Dream Worlds Are Born

Story 628: Dakarai & Nani 3

“Nani! Nani! There’s someone here!” a few of the kids were shouting happily in the living room. Nani hurried to the door, her son Varune close behind. Currently it was just Nani, Varune and Chione running the orphanage. Dakarai, Curtis, Hafsah and Colt were out trying to save some children they had recently learned about. Their newest child, Jaynee came to them malnourished with obvious signs of abuse. She told them a terrible story about her life and the other children still suffering and they could never sit idly by when they found something like that out. At the door was a man. Nani nor Varune could quite nail down his race but he seemed harmless enough as he adorned his face with a smile “Hello there, is this the orphanage I’ve heard so much about?”

“yeah”

“and you are?”

“Nani, behind me is my son Varune” he slowly looked Varune up and down “my goodness, you bore a son like that. You must have an impressive mate”

“My mate is amazing but honestly, he seems to take a lot from his grandfather when it comes to his body”

“as in your father or your mates father?”

“You came for a child?” She didn’t want to talk about her father. “Yes but I want an impressive child worth raising. I’ve mated and had children with female after female and none of them bare me children I want to waste time molding. Seeing this man in front of me…I seem to be finally done looking for a woman who can bare a son worth a damn.” His eyes glowed and the feeling in the room told them exactly what he was, he was an incubus. He reached out to touch Nani and Varune simultaneously jerked his mother back grabbed the mans wrist “dont you dare!” he snapped, absolutely livid at what this incubus had just tried to do.

“Look, I wont hurt her. I’ll just charm her into sex until she’s pregnant. Once I have the child you’ll never see me again. With my abilities who needs a lifetime mate. I can bed any woman…look, I’ll pay you for her time and trust me, she’ll be screaming with pleasure with me. All of us get something” Varune sounded as disgusted as he was “you did not offer to pay for my mother”

“The DNA obviously comes from her side or she would have accepted her mate is why you look like this”

“Get out of here! Now before I make you!”

“My charms are for much more than bedding women boy. I’ll get what I want, one way or another. All it is is sex anyway. I’ve paid for many women, including mothers whose far less impressive sons have happily taken my money. Why are you acting like this is such an offense? Women are for our pleasure and baring our children. I will teach my son far better than your father has taught you when it comes to women”

His magic started to spread out again, obviously trying to charm Varune but there may as well been nothing in the air. The incubus’s grin stretched wide “you’ve only made me want her to bare a child for me more”

“get out of here now” Nani commanded emotionally and he gave her one last grin before leaving. They knew it was only for now.

Nani was shaking as she hurried to Chione, wanting to warn her about the man. She was met halfway and Chione wrapped her in a hug when she saw ho distressed she was. “Did he hurt you?”

“No, Varune kept him away. He tried to charm me.”

“Oh sweetie, I’m so sorry.”

“It wouldn’t have worked right?” Varune asked. “I’ve heard stories about it not working if someone is really in love.”

“That’s right.” Chione pulled back and looked at Nani. “Did you feel anything?”

“Just it flowing through the air, but I didn’t want him or anything.” She swallowed. “He was saying such awful things, about using me to give him a child because Varune looks…because…”

“I won’t let him have you mom, I won’t let anyone hurt you or force you into anything, I’ll kill him first.”

Nani turned to her son and hugged him. “It’s okay baby, I’m okay.”

Chione rubbed her back. “Everything’s going to be okay. I’ll put extra safeguards on the house and even extend them out so he can’t get close.” She was not going to let anyone put Nani through anymore trauma. She had made too much progress for some incubus to come a destroy it all.

When Nani pulled out of her sons arms she hated that the previously excited children all looked either scared or concerned now “I’m sorry babies” she said softly. Chione was already getting started on better protecting their home so it was Varune who added “we’re all safe, the three of us will protect you. Lets just keep indoors for awhile, maybe until my father, Hafsah, Curtis and Colt are back.” None of the children currently under their care protested the idea. Most far too acquainted with horrible, selfish creatures.

