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    Yeoldebard
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Damian's Wolf - 23. There For Each Other

This chapter contains warnings for depression and assisted suicide.

The sun shone in his eyes, Jordan grumbling as he pulled the covers over his head. Sunlight… He was missing something.

With a gasp, the werewolf sat up. He had forgotten to set his alarm early.

“Shit… what time is it?”

Leaping out of bed, Jordan grabbed his phone. He had no recollection of going to bed the night before. Had Lysander carried him to bed somehow?

“Noon?!” the werewolf yelped, looking at the time.

Throwing on some pants, the werewolf rushed out of the room, sliding into the living room.

“Oh hey, you’re awake,” Lysander said, holding the baby in his arms as he fed him.

“Where’s Damian? We’re late for work. Like really late.”

“He’s at work,” Lysander replied. “And you are staying home today. Doctor’s orders. I’m going to finish feeding Dylan and then he is going to bed, and we are going to have some alone time.”

“Dylan?” Jordan asked, his heart still pounding from the rush of waking up.

“Damian named him. It’s a cute name, don’t you think?”

The man nodded, sitting on the couch slowly. He looked at the infant in Lysander’s arms, taking in the tiny ears folded over Dylan’s head. Ears that seemed to be taking on calico markings already. Milky eyes made Jordan think the neko was blind, but Lysander hadn’t said anything about that. It was okay, right?

“He’s very quiet,” Jordan said.

“Nah, you were just exhausted last night. Little guy had me and Damian running up and down all night.”

“Why didn’t you wake me? I could have helped.”

“Don’t worry mei Aerael, we will figure this out soon. But you needed your rest last night.”

Lysander pulled the empty bottle from Dylan’s mouth with a soft plop, the neko letting out a tiny mewl of disapproval.

“There there Sialena, it’s okay,” Lysander soothed. “Would you like your father to burp you?”

“Wha- no I can’t-”

Jordan protested as Lysander set Dylan in his arms.

“Lysander, I don’t know what to do with babies!” he hissed.

“Well, we have a baby, so you should probably learn.”

The elf picked up a small towel, setting it over Jordan’s shoulder.

“Hold him so his head is next to yours.”

Jordan adjusted the baby, uncomfortable with the new position.

“Now you just pat his back until you get all the gas out.”

“Gas? Um… okay…”

Jordan set Dylan against his shoulder, his hand gently touching the neko’s back.

“He’s not doing anything,” he said uncertainly.

“That’s because you have to rub his back,” Lysander replied.

Someone knocked on the door, and the elf went to answer it as Jordan’s hand circled Dylan’s back. The neko felt so fragile in his arms.

“Now there’s a sight I never thought I’d see,” Arisa said, standing in front of Jordan.

“You’re back,” the werewolf noted.

“Apologetically. I made an assumption yesterday, and it was wrong. I’m sorry,” the elf replied.

“Maybe you should apologise to the one whose eye is still bruised,” Jordan said coldly.

“We’re fine,” Lysander waved off. “You have one heck of a punch.”

His head turned slightly, glancing at the door.

“Did you hear that?” he asked.

Jordan was instantly on guard.

“What? What did it sound like?” he demanded.

“Like someone knocking on the door. Again.”

Lysander moved toward the door, Arisa sitting next to Jordan.

“I really am sorry,” she said.

“It’s not the first time we’ve fought,” Jordan reminded her. “I’m over it if Lysander is.”

“Arisa? Someone is asking for you…” Lysander called uncertainly.

Arisa stood up as Dylan let out a loud burp. Jourdan felt warm liquid hit his shoulder. Arisa laughed as she left the room, the sound trailing as Jordan held Dylan up.

“Lysander, he just-”

Lysander reentered the room, chuckling.

“Yeah, that happens. I think little Dylan is good to go.”

He took the neko from Jordan, cradling the baby as Jordan gingerly removed the towel from his shoulder.

