The Children of Light Book Two

Chapter One

Hi guys!!! So, I thought I would post book Two on Nifty for those of you who prefer reading it on Nifty, and of course catch those new readers.

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.

To read in advance, pop over to plus we also have some visual aids, and a chance to message the author.

Lachlan or


`Are you alright my love?' The Italian asked of his boyfriend sadly. The blond man stood at the foot of the fresh grave, tears falling silently down his face. He sniffled quietly and nodded his head. Alex stepped behind the young man and wrapped his arms firmly around the blond's shoulders, squeezing him tenderly. He rested his chin on Quinn's shoulders and held him close. `I'm here for you babe.' The blond sniffled again as fresh tears fell from his eyes.
`Goodbye Nan.' He croaked quietly, squeezing the sun pendant around his neck. He turned away from the grave and Alex changed positions, holding the man to his side, as they walked to the car. Walking slowly, Alex realised where they were in the cemetery.
`Baby, can I have a minute?' The Italian asked respectfully, guiding his lover to a nearby bench. `Sit down for a moment, and I'll be right back, okay?' The blond nodded jerkily, his sobs abating slowly. Alex turned and walked quickly down the isle of head stones, looking out for one in particular.
`Hi Pap.' The Italian said stopping in front of a large, elaborate head stone that declared that one Nathaniel Oscar Braddock lay peacefully. The Italian waved a hand over the grave and the old, decayed flowers vanished, being replaced by resplendent white and yellow flowers of multiple varieties.
`Sorry it's been so long, but things have been so busy lately. Work's been full on, and the organisation that Mikhail and I started has been taking up a bit of time as well. I think I'm getting to the point where I might let Mikhail take full control of that. He's so good with young people. And he's passionate about helping those poor sods whose families turn them out. I wish we'd have had a little more time together, just so that we could have talked a bit more. It's so hard trying to keep my family safe. I wish you were still alive to help me.' The Italian's shoulders slumped with the heavy emotions he was feeling.
`I miss you Pap.' Alex said quietly, kneeling at the foot of his father's grave. He kissed his lips and pressed his fingers to the foot of the grave, a single tear falling from his left eye. Smiling, he stood up and retraced his steps back to where the blond was sitting, staring off into the distance absentmindedly.
`Come on amore mio. Let's get home.' Alex helped the blond to his feet and tucked him securely under his arm. They walked slowly back to Alex's Audi A6, where Quinn finally stirred.
`Where did you go?' The blond asked as if waking from a deep sleep.
`I went to see Pap.' The Italian said opening the passenger door. Quinn spun around and grabbed for Alex, squeezing the Italian tightly, clutching to him desperately.
`Oh Alex, I'm sorry. I should have come with you.' The blond said morosely, his tears falling again as he began sobbing.
`Oh my baby. Stop. Stop crying. It's alright.' The Italian said, Quinn's powerful emotions flooding his mind. Alex felt himself beginning to cry. `Quinn, my beautiful, gentle love, it's okay. You have your own emotions to deal with. I completely understand.'
`I'm sorry.' The Canadian said with a sob. `I just wish I could have seen her before she died.' Alex squeezed his arms around his boyfriend, trying to physically force his love into the smaller man.
`No more tears my love.' The Italian said releasing his boyfriend and holding his shoulders firmly in his large hands. He leaned in slowly and kissed his lover with a passion reserved only for him. `Let's get you home and celebrating Aradia Beauchamp's life with her loved ones.'
`Thank you Alex.' The blond said with a jerky nod of the head. Alex helped the blond into the passenger seat, closing the door for him. He walked around the car and climbed into the driver's seat, started the engine and began the short drive to their home.
Alex parked his car on the road, as there were a dozen vehicles on the driveway of his home, all belonging to people attending the wake for Aradia.
`Come on my love.' Alex said climbing out of the car and walking quickly to the passenger door, helping Quinn get out, tucking him safely into his side and leading him up the long driveway.
`There's a lot of cars here.' The blond said looking at the cars parked on the driveway.
`Your grandmother had a lot of friends.' Alex said with a smile. The two men began walking up the steps as the front door opened and Francesca di Carlo stepped through the threshold, holding her hands out to the blond man. Quinn walked sadly to the Italian woman with fresh tears brimming in his eyes. Alex's aunt wrapped her arms around the young man and hugged him firmly.