“why don’t you go take a calming soak mom and I’ll bring you some hot tea, maybe make you a snack” she smiled, though her entire being still told of how uneasy she was from that Incubus “you’re so sweet son”

“I love you mom, go on, please, I want you to get relaxed again. At least as relaxed as you can be”

“are you sure? I mean someone has to start on lunch for the kids soon” some of the older kids suddenly volunteered to make sandwiches and cut up some fruit to have with them so the adults wouldn’t have to worry about lunch. “okay, if everyone is sure” Varune and the children insisted Nani go get calm in a nice hot bath.

:diamond_shape_with_a_dot_inside:

Dakarai slammed his fist into the stomach of the man who had been holding the children. They called him father, but he was sure not all of them were his. He was disgusted by this man, by his willingness to sell one of the children to a stranger. The man wasn’t the only one here either, there was another man and a woman who were being taken care of by the others. This man, he had wanted for himself.

“You will give me the key to their rooms, now.” He growled.

“Fuck you.” The man replied and spit blood in Dakarai’s face.

“Then I will make you.”

Varune knocking on the bathroom door startled Nani and she did her best to calm herself before calling him in. “Sorry mom.” He said as he opened the door.

Of course he had heard her heart. He was just as attentive as his father. “It’s okay baby.” She pulled the curtain back enough to see him and he sat the tea on the edge of the tub.

“Are you feeling better?”

“Yeah thank you.” He frowned, looking like he had more to say. “What’s wrong?” She asked.

He sighed. “Is it bad that I look like my grandfather?”

She felt guilty that she hadn’t thought of how her reaction might effect him. That incubus had done more than just scare her, he had made Varune doubt himself. “No honey, it’s not, I promise.”

“I love you…I’ll make sure you stay safe”

“I know, you’re such an amazing being Varune. I couldn’t be more proud of you. I know your father feels the same. Before you he would have never left home without me, not on a journey where he didn’t know when he was coming back. He knows how safe I am with you here” Nani hated that she could see more questions in her sons face. She didn’t want her son to ask about her father because Varune was such a sweet, amazing son. She knew even though she truly had never been afraid of her son or had any negative feelings because of how he looks that he would still be hurt by the knowledge he looked like someone who abused her like her father did.

If anything it was healing in its own way that he had grown into such an amazing man. It would be hard for her to explain but she would if he directly asked her. There hadn’t been a reason to tell him before now, she had already been so much better emotionally by the time Varune came along that most would never realize she had ever been abused but she would never outright lie to her son so she knew a conversation about her father might be coming.

For now he seemed to accept she was fine. Varune left his mother so she could unwind and went to see how he could help Chione. As he approached Chione she asked “how’s your mother?”

“she seems okay”

“good, are you here to help me?”

“yeah, can I do anything?”

“Fortify the existing spells, I’m weaving a few new ones” he nodded then asked Chione “could we talk later?”

“about what Varune?”

“about why my mother nor Uncle Colt talk about their parents…I mean…I know they were raised here but I’ve never known why.”

“Oh…um…did you try asking your mother?”

“Not really, shes too upset already. I asked her if it was bad I look like her dad but she promised me it isnt”

“Varune, she loves you more than anything or anyone…you’ve brought nothing but happiness to hers and your fathers life. Dont ever question that. Not to mention all the help you’ve been around here. You are amazing and who you look like could never define you” Chiones words were comforting but at the same time, it was only confirming his worst fears.

Dakarai and Colt checked the house from top to bottom to insure there were no more children inside while Hafsah and Curtis sat outside with the children, doing their best to comfort them. The bodies of the people who had had them were inside in the basement. They hadn’t wanted the children to see them. “It’s clear.” Colt said and he and Dakarai headed out. “What should we do with this place?”

“It’s outside of the nearest city, I say we torch it, let someone build a new home here.”

“Alright, sounds good to me. It’s better than what those three monsters deserve though, a burial of any kind.”

“I know, but it’s better to get it over with so the children can start to heal.”

Colt nodded and Dakarai helped him set the house on fire. They then helped with the children. There were five in all and three of them couldn’t walk due to being malnourished. “Could I carry you little one?” He asked the youngest of them. He couldn’t have been more than seven.

“Mmhmm.” Was all he said and Dakarai lifted him gently.

“There we go, such a brave boy.”

