The Children of Light

Chapter 8

Again, just apologising for the delay in posting new chapters due to replacing old ones with HTML conversions.

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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.

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Lachlan - or


‘Alex?’ Quinn called as he entered the master bedroom of the Braddock household.   He quickly looked at the people in the room.   Alex was standing at the foot of the bed with his head lowered.   His shoulders were heaving with silent cries.   Sofia was rocking back and forth on the bed whilst clutching to her father’s lifeless body.   Mrs. Braddock was sitting in the seat beside the bed, her eyes closed as if in prayer.   Her son, Franco, was sitting on the floor, his head resting in his mother’s lap, his shoulders shaking with sobs.  
‘Oh my.   Alex?’ Quinn asked as he came to his lover’s side.  
‘He’s gone.’ Alex said quietly as he turned to Quinn and pulled him into a hug.  
‘Oh Alex.   I’m so sorry.’ Quinn said through new sobs of grief.   He ran his hands up and down the Italian’s back trying to comfort him.  
For several minutes everyone grieved in silence.  
‘Quinn?’ Mikhail said entering the room.   ‘Where did you…?’ He broke off when he saw everyone’s faces.   ‘Oh bozhe!’ He exclaimed as he hurried to Alex’s side, and scooped both the Italian and the Canadian into his arms and crushed them in an embracing hug.   ‘My friend, I am so sorry.’
Mrs. Braddock was the first to come to her senses.  
‘Mikhail, my darling, come here.’ She said as she stood out of her chair.   The Russian released the two lovers and moved to Aurelia’s side, where she reached up and pulled him down into a warm hug.  
‘Tell me what I can do.’ He said.  
‘Help me downstairs to call the doctor.   He will need to come over immediately.’ Mrs. Braddock said as she and the Russian shuffled slowly to the door.  
‘Franco? Sofia?’ Alex called quietly.   Franco stood up and moved to his brother’s side, where Alex reached out and pulled him into a half hug.   The younger brother rested his head on Alex’s shoulder and sobbed quietly.   Sofia rolled off the bed and hugged her two brothers.   Quinn stood back slightly during this moment and wiped his tears away with a sniffle.  
‘Oh Quinn.   Come here.’ She said when she saw the blond man.   Quinn held out his arms as Sofia reached out for him.   The two embraced warmly as the brothers walked with arms around each other to the door.   Alex quickly collected his bag from against the wall.  
‘Come, my beautiful.   Sofia.’ Alex called to them.   Quinn and Sofia walked to the door with their arms around each other, crying softly.   ‘Let’s go downstairs.’
‘Food is on the table if you’re hungry.’ Mikhail said when he saw the three siblings and Quinn come into the kitchen.   ‘Coffees are moments away.’ He added.  
‘Franco, come sit with me.’ Sofia said after a few minutes, collecting two cups of hot coffee.   The two of them moved over to the window seat where she and Quinn had sat earlier in the week before dinner.   They sat close to each other as they sipped their hot drinks.  
‘Come babe.’ Alex said as he collected two coffees and led Quinn out some French doors onto a large deck overlooking the expansive back lawn.   Alex sat down on a bench on the far edge of the deck and lit two cigarettes, offering one to his lover.   They sat in silence, Quinn pressing against Alex as much as he could, as they drunk their drinks.   Alex tossed his cigarette end into the garden and lit another cigarette.   Quinn looped his arm into the Italian’s and rested his head on his shoulder.  
‘Alessandro.   Give me one of those.’ Mrs. Braddock said as she came out onto the deck.   Alex handed his mother the cigarette he had just lit, and took out another one for himself.  
‘The doctor will be here shortly.   And your Aunts are on their way from the airport.’ She said as she took a large drag on her cigarette.  
‘Shall I go and pick them up?’ Alex asked.  
‘No, no, baby.   They’re already on their way here.’ Aurelia said with a smile.   ‘Just relax caro.’
‘Okay Mamma.’ Alex said wrapping his arms around his lover and closing his eyes for a moment.  
‘Thank you for being here Quinn.’ Mrs. Braddock said as she reached out to stroke the blond’s hair.  
‘It’s the least I could do Mrs. Braddock.’ Quinn said enjoying the sensation of his lover holding him while his lover’s mother stroked his hair.  
