Bringing Him Home to Mother

Orithain and Rina

February 2004

"Your family is nuts."

Sam Tallfeather made that observation from where he was sprawled comfortably in the huge bed he shared with Joe San Gabriel, head pillowed on Joeís chest. He lazily petted Joe, musing that his sparsely-haired body felt almost as good as the furry pelt Joe sported in lynx form.

"Is it really so awful that Evaís involved with a pair of wolves?" he continued, raising his head, dark eyes quizzical as he looked down at Joe. "If you ask me, itís really weird that itís okay to marry a normal but not another kind of shifter." He shook his head, long, dark hair falling forward before he flipped it back behind his shoulder.

Not giving Joe a chance to reply yet, he continued, "And should I be worrying about you bringing someone else home? Since both Rob and Eva ended up in threesomes, that is. I think Iíd better bring you back to meet my family and make sure of you before you start looking around," he teased laughingly, knowing that Joe was as content as he was in their relationship.

"Ha ha," Joe mumbled, grabbing the extra pillow and whacking Sam on the back of the head with it. "Between you, Lucas, Dad and Rob bossing me around, do I really need more doms in my life? Iíll stick to the one I have, thanks, though meeting your mom wouldnít be bad. You could finally get the answers to your questions about your father."

The blond stretched and sighed, knowing he had to answer Samís first comment as well. "And itís not that Eva brought home a wolf or even two, itís... Shit. How would you feel if some guy knocked up your sister and his girlfriend at the same time but only managed to be around for one of them?"

Sam looked at him blankly. "Huh? The guyís obviously nuts about both of them. Never mind, though, we werenít talking about Eva and her love life. I was trying to ask you if youíre ready to go visit my family."

Not wanting to argue the point because he was smart enough to know that his reactions werenít based on logic, Joe smiled. "Thought I told you yes to that a while ago."

"Yeah, well, you werenít able to sit down at the time," Sam replied smugly. "I wasnít asking if you were willing to go; I was asking if you were willing to go now."

"Now as in right this minute? Iím a little under-dressed..." Joe chuckled, lifting his head to glance down at his nude body. "But sure."

"Fool." Sam sighed and shook his head before dropping it back onto Joeís shoulder. "You know perfectly well I meant later today or tomorrow, whenever we can get a flight. Or would you rather drive? Itís pretty country, but I donít know how long you can be away. Or want to, for that matter."

Joe shrugged. "As long as I have the laptop and can get near an internet connection, Iím cool. Matter of fact, since the runtís out of the country with Rowan, nowís probably a good time to do this. Drive or fly, it doesnít matter to me."

"Hmm, I wonder if we could manage the mile high club," Sam murmured, turning his head to flick his tongue over a nipple.

"With all the security on flights today? We can try." Joe chuckled and squirmed under Sam, petting his back and shoulders.

Samís head shot up, and he stared at Joe. "Really? Kinky! Have I mentioned that I adore that about you?" He grinned wickedly at his mate. "Think we ought to practice just in case we get the chance?"

"You adore what about me?" Joe asked, grinning. "That Iím kinky or that Iím willing to jump or be jumped by you just about anywhere?"

"Both, of course," Sam chuckled. "But I think itís my turn to lie back on my lazy ass and let you do all the work. Pleasure me, Mr. San Gabriel."

Joe pushed up onto his elbows, staring at his mate incredulously. "Pleasure you? What do I look like, a harem boy?"

"Well, now that you mention it..." Sam rolled onto his back, smirking as he raked his eyes along the length of Joeís body.

Snickering, Joe rose to his knees, bowing down low alongside Samís body. "Oh great Sultan, will you allow me to service you?"

"I will always allow my favorite to service me," Sam purred back, trying to keep a straight face. "You are the jewel of my harem, and I enjoy you at all times."

Struggling mightily not to burst into laughter, Joe leaned in and licked his way around the spiral tattoo on the center of Samís chest.

Sam gasped and his back arched slightly, the sensation of Joeís tongue on his skin going straight to his cock. His hands rose to clench in Joeís short blond hair, and he moaned, his legs spreading to allow Joe to move closer.

"Is this what you desire, my master?" Joe purred, following the tattoo to the center, then back out again.

"This is a good start," Sam panted. "But I want to feel you inside me, filling me and making me crazy. Want you."

"Whatever my master desires," Joe murmured, though he decided to torment Sam a bit and changed forms to rub his soft underbelly fur against Samís body.

"Ahhh!" Sam cried out sharply, his back arching off the bed at the sudden sensation. His eyes flew open to stare at the very smug looking lynx, and he smiled, albeit somewhat shakily. "Like, I said, kinky." He stroked Joeís thick fur, pressing against him eagerly.

Joe gave a feline smile and arched his body down against Samís, loving the feel of his mateís cock rubbing against his belly.

Groaning, Sam clutched at Joe, fingers clenched in the heavy fur as they thrust together. "Looks like Iím gonna have to wash your fur out again," he laughed breathlessly, one leg curling around the catís middle.

Shifting forms again, Joe grinned down at Sam, his own erection now sliding against the other manís. "But I thought you wanted me to be in you, master?"

"Tease!" Sam growled, shivering with lust. "So fuck me already, impudent slave!"

"But if Iím impudent, should I ask you Ďor what?í?"

"No! Just do it, you miserable brat," Sam laughed. "Now!"

Reaching for the lube, Joe tried to put on a maligned expression. "Yes, master. Whatever you want, master." As he spoke, he squeezed the gel out onto his fingers and slid them between Samís legs and into his ass, circling and spreading them to stretch him.

Sam moaned huskily, his legs now hooked over Joeís shoulders as he thrust toward him. "God, you feel good," he panted, lower lip caught between his teeth. "Please," he gasped.

Giving up on the game because, in truth, he wanted Sam as much as the other man wanted him, Joe leaned in to kiss his lover, at the same time slicking up his cock and settling at the small entrance to Samís body. "Whatever you want," he whispered, thrusting forward, rocking into Samís ass with full length strokes that sent shivers of pleasure down his backbone.

"Oh fuck yes!" Sam groaned, thrusting sharply upward to meet every stroke, wanting him even deeper. "M-maybe I wonít be able to sit down this time," he panted laughingly, drawing his legs back to his chest, opening himself still more.

"Iíll give you the donut to sit on," Joe panted, managing to grin when Sam growled at him.

"Youíre so lucky I love you," Sam growled, letting go of his legs to grab the back of Joeís neck and yank him down into a ravenous kiss.

