Again a huge thank you for all the fantastic feedback I've been getting. I'm so glad you're all enjoying reading this.
I hope this chapter doesn't go too far into the "magical" category, as you'll find out. But, I thought it was a good way to describe what was happening.
You might notice in this installment that I have given up on double spacing after full stops. Although I was always taught that a double space follows a full stop, to code a double space is annoying and time consuming, and difficult to catch all the errors. So I hope my typing teacher from high school forgives me.
Again, a huge thank you to Sam for being a fantastic editor and helping me out with a little bit of writers block.
This piece of fiction contains supernatural themes and eventually sexual interactions between consenting male adults.   Please do not read this if it is illegal where you are, or you are not of age to do so.
All characters are fictional and any similarities to known actual people are coincidental, unless otherwise specified.
Visit my blog for visual aids for the characters... http://the-children-of-light.tumblr.com.   Head on over, see what ya think, add suggestions, or what you see when thinking of the characters.   That would be interesting to see/hear.   Please, if you don't/haven't, think about making a donation to Nifty to help with maintenance.   Thanks guys!!!
Lachlan - email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
`Well, well, well. Is this the fabled triumvirate come to rescue the little cock sucker?' Alistair leered provokingly. Alex bristled with unbridled anger and tried to step forward but the Leader held him back. As both men appeared in the back yard, Quinn was the first to spot them. He saw Lachlan appear in a flurry of electric sparks, quickly followed by Alex who stumbled to his knees, shaking from head to toe. He clapped a hand to his mouth and turned to the nearby garden and ran. Quinn had reached Lachlan by this point and watched as his boyfriend emptied his stomach contents into the flowers. `Do forgive me, but I need to head back to the Sanctuary and sort out our prisoners.' The Leader said standing up from the dining table and smiling to everyone. `Well they did say they'd be here by 10am.' Alex said watching a flustered Quinn trying to drag a heavy box down the hallway to the living room. Alex grinned at his efforts and raised a hand, palm up, in the blond's direction. `I think you might need to go furniture shopping Alex.' Rama said as the Italian stepped in through the backdoor. Rama led him into the living area where all his furniture and belongings were neatly spread around the large room. `Babe, why don't you go with Mikhail to the airport?' Alex suggested to Quinn. `I can do the furniture shopping by myself.' He had wanted some time alone to get a gift for Quinn. The thin framed man waved a hand in a small circle summoning a sphere of water. It churned quietly and a hooded face appeared in the ripples.
`Don't. Stay where you are.' Alex heard Lachlan whisper telepathically.
`And who is the fourth?' The Brit said cockily.
`Jaden, the left. Ramz, the right. Alex, take flank.' Lachlan communicated silently to the three men.
`Be warned sir.' A young man said stepping out of the house behind Alistair. He had limp dark hair and a sallow tone to his skin. His eyes were shadowed but there was a brightness to them. He scowled in the direction of the four new arrivals. `That one in the middle is their Leader.'
Lachlan's eyes narrowed on the new person, telepathically assessing him.
`Mage.' The Leader advised the three men with him and evaluated the development. `Take him down Ramz. Alex, stay right behind me. Jaden, do a circuit, take out anyone else.'
`Sir, we need to leave.' The mage said wearily. He had managed to catch a glimmer of what Lachlan communicated.
`Not just yet.' Alistair said stepping down behind the blond.
`Sir, we need to...' The mage said reaching out to Alistair.
`Shut up you fool.' Alistair said rolling his eyes. It was all they needed.
The Leader materialised between Quinn and Alistair, the silver sword was knocked out of the Brit's hand, spinning through the air, whistling slightly. As the sword landed in the grass, point buried in the soil, Lachlan had one hand at the Brit's throat, the other pushing Quinn down the stairs, into the arms of his boyfriend who had just appeared. Where Quinn was standing moments ago burst into flame as the mage had thrown a curse at the blond. The mage was slammed against the wall of the house with Rama's hand clapped over his mouth, his hands pinned to the wall telekinetically. Jaden appeared behind Alex, an evil smile playing across the red head's face.
`Idiot only brought five others.' The twin said with a cackle.
`Rama, knock him out and take him to the Grove. Keep him under.' The Leader said glancing to Rama who had just rendered the mage unconscious and disappeared.
`Is Quinn alright?' Lachlan asked as he looked into Alistair's eyes, noticing they were clouding over slightly.
`I'm fine.' Quinn said from behind the Leader. Alex had him tucked against his chest, arms wrapped around him protectively. He gasped anxiously. `MUM!'
`Right here darling.' Sarah Beauchamp said as she walked calmly out of her front door. She stepped cautiously past Lachlan, who still had Alistair's throat in his hand, and drifted, as if flying, to Alex's side. The Italian wrapped an arm around the woman and pulled her closer to himself.
`Jaden, take Sarah and Quinn.' The Leader said. `To Aurelia. We will join you shortly.' Lachlan finished telepathically.
Alex squeezed his lover tightly and released him to the red head. Jaden snaked an arm around the smaller blond and pulled him firmly against him. Sarah stepped to the twin's side and Jaden offered her his arm gallantly. She smiled at the twin and as her hand rested atop his forearm, all three of them vanished in a whirl of energy.
