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Triple Trouble

 
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Demeter Ashton
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:57 am    Post subject: Triple Trouble Reply with quote

"Is it me, or did your brother and his wife decide to have babies in the coldest month of the year?"

Seren's complaint was barely audible to human ears, but even through layers of wool, she knew Dorian would hear her. He wasn't entirely human, after all. Her eyes sparkled teasingly as she glanced up at him, hand in hand as they made their way through the drifts toward the Ashton family home. Demeter had given birth to her expected triplets just a few days ago, a girl and two boys, and after allowing a little time for the new parents to get used to the now very crowded den they shared, Seren had prodded Dorian into going to visit them.

As much as Dorian loved the theater, it was nice to have a break to spend time with his wife, friends, and family, especially that of his twin brother, whom he'd been separated from for too long. It had always been like there was something missing from his life, but he hadn't really understood what that something was until he'd learned of the brother he'd been separated from at birth. Now that they had been reunited, their family had grown, extending to that of Seren's family and Demeter and the children who'd just been born of her marriage with Dorian's brother, Neville. To say Dorian was pleased was a bit of an understatement. Nothing could have pleased him more, except perhaps to have children of his own. He chuckled lightly at his wife's remark. Now that he was more than human, the cold was the least of his concerns.

"I don't think they timed the birth on purpose just to annoy you, love," he teased her in return, his voice as quiet as hers, knowing she'd hear him even if he whispered.

"I don't like being cold," she whined back laughingly, grateful when they reached the porch steps. Stamping up onto the relatively clear wood, she knocked the snow from her boots, reaching up to press the bell. "Just because I have a furry form does not mean this form likes cold."

"I'll just have to do my best to keep you warm then," he replied with a dimpled, but scruffily-bearded grin, his arms going around her waist while they waited for someone to answer the door. "Better?" he asked, burying his face in her neck, the feel of warm lips against her bare skin.

She giggled as he pulled her in close, nibbling at his ear as he pressed his face to her neck. They were the only pairing in their strangely diverse pack who had not yet started a family, but they were not any the less for that. There was plenty of time.

It was certainly not from lack of trying. When the door finally opened, it was to find the pair smooching and giggling like a pair of hormonal teenagers. It was Neville who answered the door, clearing his throat to let them know they were no longer alone. Dorian laughed at the expression on his brother's face. Though nearly identical in appearance, the brothers' personalities couldn't have been more different. Neville was the more serious of the two, while Dorian was light-hearted in nature.

"Brother, do not look so somber," he chided his twin, untangling himself from Serena's embrace to pat a hand against Neville's smoothly-shaven cheek. "This is a happy time. A time for celebration."

"Be nice," Seren teased her husband. "Cats don't always like finding wolves on the doorstep." She offered Neville a brilliant smile of her own. "Are we allowed to come in, or will you just parade them past the door before dismissing us?"

"Yes, well, we haven't come to blow the house down or eat the children," Dorian pointed out, matching his wife's good humor.

Neville smirked at both Seren's question and the marital verbal sparring going on between the pair. "I think Demi would prefer to not put them on display," he countered, pulling the door open in invitation for them to enter. Whatever happened to them during a full moon, they were still family and always would be. "Come in. We've been wondering how long it would take for you two to get here."

"Well, we didn't want to be annoying and camp on your doorstep straight away," Seren pointed out cheerfully, already shedding her layers as she stepped past Neville and into the hallway. She raised her voice just a little. "We might have brought takeout money."

Demi's voice called to them from the living room. "If it comes with the promise of something meaty, then get your ass in here."

"I assume pizza is out of the question," Dorian remarked with a chuckle and a wink at his brother. He took Seren's coat and remained behind to shed his own and have a few private words with his brother before the two of them rejoined the women in the living room. "Where are the little angels?" he asked as he swept into the room and looked around for the youngest Ashtons.

The living room of Neville and Demeter's home had been transformed into a luxurious sort of den for the time being, parts of it almost knee deep in cushions. Warm quilts and soft blankets covered the floor, rucked up into nests not only by hands but clearly by paws as well, and in the center of the floor lay the three newest members of the family, mostly asleep.

Demi was lying on her back beside them, looking exhausted but smiling, rising onto her elbows to greet Dorian and Seren as they crept inside. "Welcome to the lair," she laughed quietly.

"All you need is a tent, and this would be a virtual paradise!" Dorian remarked at the sight of the makeshift den, with its plethora of pillows and blankets. It was a child's dream, though he was far from childhood. Who needed a bed when one could make an entire room into such a comfortable lair? He toed off his shoes and shoved them aside before moving to join them, his first order of business inspecting the newest additions to the family. "Aren't they adorable?" he asked, as he leaned over to make his inspection.

"They are right now." Demi chuckled softly. "Wait until they all wake up demanding attention."

Seren snickered softly, lowering down onto her knees to inspect the triplets affectionately. "They must be a handful," she mused. "Which one is which?"

"May I?" Dorian asked, not waiting for permission before swooping in to snatch one of the babies from their place of rest.

Neville lifted a hand to protest and point out that the children shouldn't be disturbed when they were sleeping so contentedly, but it was too late.

"Oh, they are adorable, Demi. You must be so proud," Dorian gushed, as he cradled one of the newborns in his arms, obviously bewitched.

It wasn't the baby Dorian had lifted up that noticed the change - after all, he was being cuddled. No, it was his sister in the middle, suddenly lacking the warmth from her other side, who started to fidget.

Demi rolled her eyes, nodding to Seren. "Help yourself," she told her sister in law, shaking her head as Seren squeaked and leaned in to gather the protesting baby girl into her arms. Demi looked up at Neville. "You want to hug the last one, or shall I?"

