He caught a bus into the city, wandering around the various shops at a leisurely pace. Of course, he wanted to be with Melissa, now that things felt at least a little less tense between them, but music was his second joy, and he intended to give it a little TLC for the day while she attempted to discipline Amber.

A smile tugged his lips up as he walked into a quaint music shop that had clearly been sat on the street corner for decades, stubbornly holding out over the years, despite its apparent lack of customers. One other person besides the solitary staff member was inside, looking wistfully at electric guitars he apparently couldn't afford.

He pushed past the young man, muttering a vague apology in French as he passed through. The young man seemed to ignore him, but he didn't care; he had seen the violas hidden at the back of the shop with the violins. He moved over to them carefully, avoiding knocking anything over.

He picked up one of the violas, considering its curves for a moment before tuning it and resting it on his shoulder. As be pulled the bow across the strings slowly, the instrument sang to him, whispering melodies in his ear. Both the young man by the guitars and the woman by the tills looked over at him, and he opened his eyes, feeling their gazes on him. Smiling he apologized again, in English and then, remembering, again in French. He moved to put the viola back, but the woman spoke, making him pause.

"No, continue. I was just surprised that someone who looks so young is so..." she hesitated, searching for the word, "adept." He laughed softly, lowering the instrument anyway. If only she knew just how old he really was.

"Merci," he muttered, "but the piano is my first instrument... it's far easier than this," he told her without really thinking as he put it back in its bracket on the wall. He glanced at the price tag that hung from one of the tuning keys. €9,995. His eyes widened slightly, but it was only a little more expensive than the violin he had bought for Melissa. He looked around at the other violas, and though there were more expensive, and other, cheaper models, the one he had just put back seemed to be the only one that stood out.

"Would you care to show me?" she asked curiously, and he looked back at her, surprised. He hadn't meant to spark interest, but the white grand piano near the front of the store was enticing. He shrugged, muttering "sure" as he lifted the viola again.

"But first, I would like to buy this," he took the viola and its bow to the till and she nodded. When he had paid for the viola, he took his seat at the piano and began to play. Not long after, a man noticed him inside the shop, striding inside without a moment's hesitation. Lazarus looked up at the new arrival and sighed, ignoring him til the end of the piece.

"I'm beginning to think you're stalking me, Alpha," Lazarus mumbled quietly as the woman praised him in the background.

"Or perhaps it's the other way around."

"Touché," he smiled slightly, "I didn't know you were coming into the city today." I might have avoided coming in if I'd known, he finished in his mind.

"Hmm," he nodded, glancing at the viola's case for a moment, "I noticed you walking around earlier. I was going to wait until later to talk to you, but I figured now is as good a time as any."

"What do you want to talk to me about?" Lazarus asked, standing. He nodded to the woman at the till as he picked up the viola and moved away from the piano, leaving the shop. The alpha followed him out over to a small coffee shop where they sat outside.

"Your place in the pack. Melissa... Amber has more time to find her own place, but your wolf is already set in a role," he explained, leaning forward across the table. Lazarus leant back away from him in his chair. "It's a strange role, and I suppose it's come from fending for yourself as a lone wolf."

"Go on then, enlighten me," Lazarus sighed, "I already know I'm a freak, you might as well just come out and say it." The alpha smiled slightly.

"No, I thought it was freakish at first, but I think I was wrong; it must take a lot to survive alone. Anyway, what I mean is you've sort of adopted the role of alpha and beta and mixed them together. Though, I think your natural role is the beta." Lazarus nodded, understanding where he was going with this. "We already have a beta wolf, though. You two already fight enough as it is, I can't be having you fighting in the pack as well."

"I already agreed to be civil with him."

"That's not what I meant. You agreed as a human. Your wolves won't see it the same way."

"If my wolf knows what's good for him, he will avoid a fight. It's up to Albert's wolf to keep the peace." The alpha nodded thoughtfully, saying nothing more as a waitress asked them if they wanted anything. He ordered a coffee in fluent French. Lazarus stumbled his way through his order, and the alpha couldn't help the small smirk at his effort.

"Why come to a country when you can't speak the language?" he asked as the waitress walked away again.

"Living in and around London for four hundred years gets kinda wearing after a while. But I guess my main reason to move was to make Melissa happy. Or at least, that was the idea. Albert hasn't made it easy," he mumbled the last bit bitterly, rolling his eyes. "but what's it to you, anyways? I don't even know your name."

"You never asked." Lazarus sighed, exasperated.

"Okay. What's your name?" he asked, humouring him. He laughed and glanced up at the waitress as she set their drinks down before them.

"You can call me Kito, but people call me Christian, too; just so you don't get confused," he smiled, nursing his coffee.

"Why two names?"

"To put a long story short, I used to be a slave boy on an old sugar plantation in America. I used the name Christian when I escaped and got my scratch, but after the slave trade was abolished I started using the name Kito again," he sighed, "I wasn't what you would call well suited to slavery." Lazarus nodded. He couldn't really see the proud man before him working on a plantation.

"And I used to think I had it bad," Lazarus chuckled slightly, taking a sip of his own coffee. Kito gave him a questioning look. "Paternal and poverty issues," he shrugged, waving a hand dismissively, looking around at the busy street as he heard the familiarly light footfall of Melissa nearby. 


The End

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