They began their journey home, all eager to rest and be with their loved ones again. They told the children about their new home as they traveled, trying to get them excited and hoping it would sink in for all of them they would have happy, normal childhoods now. “so we’re not staying with you guys forever though?” one of the girls asked and Hafsah answered “well it really depends. Some kids grow up to be caretakers themselves. Curtis and Colt here, they came to us as children and decided to stay. Someone may come to adopt you as well once you’re healthy but don’t worry, we make absolutely sure you’re going to a good home. We will see to it with our lives nobody hurts you five again”

Another child asked “who is watching the other kids?” Hafsah was once again the one to answer "My mate Chione, she’s a vampire like me and a lot smaller. I’m sure all of you will be bigger than she is one day but I love it. You’ll also meet a wonderful woman named Nani. She’s Colts sister and my twin brothers mate. Nani and Dakarai’s son stayed once he grew up too and helps us with incoming children and keeping up with the house. He’ll look a little intimidating but he is one of the kindest men you’ll ever meet, his name is Varune.

They didn’t see the incubus for the rest of the day, but it only made Nani more terrified and she wished Dakarai was home. She sat up in bed that night, too worried to sleep even with all the safeguards and her son and adopted mother close by. She jumped when someone knocked on her bedroom door and thought it was one of the little ones. She was a little surprised to see it was Varune. “I didn’t wake you did I?” He asked.

“No, is everything alright?”

“Yeah, just checking on you is all. I couldn’t sleep.”

“I’m fine honey, you should get some rest.”

He nodded, giving her his best smile. “Yeah, you’re right, I love you mom.”

“I love you too.”

He started to turn away, then paused. “Um…do I…” he hesitated, suddenly afraid of asking about his grandfather. He knew, just based on her reaction before, that he must have been a really bad person. He sighed. “Never mind, I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Varune?”

“Yeah?”

“You’re an amazing person, you know that right?”

“Yeah, I know.”

Her heart sank as how sad he looked and she promised herself that once Dakarai and Colt were back, they would all sit down with him and explain everything. She closed and locked her door then went and settled into bed, feeling like crying, but forcing herself not to. Before she knew it, she had closed her eyes and fallen asleep. It was a tapping sound that woke her a couple of hours later and she shot up in bed, her heart threatening to pound out of her chest. It took her a moment to realize the sound was coming from her bedroom window and even though she knew she should run and get someone, she wanted to make sure first. She almost screamed when she saw the incubus standing down in the yard, his arm raised as he was about to throw another pebble at her window. She swallowed, her hands shaking as she opened it.

“Well, well, well you actually answered.” He said with a smile on his face. “I’m very happy to see your face again sweet one.”

“Why don’t you go away?”

“You know why. All you have to do, is give in and give me a child. Your boy is proof that you and I could make more than an exceptional child and it’s not like any harm would come to you. Just let me have you and everything will be fine.”

“No, I have a mate, I love him, and I won’t let you…let you…just go away.”

“Last chance.”

“No.”

He chuckled and shrugged. “Alright then, but remember, I warned you.” She slammed her window shut and ran, needing to wake Varune and Chione.

Chione and Varune were already awake, the sound of her window slamming was enough to stir the both of them. Nani didn’t like the look on Chiones face “what?”

“he shouldn’t have been able to get close enough to throw those pebbles…I’m worried theres a reason he remains so cocky…we might be dealing with something incredibly powerful. Normally when you’re around something incredibly powerful you can feel it but given the fact he got as close as he did and you two didn’t know he was an Incubus right away, I think he suppresses his magical aura so others underestimate him”

“what should we do?” Varune asked and she said “I think we should all share a room until the others return…I half just want to send you after them Varune but I feel it would be safer to keep you here incase he can still get into this house. If the kids were awake I might even just have us all sleep in the living room but we wont disturb them. Lets just hope Dakarai, my mate, Colt and Curtis are at least on their way back”

Nani instinctively clung to her son who hugged her “he wont touch you. I promise” Chione could once again hear how angry and concerned he was. For the first time since the Incubus came even she was truly scared. Nani could not be raped again, after the misery of her childhood before coming to this home she wasn’t sure she could handle it. Nani was so normal now, it would crush Chiones heart as well to have to see her back in the same state she came in or worse off than even then.