Neville couldn't help but chuckle at Seren and Dorian's anxiousness to hold the new babies. "You rest. I've got it," he volunteered, bending down to scoop up the third child before he squalled in protest at being left alone. He murmured softly to soothe the child before he had a chance to fuss. "There, there. It's all right," he said, patting the baby's bottom and swaying him to and fro and in his arms. "It's just your aunt and uncle come to say hello."

"They're gorgeous," Seren enthused, hugging the baby girl to her chest as the protests calmed down. "And they smell so nice!"

Demi snorted with laughter, relaxing onto her side as she watched the three of them cuddling the babies. Hearing a werewolf comment on the smell of your children wasn't entirely a reassuring comment.

"Almost good enough to eat," Dorian teased, though he had no interest in actually eating them. It was just a figure of speech, but he couldn't help but tease his brother and sister-in-law with it. Even in wolf form, he would have recognized their bloodline and known they were off limits, and he had been careful not to be tempted by human flesh since being turned.

"Oh, shush, that isn't what I mean," Seren laughed, dipping her head down to touch her cheek against the warm head against her shoulder. "They are beautiful, guys. Are they a lot of trouble to look after?"
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Three all at once can't be easy," Dorian agreed, smirking a little at his wife's scolding. "They're so ... small," he remarked, taking a closer look at the one he was holding. "Which is this? Dorian, Junior?" he teased.

"I should hope they're small, I had to birth them," Demi laughed back at him, rubbing a hand through her hair. She glanced at Neville. Names were something they were still stuck on - their daughter had been easy to name. The boys, not so much.

"Uh, no ..." Neville stammered, exchanging a glance with Demi. "If you want a Junior, you should have one of your own," he told his brother in a tone of voice that teased instead of scolded.

"We'll get to it, eventually," Dorian said, turning his attention back to the little one in his arms. "They're not identical," he mused aloud, which was different from his brother and himself.

"Litters rarely have identical twins in them," Demi offered from her comfortable sprawl. "I'm amazed we had three, to be honest. Human-led pregnancies among weres tend to restrict themselves to twins. But at least we won't be feeling the urge to have any more any time soon!"

"I wonder ..." Dorian mused aloud, but he didn't say anything further. He and Seren weren't in any hurry to have children, but seeing how happy Demi and Neville were, he wondered what family life might be like for them, too. He also wondered what kind of offspring they could expect, being half-wolf.

With Seren cuddling the baby girl quite happily, it was easy to see what kind of mother she would make eventually. "What are their names?" she asked, tilting her head curiously toward the new parents.

Demi bit her lip, smiling. "Well, we're still working on that," she admitted. "But she's called Penelope."

"Penelope Ashton," Dorian mused aloud, with a curious glance at his brother. Though Neville might to have openly shared all his history, Dorian knew enough about it to know that they were naming this daughter in honor of Neville's late wife.

"Penny, for short," Neville informed them, before anyone decided to call her Nellie, like his late wife had been.

"Unless something else suits her better," Demi added with a faint smile.

Seren lifted Penelope a little higher on her shoulder. "She's surprisingly heavy," she commented. "I have no idea how you managed with three of them in there. How could you even walk?"

That was something Neville couldn't remark on, as Demi had been the one to carry the children, though he'd done whatever he could to help.

"Having three at once is efficient though. It's like having an insta-family!" Dorian pointed out with a grin.

"We got an insta-family when you two walked in and introduced yourselves," Demi pointed out with a laugh. She glanced at the clock. "I guess I should start making up their bottles. They're like clockwork, these three."

"Bottles?" Dorian echoed, brows arching upwards curiously. "You mean, you don't ... er ..." He broke off with a blush of embarrassment, having assumed as a tiger, she had a more efficient way of keeping her little brood fed.

Demi raised her brows, daring him to keep going even as she grinned. She gestured to her own chest. "Two nipples, three mouths," she pointed out, pulling herself to her feet. "Not even I can make the math stretch like that."

"Neville has nipples," Dorian blurted with a smirk before he could stop himself.

"Yes, but they don't produce anything," Neville pointed out, perhaps taking his brother a little too seriously.

"I just thought ..." Dorian started again, before deciding it was probably better to leave the rest unsaid. He was still new at this were thing and wasn't too sure how it all worked yet.

Demi's smile gentled. "I don't go tiger to feed the babies," she assured him quietly. "They're human right now, and human babies need a little more contact than cubs do. It wouldn't be right to just lie there and not have that contact time. I do go tiger to sleep at the moment, though," she added with a grin. "Hence the state of the living room."

"Oh, I see," Dorian murmured, clearing his throat and blushing further, which was a rarity for him.

Neville moved over to his wife and settled their son in her arms. "You relax. I'll go make the bottles," he assured her, touching an affectionate kiss to her lips before turning to face his brother. "You, behave," he warned with a smirk.

Told to stay put and given a squirming little man to make sure she did, Demi smiled fondly at her husband, sinking back down onto the floor.

"I'll help," Seren volunteered, pushing herself up onto her feet to pad after Neville, little Penelope still against her shoulder.

"So, you don't have any ..." Dorian trailed off again, as Seren moved to follow Neville to the kitchen, abandoning him and leaving him alone with Demi and two of the three newborns. His gaze trailed after Seren, wondering if she'd left him there alone with Demi on purpose.

"Any?" Demi smiled at him, wondering again why Dorian seemed so nervous of her. Perhaps it was because she was the most natural were of all of them, and a tiger at that. Or perhaps it was something else. She couldn't say. "You don't need to be so uncomfortable, Dorian. How can I help you relax?"