‘What is your full name Quinn?’ Mrs. Braddock asked curiously.  
‘Quinton William Beauchamp.’ Quinn answered honestly.  
‘Well, Quinton William Beauchamp.   You call me Aurelia or Mamma, or I’ll call you Quinton William Beauchamp until you do.’ She said with a grin.  
‘Yes Mamma.’ The blond said chuckling into his boyfriend’s neck.  
‘Mamma, has anyone told you lately just how awesome you are?’ Alex said as he cuddled his lover.  
‘Actually, your brother did the other day.’ Aurelia said cackling.  
‘You’re such a great mother.’ Alex laughed with his mother.  
‘I know my darling.’ She said to another round of laughter.  

Mrs. Braddock disappeared inside when there was a knock at the front door.   Alex and Quinn followed her a few moments afterward, Quinn stopping to sit with Sofia, Franco and Mikhail, Alex following his mother to the foyer.  
‘Hello Dr. Michaels.   Thank you for coming.’ Aurelia said as she opened the door.   A well dressed, well groomed man in his 50’s was standing in the door way with a sad look on his face.  
‘Aurelia, I am so very sorry for your loss.’ The man said as he stepped through the doorway and gave Mrs. Braddock a quick hug.  
‘Thank you.’ She said stepping back and letting him inside.   Dr. Michaels stepped into the hallway and waited for Mrs. Braddock to close the front door.  
‘He’s upstairs.’ She said looking up the staircase.  
‘If you like, I can go up by myself?’ Dr. Michaels said with mild concern.  
‘My son will go with you.’ Aurelia said looking at Alex, who smiled with love to his mother.  
‘Dear boy Alex.   Look at you!’ Dr. Michaels said holding his hand out.   Alex shook the doctor’s hand and smiled.  
‘All grown up now sir.’ Alex said with a slight chuckle.  
‘Alex, the last time I saw you, you were a skinny little teenager.   My word you’ve certainly grown into yourself.’ Dr. Michaels said, openly appraising the young Italian man he had doctored since birth.  
‘Thank you Dr. Michaels.’ Alex said blushing slightly.  
‘Come then my boy, and let us get this awful business over with.’ The doctor said leading Alex up the stairs.   Mrs. Braddock had vanished back into the kitchen.  
‘Is he in his bed?’ Dr. Michaels asked as he got to the top of the stairs.  
‘Yes Dr. Michaels.’ Alex said a few steps behind him.  
‘Alex, call me Cameron.’ The doctor said with a smile.  
‘As you wish, Cameron.’ Alex smiled in return.   He gestured towards the master bedroom and Dr. Michaels made his way in.  
‘Well, my being here is a mere formality to be honest.   I think it’s quite obvious your father is no longer with us.’ Cameron said as he approached the side of Mr. Braddock’s bed.   He reached out and placed two fingers on the inside of Nathaniel’s wrist and waited a few moments.   ‘No pulse.’ He lifted one of Mr. Braddock’s eyelids and peered into the sightless eye.   ‘I would say time of death to be about half an hour ago.  
Let’s see…’ He continued, glancing at his watch.   ‘8.  50am, 27th March, 2013.   Do you agree Alex?’
‘Yes sir.’ Alex said, swallowing meekly.  
‘Alex, I do apologise for being insensitive.’ Dr. Michaels said stepping to Alex’s side and grasping his shoulder.  
‘You weren’t being insensitive Dr. Michaels.   I’m just a bit uneasy being in here.’ Alex responded with an involuntary shudder.  
‘Alright my boy.   I’ve done all I need to in here.   Let’s go back downstairs while I make a few calls.’
‘Would you like a cup of tea or coffee Cameron?’ Alex asked as he led the doctor back down stairs.  
‘I would love a cup of tea.’ Dr. Michaels said following Alex down the flight of stairs.  
Alex and the doctor came into the kitchen as everyone was laughing about something.   ‘Franco was just telling us about the time Papà caught him cutting his hair.’ Sofia said with a tear in her eye.  
‘I remember that.   He shaved poor Franco’s head because he cut so much of his hair off.’ Alex laughed with everyone.  
‘By the stars… Aurelia, what do you feed your children?’ Dr. Michaels said stepping around Alex.   ‘Franco, you’re looking more and more like your brother here.’ The doctor said with a jab at Alex, who stood 8 or 9 inches taller than the doctor himself.  