“Oh grow up Jordan,” Arisa said as she led a young woman into the room. “It’s just baby spit.”

“Yeah, you try having a baby throw up on you,” Jordan muttered. “Who’s your friend?”

“Oh, this is Claire, from next door. She’s mute,” Arisa said.

The woman scowled slightly, staring at Jordan.

“Great, now that you have a friend, maybe Lysander and I can get some alone time.”

Carrying the towel to the laundry, Jordan let out a sigh. Not even awake for twenty minutes and he’d had a baby puke on him. Welcome to fatherhood…

“Hey…” Lysander said, wrapping his arms around the man from behind. “Dylan’s down, albeit crankily. What do you say I kick Arisa and her friend out and we have some nice showertime?”

“Shit, you just read my mind,” Jordan replied.

Kissing the back of his neck, Lysander backed away.

“You get the shower started, and I’ll join you in a bit.”

Nodding, Jordan made his way to the bathroom. He was going to enjoy the warm water.

 

Five minutes later, Lysander opened the bathroom door, leaving it ajar. He let out a long sigh, looking at Jordan, who stood warming the water, still dressed.

“I’m pretty sure that’s warm enough,” Lysander said.

Jordan nodded silently, staring at the water.

“What’s wrong Aerael?”

“How do you deal with everything? You’re always so confident, yet so… like, so calm.”

Lysander chuckled quietly.

“It’s a lot of practice. I’m in a high stress profession. If I let my emotions control me, I’ll just make things worse. So I’ve taught myself to hide my feelings for the most part. It can be hard sometimes.”

He took Jordan in his arms, slowly pulling the man’s shirt off.

“Is there anything in particular that is troubling you?”

“It’s my fault Jacob is dead,” Jordan blurted. “I should have been the one to go after the gold.”

“Jacob did his job. He knew the risks, and so did Sarah. Every day he’d leave for work, neither of them certain he would be back that night. Tell me something Aerael. What would have happened if you went instead?”

“I would have chewed Halor to bits as soon as I saw him.”

“Halor. I see. And then what? You would have to live with the knowledge that you killed someone, a person you knew. More than that, his death would be used as fuel. Dangerous werewolf murders man for gold.”

“I didn’t fucking ask for this!” Jordan yelled. “Any of it!”

“I would hope you didn’t. None of this was your fault. And blaming anyone is just going to cause more heartache.”

“My life was so simple before.”

“Before what? Before you met me? Damian? Before you became a wolf? I don’t think life is ever simple Jordan. We always have our struggles,” Lysander said.

Jordan stared at the elf, into his eyes. He felt safe in Lysander’s arms, like the elf would do anything to protect him, even from himself.

“Fuck… Why do you have to be so wise?” he sighed. “Can you tell me something?”

“I can try.”

“What… What does a wolf do when they lose a friend?”

Lysander inhaled sharply.

“It… uh, it is different with everyone, just like with any person. Some wolves find comfort in a group, some prefer to be left alone.”

“And you?”

“I don’t like to upset my friends. But at the same time, I do appreciate support. What you did for me last night… That was better than anything in the world for me.”

“Will you be okay tonight?”

Lysander shook his head.

“Honestly, no. And I know Sarah realizes that. But I’m not going to let my feelings keep me from helping my friend in her time of need. Do you think you can get me tonight?”

“Of course. Just let me know when.”

Jordan kissed the elf lightly.

“Well, I suppose we should get this shower going, huh?”

Smiling slightly, Lysander finished undressing his mate, before turning his hands on his own clothing.

 

Damian stuck his key into the lock, his muscles stiff from the days work. Before he could open the door, the handle was pulled out of his hand, Jordan standing before him.

“Hey…”

“You went to the store without me,” Jordan said.

“Yeah, Lysander said you should sleep…”

Jordan’s arms wrapped around the neko, Damian letting out a squeak.

“You… you aren’t upset with me?” he asked.

“No! I’m just happy you’re home. Why would I be mad at you?”

