The betas had filled the table full of food on platters with plates, silverware, and a glass of water at each place setting. Dean knew they wouldn’t have set alcohol out. Everyone needed a clear head for this. Once everyone was sitting down, the serving plates were passed around. Roasted vegetables, season potatoes, and a huge spiral ham were the main dishes.
Dean noticed Kevin didn’t take much food, but he figured Kevin wouldn’t be able to stomach much. He still looked like shit. Kevin was sitting between Nick and Missouri, and Dean saw both of them use casual, gentle touches on Kevin to calm him down.
Cas and Gabe had made sure to put Dean between them, and Meg gave Dean a wink when she saw the seating arrangement. All the primes were sitting next to their mates, and Dean was so happy to have everyone at one table, eating in his house.
Mary and John sat next to each other, close enough that their shoulders brushed as they moved. Ellen turned and gave Bobby a little kiss on the cheek before they ate. Pam fed Victor a bite of her steak, the two of them always looking as if they were still on their honeymoon even after all these years.
Anna always insisted the reason she was a lefty was so she and Missouri could hold hands through dinner, and Dean was happy to see they continued that practice in his house. Jody was obviously trying to keep up her businesslike presence, but not many people had been able to resist Meg’s charms, so only moments after they sat down, Jody scooted her chair closer to Meg.
“Okay, okay,” Mary said loudly, getting everyone’s attention. “Like we said before, this isn’t meant to be an attack. We’re going to share experiences with you, we’re going to ask you questions, and we’re going to be direct with you.”
“Not that everything will go smoothly,” Missouri said with a snort. “Some of this shit will hurt.”
“Don’t scare the boys, Missy,” Anna scolded, a frown on her face, then she turned to the rest of them and smiled. “Take what you can from what we say. You guys are all on board, right?” she asked, then let out a little “Yay!” when all of them nodded.
“I just wanted to be truthful with them, baby,” Missouri said.
“I know, but they all look like they’re going to throw up,” Anna said with a grin. “That won’t make for a pleasant dinner.”
Missouri chuckled. “You’re right again,” she said, giving Anna a wink.
Dean cut up his meat, spreading his legs so his right knee bumped into Cas’ knee and his left knee bumped into Gabe’s knee.
“That right there,” Pam said, pointing at Anna and Missouri, “is part of what makes a house run smoothly.”
Vic nodded. “You keep each other in check, even in small things without making it an attack. Try to keep things light, don’t be hard on each other, but don’t let things go either.”
“How about we start by going around the table?” John said. “I’m sure all of us can think of examples, some stories that will get the guys thinking, let them see what we mean.”
“Agreed,” all the other primes said almost as one, and to Dean, it seemed like a well-oiled machine.
He looked around at the other young alphas and he could tell they were all impressed with what had just happened. They’d never sat in on discussions between the primes, so this was new to them. It was a small thing that held a much deeper meaning, an underlying bond that screamed of experience.
“Dibs,” Bobby said, waving his fork in the air, making a few of those seated around the table chuckle. “I, for one, had a bitch of a time with carus and that damn no-touch rule.”
Meg groaned. “Yeah, he put up quite a stink,” she said, rolling her eyes.
“Because it’s your own damn body,” Bobby said, raising his voice and giving her the stink-eye.
“All right, old man,” Meg said affectionately with a sweet smile, and Dean could’ve sworn he saw Bobby blush. “I know you didn’t like it, but now tell the boys how it was dealt with.”
“I would if you’d shut yer trap,” Bobby grumbled, but he had a small smile tugging at his lips. “You boys know I fell in love with this lovely lady,” he said as he turned and patted Ellen on the leg, “quite a few years after the house was established.”
Dean grinned. “We’ve all heard the story of how you wouldn’t give up even after she turned you down for a date two months straight.”
Bobby glared at Dean, then continued. “So when I got to the house, it was a shock to me that a pretty lady not only couldn’t touch her own clit, but that nobody else in the house could either.”
Ellen leaned into Bobby. “My gentleman here was devastated he couldn’t put his best oral skills to use to pleasure the house carus.”
Sam choked on his water and Benny slapped Sam’s back a few times until Sam got himself under control and nodded his thanks to Benny.
“Yes, all us old farts have sex too,” Bobby said, glaring at Sam.
“I know, Bobby,” Sam said with a wobbly smile.
Bobby nodded as if he’d proved his point. “After I threw such a fit that John had to have a discussion with me, I learned that it’s not a requirement.”
John cleared his throat. “And if you would’ve stayed calm and just asked, I wouldn’t have had to discuss things with you.”
“Who’s tellin’ this story?” Bobby complained.
“Sorry, sorry. Continue,” John said with a grin as he held his hands up in surrender.
“So I pitched a fit,” Bobby said. “Discussions happened.”
“Discussions plural?” Kevin asked, his voice low.
Bobby pinned Kevin with a look. “Yes, plural,” he growled.
Kevin grinned, leaning back against Nick, and Dean realized suddenly that Kevin was sitting very close to Nick, that they were touching a lot, and Kevin had leaned against Nick comfortably, like he’d done it before. Dean’s eyes widened as he looked down to the edge of the table. The way their arms were positioned, it looked as if Kevin’s hand was on Nick’s thigh and Nick’s hand was either very close to Kevin’s or they were holding hands. Dean tried not to grin at them.
Bobby sat back in his seat again. “It wasn’t until I saw it in action that I realized it wasn’t cruel.”
“See!” Dean barked, sitting up straighter. “I’m not the only one who thinks it’s cruel!”