‘I think I’m more handsome.’ Franco laughed into his cup.  
‘And of course, the beautiful Sofia.’ Cameron said as he clapped eyes on the soft skinned, raven haired beauty that was Alex’s sister.  
‘Ah if only I were older.’ Sofia said with a charming smile as she walked over to Dr. Michaels and gave him a tender hug.  
‘If only I were younger.’ Cameron said with a chuckle that everyone joined in.   As Alex sat next to Quinn, Dr. Michaels spoke to Mrs. Braddock.  
‘Aurelia, I need to make a few calls and such.’ He said in a businesslike manner.  
‘I’ll take you to the office.’ Mrs. Braddock said as she got to her feet and led the doctor into Nathaniel’s office.  
‘Are you alright handsome?’ Quinn asked as he leaned his head on his lover’s shoulder.  
‘I’m alright thank you.   And you?’ Alex said closing his eyes briefly and inhaling the warm scent of his boyfriend’s hair.  
‘I’m okay.’ The blond said quietly.  
There was a sharp, loud knock at the front door.  
‘That must be Aunty Fran and Aunty Gilly.’ Sofia said recovering from the fright the knock had given her.  
‘I’ll get it.’ Franco said walking quickly to the front door.  
‘ALEX!’ Came a shrill cry from the front door.   Mikhail and Quinn’s eyes both bugged out slightly.   Sofia and Alex sniggered quietly.  
‘I’m Franco.’ The younger brother said with a hint of embarrassment.  
‘Of course he is Fran, you blind old coot.’ Came another woman’s voice.  
‘At least I’m not deaf, you evil old wart.’ Came Francesca’s retort.   The four people in the kitchen were giggling to themselves.  
‘Where’s your Mamma?’ Francesca asked of Franco.  
‘She’s in the office with Dr. Michaels.’ The younger brother said.   ‘Would you like to come into the dining room with us? We have some food and hot drinks.’
‘Be a darling and take Franny into the dining room bambino.   Old tart can’t even see the horrible clothes she’s wearing, let alone the hallway to the kitchen.’ Giuliana said, eliciting another round of giggles in the kitchen.  
‘Giuliana, I promise you one thing.’ Francisca said with a hint of humour.  
‘What’s that sister?’ The other woman asked curiously.  
‘I promise you that one day, I will slap you so bloody hard, your teeth will fly out of that mouth of yours, even with the super glue you use to hold them in there with, you wrinkled old prune!’ She said with a cackle as the sound of high heeled shoes clicked toward the kitchen at a slight jog.  
‘I’ll show you who’s an old prune!’ Giuliana said loudly as a handbag flew past Francesca and into the kitchen, to an explosion of laughter.  
‘Il mio bambino’s!’ Francesca cried out as she came into the kitchen and saw Alex and Sofia.   Franco came in behind his aunt and smiled at his siblings.  
‘My, my, my.   You’ve all grown so much!’ She said holding her arms out as all 3 of the Braddock children hugged their aunt.  
‘It’s good to see you Aunty.’ Alex said as he stepped back from hugging Francesca.   ‘No, I was right Gilly.   Franco looks just like Alex.’ She called back into the hallway.  
‘I’m right here.’ Franco said feigning offence.  
‘Where?’ Francesca said spinning around dramatically.   Everyone laughed.  
‘Child, your brother is handsome.   It’s a compliment.’
‘I know Aunty.’ Franco said smiling and kissing his aunt on the cheek.   ‘Hot drink Aunty?’
‘Latte please bambino.’ Francesca said walking to the table and spotting Quinn sitting at the table.   ‘And who might this raggio di luce be?’ She said with a warm smile.  
‘Hello Ma’am, my name is Quinn.’ The blond said standing up and holding a hand out to Francesca.   The woman looked at the hand, snorted dramatically and jumped at Quinn giving him a strong hug.   She stepped back and held the blond by his shoulders and studied him.  
‘Sofia sure knows how to pick them.’ She muttered to herself.   Quinn blushed profusely, Sofia gagged on the mouthful of coffee she had and Alex cursed under his breath.  
‘Actually Aunty, Quinn is my boyfriend.’ Alex said racing to Quinn’s side as he watched his lover turn a bright shade of red.  