`Oh my darling, stop your tears. Do not mourn our loss. There, there. That's enough caro.' The older woman whispered comfortingly into his ear. `Come piccolo. Let's go and celebrate the wonderful life your nonna lived.' Alex stepped behind his boyfriend and placed a hand on his shoulder.
`Come my love.' He said warmly, smiling down to the beautiful blond that was his lover.
Quinn's usually hazel eyes, which were unusually green today, sparkled with delight as the blond's signature smile erupted on his face, the usually omnipresent sun quality smile breaking through his sombreness.
`There's my raggio di luce!' Francesca said clasping her hands together in praise. `Come bambino.' She said turning and leading the men inside.
`Come sit here darling.' Aurelia called from the sofa. Quinn, with Francesca's assistance, walked into the living room and sat next to Alex's mother, who put an arm around the young man and pulled him close, whispering in his ear. Alex turned a blind ear to their whispered conversation, offering them privacy, and walked through the living area into the kitchen, occasionally stopping and talking with the friends and family of Aradia Beauchamp. After several minutes he managed to make it to the kitchen where his best friend and cousin were cleaning.
`Thanks for your help guys.' Alex said clapping the Russian giant on the shoulder, who was standing in front of the basin, hand washing dishes. Mikhail turned to his friend and smiled warmly.
`Any time my friend. Any time.' He said returning to the dishes. Fabrizio smiled to his older cousin as he continued drying the dishes and placing them on the kitchen island for putting away.
An hour or so later, most of the guests having left, Alex walked into the lounge and found his lover, his lover's mother, his mother and his aunts, all still seated on the sofa, talking quietly amongst themselves. Giuliana, Alex's oldest aunt called out to him.
`Bambino, come sit with us. We have something to discuss.' She said gesturing for the man to sit down. Alex pulled the ottoman closer to the sofa and sat down looking at the four women and his boyfriend, wedged between Aurelia and Sarah.
`With Aradia's passing, the title of Holy Strega would normally pass to her first born.' Francesca began, looking to the blond woman, sitting next to her son.
`But I do not wish to have the title. I will abdicate.' Aradia Beauchamp's daughter declared. `In which case the title will move to the next in line.' Francesca continued, watching her nephew carefully for his reaction. `Quinn.'
Alex nodded, having already put the pieces together.
`Is that something you want to do babe?' Alex asked looking into the strangely green eyes of his lover. Quinn smiled to his boyfriend and nodded affirmatively.
`Yes.' He said simply, though his thoughts conveyed more. `Only if you will be with me.'
`Forever and always my love.' The Italian replied telepathically. `Even when you're a mad old witch like these four.' They both smiled to each other, the four women watching either man's face, knowing they were missing out on something.
`Okay, for those of us without telepathy, do you mind sharing what you said?' Francesca said with a grin to her nephew.
`I was just telling Quinn how much I love him.' Alex said with a wink to the blond, who chuckled to himself.
`You're a terrible liar nipote.' Giuliana said with a wink.
`Anyway.' Aurelia interrupted. `Several of the stregheria will be here tonight, at the rise of the full moon to transfer the title, and the powers of the Holy Strega.'
`Wait, the powers?' Quinn asked. `What powers?'
`The Holy Strega has several powers that are inherited with the title.' Sarah answered her son. `While my mother was an accomplished witch, the powers she inherited as the Holy Strega were much more powerful. The Holy Strega has the ability to heal, to cast instant and powerful protective shields, control the elements and summon spirits to do her bidding.'
`But, that's what I've been learning from Grayson.' Quinn said slightly confused. `We were learning it from the mage they captured.'
`Ha! The four women exclaimed simultaneously.
`Those scrawny little mages couldn't summon their way out of a paper bag.' Giuliana said with a defiant laugh.
`Irrespective, these powers will be yours tonight after the ceremony.' Francesca said looking into the curiously green eyes of the blond man. He nodded with a smile.
`Alright, we are going to go and prepare in the woods behind your house.' Aurelia said with a laugh.
`Why in the woods?' Alex asked wondering what the significance was.
`Any wooded area would do, but the woods behind your house have had two years to acclimatise to Quinn's presence. The woods know him, the spirits of the Trees, of the Earth, of the Water, of the Animals, they all know Quinn.' Aurelia answered her son, smiling to the blond man tucked under her arm.
`I see.' Alex replied raising an eyebrow as he caught a flicker of thought from his mother and aunts. `And said ritual requires that I am not present.' He said baldly.
