Past Secrets – Version 1 – Chapter 5

Janus casually tossed Snowhawk’s cloak aside, then led her to the couch. “Please sit,” he instructed.

She did, but seemed reluctant to do so. “You don’t have to make this complicated, Janus,” she quietly stated.

“Oh?” he asked as he sat next to her.

“I just want to get Nytehawk and get her home,” Snowhawk replied, glancing at him from the corners of her eyes.

“Then what?” Janus began. “What will you go back to?”

“My mate, of course.”

Janus grinned ever so slightly. “Ah, yes, the Guardian. You know why he stays, don’t you?”

She looked away from her former owner at this. “Leave Legacy out of this and take me to my cousin.”

“You know the truth, Snowhawk,” he began, placing his arm around her. “The Guardian is staying for duty alone.”

She shook her head at him. “He stays for love, Janus.”

Janus sighed quietly, turning toward her and pulling one leg onto the couch. “Then why does he leave you at night? Or go days without seeing you? Why are you left alone?” Snowhawk looked down as he spoke, saying nothing in return. “Legacy may love you, dear, but it is for his duty he stays.”

“No,” she whispered, “that’s not true.”

Janus leaned closer to her. “Snowhawk, you’re lonely and you’re tired. I know you too well not to see this.”

“There is nothing to see, Janus,” she replied, leaning forward and holding her face in her hands.

“Look at me, dear,” he requested, reaching for her chin with his free hand. She turned her head away at first, but he caught her and turned her face toward him. “Why are you trying to convince yourself?”

“What?” she asked in a confused whisper.

“You’re trying to convince yourself he feels the same for you as you feel for him.”

She tried to blink back a few tears that appeared in her eyes. “No–”

“Yes, love,” he interrupted, “you are. That’s your nature.”

She was silent for a moment, then jerked her head away. “How would you know?”

“Because, I know you.” She turned away from him, again staring at the far wall. “You can’t deny that, Snowhawk.”

“That was a long time ago, Janus,” she responded.

“Not that long ago, dearest, it’s only been two years,” he noted as he carefully pulled her toward him, then wrapped his arms around her and stroked her hair. “I should have said things differently, and I still kick myself for saying what I did.”

“But that wouldn’t have changed how you felt, Janus,” she commented.

“No, but I hope you realize that wasn’t the full extent of my feelings.” One of his hands moved up and gently scratched at the base of her skull. “I knew what I felt, but I had to lose you to fully realize it.”

“And that took two years?” she queried.

“No, love,” he replied, “I knew very quickly. But I never made a move because I wanted to see if you were happier out there. And for a time after you met Legacy, you were. But now Legacy seems to be more loyal to something else than to you. He’s making you unhappy, which I cannot allow.” He looked down at her to find she’d fallen asleep. “That always did put you to sleep,” he smiled.

*********

Snowhawk awoke several hours later, finding herself on a bed and in Janus’ arms. She thought at first that the events of the past two years had been one long, vivid dream, but she then remembered she’d fallen asleep while talking to him. She moaned softly and tried to sit up. “I need to get Nytehawk,” she mumbled and swung her legs over the side of the bed.

Janus woke up when she moved, sitting up himself. “Stay here and rest, Snowhawk,” he began, “I’ll release your cousin.”

“No, I need to get back,” she quietly said, trying to stand. Her legs refused to bear her weight, though, and she fell back onto the bed. “Why now…” she whispered.

“What is it, Snowhawk?” Janus asked curiously.

“Doesn’t concern you,” she replied.

“Of course it does. If something is wrong with you, it concerns me greatly,” he explained.

She sighed and again tried to stand, Janus following her this time. She succeeded in standing and managed a few steps before her legs gave out. Janus caught her and stopped the fall.

“Snowhawk, you can’t hide from me. What’s wrong?”

“I don’t think you want to know,” she commented.

“Yes, I do,” he replied, getting her to sit back down. “Please, tell me what’s wrong?”