"I'm not uncomfortable," Dorian insisted, taking his sister-in-law literally. He wasn't physically uncomfortable anyway, but he'd always felt a little awkward around Demi. After all, she was drop dead gorgeous and obviously enamored of his brother. Not that Seren was gorgeous, too, but just in a different way. Despite his insistence, he shifted a bit awkwardly on his feet, still standing.

Demi's head tilted back, making a point of the fact that he was looming over her a little. "Sit down, Dorian," she told him in amusement. "You will not suddenly become a cat if you relax a little in a den."

"I know," he told her, remembering the circumstances that had led to his becoming Lycan. Demi had been part of that, but it had been Emrys who had saved his life by making him a wolf. And yet, it had been Dorian who'd come searching for his twin, for fear his brother might have shared the illness that had been slowing taking Dorian's life. Somehow he was going to have to come to terms with all that and with the fact that his brother was now a cat, while he was a wolf. "Why weren't they born tigers?" he asked, curiously, as he folded his longs legs onto one of the many cushions scattered across the floor.

"Because I didn't change my shape throughout the pregnancy," she explained easily. "If I had been shifting, they might have been born a mix of cubs and humans, and the first change doesn't happen until puberty. So those born cubs would have had their first change in just a couple of years, and would have been teenagers in human form with children's minds. It's kinder for them to grow up to puberty in human form."

Dorian's brows arched upwards. There were clearly differences between being a tiger and a wolf. "But ... how do you control it?" he asked, curiously. When the moons went full, he had no choice but to accept the change that was going to come over him, but at least he was able to prepare for it.

It was a very unsatisfying answer, but ... "Practice," she admitted reluctantly. "I spent a lot of time on Earth, where their single moon exerts a phenomenal pull on weres like us. But because they don't believe weres exist, it was all but essential to have absolute control over myself. I learned the signs that I was about to change, and how to force my will so that they didn't happen. It's not very helpful, is it?"

"But ... what about Neville?" he asked further, wondering if his brother had learned or inherited that same mastery over the change. As awkward as he seemed, he didn't seem so very awkward with the tiny wriggling bundle in his arms, easily propping the little boy against his shoulder.

"Well, because I turned him, we have a mental bond," Demi explained a little uncomfortably. "It's the same connection you should have with Seren, albeit in reverse. I can feel when he's struggling to control himself, and sort of reach across to help. I'm sure she could do the same with you, if you asked for that help."
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Demeter Ashton
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"I don't have much control when I change," he admitted, though he had enough control not to rip those he loved to shreds and enough foresight to prevent himself from attacking strangers. Only a hungry wolf was a dangerous wolf.

"Have you tried changing with Seren's mind inside yours?" she asked curiously. "It sounds ridiculous, putting it like that, but that's what it feels like."

"Changing with her mind inside mine?" he echoed, shaking his head in confusion. "How do we do that?" he asked, clearly never having done this before or even thought it possible. in the meantime, one hand instinctively rubbed the baby boy's back.

"When you're wolves together, can you feel her mind?" Demi asked him gently. "The bond is there between you, but it can take some time to isolate it and learn how to manipulate it."

"I think so," Dorian replied uncertainly. He always felt something, some connection to her, but he'd never really explored it much. "How do I make that bond stronger?" he asked further.

"Sex," Demeter told him baldly. "In either shape. Find the connection, be aware of it, and make love. You'd be amazed how much stronger it gets when you share something like that."

Dorian's mouth dropped open at Demi's unabashed frankness. He and Seren had an active and healthy sex life, but it had never occurred to him to try and bond with her in any other way while making love. "I, uh ..." he stammered again. "I'm not sure how. To make a connection, I mean." He was perfectly aware of how to have sex.

"The connection is always there, Dorian," she assured him, gently jostling the baby boy in her arms. "Even now. Concentrate. I bet you'll be able to tell what she's feeling at this moment without needing to hear her or see her."

"Now?" he echoed again, blinking in astonishment. He glanced toward the kitchen where he could just barely make out the soft of voice chatting amicably, one obviously male and much like his own and the other softer, quieter, and feminine.

"Now." Demi's smile softened. "No, don't look. It's like ... feeling the murmur of her voice in the back of your mind, tucked away with your own thoughts."

Dorian turned back, closing his eyes so as not to be distracted by anything around him, fully aware of the little bundle propped against his shoulder. He tried not to focus so much on Seren's voice as on her presence, opening not only his heart but his mind to her, though she only stood a mere few feet away.

The muted conversation in the kitchen faltered for the briefest moment, Seren's voice rising again even as that little flicker of her in the back of Dorian's mind intensified, seeming to solidify, colored with tenderly affectionate amusement. It was almost as though she'd been waiting for him to realise this was as much a part of him as everything else.

"Why didn't she tell me?" Dorian mused aloud, even as his mind brushed up against Seren's. Why hadn't anyone told him? He'd been turned before his brother, and yet, Neville seemed several strides ahead of him.

"Perhaps because it can be overwhelming," Demi suggested gently. "Or perhaps because she was afraid of how you might react? You've experienced a lot of changes in the last year or so, Dorian. Surely she can be excused for not wanting to throw this onto you as well?"

Dorian's expression turned thoughtful. Yes, he had experienced a lot of changes in the last year. He hadn't set out to become what he was, but becoming Lycan had not only saved his life but given him a connection to Seren he would have never been able to experience otherwise. "I am not blaming her, Demi. I'm just curious, that's all," he said, opening his eyes and turning to regard her, the connection with Seren still there, but not as prominent as it was a moment ago.

