I own nothing except some original characters I sometimes bring in. Kelley Armstrong owns The Otherworld and all the wonderful information there.
This is a collaborative project by SheWolf13 and SuperNatural1985. The story is based on what we have read about Noah, in Frostbitten and Hidden, and is a second attempt at the original story About Noah originally published on SuperNatural1985's profile.
Ch 1 Not Alone
I sat on the hotel bed nervous. I don't know how many times I have been in this position before of wondering where I would go. Who would I live with? Who would want me? Now that I had met the pack would they abandon me to my parole? I didn't really have any objections about going back to finish my parole. I had done the crime so I would do the time, but what about after? I had no one. My father had run off scared shitless of the pack and my mom didn't want me around. I didn't want to be around her anyway. I had dodged enough flying projectiles and hitting hands to know I could not go back there. What was I supposed to do?
"Noah," I heard breaking through my thoughts. I looked up to see Nick and Antonio had come into the room. Nick was nice and so was his dad Antonio. At least what I knew of them was nice so far. They also had another guy living with them, Reese. I had first heard about Reese when Travis and Eddie had come home and told me the story about them cutting off some mutt's fingers. I hadn't known he had found his way to the pack yet, though. "Noah, you there," Nick asked waving a hand in front of my face. I smiled embarrassed and nodded.
"Yeah, sorry just thinking," I said. I didn't meet Nick's gaze at first. The pack wolves made me nervous. I felt I was just an obligation to them right now so why would they welcome me? Why would they want me around? I knew I had to be careful about getting my hopes up with them. Going with them would be ideal but why would they want me to?
"No worries," Nick laughed. He walked in front of me and then sat across from me on the other hotel bed. I saw Antonio move to come and sit beside Nick but Nick seemed to be the one doing the talking. I looked into Nick's brown eyes now. He grinned when he caught my gaze. I gave a tentative smile back waiting for him to say something.
"So, I was thinking," he began. He seemed nervous. He cast a glance at Antonio who looked at him encouragingly and nodded for him to go on. "Well, the thing is Noah...," he said. Oh, here it comes. The 'we need to leave so you're on your own' or 'you're not good enough for this pack, you're just a mutt' speech. I bit my lip and looked away afraid. I had given my hopes away. Worst of all could be the 'you're a bad kid Noah, you're rotten and you'll never change.' These thoughts were nothing new to me. These words I had heard over and over again before. They wouldn't want me. Anger flared inside for a few moments as I thought about this. Would I ever be good enough for anyone? "You can't stay in Alaska," he said. I looked up surprised now. What?
"Um, what do you mean?" I asked looking from Antonio to Nick but Tonio said nothing letting Nick take the lead. Did that mean that not only was I not going with them but I had to leave my home too? I knew that mutts couldn't hold territory and maybe this is what they meant.
"I mean we can't let you go back to do your parole and we can't...we're not comfortable with letting you go out on your own. You need help with being a werewolf, with the changes and the lifestyle and I want to help you," he said. I looked at him astonished. This guy, this over six foot tall, handsome millionaire wanted to help me, the scrawny kid with a criminal record, F.A.E and a host of other problems. "So what do you say?" he asked now. He was studying me trying to gauge my reaction.
I dropped my gaze to my hands and thought about what this meant, "How..?" I murmured without looking up at them. Silence was my answer for the first few moments and I stiffened worrying I had offended them or said something stupid.
"Sorry?" Nick asked. I took a deep breath and then looked up at them licking my lips and trying to order my thoughts.
"How will you...I mean, how do you want to help me?" I asked now. He nodded when he understood the question and grinned again. Both Sorrentinos seemed to have an endless supply of smiles. It kind of made a person feel a bit better in some ways.
"Oh, well, we first want to offer you to come and live with us. Reese already does and is thinking of staying and we have plenty of room and lots of woods to roam in. We also have a training room so you could train and you could finish out your degree there. You could go to the same high school dad and I went to," he said. I looked from one to the other. Were they for real? They wanted me to live with them? Why? "Second of all, we want to offer to train you and help you figure out your life, werewolf and human. Get you back on the right track and all," Nick offered. I nodded. Oh.
"You know I have problems, right?" I asked. Nick nodded and I noticed Antonio giving him a look before he turned to me.
"Noah, you don't have problems. You have some issues to work through but we can help you do that. We're more than willing and we are capable and we want to be there for you," Antonio told me. I looked from one to the other now and clenched my hands.