`S bambino.' Aurelia said with a sad smile. His aunts flushed a gentle pink with embarrassment.
`It's okay. You just make sure he's alright.' He said gesturing to his boyfriend.
`He'll be safe.' Giuliana said. `Especially with that hag at his back.' She finished pointing to Francesca. Everyone laughed.
`Better a hag then a wrinkled old prune.' Francesca cackled over the laughter of the small group.
`Go, get ready for your ritual.' Alex said flapping his hands to the four women. `Let me speak with Quinn for a moment, alone.' The four women, all still chuckling to themselves stood and walked through the house and out the back door onto the deck.
`What's up my love?' Quinn asked as he stood and was drawn into the muscular embrace of his boyfriend.
`Nothing babe. I just wanted to tell you that I love you.' The Italian said kissing the top of his boyfriends head.
`Not as much as I love you.' The blond said with a small laugh.
`Oh I beg to differ, but let's not argue about that.' The Italian laughed.
`Are you sure you're okay with me doing this?' Quinn asked, gently squeezing his lover's waist.
`Of course I am babe.' Alex answered honestly. `A member of the Triumvirate, the Holy Strega. We're rather suited for each other, no?'
`I guess so.' The blond said wondering quietly to himself. Alex caught the gist of his thoughts and laughed.
`I think Mikhail will understand.' Alex said squeezing gently.
`I sometimes get the feeling he's jealous of you and I. Having these abilities.' Quinn sighed quietly.
`I don't think its jealousy he's feeling. I think it's just a sense of feeling left out.' Alex tried to explain. `Especially with the threat of the Order on us, he feels that his brute physical strength won't be enough to protect Fabrizio.'
`Oh, I see.' The blond said understanding. `Well, with me inheriting Nan's powers, we can protect Fabrizio for him.'
`Yes, yes we can.' Alex said, not sharing his thoughts on that matter. The Italian was quite sure that Mikhail would feel worthless if Fabrizio was ever in danger, and was unable to help him. He pushed that thought aside for the moment.
`Alright, I'd better go and see what those mad old witches are brewing up.' Quinn said with a laugh. Alex giggled as he squeezed his boyfriend firmly.
`Alright my Holy Strega.' He said releasing the blond and kissing him tenderly on the lips. `See you soon.' The blond said with a smile.

`Can we go and see Giorgio tomorrow please?' Fabrizio asked quietly as he ran his hands through the slightly longer hair of the Russian giant, who was lying across their bed, his head in the small Italian's lap.
`Of course. But I have training with Rama at 10am. So, maybe when I get back?' The Russian asked without opening his eyes.
`Okay. What time will that be?' Fabrizio queried, trying to disguise his eagerness. The Russian noticed however and opened an eye, looking up into his boyfriend's blushing face.
`What is wrong zyka?' Mikhail asked with curiosity.
`Nothing.' The young Italian said quickly. Too quickly. `I just miss him. We haven't seen him for a while.' Although he knew there was more to it, the Russian let it slide.
`Da, it has been a while.' He closed his eye, hopeful that his boyfriend of two years would tell him what was troubling him. `We seldom see him since he moved into that apartment.'
`I wish Alex didn't let him move into his apartment. I miss having Georgie close by.' Mikhail could hear the sadness in his boyfriend's words and wondered where this was going.
`You can call him if you miss him.' Mikhail suggested, ticking off a mental list of things that his lover might be concerned about.
`It's not that.' Fabrizio said staring out the window, absentmindedly stroking the Russian's hair.
`Are you worried about him?' The giant asked, reassessing his mental list.
`A little. He barely visits, and when he does he's always talking about Drew. And whenever I visit him at his apartment, he's always tired. And Drew is always there.' The younger Italian prattled on, releasing his frustration. Mikhail smiled to himself.
`Drew is always there because they live together. He's tired because you visit him during the day and he works at night.' Mikhail said trying to alleviate the younger man's frustration. `I know, but, even when I'm talking to Georgie, Drew is right there. I needed advice from my brother, man to man, and I couldn't get him alone. I want my brother back.' Fabrizio said solemnly. Mikhail was up and on his feet in a flash, and had his boyfriend up and in his arms cuddling him softly in the next.
`Zyka, don't work yourself up over it. We'll go see him tomorrow and hopefully Drew will be at work.' The Russian whispered into his lover's ear, still cuddling him.
