Jackson woke first noticing it was still a few hours until sunset. He looked down at his sleeping mates. They seemed to like pinning him in the middle. He hoped it was because they liked to cuddle him rather than they still thought he’d try to leave.
He could feel the increased connection between Vash and himself. Before it had been like an echo that came to him second hand by way of Casey. Now it was personal and real. The fact the half shifter had felt no effects what-so-ever from taking his blood was a blessing. Being half vampire already had obviously protected him.
Vash stirred at his side and he felt his heart swell at the beautiful sleepy smile his mate gave him.
A sudden banging on the door ruined the mood.
Growling, Vash got out the bed, but Jackson grabbed him before he could get too far. “I’ll get it, I’m not sure Casey—or I—want anyone to see you naked.”
Jackson used his vampire speed to donned pants, wincing at the pull of the dried cum on his body, and yanked the door open. “What?” he growled before he noticed Kelly and Billy standing with Jamie. The children looked ready to bolt.
Vash was there in an instant, fully dressed, and pushing him back. “What’s up guys?” he spoke cheerfully. “Jay, man, you know it’s not a good idea to wake a sleeping vampire during the day.” He gave the witch a glare until he looked down and nodded slightly.
Jackson grinned to himself, he wondered if Vash realized just how much like an alpha he was acting.
“Sorry, but the kids wanted to talk to their alpha. And since you’re the only shifter here, I assumed that was you. I couldn’t get through on the mind link so…” Jamie trailed off.
Vash waved him off and turned to the kids. “Can you give me a moment to freshen up, and Jamie here can show you to the living room.” The kids nodded, and a raised eyebrow at Jamie had him nodding like a bobble-headed doll. “I’ll see you in about five minutes, okay?”
The children smiled slightly and followed Jamie back down the hallway.
Jackson wrapped an arm round Vash and pulled him back in the room. Before his mate could get a word out, Jackson had him pinned up against the now closed door, kissing him with every bit of love and passion he could.
“Can anyone join in the fun?” came a laughing voice from over Jackson’s shoulder. Before he could pull away from Vash, muscular arms encircled him from behind and lips started trailing down his neck and back, leaving sparks of desire wherever they fell.
“We need to see to the kids,” came Vash’s panting voice in their minds.
Casey let out a long sigh and moved pulling Jackson with him. “He’s right,” Casey said out loud. “I heard most of what was said, so let’s get dressed and go see what they want.”
Grumbling slightly Jackson allowed himself to be pulled back fully against Casey and directed to help find where the rest of their clothes had ended up.
“You know you’re adorable when you’re pouting,” Casey said, then laughed at the scandalized look Jackson sent his way.
“I am NOT pouting!” Jackson stated and turned his back to pull his crumpled shirt on.
“Oh, that won’t do,” Casey said looking over the three of them in the mirror. Vash and Jackson were wearing the previous night’s clothes. They looked wrinkled and, after the activity of the night, didn’t smell that fresh either. Casey was the only one in fresh clothes as this was his room. “Take my hands,” Casey requested. After they were joined in a circle Casey muttered low and fast. The air around them shifted and Jackson and Vash found themselves in fresh smelling clothes and feeling clean as though they’d just had a shower.
Casey however looked a bit pale and Jackson scowled. “You’re trying to do too much, too soon,” he growled.
“I’ll be fine. I just need you two to help me to the living room and then one of you can get me a drink. A protein shake should keep me going until I can get one or both of you alone again.”
They made their way to the living room and Jackson and Vash deposited Casey on the couch. Jackson left Vash with Casey and headed for the kitchen.
After a fair bit of rummaging Jamie joined him.
“What are you doing in here? Making the drinks from scratch?” Jamie teased.
“Look, Jamie, I’m tired and aching—do not even think about making a comment on that. My mate has still not recovered from using too much magic—which I may add is partly your fault for wanting to come home with us—and my other mate is trying to cope with being an alpha and now looking after three children. Please could you just lay off and help me.”
Jamie looked contrite and rushed over laying a hand on Jackson’s arm. “I’m sorry. What do you need?”
