone said, and the wolf huffed quietly.

“Devyn Farin.”

That one made him flinch again. Margaret was sitting in the waiting room, her eyes cutting through him like glass. She stood up, pointing toward the exit, and Devyn backed up slowly.

“Don’t mess with me, Devyn. I told you to come straight home after school,” the other werewolf growled. “You and Jason are giving me grey hair.”

He didn’t remember that at all. There was something about Jason not going anywhere, but Devyn couldn’t remember any restriction for himself.

The wolf grumbled, but headed for the exit. His shoulders hunched as Margaret followed close behind. A ringing came from behind him, Margaret staring at her phone as she unlocked the car.

“Come on Jason, pick up the phone,” she growled.

Devyn jumped into the car, sitting in his harness. Margaret set the phone aside, the two listening to the ringing as Devyn was buckled in.

“You have reached. Please leave a message after the beep.”

There wasn’t even a name. Devyn wondered how his mother knew it was Jason. The door closed, cutting off Margaret’s message, and Devyn yawned, wriggling in the tightness of his harness. He could have sworn Jason loosened it at some point, but now the harness was pinning him uncomfortably against the seat. He was glad the ride home didn’t take long.

It seemed to take far longer than he expected. Devyn watched the world pass in silence, his ears flattening as the car filled with the stench of his mother’s anger. Time crawled by, and yet before he knew it, the car was pulling to a stop in front of an iron gate. They were at the palace? It made no sense to Devyn. Everyone knew werewolves weren’t allowed at the palace.

Beyond the gate were gardens and flowers, many of them a monochrome tan that devolved into a mix of scents, shrouding the entire property in a sense of mystery to the wolf. Somewhere he could smell the sharp bite of ginger and pepper; strange for a palace garden. But wasn’t the princess into gardening? Maybe she was growing the roots. No… it was the queen now. He had to remember that.

Devyn sniffed the air uncertainly, trying to figure out where they were. A breeze blew conflicting smells into his nose as Margaret lowered the window to talk to a guard in uniform.

“I am looking for a neko, my son, Jason Farin,” Margaret said sharply.

“Jason Farin? Isn’t he the one who saved that CeCe’s the other day? I didn’t know he’d be here,” the guard frowned.

“He’s not supposed to be here,” Margaret scowled. “But he said he had access to the royal library, so I assumed I would find him there.”

“Well I can’t let you into the library without an invitation from the queen. But I’ll call the other guards. If he’s here, I’m sure one of them will know something.”

He stepped away from the car, watching them as he spoke into a phone. A minute passed, and then another, a frown deepening on the guard’s face. Devyn didn’t know why they were there. If Jason had made it into the palace, surely the guards would keep him safe. Was this just his mother trying to control someone else?

A low growl rumbled in the wolf’s chest at the thought. It was bad enough she told him what to do. Jason couldn’t be put through that. He knew his brother. The neko would resist her, and that would only get people hurt.

 

JASON

 

Jason stared at the phone as it buzzed on the table. He couldn’t answer it. And that was going to piss Margaret off. It was entirely possible the neko wouldn’t have a place to sleep tonight. At this point, he wasn’t going to put anything past the werewolf. But now he had some hefty ammo to use against her. He was working for the queen. That took precedence over anything Margaret demanded.

“Aren’t you going to answer that?” Quarian asked, carrying a small stack of books to the table.

Jason let out a silent snort, motioning toward the scar on his throat.

“Oh. Right. I bet it’s a little difficult to answer the phone with that,” the human chuckled in embarrassment.

The phone stopped vibrating, and Jason waited another minute before putting it up to his ear.

“Jason Farin, you get your butt outside and wait for me at the palace gates. I told you not to go there. You are in big-”

The neko sighed, deleting the message. Fingers flew over the screen, Jason’s own message taking form. Sending it to Erith, he slipped the phone into his pocket and turned back to his work.

