New Kingdom: European Court Ch. 11byMicKay©
Thanks to TaFace for reviewing and making some corrections to spelling and grammar.
Antony walked to the doors of his apartment questioning his next steps. Calling himself a coward for the thousandth time, he was startled when Emma suddenly opened the door and stood with her arms crossed over her chest, a mischievous smile gracing her face. He wondered which bothered him more, her sudden appearance or his startled reaction.
"So," she finally started while tugging on the belt of her robe, "do you want to stand in the hall all night?"
"Lady, you have no idea what I'd like to do all night," he answered and then walked through the door lifting her in his arms. He quickly moved to the couch laughing at Emma's squeals and playful struggles.
"Antony, wait! Stop!" she screamed as he gently stroked his fingers over her ribs. "I can't believe this is what you'd want to do either."
Stilling his fingers, he leaned close resting his forehead against hers and whispered, "I just want to be with you. Alone with you."
"I'm all yours," she answered and tilted her head to place a quick kiss to his lips. She could feel the heat rise to her face and her blush quickly spread across her cheeks. "Quit staring at me."
"No. Never," Antony said twisting their bodies so she lay beneath him on the couch. "I hate every moment I can't be with you. I miss looking at you."
"Is that all you want to do?" she asked quietly, looking away from his gaze "Just stare at me?"
"Em, you have no idea what you mean to me. How much I need you."
"Maybe you could show me, you know, just a little. I know you will leave soon but I want you to know that I will be here waiting for you."
"And what will you be waiting for, little one?" he asked tracing his finger across her lips.
"To be your mate. To be with you forever," she said and then added quietly, "If you still want..."
"Want?" he asked with a smile. "Sweetheart, I've always taken anything I have ever wanted. With you, it's more ... more than I sometimes understand. But with you, it's definitely need."
"What does that mean? What is it to be like you and need anything?"
"It means that you are something I need if I continue to exist. I could never live without you, which is why I really hate this plan tonight."
"It'll be fine. The plan is set. Let's not discuss that now," she said while pulling his face close to hers. "Why couldn't you live without me?"
"Your blood is in me. Without it, I ..." he tried to explain and then stopped.
"Isn't there a lot of other people's blood inside of you? Why is mine different? Because of what happened when I was born?"
"No," he answered. "Your blood calls to me. Maybe it always did which is why I fed you as an infant. All I know is that from the day you arrived at the Kingdom Investment office, I was connected to you."
"All mates feel this way?"
"Yes. And all of my brothers and their mates are enjoying that connection right now. Didn't you say something about me showing you a little of what I want to do?" Antony asked as he gently kissed her neck.
"Uh, yeah, but ..."
"Second thoughts?" he asked propping his weight on his elbows.
"No," she answered quickly. "I have a question. Are your brothers, uh, you know, eating? Or drinking? For tonight?"
"Feeding," he answered with a grin. "I suppose we all will to be at our best."
"You will?" she asked with a frown. "How? Or should I say 'who'?"
"How? Who?" he repeated. "Emma, we have supplies. Listen, baby, what I did when you first arrived was wrong. I'm sorry. It was a mixture of needing you and fearing that the supplies might have been infected but ...."
"No," she said with a groan. "I thought maybe you were going somewhere else. To someone else"
"Then I want you to, uh, feed from me. Gloria and Iona have explained some stuff, actually quite a bit of stuff, and they said that you are stronger with your mate's blood. It would have been better if I had changed already, but I could still give mine to you."
"Why?" she repeated.
"Why Emma?" he asked. "When I've fed from you, I would entrance you so you knew nothing. Why would you calmly, consciously offer yourself to me?"
"I, uh, well, I want you to be at your best tonight."
"Is that the only reason?"
"When you fed before, I might have been entranced but I wasn't totally unconscious. I love you Antony. I need something to hold onto until this is over."
"Some people would say that it's just a physical experience."
"Some people should mind their own business," she said with a smile. "I'm sorry that we don't have time for me to change. And I'm not saying that just because my blood would be stronger but because I would finally feel like I belong."
"You don't feel like you belong?" he asked tightening his hold. "Here? With me?"
"Yes but I want it to be finished. I want to start whatever life we'll have together."
