Leaders of the Pack Ch. 01bysecretme©
Okay, so here it is! Cullen and Aislinn are back... Not that they ever really left. And thanks to all the support of you wonderful people they will soon be available in print. :D Yeah! And they were nominated for some cool awards! Double yeah! e-mail/feedback/comment me for more information if you want it.
And now without further ado:
Natalie hated the smell of hospitals; the distinct odor of antiseptic strong enough to overpower urine. At least that was how she saw it. Nightmares and horror movies came out of hospitals like this one. Natalie never really believed that places like this existed. How could she? She was a sane functioning individual. Or at least she thought she was, until six months ago.
Natalie huddled against the soft wall and closed her eyes to the never-ending blinding white light. At first it had been nearly impossible to sleep, with the continual white light in the solid white room. Add to that, the straight jacket, and having to sleep on a padded floor instead of a bed, and you had a potent formula for driving a person insane, if she wasn't already there.
When she was originally committed she adamantly believed that if she only kept telling people what she heard someone would eventually believe her. She persevered through the testing, the shocks, the isolation, and then the hearing that placed her in this hell.
The whirlwind of the past six month finally calmed. No one spoke to her any longer. She was safely out of public view and hearing, hidden away in this nice government run facility, and "protected" from herself. Only now did Natalie start to wonder if she was wrong.
Maybe I was hearing things. I must have been hearing things. I'll tell them. I'll tell them I was only hearing things. They'll let me go home. They'll have to let me go home. If I was hearing things then I'm not really insane. Maybe I bumped my head. That's it. I bumped my head and it wasn't real. I didn't see anything.
Blaring alarms sounded somewhere down the hall. Natalie lay still. She heard them before. She never found out what the commotion was before. Even the sound of slamming and her door crashing open wasn't enough to convince her to open her eyes.
"Is that her" a voice too near to be real asked.
"It has to be. Grab her and let's go. Time's nearly up."
Hands took hold of Natalie and she finally opened her eyes to see what was going on. An incredibly large man ripped through the bindings on her straight jacket as if they were tissue paper. Then without a word, picked her up and threw her over his shoulder. He was at least six feet tall, if not bigger. His hair and eyes were nearly the same shade of black brown. His smaller friend was dark skinned with amazing but strange blue eyes. It all added to the unreal impression that Natalie was getting from the very solid experience.
This has to be a dream, she thought. I'm seeing things again. What is this? A jail break? Who would want to rescue me? And what kind of rescuers wear jogging pants and t-shirts, no shoes, and carry no weapons? At least that described the big guy who was carrying her. The smaller man was in all black and may have had weapons, but they were currently out of sight.
Natalie was jostled down one hall and then another. Although grateful for the removal of the straight jacket, this guy's shoulder was not comfortable jabbing into her stomach. The trio streaked up a set of stairs and then another.
Finally they slammed through a last door. Natalie couldn't help opening her eyes. Frigid wind blasting from helicopter blades blew her hospital gown wildly. The large man carrying her put her down lightly on the roof with a small group of other people wearing hospital gowns and staring wide eyed at the scene. "Wait here," he shouted at her and streaked over to a few people waiting by one of two large helicopters.
Natalie never saw anything like it before. The helicopters looked like something out of one of the armed forces commercials she saw on television. One of them was huge and had two spinning sets of blades on top. It barely fit on the area of roof where it waited. The other hovered above the building. Search lights flashed over the roof, lingering on the various groups of people rushing about. That one also had several sets of dangerous looking weaponry protruding from the sides.
In moments another large man came running across the room and began herding the group of ex-patients into the large helicopter. It was a tight fit. Natalie counted about ten patients squeezed into the back of the helicopter. The smaller man with blue eyes appeared in front of them and appeared to be in charge of crowd control. Not that anyone was putting up a fight. They were all too stunned.
Suddenly there was shouting and rushing and more alarms sounding. The last of the people on the roof piled into the helicopter and only barely managed to pull the door shut as it took off. Gunfire blasted piercingly over the whirring of the helicopter.
The last man in turned around and Natalie could see blood oozing from a series of bullet wounds across his chest. He was wincing in pain, but didn't appear to be nearly as hurt as a man who had just been shot should be.