Bobby snorted. “I didn’t say I still thought it was cruel.”
“Oh,” Dean said, deflating. Everyone at the table chuckled at him.
“With Meg,” Bobby continued, “it was different than I thought it would be. Most of the time she could do as she pleased and so could the rest of us, but there were times when she needed something different. I’m sure she could explain it better than I could, but once I realized what was really goin’ on, things became easier for me and my poor ass.”
Meg snorted. “What Bobby is talking about is that I let things get to me. I take on tons of responsibility. I make hard decisions. I make decisions sometimes where my choice is the lesser of two evils instead of a choice between a good option and a bad option. They take a toll on me. When that happens, I want to forget about things. I want to be distracted. I want to get out of my own headspace for a while.”
Bobby nodded. “It’s those times that the no-touching rule goes into effect. It forces the rest of us to think about her entire person, how to pleasure every single part of her instead of relying on her hot button,” he said with a grin.
“It’s really amazing,” Meg said. “When they see I’m not doing well or when I tell them I need a little something extra, they’re all there for me. I let them decide what to do, I trust them, and they take over everything. A lot of times they’ll tie me up and more than one of them at a time will pleasure my brain, my emotions, my body, and my spirit.”
“It’s like a vacation,” Bobby said.
Meg nodded. “I get to not think for a while. I get to just be sensation. I get to have all of them focus on me and my needs. They’ll speak softly to me, tell me things that make me feel good, things that remind me how much they all love me, things that build me up and make me feel sexy and beautiful.”
“This didn’t happen overnight,” Pam said. “It takes a while to learn what everyone likes, especially someone who tends to keep their personal likes and dislikes to themselves,” she said as she glared at Dean. “Those people that want to think about everyone else before they think about themselves.”
“But that’s why you draw them out,” Missouri said. “Sam has powers of empathy. They’re not as strong as mine, but use those, honey. You catch little glimpses of the feelings in the house. And Kevin, you’re able to see auras. Use that skill. All of you need to learn each other, and it’s going to take time, especially when all of you have jobs to do, but your fellow alphas are important and worth it.”
“And,” Bobby drawled, “if none of what we say works for you guys, you can damn well do what does work for ya.”
“My turn,” Jody said, and Dean was surprised she joined in so soon. “I’m new, and hopefully it’ll be a long-term thing,” she said as she turned and grinned at Meg, “but I’m learning a lot of this for the first time myself. Every time someone new integrates into the house, it’s a change for everyone, and I’ve gotta say they’ve made me already feel like it’s my home.”
Meg cooed, leaning over and resting her head on Jody’s shoulder. “It is your home,” she said softly.
“Thank you,” Jody said softly, leaning down and kissing the side of Meg’s head. “I’ve learned some by watching, a lot from asking. It’s so important to keep communication open, and I know it can be harder for men. You’re at a disadvantage with seven men in one house.”
“Sam’s a girl,” Dean said, earning a scowl from Sam.
“If by girl,” Jody said, an eyebrow raised, “you mean he opens his mouth and tells others what he’s feeling, then yes, he’s a girl. And he’s also going to be of service to all the rest of you because of it.”
Sam stuck his tongue out at Dean, making Dean chuckle. “You have to talk about your feelings, Dean,” Sam teased.
“Yes, you do,” Jody said with a nod. “Whether it hurts, it’s boring, it’s hard, you’ve gotta do it.”
“It’s essential,” Mary said, and all the primes nodded.
“I’m next,” Pam said, “because I say so.”
Jody chuckled. “It’s all yours, Pam,” she said with a smile.
Pam looked around at all of them. “Something we haven’t talked a whole lot about, but we’ve referenced, is group sex when there are relationships in the house.”
“Oh, yeah, that’s important,” Vic agreed.
“You have to be completely open or feelings get hurt,” Pam said. “If one of you is interested in a mate or a relationship inside the house blossoms, don’t keep it a secret.”
“Don’t forget,” Vic said, “we have instincts. All of us. We get protective, we get possessive. If the others in the house don’t know what the boundaries are, what your wishes are, not only do feelings get hurt, but violence is very likely.”
“Your budding relationship,” Vic said as he glanced between Cas, Dean, and Gabe, “is a wonderful time for you to get some practical guidance. You’ve announced the status of your relationship, now let’s help you guys incorporate it into the house.”
“Okay,” Dean said, Cas and Gabe nodding along with him.
Vic sat forward, obviously excited. “Have you talked with each other about how you feel regarding sexual interaction with the other members of the house?”
Dean winced. “We’ve talked about it some, but we’re not really sure how we all feel about it.”
Vic nodded. “That’s okay. You don’t need to know everything immediately, but when you guys do know, you have to say something. Don’t keep decisions or your feelings on the matter to yourselves.”
Sam cleared his throat. “Cas has been having trouble with possessiveness when the rest of us touch Dean,” he said gently.
Dean was happy to see that Cas didn’t look upset by Sam sharing that information. His body didn’t tense up.
“Okay,” Vic said. “That’s normal. What you need to figure out is how much you’re willing to allow. A lot of times you don’t know something until it’s already happening, so you have to be careful. If you’re all engaged in sexual activity and Cas gets upset, he needs to control himself, say what’s on his mind, and work it out, even if it seems inconvenient, and you guys need to listen to him.”
Missouri chuckled. “I didn’t know until it had already happened that I don’t like it when anyone else kisses Anna. I wanted that for myself.”
“And as soon as we learned that,” Ellen said, “we all respected their wishes.”