"Speaking of that," Antony said growing somber. "My life is not predicted to end very well."
"Not my life as in existence but the tangible things," he explained moving to a sitting position and pulling her onto his lap. "My brothers and I have lived by a code. Or we should have lived by a code. We each have a prophecy and mine doesn't bode well. I have no idea what will be waiting for me when this fight is over."
"Yes you do," Emma said with a smile. "I will be waiting for you. And everything else can work around that fact. Now," she said as she wrapped her arms around his neck, "show me what will be waiting for me."
In an apartment on the far side of the house, Gabriel felt his mate's eyelashes flutter against his chest.
"Are you finally awake?" he softly asked as he stroked his hands down her back pushing the sheet out of the way.
"I'm barely alive," her sultry voice replied.
"I love how you sound after sex."
"Is that why you muffled me with your hand or a pillow?" she playfully demanded. "I thought you were trying to suffocate me at one point."
"It was not a pillow," he defended. "And if you want to explain to your children why you're over here screaming then I will be glad to leave you uninhibited."
"Good point," she said with a giggle. "Am I really that loud?"
"Do you really want to find out?" he asked in response.
Alena laughed as she looked over her shoulder to survey the damage they had made with the bedding.
"God, we used every inch of this bed didn't we?" she asked arching her neck to look at the spread which had been thrown across the room.
"Baby, we used every inch of this damn apartment. The housekeepers are going to think there was a war."
"It's not that bad," she argued. "Is it?"
"Nothing that some painted walls, patched holes and repaired, no, make that replaced carpet won't fix."
"It's not that bad," she repeated. "Replaced carpet?"
"I thought you were trying to peel the skin from my back side," he replied and then laughed as she playfully swatted his arm.
"Are you hurt?" she asked quietly.
"Are you serious?
"I thought it might be appropriate to ask but you seem content to spend these last few hours teasing me."
"Please don't say it."
"These last few hours have ended," he said and kissed her softly. "I need to leave soon."
"Did you feed enough?" she asked quietly.
"With you, I never get enough."
Gently, he untangled their limbs and got up from the bed. As he walked around the room gathering clothes, he started pulling away from her.
"Do you have to do that now?"
"I'm not leaving you just yet," he answered. "I'm trying to assess the number of troops we have. There is something odd about the last group."
"Odd how?" she asked reaching for the sheet to wrap around her body. "Enemies?"
"No. I don't know how to describe them but they are definitely not enemies. My brother, Conlaoch, said he was sending some of Australian's finest but this group is ....."
"What? They are what Gabe?" Alena asked when he became still.
"I can tell you what they're not," he answered. "They are not vampires."
In the library, Phillip looked at the last team of soldiers to arrive. He kept glancing at the letter in his hand and back to the man standing in front of him. After several more glances, he realized how idiotic he must appear and threw down the letter.
"Is there a problem?" the man asked with an accent laced with impatience.
"Problem?" Phillip repeated. "Ah, no problem. I've just never fought a war using bait."
"Excuse me?" the Australian demanded. "I was instructed to meet with Gabriel Philandros. Where is he?"
"Standing behind you," the deep voice said. "And watch yourself. Phillip is controlling his shock better than I would have expected."
"Are you General Philandros?" the newcomer inquired.
"Yes," Gabriel replied. "And you are..."
"He is Lieutenant Alexander Adams," Phillip answered retrieving the fallen sheet of paper and reading the introduction. "The letter was sent by Conlaoch himself," he added handing the sheet to Gabriel.
"Do you understand what we are?" Gabriel asked the man.
"The majority of you are vampires. But not you General Philandros. You and your brothers are much more than just vampires. I fully understand the history."
"I suppose you would," Gabriel murmured as he read his brother's writing. "I suppose you would but yet, I do not understand why Conlaoch would send you. I would think his mate, Arianna, would have vetoed that decision."
Alexander laughed flashing a bright smile. "My mother has quite a bit of influence but even she agrees that this situation needs to end. With your promise to help us exterminate the bastards in our country, we thought it best to assist you in ridding the instigators here and now."
"But why send you?"
"Because I'm the best."
"I'm sure that if we were fighting a bushman or feral animals of the Outback, you would be very...."