`And as for you.' Lachlan said looking into the blue eyes, so very like Alex's. `Ah, there they are. All watching from the safety of their fortress.' The Leader said with a smirk. Alex reached out to Lachlan and was pulled along with the Leader and Alistair through the invisible vortex of energy, suddenly appearing in a cold and dimly lit chamber.
`Apologies for the intrusion gentlemen.' The Leader said casually as he released his death grip on the Brit's throat. `I hope I'm not intruding.'
A dozen men in white robes, each carrying a silver sword, came rushing into the chamber but were stopped in their tracks as the Leader raised a hand. The Order's foot soldiers all turned toward the Leader and raised their swords, blade down. Lachlan smiled maliciously as the soldiers quickly drove their swords earthward, each of them planting their swords through the top of their right foot. The room was filled with the cries of pain from the soldier's as they speared themselves to the floor.
`Payback.' The Leader said callously, turning on Alistair. The Brit shuddered with fear, unable to move. Lachlan connected telepathically with Alex and received the answer he was looking for.
`And who might you be?' A man wearing a white robe and a red hood asked as he stepped forward from the shadows. His voice was aged and croaking.
`You know who I am, old man.' The Leader whispered with deadly intent, his eyes fixed unblinking on him.
`And what do you want?' The robed man enquired.
`To give you a message.' Lachlan replied reaching out to Alistair, who was lifted from the ground and floated to the Leader's outstretched hand. The Brit was shaking uncontrollably as Lachlan closed a hand around his throat and pulled him closer.
`And what message is that?' The old man asked politely, stepping forward confidently.
Even though he was capable of impossibly fast actions, Lachlan took his time for greater emphasis. He pulled Alistair into himself like they were dancing, spinning the man gracefully, his right hand still at the Brit's throat, his left hand snaking slowly over the shoulder and resting on the man's breast. Alistair's cry for help was cut short as the sound of tearing flesh and a pathetic gurgle came from Alistair as his throat was ripped out gruesomely. A rivulet of blood gushed from the horrific wound, pumping sickeningly from the gaping hole that was the Brit's throat. As the men watching gasped with shock, Alistair's body shook violently as the Leader's left hand clutched at the chest beneath it, his fingers piercing the flesh as he clawed at the rapidly thumping heart beneath. With a sickening crack of bones and the ripping of flesh, blood cascading around the hand, Lachlan pulled his hand from the chest of the Brit, the heart of the dying man beating obscenely in his grip as it spurted dark blood from the arteries, splashing the floor with a disgusting splatter. All eyes in the room focused on the heart as it burst into flame in the Leader's hand. Lachlan threw the handful of throat to the floor as the heart rapidly burnt and turned to ash. With eyes glowing white, he wrapped his arms around the quickly expiring body as if embracing a loved one from behind. With the grace of a dancer and the deadly accuracy of a surgeon, the Leader put his hand to Alistair's neck, pushed him gently into a spin and all men present watched as the Brit was pulled in several directions. The Brits head was slowly torn from his body and floated grotesquely above Lachlan, dark blood dribbling constantly from the severed neck. The man's chest mysteriously carved into a dozen smaller pieces as it spun away from the body. The arms were tossed unceremoniously to the sides of the chamber. The lower part of the body, crotch and legs, still standing somehow, drenched in blood and bodily waste, entrails, internal organs and cartilage pooled around the feet. The Leader took the head of Alistair from mid-air and threw it with inhuman speed and accuracy at the robed man, hitting him in the chest and knocking him backward. The severed head landed with a squelch and rolled off to the side.
`I will personally... tear each man in this room... limb from limb... if you come near my people again.' The Leader said staring down each Order member in turn. He looked at each of the soldiers still pinned to the floor and grinned as a few of the soldiers faces blanched. Each man screamed with panic as they all were set aflame. Their arms were flailing about as the flames engulfed them entirely. Some of the soldiers tore their foot as they ran, pulling their pinned foot away from the sword. Chaos broke loose in the chamber as the soldiers ran about the room aflame, screaming in pain. The Leader raised a bloodied hand and all the soldiers collapsed as the sound of several necks snapping pierced the room. `I promise... each of you... will fall at my feet... IN PIECES.' The Leader finished, telepathically shouting the final words. Everyone in the room clapped their hands to their ears at the intrusion.
Lachlan turned on the spot and appeared beside Alex with a flourish, who was looking particularly nauseas, and both men disappeared in a whirl of electricity. Precisely where Alex had been standing was a small explosion of fire as a mage threw a fireball after entering the room, with abysmally poor timing.
`Mia creatura! Not on my flowers caro!' Mrs. Braddock said shuffling down the verandah steps.
`Sorry Mamma.' Alex called with a croaky voice. Quinn had reached the Italian by now and was gently rubbing his back. Jaden appeared on the other side of Alex with a wicked smile.
`And you thought I was bad huh?' The red head said with a laugh.
`After that dude, what you did was pretty fucking weak.' Alex said standing up and laughing with Jaden.