They shared Chiones room that night since she and Hafsah had such a large bed. Nani was in the middle and they both took a side of her. Nani woke the next day fully expecting to wake in the same spot but she found herself leaning against a headboard in a room she didn’t recognize. “good morning you beautiful…confusing little creature” that voice…it was the incubus. Her breath was shakey, especially when she looked down to see that she was naked.

She wrapped her arms around her chest and he said “your clothes are right by the bed. Put them on if you wish Nani” The lights in his room came on and she gasped, now seeing him naked by his light switch. She hastily went for her clothes, the desire to be dressed dominating her mind. Once she was she stood there by the bed, now seeing he had pulled on his boxers. “what did you do?” she asked emotionally.

His gaze met hers “well I was going to rape you but I couldn’t and that was quite unexpected. You see, I was always raised to believe you women for us to use. I thought I agreed with that but now that I seem to have my first unwilling partner I couldn’t just take you. I mean I tried, I’ve certainly fondled you and had my mouth a few wonderful places while you weren’t conscious but it seems I couldn’t quite get myself to rise to the occasion. It was even weird for me to undress you. A part of me actually didn’t want to do it but I just thought, well this is new, your magic has always worked but I couldn’t get into it.”

He laughed and she wanted to slap him, he could feel that coming off of her “sweetheart, you’re at quite the disadvantage. Don’t try anything I will make you regret.” he warned in a sweet tone. "is my family okay? she asked and he said “they are living their best lives right now my dear, don’t worry about them. You’ve heard of the snakes that when they bite you live your worst nightmare in your dreams?”

“yeah…”

“those are the females. The males, they make you live the life you’ve always wanted in your dreams. They have no idea they should be missing you, everything is perfect. Theres hundreds of those snakes in your orphanage and they’ll bite your mate and all who is with him the second they return home. Nobody will be looking for you, I promise you that”

“but…you said you couldn;t…aren’t you going to let me go”

“well you see theres multiple reasons I am not going to do that. Firstly, if my father or grandfather found out…you see I’d have myself a rather unpleasant visit with them. They’d be disappointed in me for not taking a female I desired. The other reason is I do still want you Nani and I will have you eventually. You want your family right?”

“yes”

“Let me bed you, all you have to do is moan and writhe with pleasure for me to go home. You dont have to today, tomorrow or even a week from now do that but you wont be leaving my home until you’re pregnant so how long you have to live without them is entirely up to you”

“How is that not raping me still?”

“I do get the argument when it comes to Incubi and succubus. It is a form of rape to bed someone with our magic but I’ve always been able to do it, feeling if they truly didn’t want it bad enough they’d be able to say no. By the time you say yes to me sure you wont necessarily want it but neither have all the other women who have ended up here”

“so what I’m a prisoner in this room until you get what you want?”

“Oh no, my home is yours for the time being. I’d like to get to know you, spend some time with you. You can’t escape so theres no reason to chain you up or anything like that”

“why are you so sure”

“Oh sweetheart, I’m not dumb enough to reveal my hand. You don’t even truly know what I am. I play my cards as close to my chest as possible”

“Please, please let me go home. We wont tell anybody, your father wont know you let me go”

“I’ve already told you its more than just that. You intrigue me and I desire you so much it’s wild to me I couldn’t get hard. Come, lets have some coffee and talk. For now, I want to know all about you. Including those scars. Demons dont scar easily” She followed him, but only because she was almost nauseatingly thirsty. They were soon sitting at his kitchen table “the scars little one, what are they from” she looked into her cup “my own father”

“he beat you?”

“he raped me…many times but do not make me tell you the specifics”

“the ones on your hips then, he hooked his claws into your hips to prevent you from getting away once he’d begun” a tear slid down her cheek and surprise filled him once again when it tugged at his heart. He shouldn’t feel anything, he thought he had always believed what he was raised on, that females were for them to use. “he did…”

“I wont hurt you”

“You’re already hurting me”

“come now this coffee is amazing, have some” She drank some, it was amazing. She didn’t want to talk to him but this being was strong enough to get into their home unwelcome when she hadn’t seen anything else be able to do that before. Not only that, once he was in he managed to bring snakes, have them bite everyone and get her here without any trouble at all. He might be right, there may be no escaping unless he let her go so maybe if he started to see her as a being instead of a toy as he had been taught maybe he’d just let her go without her having to submit to sex.