“My lips are for Missy and nobody else,” Anna said with a grin.
Missouri nodded. “I have no problem with anything sharing anything else of Anna, and Anna is fine with sharing me. I know she’s still mine, she knows I’m still hers.”
“That’s another touchy subject,” Bobby said. “All of you boys need to figure out if you want to save something for yourselves. It doesn’t have to be anything in particular like Anna’s lips,” he said with a grin. “But even if it’s just the fact that Dean, Cas, and Gabe sit directly next to each other at the dinner table, then you save that for yourselves. The others need to respect it.”
“That very conveniently leads into what I wanted to talk about,” Mary said. “John and I enjoy bed hopping.”
Dean grimaced, and he saw Sam doing the same. As open as Dean had known they all needed to be about their sex lives, that was still his mom and dad.
“We’ll keep the details minimal, guys,” John said with a grin.
Mary nodded. “One night I’ll sleep in Pam and Vic’s bed, whether we end up having sex or not. I mention Pam and Vic in particular because Vic is so sensual, and having a third person in his bed, another loved one to snuggle with means a lot to him.”
“I love being in the middle,” Vic said. “Gentle touches, whispered words, light kisses on my shoulders, it’s all good.”
Mary nodded. “Sometimes John and I sleep together, sometimes we’ll both sleep in another bed, and sometimes we don’t sleep anywhere near each other.”
Missouri chuckled. “If we’re not in the mood to have one of them in the bed, we say we’re not in the mood. There’s no hard feelings, and you boys all have to learn that you can say no and that you need to respect the no of someone else.”
“That’s a big one for me,” Ellen said. “There are times I work really long days away from the house, and when I get back home I’m exhausted, I don’t want sex, I don’t want to scrunch into a ball because there are five people in our bed, and I don’t want to talk or be nice. They respect that and give me my space. Sometimes Bobby even gives me the whole bed and sleeps with someone else.”
“Because of our lives,” Anna said, “we’re bendable, willing to compromise and go with the flow. We know Ellen. We know after a big job she’ll come home like that, so she doesn’t even have to ask anymore. You guys won’t know each other that well yet, but try to learn. If Gabe has been gone all day at a medical conference, he may want to have everyone dogpile him on the bed. That’s what he might like, and it’s out of respect, it’s because of the love you have for each other that you work to figure that out and be what each other needs.”
“I’m sensitive to omegas in heat,” John said. “If I’m exposed to one, I can handle myself well enough, but I let the others know when I get home that I need sex, and lots of it.”
Missouri snorted. “He’s not sated with one fuck either,” she said with a grin. “That man can go all night.”
“Cas took care of that for me,” Dean said. “I called him on the way home and he was ready for me, let me fuck him in the backseat of the Impala.”
“That’s just what we’re talking about,” Mary said with a nod. “Pull together like that and you guys will be unstoppable.”
“Dessert!” Victor blurted.
Pam chuckled. “Yes, baby, I’d love some,” she said with a grin.
Vic stood up, pointing around at everyone. “Everybody want dessert ice cream with whipped topping?” he asked. Everyone said yes, so Vic, Ellen, and Meg went to the kitchen to serve it up.
“My turn,” Pam said with a smirk. Dean could’ve sworn she was smirking at him. “Any of you boys care to guess how long it’s been since I was put over Mary’s knee?” she asked.
Dean felt his cock twitch, and he hoped no one noticed, but as he looked around, he saw that all of his fellow alphas were too busy looking at Pam with rapt attention. He’d always thought Pam had a great ass. He’d have to file that one away for use the next time the guys were fucking him.
“Nobody?” she asked playfully. “Fine. It’s been three weeks.”
Cas raised his hand, and Pam laughed so hard her head fell back on her shoulders again, laughing with that wonderfully hearty laugh that Dean had always loved.
Pam looked at Cas, a smile on her face. “You don’t have to ask what it was for, Cas. I’ll tell,” she said, and Cas blushed. “I mouthed off when I was out-voted on a house decision. I mouthed off hard and loud,” she said with a smirk.
Mary nodded. “I put her over my knee right then and there. Having a valid concern and voicing it is one thing. To disrespectfully cuss out the other alphas in a house because you don’t like the way things are going is a completely different matter.”
“Speaking of which,” Ellen said, “it’s also important that you boys know every house is different. There are rules that have come about over the centuries because in general they work, but if things don’t work for you and you’d like to change what goes on in your own house within reason, it’s your house and your decision.”
The others walked back into the dining room with the desserts, and on his way by Ellen, Vic swiped his finger over her cheek, leaving a streak of whipped cream. Ellen snorted, but Bobby’s eyes widened and he leaned over to lick the cream off Ellen’s cheek. Ellen rolled her eyes, but Dean could tell she thought it was adorable.
As Vic sat down next to Pam, he held up his right index finger, full of cream again, and Pam sucked Vic’s finger into her mouth, moaning and pulling off with a wink at Vic. Missouri started to feed herself and Anna dessert from her own plate, and Dean noticed that Anna didn’t have a plate of her own and Missouri had been given two servings on one plate.
The primes were always intimate with each other, it was something Dean had grown up watching, but now that he had his own house, he was looking at it differently. He’d known in his heart that everyone worked well together and fit with each other, but it had never hit him this hard before that they were very nearly all lovers as a group, just as intense as any couple, yet there was definitely a difference in how the couples treated each other compared to the group.