`Sorry Mickey.' The smaller man said with a pitiful sob. `I just miss my brother.'
`It's alright my zyka. I understand.' The Russian said softly. `Let's get to bed.' He said releasing his lover and helping him remove his clothes, and then the two of them worked on disrobing the Russian. In short time they were under the cover, the young Italian tucked up against the Russian giant, who had wrapped his massive bulk around the much smaller man. `Sleep my little bunny.' Mikhail said kissing the top of his boyfriends head.

The blond man stepped out of the small forest, his eyes as round as saucers as he walked slowly and cautiously toward the house. Behind him followed his mother, and the Italian sisters, Aurelia, Francesca and Giuliana. Quinn watched as an apparition only he could see floated past him benignly, like a dry leaf on the wind. When he lost sight of it, he continued walking back to the house, taking the steps carefully.
`When do I gain control of this?' He asked wearily of the women following him.
`Sleep and you should be fine in the morning.' Sarah answered her son. `Your subconscious will work it out while you're sleeping.' The blond man nodded, noting that his vision blurred slightly during the action.
`Oh lord I'm dizzy.' Quinn said reaching for the door handle, which was pulled out of his reach as his boyfriend opened the door.
`Are you alright babe?' Alex asked taking the blond into his arms and searching the thoughts of the women for a clue as to his boyfriend's strange behaviour.
`I'm fine. Just a little... spaced out. These new powers are something else.' Quinn said closing his eyes and burying his face in the Italian's sculptured chest, clinging to him for stability.
`Best get him to bed bambino.' Aurelia said with mild concern. Sarah nodded in agreement.
`Will you all be okay getting home?' Alex asked of the four women.
`Yes darling.' Sarah answered for the women. `I'll drop your mum and aunts off home.' She finished.
`Thank you Sarah.' He said stepping back and letting the women inside. He picked up his boyfriend and headed toward the stairs.
`Good night.' Francesca called out as Alex began walking up the stairs.
`I'll be right back.' He called out behind him.
`Not you nipote!' The woman cackled. `Your boyfriend.' Alex sniggered.
`Good night!' Quinn said as loudly as he could with his head buried in his boyfriend's chest. `Sleep well raggio di luce!' Giuliana called out softly.
Alex got to the master bedroom and lay Quinn gently on top of the bed. He brushed the long blond hair out of his face and kissed him softly on the lips.
`I'll be back soon amore mio.' He said waving a hand, switching the overhead light off and a bedside lamp on, casting a softer light on the blond. He turned and was down the stairs in a heartbeat, walking with his mother, aunts and the mother of his boyfriend to the front door.
`He'll be fine in the morning bambino.' Aurelia said accurately gauging what her son was thinking.
`Just keep an eye on him tonight. He might get a bit nauseas.' Sarah added as the Italian nodded.
`And smile nipote. Your boyfriend is the Holy Strega.' Francesca said with a clap of the hands.
`Thank you Aunty.' Alex said with a laugh. `I'll smile when he wakes in the morning feeling better.'
`You worry too much.' His aunt said with a soft giggle.
`He means the world to me.' Alex said blushing slightly.
`We know darling. We know.' His mother said with a smile. Sarah flashed her own knowing and kind smile.
`He'll be fine. You both will be.' Francesca said flapping her hand to Aurelia, gesturing for her to move along.
`Night my darling.' She said to her son as she was ushered down the steps.
`Good night mum. Aunties. Sarah.' Alex said stepping inside and closing the door, locking it. With a wave of his hand all the lights were turned off and he was upstairs helping Quinn remove his clothes and climb into bed.

The Russian threw a right hook at the red head and connected with a great deal of force. Jaden was thrown off balance, his head wobbling precariously as he fell to the ground unconscious. As the red head hit the ground, the marginally older blond man was at the Russian, fists and feet mere blurs as he assaulted the giant. Mikhail was twisting and turning, ducking and diving, miraculously avoiding nearly every hit Daxa was throwing at him. Predicting an opening, the Russian lurched forward and grabbed at the man's throat, clamping his fingers tightly over the delicate tissue and squeezing. The blond man's green eyes flashed brightly as Mikhail threw him to the ground incapacitated. Without pause, Rama began his assault on the Russian, an unseen blur as he moved at preternatural speed, his fists connecting with calculated precision on the Russian's body. Mikhail was recoiling with every hit, backing up slowly and eventually being slammed against a tree. Closing his eyes and concentrating, he relented through three seconds of lightning quick attacks from the Egyptian man and swung with precision, hitting Rama on the side of his head, causing him to fall to the ground. Taking a moment to catch his breath, he heard three people clapping from across the Circle. `Well done big guy.' Lachlan said with a huge smile. He waved a hand in the direction of the three fallen men, Caiden and Grayson appearing instantly above the unconscious men.