"Yeah ok, but the F.A.E, have you ever dealt with that before? Do you know how difficult it makes everything? What about my record? Aren't you afraid I'll steal from you or something or...I don't know?" I broke off looking away embarrassed now.
"No, I'm not worried at all. You're not a bad kid, Noah. You got messed up in some stuff and you learned your lesson. As for the F.A.E, we don't know much about it but we're willing to learn so we can help you," Nick said now.
One big question remained now, why? Why did they want to go to the trouble of helping me? My family had betrayed them and I hadn't been much better. What did Travis call me? A thug, I was a kid thug and I didn't do anyone any good. "Why?" I asked voicing my thoughts now. Nick looked over at his dad who nodded at him again but said nothing.
"Noah, you need someone and we want to help. We feel like you belong with the pack and you'd be much happier with us than at Jeremy's. Jeremy is a great guy and all but you won't be able to do a lot of teenage things while you're there," Nick stated and I nodded. Belonged, he said I belonged with them. I felt like I had waited a lifetime just to belong. Would the pack be the place I would finally achieve this?
"I think it might be what...what Dennis would have wanted," Antonio said quietly when no one spoke. My gut clenched. Dennis. I missed Dennis so much. I pictured myself standing over his frozen grave near the cabin now. We had gone back there so I could say goodbye. I hadn't known what to say, I just kept repeating 'I'm sorry' over and over again. I was sorry for leading the thugs right to him. I didn't know they would kill him. I was hoping we could all help one another but I had gotten him killed in the process. His death hung over me like a funeral shroud.
Sadly I looked at them and nodded. Ok, I would go with them. What other choice did I have anyway? "Ok, I'll live with you guys," I said. Nick's grin lit up his face then like a Christmas tree. Who knew I could make the guy so happy by just accepting his offer? Wait, he was happy because I was going to live with them? Why? Didn't he know how difficult I would probably make his life? I wasn't the easiest kid to help sometimes.
"That's great, Noah. I'm really excited about this. You're going to fit right in with us and the pack," Nick said. I nodded and smiled slightly. I wasn't sure if he was right but he could think that if he wanted too.
"Ok, so next item on the agenda. If you're going to live with us we need to go over the house rules," Nick began. I looked away at this one. I hated the house rules speech because it always felt as if they were accusing me of doing bad things right off when I hadn't even been given the chance to prove myself yet. Would living with the Sorrentinos be the same thing? "Noah, did I lose you again?" Nick chuckled. I looked up immediately.
"No, sorry," I said and looked him in the eyes giving him my full attention, but only for a few seconds not wanting to give the impression that I was challenging him.
"Don't worry about it. You need to quit apologizing for everything in fact we'll make it a house rule. No apologizing for every single little thing you do," he grinned. I smiled and laughed a bit at this. Nick seemed to be a really cool guy. "Ok, so the real rules, of course are no lying, disobeying, disrespecting or fighting in our home. Also, it won't surprise you to know we won't stand for stealing or vandalising or any gang or criminal activity. We won't, Noah," he said seriously. I nodded to this. I understood and I didn't plan on doing anything wrong.
"We live pretty simply without a lot of rules except for the basic ones and stuff like helping with chores and pulling your weight, not that you weigh very much," he chuckled. I shrugged but said nothing. I knew I was scrawny, skinny I guessed. I was only 5'6 and 130 pounds. I was small for my age and people often thought I was a year or two younger. That had to do with the F.A.E. I had always been small and probably always would be. "Oh, and one more thing no coveting my girlfriends," he laughed. I looked up at him now giving him a look.
"Nicholas," Antonio scolded lightly. Nick looked at his father and shook his head. I looked back and forth between both of them now. Ok. Everything they said was fine with me. I would follow the rules to the best of my ability and try and do everything the pack wanted. I knew I would need to be careful, though. What if one wrong move proved to them I wasn't worth it? I had grown accustomed to the thought that I wasn't worth much. I had only started to change my view when Dennis came into the picture. Now he was dead and I wasn't so sure if what he told me had been true. He had constantly reassured me but I wasn't sure if it was enough.
"Nick," I yelled and tossed the football his way. He winked at me and caught it before tossing it to Reese who tossed it back my way. We had just pulled a surround manoeuvre on Hope, Karl, another pack member's girlfriend, and we were racing down the field trying to get the goal. The Alaskan wilderness spread out before us and the snow crunched under our feet as we ran, tackled and leapt trying to keep the ball.