He didn’t want to stare, but when he glanced over at Sam, he saw Sam was most likely having the same epiphany Dean was. There was a focus between the couples, a dedication that wasn’t there between the rest of them. Vic had playfully swiped cream onto Ellen’s cheek, Bobby and Ellen not surprised by it, not too possessive to allow it, but then between Bobby and Ellen, there was an intimacy that hadn’t been there in the gesture from Vic.
Dean supposed it could follow over into sexual activity between them. Missouri said Anna’s lips were hers alone, a little something saved that everyone knew about, everyone respected, yet the way the primes talked about it, the sex was interchangeable.
Gabe leaned into Dean, his lips brushing against Dean’s ear as he spoke. “So am I alone in realizing the dynamics within the primes?” he asked.
Dean shook his head just a little. “No,” he whispered.
“I’ve seen them interact my whole life, and I never saw this before,” Gabe said.
“Welcome to adulthood, guys,” Meg said with a grin, her right arm wrapped around Jody. “We’ve always been affectionate with each other, but part of the reason we visit houses is to show by example how to interact within the house.”
“By the look on all your faces,” Ellen said with a raised eyebrow, “you’re all seeing this in a different light. That’s good.”
“Don’t worry,” John said with a snort. “We’re not gonna traumatize you by fucking on the table.”
Everyone started laughing, the younger alphas joining in a moment later when the trauma of just hearing those words died down.
“But,” Pam drawled, “I will say that if we were home, we’d be fucking on the table by now.”
Dean’s cock twitched. It wasn’t as hot when his dad said it, but if Dean ignored that part, the thought of Pam stretched out on the table having fun was pretty hot.
“Sex with your mate,” Pam said, then glanced at Vic, “whatever that may entail, is always different than sex with fellow alphas in the house. Keep it separate in your mind and it should translate to everything you do. Sex between mates is an expression of love and intimacy. Sex between fellow alphas is fun, stress relief, and it’s still an expression of love, because all of us love each other a whole hell of a lot, but there’s less intimacy.”
Vic nodded. “One of my favorite things is when one of the guys is fucking Pam or one of the girls is eating her out and she locks eyes with me, not forgetting who’s pleasuring her, but just keeping me involved as I slip in there and kiss her, touch her, and the others kiss and touch me.”
Meg chuckled. “Primes still have communication issues. It’s a never-ending process. Integrating Jody into the house as a potential mate has brought up new issues, but even before that we all had to be open and honest. People change, life changes. Don’t assume. Work with each other. Try it.”
“And by that she means try it starting now,” Ellen said with a nod.
Benny nodded toward Dean. “We can start with Dean. He hasn’t initiated anything, and other than his physical reactions to what we’ve done, we don’t have a lot to go on.”
Dean felt himself blush. “What do I start with?” he asked with a shrug.
“Let the embarrassment go, honey,” Missouri said, pinning him with a look. “You think of something you like. Not something you think they’ll like,” she said as she gestured toward the rest of the younger alphas. “Think of something for you, that you either know you enjoy or you’d like to try and say it.”
Dean let out a nervous chuckle. He had no idea what to start with. Sure, there were things he liked, things he wanted to try, but to have nothing to go on, to be the first to start in on the subject was a little daunting with a roomful of alphas watching.
When the thought occurred to him, the thing he’d been thinking of trying again, his face flushed so red it was nearly painful. He looked down at his plate and desperately tried to think of something else. But now that he was trying so hard not to think of it, he couldn’t think of anything else.
“Dean,” Missouri said, and he looked up at her. “It’s okay. I think you’ll be surprised by the positive reaction you’ll get. Go for it,” she said with a nod and a very adorable little grin.
Dean knew she had seen what he was thinking of. She couldn’t completely read minds, but if someone was thinking very hard about something, fixating on it, and there were strong emotions involved, she could get a flash of something. She once told him it was like a combination of a picture, a word, and a feeling, but it wasn’t any one of those things by itself, and Dean was very thankful she hadn’t plainly seen the picture in his head.
“I, ah,” he started, then shook his head and straightened his posture. It was a fetish. Plenty of people liked it. And the primes had all reassured them more than once to be open and honest. “I tried wearing panties once, and I’d like to try it again,” he said with confidence.
Gabe groaned so loud and with such a painfully sultry tone to his voice that everyone looked at him and there were a few chuckles. “Yes, that,” Gabe said. “I wanna try that!”
Dean chuckled, feeling relieved. Cas even looked interested, though he didn’t say anything. Meg gave Dean a wink.
Vic grinned. “Been there, done that, and I can say it’s a blast!” he said, waggling his eyebrows.
“Hell yeah!” Pam said, waggling her eyebrows. “My baby is a very sensual guy, and wearing a pair of silky panties makes him feel good.”
Dean was glad they were at the table and no one could see his cock give a hard twitch. Dean saw that Nick looked totally on board for the idea as well, so that was a good sign.
“This is what we’re talking about, guys,” John said with approval in his tone of voice, relieving even more of Dean’s worry. “You’ve all proved yourselves so far with your house duties and decisions, and we’re all very proud of each one of you. All you have to work on is each other, your relationships within the house.”
Missouri nodded. “And the more you do it, the easier it’ll be,” she said.
“Secrets’ll bite you in the ass every time,” Pam said.
Ellen sat forward, looking at Benny. “We know pretty much everything there is to know about each other, and at the beginning Mary was a big reason for that open communication. Take the lead. Get everyone talking. It’s part of your responsibility as house alpha.”
Missouri shook her head. “That doesn’t mean the rest of you are off the hook,” she said as she pointed around the room at them. “It’s your responsibility to keep it going and to initiate it yourselves. Don’t you dare leave it all up to Benny.”