"General," Alexander interrupted taking a step closer, "You know your brother. You've read his letter. I can help you. I will be glad to compete against any of your soldiers if you're concerned about my skills."
"I'm not concerned about your skills," Gabriel snapped. "I'm concerned that you're a human."
Alena walked across the hall and entered the children's apartment. She had just finished applying her makeup after a steamy, hot shower. Alone. Gabriel had excused himself to check on the non-vampire guest and she decided to repair the apartment and her appearance the best she could. Standing in the doorway, she remembered what Gabriel had said about the children possibly hearing her. When they greeted her as usual, she sensed that Gabriel had indeed saved her from any embarrassment.
"Are you two ok?" she asked placing a kiss on the forehead of each child.
"Yep," Joshua answered her and tossed an empty soda can across the room towards a trash basket.
"Good. And you Abigail?" she asked when she noticed her daughter staring at the door. "Sweetheart, what is it?"
"Do you smell that?"
Immediately on alert, Alena raced to the door and quickly turned the lock. Moving her senses throughout the house she reached first for Gabriel.
"Is anything wrong?" she asked him. "Is there any danger?"
"No," he quickly replied. "No danger."
"What do you smell?" Alena asked the girl.
"I don't know. It's just ... different."
"Josh," Alena asked turning to the boy. "Do you smell anything?"
"Lots of new people in the house. Some humans just arrived."
"Humans?" his mother asked unbelievingly.
"It burns," Abigail cried grabbing her throat. "What's happening to me?"
"Let me see," Alena ordered prying the girl's hand away from her throat. "Abigail, quit fighting me."
Suddenly, her daughter pushed her away and leaped behind the sofa. Stunned at the strength of the girl, Alena slowly stood and walked around to find the child doubled over covering her face with her hands. When she reached out, Abigail stood and hissed baring slightly elongated fangs.
"Abigail," Alena said calmly. "Try to stay in control. Joshua, go the refrigerator and get her something to drink."
"I don't need a drink," Abigail cried. "I need blood."
"Then bring her some blood."
"My throat burns. I can smell it. It's so close."
Before Alena could stop her, Abigail leaped again ripping the door open. The pitiful lock dangled in mockery from the splintered wood. Racing after her child, Alena was surprised to see Joshua passing her. He quickly caught his sister and tackled her to the floor just before she descended the stairs.
"I want it," the girl cried. "My throat burns. I need it."
"What the hell is she talking about?" Josh asked as he pinned her arms.
"I think she smells him," Alena whispered looking at the men exiting the library. "Quick, let's carry her back to her room. I'll hold one side and you hold the other. Don't let go."
"No," he answered, "I've got her. Just help me when we get back to the room." With a quick movement, Joshua lifted his sister while pinning her arms beneath her body and blocking her fangs with his shoulder. Before he could move, she cried one last pitiful sob catching the attention of the men in the foyer.
"Sorry," Alena said with a gracious smile to each of the men but stopped when she saw the object of her daughter's misery, "Sick child. I apologize for disturbing you."
"What's wrong?" Gabriel demanded.
"Abigail is, uh..." still staring at the human male.
"Abigail is what?" Gabriel demanded a little louder in her mind.
"Alena!" he said aloud. "What is wrong with Abigail?"
"Growing pains?" she finally said when she broke her stare at the stranger. "I'm so sorry that we interrupted. It's just bad timing ... for a lot of things. I need to see to her."
As she raced down the hall, she heard Gabe's promise to join her soon. Rolling her eyes, she entered the apartment again to find Joshua holding his sobbing sister on his lap. She was taken with the site of the brother rocking and consoling the girl but slightly shocked when a nagging fear started in her gut. She was losing her babies.
The kids had grown much quicker than estimated. Even now, in this awkward phase, they both appeared to be teenagers close to sixteen or seventeen years old. How was this happening so fast? Were they really changing every few hours?
"Oh my god, Gabe. What's happening to the children?"
"Shh," he whispered in her mind. "Don't let them feel your panic."
"Here Abs," Joshua said to the girl. "Take another drink. See doesn't that feel better?"
"Kind of," she mumbled.
"I thought she wanted blood. Why are giving her soda?" Alena asked but forgot the question as soon as she saw Gabriel at the door.