‘Of course he is bambino.’ Francesca said with a knowing smile.   ‘You could have introduced us.’ She said leveling a very motherly look on her nephew.   ‘No bloody manners.’ She said sitting down and pulling Quinn down into the seat next to her.  
‘Tell me about yourself my caro.’ She asked of Quinn.   The blond smiled, recognizing a lot of similar traits in her as her sister Aurelia.   Franco brought a coffee over and sat it in front of his aunt as she continued talking with Quinn.   The clicking of high heeled shoes announced the arrival of their second aunt, Giuliana.  
‘Hello my babies!’ She called with open arms as she entered the kitchen.  
‘Aunty G.’ Alex said as he hugged her firmly.   Sofia ran over and hugged her aunt once Alex had released her.  
‘Nope.   Alex is taller you blind old bat.’ Giuliana said as she looked from Alex to Franco a few times.   She rolled her eyes at the brothers and they laughed.  
‘Colosso!’ She said spotting Mikhail, not that he was particularly hard to spot.  
‘Hello Aunty G.’ The Russian said swooping over and embracing the woman.  
‘Oh mio Dio, do you ever stop growing boy?’ She said as she stepped back and looked up to the giants face which was over a foot above her own head.  
‘Nope.’ He smiled down at her.   Giuliana shook her head in wonder and sniffed the air.   ‘I smell Latte.’
‘Here you go Aunty.’ Franco said handing a steaming cup to her.  
‘Grazie.’ She said whisking over to the table and sitting next to her sister.  
‘Look at this raggio di luce!’ She said interrupting her sister mid-sentence.   Quinn blushed again as Francesca continued her conversation.   Alex smiled at the term she used to describe his lover.   His mother, and now both his aunts, had all referred to him as a ray of light.   Giuliana looked over to Alex and threw him a big smile and an overly dramatic wink of the eye.   Alex giggled quietly.  

‘So the funeral director will be here shortly to collect Mr. Braddock and prepare him.’ Dr. Michaels said as he and Aurelia entered the kitchen.  
‘Thank you Cameron.’ Mrs. Braddock said looking around the room.   ‘Franny! Gilly!’
‘Lia!’ The two sisters chimed together as they stood up and ran to their sister.   The three of them hugged passionately as they murmured quietly to each other.   Quinn heard Giuliana say something rather out of place, but he didn’t understand what she had said, as it was in Italian.   Alex leaned down and whispered into his ear.  
‘She said she’s checked and made sure the dumb bastard really is dead.’ He giggled.  
‘The Aunts didn’t really get on with Papà.’ He added.   Quinn smiled with understanding.  
‘Sorry Cameron.   These are my sisters, Francesca and Giuliana.’ She gestured to one sister, and then the next as Dr. Michaels shook hands with both of them.  
‘A pleasure it is ladies.   Just a shame about the circumstances.’ Cameron said tactfully.   Giuliana slapped a hand to her mouth as she heard a giggle spill from her mouth.  
‘Sorry ‘Lia.’ She said with a coy smile.   Mrs. Braddock smiled back.  
‘It’s alright Gilly.’ She laughed as Francesca gave Giuliana a mock glare.  
‘No fucking manners Gilly.   Wait till the bastard is buried before laughing at him!’ She cackled with glee as her sisters joined in the laugh.   The Braddock children, Mikhail and Quinn giggled quietly to themselves.  
After Dr. Michaels finished his cup of tea and left the family to themselves, the three sisters, Alex, Franco and Sofia, Quinn and Mikhail spent most of the morning reminiscing, telling stories, enjoying a laugh or several and had some food.   The funeral director had come to collect Mr. Braddock’s body about an hour after Dr. Michaels had left.   Giuliana and Francesca performed a bizarre little ritual involving a lot of foreign words, even Alex didn’t understand, and a lot of hand gestures, as they followed Mr. Braddock’s body out of the house.   Quinn found it fascinating and Alex raised an eyebrow in curiosity, but did not ask about it.  
‘Your father’s brother and sister will be arriving soon.’ Mrs. Braddock announced to her children.  
‘And our broods will be here tomorrow morning.’ Giuliana said gesturing to Francesca.  
‘Jesus Mamma.   Do you have enough beds here?’ Alex asked after he mentally tallied the number of family members per bed.  