Above all the bedlam was this woman all the men differed to. She was obviously in charge. At first glance she appeared to be in her early twenties, maybe. But the long silver-white braid down her back, led Natalie to think she had to be much older. She was wearing black, like the smaller man. An air of quiet kind confidence almost emanated from her. Natalie was inclined to think that everything was going to be alright as she stared into the strange woman's brown eyes.
Still, this was all too strange to be real. Natalie as more inclined to think she was dreaming than to believe she was actually in the middle of being rescued from the government run insane asylum she had been committed to. Hell, even that seems hard to believe. Maybe the entire last six months have all been some kind of wicked nightmare, she thought. Closing her eyes Natalie leaned against the humming wall of the helicopter and decided to wait for herself to wake up.
"Mira," Natalie heard someone call over the chaos. "We're clear."
* * * *
Cullen's arm wrapped lovingly around Aislinn. His hand rested gently on her pregnant belly. Although she was fast asleep, the babies were very active. Cullen smiled and snuggled closer to her, pressing his face into her hair and inhaling deeply. Even in her sleep Aislinn purred when he tightened his embrace.
Cullen's wolf began growling in the back of his mind. It had been a while since the last time they made love. Being late in the pregnancy Aislinn was getting fairly big and increasingly uncomfortable, and as a result less and less inclined to let him get overly friendly. There were nights she actually kicked him out of bed because she wanted more room. Keith laughed incessantly when Cullen complained. Afterall, he recently went through the same thing. He considered it his duty to inflict upon Cullen as much torment as he received during Jaylyn's pregnancy.
Aislinn woke to the sound of needy growling in her ear. Cullen nuzzled the back of her neck, taking in her scent. She could feel his stiff length prodding at her from behind.
"Cullen," she breathed exhausted and annoyed. He wouldn't back off lately. She swatted at him trying to get him to back off.
This time he wasn't going to be dissuaded. "Piseagan, it's been weeks," he growled.
"And it's gonna be a couple more," Aislinn growled right back. She pulled the pillow she had taken to sleeping with, tight against her chest and rolled away from him.
Cullen got up and paced around the bed. He was torn between respecting her wishes and wanting to be close to her. "Maybe I'm trying to persuade you the wrong way."
"You're not persuading at all, you're demanding. Go back to sleep."
Aislinn shifted in the bed, trying to find a more comfortable position to sleep in. As she moved onto her back, she felt Cullen's hands on her ankles. Before she could grumble at him again, he leaned in and kissed her ankle.
Cullen knew Aislinn's cat too well. He kissed his way along her calf and up her inner thigh. Aislinn mewled a half-hearted protest. Still her legs fell apart willingly as Cullen worked his way toward her center.
Frustration and desire warred in her head. Cullen's lips peppered gentle kisses along the dip between her sex and her leg. When his fingers parted her lips and he dragged his tongue slowly between, the purring began and Aislinn crumbled.
Closing her eyes, Aislinn lifted her hips, pressing against his mouth as he sucked rhythmically on her clit. One finger tickled along her lips and dipped inside. Aislinn squirmed, as Cullen stroked inside her, finding the soft smooth spot on her inner walls that always brought her pleasure faster. He wanted his turn now that she was giving in.
Aislinn gasped and whimpered as she came. During her momentary lapse of cognoscente thought process, Cullen guided her onto her hands and knees. It was all he could do to keep his wolf in check as he entered her. It had been too long. Hell, a couple days is too long, he growled to himself.
Losing some control to his wolf, Cullen's hands turned to claws and dug into Aislinn's hips. At first Cullen thought that the growling he heard was her argument to being handled a little too rough. It took all the fight he had to force his wolf back down and take a more gentle approach.
When Aislinn pushed him off, and rolled to her side holding her stomach fear smacked him in the face and his wolf whimpered, retreating to the recesses of his mind. "Aislinn? Did I hurt you? I'm calling Rhona." Cullen jumped up from the bed and grabbed his phone from the nightstand.
Guilt coursed through him. "Why the caoch didn't I listen to her? Why isn't Rhona answering," Cullen growled after only two rings.
A sleepy sounding voice on the other end of the line finally answered. "Lord Arnauk?"
"Rhona. It's Aislinn," he practically shouted into the phone.
"Calm down. I'm on the way."