"It's something new to explore," she told him with a gentle smile. "The bond was something Neville needed when I first turned him. He was so afraid of losing himself to the tiger, he needed my mind enclosing his, reminding him who he was. As far as I can tell, Emrys didn't need to overwhelm your mind with his. You were ready for the change."

"Neville was afraid?" Dorian asked, never having been told or realizing this before. Though Dorian was the older brother by a few minutes, he had always thought Neville the stronger one, when the truth was they were equally strong.

Demi nodded. "He was very afraid, but so was I," she admitted quietly. "And there are still things that frighten us. But we're stronger together than we were apart."

"I wasn't afraid of the change," he confessed, though she probably already knew that. In fact, he'd been eager for it. But then he'd been sickly and close to death and had seen the change as a kind of cure, a way to stay alive.

"You may look very similar, but you and your brother are not carbon copies of one another." Demi smiled as she spoke. "And that is a very good thing. Your experiences have made you the man you are, the man Seren loves, just as his have made him the man he is."

"But he's good, isn't he?" Dorian asked further. Whether he admitted it very often or not and whether they'd been raised together or not, he had become fond of his brother and loved him even. Once upon a time, they had shared a womb, after all, though neither knew much about their birth parents.

She held his gaze steadily. "He's the best man I've ever known," she said, calm and quiet but filled with certainty. "I am very lucky that he allowed himself to love me."

"He deserves to be happy," Dorian said, with feeling, thinking perhaps Neville deserved happiness even more than he did. "What does he think of being a father?" he asked further, though he could just as easily have asked Neville himself.

Demi laughed tiredly, stroking her fingertips over the little wobbly head in the crook of her arm. "He's delighted, and a little afraid," she told him. "He worries about us, about being a good father, a good teacher. He doesn't need to worry, but every parent does."

Dorian frowned a little, not wanting to admit that he shared those worries. Maybe that was in part why he and Seren hadn't become parents themselves yet. "He'll be a good father," he said, sure of that fact without needing proof.

"As will you, when the time comes," Demi predicted easily. "The simple act of worrying if you will be good, means that you have a better chance of being a good father than someone who doesn't worry."

"What makes you think I worry about it?" Dorian asked, carefully shifting the baby from one shoulder to the other. He'd managed to learn a little bit about babies from Marissa and Emrys in the months since their twins were born, but he was no expert.

"Dorian ... I'm a psychologist," she reminded him gently. "I can read body language and expression, even without recognising the tension in your scent. I do not doubt that you and Seren will start your own family, but in your own time. There is no rush."

"I guess I do worry about it a little," Dorian admitted with a small frown as he looked to the small, helpless bundle nestled against his shoulder. "I didn't really ..." He broke off. "I mean, I never really had a father figure."

"You don't need a father figure to be a good one yourself," she assured him. "It might help a little, but you have friends and family around you, some of whom have their own children and can also set an example. It's a learning curve, for everyone. And everyone makes mistakes."

"I guess," Dorian admitted, not really sure. There had been a time when he hadn't thought he'd make a very good husband either, but he'd proved himself wrong. Why not a father, too? "I know one thing for sure ... I would never abandon my children, no matter what."

"You'll be a wonderful father, Dorian," she promised him. "Not an exact copy of anyone, but your own man. And it will happen. I have no doubt about that."

"Thanks, Demi," Dorian said with a faint smile, hoping she was right, though he didn't have to worry about that right now. He and Seren hadn't really discussed having children yet, though both their siblings had beat them to it.

"And clearly you are a wonderful uncle, because the noisy one you have there hasn't offered a peep yet," she added, nodding to her son in his arms, who was awake and had apparently been so for some time. Unfocused blue eyes gazed up at the familiar unfamiliarity of Dorian's face.

"Noisy one?" he echoed, looking to the little one on his shoulder. He'd had no idea the newborn was awake, as he'd seemed as content as, well, a kitten.

"Any opportunity to make a fuss, he makes it," Demi told him in amusement. "And yet look at him now ... awake for at least five minutes, and quiet as a lamb. I think he has a favorite. Just don't tell Neville."
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There went that brow of Dorian's again, at Demi's remark. He and Neville were nearly identical, but he didn't think the newborn would recognize one from the other. "Maybe he just thinks I'm his father," he suggested.

She laughed gently. "I'm teasing you," she promised. "Don't look so worried." Holding the other baby boy was making her arms ache a little, though; she laid him down gently, stretching out to lay her hand over the baby's stomach and chest as he kicked and settled down. "You're all so heavy, and I'm only little," she informed the infant fondly, brushing a kiss to his forehead.

"I don't know how you do it. Three babies, all at once?" Dorian remarked, watching as she laid one of the two baby boys down on a blanket. He carefully settled the other down beside his brother. "Have you decided on names yet?" he inquired curiously.

"We're struggling a little for the boys," Demi admitted with a rueful smile. "Penelope was a no-brainer. I've known right from the start that our first daughter would be named after Nellie. I'm leaning toward traditional sort of names myself, though. Demeter is not a name I would wish on any child."

"There are worse names, Demi," Dorian assured her. This was Rhy'Din, after all. At least, hers could be shortened. There wasn't much that could be done with either Dorian or Neville. "Besides, not everyone gets to say they're named for a goddess," he added with a smile.

She chuckled, her fingers gently reassuring both newborn boys that they hadn't been abandoned with soft touches to their bellies. "I suppose not," she agreed. "Penelope is the name of Odysseus' queen, too. Any ideas for these two?"

"Well, I wouldn't recommend Zeus or Apollo," he said with a smirk. "This is Rhy'Din. You never know when you might run into the real thing," he pointed out, only half serious. "I'm afraid I won't be much help with names. I'd probably pick someone from Shakespeare, but I don't think you want to names your sons Hamlet and Horatio."