“That’s going to be even more important tomorrow,” Mary said. “You’ll be getting a new alpha and her mate to add a higher level of spellcasting and magics to the house.”
Dean’s stomach clenched. A new couple meant learning new people, more misunderstandings, more integration.
“Her name is Sarah Blake,” Missouri said, and Dean could swear Missouri already had affection in her voice for the woman. “She’s a level seven sorceress, and she’ll be comin’ with her mate Charlie, who is a beta and quite the computer geek,” she said with a grin.
“She’s fluent in nine spoken languages,” Mary said, “so she can help with translation, Sam.”
“Awesome,” Sam said with a smile.
“Did you bring her in to replace me in case I fuck up?” Kevin asked, his voice shaking slightly, his eyes wide. Dean didn’t think it sounded like Kevin was challenging anyone with the question, instead he appeared scared.
“No,” Mary said confidently, shaking her head. “As primes, we always have candidates in mind to replace or add to houses that have a need. Sarah is an addition, not a replacement. She was at the top of our list for your needs. There has been a rash of higher-level magics being used in crimes and also a few creatures in the area that were too strong for a warlock of your level like the one that Dean, Cas, and Gabe dealt with,” she said to Kevin.
“We think Sarah and Charlie will get along with you all just fine,” Missouri said with a nod. “We’re not replacing you. You’re already overwhelmed with your duties here, so scaling back on the magics will allow you to focus on technology and teaching.”
Kevin’s eyes widened. “Wait, what?” he asked, his voice cracking.
“Dean told us about your aspirations, honey,” Missouri said.
Kevin turned to Dean, looking almost wounded. “After all I’ve done to you, you still told them about that?” he asked, the skin around his eyes getting a little pink with emotion.
“You bet I did,” Dean said with a nod.
A smile slowly broke out on Kevin’s face, then he huffed and shook his head. “Thank you. I can’t, I, wow. Thank you,” he said, the smile bigger than Dean had ever seen on Kevin’s face.
“I don’t remember any of you talking about roles in particular,” Jody said. “It’s such a huge part of what goes on with an alpha house, and I’m sure the boys could learn a lot from your experiences and advice.”
“Excellent idea,” Mary said, smiling at Jody. “And thank you for reminding us.”
“Should we go in order of rank?” Meg asked, then took a big bite of her dessert.
“Okay,” Mary said. “I’m the warrior, highest ranking in the house like Benny. I keep an eye on everyone, mentioned problems as well as things I see that are going well. I take care of most of the discipline, but I do share that with everyone else beside Meg. I make sure everyone is getting along well, and if they aren’t, I don’t let it slide. I keep an eye on the entire state of California when it comes to supernatural activity, and I also make sure we have well-trained and available hunters spread out over the state.”
“I rank second,” John said. “I’m in charge of labor like Cas. I keep an eye on everyone in the house to make sure they’re not overloaded with work and also that they’re not getting bored with a lack of things to do. I’m on-call for labor and human resources issues throughout the state, though a lot of that gets left up to the smaller alpha houses in each major city. I make sure any issues regarding labor that need Meg’s attention get to her in a timely fashion and that she has all the information she needs to make an educated decision.”
“I rank third,” Pam said. “I’m the resident geek like Kevin and a level nine sorceress. I take care of anything magics-related with some help from Bobby when it comes to spellcasting because he’s so damn good at it. I handle all the electronics repairs and maintenance in the house, and I make sure Meg gets the tech information she needs to make the big decisions.”
“I rank fourth,” Ellen said. “I’m the healer like Gabe, and I take care of everyone in the house medically as well as attend conferences and seminars all over the state and sometimes the entire world. I keep up on the latest news, and if there are disputes or issues, I make sure Meg has the information she needs.”
“I rank fifth,” Missouri said. “I’m in charge of the food in the house like Nick, making sure we’re well stocked and there’s at least one meal on the table every day. I also make sure the local farming communities and the markets are running smoothly, and I pass information along to Meg so she can make her decisions.”
“I rank sixth,” Meg said. “I’m in charge of all the big decisions like Dean. It’s a short description, but it’s a hell of a job, and I’d fight to the death to keep it.”
“I don’t rank because I’m a beta,” Bobby said. “But I’ve been given the responsibilities of knowledge like Sam and spellcasting because of my skills. It’s an unusual thing for a beta to be the sole provider of a responsibility in a house, but I’m an unusual guy,” he said with a grin. “I also give Meg any information she needs.”
Dean nodded along with all the younger alphas. It seemed Dean and the others were handling the skills in the house properly, and it was a relief to hear the primes spell it out like that.
“Tomorrow,” Mary said, “we’re going to be working with you one-on-one, each of our skills meeting up with each of yours so we can look things over, give you suggestions, and tell you where you’ve gotten things right, all so you can do your jobs to the best of your ability and be confident while doing it.”
“You’ll be meeting Sarah and Charlie tomorrow,” John said. “We’ll help with integration and making sure everything goes smoothly. Anybody have any questions?”
Dean shook his head no and saw that all the younger alphas were doing the same. Dean looked around at his family, pleased that things had worked out as well as they had so far. The bumps in the road didn’t seem as bad as they could’ve been.
Cas leaned in and nuzzled at Dean’s neck, then kissed him before pulling back and finishing his dessert. Dean grinned at him, knocking his knee against Cas again.
“So is she hot?” Dean asked, looking at his mom. “The new chick, I mean.”