`What happened?' Quinn and Aurelia asked in unison. Everyone looked from the Italian to the fragile looking Leader. They only just noticed he was covered in blood.
`Alistair has been neutralised.' The Leader said shaking slightly.
`That's an understatement.' Alex said stepping beside Lachlan and wrapping an arm around the smaller man's shoulders. `Thank you.'
`You're quite welcome.' The Leader said with a weak smile. `I need to clean up.'
`Come inside.' Alex said but the Leader stopped him.
`No, it's okay. I just need a corner out here to clean up.' He said turning to the back corner of the section. As he got nearer to the corner, his clothes began to smolder and caught fire, burning away from his frame as did the majority of the blood splattered over him. And as everyone caught a glimpse of the Leader's naked body from behind, noticing the rather large and intricate tattoo covering his delicate back, he was enveloped in a large cloud of water, almost as if a storm had suddenly appeared around him. People watched in fascination as the storm cloud rotated for a few seconds; within they could barely make out the Leader turning within. And quite suddenly it disappeared, Lachlan standing on the grass, facing the people gathered on and around the back deck of Aurelia Braddock's house. His hair was flattened down on his face, water rivulets trickling from the saturated hair and water dripping from his lithe frame. Jaden materialised in front of the leader and offered him his button up shirt. The Leader pulled on the large shirt and drew the sides around himself, managing to just cover his nether region. He walked confidently to the small group of people with a coy smile on his face.
`Sorry about my poor attire.' The Leader said with a laugh.
`Here young man.' Sarah Beauchamp said coming down the stairs with a bundle of clothes in her arms. She handed them to Lachlan who was smiling his thanks. He shook off the button up shirt and pulled on the pastel blue sweater, and then the black jeans, exposing himself for a few seconds to everyone.
`These are Quinn's?' He asked of the woman.
`The least we could do.' Sarah responded with a demure smile.
`How did you know?' Lachlan asked but already knew the answer. `You're precognitive.' He answered himself.
`Yes dear.' She said brushing the back of her hand against the Leader's cheek. She gasped quietly as the back of her hand made contact with Lachlan's face. The Leader's eyes opened with surprise as he read the premonition flashing in her mind.
`You cannot tell him yet!' Lachlan said with a pleading note in his voice. `I will tell him when the time is right. Too early and he will revolt.' Aurelia, Quinn, Jaden and Alex all watched with baited breath as the woman and man communed telepathically. Quite unexpectedly a woman called from the French doors.
`Sarah, he is right.' She said in a croaky voice. She shuffled out of the door and Aurelia was beside her in a moment.
`Mother?' Sarah asked quietly.
`He's right. He isn't ready.' Aradia Beachamp said with matriarchal authority.
`Okay mother.' Sarah said with a nod. She looked to the Leader and smiled shyly. Lachlan looked to the older woman and she nodded in answer to his silent question. With a wave of the hand, Aurelia, Sarah, Jaden, Alex and Quinn all forgot the conversation that had just taken place.
`Who wants a coffee?' Alex asked pulling Quinn up the steps and across the deck. Everyone called out their answer as they all migrated inside.
`I'll see you out.' Alex said standing up and walking to Lachlan's side. The Leader and the Italian walked swiftly out onto the deck.
`May I have a quick word before you go?' Alex said quietly, walking to the stairs leading down to the back lawn. They both reached the bottom of the stairs and turned to face each other.
`You know, you really shouldn't feel like that.' Lachlan said looking up into the impossibly blue eyes. Alex looked sadly to the ground, breaking eye contact.
`I just feel so bloody useless every time something happens. When he got kidnapped I couldn't stop the bullet. When Alistair went after him, I would probably have gotten myself killed if you hadn't been there. I couldn't think properly. And it seems that everyone else is rescuing him. When will I be able to protect and rescue him?' Alex said quickly and emotionally. The Leader reached out and held the Italian's shoulders firmly.
`Alex, Alex, Alex. Stop this.' Lachlan said gently squeezing. `The time will come when you will be able to act swiftly and efficiently. When a mere thought will be all that's required to save anyone. You are barely a month into your abilities. I wouldn't expect any of my Children of Light to do any better in your position.' Alex sniffed back a tear as the Leader reached up and stroked his cheek.
`You know, I shouldn't tell you this, but you and Quinn were destined to be together. You were both made for each other. He for you, and you for him.' Lachlan said with a smile.
`How so?' The Italian asked wiping the back of his hand against his eyes.
`Well, I think Quinn should be the one to tell you of one thing that makes him perfect for you. But, I can tell you at least, there was a reason for his rare condition, with his heart placement.' Lachlan said which caught the Italians interest.
`What about it?' Alex queried.
`Well, I don't want to give too much away but, there is a ritual you two will be required to perform, and his heart placement will make things rather straightforward.' Lachlan said mysteriously, purposely being vague.
`Was that supposed to make me feel better?' The Italian asked morosely.
`Actually, I'm not sure what it was supposed to do.' Lachlan said with a cackle.
`You're bonkers you know?' Alex queried with a smile.
`Oh yes, I'm well aware of that.' The Leader said going cross eyed and poking his tongue out. Alex laughed loudly.
