Very Much Alive

 True Destiny - 1


Dana Marie Bell


To Mom and Dad, who aren't going to get copies of this. They aren't old enough to read it yet.

To Memom, who will get a copy, and knowing her, will sneak it to my mother when I'm not looking.

To Anne Cain, who, quite frankly, rocks the covers! (Book covers, you pervs! Sheesh. What the heck would I know about what she does in the privacy of her boudoir?) And to Dusty, who was man enough to sniffle when Christian Slater whispered, “Stay,” and was so touched by the movie that we had Sterling roses in our wedding. Love you, sweetheart.


Long ago...

Baldur looked down at the broken, bleeding body of the man who'd sacrificed himself so that Baldur could live.

Baldur had been furious when Loki ambushed him, binding him and silencing him with a damned Jotun spell. He'd watched, furious, as the fiery-haired man took on Baldur's face and form and strode into the Thing, the sacred space of the gods. He hadn't realized that Loki had been intent on saving him.

'Leave, I beg of you, before Odin returns.'

The urgency in Loki's voice and face was nearly drowned out by the pain. The Trickster God coughed, bright red blood spattering onto his already soaked clothing.

Without his help, Loki would die of his wounds, so numerous and grievous that, if he hadn't been who he was, he would have died long before. The sluggish bleeding of the wound in his chest indicated that the other god's extraordinary healing powers were working, but slowly. Oh, so slowly.

The sacrifice Loki had made was something no one, least of all Baldur, would have ever expected a man like him to make. All the disdain, the annoyance at Loki's flippancy, the anger at his seeming betrayals, evaporated under the truth of a sacrifice so great it didn't bear thinking on.

So Baldur did the only thing he could think to do: offer comfort to one who'd sacrificed more than anyone before. He leaned down, pressing a soft kiss to those bruised, bleeding lips, his allegiance solidly and forever given to the man who, days before, he would have sneered at. His heart cracked and bled as even that small gesture caused the man beneath him to hiss in pain. “Have no fear. I will take care of you.

Rest now; you are safe.” Thunder sounded in the distance as he blanketed the man with his own cloak.

Shivering slightly in the wet spring air, he turned away from Loki. “I will go and inform your daughter of what has happened here. I will return as soon as I can.'

He ignored the moaning protest of the man beneath the cloak, knowing that he was doing the right thing.

With a quick backwards glance he left the hiding place Loki had created for him. The pit of his stomach told him that the choice he was making might not be the best one, but what other choice was there? He couldn't allow Loki to die!

He strode through the Thing, desperate to save the one man he'd never thought he would bother to.

Loki closed his eyes wearily as Baldur left. He lifted one hand to touch his lips, still reeling from the freely given gesture. He'd seen the look on Baldur's face and knew the grief and rage of betrayal ate at him. The fact that he'd taken the time to comfort a dying man, a man feared, loathed, and reviled throughout the world, touched him as few things could these days.

He'd also seen Baldur's determination to return to him, but he knew Baldur couldn't be found here. With a groaning sigh he lifted himself, dragging himself away before the other man returned.

It was better this way. When the Aesir and Vanir found him, inflicted on him the punishment he was sure was going to come, he didn't want Baldur to see it. He knew better than to hope the other man would come to his rescue, or try to convince the others to let him go. It never worked that way for him, and it never would, no matter how his heart ached. His own actions had seen to it, helped along by Baldur's betrayer.

He staggered out into the night, the cloak wrapped around his body, the scent of the other man soothing to him. He ignored the longing in his heart for what could never be, and braced himself for what was to come.

And in the dark of the night a secret watcher raced to correct an injustice so horrendous the heavens would one day shatter from it, knowing that it was already too late...

Chapter One

Present Day...

Kiran smiled as the soft sound of a footfall behind him alerted him to Logan's presence. After all these years together he still found himself bracing for the sight of his lover's wickedly dark face. In his mind's eye, he could see the sardonic grin that would be gracing those full lips, the amusement gleaming in those dark eyes. The setting sun would light fire to that dark hair, making Kiran's fingers itch to run through it just to feel its hidden heat. Other than the fact that he was male, and a sarcastic son of a bitch at that, he was everything Kiran had once dreamed of.

But even the thought of his lover couldn't shake the anxiety that seemed to be dogging his footsteps today. Time had taught him to trust his instincts, and his instincts were screaming at him time to go!

A pointed chin rested on his shoulder and strong, tanned hands went around his waist. “How did I know I'd find you out here?” Kir grinned, leaning into his lover's touch. “Can't you get enough of the ocean?'

Kir gave in to temptation and reached up, fingering the dark strands that flew in the tradewinds to mingle with his, fire to his ice. “You know how much I love the ocean, Logan.'

Logan snorted. “You love everything. '

'Some things more than others.'

He shivered hard when Logan pressed a soft kiss to the side of his neck. He felt his cock twitch in interest. If Logan was in the mood to play, he'd be more than happy to accommodate him. After they left.

'It's time.'

The smile left his face, his hands dropping from Logan's hair to tangle with the hands at his waist. He blew out a breath, anxiety over the plan Logan had come up with churning in his gut. He didn't know why, but he had the feeling something big was going to happen, something that would change both their lives. Maybe this time we'll get the son of a bitch. Maybe that's what's churning in my gut today.

Still ... “Are you sure about this?'

'Positive. This time I think we can beat him.'

Kiran nodded, knowing that when Logan got that tone in his voice it was almost impossible to talk him out of whatever it was he had his mind set to. Better to just go along and guard his stubborn ass whether he liked it or not. But he had a very bad feeling about the whole thing, and it was making him nervous, tangling with the anxiety

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