Friends and Foes Ch. 11byingarlm©
This story contains m/m and m/f relationships and sex scenes. This chapter is all plot.
I am really really hopeful that this is the penultimate chapter. I've got about half of what should be the final one, at the point of submitting this, and I don't intend making you wait a week if I get it written faster than that, so please keep an eye out.
So, who has Finn and Jake then? (and which of you readers will be sitting there chuffed that you guessed right?!)
* * * * * *
Finn didn't get chance to ask Jake what he was talking about before the woman in front of them started to speak.
"So, which of you two freaks has been corrupting my son?"
That made it pretty clear, Finn thought to himself. "That must be you, I only ever corrupt daughters!" he sent to Jake.
"Yep. She's Adam's mother. I've never met her, but I've seen pictures. This seems an awful lot of trouble to go to just because I'm screwing her son though."
"I don't think she likes any of us," Finn continued as the woman stared at them, clearly expecting an answer.
She called out into the corridor and another man joined them. He looked vaguely familiar to Finn but before he could put his finger on it Jake had spoken, out loud this time.
"Simon, what the hell are you doing here?"
"I'm doing my job."
"You work for Adam. He doesn't want this."
"No, he doesn't. But since I work for Mrs Stephens, what Adam wants makes very little difference to me."
Simon pretty much dismissed him with that comment, but Jake was angry now, and he wasn't listening to Finn's voice in his head telling him to shut up.
"How long? You're supposed to be Adam's friend, his right hand man. He trusted you and you repay that like this?"
Adam's mother took over then. "Adam needs protecting from himself, and definitely from you. Simon has been kind enough to do that for me in recent years, although I dearly wish he had been able to intervene before you put a spell on him. I could have a normal son, and I will again."
Jake actually laughed. "I can't do magic. Adam loves me and I love him, there's nothing mystical about it."
The sound of the slap she landed on his face echoed around the room and made Finn flinch. It might not be a serious injury but there was definitely plenty of force behind it.
"You will not speak about my son that way. There is no way he could love a man, or a freak of nature like you. In time he will realise he was mistaken."
Jake's eyes almost seemed to glow with the anger he was feeling. "Lady, Adam was gay long before I met him. But you seem to have missed out the other reason Adam shouldn't want me, even though he does. What's my surname Simon?" he asked, turning his head slightly. It was the only part of him he could move.
"I don't know, who cares? He probably told me years ago but I've forgotten," came the reply.
"Mrs Stephens cares," he said, returning his gaze to her with a grin on his face just to piss her off more. "I'm Jake Arcan. I did think about changing my name three years ago when I married Adam, but just for the look on your face right now, I'm so glad I didn't."
* * * * * *
Tilly heard Finn groan in her head as he relayed the latest part of the conversation to her. He'd been trying to keep her and Sam up to speed while begging Jake to stop talking.
"You getting this? If I wasn't strapped to a table right now, I'd be slapping him. I know he's your brother, but..."
"He's an idiot, I agree," thought back Tilly. "Can you try reminding him not to rile the person who is keeping him captive?"
"I am trying, he's not listening. Have to say though, she has gone an interesting colour, kind of a reddish purple. Blood pressure must be sky-high! She just slapped him again."
"He kind of deserves it right now. Whatever possessed him to tell her that? She hates our family and he already knew that."
"No idea, except I think he's enjoying this. They're leaving. I'll have a few careful words with him while you work out where we go from here. Let me know soon, aside from the recent entertainment it's rather dull here!"
Tilly broke the connection and looked at Sam in question. He shook his head.
"This is personal. I still don't see how or if she is involved with the rest of it, but Simon obviously is. I wonder how many sides he is on? The job now is to find her, because wherever she is Finn and Jake are. We need Adam."
"I already called him," she replied.
"Has he had contact with Jake already?"
"I don't know. He was asleep when they tried earlier, but I haven't been able to get through to just Jake. Finn connecting the two of us was working, but then Adam is closer to Jake and might have done. We need to make sure he doesn't call his mother until we work out what to say."