Finding Tareth was almost as hard as finding the famed fox lycanthropes that filled Sami lore. The elves had done their work far too well. He really needed to ask Dylan about the god, but there was no way Jason could get away with that. Not when the calico hated him. Maybe Damian could tell him something, but from what Dowager Finley had told him, the calico would never admit to following the god.

Now that he thought about it, Jason wondered why the royals would assume calicos followed a forbidden god. Why calicos and not any other neko? It was a strange distinction. From his readings, fractured as they were, Tareth had been a Niwo god only; the Askani of the northern coast worshipped the spirits of the land and the Ythin from the western desert followed their ancestors. It wasn’t even like all nekos worshipped the god of rivers and love, and Jason was reasonably sure calicos weren’t just a Niwo pattern.

His phone buzzed, pulling him out of his work, and Jason read the message Erith had sent, a relieved smile on his face. Whatever happened tonight, he at least had a place to stay for however long he needed.

The neko had no idea why Erith was being this nice. Was it guilt over the shit the other elves were pulling? A desire to be around Devyn or Jason? It made little sense, but Jason wasn’t about to complain. If things went down with Margaret over Jason working, and the neko was almost certain they would, he and Devyn would be somewhat taken care of, at least until they could afford their own place.

Glancing at the time, Jason let out a silent gasp. It was nearly seven at night. He had been working for four hours, lost in the haze of research. The notebook in front of him was full of ideas and organizational notes, plenty for him to get started that night. Jason figured he could write until midnight and still get eight hours of sleep, though he’d have to speed through his morning routine. Devyn would have to brush his teeth by himself.

The neko packed his bag quickly, collecting the books he had been using to return them to the librarian. He found Quarian rubbing Ali’s shoulders, the woman taking deep breaths as she relaxed in the chair.

They looked up in startled surprise as Jason set the books on the counter. The neko motioned toward the door.

“Oh, yeah. Hang on, I’ll get you home,” Quarian said quickly.

The werewolf kissed Ali on the cheek.

“Be back in about twenty minutes, and then we can get out of here,” he murmured, Jason’s ears flicking at the sound.

The neko hadn’t meant to keep them there. He’d have to figure out what time he was supposed to be done by. The last thing he wanted was to make people wait on him.

Still, with the amount of information he’d picked up, Jason figured he’d be good for a while. He had a decent start to his story, and even better, he wouldn’t have to come out to the library for a while. He hoped.

A white knuckled ride of nearly twenty minutes saw the neko back to his house, Quarion following the directions on Jason’s phone. The car waited until the neko closed the front door behind him before speeding away, much faster than when Jason had been in the car.

Jason’s ears swivelled as he closed the door carefully. He could smell dinner cooking in the kitchen, and turned his feet to the stairs, creeping up them silently.

Stepping into his room, the neko set his bag on the floor with a silent sigh. He wouldn’t be going down for dinner. It was better to avoid that confrontation until the morning. Even if Jason could stay at Erith’s house, the neko really didn’t want to intrude on the elf unless he had no choice.

The sound of paws pounding up the stairs caught his ears, and the neko yelped as he was suddenly tackled by his brother. A wet tongue ran over his face, Jason spluttering as he tried to push Devyn away to take a breath.

“You’re home.”

The words sent a stab of icy fear into his heart. Margaret was standing in the doorway, a permanent scowl on her face. Just looking her way made Jason shudder.

“Where is your phone?” Margaret asked conversationally.

Jason reached into his pocket. Handing his phone over, the neko let a hand sink into Devyn’s fur, holding onto his brother for comfort.

“Oh, look at that. A missed call. Perhaps we should get your ears checked. You clearly couldn’t hear it ringing.”

‘I can’t talk on the phone-’

“Oh, but I’d think with ears like those, you’d be able to listen at least. I told you I wanted you nowhere near the palace today.”

Jason’s ears flattened. Beside him, Devyn growled quietly, his eyes staring at their mother.