"You snooze you lose," Clay suddenly called and grabbed the ball from the air as I tossed it to Nick again. He danced back on the snow and grinned, turned and tossed the ball to Kate one of Clay and Elena's twins. The twins were really cute, Logan was the other one and they were only 3 I think, maybe 4 but they were adorable anyway.
"What do we do?" Reese suddenly asked. Nick waved us closer and then put a hand on each of our shoulders so we could from a plan. Nick was a really cool guy. I began to like him a lot more now that I knew I was moving in with him. I got the sense he was the one who would be taking charge of us. Antonio was always there but he seemed to hang back a lot. "Ready?" Nick asked as we formed our plan. We both nodded and I took off going after Kate who had the ball now. One look at Clay, though, told me this was not such a wise idea. I backed off immediately. Nick was about to tackle Clay when Logan shouted from across the field.
"Kate," he called. She immediately turned and threw the ball to him. He grinned and started running the other way. Devious little kids. Kate howled and tore after him. I smiled and looked towards where Elena was sitting. Jeremy had taken a time out and gone to sit beside her. Jeremy was not what I had expected in an Alpha. He was kinder than I thought he would be and much more soft spoken but no less authoritative. When he spoke, I felt compelled to listen. When I first met him he asked about my changes before introducing himself and then offered his condolences setting his hand on my shoulder. Nick told me that this was a rare gesture of affection for him and it meant he liked me. I wasn't so sure. What if I was just an obligation to him? Keep the trouble maker out of trouble basically? I would find out I guessed.
"Get your head out of the clouds," Reese suddenly called. As I turned towards him I was tackled to the ground. I caught Nick's scent immediately and turned my head to see him grinning down at me.
"Sorry, just making sure you were awake," he said. I smiled and waited for him to get up accepting his helping hand. He easily hauled me to my feet and patted my arm. Yeah, Nick was cool and fun. I think I might like living with him. I just hoped he would still like and want me around once we got to know one another.
The next day found us in Vancouver. We were staying here for a day before catching a plane home. Jeremy was getting nervous about having us stay in Alaska any longer seeing as how they were literally kidnapping me from state custody. I was still a minor with no legal guardian technically.
I was standing at the window with my arms crossed looking out over the Pacific Ocean and watching all the boats in the harbour when I heard the door open. I turned to look and saw Nick, again followed by Antonio. Antonio never said much when Nick and I spoke but he was always there. I wondered why.
"Hey, Noah, can we talk?" Nick asked. I nodded and turned to see Nick sitting on the bed. Antonio was busying himself in the background starting to pack some clothes and things. I stared at him for a minute before nodding.
"Sure, Nick," I said but I didn't move from my place. Nick took a moment to gather his thoughts but finally spoke.
"I wanted to ask you about something. We were thinking when we make your for you it might be a good idea to say you're 16 and not 17. What do you think?" he asked. I looked at him oddly now. Why would he want that? I was about to ask but he saw the quizzical look on my face and answered my unspoken question first, "We just think with you being in grade 11 right now and looking a bit younger than 17 it might be better and it would help us hide you as well," he said. I knew what he was getting at. With my F.A.E I looked younger and I wasn't very good at school because I got frustrated easily. I knew I was behind in my grades and life as well, or that's what it felt like at least.
"Ok, I guess," I shrugged. I supposed in the end it wasn't such a big deal honestly. I was in a lower grade anyway and I knew I looked more like a 15 year old than a 17 year old. Maybe this would be a bit of a help.
"Also, we were thinking about using the name Sorrentino on them as well and dropping Stillwell or Albright, just for a while, so that again hiding you would be easier. The paper trail will be easier to create this way and when I take full custody it will help if you have the family name," he informed me. He was taking custody of me? "We don't have any custody rights so this would be easier."
"So, I'll be a Sorrentino and you'll be my legal guardian?" I asked and he nodded. Was it just me or did he look hopeful? Did he want me to be his ward or whatever? He did look hopeful but he also looked unsure. Was he unsure about me or the position he was taking on? I knew he had no kids so this was new for him too. I hesitated to say I was ok with it, though. What did Antonio think? Did he even want me around? "Is it ok with Antonio?" I asked quietly hoping he wouldn't hear. Immediately he looked up though and grinned.
"Of course it's alright with me, you'll be my honorary nephew," he grinned. This made me smile as well. They seemed to want me around and that made me feel good. I felt like maybe I could belong but I also felt like I needed to tread carefully just in case.