* * * * * *
When Adam entered the office he looked at Sam, Tom and Tilly expectantly.
"Have you heard from Jake? Do you know where he is? Is he okay?"
Sam took them one at a time, trying to calm Adam down.
"We've heard from Finn, and they are both okay for the moment. We don't know where they are, but we do know who has them," he said, stopping to take a deep breath before he revealed it. He also wanted Tilly to be on alert just in case Adam knew, but he doubted very much that he would know about this and let Jake be put in harm's way. "Adam, it's your mother and Simon. They have them in a house somewhere, and we need to know where it might be. Where could she have gone?"
There was a long silence while Adam went very pale. When he did speak his usual confident self was gone.
"How? She's my mother, how could she do this? Are you sure?"
"Yes, we're sure. Finn projected us the whole conversation she had with Jake and she thinks he corrupted you somehow. She was not happy to learn you two were married or that he was an Arcan. Aside from that it seems Simon had told her about your relationship."
"This doesn't make sense. Even if she hates Jake, what about the rest of it, the research?"
"We don't know whether she was involved in that. We can be pretty sure that Simon knew a lot more about it all than he ever let on."
"Simon works for me, he's a businessman."
"Simon works for your mother and those mysterious men who contacted you, and he might be a businessman now but he didn't spend his life working in a country pub. I'm sorry this is a shock Adam, but we can't wait for you to get your head round this. Where will your mother be?"
"I don't know. I can call her."
"Only if you don't let on that you know. If she doesn't already know how we communicate she cannot find out we already know she has Jake."
"I can't pretend everything is fine Sam. She has my mate, I love him and I hate her for taking him away from me. It's not as though I liked her that much to start with."
"If you accuse her of anything she might hurt Jake and Finn before we can get to them. You have to stay strong. I know this is difficult, but you can't reveal anything."
Adam still looked pretty devastated, but he set his jaw tight, determination taking over. He would do what he had to for Jake, even if he had to play nice with his mother. That was difficult at the best of times.
"Give me the phone."
It was tense in the room as he dialled, and they heard the ringing, then it cutting to engaged. Adam slammed it back down.
"Bitch hung up on me," he growled.
"She didn't know it was you," Tilly told him.
"Only family have that number. It could only be one of us, and I'm betting she knew it was me if the number was withheld. She must know I'm here, with you. She saw Tilly and I together just a couple of days ago. Fuck, maybe that was what started this."
Sam stepped back in, trying to take control. "Where could she be Adam. It's an old house, big rooms. Trees outside."
Adam just stared at him. "Do you have any idea how many places my family owns that fit that description? They could even have been taken abroad by now."
"It's unlikely. It would be difficult to transport two unconscious men by plane or boat. Even on private ones, there would be ground or port staff that might see. Van would be the best way, so they are probably still in this country."
"That still leaves a lot of places they could be Sam."
"Who might know? Your father?"
Jake let out a strained laugh. "No chance. They only speak in public, putting a good face on. Up until now I'd have said he hated her more than I did. My grandmother, maybe. She thinks mum is stuck up, but they are still closer than anyone else."
He grabbed the phone again. This time it rang and just kept on ringing, but as before he slammed it down. He was on his feet a split second later.
"Let's go. She doesn't go far, she'll be there. I can't sit around here waiting any longer, I need to do something to find Jake."
Sam and Tom had a quick discussion between themselves and agreed it was worth a try. Sitting still wasn't exactly working for them either, but they couldn't both go. Tom was pleased when he won the argument on that one, and he stood too.
"Right, you, me and Tilly are going. Everyone else will be staying here until we have a possible location."
Tilly's relief was only tempered by Dill's disappointment when she told him where she was going, but as they walked towards the front doors he just caught up to her for a quick hug and a kiss goodbye, with a promise of better later. What she didn't expect was for Sky to come running down the stairs.
"Where are you going? Do you know where Finn is?"
She was a lot calmer than before, but Tilly could still feel she was stressed. That wasn't going to go anywhere until she had him back.
