Aurora grunted as she woke up stretching. Raising her arms up and curling her toes she started to arch her back with a loud yawn until she felt the weight on her chest. Looking down with one eye open she smiled seeing Ziggy’s hair at the end of her muzzle. Slowly sitting her arms back down she felt another furry body on her right and two more in her left.
Smiling she shook her head realizing all of the kids where piled in around her. Gerhard had insisted the night before she take the king sized bed and now she saw why. Gently she reached down running her fingers through each of their hair. Both of the boys where starting to grow at an astounding rate. In the two months she had been gone they had both started to thin out and grow taller.
Ziggy was growing too though it seemed not near as fast as the boys. Her cheeks still had a lot of baby fat and her body still retained that cute chubby look of almost all children her age. Annabelle however seemed to have changed the most. Her body was quickly filling out into a teen. Even covered in fur Aurora could tell her face had thinned a lot as had the rest of her body.
Shaking her head Aurora slowly examined each of them as they slept as best she could. After a while a soft knock came at the door followed by the gentle creaking of someone coming inside. Sitting up as much as she could Aurora smiled seeing Gerhard with a tray of food. He gave a silent chuckle shaking his head as he walked over sitting the tray down on the night stand then taking a seat on the edge of the bed. “Hey there Ger” Aurora smiled up at him.
Gerhard smiled and nodded back looking at the kits then at her. “They have all missed you terribly. I’m glad you are back.”
Aurora nodded as she shifted around grabbing a sausage link off the tray. “Youre telling me. I wasn’t aware I could even miss someone as bad as I missed these kids. How have things been around here?”
Gerhard shrugged as he smiled. “Well Blake has taken up his marshal job very well. We have had virtually no problems since you left besides the normal drunk scuffles. Rachel and Toby have a new room up above Thomas’s shop, Toby works out of the back making jewelry and Rachel has proven quite the fashionista around here. Sorin has kept out of trouble of course, mainly just works every day. Kathy has been a big help around here. Doesn’t hurt she sells pastries out of the inn now.”
Aurora smiled and nodded rubbing Annabelle’s ears absent mindedly. “And what of you mister big shot?”
Gerhard snickered softly and shrugged. “I do most of the bar work for the inn, Annabelle runs the floor like she always has and the boys have started helping. Ziggy though… she has developed a bad habit of wandering sometimes quite far from town. I’m not so much worried about something hurting her as her getting lost.”
Aurora nodded and grinned. “She takes after me. I got an itch to wander a lot too. But that didn’t answer my question. What’s up with you? Your happy and not the life is cruising along happy either.”
Gerhard chuckled and looked away. “Ok you got me. I met someone. She is a lot like you. Head strong and independent but she still likes to be around me. We met about a month ago. She came in with a group of traders from up North.”
Aurora nodded slowly. “Mmm and would I approve of her?”
Gerhard snickered nodding. “She is a good woman. Good to the kids too though they haven’t taken to her like they have you. Oh and get this she is an arc angel. Not like you and Red though. She was born one.”
Aurora raised a brow slowly. “I thought arc angels were lab made. Sigurd said so himself.”
Nodding Gerhard smiled. “That’s what I said. But apparently they can be born. It’s very rare mind you there are only about 20 or so known to exist, and get this she is a third generation arc angel. The only one so far.” He smiled seeming proud that he remembered it all.
“Mmm she sounds exotic” Aurora chuckled as she began slowly worming her way out from under the kits. “Id like to meet her, if they are going to be around the kits I want to judge her for myself. No offense to you.”
Gerhard snickered again and nodded. “I get it, my mom was the same way with anyone I hung out with. It’s just part of being a mother I suppose.”
Aurora shook her head smiling. “I am so not old enough to be hearing those words. Hell I’ve only got six years on Annabelle.” Looking down she huffed. “a little help?” she said gesturing to the kits.
Gerhard nodded as he stood up and slowly picked up each of the boys scooting them away from her. Grabbing Ziggy Aurora slowly sat up then spun to the edge of the bed. “This is still so alien to me I don’t know how I will get use to it.” Gently she stood up and turned around laying Ziggy down next to Annabelle. The two of them reaching out and grabbing on to one another.
Gerhard smiled and lead her out. Aurora grabbed her plate of food eating as she walked out the door. Out in the dining area Aurora was greeted by a very interesting sight. The new camera crew was all circled around one table. In the middle we’re Rachel and Frost. Both of them had their shirts pulled halfway up giggling.
Walking over Aurora cocked a brow as she nudged her way in. Rachel turned to Aurora giggling still. “Hey you I didn’t get to really see you last night. How are you?” Rachel leaned forwards hugging Aurora neck.