Damian shrugged helplessly as Jordan kissed him. His tail twitched nervously, and he let out a soft whimper into Jordan’s mouth.

They backed up into the apartment, Jordan closing the door behind them.

“You know something Damian? I love you.”

Jordan let out a soft snort.

“I said it… I actually said it. And I mean it. I love you.”

Damian closed his eyes, sinking further into Jordan’s arms.

“I love you too,” he whispered. “Where’s Dylan? And Lysander?”

“Lysander laid down for a nap and Dylan is in his crib. Was Miss Reyla upset I was gone today?”

Damian shook his head.

“No. She sent me home early too. I got the paint scrubbed off the wall, so that’s less we have to do tomorrow. And the window is completely fixed. We didn’t open today, so there wasn’t much to do.”

“Did you take the money in?”

“Oh yeah, Lysander reminded me about that this morning. And Miss Reyla gave me money for the bus home.”

“Why didn’t you call me? I would have picked you up.”

Damian shrugged.

“I thought you and Sander might be doing something. I didn’t want to interrupt. Besides, I kind of smell like you two. I didn’t think anyone was going to bother me on the way home.”

He moved toward the bathroom, Jordan watching the neko’s tail swish.

“I’m going to take a shower. I feel kind of dirty,” Damian called quietly.

“Careful, Dylan is sleeping in there-”

“No worries,” Damian waved off, turning into Lysander’s room.

A moment later, he backed out of the room, locked in Lysander’s embrace.

“Hey Jordan, I found this guy trying to sneak into my room. He belong to you?” the elf said, looking over at the man.

“I haven’t claimed him yet, but yeah, he’s mine.”

Damian’s tail was nearly twisting itself in knots in Lysander’s arms. He buried his head into the elf’s chest, a quiet purr escaping his lips.

A knock at the door interrupted them. Jordan was already moving, his hand on the door in moments.

Opening it, he found Sarah standing on the other side, a small smile on her face.

“Hi, Jordan, right? Is Lysander home?”

The elf was at the door an instant later.

“Yeah, I’m here. Why don’t you come in for a bit?”

Jordan stepped aside, letting Lysander take over. Damian came to stand beside him, in full view of their visitor.

“You did get a neko in here,” Sarah chuckled, swatting Lysander’s arm. “Figures you would manage something like that.”

“Hi…” Damian said quietly.

Jordan set an arm around the neko, squeezing him lightly.

“Weren’t you going to take a shower?” he asked.

Damian looked at him gratefully before Jordan shooed him away. The werewolf understood. Here was someone who was prepared to take her life, and she was… happy. Almost cheerful.

“I wanted to make sure you were still okay with this,” Sarah said, looking at Lysander.

“I am,” Sander nodded.

“I’m not,” Jordan interrupted.

“Jordan, please-”

“Why are you doing this? You know, there could be another wolf out there for you. Or human, elf, neko, whatever.”

“Then they will move on with their lives, and find someone else to settle with,” Sarah shrugged.

“And what about Lysander? You’re going to take all the pain you’re feeling and throw it on him. Why?”

“Lysander can handle it. I know he can.”

“It seems fucking selfish of you if you ask me.”

Lysander sighed quietly, watching his mate spar with his friend.

“Yes, it is rather selfish. The thing is, once it’s done, I won’t care anymore. Jordan, I know you care about Lysander, it’s obvious. But there is nothing that you can tell me that will change my mind.”

“Fine. But why do you have to be so happy about it?”

“Why not? Like I said, soon I’ll be free from all of this. I don’t expect you to understand. In fact, I hope you never understand why I am doing this. But it is my choice, and if I decide to end my life with a smile on my face, why do you care?”

“Because it is not you who is ending your life. You’re making Lysander do it,” Jordan growled.

“That is the one regret I have. But I would rather have someone I know and trust with me when I go.”

Sarah turned to Lysander.

“Speaking of which, it’s almost time. They want me to get there a few hours early.”