"No, we don't, but we are going to speak to someone who might. Finn's spoken to you, hasn't he. You know he's okay."
"He's not here though. I want to help, please, let me come."
Tom thought about it for a moment. It wasn't likely to be dangerous, and he understood her need to do something to find her mate.
"Fine. But you do exactly as I say, understand? Finn will kill me if you get hurt."
Sky smiled at the mention of her mate. "I won't be any trouble, I promise."
* * * * * *
For Adam and Sky the journey seemed to take forever, both of them missing the other part of themselves. They hadn't met before either, but they seemed to bond just over the fact that their mates had been taken and they were both in the same state of mind. It was easier for Adam when he didn't feel so alone, but he avoided saying that this might all be his fault. If his mother had done this just to try and turn him straight or whatever she seemed to think he should be doing, he couldn't help feeling responsible. On top of that he had unknowingly funded the research. Basically he had screwed with the lives of everyone there, and he needed to undo that as far as possible, just as much as he needed Jake back.
As the two chatted in the back of the car, Tom and Tilly were discussing other matters between themselves in the front. Tom wanted to know all about what had happened at the party and Tilly had been filling him in.
"So, do you think she'll help?"
"If she can, probably. She loves Adam and she wasn't at all shocked that he was with Jake. There is one thing though, I can't read her. I'm not saying I don't believe her, but I get the feeling there is something else she is hiding. Maybe it's just that she's been keeping her own secrets a long time."
Tom pondered that as they got to the house. Perhaps there was nothing to that, but even in the few months he had known her he had got to trust Tilly's instincts. They would just have to play this by ear and hope that if Dora was keeping any secrets they wouldn't be ones that would stop them finding Finn and Jake.
* * * * * *
As they got closer to the house Tilly encouraged Adam to try and speak to Dora. It would be interesting to see if he could do it, for starters, as he hadn't tried anyone but Jake at distance. The smile on his face told her that he had got through.
"She'll be waiting for us. Can I explain what's happened? She will understand I need to get to my mate."
Tom looked unsure when Tilly looked at him for confirmation, but then he shrugged.
"She's one of us, I doubt she'll help her daughter hurt any of us, especially not Adam's mate. Bare details though, I'd prefer she doesn't know about everything with the research, it's better that she thinks this is about your mother trying to 'cure' you or something."
There was another silence while Adam stared into space and he looked quite upset by the time he finished.
"She's really worried," he explained. "About me and about mum. She said that she didn't think mum was that horrified by it any more. What does that mean?"
"We'll be able to ask her face to face in a few minutes," Tom replied. He was wondering that himself.
It seemed like a long few minutes, but soon they were heading through the gates that Dora had opened for them. It was an impressive place, much like the Arcan house but better maintained, especially the grounds. Of course they didn't use their lawns and woods for commando training. Tilly noticed Dora was stood at the front doors, waiting for them and looking concerned even at a distance. By the time they reached her the expression of worry was very clear.
They all got out of the car quickly, Adam immediately going to his grandmother to give her a hug. He didn't give her long for the welcome though, not even bothering to introduce the others as they came up behind him.
"Do you know where she is? I need to get to Jake before anything happens. She seems to think he did something to me, but it's not like that and she needs to understand that I really love him."
"I think she is at the house in the Lakes. I can't be sure though."
"Where, exactly?" Tom asked, not wanting to wait any longer. Adam gave him a postcode and he went back to the car to put it in the satnav. They all heard him exclaim loudly. "Shit. That's right by where they got Jamie and Chris, it's got to be the place. I'm going to tell Sam so he can meet us there."
Dora started to speak to Adam again. "I am so sorry about this. I need to explain some things..."
Adam cut her off. "I don't have time now, I'm sorry. I'll come back and bring Jake with me, we can talk for hours, but not until he is safe."
"This is important Adam, it will help. Give me five minutes, I'm coming with you."
She turned around and headed into the house, not even acknowledging the others. Tilly was surprised, because this time she could feel a lot of emotion from Dora, and it was fear and confusion that came out strongest. She had no objection to hearing whatever was going to be explained, it would help pass the time even if it wasn't of use, but it was definitely important to the older woman. She had the feeling that some secrets Dora had been keeping for years were about to come out.