Cullen didn't give her a chance to say anything else. He hung up and was at Aislinn's side. She was lying on her back, holding a hand to her stomach and staring at him with amusement.
"Cullen," Aislinn said very patiently. "I'm fine. I have to use the bathroom and one of the twins kicked me wrong. That's all. Now call Rhona back and apologize for waking her up." She was near laughing at him.
Watching Aislinn walk to the bathroom, Cullen collapsed onto the bed. "Well I certainly feel the fool," he called after her.
Aislinn chuckled. "Just call Rhona back before—" A knock on the door was followed by Rhona walking into the main room. "Too late," she laughed.
Walking into the bedroom, Rhona found the pack Alpha lying naked on the bed. "Lord Arnauk? Where's Aislinn?" She instantly knew that she was dealing with an over reacting expectant father.
Cullen pointed to the bathroom. "I'm sure she'll be out in a minute. I'm sorry Rhona. Thank you for coming so quickly, though."
The bathroom door opened and Aislinn came out with a huge grin on her face. She briefly contemplated that it was only a short time ago when she would have been self conscious to be in front of another pack member naked. I've certainly come a long way, she thought.
Cullen smiled at her, sensing her feelings. He was glad she was taking to her role in the pack so readily. For the first time in decades life seemed to be operating in his favor.
"Hi Rhona, I'm fine." Aislinn moved back to the bed and kicked Cullen to make him move over.
Rhona nodded, taking note of the fresh claw marks on Aislinn's hips. "What were you two doing that scared Lord Arnauk so badly? As if I couldn't guess."
Cullen growled, when Aislinn chuckled. "Serves him right. He was after me all night. I kept telling him 'no.' Maybe this little scare will get me some peace for the rest of the pregnancy."
Crossing his arms, Cullen shot Aislinn a nasty glare. "Maybe I'll just get one of the eager young women in the common room to deal with my wolf until you're ready to put up with me again then."
"Are you threatening me?" Aislinn glared right back at him.
"Hey now," Rhona interrupted. "Far be it for me to take sides in an Alpha argument. I have to point out that sex isn't going to hurt anything. It may not be incredibly uncomfortable. But the babies would be fine. Aislinn's close enough at this point that should she have them tomorrow, it wouldn't be a problem."
Cullen shot Aislinn an I-told-you-so look.
"Good," she answered. "I'm glad there's no danger. Now go to sleep." She grinned and rolled over.
Shaking her head, Rhona left the room. "Next time, have Aislinn call me," she called over her shoulder, as she entered the elevator.
Cullen and Aislinn curled up together. Cullen pressed his body to hers, once again prodding her with his unsatisfied cock. It isn't fair, he thought at her.
Aislinn laughed out loud. It takes talent to whine in someone else's head, she thought back.
Sure, make fun. I'm the one who wanted to play and you're the only one who got anywhere.
Hush. I'll make it up to you after they're born. She kissed his hand that was holding hers.
Yeah, who knows how long that will be.
"Fine," Aislinn laughed. She pulled out of his arms and turned around to face him. "Lay back, you big baby."
Grinning from ear to ear, Cullen rolled onto his back and put his hands behind his head, propping himself up to watch. Aislinn sent a picture into his mind of her mouth wrapping around his needy shaft and he was instantly growling with anticipation.
Just as Aislinn made herself comfortable and moved toward his already dripping member, his cell rang.
Without even looking to see who was calling, Cullen grabbed the cell off the stand and threw it across the room. It hit the wall with a crunch and they both heard several pieces hitting the floor. Aislinn rolled onto her back laughing so hard she could barely breathe.
"Oh come on," Cullen growled pitifully.
Suddenly Aislinn's phone rang. That stopped the laughter. Cullen reached over to Aislinn's side of the bed and picked up her phone. The number was new enough that very few people in the pack knew she had it. Cullen was already regretting getting it for her.
The frown on his face when he looked at the caller ID told Aislinn that their instincts had been right. Nothing good was on the other end of that line.
"See, I knew that you being mated was a good thing. You're much easier to get a hold of now." Cadifor's distinct accent came through the line tinged with annoyance. "You couldn't have answered your own line?"
"It's currently out of commission. What's wrong?"
