2 - DEVLIN

~~~ 8 Years Ago ~~~

“Marissa,” Dad pleaded, “we have to go.”

“I’m not leaving these behind Keith,” she snaps as she hands me the last of the family photos hanging on the wall.

“Go find Donahue,” she delicately swipes her thumb across my cheek before taking the frames from my hands, “quickly.”

“Donnnnnnyyyyyy,” I call through the house, picking up my speed with every room that I don’t find him in. Pretty soon, I’ve exhausted the few rooms there were to look in and venture outside. 

“Donny?” Where was he? 

“Donny!” He’s not answering as I survey the trees for a flash of blond hair… he always answers me. 

“Donny!” I can hear the frantic tone that comes out as I spin in a circle and fall down to the ground. 

“Donnn-nnn-nn-nyy,” I whine and rub at my eyes as I try to clear my dizziness. 

“Devil,” his annoyed voice draws my attention up into the trees above me, “you know I hate it when you whine.”

“Mom said you’re not allowed to call me that,” I scowl up at him and his pale green eyes sparkle with mischief as he drops down each branch with practiced ease. 

“Well, mom doesn’t know how much hell you like to give people,” he smirks. 

“Don’t swear,” I hiss, making him laugh, “we have to go,” I brush myself off, “Dad’s got the vehicle all loaded up already.”

“Race you,” he yells, sprinting off. 

He thinks he can beat me by cheating, but I get a few steps ahead of him just in time for Dad to open the back door of the vehicle for us and I take the opportunity, diving into the backseat.

~~~

It’s dark when I open my eyes. It was late when we left, and Donny is still asleep in the seat next to me when I hear Mom’s hushed voice. 

“Maybe he really does just want a favor. We would have resources…” she pauses and I slam my eyes closed, “ …protection-”

“Don’t be naïve, Marissa,” Dad scolds her. “You know it would never stop. It would be more harm than protection. We’ve stayed under the radar… for them… we can’t put ourselves in the spotlight. He wouldn’t keep the fact that he has an Iota on his payroll quiet.”

I’ve heard that word before, Iota. Mom said we weren’t allowed to say it, just like swear words, but Donny said that it means Dad is special. That when he elevated and found out what kind of monster he was, that he was rare. Donny said we move so much so that people can’t steal Dad away from us.  

“Devlin, baby,” Mom coos when I shift in my seat, turning herself around to cover me with a blanket, “we’re still driving, get some more sleep.”

It’s so quiet for a while and I feel like I’ve just started to fall back asleep when the loudest sound I’ve ever heard in my life startles me awake. 

My butt rises off the seat, hovering just above it for a moment… right before my head slams into the seat in front of me and darkness takes over. 

My feet are wet. 

There are loud, indistinguishable sounds. 

My face is wet. 

My body is wet. 

When I force my eyes open again, they’re no use because all I can see is darkness. 

I open my mouth to call out to Donny but quickly realize my error when my mouth fills with water. 

My chest grows heavy with the need for air, but every time I try to kick, I feel like I’m running in place. 

Air brushes my fingertips and as soon as my face breaches the surface of the water, I take the biggest breath I can. Splash after splash of water pulls me under and pushes me back towards the surface until my feet land on something solid. I stumble forwards, dropping to my hands and knees when something pins me in place by my shoulders, but it's too dark to see anything. 

Slowly and softly, the hair on my forehead gets swept away and I can finally see what’s in front of me. I’m expecting Donny, but I'm met with brown and green eyes that start to slow my racing heart. 

A boy, not much older than me, pulls me from the mud as if I weigh nothing. The only other person who does that is Donny….

Trying to spin in his arms is impossible, but I need to find- 

"You're strong," an older man's voice surprises me. I am strong, but how does he know that? The boy looks like him, but between the two I’m leaning away from the man, who continues to look me over, and inching closer to the boy’s warmth. "Don't waste that strength on the dead." 

Dead.

Donny can’t be dead.

My parents…

My arms shake with the need to push the boy away and go find them. My eyes hurt with the need to cry, but the boy pulls me closer and lulls the storm brewing inside of me. Donny told me my temper gets us in lots of trouble, and it does, but he’s not here to help me out of this, he’s not- 

“Can I keep her?” The boy’s voice couldn’t have said that. He can’t keep me. Donny keeps me. Angling myself to look up at them, determined to find out what’s happening, I’m unable to help myself from pressing into the boy’s warmth when the distance I tried to create lets the wind whip against my soaked clothing. “I'll be responsible for her,” the boy’s fingers dig into my skin where he’s holding me, “I'll choose her." I want to ask him what that means, but all of my words get caught in my throat when he looks down at me with the same protective look Donny gives me. That Donny gave me. He fusses with my hair before he looks back at the man. "When I elevate… she'll be mine.”

Mine? The man looks at him for a moment before reaching for my face, "Who was your father?" 

"K-" I try to get out, but it’s still hard to speak, "Keith Wilde."

"You're responsible for her," the man drops my chin and looks at the boy, "she belongs to the Stones now and she'll behave as such. You'll be responsible for keeping her in line. Don't disappoint me." 

The man disappears towards a vehicle parked on the road behind the patch of trees we’re standing in, but I don’t underst-

“Come,” the boy slips his hand into mine, but I don’t want to leave. I don’t want to go anywhere. “You can come home with me,” he says gently, but it means nothing to me. “I’ll take care of you.”

“But,” I look back at the water and debate making a run for it, “but my family…”

“I’m sorry,” his voice is so low that I barely hear it when his hand reaches my face. I shouldn’t want it there, but it feels… comforting. “Your family isn’t here anymore…” he pauses and the fact that I’m all alone now starts to make me angry. Donny said, mom said, we were never supposed to be apart. Ever. “... But you’ll always have me.”

“I don’t know you,” the words fly out before I can stop them. He’s been kind to me… and without him, I’m alone. If he wasn’t here to help me from the water-

“I guess that’s true,” he laughs a little, and while his happiness is a little surprising, it makes the angry feeling in me go away. “Trent Stone,” he waves his hand over himself, “I’ll be a wolf shifter when I elevate into my abilities. The Alpha of this pack, Gavin,” he motions to where the man left, “is my father. And you are?”

Stupid? I should have been more careful. Mom’s warned us about being cautious of people’s abilities, about figuring out what people are so we can protect ourselves. I’m also not supposed to tell people I’m human. At least I think I’m human. Mom’s never really said, just that it doesn’t matter because we need to be able to take care of ourselves without abilities. 

“Duh…” I try to answer him when I realize he’s still waiting for an answer. “Dah…” we’re never apart, and Donny always says his name first, but he’s not here, “Dee…” I slam my eyes shut as the pain of that shoots through me. 

“Be strong until we get home,” Trent tells me. Home. “But I like Dee. Can I call you that? 

I nod at him, trying to heed his warning and focus on the way he’s smiling at me, “It’s better than what my brother called me.” 

Devil. I wasn’t that bad. 

“That’s ok, it’s just you and me now.”

“You…” I guess he’s right. I don’t have anyone but him now. I try not to let the tear out, I try, but it falls anyways, “...and me…” I grip his hand to make sure he’s really here. He’ll never replace Donny, but I can’t let him go now, he’s all I have. 

“You and me,” he smiles at me, and I hope he means it because I don’t want to be alone. 

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