Mary rolled her eyes and John snorted. Bobby grunted, shaking his head, but it was Pam who answered. “She’s fuckin’ hot,” Pam growled.
“And her mate is adorable,” Meg said with a grin. “I kinda wanna do bad things to her, make her blush,” she said, waggling her eyebrows.
Jody smacked Meg’s arm, laughing along with everyone else. “You can do bad things to me and call me Charlie, if you want,” Jody drawled, then did something underneath the table that made Meg squeak and jump.
Meg looked over at Mary, her eyes wide. “You don’t need either of us the rest of the night, do you?” she asked, a pleading tone to her voice.
Mary laughed, shaking her head. “No, you two are free. Just remember we’ll be having discussions with Dean and Kevin soon, so you might want to take it out back.”
Dean shivered. His dick couldn’t decide what to do. The thought of Meg and Jody fucking out back sounded so hot, but being reminded of the discussion made his stomach hurt.
Meg was already standing up from the table before Mary finished speaking, grabbing Jody’s hand and pulling her along toward the back door.
“Bye,” Jody said with a wave.
“Have fun, kids,” Bobby said, waving at them.
“Dean, you look like you’re going to puke,” John said, and Dean looked at his father. “We should probably get this over with before you really do lose your dinner.”
Dean let out a nervous chuckle. “Yeah, I’d like it to be over,” he said with a nod.
“You guys go,” Anna said as she stood up with a plate in her hand. “We’ll clean up and get everything settled down here, and we’ll discuss things with the rest of the gang while you’re busy,” she said, glancing at Gabe, who looked as if he was spooked at the thought of being left with Pam and Ellen, his eyes wide as he looked between both women.
“Thank you, honey,” Missouri said, then stood up. “Don’t look so terrified, Gabe. They’re just gonna let the rest of you know what’s going on with Dean and Kevin.”
Gabe chuckled nervously. “I’m not terrified.”
Missouri snorted. “Okay,” she said with a shrug, obviously not believing him at all. Missouri looked to Dean, beckoning him with a wave of her hand.
Dean froze, his body locking into place on the chair, his hands gripping the edge of the table. He flinched when a hand wrapped around his right upper arm. It was too big to be Missouri’s, and as Dean stood up, he realized Benny was holding onto him.
“I’ll make sure she’s not too hard on you, kid,” Benny said with a grin.
Missouri huffed. “You think you can stop me, boy?” she asked, eyebrow raised as she postured.
Benny’s eyes widened. “Ah, no ma’am, I don’t.”
“I didn’t think so,” Missouri said with a nod, then headed for the office, toward the back of the house on the first floor.
Benny grimaced at Dean, then started after her, Dean trying to keep up because Benny hadn’t let go of his arm. Dean glanced back to see Nick and Kevin getting up along with Mary and John.
Missouri closed the door behind Benny and Dean, giving the three of them privacy in the office. There was a large desk in the far left corner of the room, bookshelves lining the wall to the left, a large couch on the wall to the right, and two overstuffed chairs in the middle of the room, a coffee table between the chairs and the couch.
“Have a seat, boys,” Missouri said, gesturing toward the couch.
Benny sat down, taking Dean with him, and Dean was very grateful, otherwise he might’ve stood frozen in the middle of the room for a while. When he was a pup, he’d thought the inability to move when he was scared was instinct, but as he got older and started hunting, he realized he could move just fine when he was scared.
Being in trouble was something completely different, and Dean realized he wasn’t scared or terrified, he was upset. He hated disappointing the people he loved. He knew they’d still love him, but to see that look on their faces hurt something deep inside him.
Benny put his left hand on Dean’s right thigh and gave him a little squeeze before just resting his hand there in a show of support. Missouri sat in the overstuffed chair closer to the door, still close enough to make it seem like an intimate conversation.
“This time is to focus on the two of you,” Missouri said, pinning Dean with a look, though her words were kind. “If you’re worried about what the rest of them are going through, including Kevin, get it out now so we can move on.”
Dean grimaced. “I think he’s still kind of a pup,” he said softly.
“Kevin?” Missouri asked, then nodded when Dean did. “In some ways all of you are still pups. But that doesn’t excuse his behavior.”
“I know,” Dean said. “But I also know that I should’ve said something about what I was feeling toward him, the odd vibe I was getting from him. I know he never should’ve done what he did, any of it. But in pushing him to see what he was made of, I took what could’ve been a learning experience for him and made it hell.”
Missouri shook her head. “No, honey. We’re alphas, and you were forcing each one of your fellow alphas to show you they deserved to be here, that they deserved to represent this house in public, whether you realized you were doing it or not.”
“So I’m not in trouble?” Dean asked with a frown. Why wouldn’t he be in trouble?
“I didn’t say you weren’t in trouble,” Missouri said with a smile, and Dean’s shoulders slumped. “You knew something was wrong pretty early on, and you did nothing about it but push more. It worked with everyone else, even Nick, who doesn’t show his hand unless he has to, but you went beyond pushing with Kevin,” she said, then paused, a thoughtful look on her face. “Can you tell me where the line was?” she asked.
He thought about it. “I guess when he had me get up from the breeding bench,” Dean said, shrugging his shoulders. “I pushed him again, we fell, and he showed his authority.”
Missouri shook her head no. “Go back a little further.”
Dean frowned. “When he fucked me out front? I was annoyed, but I didn’t push him a whole lot then.”
“Try the very first morning he prepared you,” Missouri said, tapping the arm of the chair with her finger absentmindedly.
Dean shook his head. “But he did what he was supposed to do. He had Benny take care of me.”
