Disclosure: Tin Man and such are all under the property of their respective owners and writers. I just spend until 2am working out plot points with an awesome friend.
Word count before editing: 2,796
Song I listened to for this chapter: Missing Persons 1 & 2 by OneRepublic.
Ambrose grows concerned; he looks up at Cain, “Did it break it?” Please don’t let it all be for nothing.
Looking up at him, DG tells him, “Yes. “
With that Ambrose nods. He lets her go and grins as Cain wraps his arm around her again. He bows to him, “Well, I guess Ahamo will be stocking up on that oil.”
Cain grins back at him, “Guess so. At least this way he won’t worry about the monkeys anymore.”
Looking at both of them, DG shakes her head. She puts her arm around Ambrose and tells them both, “C’mon you two. I get this feeling I need to be brought up to speed. Let’s go.” With that, the two men laugh and putting both their arms around her, escort her into the house.
Everyone on the porch looks up as Cain, DG and Ambrose all climb the stairs. The sense of relief of seeing them all happy is universal. Then Az truly looks at her sister and she gasps.
Jeb jerks, trying to see what has made her react.
Az looks back at him, lays her hand on his shoulder, then lets it trail down his arm as she gets up and moves to her sister. She stops in front of her, and then looks at Cain. “You both accepted the Life Mate Bond.”
Cain can’t help the grin. “Yes.” He looks down at DG. He is still amazed that she accepted it. He can feel her so much more now.
Ambrose laughs at the two. He has no idea why this doesn’t hurt more. However, once the Courting Bond fell away, he found he still loves DG, but as he loves Cain. As a sibling.
Az just shakes her head. Then she gets mischievous, and asks, “Can I see your Marks?”
DG just stares at her sister, but Cain realizes what she means. He hadn’t even looked for himself. He picks up her left hand with his so he can see both of them. When he does, a familiar flow of silvery blue surrounds their hands.
Az laughs. “Oh my, this will take some time to get used to.” She then peers at their hands and gasps.
DG looks down and she turns her head sideways. “Why do I have a tribal Tattoo on my hand?”
Cain glances at her and then back at their hands. He is surprised too. “It is a physical sign of our Bond, Sweetheart.”
The rest of the group gathers around their hands staring. DG is a little uncomfortable with it. Before she can say anything, Cain jerks his head up at her. “Sweetheart, there is nothing wrong.”
She looks up at his face, and mutters, “Then why is everyone staring at them?”
At that, Ambrose laughs. “I think we all have questions; I know I do. Why don’t we settle down and talk?”
Jeb smiles, tugs Az into a chair with him, as Cain does the same across from him with DG. DG raises an eyebrow at her sister and can’t help the amusement flowing through her as Az blushes. She settles into Cain’s arms, the complete astonishment of this man being hers is not fading. In addition, she can feel the same from him. She curls into his lap and he kisses her forehead as he holds her to him. His left hand finds hers, neither really noticing the faint bubble surrounding them that matches their Bond.
Dg waits until they all sit down and she asks, “What first?”
They all laugh. Then Ambrose asks, “I have one question. Does anyone really understand the Courtship Bond?”
They all look at him, shocked. He looks up at them, “What?”
Az just shakes her head, “I just assumed you would have become an expert on it.”
Ambrose just smiles. “No. I wanted some wonder in my life. Anything to do with DG was the epitome of that wonder.”
Cain just nods. He still feels that way. He asks, “What changed, Ambrose?”
Ambrose thinks. “First, I think I’d really rather be called Glitch by you guys. Ambrose is just too much. And to answer your question, my feelings changed. I still love DG. But it is more like how I feel for you Cain.”
Thinking, Cain states, “As a sibling, Head-case?”
Glitch lifts an eyebrow, “That didn’t mean I want the other names back too, Tin Man. But, yes.”
DG frowns. “How long did you have this, whatever you are calling it, with me?”
Az answers her, “He has been your Suitor for about 12 years. Cain, since right after the Eclipse.”
Raw answers them, “You feel for DG the way she feel for you. For all of us but Cain. But to answer, You feel the same for DG as Cain does for you. DG magic twisted Bond for all of us.”
DG jerks. “What you mean I twisted the Bond?”
Raw looks at DG, “You put a Bond on all of us before battle. You wanted to make sure we all safe. Took Raw long time to figure out what DG did. But it was good thing, DG. Very good thing. You made us all safer.”
Cain and Ambrose look shocked. Jeb blurts, “Even me?”