"Yeah, that would be ok then," I answered. Nick grinned now and nodded accepting my acceptance of his offer. I knew I was in some serious trouble when I had taken them to Joseph's condo yesterday and we had found it abandoned. Only a few of his things were left and it hurt like hell. He left me without even caring what happened to me but now maybe the Sorrentinos could make up for some of it.
"Good, I'm glad you're so accepting of all of this. One more thing, though Noah, before we go I need you to call your mom and tell her...well, tell her you took off with Joseph. Wrap everything up in a neat package so she doesn't come looking for you or anything," Nick said. I frowned. She would never come looking for me. She hated me. Well she didn't like me much right now and I wasn't very fond of her but maybe they did not understand our non relationship.
"She won't, Nick. She'll be glad I'm...," I started to say but I didn't finish. I was angry at her for what she had done to me. She had chosen that asshole over me and it made me so angry and made me feel so stupid and inadequate. I don't know if I hated her but I was close to that emotion.
"I know, Noah, but it's just a precaution. We need to make sure the pack is protected and this is the best way to do it," he told me. I nodded as dread built up in my stomach. I did not want to speak to her. I would prefer to just forget about her forever but it seemed she was still haunting me.
"Ok," I answered with a sinking heart. Nick gestured to the phone. Oh, he wanted me to do it now. Wow. Ok, I guess I could. I walked to it and turned my back on Antonio and Nick. I dialled the number. I knew it by heart, unfortunately.
It rang three times before someone picked up. "David's residence, Simon speaking," my stepfather said in a nauseatingly cheerful voice. I hesitated for a second, my palms sweating and at a loss of what to say to him.
"Ah, Simon, hi...this is Noah," I said. I heard silence for a few seconds, and I felt myself tense, before the real Simon, the one I grew to hate, answered.
"What do you want?" he snapped. I tensed again remembering living with this man. God, I hated him. To everyone else he was the perfect Christian father and husband. To me he was a home wrecker and an evil lying bastard. He drove me to spend most of the time I was living with him in my room until they dumped me into foster care. Did I mention how much I hated him?
"I just want to talk to mom," I said quickly. He sighed as if I was putting him out before answering. I gripped the phone in my sweaty hand remembering in time to stop putting pressure on it so I would not snap it in half.
"You broke parole, Noah, can't you do anything right, you little shit?" he growled. I closed my eyes fighting back the anger, the tears and the frustration. Suddenly I felt someone's hand on my shoulder. I looked back to see Antonio reach for the receiver and cover it.
"Just tell him you want to speak to your mom again and take a break if you need to," he said. He then looked back at Nick who nodded. It almost seemed as if he was giving Nick lessons and pointers. I nodded now and he uncovered the receiver so I could go back to this dreaded task.
"I just want to speak to mom, Simon," I said in a bit more forceful voice. He sighed again and I heard the phone clang down now. I heard voices in the background, a small argument? And then mom came on.
"Noah Albright, I can't believe you. Go back to your parole officer right now, young man. Do you know how inconvenient the police showing up to search our home for you is?" she said sounding exasperated. My heart sunk now. I should not have expected anything less from her. She only cared about herself and I was just an inconvenience. It had been this way all my life. The only reason she kept me from Joseph was to get back at him. Would I even have been born if she did not hold so many grudges?
"I know and I'm sorry. I just called to tell you that Joseph and I are travelling around for a while. I don't know where, maybe Europe or somewhere but I'm happy mom, ok? I'm happy with what I'm doing and where I am so don't come looking for me, please," I told her. She went silent for a moment and for a second I thought she might have hung up before I even got my message out but a sharp intake of breath told me she was still there.
"I wouldn't anyway, Noah, now I just have something to tell the police," she said calmly. I nodded then. The deed was done. In the future I might send Christmas cards or something like that to make sure she knew I was still happy since I did not want her to look for me but this would be the extent of our relationship until I was an adult. Then she would get nothing from me.
"Good bye," I said quickly. I hung up the receiver before she could say anything more and sat there for a moment staring at the desk top.
"Are you ok?" I heard behind me. I took a deep breath and turned to face Nick. I nodded now looking at the floor and crossing my arms. I looked back up in time to see Nick looking at Antonio who was giving him a back off gesture. I got up and walked to the window again watching the boats and the ocean. I sincerely hoped the pack would like me and I could belong there. I was terrified, though, that they would see me for me soon enough and see that I was not worth it. The question is was I even worth it?