When Dakarai saw the house, his heart danced with excitement, until he got close enough that the fact he couldn’t hear a single sound coming from inside stopped him. The children should be up and playing, they always were at this time. “Curtis, take the boy and stay put. Colt, come with me.”

“Is something wrong?” Curtis asked.

“Yes, so please stay with Hafsah and protect the children.”

He and Colt moved cautiously toward the house. They both listened and breathed in every scent they could. There was something wrong, something had changed. Dakarai gestured for Colt to stand to the side of the front door as he grabbed the handle. He turned it and it was suddenly shoved further open as Varune came stumbling out and into his father. Dakarai just managed to catch him. “You’re back?” His son was shaking and Dakarai’s eyes were drawn to the multiple puncture wounds on his arms and face. “Get out, get away.”

“What’s going on?” Colt asked.

“Snakes.”

Dakarai pulled his son away from the door. “Colt, get Curtis and you two check inside and be careful.”

“No, dad, there’s no time. He took mom.”

Dakarai and Colt’s hearts both jumped in their chests. “Who?”

“The incubus, he took her, he sent the snakes, everyone’s unconscious, but I…I wasn’t and he took her. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t…” he started crying and Dakarai did his best to comfort him.

“Colt, I need you and Curtis to clear the house. I’m going to find Nani.”

“I have to go.” Varune said. “I need to find mom.”

“Varune, you’re hurt.”

“I can do it, please. I can do it.”

Dakarai couldn’t argue with the desperation in his son’s eyes and he wound up helping him to his feet. Whatever had put the other asleep obviously hadn’t worked on him. He was obviously in pain, but he was fighting off the venom.

“Why did you not inherit any of your father’s skills?” the incubus asked as he and Nani now sat in the living room, Nani as far from him as possible.

“I don’t know.”

“But your son did.”

“Yes.”

“That must be hard. He looks like your father doesn’t he?”

“He does, but he’s not the same, he’s nothing like him, so his looks don’t matter. I’ve never seen that monster when I look at him. He’s a good boy, the best son a mother could ask for. He’s just like his father, sweet and kind and understanding.” She hugged herself. “They would never hurt anyone without cause. My brother too, he’s a good man.”

“Does he look like your father?”

“No, but he was there.”

She shivered and the incubus stood, making her jump. “I’m just going to start a fire beautiful, you’re obviously cold.”

“I’m not.”

“You’re shivering.”

“I’m disgusted and scared. You took me, you hurt the others. Do you have any idea what some of those children have been through? To make the girls go through their worst nightmares and the boys have dreams of the perfect life they never had. It’s cruel and Varune…he…you hurt him too in more ways than one.”

The Incubus, who had told her his name was Vicente look confused “I think you misunderstood me earlier. I was asking if you heard about the snakes that cause you to live your worst nightmare if they bite you. Most don’t realize it’s the female of a certain species. I set males out in your orphanage. The male of that breed of snake causes you to live out your dream life. They are all living happy lives while sleeping. Thats why I told you not to worry about them”

“Even so, it’s still cruel. I’m sure most of them are dreaming their parents actually loved them and they are going to have to wake up and realize they are still orphans” Atleast he seemed to be thinking about what she said. After a few moments of silence he asked “how did I hurt Varune?”

“I hadn’t talked to him about my father…it took us years to have sex and even then it wasn’t something we did a lot. Over time, as I got older and further away from my trauma we did it more…Dakarai is so sweet and loving…he’s helped me so much. Eventually our relationship became just like anybody elses and truly I became just like everyone else really. By the time we had a son and I started to notice who he looked like there was no reason to break his heart by telling him. I had healed, our family was normal and he was and still is just as sweet as his father.”

“I see…emotions and family are so complicated.”

“Having a family is amazing. I feel so lucky my brother and I ended up at that orphanage.”