Smiling Aurora gave her a gentle squeeze. “Yeah sorry about that. How’s the little bun?” Aurora looked her over and had to admit Rachel had taken her life so well in stride it was incredible. Her hair was pulled back in a wavy pony tail, all down her arms where small leather bands some had feathers dangling others had small decorative stones woven in. Her clothing was stitched ornately but still rugged. And despite only being roughly 3 months along she already had a rather large baby belly.
Rachel was almost glowing she was so bright and happy. “Oh my gosh, getting way big way fast. Sigurd said I should deliver within the next three months. And that’s three months too long. Little devil can kick already.” She turned back to Frost and grinned. “I was just letting Frost feel him kick. Apparently her little ones started stirring around too.”
Aurora smiled and nodded. “Well I’m happy for you, both of you.” Blake came striding up through the crowd. Aurora was surprised to see he had bulked up since they had left. Wearing a tan leather vest and matching pants with a marshal badge on his chest he looked very official. “I swear I didn’t do it.” Aurora smirked holding her hands up.
Blake snickered as everyone chuckled. “I don’t think it would be in my best interest to try and arrest my boss. But I just wanted to say thank you for returning Frost to me undamaged.” Aurora nodded with a smile. “Did you guys have any more trouble since the phantom?” he asked looking between her and Frost.
Aurora smiled and shook her head. “No that was a one time thing. We stayed in the presidents mansion after that. Plenty of security.”
One of the camera guys spun around and looked at her. “Whoa whoa a phantom attacked you guys in the capital? Thought those things didn’t exist anymore.” Everyone then turned and looked at Aurora as she huffed softly.
“There was one. When we where at the hotel downtown. It and a group of about 20 men attacked us. I’m assuming to prevent us from meeting with the Senate. Anyways yes we beat it.”
Frost shook her head as she stepped around next to Aurora “don’t be so modest. Yeah me and Red fought the regular guys but you killed that thing on your own. It sent you through how many walls with one hit and put Red two floors down like it was nothing.” Turning to the camera crew she grinned. “Aurora fought that thing alone, saved me then ripped it’s heart out. I’ll be honest it scares me at first but looking back it was amazing”
Aurora huffed as everyone scooted in trying to ask a dozen questions all at once. But all too quickly she found herself up off the ground being carried away backwards. At first she didn’t know who had her until the smell of coal hit her nose and she giggled spinning around in Sorins arms. “Hello sugar” she beamed at him as he sat her back down.
“Hi” he grinned before picking her up again and throwing her over his shoulder. “Sorry folks she is mine now ask questions later.” He snickered marching out the door with her playfully kicking and fake screaming to be put down.
Once outside she smiled and leaned up kissing him long and hard purring “mmm I missed those” she said tracing his jaw line with one finger. Ducking away she giggled trotting down the road leaving Sorin standing dumbfounded. “Come on slow poke I’ve been stuck in a house for two months.”
Sorin chuckled picking his feet up and starting to keep pace with her. Aurora was in near sensory overload as she tried to take in all of the sights and smells around her. “God I missed all this.” She said spinning around.
“Really, I thought you’d have a hard time leaving the human world. I mean that was your home.” Sorin came up next to her with his hands tucked into his pockets.
Aurora smiled shaking her head. “Westguard was never really home for me, not since my mother passed away. It’s just kind of where I lived. And after spending time amongst all of you and going through my change. I couldn’t ever be comfortable there again. I mean the first day I was there I tried going back to how I use to live. It was miserable. Everything smelled horrible, the food was disgusting, I just never got comfortable.”
Sorin nodded as he looked around. “I guess I can understand that. So the city really wasn’t that great huh.”
Aurora nodded as they approached the square. “Yeah, it’s like the opposite of here. I don’t know I’m just… happy here. So enough about me what have you been doing since I’ve been gone?”
Sorin shook his head. “Ive just been working. Trying my best to stay busy. The traders really cleaned me out this year.” Walking around they made their way slowly over to Kathie’s cafe'. “But you aren’t getting off that easy. What’s this I heard about you fighting a phantom?”
Aurora groaned as she nudged him over to the café. “Well to be honest it’s hard to describe. I just kind of did it. I don’t really know how or where all that strength comes from I just kind of do it. To be honest it’s a total pain in the ass.”
Sliding over into a couple of chairs they sat down. Kathy came out shortly after “well if it isn’t my daughter come back from the big city.” She smirked sitting Aurora’s favorite tea down in front of her. “So how was the city?”
Aurora groaned softly. “It was just a drag. I missed your tea something terrible. To be honest I feel like I still kind of stink.”
Kathy snickered “well I’m sure everyone has been railing you about what all happened. I will let you enjoy your tea in peace.”
Aurora sighed happily. “Thank you. But I have to ask, everyone said Ziggy is wandering. She isn’t getting into too much trouble is she?”