“I’ll get my keys,” Lysander nodded, heading for his room.

Jordan followed him, closing the door.

“I don’t like this,” he said immediately.

“I know you don’t,” Lysander sighed. “But in the end, she’s right. This is not your choice. It is mine.”

Grabbing his keys from a dresser, the elf hugged Jordan.

“I’ll call you,” he said, before leaving the room.

Jordan heard him open the bathroom door.

“Damian, I’m leaving-oof!”

Damian had his arms wrapped around Lysander, his naked body pressed against the elf’s.

“Are you going to be okay?” his muffled voice asked.

“Of course I am,” Lysander smiled painfully. “I have you two.”

He kissed the neko, gently pushing him back into the bathroom. Glancing back at Jordan, the elf added, “Make sure you give Dylan another bottle around nine.”

Jordan nodded silently.

“I’ll… I should be done by one.”

“I’ll be waiting.”

Taking a deep breath, Lysander walked into the living room. A minute later, Jordan heard the front door close.

 

“You really should go to bed Damian.”

“Mm mm. Not until Lysander gets home,” Damian denied tiredly.

He was curled up in Jordan’s lap, eyes drooping heavily. Jordan ran his hands through the neko’s silky hair, tangling his fingers gently in short curls. The couch was barely long enough for them to curl up together.

“I can wake you up when I get him.”

“I don’t want to go to bed.”

Dylan began whining from the other room, and Damian rolled out of Jordan’s lap. Picking himself up, he yawned, stumbling toward the bedroom. Jordan was about to follow him when his phone rang.

“Hello?”

“I’m at Elias Park…”

Lysander sounded exhausted, his voice worn through.

“I’ll be there in ten minutes,” Jordan promised, already reaching for his riding jacket.

He slipped into the bedroom, finding Damian sitting against the wall with Dylan in his arms. Both nekos were snoring quietly.

“Damian?”

Jordan gently shook his mate.

“Huh, what?” Damian startled awake, clutching Dylan protectively.

“I need to get Lysander. Why don’t we put Dylan back in his crib to sleep, okay?”

“Okay...” Damian mumbled as Jordan carefully took their son from him.

The werewolf slowly lowered Dylan into the crib, the baby waking again as his back hit the bed.

“I got him,” Damian said, rocking the crib slightly with his foot.

“I’ll be back soon,” Jordan said, kissing Damian.

Leaving the room, Jordan hurried out of the apartment. It wasn’t long before his bike was roaring down the road.

 

Lysander was sitting against a tree when Jordan pulled up to the park, head buried in his knees. Jordan shut off his bike and made his way to his mate. Silently, they sat together, two figures under a tree in the dark.

“She was afraid of needles. Always had been. That’s why she wanted me there, because she knew I wouldn’t hurt her.”

Lysander turned his head to face Jordan, silent tears streaming from his eyes.

“I know you don’t understand. But I am glad I did this. As much as it hurts, I am glad I could be there for her when she needed me.”

“You’re right. I don’t understand. But I’m here for you. And so is Damian.”

“I know you don’t like werewolves. But Jacob loved them, loved the whole idea of being a large dog. I never pried into his personal life, but Sarah once told me Jacob never felt welcome as a man. And they were perfect for each other. Sarah loved having a dog she could pamper and Jacob loved being a dog for her. I don’t even think they ever mated, but everyone knew they were together.”

Lysander chuckled wryly, shaking his head.

“It still seems ridiculous, but who are we to tell people how to enjoy their lives?”

Sighing, the elf tilted his head back, staring at the stars. Through it all, Jordan was silent, letting him get it all out.

“That’s how she went. In wolf form, curled up in their bed and smelling his scent. She just… fell asleep while I pet her.”

Jordan set an arm around the elf, pulling him close as Lysander let out a sob.

“It’s okay. Let it all out,” he said gently.

They sat like that for nearly ten minutes, Lysander’s cries echoing through the deserted park.