“Having my family is not wonderful at all”

“well thats because they dont have real relationships. Telling yourself women are toys that dont matter hurts you too, not just the women that come into your life. You’d probably all be happier if you truly had someone. I couldn’t imagine my life without love and I know Dakarai feels the same. If he does overcome the snakes…I know he’d never stop looking for me”

“You do look absolutely confident in that”

“I am, we share a wonderful life” Vicente reached out, touching her face, seeming deep in thought. “You do know that life isn’t an option for me”

“you’re an adult, your life is what you make it”

“Stronger beings always control the weaker. Just like this moment, you aren’t choosing your destiny right now. You’re stuck here with me because I can make you do it. I come from a long line of powerful beings who would never accept me not being just like them. They’d kill me and my father would make a new heir to our family line”

“Have you been killing your children Vicente?”

“No”

“so you’re already different than them”

“well they don’t know that part yet and that I could get away with but women, well thats completely non negotiable”

“Don’t let yourself be bullied into being a bully. If you aren’t like them don’t be like them”

“I’ve been like them my whole life”

“but are you really, like you said when I first woke up, you always thought you could truly rape a woman if it came down to it but you didn’t like it, you couldn’t get hard. Vicente…you wanted to get to know me when I woke up. You cared about the life of a woman. I think deep down, no matter what they’ve brainwashed you to think you’re not like the beings before you”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about, you don’t know me.”

“I think I know you better than you know yourself.” She was terrified, but she made herself stand, causing him to step back. “What if I tried to leave right now? Would you hurt me?”

“No, I told you I wouldn’t.”

“Then what’s to stop me?”

He didn’t say anything so she walked away from him. She could hear him following her, but she didn’t look back. He didn’t do anything until she reached for the door handle. His hand grabbed her wrist stopping her. “Don’t.”

“Why?”

“You could get hurt.” She looked up at him and he let her go. “The doors and windows, don’t try opening them.”

“You put a spell on them to keep me here.”

“Just don’t mess with them.”

“Please Vicente…let me go home. I have a mate, I have a son and I have all those children who depend on me. I know there are other adults but we strive to give them the love and attention they deserve. With the number we have right now it really does take all seven of us to give them the life we want to give them”

“I need a strong child Nani. I will make you feel incredible. I know giving birth is painful but I’d really like to get on with my life and my father grows impatient”

“How do you really know your previous kids aren’t what you want? Some don’t come into their true abilities until they are adults and most of us gain more power with age anyway”

“It’s an ability my family has. We got it from a being long back in our line. I can see every beings potential if I tap into it and to pass in this family, you really have to be something. You cant just be run of the mill powerful.”

“What are you really Vicente? Why don’t you tell me more”

“knowledge is power, knowledge will give you more ideas on how to fight me and I do not want an altercation Nani” Silence fell between them a short time before he asked “do you truly in your heart believe your mate would never stop looking for you? I mean, theres so many gorgeous women out there. Don’t get me wrong, you are definitely one of the prettiest women I’ve ever seen but he is truly so taken with you he wouldn’t just move on if he couldn’t find you”

“I really do believe in my heart that he feels the same about me as I do him. I’m pretty sure it would take me dieing for him to move on” Vicente sighed at her answer “you make me want to talk to him too honestly”

“then talk to him” Vicente laughed “right”

“He’d rather talk to you than not know where I am”

“I’m not falling for that and besides, I’m still set on you mothering my child.”

“I’m not going to do that so if you’re incapable of raping me you have a permanent house guest”

“You’ve only just gotten here. You’ll give in”

“You’ve never experienced stubborn quite like the stubborn I’m capable of”

“I’m sorry I couldn’t protect her dad.” Varune said as he and his father headed away from home, Varune following the incubus’s faint scent. Now that he had it in his nose, he didn’t think he would ever lose it. He wondered if that was another trait he had inherited from his grandfather.

“It’s not your fault, son. You couldn’t have known he would go to such extremes.”

“I should have.” He glanced back at the house. “Are you sure they’ll be okay?”

“We have to have faith in them.”

“I know.” He swallowed. “Why didn’t it work on me? Is it because of my grandfather? I was just paralyzed.”

“Varune, listen, whatever you heard and whatever you’re thinking, don’t listen to it and don’t think it. You are your mother’s greatest gift, she loves you more than anything and so do I.”

“But…”

“Let’s talk about it once we have your mother back, all of us together.”

Varune nodded. “Okay.”