"You and your theater inspirations." She smiled wearily, glad to have company. She loved Neville, but the two of them were exhausted keeping up with the triplets already. "I think I like Tom for one of them - Thomas, but Tom for short. It's on a list on the fridge. We've been crossing out names almost faster than we can think of them!"

"Well, it's not like you have to name them today. Why don't you try a few names out for size? See if they fit before you make a final decision," he suggested. "Just don't call them Thing One and Thing Two," he added with a grin.

"Neville already vetoed Agatha, Tabitha, and Bagetha," she grinned warmly. "They don't really need names until the health visitor comes by in about a week. We've got time."

"Uh ..." Dorian started, looking puzzled. "Aren't those all girls' names?" he asked, uncertainly. They all ended in an A and sounded female to him, anyway. "Thomas is traditional. Thomas Ashton. It almost sounds like it could belong to an English gentleman. But which one is Thomas?" he asked, looking to the two little boys lying next to each other.

"I have no idea." Demi's laughter had just the slightest edge of hysteria to it, proof that she was definitely overtired, despite the were ability to heal and bounce back from almost anything. "I keep hoping we'll decide on two names we're happy with, and then pin them to the boy that suits each one best."

"There's always the good old eeny meeny miney moe method," Dorian said, that dimpled grin still on his face. "Don't worry so much, Demi. I'm sure you'll both come up with something."

"Someday," she agreed. "You know, when they hit college, maybe." Chuckling, she glanced up just as Neville and Seren reappeared, bearing the girl and bottles. "Want to feed one of your nephews, Uncle Dorian? Because I don't think Auntie Seren is letting go of your niece anytime soon."

"If someone shows me how," Dorian replied, eager and willing to help, but unsure of himself, since he had little to no experience with anyone under the age of three. How hard could it be, after all?

"Want to do the honors?" Demi asked Neville, glancing over at Seren, who was already making herself comfortable with Penny propped in the crook of her arm, the little girl busily sucking at the bottle held to her mouth.

Dorian looked to Seren a moment, wondering briefly what it would be like to have children of their own. He was so lost in thought that he didn't notice Neville waiting to hand him a bottle, until he felt a tap on his shoulder. He blinked out of his thoughts with a mumbled apology and took the bottle from his brother.

"Tired, love?" Neville asked as he scooped up one of the boys and handed him off to Dorian.

"Little bit," Demi admitted, smiling as she watched Dorian and Seren set to feeding two of the demanding trio. "Want me to feed, or would you rather?" One thing Demi definitely wasn't was possessive over her children - if you visited and wanted to help, she was quite happy for you to do just that.

"I can do it," Neville replied, happy to help wherever he could, especially since he hadn't been the one to carry their children for the last nine months or so and consequently birth them. He settled himself on a cushion near Demi, an as yet unnamed son nestled in one arm, the bottle in the other.

Demi wriggled over to lay her head on Neville's thigh, just enjoying the quiet sound of three little people sucking hard on their bottles, a small part of her purring with contentment. Seren glanced over at the new parents, a small smile playing at her lips as she caught Dorian's attention to nod toward them fondly. Even in human form, there was no mistaking that need for contact. Every were had it, in some form.

Did Neville and Demi have that need for contact more since they were felines? If asked, Dorian wouldn't have thought so. He and Seren sat close together, exchanging smiles as they fed the two little ones in their arms, quiet for the moment. Dorian silently contemplated the child in his arms, and perhaps the eventual possibility of children of their own.

There was something very calming about simply caring for the babies, especially when they were quiet. That calmness, however, did not last into the diaper changing. The boys were loudest in their complaints about cold cream and wipes; their sister just wriggled so much she was almost impossible to get changed properly. And on top of all this was the sound of Seren giggling helplessly at the sight of the the other three battling just to prevent ballistic pee from flying around the room.

Neville wasn't having too much trouble, as he'd had at least a little practice, but Dorian was another matter. "Don't just stand there laughing! Help me!" he scolded Seren playfully as he tried to get a clean diaper back on the wriggling baby before he was received a yellow shower.

Demi snickered softly at Dorian's struggles. "Be glad you got the girl," she suggested, flinching back as evidence of just why he should be glad sprayed toward her.

Seren cackled from behind Dorian. "Oh, no, you have things completely in hand," she insisted. "I'm going to order dinner."

Dorian couldn't help but get sprayed a little, as he was a little too late in ducking, but thankfully, it wasn't enough to get him very wet.

"Don't feel bad, Dorian," Neville told his brother with a chuckle. "Demi and I have been peed on multiple times. Besides, it's good luck!"

"I thought that was bird poo, not baby pee?" Seren asked curiously, already raising the phone to her ear. She did grin at her own mate a little wickedly, though.

"I could do without that kind of luck," Dorian remarked, furrowing his brows at Seren. "I think you're enjoying this a little too much," he accused, though there wasn't much he could do about it.

"Suit yourself," Neville said, with a shrug as he finished diapering his charge. "Might mean you're going to have children of your own."
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For some reason, when Neville said this, Seren blushed and hurriedly turned away, placing the world's most enthusiastic order for pizza with every meaty topping she could think of.

Demi bit her smiling lip, finishing up her own diaper. "There now, messy boy," she said cheerfully. "Think I should save Uncle Dorian from your wriggly sister?"

"I think she's doing it on purpose," Dorian said with an exasperated sigh as he tried and failed to get a diaper on her, as she kept kicking her legs at him. Thankfully, he didn't notice Seren's blush. Neville did, but all he did was smile and pluck his son up and settle him on his shoulder.