He quickly moved to the children and looking from the can of soda to Joshua, he lifted the girl in his arms and carried her to the sofa. Gently laying her on the cushions, he knelt beside her and whispered quietly to her alone. When she nodded to him with a smile, he stared into her eyes and moved his fingers across her temple. Instantly, the girl was resting quietly as though she had just fallen asleep.
"I wonder how many more times I can use that as a solution to their problems?" Gabriel asked Alena.
"As many times as it will work. I thought I was going to have a breakdown. Gabe, look how much they've grown!"
"Alena," he said aloud motioning to the door. "Do you remember Phillip?"
"Of course. Phillip, I apologize for the drama. It's good to see you," she said with a welcoming smile. "Phillip, I bet you don't recognize this big guy."
"Not at all."
"Joshua," Alena said to her son. "I'd like you to meet Phillip. He worked with your father in the States. This is the man that found you and your sister."
Standing to his feet, Joshua nodded his head to the man and said, "I should thank you for that. I can't imagine what we would be today if Abs and I had been left there."
Phillip stared at the boy in shock and finally replied, "I have to admit that I was expecting a baby. I mean, you had definitely improved since your parents took you but this..." he paused motioning to the boy, "is amazing."
"You're telling me," Alena murmured.
"Joshua," Gabriel said, "I want you to know that Phillip will be stationed at the house. I'm sure that he will be fighting some that may break our hold but my earlier instructions to you remain the same. The only change is this: other than me, Phillip is the only person that you should follow out of this room."
"Got it," the boy murmured and walked away.
Gabriel looked at Alena and Phillip shaking his head and followed Joshua to his room. Before either could speak, the newest guest to arrive at the house was suddenly walking through the door.
"Hey Phillip," he started and then paused when he saw Alena. "My apologies. I was looking for Phillip and didn't realize he was in someone's ...." the man stopped again when his gaze fell on Abigail resting on the sofa. "Is the girl ok?" he asked walking into the room.
"She's fine," Alena answered watching this strange man stare at her little girl. "Thank you, Mr. uh..."
"Adams," he said without looking away from the child.
"Adams!" Phillip snapped.
"What? Oh, god, sorry," he said shaking his head. "So sorry. The name is Alexander Adams. But my friends call me Alex."
"Does that mean I can call you Alex?" Alena asked offering her hand in greeting.
"Yes, definitely. I supposed we're almost family since you are the mate to General Philandros and I'm, well, I guess I could be call the step son of your mate's brother, Conlaoch"
"Conlaoch?" Alena repeated. "So why did you retain the surname Adams?"
"A joke on behalf of Con," he answered with a quick grin. "Because of my mother's change, she was publically pronounced dead so her surname was now on grave markers. Con gave me the surname meaning 'man' or 'human' as in the first human because I was the first to be considered part of his family. It was only supposed to last until I changed, but like a rebellious stepson, I have chosen to remain human."
"That's a hell of story that nobody asked to hear," Phillip replied.
"Of course," Alex agreed smiling uncomfortably. "That's your daughter?" he asked nodding towards the couch.
"She's....very beautiful," he whispered staring at the girl.
Alena looked at this man, this human man, who was lustfully staring at her daughter. At first glance, she had assessed that he was an impressive specimen of the human males. Not as tall and broad as Gabe, the man still possessed a lean physique displaying finely cut muscle. While his smile was infectious, his continued staring at her daughter caused Alena to send a pleading to Phillip. Just before Alex was hefted away, Alena thought he resembled a wolf standing over his prey.
"What the fuck?" Alex shouted when his shoulder collided with the wall in the hallway. "Why did you do that?"
"That," Phillip answered pointed to the room they had just exited, "is the daughter of General Philandros."
"I figured that much," Alex responded while rubbing his shoulder. "What's with the violence?"
"Do you have any idea what you were doing?" Phillip asked. "You were nearly drooling over the girl. Her mother thought you were about to pounce."
"You're insane," Alex said with a chuckle. "I was just looking at her. She is beautiful."
"Have you had much experience with women?
"Let me clarify the question. Have you have much experience with girls? And with the father of those girls?"
"So, you're saying he's overly protective."
"I'm saying that if he would have walked back in that room and caught you gawking at his daughter, he would have thrown your carcass back to Australia."