by Wes Leigh

Chapter 19

It is fortuitous that the vaewolf is universally despised, hated by the vampires and werewolves who created him, hunted by all God-fearing humanity. The vaewolf is a danger, not so much because of the powers he possesses, but because of what he represents: the merging of two powerful forces into one being. He must not be allowed to know the power he wields.

-- From 'Conclusions on the Nature of Creatures of the Night' by Fr. Ignatius Benedictus

"Cabin. Tomorrow. Be there!" Connor said, grinning at Daniel in the shower after the game.

It had been another exciting victory for the Cougars. Daniel was gaining confidence with every play, moving comfortably in the backfield and easily picking apart the defense. Donny had jokingly suggested Daniel was using a secret vaewolf power to read the minds of the defensive players. Whatever Daniel was doing, the Cougars had dominated their first three opponents, winning every game by unheard-of margins.

Now, with the hot water spraying down on his head, Daniel was enjoying being part of something bigger than himself. He was only a sophomore, but the older players on the team had not only accepted him, but treated him as a team captain, rallying behind him on offense just as the defense supported Connor. Daniel wasn't entirely comfortable with it, but he accepted it, just as he accepted the way all the young people in school looked up to him as their unofficial leader.

Putting all that aside for the moment, Daniel was struggling to keep his cock from boning up in the shower as he thought about what Connor had just reminded him of. They were meeting at the cabin for the entire weekend. Connor, Daniel, Xavier… and Diego. It had been Connor's idea. Nothing too wild. Just a chance for the four of them to hang out, play cards, run around in the woods, and see what happens next. It was that last part—the 'what happens next' part—that was making it tough for Daniel to keep from boning up.

If Diego wasn't there, he knew what would be happening. The three of them would be sharing passionate love all weekend. But inviting Diego meant keeping things under control… probably.

Daniel wasn't entirely sure he wanted to keep things under control. Diego was so fucking cute!

"I'll be there," Daniel replied, turning to face Connor. "What time are we getting together?"

"I'm picking up Diego after he finishes helping his dad. So… around noon?"

"Sounds good," Daniel replied. Did you hear that, Xavier? Daniel added.

Noon it is, Xavier replied. I have one question, however. Why am I always stuck out here after every game, putting away band gear, while the two of you get to gawk at naked boys in the showers?

Daniel giggled. What makes you think we're gawking?

There ain't nothin' to see in here, Connor added with a chuckle. Just a bunch of football hunks covered in hot, steaming, soapy water.

Don't tease me like that! Xavier exclaimed. Or be prepared to lock Diego in a closet while you take care of my hot, steaming body.

We could always get there a few hours early, Daniel suggested. Just you and me, Xavier!

Connor laughed and turned to face the shower head, rinsing off the soap. Do what you gotta do as long as you behave when Diego and I show up.

Diego fit right in.

While Connor prepared the steaks, Diego worked at his side, wrapping the baking potatoes in foil and then chattering away with Connor as they cooked. Connor called Diego his sous-chef, claiming Daniel and Xavier were hopeless in the kitchen. Diego leaned into Connor when he heard that, accepting Connor's sideways hug with a happy smile.

While the food cooked, Diego and Xavier walked around outside the cabin, talking about their favorite movies and plays. They agreed that Phantom of the Opera was one of the best in modern times because of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical score. Xavier also liked Les Misérables, which Diego admitted had some of the most touching lyrics ever written, but for sheer lunacy and rollicking fun, Diego loved The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Then, to the amazement of Connor and Daniel, Xavier and Diego began dancing the time warp in front of the cabin.

Once they all stopped laughing, Connor served up the food. They ate, complimented the chefs, and belched, laughing some more.

Then Connor suggested going for a hike. They walked down to the river, tried skipping stones, unsuccessfully, and talked about what a beautiful place they lived in. Daniel admitted he didn't like it when he first moved in, but he loved it now. Daniel and Diego began walking along the banks of the river, comparing their experiences as the new kid in town. At one point, when Daniel was describing the pain of leaving behind his Colorado friends, Diego slid his arm around Daniel's waist, hugging him to show sympathy. Daniel put his arm over Diego's shoulders, and they continued walking along, completely comfortable with the close contact.