"She enjoys the attention," Demi told Dorian in amusement. "Here, have a clean warm boy. I'll swap you for little miss trouble there."

"She enjoys having her diaper changed?" Dorian asked, confused. He'd thought babies mostly liked being fed and cuddled, more than being changed. It didn't seem like much fun to him, anyway.

"You have to make it fun," Neville interjected, letting Demi demonstrate.

Making it fun, it seemed, involved blowing raspberries on the baby girl's bare tummy, tweaking her nose, and making ridiculous noises, all to distract her from wriggling around while Demi quickly finished up the diaper change. In fact, Penelope seemed genuinely surprised when she was lifted up, fully dressed, and cuddled close.

Demi flashed Dorian a grin. "She's a nightmare, but a fun one."

Dorian's jaw dropped open as he watched the master at work. "That's amazing. How do you do that?" he asked, clearly impressed with Demi's skill at diapering a wriggling baby. Of course, she'd had a little more practice than him.

"By being so tired I don't care how ridiculous I look anymore," she told him with slightly brutal honesty, jostling her daughter on her shoulder. "I hope your mate remembers to order sides. I'm craving onion rings as well as meat today."

"I'll, uh, I'll tell her," Dorian replied, feeling a little awkward again as Demi drew attention to her looks. He wandered off to find Seren and make sure she ordered onion rings, with one baby boy still propped against his shoulder.

"What was all that about?" Neville, leaned in to whisper, noting his brother's odd behavior.

Leaning against Neville's side, Demi smiled faintly. "I think your brother might have seen a few of those catalogues I'm in," she suggested. "He may be having difficulty getting his mind off the fact that he's seen me in underwear."

Some men might have been offended or angry or even jealous at that bit of information, but Neville had known about Demi's past and it had never bothered him so long as men didn't bother her or ogle her in public. But his own brother? He couldn't help but find that amusing, chuckling a little her explanation. "Well, too bad for him. You belong to me," he reminded her, leaning close to touch a kiss to her lips. Besides, he knew how much Dorian adored Seren, even if he had admired Demi's photo in a magazine.

She grinned up at him, brushing her lips against his affectionately. "He smells of wet dog," she reminded him. "I much prefer your scent." A wobble from the head on her shoulder caught her hard in the chin, making her laugh. "Your daughter is violent!"

"She must take after her mother," he replied, grinning back at her. "Careful, Kitten, or we might end up with another litter on our hands," he warned laughingly. He didn't remark on what his brother smelled like or that he was technically lupine, not canine. It was minor technicality.

Demi laughed softly, touching her brow to his shoulder. "Not unless I go into heat prematurely, darling," she reminded him, not without some relief. The idea of having more babies to deal with right now was terrifying.

"Thank Mother Nature for that," he said, smiling as she rested her head against his shoulder. As much as he loved their little family, three newborns all at once was about all they could handle right now. "So, I guess we better decide on names," he mused aloud as he drew the little one from his shoulder. "What do you think? Are you a Bobby or a Billy?" he asked his son, who only blinked at his father and blew a few spit bubbles.

"What about a Will?" Demi suggested, remembering the ever-shortening short list on the fridge. "Do you think we might have a Tom and a Will here? What do you think?" This last was addressed to their daughter, sucking happily on her fingers as she was cuddled close.

"A Will?" Neville echoed, realizing she meant the name, not the document. They were names that had been added to the list at some point, though no final decision had been made, as they'd decided to wait and see what they ended up with and what names seemed to fit. "I don't know. What do you think?" he asked uncertainly, mulling it over.

Demi tilted her head to look up at him, a faintly amused smile on her face. "That's what I asked you," she pointed out fondly. "There's no rush, sweetheart. We're stilling mulling."

"Thomas and William?" he asked, assuming those would be their official names, calling them Tom and Will for short. "Thomas and William Ashton," he mused aloud, trying the names out to see how they rolled off the tongue. "Any particular reason?"

"I like them?" she offered. A more coherent reason would have to wait until she was operating on more than two hours sleep at a time, but it was good enough all on its own. She grinned up at her husband. "You don't have to say yes."

"Better than Tom, Dick, and Harry, I suppose," he replied with a dimpled smirk that matched his brother's but was more prominent due to a lack of facial hair.

She giggled, pressing a kiss to his shoulder. "At least no one will be able to call any of them Dicky," she agreed. "It's not set in stone, love. But it would be nice to be able to call them something more than "the boys"."

"No, I don't think we want a Dicky," he agreed, with a chuckle. "Why don't we try the names on for size and see what we think? We can always change our minds if they don't fit." He glanced over at Dorian and Seren, who were busy ogling either Tom or Will. "But which is which?" he asked, furrowing his brows.

"Well, do you want to be holding a Willy?" Demi grinned up at him mischievously. "Or tell your brother he's holding a Willy?"

"Will, not Willy," Neville corrected with a scowl. Willy was not better than Dicky, in his opinion, and was slang for the same thing. He sighed. "Maybe William is a bad idea, too."

Her smile faded, a low sigh escaping her lips. "It was just an idea," she said, a little defeatedly. Trying to name their sons was close onto impossible.

He frowned, not wanting to disappoint her. "William is fine. Just not Willy, okay?" he asked, leaning close to brush a kiss against her cheek, a soft smile on his face.

"You know I wouldn't call him Willy," she pointed out quietly. "I just ... I wish this was easier, you know? I feel as though I'm leaving everything to you, and that isn't fair."

"I have an idea," he said, moving to his feet. "Dorian, come help me with something," he called over to his brother, the two of them disappearing into the kitchen for about ten minutes before they re-emerged. Dorian was carrying a coffee cup into which there were several small folded slips of paper.