Pulling back and powering into Samís body, Joe managed a loving smile even as he reached between them to stroke his loverís erection. "Yeah, I am."

As the pleasure started to swell and burst through him, Sam kept his eyes open, watching Joe, seeing and enjoying his pleasure as well. "Me too," he panted, hoping Joe would understand what he was trying to say, unable to string a coherent thought together.

Nodding, Joe gave himself over to the pleasure of their coupling and sped up his thrusts, arching hard into Samís body, feeling his balls tighten with each move.

Crying out, Sam came, hot fluid spattering both of them and his body rippling around the cock driving into him. He clutched convulsively at Joe, blunt nails leaving marks along Joeís shoulders and upper arms.

Snarling with pleasure, Joe bit down on Samís shoulder, riding out the storm of his climax until he went limp, his head on Samís chest and his weight supported by his arms. "So how was that, master?" he finally murmured.

"Who needs a harem when I have you?" Sam chuckled between gasps for air. "But youíre going to have to make the reservations. You wore me out."

Joe smirked before kissing Sam soundly. "You do know how to flatter my ego, tiger. I suppose this means driving is out?"

"No, not if youíd rather. Iím actually not too sore, and I donít mind leaning on you while we go." Sam grinned up at him. "Whichever you want."

"Flyingís fine," Joe assured Sam. "Itíll get us there quickerómore time for you to spend with your family that way."

Sam groaned. "Oh yay. Theyíll spend the time interrogating you and teasing me. If I didnít want to talk to Mom..." He shook his head. "Youíll protect me, right?"

"If they get too bad, you can always shift and scare the snot out of them."

"Ha! One of my sisters is a dogcatcher. Whaddya wanna bet sheíd haul my ass off to the pound?"

"Hrmmm, if I bailed you out, would I own you then?"

"Well, you would have to collar and tag me first," Sam purred, grinning wickedly. "Think you could handle that?"

"No problem at all," Joe answered easily. "Though those pounds do neuter and vaccinate all the animals that go there..."

"You wouldnít let them do that to me!" Sam looked horrified.

"Nah, I want you in one piece; youíre more fun that way."

"And donít you forget it!" Sam propped himself up on an elbow and eyed Joe. "I think we both need a shower, and then you can make the reservations so we know if we need to start packing right away."

"Yes, master, whatever you say, master," Joe chuckled, kissing Sam again. "One shower then two plane reservations."

"Good boy, you can have a Milk-bone after dinner." Sam rolled off the side of the bed as he spoke.

Joe snorted. "Save it for Evaís wolves."

"I think they prefer Eva," Sam retorted, stretching. "Mmm, youíre a better tension reliever than any massage."

"I aim to please." Joe walked toward the bathroom, looking back at Sam over his shoulder. "You coming or too tired?"

"Never too tired for a shower with you." Sam padded after him, admiring the view. "After all, a slaveís duty is to bathe his master after pleasuring him."

"Youíre carrying this a little far, Samuel..." Joe growled.

"You mean you wonít wash me? You donít want a chance to run your hands over my slick, soapy body and touch every inch of me?" Sam pretended to pout.

"I suppose I could do that." Joe pretended to sigh, then grabbed Sam and kissed him hungrily. "Every day for the rest of my life."

"Sounds good to me. Who would have thought that Iíd find someone like you and settle down?" Sam mused, leaning into him. "Iím glad I did though.

"Now, bath!" he added with a chuckle, lightening the mood again after his moment of seriousness.

"So are any of your family meeting us at the airport, or have you even told them weíre coming?" Joe asked as he reclined in the first class seat.

"I thought we could surprise them. Besides, I really do want to talk to my mom first, and thatíll be easier without the rest of the family around. I want to know about my father."

"Hopefully showing her what you are will convince her she needs to talk to you about him."

"Yeah, thatís what Iím hoping. I think itíll be obvious that at least part of her little secret is out," Sam sighed, taking another swallow of his bourbon. "You did remember to rent a jeep, right? Mom lives pretty far off the beaten track."

"Yup, I have the confirmation number in my wallet. Donít worry, tiger. Itíll work out."

Sam groaned under his breath at the nickname, not bothering to object verbally. The one time heíd tried to point out that it made him think of a childrenís cereal, Joe had innocently replied that he was a tiger. Sam had a feeling that he was going to have to work hard to win any arguments with Joe over the next few decades. "My momís going to love you," he said instead. "Even if she will grumble about the lack of grandchildren. I donít think Iím ready to explain to her yet that we probably will have kids eventually. I donít need a lecture on morality. Then again, she may know more about shifter customs than I do." He reached for Joeís hand, unconsciously seeking comfort.

Rubbing his thumb over the back of Samís fingers, Joe shrugged. "That could be, I suppose weíll have to wait to see how she reacts to all this first. And I promise I wonít say a word about kidsóours or anyoneís."

"I dunno, I was kind of looking forward to finding ways to shut you up," Sam chuckled, shifting in his seat so he could face Joe more fully. "Then again, I could probably find other reasons to do that."

Blond eyebrows rose, and Joe grinned. "And just how were you planning on shutting me up, hmm?" he asked, dragging a finger over the center of Samís palm.

"Well, that would depend if my momís with us. If she is, well, this is what Iíd do." Sam tangled his fingers in Joeís shaggy blond mane and drew him into a kiss, tongue exploring every ridge and hollow of his mouth. When they were both panting, he drew back, smiling smugly. "If she isnít..." His smile grew more sensual.

"Youíd find something else to fill my mouth with?" Joe purred, not caring about the people around them but somewhat relieved that it was an early flight and most were asleep. "Mmmm, youíre making me wish this was a private jet."

Dark eyebrows rose. "Well, thereís always the washroom. Sex in a plane can be fun, especially if you hit turbulence," Sam teased.

Joe smirked. "Donít blame me if we get arrested for suspicious behavior." He leaned in, nipping at Samís lower lip, then stood, making his way down the aisle to the first class bathroom.

Sam admired the truly spectacular view till Joe disappeared through the narrow door, waited a moment, then followed him, sliding inside and locking the door behind him. "Gonna fuck me or do you want me in you this time?" he purred, dragging his tongue up Joeís throat.

Fisting his hands in Samís dark hair, Joe pulled him up for a devouring kiss. "You can fuck me tonight, in your old bed. Right now, I have a serious need to be in you."

"Like Iím going to argue with that," Sam scoffed, a tremor of pure lust running through him at the heat in Joeís gaze. "Fuck me hard," he invited throatily, turning to lean over the sink and watching Joe in the mirror.