Nani walked around Vicente’s house. He was cooking so she was left alone for now. She went to each window and door, trying to feel out the spell he had put on them. What if he was lying to scare her? Maybe there wasn’t anything there. She reached out, letting her hand hover in front of one of the windows. “Did you not believe me?” She jumped at his voice.

“You could be lying.” She looked at him as she dropped her hand.

“Why would I do that? I’ve been honest about my intentions, why lie?”

“Because you like using and hurting people. You could be a liar too.”

She saw a flash of something in his eyes. Was it hurt? Shock? She wasn’t sure since it was gone so quickly. “It’s time to eat.”

“Did you drug it?”

“No, I wouldn’t do that.”

“You did when you brought me here.”

“That was…that was something else.”

“One of your powers?”

“Let’s eat, no tricks, I promise.”

Nani supposed if he really wanted to drug her he had easier ways given how he got her here. Truly she might still consider a lot of this was bluffing but he had gotten into their house and that was still blowing her mind. She had lived hundreds of years and no matter what came their way their home had always been safe, nothing could get through Hafsah and Chiones magic until him. She followed him into his kitchen again and sat down in front of a plate he had made.

“thank you for coming” his words surprised her, he could see it in Nanis face and it caused him to flash that amused smile as he explained “I definitely get the sense you’re not so much submitting to things I want but choosing to cooperate. I almost dont want to admit it Nani but it’s nice having a conversation with you. It’s nice having a guest really, I’m alone much of the time. You’re choosing to make this more pleasant than things could be between us”

“you sounded slightly annoyed at the end of that”

“well, I deduce you’re cooperating because you think you can save my soul.”

“Everyone can be saved if they want to be”

“even your father?”

“even…my father”

“did he ever want to be saved?”

“No and I haven’t seen him in an incredibly long time”

“so he isn’t dead?”

“I don’t know”

“You could really forgive your father though?”

“Can’t you please not bring him up.” he was silent for a short time then said “fair enough, as I said, I like this and I feel so much emotion coming off you…I dont want it to shut you down on me”

“do you want to know what i think?”

“It’s the point of us talking”

“I think you brought him up just now because you want me to stop trying to talk you out of this life and it wouldn’t bother you if your soul couldn’t be saved. You don’t like this life and you should stop telling yourself you enjoy useing women and throwing them away”

“Just earlier you said I enjoy it so make up your mind Nani. Do you think I enjoy it or not?”

“I was frustrated”

“emotions again”

“yes, emotions Vicente. They aren’t terrible things” The two ate as a small amount of tension hung in the air. When Nani was finished she said “that was actually pretty good Vicente”

“I’m always feeding myself”

“Maybe I could cook the next meal. Another good thing about having a mate is not always having to cook”

“would you want to have sex with me if I took you as my mate”

“Vicente, I obviously dont want to be your mate. I meant if you let me go and actually put forth the effort to win over a woman and spend your life with her” She was trying not to get frustrated but it was difficult. She knew her freedom depended on being able to talk her way out of this. “but maybe it’s you, maybe I wouldn’t enjoy another woman”

“there are plenty of wonderful women out there Vicente”

He chuckled. “How do you know?”

“Because I was raised by two and I’ve watched many grow up.”

“None of them would have me, I’m a monster who takes advantage of women. I mean, that’s what you think isn’t it?”

“If you truly believed that, then you would have let me open the front door and hurt myself, you’d be forcing yourself on me, and you wouldn’t care enough to feed me.” She felt braver knowing a part of him cared and managed to hold his gaze. “You’re a slave to your family, but I don’t think you want to be.”

“You know nothing, Nani.”

“I know enough.”

He stood so suddenly he nearly knocked his chair over, a look of irritation on his face. “That’s enough.” She caught the slight quaver to his voice. He took a deep breath and picked up their dishes. “You don’t know anything.”

“I do, I’ve seen many terrible beings in my lifetime and you do not have that same look in your eye, you don’t have that same aura about you” he stopped moving an d was silent a few moments “Nani, you have no idea what you’re dealing with or my aura”

“I already know you suppress yourself” he looked her in the eye then with a grin but she could tell he wanted to frown, the grin he wore was for show. “You’ll regret pushing me into seeing why I suppress myself so much when I’m trying to mate with women. I’ll miss this civil conversation but I’m tired of you acting like you know so much about me”

She watched his body rapidly change until it looked like a completely different being stood before her. His aura came almost like a flood into the home and her heart beat suddenly became painfully fast. The change was just so tremendous and fast. He had seemed to be about the height of her mate before but now he stood at what must be seven foot tall. He had two pointy, black horns coming from his forehead and now those inviting green eyes were a firey red.