‘Claudio and Vincenzo are going to stay in a hotel when they get here.’ Francesca said.  
‘Claudio is Aunt G’s husband.   Vincenzo is Aunty Fran’s husband.’ Alex whispered into Quinn’s ear.  
‘Claudia and Cristina will stay in a hotel as well.’ Giuliana said.  
‘Aunty G’s daughters.’ Alex whispered, keeping Quinn up to speed with the relatives.  
‘Giorgio and Fabrizio can stay in a hotel too.’ Francesca added.  
‘They’re Aunty Fran’s sons.’ Alex again whispered to Quinn.   Quinn nodded in understanding.  
‘Actually, Aunty Fran.   George and Fabz can stay with me if they want? It’ll save them money.’ Alex offered.  
‘Only if that’s alright with you bambino.   That would be nice.’ Francesca said with a smile.   She looked at Quinn and winked subtly.   Quinn flashed a brilliant smile at the woman who was fast becoming his favourite Aunt.  
‘Oh Dio, look at that smile.   When you were made mio bambino, the maker opened your mouth wide, took a sun and jammed it in there.’ She said with humour.   Everyone in the kitchen laughed at Francesca’s compliment as Quinn blushed.  
‘And where are you two staying?’ Sofia asked of her aunts.  
‘We will stay here, with ‘Lia.’ They said together.   The younger people in the room giggled at the synchronicity.  
‘And that means Uncle Alistair and Aunt Veronica will be here with Callum and William.’ Franco said.  
‘And Aunty Helen and Uncle Liam with Jamie and Olivia as well.’ Finished Sofia.   Aurelia, Francesca and Giuliana all nodded in agreement.  
‘You have a huge family.’ Quinn said quietly to his boyfriend.  
‘It’s not that big when you barely see them that much.’ Alex said to the blond.  
‘Lia, this is boring.’ Giuliana said standing up abruptly.   ‘Where’s the wine?’ She laughed as she stomped into the kitchen, her shoes clicking loudly on the wooden floor.  
‘Ah yes, the drunk arrives!’ Francesca declared as she too got to her feet and noisily clicked into the kitchen behind her sister.  
‘Like you haven’t wanted to drink since we arrived Franny.’ Giuliana said in a simpering voice.   Everyone laughed loudly at the interplay between the two sisters.  
‘The both of you are piss heads.’ Mrs. Braddock said loudly over the laughter.  
‘Franco, please take your drunkard aunts into the cellar, darling.’ Giuliana and Francesca both gasped over-exaggeratedly at the accusation.  
‘Sì Mamma.’ Franco said following his aunts into the kitchen and leading them to the back of the house.  
‘Bring enough for everyone!’ Aurelia called after them.   Quinn heard one of the aunts mumble something and then Franco, Giuliana and Francesca cackled with laughter.  
‘I heard that!’ Mrs. Braddock shouted with glee.  

Aurelia’s older sisters returned from the cellar with both their arms loaded with wine bottles, Franco bringing up the rear with his arms loaded as well.  
‘I’m going to sleep in the cellar tonight.’ Giuliana giggled as she walked to the table.  
Alex and Quinn stood quickly and helped the aunts stand the bottles on the table.  
Mikhail helped Franco with his armload.   In total the aunts and Franco had brought 25 bottles of wine up from the cellar.  
‘Aurelia, you have about half a year’s supply of Italy’s vineyards in your cellar.’ Francesca said when she had emptied her hands.  
‘I know.   Nathaniel and I both enjoyed stocking those bottles up for such an occasion.’ Mrs. Braddock said smiling.  
‘Well, we can make a dent in them now.’ Giuliana said stepping into the kitchen and collecting wine glasses.   Mikhail and Franco followed her and brought the glasses to the table.   As the last glass was placed on the table, there was a knock on the door.  
‘I’ll get it.’ Mrs. Braddock said standing up and heading for the front door.  
Giuliana looked at her sister and pulled a humorous face.   Francesca slapped her on the arm and said something quickly in a foreign language.   Quinn looked to Alex hoping he had caught it, but he shrugged his shoulders.  
‘Come in please.’ They heard Aurelia saying in the foyer.   They heard the footsteps of several people and the thud of a handful of heavy bags hitting the ground.  