That night, the bed in the cabin was extremely crowded, but the boxer-clad teens jostled for position until they were finally comfortable, pressed together on the bed, where they shared their favorite ghost stories, then told jokes, which naturally devolved into dirty jokes that had them all giggling like eighth graders.

Diego surprised them all at one point when he asked, "What's the story with you three guys?"

Daniel, who was lying hip to hip with Diego, asked, "What do you mean?"

Diego turned his head and stared intently at Daniel. "Are you guys lovers?"

Connor, who was nestled in on the other side of Daniel, cleared his throat and asked, "What makes you think we're lovers?"

Diego rolled his eyes. "I'm not stupid. I see the way you look at each other. You're all very close, and obviously you're very comfortable together."

Xavier, who was next to Diego, pulled away slightly and rolled on his side to face Diego. "Is that a problem for you, Diego?"

Diego shook his head. "Of course not. I'm gay, so I'm totally cool with it. I'm just wondering why you guys invited me to be here, if you're together."

Connor replied, "It was my idea, Diego. Not so we could… do stuff. Just so we could get to know you better. We all like you, and we thought it would be fun to hang out over the weekend."

Diego smiled. "It has been fun. I really like you guys too, and just so everyone knows, I'd be willing to… do stuff." Then he wiggled his eyebrows suggestively.

September 23

I thought I was done using this journal to sort out my thoughts. I guess a few things came up that require more journal therapy, LOL.

The first thing I'm trying to figure out is how Diego fits into my life. Make that how Diego fits into our lives. Connor and Xavier and I are bound together forever. There's no doubt about that. It's taken me a year to get comfortable with the idea that the three of us have this unbreakable connection that goes beyond being boyfriends. We still don't fully understand what it means to be soulbound, but we've accepted it as the foundation of the relationship we enjoy.

Now Diego comes along and turns everything upside down. Not in a bad way, I guess. It's just different. The weekend we spent together, he and Connor were like brothers, pushing each other around, hugging, physically loving on each other the entire time. With Xavier, Diego was his intellectual equal. It was amazing watching the two of them discuss music, literature, and fine art. I never thought I'd see Xavier lose a debate, but I think Diego can take him.

As for me, I don't know how to feel about Diego. All I can say is… he gets me. When we talked, I felt a deep connection with him that was far more than him sympathizing with the stupid little things I let frustrate me. He knows how I feel, and more importantly, he cares about how I feel. And this is the scary part: if I had met Diego a year ago, before I met Connor and Xavier, I think I would have fallen in love with him.

But I can't do that, can I? Not when I have such a great thing going with Connor and Xavier. There's no way I want to screw that up.

I don't know where this is going, but I hope I figure it out soon. I'm just glad we didn't do anything with Diego in the cabin. The three of us talked about it, silently, so Diego couldn't hear what we were saying, and we agreed that it was too soon, so we all fell asleep and kept our hands to ourselves. I guess I need to talk more with Xavier and Connor. This is not something I can decide on my own.

On top of all that, there's one other thing that's bothering me. I keep having bad dreams. Stupid, confusing dreams, usually. But sometimes really graphic and disturbing. Last night, I dreamed that Connor's parents were gunned down as they ran through the forest near their lodge. I saw their bodies jump as the bullets passed through them, and I saw them fall to the ground and not get up, and I heard Connor screaming in the background. Why would I dream something like that?

I couldn't sleep after that nightmare, so I got up and took a shower. While I was in the shower, I had these… I don't know what to call them… visions? Flashes of images in my head? What I saw were helicopters with ropes hanging out the side and men sliding down the ropes.

It was fucking creepy. Left me with a sick feeling in my stomach.

Why can't my life be simple? I finally feel like I'm fitting in here. I'm having a great year as the quarterback for the Cougars. I have two guys who love me and who I love with all my heart. And now I'm falling in love with a kid I just met and having visions of World War III or something!

I want to talk to Connor and Xavier about it, but how do I tell them I'm dreaming of their families getting slaughtered. Yeah, that'll be a great topic for when we're done making love. Oh, and by the way, do you guys mind if I fuck up our relationship by bringing another guy into it? That would go over great, right?