`Thank you Lach.' The Italian said with a warm smile.
`You're welcome Alex.' Lachlan said patting Alex on the arm. `I do need to go now though.' He finished with a glance to the door. Alex followed the look and saw Jaden stepping out onto the deck and skipping quickly down the steps.
`Let's go boss.' The red head said with a wink.
`Goodbye Alex. I'll see you in a few days.' The Leader said with a nod.
`See you brother.' Jaden said bumping his fist against the Italians shoulder.
`Bye guys. Thanks for everything.' Alex said with a smile as the two men disappeared in a spiral of energy.
`Let me babe.' The Italian said with a cheeky smile. Quinn sighed heavily and gave up on the box. It immediately rose two feet and zoomed around the Canadian's legs and into the lounge, settling softly beside a large pile of boxes.
`I really need to learn how to do that.' Quinn said watching the box's travels with a hungry look to his eyes.
`Come here beautiful.' The Italian said stepping toward the blond with open arms. Quinn skipped the few feet between them and was enveloped in the Italian's strong arms. `I love you.'
`I love you.' Quinn sighed happily into Alex's muscular chest, squeezing a little tighter. The two of them heard the Russian yelp with fright from the lounge.
`Mickey?' Alex called while releasing his boyfriend and walking down the hallway.
`It's alright.' Mikhail called out. `This bunch scared me.' He finished. Alex appeared in the lounge and saw several smiling faces on the balcony.
`Come in please.' Alex said gesturing to everyone.
`Unfortunately, you will have to use our names.' Rama said poking a finger at the Wiccan protection and grinning at the small blond.
`Please come in Rama, Lachlan, Jaden, Caiden, Grayson and Daxa.' The Italian said nodding to each person as he said their name. Rama and Lachlan stepped through the protective bubble and made a bee-line for the Italian and Canadian. Quinn skipped to the Leader and they embraced each other warmly. Rama and Alex shook hands and hugged happily.
`Good to see you my little strega.' The Leader said releasing the blond. He turned to Alex and kissed the Italian on the cheek. `I'm sorry we're late.'
`It's quite alright.' Alex said clapping the Leader gently on the shoulder. The twins skipped past the Italian and Canadian with Daxa a half step behind, and all three assaulted the Russian with hugs.
`How much have you managed to pack?' Rama asked eyeing the boxes piled in the lounge.
`Most of the stuff really.' Alex answered moving to the boxes.
`Okay, well enough playing human.' The Leader said with a warm smile. `Would you mind my love?' He asked turning to look at the tall half Egyptian. Rama returned the smile and turned to Alex.
`Show me where the new house is Alex.' The Leaders husband asked. Alex made to walk to the door but Rama reached out and stopped him. `Just show me in your mind friend.' Alex blushed slightly and thought of the new house, roughly 20 miles east of where they currently were. He showed Rama his view of the house from the street.
`See it?' The Italian asked as he opened his eyes.
`Clearly.' The older man said with a smile. `Give me two minutes.' And with that he vanished in a small gust of energy.
`Alright guys, take a room each and let's get this done.' Lachlan said gesturing to the twins, Daxa and Grayson. They all dispersed throughout the apartment and one by one they all called out, "Ready". Lachlan gestured for Alex, Quinn and Mikhail to stand behind him, against the sliding door to the balcony, and he raised his arms to his side, palms toward the room as if trying to hug it. With a rumble of unseen energy and a flash of brilliant light, the Italian, Canadian and Russian watched in awe as every item in the apartment vanished, almost with a pop.
`Done.' The Leader said turning to the three men behind him. The other four men appeared in the lounge. The twins were performing a rather comical dance across the now bare wooden floors.
`Well that was fucking easy.' The Russian guffawed.
`You guys should go into house moving.' Quinn laughed.
`Come on; let's go see how we did at the other end.' Daxa announced stepping to his older brother's side and putting an arm around his shoulder. The group of men all stepped out onto the balcony.
`I suggest keeping that protection spell up for the time being.' The Leader said nodding to Quinn and gesturing to the bubble of energy surrounding the apartment. The blond nodded politely.
`Right, let's go.' Daxa said stepping to the Russian's side and offering his arm to the giant. Mikhail smiled and hooked a beefy arm around the smaller man's.
`May I take you?' Caiden asked, his eyes focused entirely on the Canadian. Alex smiled to the blond twin as Quinn skipped to his side and hooked an arm into the others.
`Let's away!' The Leader said with a boisterous laugh and he vanished into the unseen energies. Daxa and Mikhail followed; a second after Caiden and Quinn disappeared, followed immediately by Grayson. Alex turned to look into the apartment, reminiscing.
`Are you okay Alex?' The red head asked as he stood beside the Italian.
`Just sad to be leaving.' Alex said opening the sliding door and stepping inside. He walked slowly through the empty living area, down the hallway and into the master bedroom, the red headed twin following slowly behind him. The Italian stepped to the full length windows in his room and looked out to the apartment building across the way. Alex noticed someone waving at him from one of the windows. Alex smiled sadly and waved to the peeping tom woman.