‘Leave them there for the time being.’ Mrs. Braddock said.   ‘Come through and meet everyone.’ She said as her voice got louder the closer she got to the kitchen.  
‘Everyone, this is Alistair and Veronica, Helen and Liam, Callum, William, Jamie and Olivia.’ Aurelia said gesturing to each person as she introduced them.  
Quinn spotted Mr. Braddock’s siblings with great ease.   Alistair looked like a younger copy of Nathaniel.   He was precisely the same height, even had the same startling shade of blue eyes.   Helen was a few inches shorter than her brothers, but had the precise same coloured eyes as them.  
Everyone in the room stood and greeted the older people first, introducing themselves as they went.   Alex reacquainted himself with his cousins for a few minutes as Alistair and Helen spoke quietly with Aurelia, and Francesca and Giuliana chatted with Veronica and Liam.  
‘I think we’re going to need more glasses.’ Giuliana said loudly with a smile.  
‘And more wine.’ Helen added with a giggle from everyone.  
Franco and Francesca dashed for the cellar again, whilst Alex and Mikhail fished out more wine glasses.   Giuliana opened a bottle and began pouring out glasses.   16 glasses filled with either red or white wine and several empty bottles, everyone collected a glass and stood around the table.   Aurelia looked to her eldest son and smiled.  
‘To Papà.’ He said loudly as everyone chorused his toast, although some said “Nathaniel” or “Uncle”.   Everyone took a mouthful of wine in Nathaniel’s honour.   Giuliana and Francesca smirking at each other.  

For nearly 2 hours, everyone talked or reminisced with each other.   At some point, Alistair came over to Alex to speak with him.  
‘Hello Alex.’ Alistair said with the same crisp Northern accent as his brother.  
‘Hello Uncle.’ Alex said with a smile and a handshake.   ‘How was your trip?’
‘Non-descript.’ Alistair said with a weary smile.   ‘And who is this?’ He asked looking to Quinn.  
‘Uncle, this is my partner, Quinn.   Quinn, this is my uncle Alistair.’ Alex introduced the two.  
‘It’s a pleasure to meet you sir.’ Quinn said shaking the gentleman’s hand.  
‘Likewise young man.   Likewise.’ Alistair said, his smile reaching his eyes for the first time since Quinn had seen him.  
‘I am sorry for the loss of your brother.’ Quinn said lowering his head with respect.  
‘Thank you Quinn.   That is very kind of you.’ Alistair said observing the young blond man for a moment.   With a raised eyebrow, he looked at Alex.   ‘Is that your Audi in the driveway Alex?’
Alex smiled and said, ‘Yes sir.’ Quinn glanced at Alex with a questioning look.   Alex blushed with embarrassment, having not told Quinn he had a car.  
‘That’s a beautiful machine you have there.’ Alistair said with bravado.  
‘Mmm, she certainly is a good drive.’ Alex mused.  
‘Yes.   Much like your father, you do rather have a taste for the exquisite.’ Nathaniel’s brother said with a coy glance at Quinn, the blond blushing from head to toe.  
‘I only settle for the best.’ Alex said pulling Quinn into his side and hugging him firmly.  
‘Alex?’ Alistair began cautiously.   ‘Do you think we could have a word in private?’ Alex looked at his uncle with curiosity and nodded, pointing to the kitchen door.  
‘I’ll be back soon babe.’ He whispered into Quinn’s ear as he followed his uncle out of the kitchen.   He took the lead and led his uncle to his father’s office.   He stepped inside, waited for his uncle to enter and then closed the door.  
‘What can I help with Uncle?’ Alex asked as Alistair looked around the office.  
‘Did your father ever tell you about what he used to do?’ His uncle began without preamble.  
‘Yes, he did.’ Alex answered honestly, watching his uncle carefully.  
‘So, you have it then?’ Alistair said looking at his nephew with hungry eyes.   Alex felt a need to be cautious.  
‘Have what?’ Alex asked to ensure they were speaking of the same thing.  
‘You have his powers?’ Alistair asked stepping toward his nephew, the hunger in his eyes nearly taking over his face.  
‘They were passed on to me, yes.’ Alex said.   He was about to say more when he heard a voice whisper in his ear, “Stop.   Don’t tell him of the other powers, or the ritual we performed.” Alex jumped slightly at the telepathic interruption.  