His skin had looked about like hers before but now it was almost a sickly grey and he had massive demon wings. His ears were also completely different. They had looked human before but now they were longer than any she had seen before. He now had fangs in his mouth as well when before his teeth had also looked human. She swallowed, trying to calm herself “you see, I’m a monster” his voice was even different now. He had truly changed everything about himself in the other form but this too pointed to a being in pain, a being not happy with who he was.

“I may have gotten a little scared but I’ll relax” He got closer to her and she didn’t shrink away. “You really are an incredibly confusing woman Nani. This form should have you desperately trying to escape me”

“Maybe it’s you who should stop acting like you know everything about everybody Vicente. You could find a woman being you if you tried. Stop being who your family wants and start being happy”

He looked away from her as he took on the form from before. “You don’t understand Nani, no one does. This is who I am, I’ve been doing this for awhile now. Happiness? Forgiveness? I don’t need those things.”

“Everyone needs someone, trust me, I did. I needed Dakarai, I needed my son, and my adopted mothers. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to handle any of this, they made me stronger. That’s what we try to do for the children we take care of, build them up and help them start over. You remind me of them, Vicente.”

“I am not a child.”

“No, but you share the same sadness and pain.”

He growled. “That’s enough, Nani, I will hurt you, so stop.”

“No you won’t and that’s why you’re not a monster, no matter what you look like. I’ll help my mate and son understand when they get here.” He shook his head as he finally walked away to wash their dishes and Nani let herself relax. If she could, she would stop any bloodshed.

“dad I swear it’s here, I mean…” Varune made an exasperated sound then cursed “damn it, why am I so useless” Dakarai took a serious tone with his son “you’re not useless. I wouldn’t have been able to even find this spot without you. Your nose is amazing son. There’s just some magic at work here so stop stressing, you’re right. We just need to figure out how his home connects to here.”

“she’s just been with him too long”

“I know” Dakarais voice took an unintended softness due to his worry. Hadn’t his love been through enough, why the hell, of all women did this thing have to pick her. His mind was constantly going back to when she first came to the orphanage, all the nights she woke up screaming, all the times she would cling to his side because she was too scared to go off and interact with others on her own. It was hard to keep the emotion down but Varune was going through his own torture and Dakarai knew he needed to be the stable one right now.

Back at the orphanage Hafsah and Chione were doing a final walk through to make sure they had found and gotten rid of every single snake. They both hoped Curtis and Colt would be back soon with the anti venom they’d need to start waking up the children. Chione was only awake and helping because they still had a little left over from about twenty years ago when they needed some because one of their children got bit by a male when they had snuck out one evening.

Once they were sure their orphanage was snake free Hafsah had to hug her mate again “I’m so glad he didn’t do worse”

“I’m sorry I couldn’t protect our home”

“Nonsense Chione, you did your best, there were only three of you here. Who is to even say the seven of us could have kept him away. Can you remember our protections failing before?”

“No, not unless the kids gave some aid to that effect and I know none of the children helped him. They were all happy to stay away from him”

“we’ll have to figure something out for the future.”

“yeah” Hafsah went to check on the new children, hating this was their introduction to their new home “you’ll have friends to play with soon sweethearts” she comforted and one asked “you’re sure the snakes are gone”

“we’ve checked multiple times to be sure”

When Nani yawned late in the evening Vicente asked “are you ready to go to bed?”

“where would I sleep?”

“you’re sleeping in my room so I know if you go wandering my home”

“and I bet it’ll be nice to share a bed with someone”

“I do enjoy a nice, warm, beautiful woman in my arms yes but you get that from hooking up too”

“hm” It wasn’t too much later when Vicente lifted her off his couch and said definitively “we’re going to bed”

“it’s not too late just to release me Vicente. We could all be friends, I want to help you change your life so you can find a mate”

“I’m too tired for this, enough, at least for right now Nani”