Gilded cages

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Az found his twin arranging furniture much like Raven had placed his. The love seats were in the breakfast nook and the dark leather sectional framed the bottom of an Aubusson Cy didn't have the night before.

Cy's normal chaotic ball of colors mutinied into order. They were plotting ways to kill Lucah.

"Scot took Moon's," Cy announced.

"Why?" Az asked as he moved a chest in place for the coffee table in the living space.

"Reparations. Raven called Wren out over Lucah, but he let Scot demand payment."

"You're angry." Az surmised.

Cy stood in the middle of the floor and looked around. "Yes, I am. A month, Azzy. Scot's made pretty promises to me for a month. Dumbass gave Moon's to Lucah."

Az raised his eyebrows. "Did you want it?"

"Not the point."

"Brother, I think it is. If all things were equal, Scot would have met me first. I was working, and he met you. You who smells like--"

"Raven." Cy looked at the floor. "I didn't know that, before. You smell like him, too, you know."

He did. Az had two mates, but he seemed to be the only one to know it. Scot had claimed Cy without permission, by word, if not by deed, and Cy didn't like it.

"Brother, we are mated to Raven. We," Az murmured, watching his twin for any sign of anger. Cy didn't want Scot, but the words demanded he have him, anyhow. Those words turned Cy's sibling rivalry with Lucah into a fight over a mate. Only one was deadly. Couple the hate with the person trying to kill him, and Cy had become a very dangerous Feline.

Ether was mated to Gemini and Ether possessed two Skins. The Breath of Life and the Blade of Death. One Lucah FeLiSe claimed the title of Ether for himself and the majick didn't agree. Lucah smelled almost Human to Az.

According to Raven, his mother had more sons than Az knew.

"Cy?"

"Yes?"

"Who was Ether, first?" Az asked. Unlike Raven's sons, the majick for Ether was fused to the Essence and not the Vessel. Only born gods came with the majick tied to both.

"Me." Cy nodded and walked away from him. "I need food."

Lucah breezed in as if he owned the place and Cy glared at their older brother.

"Hello, Tweety. Lost your cage?" Cy asked.

"You will not ruin my day, Cy," Lucah said. "I have not lost anything."

"Only your head." Cy nodded and Az grabbed Cy around the waist, turning him so he lost eye contact.

"No eating the brother, now," Az murmured in his ear. "Mom would not appreciate it."

"She only needs his head. The rest of him can go away," Cy argued as he twisted in Az's hold. "War won the birdie a cage and the bird should fly home."

"The cage as you say needs cleaning. Scot said I could stay with you for a couple of days," Lucah said.

"War did not ask me," Cy grumbled.

"Cy, War is mated to Justice," Az whispered.

"I hate my life." Cy sighed and slumped. Az let him go and Cy slunk up the stairs.

Lucah started talking to himself again and Az frowned.

"Now I lay me down to sleep..."

~~~~

Cy slammed the bedroom door closed when he reached it. "He's mad, Chase."

"As you say, my lord."

"I'm so tired," Cy whispered as he climbed onto the bed.

"Did you sleep last night?" Chase asked.

"I don't remember," Cy mumbled. He hoped the Viper stayed by the door, but when the hinges creaked, Cy knew Chase had left him alone.

The lights didn't flicker, and the walls didn't close in on him, so he hoped sleep would come. HIs mind filled with purple flowers, music, and slow dancing with Raven in a garage turned bar.

A hand slid down his chest and hot breath tickled his ear. "Miss me?" Cy's eyes popped open and green ones stared back. "We can play this game forever, Blue."

He screamed. For the first time, air filled his lungs, and the colors moved in the right direction. The sound tore from his throat, rattling the window panes. The tinkling glass joined the chorus before the icy tendrils wrapped around his neck.

"SHUT UP!"

Cold fingers dug into his flesh and the colors began a new mantra: Safe, safe, safe, safe.

He landed on another bed and looked around. An acoustic guitar rested on the stand in one corner of the curtained bay window, and in the other, an amp with a Stratocaster.

Raven's scent covered him, erasing the blackberries and brandy.

~~~~

Chase stood in front of his bedroom door when Raven arrived home from the bar at three in the morning. Raven took the stair four at the time and the Guard moved to let him enter. Raven placed his hand on the wood and stopped.

"What happened?" Raven asked, trying to steady his breathing.

"Lucah arrived at my lord's and moved in. My lord, Azure was called away, and my lord Cyan left. I found him here an hour ago. I should have checked your bedroom, first." Chase bowed his head, exposing his neck as if he thought Raven would punish him.

Instead, Raven took a deep breath. "Thank you. Check here, first? If he isn't here, then we worry. You need my phone number, Chase."

"Yes, my lord."

"Raven. Please call me Raven." He didn't wait for a response. He opened the door and stared at the bundle on the bed for a moment. Placing one knee at the foot, Raven crawled over Cy and touched his forehead to his. "Cy?" he whispered, trailing a fingertip over the ligature marks on that once pale flesh.

"My Raven?" Scot called from the doorway. Raven motioned for his twin to enter and Scot joined him on the bed. "Good gods!" Scot whispered.

"He's been hiding this, brother," Raven murmured, ignoring the after sex musk covering Scot.

Black lashes parted, and the blue shown through as Cy watched them. "Hi."

"Honey, what is going on?" Raven asked.

Honey? Scot questioned. Raven ignored him, brushing a strand of blond off of Cy's face.

"He's trying to kill me," Cy whispered and touched his throat. Raven tore his wrist open and Cy grabbed it in both hands, his fangs descending, shocking Scot further. Cy paused, cutting his eyes at Scot, who told him to feed.

"Many hands have touched you, my Raven," Scot said as he leaned into scent him.

"Last Spirits is full of the living and the dead, brother. I'm the bouncer for twenty-two planes from eight until two in the morning," Raven answered. Cy licked the wounds closed and Scot tore his own wrist. Cy drank from him and the bruising faded, but it wouldn't heal completely until he fed from Az.

"How do you feel?" Scot asked.

"Better," Cy whispered. Scot nodded once, scooping him up, and the green lit the black in Raven's head.

"He didn't understand that, did he?" Beau asked as he dropped his shield beside the bed.

"No." Raven sighed.

"Cy's gonna end up right there again," Beau said.

"And Scot will take him away again." Raven moved to his knees. "Part of me wishes the timeline would change again, and another part wishes to do this one over."

"Now, Rave. Don't go rushin' it. Connor and Caleb will show." Beau patted Raven on the shoulder and left to find his own bed.

Gods damned words. Raven claimed Cy and Scot still respected the words instead of the blood.

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