`They're all fine.' Grayson said with a chuckle.
`We'll get them to a cabin and healed up in no time.' Caiden said lifting the three fallen men into the air and walking them out of the Circle, followed by Grayson.
`Are you alright Mikhail?' The Leader asked stepping beside the Russian who was leaning over, hands on knees, breathing heavily.
`I'm... fine.' He said between deep breaths. `They were using... their powers.'
`Ah yes. I did mention to them that in your final spar, it's probably best you were fighting against realistic opponents.' The Leader replied. `Though they didn't use their abilities against you, they were using them to augment their speed and hit damage.'
`Not very fair.' The Russian said, still struggling to slow his breathing.
`And you think our enemies will be more lenient?' Lachlan questioned politely, patting the giant's back. `Sorry Mikhail, but, if you're going to fight by our side, and without any obvious supernatural abilities, you need to know what it's like fighting someone who does.'
`I know. Some warning would have been nice.' Mikhail said taking a large breath of air and releasing it slowly, his breathing normalising.
`Well, rest assured my friend, you have done exceptionally well. Even I would have broken a sweat fending off those three.' The Leader said with a chuckle.
`I hope never to piss them off.' Mikhail laughed.
`Come. Let's get you cleaned up and on your way. I can hear your boyfriend wearing circles in Alex's kitchen.' Lachlan said laughing with the Russian as they made their way out of the Circle.

`Good morning baby.' Alex said as he heard his boyfriend coming down the steps. He looked to the clock on the wall and saw that it was indeed still morning, by five minutes.
`Hi!' The blond said cheerfully as he rounded the corner and came into the kitchen, spotting his boyfriend sitting at the island in just his black track pants. Fabrizio was sitting outside on the deck in the midday sun.
`Coffee.' Alex said holding a steaming cup out to his lover. Quinn took the cup and sat next to the Italian, kissing him softly on the cheek.
`Man I had some weird dreams last night.' The blond said after a mouthful of coffee.
`You were talking a lot last night.' Alex said reaching over and taking the blond's hand in his, their clasped hands resting on the island counter.
`I'm not surprised. I had all these random dreams of people I've never met before, all talking to me at the same time, asking me for help, or begging me to do something for them.' The blond said shaking his head, as if still experiencing the dream.
`Your mum said that while sleeping, your subconscious would work on controlling your new abilities. Maybe the dreams were its way of dealing with it?' Alex suggested with a squeeze of the hand.
`That makes sense I guess.' Quinn said with a small laugh. `It's funny, I can see really strange colours everywhere now. Like, when I look at you, I can see you and the normal colour of your skin, but after a while, I can see this bright yellow colour kind of seeping out of your skin.' The blond finished with a smile to his boyfriend.
`Interesting. What else can you see?' The Italian queried.
`Every now and then I see like, clouds of mist of different colours, some white, some yellow, some blue, some red, floating past, like a cloud or something, just moving through the air.' The blond replied looking out the window, watching precisely one of those apparitions making its way slowly past the house.
`Don't quote me on this, but I think those are the spirits.' The Italian said with a smile.
`I guess so.' Quinn said, turning back to his lover. `Can we visit Lachlan?'
`Of course babe.' Alex said finishing his coffee and placing the cup on the counter top.
`Let's have a cigarette and pack a bag. We can go for the night.' Alex said with a smile.
`Yay!' Quinn said delightedly as he jumped up and down with childish abandon as the two men walked out onto the back deck.
`What's going on?' Fabrizio asked watching the blond man jumping about like an excitable child.
`Sorry.' Quinn said turning red. `Just excited we're going to the Sanctuary for the night.' Fabrizio laughed at the cute blond. Alex lit two smokes and handed one to Quinn, offering the packet to Fabrizio who declined.
`Just had one.' The younger cousin said with a smile.
`Well, we're gonna go pack a bag for the night and then we'll head off.' Alex told his cousin while looking at his phone. `Mickey should be finished training soon. Why don't you pack a bag and join us for the night?'