Raw nods. “You son of Cain. You being hurt would hurt Cain. DG love Cain and wanted nothing to hurt him.”
Jeb just mutters, “Hot Damn.”
DG is shaking her head. “You mean I am making you all feel this for me?”
Cain’s hand moves fast and quickly lifts her chin so that their eyes meet. “DG, you didn’t make any of us feel anything for you. I know you have spent the last annual thinking like this, but you need to stop.”
Meanwhile, Az is looking at the bonds DG had made and she answers DG in a voice full of awe, “No, you didn’t. You made us all connected, but the connection is actually bound by our feelings for each other. If we didn’t feel anything, the Bond simply wouldn’t be there. But the more we feel, the more your Bond helps us connect and protect.”
Momster asks, “But what has you so awed, Azkadellia?”
Az looks up at them, smiles, “The oldest Bond is mine. She did this when we were children, Glitch’s is the next and so forth. But the most powerful right now is hers and Cain’s. I suspect that those same Bonds are what are going to help us defeat the Witch.”
DG cocks her head to the side. “Raw said I put them into place when we were going into the Tower. How could I do yours so much earlier?”
Raw speaks up, “DG put new spell on Glitch, added the protection. When she did that, Az’s spell got updated.” Then his voice drops. “Tutor have same spell.”
Cain growls. He can’t help it. The thought of the man getting close to DG in any way infuriates him. But then a small hand is on his face and he looks down at his love. “Wyatt.” And that word alone is enough to calm him. His smile ghosts across his face, and she smiles back.
Glitch is smiling, he had done the right thing, and their interaction in front of all of them is enough to confirm this. “So, that solves the problem I had. Now, someone needs to teach DG and the rest of us about Life Mates.”
Momster clears her throat when they all look lost. “I know about them. They were what I was supposed to start teaching DG.”
Az lifts her eyebrow. “Start to teach DG?”
Popsicle sighs. “Once the dream started, we were to start teaching her. We had in fact confirmed she had dreamed the right dream sequence as was told to us. That night during dinner we were going to start.”
Jeb just shook his head, “So, DG wasn’t supposed to be as helpless as she is.”
Az smacks him on the arm. But before she could do anything else, DG starts to laugh. When she turns to her, DG explains. “In a way it was a good thing. It made things harder and easier for them, but all in all, I would have thought my parents were insane.”
Cain kisses the top of her head. “Well, darlin’, we will work on setting you right. You need to know a lot of things. At least this way you can tell if a spell has been cast on you.”
Momster clears her throat again. “Actually, Mr. Cain, with your Bond, you will both know and be able to resist it.”
DG frowns and asks her, “Just tell us what you know.”
Momster nods. “The Life Mating process is irreversible. It supersedes everything, once a couple is Bonded, there is no separating them. The magic won’t allow it. It is supposed to be instantaneous the first time the couple sees each other. DG I can understand somewhat; she wouldn’t have known. What I don’t understand is you, Mr. Cain.”
Glitch laughs as well as Jeb. Jeb tells him, “He’s stubborn. Whatever reason made it possible in his head, he would have stuck by it.”
Glitch continues, “And he was falling into it. I just don’t know what held him back.”
DG just stared into the eyes of Cain. He stares back, knowing she was leaving it up to him. “I felt guilty. I couldn’t offer her my whole heart and she deserves nothing less.”
Momster thinks and tells them, “You fought it possibly the only way it would accept it: to give her all of you.” She nods her head. “Yes, that would have worked.” She sat up straighter, teacher mode engaged fully, “Signs of being Life Mates are legendary. There is a color that each Bond has symbolizing them. That color is present when they touch, and it is in a band around the color of their eyes. The other thing is a Mark. It normally starts around the heart finger of the left side of the male and the right side of the female. Moreover, as you grow together, the Mark will spread. The largest recorded was up the arm. However, there are rumors of ones that completely covered the sides of the mates. The Marks are symbolic of the people they cover.”
DG looks down at the ones covering Cain and her hands and extend up their arms partially. “But I thought you said they only start as a ring.”
Momster nods as she looks over at them. “Yes.”
DG just looks up at Cain and he stares back at her. He softly tells her, “Does it matter DG? You are it for me. If the damn things take over my body, as long as you in my life, I wouldn’t care.”
Momster tells them, “The larger the Mark, the more Bonded you are to each other. As it stands with a ring Mark, neither of you will survive the other. Now, your abilities are enhanced.”