“That’s right,” Missouri said, but it seemed more like she was trying to prompt him to figure the rest out than simply acknowledging his right answer.
Dean thought about it more, looking down at the coffee table between them, a frown on his face. Kevin had handled the situation correctly that day, so what was the problem?
Dean looked up at Missouri, his eyes wide. “I kept pushing,” he said, and he felt a thrill of excitement in his belly as she nodded, a smile on her face and a hand gesture that said ‘keep going.’ “I should’ve realized I saw something wrong in him when I felt the need to push him again after he had already handled me right over the whole preparation incident. I kept pushing even after he did what he was supposed to do.”
“That’s my boy,” Missouri said, an approving smile that was full of love and a look on her face that all the alpha primes in his parents’ house had when he did something good.
“Oh, fuck,” Dean moaned as he ran his hands over his face. “I screwed with him.”
“Now don’t go beatin’ yourself up about it,” Benny said. “Missouri is tryin’ to help you, not squash you like a bug.”
“Benny’s right, honey,” Missouri said. “As alphas, we have instincts, and we have to be in tune with them. It’s something that comes with experience. The reason we’re so willing to work with all of you boys is because we know you can learn. You’re teachable instead of standing there and insisting what you did was right, tellin’ us we don’t know what the hell we’re talkin’ about.”
“I didn’t help him,” Dean said, feeling miserable.
“No, you didn’t,” Missouri said. “Are you gonna do that again?”
Dean shook his head. “No. I realize now why I was pushing him so much, and if I ever feel like that again, I’ll try to figure out why I’m doing it.”
“So ya learned somethin’,” Benny drawled in Dean’s right ear.
Dean snorted. “Yes, I learned something,” he drawled back, rolling his eyes.
Missouri grinned at them. “The primes are still learnin’,” she said. “If you ask Alpha Tran, I’ll bet she’ll be the first one to tell you she’s still learnin’. It never ends. And that’s a good thing. Truly wise people never stop learnin’. Don’t let your mistakes get you so down that you don’t see the improvement, the good things you’ve done.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Dean said, his eyes burning just a little.
“Now, as for you,” Missouri said, turning her attention to Benny, “we need to go over a few things about keeping an eye on everyone in the house.”
“Okay,” Benny said with a nod.
“Mary has a huge responsibility in the prime house,” Missouri said, holding her hands out as if to encompass a large amount of things. “As the warrior and highest ranking alpha in the house, it’s your responsibility to keep alert, be observant, and keep communication open between everyone. The rest of them need to help you with that, but you have to get the ball rollin’, keep it rollin’, and you have to learn the signs that things aren’t going as well as they should.”
Benny nodded. “I haven’t done such a good job with that,” he admitted.
Missouri smiled kindly at him. “It’s a new house, you boys are settlin’ in. Just like I said to Dean, don’t beat yourself up about it. You can call us any time, Mary included. We don’t care if you wake us up or catch us in the middle of an orgy,” she said with a smirk.
Benny chuckled. “Yes, ma’am.”
“We’ll try to show by example,” Missouri said, the smile fading from her face, “we’ll answer questions, and we’ll share things that have happened in our own lives. Please don’t ever feel like you can’t talk to us about something.”
“Thank you,” Benny said, and Dean could hear the emotion in his voice. Not everyone would notice because Benny could keep quite a tight lid on them, but Missouri’s words had meant a lot to him. “I also haven’t been as consistent as I should’ve been.”
“How so?” Missouri asked.
“I let the rules slide a few times,” Benny said, shaking his head.
“Oh, honey,” Missouri said with a frown, “it’s hard transitioning from being friends to throwing a working relationship in there. Tell me what happened.”
Benny nodded. “I punished Dean for tryin’ to break the rule about touchin’ his dick, then later I felt bad that he was havin’ a hard time comin’ without it, so I used my fingers to make him come. I told him it was an accident in a wink-wink sorta way.”
Missouri nodded. “Keeping consistent is difficult, but being the house alpha, you’re gonna have to do it even when you don’t want to. The pull to bend rules is a big one, so don’t let it get you down when it happens. Tell the others if you’ve made a mistake and try not to do it again.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Benny said.
“Now,” Missouri said with a sigh, “because of the things that have happened with Dean and Kevin and between the rest of you, we’re assigning you,” she said, pointing at Benny, “to take Dean under your wing.”
“What does that mean?” Dean asked, puzzled expression on his face.
“It’s not going to be like what we’re doing with Nick and Kevin,” Missouri said, shaking her head. “It’s going to be more casual than that. Benny is going to keep a closer eye on you than he does on the others,” she said as she looked at Dean, then she turned to Benny. “You’re going to watch for behavior problems inside the house, as you always should, but Dean’s going to have a bit of a tighter leash for the next month than you would normally give.”
Dean started to open his mouth to ask why Benny had to do this, but then he remembered why they were in this mess in the first place.
“It’s not a punishment,” Missouri said with a shake of her head as she looked at Dean. “Benny needs to learn how to spot problems before they get out of hand and you need to learn how to trust your instincts without letting them rule you.”
Dean and Benny nodded. “Yes, ma’am,” they both said politely.
“Neither of you will have restrictions,” Missouri continued, “but instead you’ll focus on each other just a little more. There won’t be a change in rooming arrangements like with Nick and Kevin. Well, unless you move in with Cas and Gabe,” Missouri said to Dean with a grin and a wink.
Dean chuckled. “I think we’re gonna take it slow, but ya never know,” he said with a shrug.