His hands already at his belt buckle, Joe gave a low laugh. "After yesterday? Youíre a brave one, tiger."

Sam tried to stop himself, he really did, but... "Itís gr-r-r-r-eat!"

Biting his lower lip to keep from bursting into laughter, Joe instead smacked his mate on the ass. "Get Ďem off, Samuel, and Iíll show you great."

"I thought youíd never offer!" Sam nearly tore his jeans yanking them off, and within moments, they were down around his ankles, his legs spread as much as the fabric and small space would allow. He peered back over his shoulder. "So whatíre you waiting for?"

"To see if you get soggy in milk?" Joe chuckled, undoing his own jeans as well and shoving them down over his hips, scrabbling in his pocket for one of the small packets of lube theyíd both taken to carrying with them.

Ripping the packet open, Joe squeezed the gel out onto his fingers and pressed them between Samís ass cheeks, going slowly even though Samís growls told him the other man wanted it now simply because he didnít want Sam too sore to sit down at all later.

"Not usually but something might go limp if you donít do something already," Sam groused. "Fuck me, dammit, want you in me now!" He thrust his ass back, gasping and arching when he inadvertently forced Joeís fingers deep.

"And I donít want to be explaininí to your momma just why her baby is walkiní funny," Joe shot back, twisting his fingers within Samís body until he felt the tight muscles loosen.

Trying to sound snide despite the pleasure coursing through him as Joe played him, Sam retorted, "You really think she hasnít seen as much before? I wasnít exactly a vestal virgin before I left home. Oh god, yeah!"

"So how many people do I have to rip limb from limb?" Joe growled, crooking his fingers to find Samís prostate and, when the other man cried out, pulling them out and replacing them with his erection, groaning as he slid home into Samís body.

"Dunno, donít remember any of them," Sam groaned, straightening up so he could fall back against Joe, head on his shoulder as he curled an arm up and around Joeís neck. "Oh fuck, you feel good, so good, n-not gonna last long."

Circling an arm around Samís waist to hold him tight, and one lower to jerk him off, Joe nodded against Samís throat. "Me neither. Come for me, Sam. Want to feel you shiver around me."

"Couldnít stop that even if I wanted to," Sam panted, a faint whimper of almost pained pleasure escaping him when Joeís fist curled around his cock. One of his hands rose to scratch and twist his nipples, and the other clenched on Joeís thigh. He forced heavy eyes open to watch them in the mirror, barely biting back a cry when he saw how they looked together. It was too much, and he spasmed, coming hard over Joeís stroking hand.

"God!" Joe gasped, locking eyes with Sam in the mirror and feeling himself climax as well even as the last drops of Samís come shot out onto the metal sink. "Fuck, that felt good," he breathed once they both had recovered somewhat. "You feel so good." He kissed the side of Samís neck, brushing his sweaty hair out of the way to get to the warm skin beneath it.

"Likewise," Sam replied lazily, letting his head fall to the side so Joe could reach his neck more easily. "Mmm, that was amazing." He looked at them in the mirror, one so dark and one so fair, and he suddenly snickered. "Christ, we look like a gay version of an Indian romance cover."

Joe muffled his laughter against Samís neck. "So Iím the rascally cowboy who stole you away from your people, eh? Too bad, because they arenít getting you back." Kissing Sam once again, he backed up as much as the small washroom would allow and reached for tissues to clean them both up.

"I thought it was the brave who was supposed to steal and ravish the pretty settler," Sam chuckled as he pulled his jeans up after Joe had wiped them both off. "But I rather enjoy being ravaged, so please carry on." He washed his hands and finger-combed his hair, doing his best to make himself presentable and trying to ignore the odor of sex in the air.

"We can play that game next time," Joe promised, rinsing his hands as well and drying them before tucking himself back in and redoing his jeans. "Or we can play the big, bad brave stalking the wily lynx..." Kissing Sam a final time, Joe unlocked the bathroom door, beaming a smile at the flight attendant standing in the galley.

Sam followed him out, smirking at the rather envious expression on the attendantís face. "Forget it, pal, heís taken," he murmured as he passed close enough to feel the young manís hard-on.

"Not nice to tease the flight attendants," he chuckled as he settled back into his seat and fastened his seatbelt.

Joe put on his best innocent face as he sat down next to Sam. "But why?"

"íCause I might have to do something drastic if they get grabby," Sam mock-growled, pulling Joe into a possessive kiss. "I donít share well."

"Ooo, baby, I love it when you go all dominant on me," Joe purred, licking at Samís lower lip.

"And I just love you," Sam replied, sobering suddenly as he looked at Joe. "But Iíll be just as dommy as you like," he added, smiling again. "Itís fun... so long as you remember the lube beforehand."

Wincing at the memory, Joe nodded. "Yeah, good point." He moved in his seat, getting comfortable, and rested his head on Samís shoulder, intending on taking a cat nap.

Unconsciously petting Joeís hair, Sam leaned his head back, his own eyes closing as he relaxed into the seat.

"Sir. You need to wake up, sir. Itís time to disembark."

The soft voice woke Sam, and he blinked dazedly at the crouching woman before he realized where he was. "Wow, we slept through the landing?

"Joe." He lightly stroked his loverís cheek.

"Doní wanna get up, Dad," Joe muttered, squinching his eyes shut.

"The thought of you as my son is very disturbing in so many ways," Sam observed wryly. "Wake up, lover, or Iíll find my sisters and send Ďem back after you."

"Huh? Oh." Shaking his head, Joe sat up, grinning sheepishly. "And no sisters, I have enough trouble with my own." Shaking the sleep from his brain, he undid his seatbelt and stood, grabbing his laptop case from the overhead bin.

"Which is why I thought it would be a good threat," Sam chuckled. "But donít worry, no one knows weíre coming, so no welcoming committee to interrogate you. Thatíll happen once they meet you though." He grinned wickedly, thinking it only fair after heíd dealt with the San Gabriel clan.

"Hrmmm, I wonder if I can just stay on the plane and go back to Montana..." Joe teased, slinging his laptop bag over his shoulder and following Sam off the plane. "They do have internet access, right?"

"Yes, we have internet access. We even got indoor plumbing back in my granpappyís day," Sam teased as they strolled toward the rental car counter to pick up the jeep Joeíd reserved.

Joe shrugged, grinning. "That doesnít bother me as much; easy enough to shift and go for a run, but not being able to get online..."

"Techno-weenie!" Sam rolled his eyes.

"And you love it," Joe smirked, waggling his eyebrows. "Now get us the car so I can go be tortured by your family."