`Yeah!' Fabrizio said excitedly. The blond and the younger cousin sat close to each other, both grinning like Cheshire cats. Alex finished his cigarette and stubbed the end out in an ashtray.
`Alright, going to pack now.' He said walking to the door as Quinn and Fabrizio scrambled to their feet. Before Alex had reached the stairs, Quinn was already past him and halfway to the bedroom, Fabrizio on his heels. The Italian shook his head and laughed at their behaviour.
`It's just for the night, isn't it?' Quinn called out from the walk in wardrobe.
`Yes baby.' Alex said walking into the bedroom and heading for the wardrobe. He stepped into the large closet and fished out a backpack for himself. Quinn was already shovelling clothes into his bag. Alex took a pair of jeans, a long sleeved shirt, a jersey, socks and underwear and placed them carefully in his back pack. While Quinn rushed out of the wardrobe and off to assist Fabrizio, Alex exited at a much slower pace and casually walked into the bathroom, taking two toothbrushes, toothpaste, body wash, shampoo and conditioner and put them in his bag. He walked back into the room to find Quinn and Fabrizio standing at the foot of the bed, both smiling their own unique star quality smiles, three back packs sitting at their feet.
`Right oh. Let's go.' Alex said with a laugh to himself, picking up what was undoubtedly Mikhail's back pack, as the two men vanished from sight taking only their own bags, their thunderous footsteps heading down the stairs. Alex giggled and followed behind the men, waving a hand to close the windows. He stopped in the kitchen and swept his hand in front of him, the sounds of windows closing, doors shutting and locking echoing through the house. He stepped through the back door which closed and locked behind him. Quinn and Fabrizio were down on the lawn laughing companionably. Alex skipped down the steps and joined the two men on the grass. Quinn looped his arm comfortably in the Italian's arm as Fabrizio grasped his cousin's free arm firmly. Having seldom travelled with his cousin in this fashion, it was still slightly unsettling.
`Nothing to worry about cousin.' Alex said with a big smile to his cousin. Fabrizio blushed slightly as the three men disappeared from the back yard in a vortex of energy.
`Come on Fabz!' Quinn shouted as he ran for the curtain of foliage that was the entrance of the Sanctuary. The youngest Italian was quick on the blond's heals, albeit staggering a little from the dizziness that most people feel if they don't teleport often. Alex parted the veil of leaves and stepped through, watching his lover and his cousin pelting across the large stretch of grass leading to the Sanctuary buildings.
`Hello brother.' Caiden said appearing beside the Italian, giving Alex a very mild surprise. `I love that whenever I'm here, you can surprise me like that.' The Italian said with a laugh, pulling the blond twin into a hug. Alex kept an arm over the frail shoulders of the blond as they continued walking.
`You'll be happy to know that Mikhail's training has been completed. And he passed with flying colours.' Caiden said with a smile.
`What was his final test?' Alex asked aloud, though Caiden thought it was more of a verbalised thought.
`He had to fight off Jaden, Daxa and Rama.' The little blond said with a chuckle.
`What, all at once?' Alex asked in surprise. He remembered a time going against Jaden and barely making it through.
`They weren't using their powers directly. Just for augmentation.' The quieter twin said with a twinkle in the eye. `He really did do well.'
`Glad to hear it!' Alex said squeezing Caiden to himself. `I was a bit worried that Mickey was getting a little jealous of us.'
`He still is to a degree. But he's developing a greater sense of self. Rama has been teaching him how to meditate and commune with his inner core. The results are truly amazing.' Caiden advised.
`Sounds good little man.' Alex said with a laugh as they approached a familiar building.
`Anyone here tonight?' The Italian asked as they came to a stop.
`No. We heard you were coming and got it ready for you.' Caiden said with a smile.
`You really didn't have to.' Alex said with a blush.
`You're our brother. Quinn is as well. We were happy to.' The blond twin said blushing slightly. The Italian dropped the two back packs he was carrying and pulled the little blond into a bone crushing hug.
`Thank you Caiden.' He said releasing the twin and stooping to pick up his bags.
`We thought Mikhail and Fabrizio might want to stay in their own cabin tonight?' The blond twin suggested with a coy smile.
`How thoughtful.' Alex laughed loudly. `I'll throw my bag in the room and go find Mickey.' He finished as he leapt up the external steps in one bound.
`See you soon.' Caiden said already walking away.
Alex was coming out of the bedroom when he heard someone walking into the living room.
`Alex?' Lachlan called from the lounge.