So, here you are, little journal of mine. Time for you to get busy and help me figure this out, because once again, you're the only one I can talk to.

The Room was designed specifically for the type of meeting being held in it at the moment. The walls were interlaced copper sheets over layers of aluminum mesh, designed to prevent any and all penetration by electronic or aural surveillance. Guards were posted at the end of the corridor leading the Room, with instructions to put a bullet in the head of anyone attempting to walk down the corridor without permission. Inside the Room, one wall was dedicated to monitors, all connected to encrypted communication systems, currently displaying a variety of video feeds, database records, and the faces of the individuals participating in a conference call with Special Agent Dautry, agent in charge of Operation Snowthorn.

Dautry was lean and wrinkled and long past due for retirement. His bald head reflected the flickering light from the monitors, leaving the rest of his face in shadows. His voice, when he spoke, was raspy from years of smoking cigarettes. At the moment, smoke curled up from the ash tray in front of him where he'd put out the last one, despite government prohibitions against smoking inside the facility. No one had reminded Dautry of the ban on smoking. No one dared.

On one of the monitors in front of Dautry was a pale man dressed all in black, sitting in front of a wall of books in some type of library or study. He was frowning unpleasantly, unhappy with what he'd just heard. As a member of the vampiric High Council, this was bad news. Very bad indeed.

On the next monitor were a man and a woman. They wore military uniforms: the man had three stars on his collar; the woman, captain's bars. The two were sitting in some type of planning room, with maps and charts on the wall behind them. They were grimacing too. They had worked very hard to position themselves within the U.S. military without being discovered, something few werewolves had ever done, and now all werewolves were endangered by the foolish actions of one particular pack located in Agony, North Dakota.

Dautry leaned forward, bringing his face out of the shadows momentarily. Dautry grated, "I'm sure we all understand the seriousness of this situation. Cooperation between your people is making my people nervous. You will each apply the proper persuasion upon the occupants of Agony. I'll be expecting effective results."

Dautry left the threat hanging in the air. Without saying another word, he disconnected the video conference and turned back to study one of the monitors. He pressed a control on the desk in front of him, watching the video back up rapidly, then start moving forward. The video showed four boys walking along a river, talking and laughing, getting along far too well. A vampire, a werewolf, a human, and Daniel Anderson, the vaewolf. Such cooperation was simply unacceptable.

Gabi Finnigan stuck her head through the office door. "Connor, Andreas, I hate to bother you while you're working on Lodge business, but we have guests."

"Guests?" Connor asked, looking up from the blueprints he and his father were scanning. "We weren't expectin' any guests, were we?"

Gabi shook her head. "No, but they filled me in on why they're here, and I think you'll want to talk to 'em."

Connor sighed and glanced at his dad. "If Ma says we should, I suppose we'd better go."

Andreas waved his hand at Connor. "You go, lad. I'll look over these plans for the new cabins and let you know what I think."

Connor squeezed his dad's arm in gratitude, then walked out of the office and headed for the main hall. When he arrived, he saw three men, all tall and muscular, all with the scent of alphas. Connor hesitated a moment, suddenly unsure of himself. Why were three alphas coming here, into his territory?

Then Connor smiled when he realized that it was indeed his territory, and he was the ruling alpha here. He walked into the room and stopped a few feet away from the visitors, waiting.

One of the men looked at Connor with narrowing eyes, evaluating him, judging him. When Connor didn't speak, the man grunted softly and nodded. He lowered his eyes slightly and said, "I am Alex Kovacik, alpha for the Barepaw Pack of Wyoming."

The other men followed Alex's example.

"Johann Bauer. Moonstalkers. Sierra Nevadas."

"Sunukkuhkau, leader of the Blackfeet of Montana."

Connor nodded at each of them in turn, then said, "On behalf of the Silvermane Pack, I welcome you to North Dakota. What can I do for you?"

Alex seemed to be the spokesman for the group. He looked Connor in the eye and said, "You know how the Packs work. Within our own territories, we manage our affairs as we see fit, with no interference from any other Pack."

Connor nodded.