Chuckling, Sam gave up and went to do just that, eager to introduce Joe to his family. And wasnít that a surprise to him. Heíd never felt like this before, and while it was disconcerting, he enjoyed it.

Once he had the keys, he led the way out to the jeep and tossed his bag in back. "You want to drive, or shall I?"

After putting his gear in the back as well, Joe shut the hatch and laughed. "Nope, your neck of the woods, you can drive. Iíll just place my life in your handsóand my head in your lap if I get bored."

"And Iíll be likely to drive us off the road if you do," Sam warned, though he thought it might just be worth it. "Donít worry, weíll have plenty of time to play tonight."

Joe sighed but grinned. "Canít say I didnít offer," he commented, buckling his seat belt and leaning in, turning on the radio and finding a country station.

"That and new age are mostly all youíre gonna find," Sam warned as he pulled out of the parking lot and set out toward his motherís home, as comfortable as if heíd just been there the day before rather than five years earlier. "But itís only about an hour to my momís place. Why donít you go back to that nap landing interrupted? Youíre gonna need all your energy tonight."

"And country music is supposed to bother me?" Joe chuckled and shook his head. "You confusing me with the runt? Not going to bother with a nap, I want to see the country you grew up in."

"Remind me to play a country marathon for him when we get back," Sam snickered. "And this is it, what I grew up with." Sam looked around, knowing the almost arid climate seemed harsh to some, but he loved it. "Donít know if we have time this trip, but sometime I want to take you camping in the desert. Itís amazing, like youíre the last person on Earth."

Joe reached out and caught Samís hand with his. "Like Iím going to say no to camping with you." He looked out the window at the flat, arid land and whistled under his breath. "Big change from Big Sky country, thatís for sure."

"Kind of like pictures of the moon, isnít it?" Sam agreed. "But it has its own beauty too. I donít think I realized how much I missed it till just now. Think we can manage to visit sometimes? I donít want to be such a stranger to my family any more," he realized.

Joe tightened his fingers around Samís. "Whenever you want, after all," he grinned, "the flight was fun."

"We may have to get our own plane and pilot so we can spend the whole flight that way," Sam laughed, raising their hands to his lips and slowly sucking one of Joeís fingers into his mouth.

"Mmm, and here I thought you didnít want my head in your lap while you drove," Joe murmured. "Maybe I can talk Dad into buying a jet, what with Eva moving out east and all."

Sam eyed him oddly. "Since when is Wisconsin out east? You really are a nut, you know. But I do like the idea of a jet. We could spend the whole flight fucking, see how far we can get before we canít hold back any more."

"East of us anyhow," Joe shrugged. "And weíd better stock up on Scotch-Guard if weíre planning on doing that."

"We can start carrying it around with the lube," Sam chuckled, turning onto a barely discernible, hard-packed dirt road. "Weíll be like the Boy Scouts, always prepared."

"Eagle Scout, myself," Joe retorted, laughing when Sam looked at him askance. "What? You didnít know?"

"How would I?" Sam pointed out logically. "You were a bit a past that stage when we met, if youíll recall. Me, I refused to have anything to do with the Scouts. That was during my Ďracial prideí phase." He laughed at himself. "Not that Iím not proud of my race, just not to the point of refusing to see the good in other cultures as well, at least not now. I was a bit... opinionated when I was younger."

"Just surprised that Eva didnít tell you or show you the pictures - pretty horrid ones too, I had this mean buzz cut going on - wanted to be in the Marines." Joe laughed to himself at the memory. "And you, opinionated? Never!"

"Buzz cut? Ew!" Sam made a face. "You cut your hair, and so help me, Iíll shave you in cat form! I like this blond mop."

"I donít think so!" Joe exclaimed. "Touch my luxurious pelt and itíll be your hide."

"Hey, Iím an Indian. Iím supposed to scalp palefaces."

"The family doesnít take lightly to people trying to skin one of us." This was said with dark conviction.

"I wouldnít," Sam assured him, reaching over to clasp his hand for a moment. "I havenít forgotten what you told me. If you ask me, those bastards got off lightly."

"Yeah." Joe was silent for a moment, then smiled. "Sorry, wonít get all blood-thirsty again, promise."

"Well, if you do, feel free to bite me. I like it." Sam smiled back at him. "Almost there," he announced, spotting landmarks although anyone not familiar with the area wouldnít have noticed them.

Grinning at the last comment, Joe squeezed Samís hand. "Think anyone will be home?"

"Yeah, Momís an artist. She paints, does pottery and makes jewelry, all in her studio at home. She may not hear the doorbell, but sheíll almost certainly be there." Sam glanced at the clock on the dash. "Itís a bit early for Greg to be home, but he could be. My stepdad," he added, unable to remember if heíd ever mentioned Gregís name to Joe.

"It was his brother who did your tattoo, right?" Joe asked, nodding.

"Yeah, Uncle Running Waterís a real artist. You should see some of his work. He does paintings as well as body art, says what he creates depends on the canvas. Iím glad I didnít inspire him to pink poodles or anything," Sam laughed.

"Now that would have been interesting. Think after he gets to know me, he might ink me up too? Maybe my back so when you fuck me from behind yours will rub against it."

Sam shivered. And swallowed hard.

"Iíll be sure to convince him," he said throatily. "I like the sound of that." Molten dark eyes flashed across to Joe, and if they hadnít been within yards of his motherís home, he would have pulled over and jumped his lover.

Enjoying the spark of heat in Samís dark gaze, Joe waited until heíd stopped the Jeep then leaned over and kissed him. "Tonight you can do just that, but for now you have to behave."

"Yeah, Iím gonna freak my mom out enough by turning into Tony the Tiger, no need for her to smack us both for making out in her driveway," Sam sighed. "Ready to face however many of my family are home?"

"As long as I can hide behind you," Joe laughed, unbuckling his seat belt and stretching after he climbed out of the car. "God, I wish we could go for a run tonight; feel like Iíve been cooped up all day."

"We have the whole desert, Joe. I think we can run. The land here belongs to my family. No oneís gonna take potshots at us. But we will have to wait till later. Right now, if I donít talk to my mom, I think I may burst!"

"Sam? Is that really you? Sam!" A tall and still lovely middle-aged woman ran down from the door where sheíd been peering at the car, clearly delighted to see her son.

Smiling, Sam stepped out in time to catch her in his arms and swing her around in a circle, hugging her all the while.

"Mom," he said when theyíd caught their breath. "Thereís someone I want you to meet. This is Joe."