Kathy rolled her eyes. “If that kit was any more like you I swear you where her biological mother. She wanders a lot and it stresses Gerhard out to no end. But honestly she hasn’t been any further away than Blake’s cabin. Don’t worry, there are no major predators in the area so her only real concern is coming home dirty.”
Aurora grunted and rolled her eyes. “You and I will have to have a long talk later. I have a lot of questions for you.” Kathy shrugged leaving them to talk. Aurora groaned and rubbed her temples. “Im not sure what I am going to do with that girl.”
Sorin smiled leaning forwards on one elbow his head resting in his hand. “So now that you are back, what’s next?”
Aurora leaned back sipping on her tea. “Hoestly I’m not sure. I mean Vail is my home now. But more and more I am having a hard time staying still. I keep wanting to move and travel. I was always adventurous but up until now I haven’t had a place or the self confidence to travel. And I’ve had a lot of confusion and conflicting feelings about who and what I want.”
Sorin nodded as he shrugged. “I mean you know you can tell me anything.” Aurora nodded looking up just in time to see Blake following after Frost yelling after her to slow down. The small fox was at a dead run down the hill. Aurora hopped up and intercepted the fleeing fox.
“Hey whoa whoa what’s going on?” she said catching Frost in her arms. Looking down Frost was trembling with tears streaming down her face to the point it had matted her fur flat. Looking up as Blake caught up. “Whats going on?” She said looking up with a dark scowl on her face.
Blake shook his head “I have no idea. We where going into the inn to have breakfast with the others and she just stopped two feet in and started shaking. Next thing I know she is halfway down the hill and I’m trying to catch up.”
Aurora looked down as she held Frosts trembling frame. “Its alright sugar. Tell me what’s wrong.” Frost simply burried her head further into Auroras chest and shook her head. “Sugar you know I am always here to help you. Now please tell me.”
Frost looked up. Her eyes puffy and red rimmed from crying so hard. “They are here.” She said weakly looking over her shoulder in the direction of the inn. Aurora and Blake both cocked their heads confused, exchanging worried glances.
“Who is here sugar?” Aurora said taking gentle steps and leading Frost over to the café. Frost shook her head again and ducked down into a chair looking at her feet. “Now Frost if you don’t tell me I am going to go up there and find out myself.”
Frost looked up at Aurora in a panic “No please. I just want to avoid them…” she trailed off as Blake came and sat down next to Frost putting an arm around her shoulder. Aurora gave a soft rumbling growl making Frost twitch. “Ok, ok… my parents where in the inn. The ones… the ones that abandoned me.”
Blakes jaw hit the floor as he looked between Aurora and Frost in shock. Aurora’s jaw clenched as she could feel her teeth grinding together dangerously hard. “Sorin, Blake keep her here I’ll be right back.” Without another word Aurora was on the move taking long powerful strides up the hill. Behind her she could hear Frost protesting loudly as the two men tried to keep her at least partially contained.
Aurora grabbed the heavy metal door handle to the inn, feeling the steel twist and warp as she yanked the heavy wooden door open. The door swung open hard only for Aurora to catch it at the last second causing the metal to bend in her hand. Taking a slow deep breath she mentally smoothed her emotions over. Gerhard was standing behind the bar with a rag in one hand and a glass in the other.
He smiled at Aurora at first till he took a moment to look her over before slowly making his way around the bar and over to her. “Whats wrong?” he said his face set.
Aurora shook her head. “Im looking for a fox. A red fox with green hair.” She said scanning the room before her eyes locked on the only fox in the room. “Him. Has he been here long?”
Gerhard followed her line of sight and shook his head. “Haven’t been here but a couple days I think.”
Aurora grunted “no I mean is he the only fox that’s been in here this morning.”
Gerhard cocked his head then nodded “Oh umm yeah. Why what’s…” he trailed off as Aurora took off at a measured and dangerously calm walk.
The fox was very normal looking as Aurora approached except his coloring seemed a little bold for a normal fox. Smiling Aurora gently touched his shoulder. “Excuse me, is this seat taken?” she said gesturing to the chair across the table from him.
“Ah no it is not” the fox gave her a sly grin as he motioned her to sit. “Did I do something wrong?” he smirked looking Aurora over with hungry eyes.
Aurora gave a wide toothy grin leaning forwards. “Oh now what makes you think you are in trouble?” she asked softly her eyes narrowing. “Maybe I just think foxes are really cute and you looked so alone over here.”
The fox grinned wider. “Well I just assumed. It’s fairly well known here in town that a beautiful young Snow Leopard was the marshal.”
Aurora snickered and shook her head “Young for sure, but I don’t know about beautiful. But sadly I don’t think you should be flirting with me. You have a family don’t you?” she grinned watching him wince.
Taking a moment the fox leaned back taking a drink before sitting back forwards. “Well I mean I am in an open relationship right now. My mate is taking a break from us so I mean I am available.”