"How'd you guess something was wrong," Cadifor replied sarcastically.
"You never call about something good."
"I'm going to have to change that." Cadifor sighed heavily. "It's gotten worse."
"So you're not calling to tell me that you caught Jenna or Brennus or whatever the hell we're calling them." Cullen sat up in the bed and swung his legs over the side, anticipating that he would have to get dressed in relatively short order.
Cadifor growled angrily. It was a substantial blow to his pride that not only had they gotten away, but matters had become much worse. "No. She hasn't been apprehended. And an inside man I have tells me that the facility where the weres that Rafe created were being held was broken into last night. They've all been removed."
"We don't know."
"When is the Council meeting," Cullen asked. He didn't need to be told that one was going to happen.
"You're kidding? That's drastic. Even for an emergency situation. Since when do we jump this quickly?" The concern in Cullen's voice and emanating from him had Aislinn sitting up in bed.
"Since it looks like our government contacts are trying to hide something. We've never been great allies. But we've always been upfront. Or at least the Council thought."
Cullen growled under his breath. "Alright. I'll see you in the morning."
"You can't go," Aislinn said as Cullen hung up the phone.
"Aislinn," he leaned in and took her hand. Bringing her palm to his lips he placed a light kiss on her hand. "I don't have a choice. We have a problem."
"There will always be problems. No one's life is ever without problems. Can't someone else deal with this one? I want you with me when they're born," she placed a hand on her stomach. She didn't even bother to argue that she should go with him. She knew she wasn't up to it. She could barely walk.
"I want to be there too. Don't think for a moment that I don't. But this is our problem. The weres Rafe made might have escaped. I don't know the details, but this isn't something for someone else to clean up."
Tears in her eyes, Aislinn nodded. "I feel so helpless like this."
Cullen leaned in and kissed the tears away. "I'll be back soon. It's just a Council meeting. Don't worry."
"I know better than to believe you when you say that." She watched him get up and get dressed.
"Sometimes I hate not being able to hide things from you," he teased. One last kiss and Cullen was in the elevator on his way to the Council manor.
Aislinn lay down in the bed and closed her eyes. She had been avoiding having visions since their honeymoon. There was something in them that she didn't want to know. But now the uneasy feeling she had been hiding was overwhelming.
She still wasn't very good at it. Aislinn breathed deeply, relaxing and opening her mind to the guidance of the Fates. She consciously cleared her thoughts so that she wouldn't appear to be asking for information. She only hoped that they showed her something relevant.
At first she didn't know if she was dreaming or in the middle of a vision. Aislinn was lying in a bed with her eyes closed. The only thing to tell her that something had changed was the feel of the room.
Opening her eyes, she found that she wasn't in her own bed. Sitting up she found herself in an asylum. With fear, she realized that she was in a straight jacket. To Aislinn's relief the scene shifted. She was watching a girl hide something.
She's the one who was in the asylum, Aislinn thought. She tried to get a closer look and the scene blurred and shifted. "Caoch, I know better," she said to herself, trying to relax again.
Suddenly the scene shifted and it wasn't about the girl anymore. Now she was standing in what appeared to be a vast vault or dungeon. She stared with confusion in all directions. There were rows and rows of cells. From the shadows inside the cells were hungry eyes, all staring at her. Aislinn's modesty returned as she realized that she was naked.
Feeling compelled to go to the end of the hall; she started walking in that direction. She shifted, feeling a little more comfortable covered in fur. The instant she did and her senses sharpened she almost vomited. The entire place reeked of death. Strangely, it was death on a level that her human senses couldn't detect.
Choking back the bile she moved more quickly. At the end of the hall was a door like nothing she had ever seen. Covered in runes, tall and heavy, it was beautiful and terrifying all at once. And it was open.
Aislinn started to move to go into the room and the scene shifted again. Somehow she knew that the only thing she was supposed to see was that the door was ajar. But that didn't stop her from wanting to know what was on the other side. And she wanted a closer look at the runes. What were they meant to do? Does a druid live in this place?
The active thought process was enough to bring an end to the vision. The last thing she saw as the vision closed was herself, standing in front of Jenna. Perhaps more frightening than anything she had seen or felt in the rest of the vision; Jenna was holding one of Aislinn's babies. The infant seemed dead in her arms.