"Pick two," Dorian said, offering the cup to Demi so that she could pick two slips of paper, each of them bearing a different boy's name from the list they'd tacked on the fridge.

Juggling Penelope so she was nestled in one arm, Demi picked a pair of slips from the little cup, a little bemused by the mens' slightly mischievous disappearance and reappearance. She glanced at Seren curiously, but the other woman seemed just as mystified.

Neville thought it was kind of obvious what they were up to, but even if it wasn't, she'd know as soon as she opened the slips of paper and read what was written there.

"What do they say?" Dorian asked curiously, as anxious to find out what names they were going to decide on as the new parents.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Raising a brow, Demi handed one of the slips to Neville, fingers wriggling to open the one she kept. "Thomas," she said, a small smile curving her lips.

Seren squeaked happily, recognising she was witnessing the naming of the boys, and bounced the one she had hold of gently in her arms.

Dorian grinned over at Seren, waiting with that coffee cup in hand to see if Demi and Neville needed to choose another slip of paper.

Neville chuckled as Demi picked one of the names she'd suggested, knowing Dorian hadn't cheated as he hadn't known which names she'd been favoring. "That one is Thomas," he said, unfolding the remaining slip of paper one-handedly while balancing the other boy on his shoulder. "Hm," Neville murmured a moment. "How do we feel about David?"

"Hear that, kiddo?" Seren asked the little boy on her shoulder. "You got a name, you cute little muffin!"

Demi snorted with laughter at the enthusiastic comment from her sister-in-law, tilting her head as Neville read the name on the slip she'd given him. "David?" Her brows rose curiously. "I actually hadn't considered that one. What do you think, munchkin? Are you a David?"

Though the little boy might not understand what his mother was asking him, he was suddenly scowling and looking close to tears. "Uh oh. Not David," Neville said, chuckling again as he jiggled the small bundle on his shoulder before he burst into tears.

"Pick another one," Dorian said, holding the cup out to Demi again.

"Oh dear ..." Laughing, Demi picked another slip from the cup, pulling it open with her teeth. Her smile deepened as she read the name here. "William?"

"What do you think of that? Are you a William?" Neville asked the baby boy again, who this time was trying hard to lift his head off his father's shoulder, little brows arching upwards in interest.

"Aww, did we just name our boys?" Demi asked, though her tone suggested she was asking the babies rather than the adults. "Tom, Will, and Penny, together at last!"

"That sounds like cause for celebration!" Dorian said, though the birth of the triplets was probably cause enough. At least, they were no longer nameless.

Neville laughed. "I think maybe we should hold off on that celebration until Demi and I aren't half asleep."

"We can celebrate with the pizza on its way," Seren assured them. "And seriously, if you two need to just pass out, we are capable of tucking these three into the den with you and leaving quietly the way we came."

Demi laughed quietly. "You might have to."

"I'll try to stay awake, but I'm not making any promises!" Neville added, echoing Demi's laughter.

"I still don't know how you take care of three kids when there are only two of you," Dorian remarked.

"Stubbornness, mainly," Demi informed him, folding down onto the heavily padded floor with a groan of relief. As much as she loved cuddling the babies, they did get heavy after a while. "And they're on pretty much the same schedule, thankfully."

Neville settled himself on the cushions, as well, and laid the newly-named William in his lap, one hand rubbing his belly to settle him down. "Stubbornness and lots of coffee," he corrected.

"Well, not tonight," Dorian said. "We're not just here to visit, but to help."

"Yes, help," Seren agreed firmly. "Which means chores, too. Tell us what to do, we are your willing slaves." She flashed the new parents a wicked grin, only interrupted by the sound of a car pulling up outside. "Oooh, dinner!"

"I'm not sure I'd use the word slaves," Dorian corrected. "Don't get up! I'll get the food!" he said, before starting toward the door. After all, he was the only one at the moment who wasn't fussing over a baby.

It didn't take long to settle the babies into napping together in a warm bundle, allowing the adults to make a sizeable dent in the enormous pizza and multiple sides that arrived, courtesy of Dorian and Seren's forward thinking.

Eating all that food didn't do much to keep Neville from getting sleepy. In fact, it had the exact opposite effect. Marissa had advised them to get as much sleep as they could, sleeping when the babies slept, and his weariness was showing in the way he was trying not to yawn.

He was doing better than his wife. Somewhere around the third cup of soda, Demi had passed out, one finger wrapped in little Tom's sleeping grip.

Seren smiled at Neville. "You should sleep too, you know," she told him. "We'll tidy up, we've got this."

Though he thought it rude to fall asleep while guests were visiting, he could hardly argue the fact that both he and Demi were exhausted and needed the sleep. "Are you sure?" he asked, stifling yet another yawn. Their little trio would undoubtedly be up in another few hours for another feeding, and all he really wanted was to take a little catnap before they woke up.

"Dude, you're family," Seren reminded him. "Sleep. You need sleep more than you need to entertain us, right?"

"Don't worry about it, Neville. That's what we're here for. Get some sleep. We don't mind," Dorian insisted, as he gathered up empty plates and cups.

On his other side, Seren was carefully gathering up the leftovers to be stored away for when the new parents got peckish again. After all, that had been the whole point of buying too much food for one evening. She flashed Neville an encouraging smile, padding quietly out of the living room and into the kitchen in search of tupperware.

"Maybe you can return the favor someday," Dorian suggested, though he and Seren had no plans for starting a family just yet.

"Maybe," Neville agreed, too tired to debate it or think about it too much. "Tell Seren thanks. We owe you both."

