14. Deep Breaths

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Adam was lost.

In the crowd of a fortune telling gypsy that communicated with the spirit of a ladies' 'Dead niece', he wasn't sure how he'd gotten there. The sensation of being dragged through a wringer and left soaking and compressed attacked him. When he blinked his eyes to clear the haze, his limbs were confined to a metal chair and it's uncomfortable cushioning.

He could've sworn he'd been sleeping over at Verun's, helping with the kids while the pregnant man tended to his recovering Lycan mate.

Instead, he found himself trapped in this... reading? Adam wasn't an expert by any stretch in anything but the facts and gypsies had always creeped him out. This lady in her tinkling skirt and sash over her shoulder reeked of threats and darkness.

"Remember, little one, it takes more strength to resist than give into power. Resist all you wish, but strength is not what you need. You need acceptance," Her voice echoed around the room, her gnarled finger pointing straight at him.

He woke up.

The little ones watched him with gleaming silver eyes when he blinked his own open.

"Addy, wake up?" Brady asked, patting his face while her tengu watched Adam from over her shoulder.

"He's ill, isn't he?" The tengu asked, dark eyes scanning the small body in the bed. After long days with coddling and in this human-like state, the tengu had become smaller, softer in features. He'd shrunk to Nick's size by now and no more than nine in physical age. He'd always look intense, however. "Brady, does he need milk?"

"Milk?" Brady asked Adam this time, ushering her tengu over.

"No, no, I'm fine," Adam lied and smiled with an effort when Kuro leaned over to sniff him. "Okay?"

"Verun-sama is sleeping but I could get Walt-sama?" He asked.

"I will!" Nick grinned and ran out of the room before the tengu could. Brady dragged the other over to lay on the other side of Adam and sniffed him.

"Adam-san?" Kuro asked, poking Adam's shoulder. "Why are you scared?"

"I don' know," Adam grimaced, licking dry lips. "I don' know, Kuro."

"Maybe you should have stayed with Vitesh," Walt murmured from the doorway. "We would've understood if you couldn't make it for the family dinner."

"Had to come," He murmured and smiled as the eldest Lycan came over to curl up where Brady had been. "What?"

"Your Jinni is very worried, called me not long ago," Walt smiled as he pet Adam's fluffy ears. He didn't say anything about the ebony sand falling from the silky fur. "How are you feeling?"

"Weird," Adam scrunched up his nose. "You sleep well?"

"Ver only needed two foot rubs so it was an easy night. The baby kicked some more," Walt grinned. "Want to come see him? He's writing in bed for his newest book."

"May I come, Walt-sama?"

"Stop asking," Walt ruffled the feathery raven hair. "Jeez, kid. We don't make a habit of demanding you ask if you want to cuddle. Vitesh will sending the car back around to fetch you in half an hour, Addy."

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