* * * * * *
Tom drove, the rest of them sat in the back. This was largely between Dora and Adam, but Tilly needed to know if there was anything relevant to their situation. Even if not, they were on their way to the house and Sam and the others were also heading that way so they could meet them there. They'd have to come up with a plan when they got closer, but at least they were getting somewhere now. Having Sky there wasn't ideal, but they would just have to keep her out of the action later. If necessary they would lock her in the car.
Dora didn't seem too keen to start talking, but actually it was that she didn't know where to start. There was so much she needed to tell Adam and she had no idea how he would take it all. There was one other thing she needed to do as well, the reason she had gone back inside, and she handed him a thermos that she retrieved from her bag. Adam didn't hide the look of disgust on his face very well, and she gave him an amused look.
"I know you hate the herbal teas I make, but you are going to drink it. We both are, as usual. Only this is a different one to usual."
Adam took a sip as she handed him a cup, and pulled a face at the taste. "You're right about that, it tastes even worse than usual too."
She smiled at him again. "I am sorry Adam. I've been lying to you about me for a very long time. I guess I've been lying to everyone ever since I met your grandfather. It wasn't allowed back then, we couldn't mate with a human and stay part of Were society. The Council rules were very strict. So I had to cut myself off and live as a human, and it was a very hard thing to do. I got used to keeping my wolf secret and under control, but I never stopped thinking about it. I used to tell you stories, when you were little, about werewolves, about my family. I thought you would just think they were fairy stories."
"You told me about you? I remember some of it, but I've found out a lot more since then."
"I know. Well, I didn't know, until your mother told me you had become obsessed. She didn't think it was a good idea for you to be reading those books and things. I used to tell her the same stories you know, but she thought it was all rubbish for a long time. Certainly it didn't have the same effect on her as on you."
"When? When did she tell you I was obsessed?" Adam asked.
"A couple of years ago. It was almost in passing, but she wanted me to discourage you if I could. She knew I was much closer to you than she was. I didn't want to, I didn't see the harm. Now I realise you had your mate during that time and that had made you even more certain you wanted to know about us. I wish I had known that, but then I can understand you not wanting to tell me."
Adam looked down at the floor, slightly ashamed. "I knew mother would go crazy if she found out I was with a man. I should have had more faith in you. If I'd ever dared bring him to meet you, you would have known what he was."
"Yes, I would. And I would have been able to warn you. Maybe tell you some of this a little earlier."
Tilly interrupted for a moment. "Is there any chance that she knows what you are?"
"Perhaps. I never made it clear it was me, but she knows there is Were blood in our family somewhere."
Tilly looked at her, surprised at the admission. "You know there are Council rules on that. They might have relaxed the rules on mates, but they don't let us go around telling people. Does she have traits like Adam does?"
Dora seemed more scared than anything else now, but Tilly couldn't help pushing her. It seemed quite possible that Adam's mother knew a lot about werewolves at the very least, and perhaps she knew a lot about the research too. Dora started talking again, but it was slow and cautious, and her eyes flicked between Adam and Tilly as she explained.
"I have four children... I was worried that they might show some traits, yes, so when they were young I took them to a friend of mine, another Were who lived human but had a lot more knowledge about these things. None of them had anything obvious, perhaps they healed slightly faster from cuts and bruises, but there was nothing that would mark them out as non-human. It was one of my fears, that I wouldn't be able to hide them from the Council if they were obviously part-Were, but I knew he would help me if that was the case."
Tilly took this kind of talk the hardest. She worked for the Council and she realised they hadn't always been progressive, but they weren't anything to be feared. It was all about keeping their existence quiet, not about restricting individuals except when they were a danger to humans. To hear Dora talk about them as though they would have taken her children away was very difficult, but she tried to understand that it had been a long time ago, before she was born, and things were different then.
Adam however was back to wondering how he had turned out the way he was.