“Stay out of this Devyn,” Margaret snapped. “I have had it with you two running around like you own the place. Devyn has an excuse. He’s going to start paying rent-”

Jason let out a sigh, standing up. He turned away, grabbing Elroy and the bag he’d arrived with.

“Excuse me, what are you doing?” Margaret demanded.

The neko dropped a pair of pants into the bag.

‘Well I can’t afford rent, so I’m going to find somewhere cheaper to live,’ he signed, before reaching for a shirt. ‘Don’t worry, I won’t be stealing any of your things. I’m just taking Elroy and the clothes I had when I got here.’

“Oh really? So you’d rather go live on the streets than listen to rules that are meant to protect you,” Margaret scoffed.

‘Yes.’

Jason zipped up his bag, slinging it over his back. The neko scratched Devyn’s head one last time, the wolf whimpering as he tried to lick his brother’s hand. Pushing past Margaret, Jason sidled toward the stairs, taking a firm grip as he descended.

“If you step out that door, you will never be welcome here again,” Margaret said loudly.

Jason ignored the werewolf, opening the front door. He stepped outside and closed the door behind him firmly, before heading in the direction of Erith’s house.

Copyright © 2020 Yeoldebard; 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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Chapter Comments

You go Jason! Now the question is which door or window will Devyn spring from.

Wow, how could Richard not fully understand the dangers and yet also not by talking to the boys? It’s so frustrating to see this character re-emerge especially when she only recently had contributed to the decision to adopt, but then also personally endangered the kids; on the stairs and in the streets and then possibly in others ways and locations.

@Yeoldebard, thanks for not giving up on this story; any blocks or distractions are hopefully sidelined now, and we may see another posting real soon…please 🙏.

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11 hours ago, Philippe said:

You go Jason! Now the question is which door or window will Devyn spring from.

Wow, how could Richard not fully understand the dangers and yet also not by talking to the boys? It’s so frustrating to see this character re-emerge especially when she only recently had contributed to the decision to adopt, but then also personally endangered the kids; on the stairs and in the streets and then possibly in others ways and locations.

@Yeoldebard, thanks for not giving up on this story; any blocks or distractions are hopefully sidelined now, and we may see another posting real soon…please 🙏.

I'm trying to get both this and Damian's Wolf going again. They're winding down, close to the end, but there's still a bit of meat left in both.

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9 hours ago, Yeoldebard said:

I'm trying to get both this and Damian's Wolf going again. They're winding down, close to the end, but there's still a bit of meat left in both.

Will you deal with Lysander being paralyzed? And “Damian’s Wolf” takes place how many years before this story? 

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4 minutes ago, Geemeedee said:

Will you deal with Lysander being paralyzed? And “Damian’s Wolf” takes place how many years before this story? 

Dylan is about seventeen in this story, so Damian's Wolf is about eighteen years before this one. I will be doing my best to tie everything together before the end.

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Jason is standing up for himself hopefully Devyn will be able to very soon as well. I don’t understand why Margaret thinks she has to be in control of what the boys do and where they go at all times. I hope Jason makes it although it’s going to be hard to do his job without his laptop and he can’t communicate without his phone, so how will he be able to do his school work.

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Where is the emergency rescue squad?  I am beginning to feel that there are no caring responsible adults among their friends and family.  How can the adults be so oblivious to what is happening?  

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“If you step out that door, you will never be welcome here again,” Margaret said loudly.

Straight to a nuclear option you can't possibly be willing to carry through. Never a good move, will just teach the guy your warnings are toothless.

 

On 9/8/2021 at 2:43 PM, Danners said:

I mean, I'm all for Jason standing up for himself and seeking out other places to live, but it's pretty selfish of him to leave Devyn in the clutches of an abusive mother. Especially when Devyn is trapped in wolf form and couldn't call for help even if he needed to. What a way to thank him for his unending loyalty.

I'd usually agree, but Jason has already been thinking that the family was happy before he arrived and it was him moving in that ruined everything. He doesn't have the perspective of the reader, unfortunately.

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