Mary Tallfeather stared searchingly at the blond man standing beside the jeep, and she slowly smiled. "So youíre the one who brought my son home for a visit?"

"Well, maíam, itís more like Sam brought me, but yes, I suppose I am. Pleased to meet you." He smiled and held out a hand in greeting.

"But youíre the first one heís ever brought," she pointed out gently, ignoring his hand in favor of hugging him. "Welcome." She saw the bags in the jeep. "Staying for a while?"

"If youíll have us," Sam replied. "But, Mom, much as I wanted you all to meet Joe, thatís not the only reason weíre here. I have to talk to you."

Mary frowned slightly. That usually was a prelude to more questions about his father, and that was something sheíd never found a way to explain to Sam. "Sam," she started.

"No, Mom, youíre not fending me off this time." He looked around. "Anyone else home?" At her negative shake of the head, he said, "I need to know about my father. What kind of cat was he?"

Maryís eyes widened. "What? Sam, what are you talking about?"

Sam glanced at Joe for help.

"Sam knows, Mrs. Tallfeather," Joe said bluntly, moving over to his mateís side to take his hand. "He knows because we found him, my family and I."

"I donít know what you mean," Mary replied emphatically, pausing as his words sank in. Was it possible? She looked from Sam to Joe, trying to decide.

Sam sighed and reached for his shirt, pulling it over his head while his mother gaped at him.

"Sam! Whatever are you doing?" Her eyes widened still more when he pulled off his moccasins and unbuttoned his jeans. "Sam!" Whatever sheíd been about to say was lost when he suddenly shifted and she found herself staring at a massive white tiger where her son had stood only moments before.

"Sam," she whispered, sinking to her knees, heedless of the packed dirt beneath her.

Resting his hand on Samís head and threading his fingers through the black and white striped fur, Joe sighed, but he supposed it had to be done this way. "I really think you need to tell him the truth, Mrs. Tallfeather," he sighed. "And as for you, I hope you packed another pair of jeans, because those just bit the dust."

Sam just glared at him out of blue eyes. What, was he supposed to strip naked in front of his mom?

"Yes, I can see that," Mary sighed, reaching out a trembling hand to touch... her son. Who purred as she stroked his heavy fur. "Youíre so much bigger than your father," she whispered. "Iíll go and get us something to drink. Come join me on the back deck." She went inside, knowing from experience that the cat would become a naked man and not wanting to embarrass herself or Sam.

Once his mom disappeared inside, Sam shifted back and stepped into Joeís arms. "Itís true. My dad was a shifter," he whispered past the lump in his throat.

Deciding stating that that fact was pretty much a given wasnít necessary, Joe simply held Sam close until heíd recovered his equilibrium. "I know it was hard for both of you, babe," he whispered, "but it had to be done. Grab your shirt and Iíll dig another pair of pants out of your bag."

"Thanks. I was trying to save my stuff, but I just couldnít strip in front of her." Sam made a face at the thought. "But at least now I think sheíll tell me about him. Iíve wanted to know for so long."

Dressed again, he grabbed one of the bags in one hand and Joeís hand in the other and led the way inside. "Just gonna drop our bags in my room, Mom, then weíll be right out," he yelled.

"This used to be my room when I was a kid. Itís really the guest room now, but so few people stay over, and thereís enough space, so itís still pretty much the way I left it."

Setting his bag on the floor by Samís and his laptop case on the dresser, Joe eyed the bed and chuckled. "Small bed there, man, weíre going to have to spoon."

"Damn, a fate worse than death. Pity we canít test it out now." Sam grinned at him. "But my mother would pound on the door." He snickered suddenly. "Iíd love to see her take on Pushy."

Joeís expression changed to one of pure horror. "No. Just... no."

Sam burst into laughter. "My moneyís on my mom."

"If you get me thinking of that, youíre sleeping in the jeep!"

Still chuckling, Sam slid his arms around Joeís waist and hugged him. "There, there, I wonít let the big bad runt hurt you," he crooned.

Joe sighed and shook his head. "My hero, now come on, letís go find out about your father. All I can say is I hope those drinks your mother was getting are alcoholic."

"Considering that her firstborn just turned into a tiger right before her eyes, Iím pretty sure sheís broken out the corn whiskey," Sam replied. He caught hold of Joeís hand again, and they went outside, where Mary waited for them with a pitcher and several glasses.

"Thank you, maíam," Joe said when she poured them both glasses of something that looked like lemonade but that packed a hell of a punch.

"Mmm, still make the best whiskey sours, Mom," Sam said appreciatively, taking a healthy swallow.

Mary waited till theyíd each had a bit of their drinks, then set her glass down and clenched her hands in her lap. "I suppose you want to know about your father." She sighed. "I canít really tell you much... except that he did not get me pregnant and abandon me." She practically snarled the last, tired of having heard that for so many years.

"Then why...?" Sam murmured.

"He was like you, well, not exactly, he was a cougar, but..." She raised tear-filled eyes. "We were out in the desert one night, and heíd gone a little ways away, just running, enjoying the freedom, and kids out joyriding shot him! I couldnít even tell anyone. What could I say? Excuse me, officer, but my lover, yes, the white man everyone disapproves of, he turns into a cougar and someone killed him. Iíd have been locked in a psychiatric ward, and I had you to take care of. Iíd just told him that night that I was pregnant. Thatís why we were out there; weíd gone out to be alone and celebrate."

Sam was left speechless, staring at her, his hand reaching for and clinging to Joeís.

The incident sounding much too much like what had happened to Eva for Joeís peace of mind, and he growled under his breath. He squeezed Samís fingers, then looked from his mate to his mother, hoping Sam would take the hint. They both needed comfort right now.

Sam shakily rose from his chair and moved across the deck to sink to his knees in front of his mother. Dark eyes met searchingly, and his arms went around her as her head fell to his shoulder, and Mary Tallfeather wept for the man sheíd loved in the arms of the son theyíd created.

Letting mother and son have some privacy, Joe stood and crossed over to a split-rail fence that marked off the yard around the house. He leaned on the sun-bleached wood, imagining a younger Mary Tallfeather laughing with her shifter lover and said a prayer for the man, whoever he had been. Their love had given him Joe, that was what mattered to him.

Eventually Maryís tears tapered off, and she raised her head, drying her eyes unselfconsciously. "You remind me of him so much sometimes, not in appearance but in the way you attack life head on," she murmured. "His name was Jackson Samuels, and he was from New Orleans. I think he had family there, but... I couldnít face trying to find them. Iíve regretted that," she admitted. "I shouldnít have left them to wonder."