Cain thinks on that. Before he can say anything, Glitch muses. “So Cain’s ability to find DG anywhere is enhanced? He didn’t need that enhanced. He was leading us straight to her in the Tower.”
Az is thinking also. She looks at the two of them, then switches her sight over to see the magic. She frowns, working through the bonds, and then she gasps. “Oh.”
Jeb asks, “Are you going to tell the rest of us?”
Az laughs. She just asks Cain, “What is the one thing you want, need to do for DG?”
Cain answers without a hesitation, “To keep her safe and loved.”
Glitch gets it. “You’re ability to protect her will be enhanced. That is what the ability to find her was for. So you can get to her and keep her safe.”
DG just stares at him. “You just want to keep me safe?”
Cain cups her face in his, “And loved. Never forget that one, DG. I love you. I have since I saw you through a dirty faceplate of a suit. The type of person I am, with the events of my life, demand that I keep you safe. The more I love you, the more that my entire being demands that I keep you safe, Sweetheart. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Glitch can’t help himself, “It’s a full time job to jeep her safe. Good thing you are Bonded to her. I don’t think you could stand a bodyguard around her.”
Cain can’t help but to growl at the thought.
DG laughs. “So, Wyatt’s personal ability is to keep me safe. What, then, is mine?”
Cain chuckles. “Your magic, DG. The magic that is in you, that makes places like the Papay fields. To make a Bond between us all to protect and love us. The Magic to take care of the O.Z. like it needs to be taken care of.” Then his eyes grow darker, the ring around them flaring into life. “But you do it more safely, DG. No more exhausting yourself to the point that you almost kill yourself.”
DG just stares into his eyes and finally tells him in a soft voice, “I won’t. I can’t, Wyatt. It’s one thing when it was just myself; but with this Bond, I will not kill you.”
Raw tells them, “Bond knows this. Cain needs DG as much as DG needs Cain.”
They all turn to him. Glitch is thinking, and finally comments, “DG already healed Cain.”
Cain snorts at that. “Head-case, you deserve that name. I will always need DG. There will never be a moment in our lives that I won’t need her.”
Jeb is laughing at Glitch. He pulls Az closer to him without thinking on it, commenting, “Dad is right. You are a Head-case. Think on it Glitch. Remember how bad he was when DG was missing and my team rescued you guys. Or this past annual. Dad needs DG as much, if not more, than she needs him.”
DG leans back into Cain, the two of them grinning as their family argues back and forth how much Cain needs DG. He finally leans down to her ear, “I do need you, DG, so very much. The only thing that I have more of is my love for you. It may be too soon-”
Cain is stopped by DG’s finger on his mouth. She then lightly kisses him. “I hope you love me, being Bonded forever would suck if you hated me.”
Cain looks at her confused, “Suck on what?”
DG’s laughter rings out loud enough to have the rest of them turn to them.
Cain just shakes his head. “You and your slipper phrases.”
Dg cocks her head to the side as she wonders, “Since you are on this side, doesn’t that make you guys the slippers?”
Glitch is thinking about it and Az throws a pillow at him. “Don’t answer that!”
Popsicle and Momster smile at the antics around them.
DG calms down, then asks her mom, “Is that everything on the Life Mate, thing?”
Momster nods, just mentioning, “By the standards of the O.Z., you two are married. There are some thoughts that is where the wedding rings started since that is how the Bond starts.”
DG looks over at Cain, “So you weren’t kidding about the honeymoon, were you?”
Cain’s eyes flash and then go dark. He tells her, “No. I may have known little about this, but you are mine, DG.”
Jeb quips up, “DG, I love you, but I am not calling you Mom.”
This starts the laughter again. DG gags and looks over at Jeb, “Jeb that feels so wrong in so many ways. Never mention it again, please.”
Jeb grins, “Of course, not. Mommy.”
DG groans and looks up at her husband, “Control your son.”
Cain is laughing, “Oh he is doing a great job, Sweetheart. We will keep him around as the court jester.”
DG grins and looks over at Jeb, “You want to play anymore?”
Jeb is groaning. “Not when you don’t play fair.”
Cain is grinning at them, but then he sighs. “We need to finish telling DG everything.”
DG turns to him, frowning. “Wyatt, why do I get this feeling that this is not going to be good? And I am not talking about the feeling from you.”
Az bites the bullet and tells her, “There is another Witch. And your namesake is involved.”
Glitch picks up from there, “Looks like we have another quest, Doll.”
Final count: 2,814 words.