She looked down, almost certain if she said anything it could jeopardize the chance she had left of getting Nytehawk free. However, she also knew Janus had no intention of letting either of them go until she told him. She took a deep breath, then plainly stated, “I’m pregnant, Janus.”

Janus blinked and was left speechless for a moment. He looked off, as if in thought, then back to her. “Were you trying to hold onto him, love?” he quietly asked.

She glanced at him after hearing the concern in his voice and noted it his eyes. “Maybe…”

“And you were worried that if I knew, I might not set your cousin free.” She nodded, noting to herself he still knew her too well. “Don’t worry, Snowhawk,” he said, smiling softly, “I’ll set her free. But I want you to rest for now. You can’t help her like this.” He coaxed her into lying back down, then kissed her on the forehead. “Go back to sleep, dearest. You will need your rest.”

*********

“Did she give you any idea of when she’d be back, Legacy?” Jerome asked the younger Guardian.

“No,” he replied, shaking his head and leaning back in his chair.

“Well,” Jerome began, “considering it’s been three days, I’d guess something’s wrong.”

Legacy nodded slowly in agreement. “I’d been hoping that she was just waiting for the right time to get Nytehawk free.”

Jerome was amazed at Legacy’s attitude. Outwardly, he didn’t seem that concerned, considering the situation. “Legacy, you need to know what’s going on. You have got to know when she’s going to return.”

“I know, Jerome. But, I just keep thinking ‘What if she’s still waiting?’ I don’t want to put her or Nytehawk or my child in any kind of danger. I have faith in her and her decisions.”

Jerome couldn’t help but growl at him. “I’m not saying you shouldn’t trust her. I’m saying you shouldn’t trust him. You and I both know how their relationship was.”

“What should I do?” he quietly asked.

“My suggestion is to go find out what’s going on. It’s not like we don’t know where he is.”

“It seems too easy, Jerome. And I don’t want him to hurt them,” Legacy responded.

“Look at it this way, Legacy: it’s a hell of a lot easier than what you’re doing right now.”

“Do you think it’ll work?” he questioned, looking at the older Guardian.

“If you’re asking if I think he’ll hurt her, no. Janus isn’t that type,” Jerome replied. He paused, then continued with, “I don’t know if this will get her back, but you can’t just sit around and wait and worry yourself sick.”

Legacy thought for a moment, then stood and picked up his sword, tying it to his belt, and walked to the door. “I’ll return soon,” he said as he left.

Jerome nodded slowly as the door closed. “I can’t help feeling like I should go with him,” he said to himself. “But she is his mate and he should go after her on his own.”

*********

Legacy trotted down the darkened street. He thought to himself as he passed only a couple other beings. His destination was all too familiar. It was the place he’d visited two or three times while he was a slave, and it was also the place where he found Snowhawk two years ago. After a half hour walking, he stopped at the gate and looked through the iron bars. “This whole place is a cage,” he whispered. “His bird cage. What was she thinking?”

“What is your business here?” a male voice barked, snapping Legacy from his thoughts.

The Delphin quickly turned to see a dark, chocolate brown furred wolf morph with white markings, a little shorter than his own height of seven feet, standing roughly a yard from his left side. The wolf species were called Lupino. Not intimidated by the lupine, Legacy stated, “I’m here to see Janus about a personal matter.”

“He has asked not to be disturbed,” the guard quickly replied.

“And I am demanding to see him, Lupino,” an undeterred Legacy responded.

“Listen, Delphin,” he growled, “he has said that no one is to disturb him. That includes you.”

Legacy narrowed his eyes and flattened his ears back. “No, asshole, you listen. That son-of-a-bitch has my mate and I want her back.”

The Lupino thought for a moment, “So you’re the ‘idiot mate.’ In that case, you can enter. Janus mentioned he wanted to have a few words with you.” The Lupino grinned and moved to open the gate. “He’s in the gardens. They’re around the–”

“I know where the damn gardens are,” the Guardian interrupted, walking inside. “I’ve been here before.”

“I figured as much,” he smirked, then closed the gates and continued his rounds.