Sam sighed. "I... understand. If I lost Joe, I donít think I could face anything that reminded me of him." He looked over his shoulder, needing some contact with his lover, even if only a glance.

Joe had been unabashedly eavesdropping even though he had moved away from the other two, and hearing this bit of information gave him an idea - one he could run with when he got hooked back into the net. Seeing Sam look toward him, he smiled, doing what he could to support his lover at this time.

Sam held a hand out toward him, wanting him to rejoin them. "Mom, I never did introduce you properly. This is Joe San Gabriel, the man I love."

Mary smiled. "I could tell that just by looking at you, Sammy. Are you..." She trailed off, not sure how to phrase her question as she watched Joe.

Walking back over and taking Samís hand again, Joe smiled at Mary, trying to put her at ease. "I donít know if Samís father told you or not, but most all shifters are equal opportunity lovers, maíam. Until we find the right person, that is."

"So you are a... shifter? too?" Mary seemed relieved. "I always wished I could have shared that with him," she said wistfully. "Iím glad youíll be able to." She curled a hand against her sonís cheek. "Iím glad you finally found what you were looking for," she whispered.

"Even if I didnít know what it was till I found it," Sam agreed. "Did you ever tell Greg?"

Mary shook her head. "Not that I donít love him too, but no. I never told anyone about Jackson. Sometimes I wondered if I hadnít gone crazy, but I had you, so I knew it had been real and that there are very special people in the world. I was afraid of what might happen to you though if anyone found out. I was never ashamed," she finished fiercely.

"Youíre a strong woman, maíam," Joe said truthfully. "And you passed that onto your son." He gave Sam a half-smile. "Heís almost as dominant as my little brother."

Sam snorted while Mary chuckled. "You know him well. Most people think my son is very easy-going... Itís just that theyíve never butted heads with him on anything he cared about!" She laughed as Sam groaned.

"Aww, Mom, Iím not that bad!"

"Yes, you are!" Joe laughed, sliding his arm around Samís waist. "Remind me to swap stories with you when we have the time, Mrs. Tallfeather."

"Iím starting to think this trip was a very bad idea!" Sam grumbled. "Shouldnít Greg be home soon? I think I need moral support."

"You think Iím going to go against your mother?" the man in question said for himself, joining them on the deck and kissing Mary in greeting. Once introductions had been made, he sat down on one of the chairs.

"Are you going to be able to stay for a while and visit? Your brothers and sisters will all want to see you."

Sam grinned. "As long as you donít mind techno-geek here using your cable access for his beloved laptop."

Joe rolled his eyes toward the pale blue sky. "You liked it just fine when it got us those prime seats on the flight here."

Greg grinned. "Just ignore him. When Liannaóthatís our youngestógets home from school, sheís going to want to compare RAM with you. Sheís the computer whiz of the family, got a full scholarship to MIT next year."

"Really?" Joeís blue eyes lit up. "What does she like to program in?" A warning growl from Sam had him laughing and holding up a hand. "Never mind, I wonít geek out on you all yet. Sam has ways of making me pay if I go off the deep end."

Looking at Mary, Greg nodded knowingly. "I can just imagine."

"All right, break it up, you two," Sam mock-growled. "No ganging up or you may both end up sleeping in the jeep."

"Definitely!" Mary chimed in, eyeing her husband.

"Greg, are you as whipped as I am?" Joe sighed, not looking the least saddened by the thought.

"More, Maryís had longer to beat me into submission."

The lady in question rolled her eyes. "I think weíll leave you two poor downtrodden creatures here to compare notes while Sam and I start dinner." She chuckled. "I still find it amusing that the only one of my children who can cook well is my son, whoíd be just as happy munching on roots."

"What can I say, Iím an easy-going sort of guy," Sam retorted, standing up. He really did enjoy cooking, especially with his mother, and he was sure Greg would keep Joe entertained till Lee got home and they descended into geek-speak.

"Keep saying that, maybe one day Iíll believe it," Joe called, keeping hold of Samís hand and dragging him back down for a kiss before falling into conversation with his loverís stepfather when Sam and Mary went into the house.

A short time later dinner simmered atop the stove, and Sam, Mary and Greg were sitting in the kitchen, looking out at the man and woman on the deck in animated discussion. They could hear snatches of the conversation, and they all wore identical baffled expression.

"Do you understand a word theyíre saying?" Greg asked, and both Mary and Sam shook their heads.

"They seem to be enjoying themselves though," Sam offered, grinning as he met Joeís eyes through the window when his mate glanced up.

"Uh, Lee, I think I just got reined in," Joe laughed, nodded back at the window where Sam, Mary and Greg were standing. "But weíre going to continue this discussion later!"

"Definitely!" the teenager replied enthusiastically. "Everyone else around here just smiles, nods and mumbles Ďuh huhí when I talk programming. And I will email you. Itís great to finally be able to talk to someone who understands." She pushed fingers through short, raven black hair. "And you can tell Sam that if he hadnít seen you first, Iíd give him a run for his money."

"Hands off!" Sam laughed, coming out to join them. "Heís taken, and Iíd hate to have to kill my own sister. Especially when dinnerís just about ready. Greg went to change, and Mom... uh, I think sheís Ďhelpingí him," he added with a roll of his eyes.

"Should we cover our ears?" Joe asked innocently, recalling Samís reaction the first time heíd heard some of the sounds generated by his parents, his siblings and their lovers when they went at it.

Sam wrinkled his nose, and Lianna made gagging noises. "Gross, Joe!" the teenager groaned. "Those are my parents!"

"What?" Joe just laughed. "I said cover our ears, not go peek through the keyhole!"

"Yuck! Now that youíve totally grossed me out, Iím gonna go get cleaned up for dinner." Lee shook her head as she made her escape before Joe could say anything else.

Alone for the moment, Sam moved into Joeís arms. "Talk about eventful days," he sighed, relaxing against the blond.

Joe hugged Sam close, stroking his back to comfort him. "You can say that again, but now you know, and now your mom can talk about it, so itíll help both of you."

Sam nodded without raising his head from Joeís shoulder. "I know. I just never imagined any of this, you know? Itís like some Twilight Zone episode. Iím glad you were here with me though. I still donít know what to do about Greg and the others. Should I tell them what I am? Is that even my decision? God, Iím confused."

"Itís up to you, baby," Joe said quietly. "Iíll support you in whatever you decide that way, and if you want to know more about your birth father, Iíll see what I can dig up for you. Maybe he had sisters or brothers who are still alive."