Aurora nodded as her eyes went cold. “Well I can understand that. And while I understand a relationship not working there is one thing I simply don’t understand. Why would someone abandon a child? Not just a child but a child completely and totally dependent on their parents? And at only a year old. That’s harsh” she stared him down her whole body starting to slowly tense up.
The fox rubbed his chin for a moment then shook his head. “I have no idea what you are talking about. You must have me confused with someone else.” He said slowly starting to stand.
Aurora slammed her fist into the table making the fox jumps slightly. “Sit down” she snarled at him. “Her name was July. You left her in the wilderness to die. Now I have one last question. What name should I inscribe on your tombstone?”
The fox smirked as he crossed his arms. “You got bold balls coming after me kid. See I’m an ark angel, twice as fast and three times as mean as you are on your worst day. They called me Jack the ripper during the war, since I was so good at ripping my enemies apart. Now if you don’t apologize this instant two things are going to happen. One I’m going to beat the shit out of you. Then you are gonna come with me while I trade and I will do whatever I want to you whenever I want. Any questions?”
Outside Frost had finally managed to almost make it inside the inn. Blake and Sorin tried stopping her but both where having trouble containing her and not risking hurting her or the baby at the same time.
“For the last time Frost please stop. Aurora knows what she is doing” Blake pleaded with her finally managing to get his arms fully around her shoulders. Only to have her slip right out of his grip.
“Its not her fight Blake. My dad was an ark angel. I don’t want her getting….” Frost was interrupted by a resounding thud followed by a crash and the sound of timber being blown apart.
All three of them froze and turned just in time to see a very disheveled looking fox stagger to his feet. Turning to where the crashing had come from Blake, Frost and Sorin all gaped as Aurora strode out of a body sized hole blown through the side of the inn wall.
“Get up you son of a bitch. I’m not through with you yet.” Walking over Aurora grabbed the fox by the scruff of his neck and held him up in the air before repeatedly driving her fist into his gut with each word she said. “If… you… ever… fuck… with… me… or… my family… ever... again… I… will… fucking…. end you!” with the last word she released his scruff and punched as hard as she could sending him flying against the inn wall again.
Frost ran over and grabbed Aurora’s arm as she made her way over to him again. “Aurora stop he isn’t worth it!”
Aurora stopped and looked back at Frost the fire in her eyes slowly fading away. “Fine I won’t beat him any more.” Frost nodded slowly releasing Aurora’s arm. Aurora turned back and picked up the half conscious fox leaning him against the inn. “Now if you don’t beg your daughters forgiveness this instant two things are gonna happen. One as soon as she leaves I’m going to continue to beat you until I break every bone in your body. And two I’m gonna make you my little bitch. You will do what I want whenever I want. Any questions?”
The fox looked at her with one half lidded eye, the other swollen shut already. His eyes and head dropped before nodding “Im sorry” he mumbled.
Aurora tightened her grip on his shoulder until she could feel the bone starting to groan under the pressure. “so everyone can hear you. And don’t disappoint.”
She dropped him to the ground as the fox scurried over to Frosts feet. “I am sorry. For abandoning you, for doing everything I did to hurt you. Please forgive me…” he looked up at Frost who had tears streaming down her face once again.
Frost took a deed shaky breath before looking at him “Apology not accepted “ she said kicking him as hard as she could across his face. The fox grunted and hit the ground spitting out blood as he looked up panicked as Aurora tapped a finger at him.
“Please I’ll do anything.” He said his whole body starting to tremble.
Aurora put a hand on Frosts shoulder and smiled a little. “I will handle him from here but I thought you deserved to hear that.”
Frost shrugged as she looked up at Aurora “I know he is saying it just to save his hide.” Blake walked over wrapping his arms around her. “Im ok.” She said softly.
Aurora grunted and nodded. “Fine.” She turned back to the fox “you are under arrest by the way. Blackmail and assault on an officer. You did swing first.” Rubbing her chin softly she nodded to herself. “And I know what to do with you. Blake haul this trash down to the jail.” She smirked.
Blake nodded slowly as he grabbed the fox and drug him off to the jail. Aurora sighed and looked back at the inn where there was a small crowd of people staring at her. “Move along official business.” She grunted. Stopping Blake just before he left Aurora smirked. “By the way Jack the ripper. I’m the hellcat and I am your worst nightmare.”
Striding off Aurora smiled grabbing Sorins arm. “I will pay to have that fixed” she said over her shoulder at Gerhard. Sorin chuckled and shook his head. “What?” Aurora huffed looking up at him, her ears folding back a little.
Sorin smirked and shook his head. “Oh nothing dear. Come on what do you want to do now?”
Aurora snorted softly. “This is my home. And I won’t have people like him just wandering around in it. Let’s go see Sigurd, I actually need to talk to him about a few things.”