`Right here.' The Italian answered coming out of the hallway and smiling. Lachlan closed the distance and hugged the tall man firmly.
`It's good to see you.' The Leader gasped as Alex squeezed him tight.
`You too man. You too.' The Italian said releasing the half strangled Leader.
`I have the things you asked for. But I got you four instead of just two.' Lachlan said handing Alex four rather familiar small black boxes.
`Why four?' The Italian asked heading back to the bedroom, the Leader following.
`Two for before and two for after. You add the second to the first, for both people.' The Leader said with a smile to himself. `And your guests will be brought here by myself and Rama just before dinner.'
`Thank you.' Alex said hiding the boxes in the back of the wardrobe.
`Come on, lunch is about to be served.' Lachlan said hurrying the Italian out of the bedroom and down the hallway. The two men exited the small building and walked companionably to the gathering field where dozens of people were sitting to lunch. Alex was blasted by a cacophony of greetings. He smiled and waved to everyone as he and the Leader got themselves some lunch.
`Where did Quinn get to?' Alex asked with a laugh, searching the crowd. Lachlan pointed to a spot a few feet from the unlit bonfire. The little blond was sitting with the twins, Mikhail, Fabrizio, who coincidentally was bug eyed from all of the people about him, Rama, Grayson and Daxa. The two dark haired men joined the group, Lachlan sitting snuggly beside his husband and Alex behind his lover, his legs on either side.
`So, how'd my big guy go?' Alex asked around a mouthful of sandwich. Rama, Jaden and Daxa all broke into goofy grins.
`He did very well.' Jaden said slapping the giant on the back. Mikhail offered his own goofy smile to his friend.
`They nearly tore me to shreds.' The Russian said with a laugh, Fabrizio clinging to the huge leg excitedly.
`Glad you survived Mickey.' Alex said with a smile as the group of men cheered happily.
`What brings you guys here?' Grayson asked of the Third.
`Just a night out.' Alex said with a conspiratorial wink that Quinn wasn't able to see.
`Well, good to have you back!' Grayson said raising an imaginary glass to the men.
`And it's good to be back.' Alex cheered, Quinn bobbing up and down happily.

`What's with all the blankets?' Quinn asked watching as several people were materialising said blankets onto the grass where people normally sat on the grass for dinner.
`I've no idea babe.' Alex answered wrapping an arm around his lover. They had just walked back from down river where they had spent the afternoon swimming in a calm and shallow part of Deep River. As the sun was setting, the little blond was shivering slightly.
`Come on babe. Let's go put some warm clothes on.' The Italian suggested, rubbing the blond's arms roughly, trying to warm him.
`I could do with a shower actually.' Quinn said shivering.
`Let's go then.' The Italian said lifting his boyfriend into his arms and running at incredible speed to their private cabin. They were in the bathroom within five seconds, Quinn starting the shower as Alex ducked into the bedroom and grabbed their toiletries. When he returned to the bathroom, Quinn was already under the steaming water.
`Come on babe.' The blond laughed, watching his lover shedding his clothes.

`Come, grab a seat with us.' Caiden said to Alex and Quinn as they were led to a large white blanket that was where they normally sat, a few feet from the bonfire, which was well aflame at the moment. In the centre of the white blanket was a low table with bottles of wine, glasses and a cheeseboard with a variety of crackers, cheese, pate, fruits and vegetables.
`This is all rather posh.' Quinn said as he sat down near the edge of the blanket.
`Wine?' Jaden asked flashing the little blond a smile. Quinn nodded and Jaden was beside the Canadian, pouring a glass of wine for him. `There you go babe.' The red head said handing him the full glass. Jaden quickly poured a second glass and handed it to Alex as he returned to his seat.
`What's the log for?' Quinn asked gesturing to the large piece of wood that was sat at the head of the blanket, two depressions carved into the wood, a cushion in each depression.
`We have some special guests tonight.' Caiden said with a smile around his mouthful of cheese and cracker.
`And who are they?' Quinn asked with a cautious smile.
`Why who else would they be?' A woman answered from behind the blond, whose eyes just about fell out of his head with surprise. He stood up and spun around so quickly he sloshed wine from his glass and nearly splashed everyone on the blanket. Jaden fortunately, was ready and waiting and managed to manipulate the liquid back into the glass safely.
`Mum? What are you doing here?' Quinn asked as he jumped at his mother and hugged her tight.