“Um, I need a protein shake for Casey. He used magic to clean me and Vash, and change our clothes. I think he needs blood, but he only wants to feed from us, so he said a protein shake should keep him going for now.” He said it all in a rush and he knew he sounded worried but he really couldn’t help it. He really was very tired and just wanted to go back to bed, preferably with his mates.
Jamie reached for the cupboards. “I’ve got this; you go and join the others. I’ll bring in everything you should need.”
Jackson nodded and returned to the living room to see Casey cuddled up to Vash’s side as Vash spoke to the children.
“—but where will we go?” Kelly was saying.
Jackson sat on the other side of Casey and wrapped an arm round him.
“You can stay with us,” he answered before Vash could. “Or if you don’t want to, we can find another pack willing to take you in.”
“I want to stay here,” Billy said. It was the first time Jackson had heard the boy express an opinion. Kelly had done most of the talking until then.
“I agree,” Kelly nodded. “You guys seem nice, and this place is definitely better than where we were. Plus, Jamie said you’re a member of the High Council. Is that true?” This was directed at Jackson.
Jackson nodded. “Yes, I am a High Council member and the Senior Elder here in Chapmistres View. You are very welcome to stay here. We have a large wood near the house and clinic where you can safely shift and run. We have a school where you can catch up with any studies you’ve missed recently. And of course Vash, Casey, and myself will take guardianship of you until you reach your majority.”
Jamie entered with drinks for everyone. Jackson raised his eyebrows at the glasses of blood that were passed to Vash and himself. “The blood is Casey’s from the donation center,” Jamie sent, obviously reading them right that they’d prefer to drink from each other and not have other donated blood.
Jackson nodded and drank, feeling the familiar taste of his mate flow through him like a fine wine.
Casey drank his protein shake and seemed to perk up a bit.
They made plans for what rooms the two children would have (they insisted they wanted to remain together, at least to start with) and made a list of what needed to be got from the pack house or bought for each of them.
When the two siblings had been sent off to play in the games room Casey spoke up. “What is happening with the other little girl?”
Jackson nearly kicked himself, he had almost totally forgotten about the youngest child they’d found.
“Oh, she’s fine.” Jamie smiled. “The nurses are making a fuss of her in the clinic. She’s in the children’s ward and there are three other kids in at the moment so they’re playing and having fun. After what she’s been through I am actually surprised that she’s bounced back so quickly. Craig has spoken to her and he says her mind is fine. She was drugged but not as much as the other two and we healed the scars and things on her wrists. She’s nine and from what we’ve learned shifters usually don’t shift until ten. So any other scars will heal when she shifts for the first time.
“I assume she’ll be staying here too? And if she hasn’t got family I assume you’ll be keeping her.”
“Yes,” Vash answered for all of them.
“What’s going to happen with the ex-alpha?” Casey asked.
Jackson answered. “He’ll be sent to the High Council to stand trial for his crimes. A team of Donald’s has taken photos and statements from the pack lands and collated the evidence so there will be no way he can wriggle out of anything. The only statements left to take are ours. After that his fate is sealed. When he is found guilty of all charges he will be sentenced to life in a cage. Which, for a shifter, is a fate worse than death. He will only be allowed to shift once a month to stop him going completely feral. The rest of the time the spell on his cell will keep him human.”
Vash shuddered against them. “Staying human when your animal wants to be set free is painful. The animal is constantly pushing at your mind but it can’t make itself understood. He’ll suffer from headaches and his skin will feel as though it’s too small.”
Casey made sound of disgust. “He should suffer more. People like that are not wanted or needed on this island or in the world at all.” Jackson was mildly shocked at the venom in the voice of his mate who would usually find the good in even the worst of people. But, then of course, there was no good in alpha Jeffersin, so…
Later the three mates were cuddled up in Casey’s—now their—room watching a DVD and sharing kisses and caresses.
Life was good and at that moment none of them wanted anything to change. The outside world could keep going without them, they just wanted to stay in their own little bubble and be with each other.
Unfortunately, the world would eventually intrude, but, until then, their world was perfect.