‘Are you alright boy?’ Alistair said looking into his nephew’s eyes, where he thought he saw a flash of panic.  
‘I’m fine.   Muscle spasm.’ Alex lied easily.   He heard Caiden laughing at the back of his mind.  
‘So, you’re a member of the Order then?’ Alistair asked, taking a seat in Nathaniel’s chair.  
‘The Order?’ Alex queried.  
‘God’s Army.   You’re one of the Horsemen now, surely?’ Alex’s uncle asked, looking at Alex as if he were a foolish child.  
‘No.   No I’m not.’ Alex answered.   Alistair looked like he’d been smacked in the face with a frying pan.  
‘You’re not?’ Alistair stammered stupidly.  
‘No.’ Alex said simply.  
‘But, how? Why?’ His uncle asked quickly.  
‘The how is easy to explain.   No-one has asked me.   The why, even easier.   I want nothing to do with an army fighting in the name of a non-existent deity.’ Alex said calmly.  
‘Alex, you can’t not be a member of the Order.   I’ll make a few calls and we can get this sorted.’ Alistair rambled.  
‘Uncle?’ Alex asked.  
‘And when you’re inducted you can move back to England with me.’ His uncle continued without hearing his nephew.  
‘Uncle!’ Alex all but shouted.   Alistair stopped talking and looked at his nephew.  
‘I will not be joining the Order.’ He said.  
‘What?’ His uncle asked incredulously.  
‘I will not be joining the Order.’ Alex repeated, a tiny bit slower, so his uncle would comprehend.  
‘But Alex…’ Alistair said with shock.  
‘No Uncle.   I will not be joining.   End of discussion.’ Alex said raising an eyebrow and reaching for the door.  
‘Alex, I urge you to reconsider.’ Alistair said getting up from Nathaniel’s chair and walking quickly to his nephew’s side, reaching out to grab his shoulder.   Alex shrugged out of his uncle’s way.  
‘No.’ Alex said firmly.   ‘I think it’s best we join everyone else.’
‘You’ve no idea what you’re doing Alex.   They will find you.’ Alistair said with a shade of vehemence.  
‘Are you threatening me Uncle?’ Alex said puffing up to his full height.   Alistair glanced at Alex’s full frame and shuddered with fear.  
‘Reconsider.’ Alistair said as he stormed out of the office and headed for the kitchen.   Alex took a deep breath and followed him.  
As soon as Alex entered the kitchen, his mother, aunts and lover all looked at him with vague curiosity.  
‘Are you alright?’ Quinn asked quietly as he reached Alex.  
‘I’m fine babe.’ Alex smiled warmly, snaking an arm around the waist of the blond man.   ‘Let’s go talk to mum.’ He said leading Quinn through the people to his mother who was sitting with her sisters at the dining table.  
‘Mamma, I think Quinn and I should be going.   I have a few things I need to take care of.’ Alex said as he and his lover stood beside the table.   Aurelia, Francesca and Giuliana all stood.  
‘What did he say?’ The oldest of the sisters asked Alex.  
‘He asked me if I had been inducted into Papà’s order, Aunty G.’ Alex said honestly.  
‘As blind and foolish as his brother.’ Francesca said under her breath.  
‘Be careful mio bambino.’ Mrs. Braddock said quietly as she reached out and hugged her son.   After hugging her son, she reached out for Quinn and pulled him into a hug.   ‘You too raggio di luce.’ She said into the blond’s ear.  
‘I will Mamma.’ Quinn replied quietly.  
Giuliana was hugging her nephew and whispering quickly into his ear.   Quinn couldn’t make out what she was saying, but he guessed Alex would tell him if he felt the need to.   Francesca reached out for Quinn and he felt himself drawn into her arms.  
‘I like you caro.’ She said as she hugged the blond.   ‘Be careful darling.   Come back tomorrow, sì?’
‘Of course.’ Quinn said releasing Francesca.   Giuliana embraced Quinn next as Alex hugged his other aunt.  
‘Repeat after me.   Madre terra.’ She said quietly into his ear.  
‘Madre terra.’ Quinn whispered back to her, unsure what this was about let alone what the words meant.  
‘Fratello sole.’ Giuliana continued.  