"I hadnít even thought that far ahead. I really could have more family, huh?" Sam closed his eyes, momentarily overwhelmed. "I think... Iíd like to tell them all the truth, but I need my mom to be okay with that. It was her secret a lot longer than it was mine. And yeah, once I wrap my head around this, I want to know if my... father has any family still alive." His voice hesitated briefly as he spoke the word, for the first time able to put a name to it.

"Everything at your pace," Joe promised, raising Samís head from his shoulder to kiss him. "Right now Iím just amazed that theyíre all as cool about us as they seem to be."

Sam smiled crookedly. "Told you I usually preferred men to women. My familyís used to it. Heck, one time my sister Karen and I were competing for the same guy back in high school." He chuckled. "The guy ended up dating a college girl, and Karen and I commiserated with each other. Sheís two years younger than I am," he added in explanation.

"Guy must have been stupid and blind not to go for either of you. Saved me from having to kill him, though."

"Ooh, I think I like it when you get possessive," Sam purred.

"All right break it up," a new voice spoke up, laughing. "I havenít had time to sell tickets."

"Go away, Karen," Sam grumbled without turning around, recognizing his eldest sisterís voice. "Donít you have a home of your own?"

"Yup, but Lee called and told me you were here. Brian, Alec, and Sally should be here any minute."

Sam moaned pitifully. "Kidnap me?" he begged Joe.

"Tried that once, the runt and the Brit tracked us down, remember?" Joe laughed before smiling at the handsome young woman who looked much like her mother. "Iím Joe, the new love of Leeís life," he grinned, holding out his hand and wincing when Sam smacked him on the ass.

"Hey, bad enough I had to compete with Karen, I refuse to start with Lee now," Sam grumbled. "Youíre mine and donít you forget it."

Karen laughed. "Wow, you sounded almost grown up there, big brother. Donít tell me youíve finally fallen in love."

Sam glared at her. "Hands off. Heís mine."

Karen backed away, pretending to cower, hands raised. "Not touching, see?"

"Iím his," Joe agreed amiably. "Iíve got the bite marks to prove it."

"Kinky! I like it. Ever tried a brother-sister trio?" Karen teased, watching the muscle in Samís cheek start to twitch. It was such fun to push his buttons.

"With my twin, but ever since Sam showed up, Iím a one man guy," Joe shrugged. "No more catting around for this tom."

"Pity," Karen murmured, then started to laugh when Sam growled. "Calm down, Sammy, you should know I wouldnít poach when it matters."

Gradually relaxing, Sam realized he was behaving like an idiot. "I think cats are possessive," he muttered.

"Okay, whatís with all the cat talk? You guys keep harping on it." Karen eyed them curiously.

"Uh... just a game we play," Sam replied feebly.

"Uh huh." Karen clearly wasnít convinced.

"Youíre being rude, Karen," Mary said, joining them, hand tightly holding her husbandís. Sheíd taken time to brush her long, dark hair, but still wore the jeans and t-shirt sheíd had on when they arrived. She met Samís eyes and nodded slightly and shrugged simultaneously. "Up to you," she murmured.

"Joe?" Sam wanted to be sure his mate was okay with telling this many people what they were.

"Just donít go ruining any more pairs of jeans if you want to play show and tell," Joe teased, though the look in his eyes was one of approval and love. "You only brought three with you."

"You just want me to strip," Sam shot back, grinning. He glanced back at his confused but smiling relative, nodding to the new arrivals, the last three of his siblings whoíd apparently come together. "Okay, here goesóand please donít call for help till Iíve had a chance to prove Iím not crazy. Iím a shapeshifter... like my dad was," he added with a soft glance at Mary.

Seeing the expressions on all the faces but his motherís and Joeís and, strangely, Karenís, he rolled his eyes and started stripping yet again. Once down to his boxers, he grinned at his mate. "I think I can sacrifice these. Just get them off me in a minute, okay? They arenít very comfortable over my tail."

He smirked at his family, paused for a dramatic moment, and shifted. A moment later a massive white tiger stood where he had been, the tip of his tail lashing where it protruded from severely overstretched boxers.

Snickering at the sight and wishing he had a camera, Joe effortlessly stripped the knit boxers from Samís feline form and looked around at his siblings and stepfather. "If yíall want another show, I can do it too, just not quite as large as Sam here."

A row of wide eyes above dropped jaws never moved from the huge cat.

Meanwhile, Sam hissed at Joe for his laughter, and massive jaws opened, displaying huge, sharp teeth for a moment before they closed on Joeís wrist. Blue eyes glared up the blond, for the moment ignoring his familyís reaction.

Joe looked unimpressed despite the fact that fangs that could rip through rhino hide were pressing into his wrist. "Thinks heís so tough because heís huge," he sighed, shaking his head, wanting to give Samís family time to process this. "I know how to bring him down a few pegs though." Reaching out, he tugged at Samís tail with his free hand.

The tiger yowled and twisted away, making sure to keep his tail turned away from Joe. He roared at his mate, blue eyes promising retaliation. Then he slowly paced the length of the deck, never looking away from Joe, trying to entice him to join him.

Canting a glance over at the watching Runningdeers to make sure they werenít going to have a panic attack or anything, Joe shrugged. "Guess you get two for the price of one." Not sharing the same concerns as Sam, he stripped down to his skin and changed, looking up at the seven people gathered on the deck before padding over to Joeís side and rubbing muzzles with him.

Sam rumbled a deep purr, walking along Joeís side to rub against him, his tail winding around Joeís leg.

The sight finally broke Karen out of her stupor, and she giggled. "God, theyíre so cute together." She shook her head. "What the hell am I saying? Thatís a freaking tiger and a lynx!" She eyed the two cats who stared back at her. "Is that really you, Sam?" When the tiger very obviously nodded his head, she gasped and sank down to sit cross-legged on the deck.

Sam padded over to her and butted her arm till she petted his head, making him purr.

"Holy shit," Brian breathed, which seemed to pretty much speak for all of them.

Joe sat down and licked a paw, swiping it over his nose as he calmly regarded Samís family, relieved that Karen seemed to be taking this well at least. As he had the most connection so far with Lee, he stood and ambled over to her, cocking his head to the side and looking up at her as if to say, Ďcan you deal?í

"Oh wow." Lee knelt down in front of the lynx, ignoring her familyís gasps, and she stared into the dark eyes, looking for the man sheíd connected with earlier that evening. "That really is you, isnít it, Joe?" She giggled suddenly. "Guess you canít do much programming like that. It would be a bitch to type."

Joe wrinkled his nose and rolled his eyes, swatting her with a paw before nudging her with his head as he had an itch behind one ear.