`Who's that?' Jaden asked peering out the window to her.
`Some crazy bitch who used to watch me.' The Italian snorted with amusement.
`Charming.' The twin said with a laugh. `Come on brother. Let's go get you moved in.' Jaden turned and walked out of the bedroom, Alex following at a slower pace.
`Goodbye.' Alex said quietly to his apartment and stepped out onto the balcony. Jaden closed the door and locked it behind the Italian. Alex turned to look back inside once more and disappeared from the apartment balcony.
`Hmm. I had thought about where everything was going. It seems my dimensions were a bit smaller than I guessed.' Alex said with a bit of humour.
`Well, leave the unpacking to me.' Rama said turning to the Italian and opening his hands. `Do you mind?' He asked placing a hand on the side of Alex's head. The younger man shook his head briefly as the older man withdrew the thoughts of how Alex had foreseen the furniture arrangement.
`Alex, can I borrow you for a moment?' The Leader called from the kitchen. Rama smiled to the Italian and nodded in the direction of the kitchen.
`Coming.' Alex said leaving the unpacking in the capable hands of the half Egyptian. The Leader was outside on the deck waiting and Alex joined him.
`I wanted to show you how to protect your home.' Lachlan said as he stepped down the steps and onto the grass, Alex following. They walked to the middle of the large back lawn and turned back to the house.
`So what do I do?' Alex asked curiously.
`Remember the protection around the Sanctuary?' The Leader asked looking up into the pale blue eyes. The Italian nodded.
`Well, that protection is actually sentient. It's a piece of my psyche, gifted from me and molded in to a life force which protects the Sanctuary.' Lachlan stated.
`And how do I do that?' Alex asked with hesitation.
`It's quite simple actually.' The Leader said with a smile. `Grab a seat.' He gestured to the grass as he sat cross legged, facing the Italian. Alex sat down slowly, unsure of what he was about to do.
`Don't worry.' Lachlan said with a small laugh. He reached out and took Alex's large hands into his own and closed his eyes. Alex released a long breath and relaxed, closing his own eyes. He felt a gentle probing of his mind and suddenly he was standing in a large field, bright green grass in every direction, as high as his knee. He spun around quickly, looking in all directions and just as suddenly Lachlan was standing beside him.
`Where are we?' The Italian asked quickly.
`This is a neutral platform upon which we can commune telepathically. Here,' he said gesturing to their surroundings, `is what you can call a bridging of our minds. Here, our thoughts become physical.'
`Why this field though?' Alex asked with a slightly fearful tone.
`It was in your mind at the time I connected with you. I thought it would be comfortable for you.' Lachlan said, unobtrusively scanning the Italian's thoughts. Alex nodded quickly as Lachlan filed those thoughts away for perusal later.
`Okay, so what should I do now?' The Italian asked.
`Well, first thing we need to do is identify your psyche. Your psionic identity.' The Leader began.
`And I do that, how?' Alex queried.
`Concentrate on yourself. Look into your mind and see who you are.' Lachlan said gently.
Alex closed his eyes and thought for a moment. He pictured himself looking into a mirror. He stood and looked for several moments and the surface of the mirror rippled like the surface of a puddle, distorting the reflection. The Italian watched as the surface began to still and he looked into the large, yellow eye of a reptilian creature. It stared unblinkingly at him and turned away from him. It disappeared off to the side and quite surprisingly appeared in the distance slightly. A huge, blood red, scaled dragon, with large spiraled horns on the back of its long head. It raised its majestic head on the long neck, stretched its wings out, each wing about twenty feet in length, its tail about the same, curling behind the great creature, and roared powerfully into the sky, a gigantic stream of flames pouring from its mouth. Alex shuddered with fear as the creature turned back to him and the Italian realised the mirror had vanished. He stood facing the dragon which was now sitting in the middle of the grassy meadow he and Lachlan were in, the great blood red beast watching the Italian with curiosity.
`Impressive.' The Leader said with a smile. `Let's go meet him.' Lachlan turned to face the beast and walked confidently to the dragon. Alex was following the Leader a little more cautiously.
`It won't hurt us?' Alex asked fearful for their safety.
`It is you Alex.' Lachlan said approaching the great scaled beast. `If you mean me no harm, then he mean's me no harm.' The Leader stopped a few feet in front of the dragon, which looked down upon the two men. It lowered its long, tapered head, the horns reaching about 6 feet behind the skull, and sniffed at the Leader. Lachlan laughed and reached out, rubbing his hand along the side of the snout. `And he is quite friendly.'
`So, this is me?' Alex asked standing beside the Leader. The dragon turned its muzzle on the Italian and huffed a cloud of smoke through its nostrils which enveloped Alex.
`It is how you see yourself. Or rather, it is how your subconscious views your inner self. This is the psionic representation of your psyche.' The Leader explained. `And from him, we would request a gift.'