‘Fratello sole.’ The blond repeated not quite achieving the same pronunciation as the Italian woman.  
‘Sorella luna.’ The older of the sister’s said.  
‘Sorella luna.’ Quinn recited back to her.   “I’m sure I’ve heard those words before somewhere.” Quinn thought to himself.  
‘E le care stelle.’ Giuliana said releasing Quinn from her hug.  
‘E le care stelle.’ He said looking into her dark green eyes.  
‘Mi guidino e mi proteggano.’ She finished.  
‘Mi guidino e mi proteggano.’ Quinn smiled as he finished his recitation.  
‘Make sure you and Alex both say that BEFORE you go into your apartment when you get home, sì?’ She asked squeezing Quinn’s shoulders.  
‘Of course.’ Quinn said feeling a little anxious.  
‘We’ll do it Aunty.’ Alex said taking Quinn’s hand into his and squeezing.   Aurelia looked at her oldest son and smiled.  
‘We’ll see you tomorrow morning my darlings.’ Mrs. Braddock said.  
‘You sure will.’ The tall Italian said leading Quinn through the people to Mikhail.  
‘Come on big guy.   Let’s get a move on.’ Alex said when they reached him.  
‘See you guys tomorrow.’ The Russian said to Sofia and a few of Alex’s cousins, who all smiled and waved in farewell.  
‘Bye everyone.   We’ll see you all tomorrow.’ Alex said loudly to everyone.   There was a chorus of “goodbye’s” and “see you’s” from everyone.   Alex caught a glimpse of Alistair and saw a look of anger about his eyes.   He stepped into the space between Quinn and Alistair, actually blocking Quinn from sight and stared his uncle down.  
Though he was never particularly close to his uncle, Alex really didn’t like the man.   Once they were out of the house, Quinn relaxed instantly.  
‘What did your aunty make me say?’ He asked Alex as they walked to the driveway.  
‘It was a prayer, of sorts.’ Alex said pulling his keys out of his bag that he’d picked up on the way out of the house.   ‘Mother Earth, Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Dearest Stars.   Guide and protect me.’
‘Why did she tell you that?’ Mikhail asked fascinated.  
‘She didn’t say.   She just told me to say it before we went into my apartment.’ Alex answered as he disengaged his car alarm.   Quinn smiled to his boyfriend.  
‘Why didn’t you tell me you had a car?’ He asked kissing his boyfriend on the cheek.  
‘I completely forgot.   I don’t use it all that often.’ The Italian said blushing at his forgetfulness.  
‘And it’s such a nice car.’ Quinn said as he ran around the car and climbed into the passenger seat.  
‘Sure, I’ll sit in the back.’ Mikhail said pretending to be hurt.  
‘Just make sure you sit in the middle big guy.’ Alex laughed as Mikhail flipped him off.  

Alex and Quinn stood at the door of the Italian’s apartment.   Mikhail standing just behind them.   Slowly, Alex and Quinn repeated the prayer Giuliana had taught them half an hour ago.   As they finished, Alex wondered if anything was meant to happen.   He waved his security card over the sensor and the door clicked to unlock.   He stepped over the threshold holding his breath, but still nothing happened.   Quinn stepped through the door and instantly felt a blast of heat wash over him.   He yelped in panic and reached out for Alex as he stumbled forward.   The Italian pulled his lover into himself protectively.  
‘Are you okay?’ Alex asked after a moment.   Quinn’s breathing returned to normal and he regained his footing.  
‘I… I think I’m okay.’ Quinn said cautiously, unsure what had happened to him.   ‘What happened?’ Mikhail asked as he closed the door behind himself and slid the three locks into place.  
‘I don’t know really.   I stepped through the door, and it felt like I walked through a fire.   I could feel it on my skin.’ He said rubbing the exposed skin of his arms.  
‘Are you hurt?’ Alex asked examining any visible skin of his lover.  
‘No, I don’t think so.   It just scared me.’ The Canadian said.  
‘It’s just been one of those days.’ Alex said to the blond.   He led Quinn into the lounge and sat him on the sofa as Mikhail went to the cupboard and got three wine glasses and two bottles of wine and came into the lounge.
‘It sure has.’ The Russian said pouring the wine and handing a glass to Quinn and Alex.  
‘To really weird family reunions.’ Alex said to general laughter.