`We were asked to come along by this lovely young man here.' Sarah said gesturing to Lachlan who was smiling so much, he nearly outshone the bonfire.
`Wow, that's so cool. Come sit down.' Quinn said walking his mother to the log.
`Thanks for coming Mamma.' Alex said helping his mother to the log. She sat down next to Sarah after giving her son a kiss on the cheek. Someone lifted the table and moved it closer to the two older women who both smiled as Jaden poured them a glass of wine.
`Thank you young man.' Aradia said taking the offered glass and trying some. `Delicious!'
`Mmm. It is good.' Sarah said taking a mouthful.
`It's made right here.' Jaden said offering them the bottle to inspect. `The vineyard is a few hundred meters that way.' He said pointing off past the forest.
`So why are you guys here?' Quinn asked trying to get to the truth.
`I don't know my darling. We were just asked to join everyone for dinner.' Sarah said with a smile. Aurelia somehow managed to look both intrigued and in on the secret at the same time.
`Dinner is served.' Someone called out from the nearby cabin where the large communal kitchen was. Long tables suddenly appeared where they normally were on the grass and several people came marching out of the kitchen cabin, all burdened with huge platters of food. Meter by meter the tables were covered with wonderful smelling foods, roasted legs of lamb, beef and pork, dozens of roasted fowls of varying sizes and varieties, vegetables steamed, boiled or fresh, salads of every imaginable possibility, bread rolls and gallons of gravy.
`Ladies, our guests always eat first.' Lachlan said with a gallant bow as the two mothers both stood and followed the Leader. People began gathering near the tables as the two women were ushered around, taking pieces from nearly every dish.
`I'll come back for more.' Aurelia said with a girlish laugh.
`I was thinking the same thing.' Quinn's mother giggled.
Lachlan led the two women back to their seat as everyone else plated themselves in a controlled chaos. After several minutes, Quinn and Alex were sitting back on the white blanket with everyone else, enjoying their dinner and listening to their mother's talking about their younger days.
`This is wonderful.' Quinn said around a mouthful of food.
`Isn't it.' Lachlan said around his own mouthful. The two men giggled at each other. Alex enjoyed his meal along with everyone else, but he was awfully quiet for most of it.
`Are you alright babe?' Quinn asked noticing his boyfriend's silence.
`I'm fine babe.' Alex said a little nervously. `Just enjoying my dinner.'
`Ah. It's great isn't it?' Quinn said putting his empty plate down and leaning against his lover's shoulder.
`Yeah.' The Italian said eating the small amount left on his plate. When the plate was empty, Quinn took it from his lover and placed it on top of his.
`That was wonderful!' Quinn said standing up and stretching his legs. Alex was on his feet and snuggling his boyfriend as he stretched.
`Good dinner my love?' Alex asked quietly as he nuzzled into the blond's neck.
`It was fantastic.' Quinn replied quietly. He had just noticed that everyone had fallen silent, the dark evening pressing in on him.
`That's good.' Alex said releasing his boyfriend, turning him around and looking down into his slightly upturned face.
`What's up?' Quinn asked sneaking a look out the corner of his eye and noticed everyone was watching them.
`I must be crazy now, maybe I dream too much, but when I think of you, I long to feel your touch.' Alex recited softly, looking into the blond's eyes, which had widened slightly in surprise. `To whisper in your ear, words that are old as time, words only you would hear, if only you were mine.' Alex paused for a moment and traced his fingertips across the cheekbone of his lover.
`Those were the first words I heard, the first moment I saw you. And never had I felt so strongly attached to those precise words.' Alex said smiling as a tear fell from his eye. Quinn's eyes had softened slightly as he looked into the depths of the almost purple eyes of his boyfriend.
`You are a light in my life that none can outshine, and no one will ever replace.' Alex said to his boyfriend, who had started to tear up.
`Quinn, I love you beyond imagining. You are the missing part of my soul, the final piece of my puzzle; you are the love of my life.' The Italian said with a smile.
`I love you. Please say you'll love me too.' Alex recited slowly as he began to lower himself down onto one knee. He held his left hand open and a small black box appeared in his palm, one that Quinn recognised immediately. The blond's eyes flew open in realisation as Alex opened the box and smiled up to the young man.
`Quinn? Will you marry me?'


I hope you enjoyed the beginning of Book Two. Book Two is several chapters in advance on the website, and I will post them on Nifty as fast as I'm able.

See you guys there!