Alex flapped his hands, trying to disperse the cloud of smoke still hanging around him. As the smoke cleared he looked up to the dragon's head. The great red beast lowered its head and turned to fix a large yellow eye on the small Italian. It looked at him, its cat like pupil penetrating the man's soul, or so it felt. The large yellow eye closed, the fine film of membrane closing horizontally, a fraction of a second after a transparent eyelid closed vertically. The majestic head of the red beast nodded up and down steadily. It turned from the two men and launched itself into the air with a mighty leap, its wings expanding as it took to flight. It flew straight up into the pale blue sky, flying straight toward the sun. The two men watched as the dragon spread its wings, shadows against the sun, and then wrapped its wings around itself, suspended in the air, and then plummeting back toward the ground. As it fell, flames began flickering around the beast, until it was completely ablaze, a trail of white smoke behind it as it tracked closer and closer to the ground. A few feet from the ground it spread its wings, as its four clawed feet slammed into the grass, the meadow shuddering violently, absorbing the beast's impact. As the two men watched, the great red dragon wrapped its wings protectively around its chest. Alex could hear a high pitched lizard chirp. The red beast opened its wings with a flourish and revealed a miniature of itself. The young dragonling spread its miniature wings and chirped cheerfully as the high dragon looked down upon it. The dragonling jumped around chasing its tail happily as the great red beasts head lowered. The high dragon sniffed at the dragonling and gave it a gentle shove in the direction of the two men. Lachlan nodded gratefully as Alex smiled to the great beast. The little dragon trotted over cheerfully, chirping happily as it got closer to the men.
`And this little fellah, will be the guardian of your home.' The Leader said kneeling down as the dragonling galloped the last few feet and sniffled at Lachlan's outstretched hand.
`This is amazing.' Alex said kneeling beside the Leader and fussing over the young dragon.
`A suitable guarding for your home, don't you think?' Lachlan asked looking into the Italians happy face.
`Do dragons really exist?' Alex asked as the dragonling leaped up and onto the Italians back, snaking itself across the broad shoulders.
`In this place, they most certainly do.' Lachlan said gesturing to the meadow. `But out there, this little fellah will only exist as long as you are alive.'
Alex looked at the Leader, his pale blue eyes locking with the almost white eyes of the Leader. The Italian nodded in understanding.
`We respectfully ask that you would watch over and protect the home of your maker little one.' The Leader asked scratching the dragonlings chin. It chirped and croaked in affirmation, vigorously shaking its head up and down. The two men smiled at the little creature as the meadow turned hazy, the backyard and house coming into view, as if the image on a television were being tuned in. The Leader pointed to a spot some fifty feet above the Italians new home and the dragonling took to the air, flapping its miniature wings adorably, as it climbed to the spot Lachlan indicated. When it reached the spot, it flew in a circle a few times, wrapped its wings around itself and exploded in a large ring of flames, which slowly trickled out and down, creating a fiery dome around the large property. Alex and Lachlan observed as the property, along with the house, glowed in the ambient lighting of the fiery globe, and then ceased as the globe disappeared.
`Home protected.' The Leader said with a smile to the Italian. Alex, who was still staring at the spot where the dragonling had vanished, turned to the leader and smiled.
`That was amazing.' The Italian said with excitement.
`And with that piece of yourself protecting the house, it will recognize friend from foe, so that you don't have to keep inviting us in. He will recognize us and allow us entrance.' Lachlan stated.
`Is your protective force like that?' Alex queried. `Like a dragon?'
`Not quite.' The Leader said mysteriously. Alex waited a few seconds before Lachlan relented.
`Mine is a phoenix.' He said with a smile, heading toward the back deck.
`Are you sure?' The blond asked cautiously. `I don't mind helping you.'
`I'm sure caro mio. Go with Mickey, and give Georgie someone to talk to while that one molests his brother.' The Italian sniggered.
`Alright my handsome.' Quinn said closing the distance between them and hugging Alex around the waist.
`See you when you get back beautiful.' Alex whispered into the blond's ear and patting him on the rump toward the Russian. `Look after him.' Alex said to Mikhail.
`Of course tovarishch.' The Russian giant said taking the blond under his arm and leading him out to the car. Alex waited for the door to close and went out onto the back deck.
`Favillo?' Alex called to the back yard. A burst of flames appeared ten feet in front of him and the baby dragon materialised. `I am going out for a little while. Will you please watch over my home?'
The dragonling flapped his wings and was instantly floating in front of the Italian. It nodded affirmatively and disappeared in a cloud of smoke. Alex smiled to himself.
`Lachlan, I'm ready.' Alex said aloud and a moment later the Leader and his husband appeared on his back deck.
`Ramz will do your shopping for you, just share your thoughts with him and he'll know what to get.' Lachlan said after greeting the Italian. Alex looked to the Egyptian and Rama nodded in understanding.
`I'll have it all in place within the hour.' The Leader's husband said with a smile. `Alright, let's go.' Lachlan said taking Alex's arm. They vanished at the same time that Rama did, although they had a different destination.
`So where are we?' Alex shouted over the howling wind that they appeared in. They were standing in frozen tundra in the middle of Antarctica, the freezing wind ripping at their clothes, which Alex was desperately clinging to himself.
`About two and a half kilometers below us is a chamber.' The Leader shouted over the roar of the frozen wind. `I needed to stop here and get my bearings.' He continued as he spun slowly on the spot, looking at the frozen ground. After a few minutes of searching, Alex near freezing, the Leader shouted excitedly.