"Good thing Iím not a dog person," she muttered as she followed his obvious orders and scratched where he wanted her to.

The others were slowly coming out of their shock and crowded around, eager to get a close up view of the big cats. Greg watched his children for a moment before turning back to his wife, finding her watching him. "So this is why you would never talk about Samís father?" he asked quietly.

Mary nodded. "I didnít know that Sam could shift, didnít know about latents and what it meant that he was half shifter." She looked over at all their children. "Iím glad he found Joe and that part of himself."

"Iím glad there are no more secrets."

By now all the younger generation of the Runningdeers were petting Sam and Joe, intrigued by their size and the softness of their pelts.

Enjoying all the attention, Joe flopped onto his back, baring his creamy belly fur for the others to pet, keeping an eye on Sam as he did so, ready to react at the first sign his mate felt uncomfortable.

Sam rumbled possessively when Joe bared his belly, and he pushed through the crowd of his siblings to lie beside the lynx, chin propped on Joeís chest, blatantly claiming him. That clear, however, he waited for them to keep petting him.

"Youíre still demanding," Karen laughed, scratching behind the soft white ears. "I donít know how Joe puts up with you."

The answer to that was clear when Joe lifted his head to nuzzle Samís face, the love clear even in his feline eyes.

"Unless you want kibble, I suggest you change back," Mary said, smiling. "Dinnerís ready."

Sam shifted, the habit of obedience to his mother ingrained, and he grabbed for his jeans the moment he did, yanking them over his nakedness.

Joe took a moment longer as he had to watch and admire his mateís body. Sighing in disappointment when Sam had his jeans on again, Joe flipped over, padded over to his clothes, and changed back s well, getting dressed at a more leisurely pace.

"See," he smiled, "no lightning bolts or anything."

"Oh, Iím sure I saw a couple of shafts," Karen murmured too quietly for her mother to hear.

Sam groaned and buried his face in Joeís neck. "Make her stop!"

Joe burst into laughter, leaning against Sam to stay upright. "Oh man, we have to bring the rest of the family here sometime."

"No way!" Sam exclaimed in horror. "I donít want them teaming up with Pushy and the lunatic to gang up on me!"

"Pushy?" Karen repeated with interest.

"My little brother, Lucas," Joe explained. "Heís the one who discovered Sam was a latent, and they have quite a... unique relationship."

"Thatís because Sam is unique," Alec, the heretofore silent brother, finally spoke up. "At least thatís the polite term for it."

Joe slowly swiveled his head to look at Alec. "And the impolite term would be?"

"Nutcase," Alec chuckled while Sam rolled his eyes.

"Yeah, have to agree with that, but heís my nutcase, so itís all good," Joe laughed. "And if youíll excuse me, I need to clean up before dinner. I swear, my stomachís so empty my frontís touching my backbone!"

"Well, thatís something we know how to cure in this house," Mary laughed. "But youíd better not be too long or my horde of savages will eat it all before you have a chance."

"And you can just wash up in the kitchen, Sam," Lee put in. "If you go up with Joe, weíll never have dinner!"

Sam rolled his eyes, but his sister had a point, and his chuckle acknowledged it.

"Damn, take all the fun out of a vacation, will you?" Joe grumbled, before grinning, giving Sam a kiss and heading upstairs for a quick cleanup.

Sam smiled after him then turned to find his entire family watching him knowingly. "What?" he demanded almost defensively, though he was still smiling.

"Itís good to see you happy," Mary said gently, finally able to stop worrying about her firstborn. Heíd found his place.

"I am. I really am." Sam sank down to sit cross-legged at his motherís feet, head against her knee while Lee sat down beside him.

"Now I just have to teach my children what chairs are," Mary sighed the familiar complaint.

Joe quickly cleaned up and walked back downstairs to find the family engaged in spirited conversation. He paused and leaned against the doorframe, grinning. "Yíall are gonna have to come meet my family sometime soon."

"No!" Sam repeated emphatically. "At least not till every single one of your crazy relatives is mated. No way I want to deal with a San Gabriel-Runningdeer pairing out to drive me nuts!"

"Donít worry," Sally chuckled, "if you go nuts, Iíll haul you off to the pound for your own safety."

"Gee thanks!"

"I think youíre safe, Tiger," Joe laughed, dropping to the floor alongside Sam and leaning against him. "Mari and Ami are a little too young to be on the prowl - though there are the cousins..." He took in the horrified look on his mateís face and dissolved into laughter.

Sam shoved him off, growling and muttering about idiots who thought they were so funny. He ignored his siblings, who laughing just as hard, and rose to his feet. "Need a hand, Mom?"

"Just go sit down," Mary said, her lips twitching suspiciously. "Iíll bring it through. And you and Joe can discuss dowries," she added laughingly.

Still lying on the floor where Sam had dumped him, Joe held up a hand and looked plaintively around the room. "Okay, whoís helping me up?"

"I dunno," Lee chuckled, "Samís pretty possessive. I donít want to be eaten by a tiger."

"Iím pretty sure he saves that for Joe," Alex snickered, getting the back of his head smacked by his mother for his trouble.

Rolling his eyes, Sam refused to be drawn, simply offering Joe a hand in hopes of putting an end to his siblingsí teasing, at least for the moment.

"That he does," Joe grinned, standing easily and sliding his free arm around Samís waist. "Really pissed my twin off when we first met him."

"Evaís much happier with her wolves," Sam said calmly, leaning into Joeís embrace. "And I knew what I wanted when I saw it."

"Yeah, I remember that about you," Karen snickered. "Nearly got you arrested a couple of times."

"Details! I need details!" Joe laughed as the family settled in to their meal.

"No!" Sam exclaimed before anyone could say, though several were caught with their mouths open. "Be quiet and eat!" he growled at his snickering siblings. "And you, just remember that you have brothers and sisters too who would be happy to tell me all about you too!"

Joe snorted. "Theyíve told you everything already, and you know it."

"Donít worry, Iím sure youíve noticed that Sam sleeps like the dead," Karen said with a grin. "Once heís asleep or in the morning, Iíll tell you everything you want to know."

Sam groaned. "Iím doomed. Donít you have to go home?"

"Itís Friday, brother dear. I donít have to be at work tomorrow, so no." Karen smiled brightly.

Joe grinned widely. "You know, Sam, Iím really glad you wanted to bring me here."

Sam whimpered piteously while his family laughed.

"Eat up, Sam," Mary chuckled, passing him the meat. "I think youíre going to need your strength."


  since 02-03-07


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