Legacy walked around the estate and back to the gardens, then followed the scent of honeysuckle, his mate’s favorite flower. He found the slaver and the human-formed Snowhawk in the far end of the gardens under a canopy of honeysuckle vines. Janus was cradling the sleeping female, gently stroking her cheek. “Little late in the season for honeysuckle,” Legacy stated, walking toward them and stopping some two and a half yards away.

Janus looked up, unconcerned. “Well, if it isn’t the absentee mate.”

The Delphin male narrowed his eyes at him. “Let her go, Janus.”

“You were warned not to get involved,” Janus replied, reminding him.

“I don’t have time for this, slaver,” Legacy growled.

“’Slaver’, you say?” Janus chuckled, “I keep no slaves.”

“Then what are you doing with her and Nytehawk?”

“My bird is my companion. Her dear cousin was brought here to make sure that this one,” he explained, nodding to Snowhawk, “had not been killed. Though, finding out her… situation was a bit of a shock. She was very hesitant to tell me.” He remained silent for a moment as he thought and watched her, his hand still stroking her cheek.

“Let her go, Janus,” Legacy repeated, quieter this time.

“Why?” Janus asked, looking up and glaring at the Guardian. “So she can continue to be hurt by you? So she can continue to wonder and worry about you not being there? Snowhawk does not like to be left alone, unless she wants it that way. Even then, especially then, she needs to be certain that she’ll have something to go back to.”

Legacy snorted at him. “And what makes you an expert on that?”

“I know her, Legacy,” Janus replied, narrowing his eyes at the younger male. “I know her better than you ever would. She would never allow you to know as much about her as I do. She feels like she has to protect you, or that if you knew everything about her, you’d be gone.”

“You’re wrong,” Legacy said, stepping toward them.

“And you’re acting on your emotions again. You need to learn keep them in check, Legacy, or you’re going to make some fatal mistake.”

“I don’t have time for your games, Janus,” Legacy responded as he continued to advance toward them.

Snowhawk gently moaned and moved a bit in Janus’ arms, then quietly yawned. “Good evening, dear,” Janus quietly said to her.

“Good,” Legacy began. “Now she can give us her thoughts.”

“Don’t cause her anymore trouble, Guardian,” Janus warned. “I’m sure you don’t want to harm her or her child.”

The still groggy female slowly opened her green eyes. She looked at Janus, then turned her head and looked to Legacy. “What are you doing here?” she questioned.

“Snowhawk,” Legacy began, walking toward her and kneeling, “you’ve been gone for three days. What was I supposed to do?” He sighed and paused, then began speaking to her in the Delphin language.

Janus closed his eyes as they spoke, listening in and mulling over the differences in their personalities. Snowhawk remained calm and spoke very clearly while Legacy was agitated and kept repeating that she should come with him. Janus wasn’t completely fluent in the language, but he knew more than enough to understand. He understood that Snowhawk was still protecting the Guardian and that all she needed was rest. After some ten minutes of this, Janus slowly began “Perhaps you should leave, Legacy. You’re not helping her situation any.”

“And just what do you think you’re doing for her?” the Guardian snapped.

Snowhawk sighed and sat up. “Break it up, boys,” she quietly told them. She then stood slowly, with a little help from both of them, and wandered to the house, mumbling, in Delphin, that she was hungry and going to find food.

Once she was out of sight and earshot, Janus stood, then looked at Legacy and stated, “There is less stress on her here since she doesn’t have to worry if I’m going to be around or not. Leave, Guardian. Nytehawk may go with you, but Snowhawk should stay here, for her safety and for her child’s.”

“I’m not leaving without her,” he firmly replied.

“You will, Legacy. And once you return Nytehawk to her mate, perhaps you should ask yourself just why you deserve Snowhawk. I knew about you and her from the beginning but I left you alone until I saw her become unhappy. I won’t stop her from being happy with another, but I will step in if she becomes unhappy. You have not learned what makes her happy or what makes her feel safe. That much is obvious as much as you leave her alone.” Janus gave a quick nod of dismissal, then walked around the Guardian and toward his home.

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