 

They got home around two, Jordan helping Lysander into the apartment. As they closed the door, Damian came out of the bedroom. The neko embraced the elf, pulling Jordan into the hug as well. Nothing needed to be said.

I apologise for this chapter. I thought the gang got the unpleasantness with Jacob's death behind them, but apparently we had to go through the emotional roller coaster with them. Here's hoping things get better soon.

Copyright © 2019 Yeoldebard; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

9 minutes ago, ColumbusGuy said:

Suicide is so bound up in a culture's view toward death and life that it makes rational decisions about it nearly impossible.  Western cultures are so assured that the Afterlife is better and to be hoped for, yet when it comes to death, we do everything to avoid it.  Life is precious...yes, but what if that life is reduced to mere existence without brain activity/paralysis/terminal disease full of pain?  If hope is gone, then shouldn't it be the person's choice to go out with some of his dignity and spirit intact?  Leave only good memories behind for those who remain, rather than endless ones of watching pain, suffering and the withering away of the physical body.
My partner committed suicide in 2007, and it left a whole in my life that remains even now, but he was in a personal hell created by his family and depression that he saw no other course of action left to him.  All his adult life he struggled to maintain his dignity and independence, and would accept only so much help from his friends...I saw him three days before he killed himself, and he gave no clues, but we had a good time together like always, and I think he found some bright spots then.  I would love to have him with me still, but he only let us see a small part of what was going on in his life, so who am I to judge his actions?
My mother died five days after my birthday that same year, having gone into hospital the day before what should have been my happiest day of the year--we'd planned on being together with a cake.  Complications with diabetes and her kidneys was the cause, and she'd refused dialysis, so it was only a matter of time.  At least the hospital respected her wishes for palliative care only--no machines, just oxygen and pain meds.  That's as close these days as a person can get to going out with dignity, but the last three days were hard as she'd slipped into a coma and it was just a wait now.
So, perhaps we frown on Sarah's decision, but she was the only one who had gone over all aspects of her present and future situation, and I won't deny her that choice.  It isn't uncommon for the survivor of a long-married couple to last only a few months or years alone, such is the strength of that broken bond.
I grieve for Lysander's loss of a dear friend, but even he accepted it as her choice.   

I am sorry for your losses, and hope I didn't make your pain any worse by posting this chapter.

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51 minutes ago, Yeoldebard said:

I am sorry for your losses, and hope I didn't make your pain any worse by posting this chapter.

This just made me reflect more on those times, with good memories of both brought to mind again.  My mother had lived a good life at 76, and found a good husband after she and my father divorced when I was a sophomore in college.  Once I moved into the same town, we saw each other weekly and talked every day on the phone, and her husband treated me as one of his own family.  In my mom's final years, she watched him descend into Alzheimer's, so perhaps she was spared the worst of it.
My late partner finds a happier end in my Jay & Miles story which tells of my high school years in the mid 70s, so in a way he's taken care of too, though I didn't know him until nearly twenty years later.  I felt he deserved a nice memorial, and this was my way to show him that he's not forgotten.  

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My primary concern when this topic comes up isn't philosophical. I don't like the idea these type of fictional solutions can be used to normalize and rationalize very real world actions.

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5 hours ago, drpaladin said:

My primary concern when this topic comes up isn't philosophical. I don't like the idea these type of fictional solutions can be used to normalize and rationalize very real world actions.

This is a subject I have dealt with nearly daily for the past two years. I am not trying to normalize anything, i am merely showing ine culture's solution to a problem many have. Personally, I find it sad that Sarah took the path she did. What you do not see here is the hours of agonizing over her decision, the thought I put into her situation, the steps that the medical professionals put in place to help her. It is a shame I was unable to show all that in the story, but a story is a finite thing, and I am not necessarily able to show everything that happens.

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I don't agree with Sarah's decision...but it was her decision. I have to view this as a different culture, with different ideas and different rights.

And, anyway, it's done. Sad chapter. Sad event.

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