Alex continued, "Until now…"

Connor felt the implied threat in Alex's words. The hairs on the back of his neck rose up in response, and Connor felt the urge to transform into a wolf and rip out the throat of anyone threatening his pack. Connor fought down his instinctive response and instead growled, "Tell me plainly what you mean by that."

Alex didn't blink. "There are lycans who have worked their way into influential positions inside the U.S. Government. They have no authority over us; rather, they serve all the Packs by persuading the Government to deal favorably with us. These highly placed individuals are deeply concerned with how you've chosen to deal with the vampires living in your territory."

Connor squinted at Alex. "We've made peace with the vampires," Connor acknowledged. "Why is that a problem?"

Alex shook his head slightly. "It isn't a problem. Peace is a good thing. It allows you to keep your enemies close enough to know what they're planning."

"They aren't our enemies."

Alex's lips twisted into a smirk. "They are forever our enemies. Vampires cannot be trusted. Ask any of us, Connor. We've dealt with them all our lives, and we can assure you that even now, the vampires in Agony are secretly plotting ways to attack the Silvermanes." The other alphas nodded their agreement. "Now… this is your Pack, to lead as you see fit, but we've come here today to warn you. What you are doing in Agony has been scented by dangerous lycans. They are concerned that you are doing more than making peace with the vampires, that you are actually cooperating with them, and that is something they consider to be a danger to every Pack. If it continues, these lycans will take action to destroy you, leaving no trace that the Silvermanes ever existed."

"Who are these lycans?" Connor demanded with a snarl.

"I don't know. None of us know," Alex admitted. "They protect their identities jealously, and the only reason we are here is because they sent messages to each of us, advising us to speak to you with this warning."

"Why didn't they deliver the warning to the Silvermanes directly?"

"Connor," Alex said with a sigh, "this IS the warning, and WE are the messengers. If you fail to heed this message, there will be no other warning, and there will be nothing anyone can do to help you."

Sunukkuhkau spoke for the first time. "For the good of your people, we urge you to listen."

Johann nodded. "But I will add one more message, for myself and my pack. Whatever you decide, the Moonstalkers will open their homes to any of your Pack who come to us for help."

Johann held out his hand. He seemed sincere, so Connor took it and they shook.

Connor turned to Alex and Sunukkuhkau, who also reached out their hands. As Connor shook their hands, they also pledged the support of their packs.

Alex added one final warning. "There is a greater danger than vampires, and that is frightened humans. Don't give them a reason to fear you."

The letter arrived by special courier and was hand delivered to Xavier as he walked out of band practice. He took the letter and opened it. It read:

Xavier Finton-Smyth

Executor of the Smyth Covenant

Agony, North Dakota


You are hereby advised that Minerva Smyth and Edward Finton have requested membership in the Mertens Covenant of Richmond, Virginia. That request has been granted. Please remove them from your membership rolls.

You are further advised that this invalidates your cover story as the adopted child of Minerva and Edward. Approval has been granted for you to establish a new cover story as an emancipated minor, continuing on with your activities as a student in Agony, North Dakota. If you desire to change your name, submit your request to this office.

Please be advised that any change in your name will automatically necessitate a change in the name of your Covenant, per historic practices.

Finally, you are ordered to implement whatever measures are necessary to restore the situation in Agony, North Dakota, to its previous status under the executorship of Minerva Smyth, specifically:

  • Consolidate vampiric holdings in your area, ensuring the dominance of your Covenant over all activities in the area, whether financial, social, or political
  • Minimize all interactions with lycans in the area, notifying this office if you deem it necessary to initiate any hostilities with said lycans (note that hostilities are not forbidden and you are free to take action as required, as long as those actions are communicated to us after the fact)
  • Subjugate all humans in the area, wiping their memories as necessary to ensure compliance with vampiric needs/li>

A review of your operations has been scheduled in two months. Be ready to present a status report and answer any questions this office may have. Include in your status report all information available on the rumored presence of a vaewolf in your territory and any actions you plan to take to neutralize him.


Andronicus Domitian

Office of Internal Affairs

Vampiric High Council

Xavier refolded the letter and slid it into his pocket.

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