“You boys take it however you want to. It’s your relationship,” Missouri said with a nod. “And if you ever want to know the colors your auras make when they come together, just ask Kevin.”
Dean felt a chill go down his spine, and his chest tightened with a feeling of excitement. He hadn’t realized their auras were already changing around each other. He smiled, happy that they were so compatible. Benny squeezed Dean’s leg again as he turned to give him a smile. Dean couldn’t help but grin back.
“Ya know,” Benny drawled, still grinning, “Sarah and Charlie could use one of your rooms.”
“Oh!” Dean said, surprised that he hadn’t thought of it. “Uhm, yeah, then I guess I’ll just have to tell Cas and Gabe we need to move into a room together. Ya know, for Sarah and Charlie,” he said with mock seriousness.
Missouri giggled. “That would be very thoughtful of you to make that sacrifice,” she said.
“Well, I’m a thoughtful guy,” he said with a grin.
“Yes, you are, honey,” Missouri said with fondness in her tone of voice.
Dean’s smile faded as he remembered why they were in the office. He winced. “Not to be a downer or anything, but I’d kinda like to get any kind of punishment over with before I freak myself out too much and end up saying something stupid and getting myself in more trouble.”
Missouri chuckled. “You’re not being punished, Dean,” she said, shaking her head. “You know what you did wrong, you’ve admitted it, you’ve listened to everything I had to say about it, and you’re going to work on it along with the rest of the alphas in this house.”
“I’m not being punished?” Dean asked, a frown on his face.
Missouri snorted. “Well, I can get my spoon out if you want,” she said with a shrug.
“No!” Dean blurted. “No, that’s okay. But I was an asshole,” he said, tilting his head a little in confusion. “So at the risk of you pulling out that spoon, why not?”
“Discipline doesn’t always mean physical punishment. You know that,” Missouri said. “If you would’ve fought us about it or given me attitude, it’d be a different story.”
Dean chuckled, feeling relieved. “Yeah, I know better than to give you attitude.”
“You sure do,” Missouri said with a nod. “Now, what you do from here on out is show us that you’ve learned. All seven of you made mistakes,” she said, looking at Dean and Benny in turn. “I could’ve put all of you over my knee, but you’ve all been very mature about it, and I have to tell you we’re all very impressed with you boys,” she said with a smile.
Dean smiled back at her, his chest feeling a little tight with pride. They’d done so many things right, and Dean was thrilled to know that even their mistakes had been handled well once they were shown the error of their ways.
“Ma’am?” Benny asked.
“Yes, sweetheart?” Missouri replied, giving him her attention.
“I don’t mean to be rude or anythin’, but as the house alpha I feel I should know how Kevin’s being handled,” Benny said, a respectful tone to his voice, though he still sounded authoritative.
“All of you need to know what’s goin’ on with him,” Missouri said with a nod. “Sex isn’t the only thing that’s shared between the members of a house. After Mary and John are done talking with Kevin, they’re going to spank him. Even though he’s sorry for what he’s done, he needs to know that his behavior completely was unacceptable.”
Dean opened his mouth to argue that his behavior had been unacceptable too, but Missouri pinned him with a look that make him shut his mouth.
“Don’t even start, boy,” she said with a slightly raised voice. “Yeah, you misbehaved, but don’t you dare try to tell me any of what you did even came close to fucking a fellow alpha while he kneeled in salt.”
Dean snorted. “Well, when you say it like that,” he said, trailing off with a wince.
“Uh-huh,” she said with a nod. “I’m gonna say it like that because that’s what he did, along with plenty of manipulation that made for a dangerous situation.”
“But they’re not –,” Dean started, but couldn’t finish the sentence.
“They’re not, what?” she asked. “You’re worried it’s too much? That the punishment doesn’t fit the crime? You’re worried your momma and papa are gonna be too hard on Kevin because they’re so immature and unqualified for their positions as alpha primes that they’d take their fear and anger out on him?”
Dean let out a sigh. “Okay, okay,” he said with a nod. “Point taken.”
Missouri nodded. “All right, then. Do you boys have any more questions?”
Dean and Benny both shook their heads and said, “No, ma’am.”
“Okay,” she said with a nod, then stood up and held her arms out at her sides, “then I want a hug from both of you.”
Dean chuckled as he stood up, then wrapped his arms around Missouri, pushing his face into her neck and breathing in her scent. Back at the prime house, Missouri had the same skill as Nick, so Missouri had been the one to be home most of the time when he was growing up. In a way Missouri had meant home.
For a moment he felt homesick, but then as Benny wrapped his arms around the two of them, he realized he had his new home without ever really losing the home he’d grown up in. He took a moment to enjoy the mingling smells of his house alpha and the person who had meant home to him all those years.
Later that night, as Dean snuggled under the covers with Cas and Gabe on a blow-up mattress in the middle of the living room floor, he thought about his new life. He had his own alpha house, a huge family that loved him, and he had an alpha on either side of him who were preparing to spend the rest of their lives with him as their mate.
Dean lifted his head, peeking over Gabe’s arm to see Kevin and Nick wrapped around one another on a blow-up mattress closer to the couch. Kevin’s eyes were still red-rimmed, but the sniffling had died down and stopped in favor of soft snores. He’d had a smile on his face when Nick invited him under the covers, and the two of them had talked in low tones for a while before falling asleep.
Benny and Sam had taken the sofa bed, Sam’s feet hanging off the end of the mattress, one of Benny’s arms flung out over Sam’s chest, and Sam drooling on his pillow.
His family was all under one roof, and he slept better than he had in weeks.