`Here!' He gestured for Alex to come over. The Italian shuffled over slowly, not trusting the frozen surface. The Leader seized his arm and they disappeared from the surface of the ice sheet.
`Wait a moment.' Lachlan's voice echoed through the pitch black chamber. Alex, who felt the Leader release his arm, saw a small spark flicker into existence in the Leaders palm. It grew rapidly until it was the size of a basketball and Lachlan tossed it up, where it split into eight separate flames which floated at equal intervals around the chamber. Alex could barely make out how large the chamber was, but guessed it to be about fifty foot in diameter, and at least twenty feet tall. Dead center of the chamber sat a large dark rock, which was roughly twenty foot in diameter. Alex stepped toward it and heard the crunch of glass beneath his foot.
`What's that?' The Italian asked lifting his foot and peering at the floor. `Glass?'
`When this meteorite impacted, it burnt the sand it landed in, superheating it and creating a "glass chamber" so to speak. Look at the top of the meteorite.' The Leader gestured to the top of the dark rock. `The glass roof has been molded around the top of the meteorite. I'm guessing the natural movements of the earth have caused the glass chamber to disintegrate creating the space we're standing in.'
`I see.' Alex said, though his head was swimming in the uninteresting information the Leader had just given him.
`Over here.' Lachlan said, his voice strangely echoed. Alex stepped quickly to Lachlan's side who had just crouched down beside the meteorite. `Here we go.' The Leader said prying a large chunk of black rock from the surface of the meteorite. He stood up and turned to Alex, holding the hunk of rock out to the Italian. Alex took it and followed as Lachlan moved back to where they were standing. The 8 sources of fire gathered closer to them. The Leader swiped a hand in front of him and cleared a space for them to sit.
`Unfortunately, we'll have to manipulate the metal down here.' Lachlan said sitting cross legged on the chamber floor. Alex sat down and cast a curious look to the Leader.
`There's something about the environment down here that allows you to manipulate the metal. Down here it's tangible. Once it leaves this chamber, you won't be able to reshape it, unless you brought it back down here.' Alex cast a dubious eye upon the hunk of black rock in his hands.
`So what do I do?' The Italian asked looking to Lachlan for guidance.
`Okay, because of the nature of the metal, we can't touch it with our skin. So, you'll need to break the rock apart telekinetically.' The Leader advised. `Do you want me to?'
`Umm, no, I think I can do it.' Alex said concentrating on the chunk of rock in his hand, which hovered steadily when he lowered his hands.
`It's best to force it in on itself, and let the crust crumble away, holding the core.' Lachlan instructed. As he watched, the black husk of the rock began depressing and quite suddenly crumbled away from the bright silver core which pulsed benignly. It was barely three centimeters in diameter, and had a texture a little denser than thickened cream, the colour changing slightly from bright silver to dark gray. Alex reached out tentatively with a finger to touch it.
`No!' Lachlan said. `If you touch it, the entire piece will change colour. It changes colour to suit the person. That's what will make this such a unique gift.' Alex blinked at Lachlan and nodded.
`So what now?' The Italian asked.
`Perhaps I should do this part?' Lachlan asked while telepathically connecting with Alex. He saw the image of the sun in the Italian's thoughts and knew what to do. He focused on the tiny ball of pliable metal, as Alex watched it began turning in on itself, spiraling inward, the bright silver and dark gray colours twisting around each other. Alex watched as the Leader manipulated the soft metal into an Egyptian inspired image of the sun, roughly five centimeters in diameter, with intricate reliefs exploding from the center, representing the rays of light.
`Did you bring the diamonds and the chain?' Lachlan asked, still concentrating on pendant. Alex dug in his pocket and retrieved a pale blue, rectangular box. He took the lid off and revealed a well-crafted link chain of white gold and a small handful of finely cut diamonds of varying sizes. The Leader looked to the diamonds and they rose from the container and arranged themselves tidily in front of the pendant. The Leader exhaled quietly and the sun pendant and diamonds met slowly, the largest of the diamonds in the center, and the smaller precious stones scattered about on the rays of light, all firmly set within the mysterious metal. The link chain rose like a serpent and slipped through a small loop that Lachlan had made nearer the top of the pendant and latched itself together. Alex's smile beamed when he saw the finished result.
`It looks brilliant Lachlan.' The Italian said, clearly impressed with the jewellery.
`It'll look more brilliant when Quinn touches it.' The Leader said raising his hands. From the crumbled husk around the precious metal, the Leader quickly made a flat square box, with a small pedestal for the pendant, in which to place the necklace, which is precisely where said necklace went to. `That should keep it safe until you get to Quinn.'
`Shit, speaking of which, how long have we been?' Alex asked taking the now cocooned necklace and looking to the Leader.
`They will be home in twenty minutes.' Lachlan answered. `Rama has just finished with the redecorating.' He added.
`Shall we go then?' Alex asked standing up and pocketing the dark rock. Lachlan stood and waved a hand, seven of the flames extinguished with the gesture. He offered his arm to the Italian who took it and as the final flame dissipated, they were pulled through the invisible energies and emerged on the back deck of the Italian's home.