"Nah, that's what family's for," Dorian assured his brother. Wasn't that the whole point of coming to Rhy'Din, in the first place? To reconnect with his long-lost brother and become a family again.

In the kitchen, Seren was busily packing the leftovers away, folding up the cardboard boxes for recycling as she did so. She offered Dorian a warm grin as he came into view. "Did he fall asleep, or is he as stubborn as you?"

"I think I out-stubborned him," Dorian admitted, with a silly grin as he helped clean up from dinner, though there wasn't much to clean up, seeing as they'd had takeout. "Think we can sneak out without waking anyone?"

She giggled softly. "I don't think they'd notice even if we slammed the front door on our way out," she admitted in amusement. "We should try and visit every couple of days for a while - those three are obviously a handful!"

"We can do that," Dorian agreed cheerfully. "Do you wanna bet that little girl is gonna have her brothers wrapped right around her finger?" he asked with a chuckle, forgetting to lower his voice, as he washed up the dishes.

"She already does, doesn't she?" Seren snickered softly, grabbing a towel to dry the dishes as he washed them. "And her parents. She's always the one in the middle, after all, and who puts them down?"

"If I had a little sister ..." Dorian started, trailing off. In a way, he had two sisters in Demi and Marissa, though they weren't blood relatives. He knew if he and Neville had a little sister, they'd have spoiled her rotten, but there was no point in worrying over something they didn't and would never have.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Re-frame that thought," his wife suggested in a gently teasing tone. "Try if I had a daughter, instead." Her eyes sparkled for a moment before she turned to put the dry plates away.

He arched a brow as his wife's suggestion. He'd thought she wanted to wait, but maybe seeing his brother's children up close and personal had changed her mind. "How about when we have a daughter?" he corrected.

"That'd be nice." After all, what real reason did they have to wait? They had a house, a strong marriage, steady income from her business and his employment with possibly the nicest boss in the city. What better time to consider starting a family of their own?

Dorian studied her silently a moment, forgetting the dishes that were still left in the soapy water. "You're serious," he said, hoping she wasn't just teaasing him.

Green eyes tilted toward him curiously. "Of course I am," she agreed softly. "Aren't you?" Seren might seem like she had her head in the clouds a fair amount of the time, but she knew her own mind.

"Yes!" he insisted vehemently. "I just thought ..." He trailed off again for a moment to reform his thoughts and put them into words. "I thought you wanted to wait," he said, though she hadn't exactly said that.

Leaning her hip against the counter, she met his gaze with gentle eyes. "It's been more than a year," she pointed out softly. "You've settled into the moons, and your place at the Shanachie. My business pretty much runs itself. Are things ever going to be more perfect for starting a family?"

"Really?" Dorian asked, his expression brightening. While Neville had wanted to start a family for a long time, it was Dorian who'd gone in search of his brother and in search of a family, never knowing that search would lead him to Seren. "You're sure?" he asked, needing to be sure himself.

"Dorian." She caught his hands, turning him to face her fully with a wide smile at her lips. "I was ready to have your children the day we met, remember? The delay we decided on was because we had time, and you needed it, to get settled in a life that is very different to the one you were living before we met. Of course I'm sure."

Turned toward her, he met her gaze, studying her face for what had to be the thousandth time. He nodded his head, remembering their first meeting, the immediate connection and the obvious attraction. They'd flirted back and forth practically from the first moment they'd laid eyes on each other. "I remember," he assured her. And now that he was accustomed to the change of the moons and their sway on him, there was no reason to delay anymore. "I'd like to have children, Seren," he admitted, not for the first time. "Whenever you're ready."

She beamed up at him. "I'm ready," she promised. "I really am ready. It's not like being pregnant would instantly mean I couldn't work. I take pictures for a living, not X-rays."

"When do you want to start?" he asked, beaming a happy grin at her. Practice makes perfect, after all, not that their love life was lacking in any way.

She laughed, reaching up to pull him close, brushing her lips to his. "Not in your brother's kitchen," she informed him teasingly, nipping the end of his nose for good measure.

"I think we can wait 'til we get home," he said, chuckling a little at her teasing. "Shall we finish up here and head out before we wear out our welcome?" he asked, settling his hands against her waist and brushing his nose to hers.

"Oh, I think we should," she agreed impishly, wriggling close to slide her hands down and squeeze his backside. "After all, I have something very important I want you to do, and it really should happen in our bed. Because I don't think we're going to want to get up once we get started."

He chuckled at the way she grabbed his rear, pulling her closer. "Hmm, I can't imagine what that something might be," he said, eyes bright with amusement. Actually, he had a pretty good idea what she was suggesting, but it was too much fun teasing her.

"Honey, if you can't even imagine it, you're in for one hell of a night," she giggled, kissing the cute cleft in his chin before drawing back. "C'mon, before one of them wakes up and we have to pretend we're not horny teenagers again."

"I'm pretty sure they're as horny as we are ... or will be when they're aren't so exhausted," Dorian said, smiling down at his pretty wife, before letting her go so they could finish cleaning up and go home.

"Difference being, they don't have to use protection unless she's in heat," she pointed out in amusement. "Cats have it so easy compared with the rest of us." Not that she was complaining.

"We don't need to use protection if we're trying to start a family," Dorian reminded her. He knew the biology of it was a little different for them now that they weren't entirely human, but he still wasn't entirely sure how it all worked.

"Exactly." Seren winked at him, patting his rear as she passed by behind him to open up the cutlery drawer and put away the now clean forks and spoons.

He smirked as she patted his rear again, making a mental note to repay her when they got home, as he drained the water in the sink and helped her finish putting the dishes away. It was going to be an interesting evening.
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