`We're back.' Lachlan called through the open back door.
`In here neteru!' Rama called from the lounge. The Leader and Alex walked in through the back door and immediately saw the fantastic effort the Egyptian had been to.
The kitchen, which had had most of the appliances removed, were all filled again, a double door fridge in the cavity, matching the dishwasher and stove. A modern dining suite with dark blue covered chairs. The lounge suite from the apartment was now upstairs in the master bedroom, and a new corner sofa, black leather and cream cushions was sitting in the lounge. A large barrel chair replacing the red sofa, which now resided in one of the spare rooms upstairs. Beautiful pieces of art adorned the walls of the living room, some of which Alex recognized as Quinn's photographs and pictures. His television was fixed to the wall at a comfortable viewing height, the entertainment system set up just below it. It looked fantastic.
`Thank you Rama!' Alex said stepping to his side and hugging him gently. `It looks fantastic.'
`I've set up your room, and two of the spare rooms for your cousins.' The Egyptian said with a smile as his husband snuggled into his side.
`I'll just go and put the necklace somewhere safe where Quinn won't find it.' The Italian said with a smile to the Leader. He raced upstairs and into his bedroom, went into the closet and hid the black box in an inconspicuous corner behind a pile of clothes. He raced back downstairs in time to hear people coming in the door.
`Guess who's here?' Quinn called from the lounge.
`Georgie! Fabz!' Alex said loudly coming around the corner and seeing his cousins. They both ran to Alex and hugged warmly.
`It's good to see you.' Georgio said with a bright smile.
`And you too cousin.' Alex said kissing the older brother on the cheek and then the younger one. `Welcome home.' He said extending his arms to the new house. The two cousins looked around quickly before Mikhail showed them upstairs to their respective bedrooms.
`I'll order some pizza.' Alex said to his boyfriend, who had just finished greeting Lachlan and Rama. `Would you both care to join us?'
`That'd be lovely.' Rama said with a warm smile.
`Well?' The mysterious face questioned without preamble.
`The protections are in place. None of us can get through.' The mage said barely containing his anger at being addressed so brusquely. `Nothing will get through.'
`As we expected.' The hooded face said.
`Be cautioned sir, the Leader is with them, or barely a second away from them. With him there, we stand no chance.' The mage added.
`Then we now have two missions.' The mysterious man said thinking aloud. `Return to the tower.'
`Yes sir.' The mage replied waving a hand and dismissing the sphere of water. He rubbed his fingers together and reached out in front of him, index finger extended. It met some resistance against the invisible barrier and quite suddenly the tip of his index finger was burnt. The mage hissed with pain and put his finger in his mouth. He shook his head looking up to the apex of the invisible barrier and watched for a moment as white specs began falling from the heavens. The mage stood transfixed watching the snow fall slowly yet steadily down around him and within minutes he was surrounded by a blanket of white. His dark clothing which hid him perfectly in the failing evening light, now made him stand out like a beacon against the virgin snow. He screwed his face up in an angry twist and vanished in a cloud of black smoke.
As both men appeared in the back yard, Quinn was the first to spot them. He saw Lachlan appear in a flurry of electric sparks, quickly followed by Alex who stumbled to his knees, shaking from head to toe. He clapped a hand to his mouth and turned to the nearby garden and ran. Quinn had reached Lachlan by this point and watched as his boyfriend emptied his stomach contents into the flowers. `Do forgive me, but I need to head back to the Sanctuary and sort out our prisoners.' The Leader said standing up from the dining table and smiling to everyone. `Well they did say they'd be here by 10am.' Alex said watching a flustered Quinn trying to drag a heavy box down the hallway to the living room. Alex grinned at his efforts and raised a hand, palm up, in the blond's direction. `I think you might need to go furniture shopping Alex.' Rama said as the Italian stepped in through the backdoor. Rama led him into the living area where all his furniture and belongings were neatly spread around the large room. `Babe, why don't you go with Mikhail to the airport?' Alex suggested to Quinn. `I can do the furniture shopping by myself.' He had wanted some time alone to get a gift for Quinn. The thin framed man waved a hand in a small circle summoning a sphere of water. It churned quietly and a hooded face appeared in the ripples.
`Do forgive me, but I need to head back to the Sanctuary and sort out our prisoners.' The Leader said standing up from the dining table and smiling to everyone. `Well they did say they'd be here by 10am.' Alex said watching a flustered Quinn trying to drag a heavy box down the hallway to the living room. Alex grinned at his efforts and raised a hand, palm up, in the blond's direction. `I think you might need to go furniture shopping Alex.' Rama said as the Italian stepped in through the backdoor. Rama led him into the living area where all his furniture and belongings were neatly spread around the large room. `Babe, why don't you go with Mikhail to the airport?' Alex suggested to Quinn. `I can do the furniture shopping by myself.' He had wanted some time alone to get a gift for Quinn. The thin framed man waved a hand in a small circle summoning a sphere of water. It churned quietly and a hooded face appeared in the ripples.