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House Hunting New Orleans - Ghost/Rene

[cross posted were_ghost and bq_x_stain ]

PART 1

René waited for Ghost at the steps of the College of Music and Fine Arts, Loyola University, lazily smoking a clove cigarette. The tone of London After Midnight’s Kiss signaled that his cellphone was ringing; the caller ID told him it was Ghost. “Hello, gorgeous,” René answered instantly, smiling.



“Hello yourself, my lovely. I’m running a bit late. I’ll be there is 10 minutes. I’d like you to help me with something.” Ghost was apprehensive about buying another place. He liked his shack, but something that had simple rough hewn furniture and no running water or bathroom was not the place for his lover. It was like camping all the time.

“Love to help you with anything you may need.” René’s voice held a hint of flirtiness. “I’ll be waiting by the main entrance to the college, I’ll be the one whose face lights up when you arrive.” He paused, frowning, as he took another puff of his cigarette. The Wolfpack baseball player, Jeremiah, and his buddies were heading René’s way. What does that asshole want now? René thought with a sigh. “Gotta go, gorgeous, see you soon.”

But before René had a chance to hear a response from Ghost, Jerry and his friends surrounded René. “French Dip,” Jeremiah said in greeting, earning a few snickers from his friends.

“Bullfrog,” René replied dryly.

“Who’s on the phone? Your boyfriend?” Jerry mocked and his buddies laughed, closing in on René.

What are we? In high school? René thought with disdain. “Yeah, maybe it is, so if you don’t mind crawling back to whatever hole you and your minions came from...” René answered coolly.

Jerry’s face twisted in anger, and he swiped the phone out of René’s hand. “René’ll call you back,” Jeremiah said into the receiver. “We need to talk.”

“Hey!” René said in protest, snatching the phone back. “Fuck off! I have nothing to say to you,” he quipped at Jeremiah. His voice calmed down as he directed his words toward Ghost. “Sorry about that, fucking jerks.” He glared at Jerry and his friends as he waited for Ghost to respond.

Ghost growled as he listened to bits of the exchange. He didn’t like anyone messing with his boyfriend, and upsetting him was definitely out. “Are you all right? I can be there in 2 if need be?” Ghost revved the engine and took a quick short cut that would get him there quicker. Whoever it was better be gone before he arrived or someone would be soiling their shorts and it wouldn’t be him.

René assured Ghost that Jeremiah and his friends were leaving as he hung up with Ghost, but René wasn’t too sure how much truth that statement held. Jerry crossed his arms, taking a defensive stance. “Your ‘boyfriend’ doesn’t scare us. There’s only one of him and five of us.”

Yeah, well, you better find some more minions ’cause my guy is a fucking werewolf and can easily roll all of you punks, René thought to himself with a satisfied smirk. Looking at Jerry, René rolled his eyes. “I am in no mood to argue with you, Bullfrog, so if you’ll just excuse me,” he said as he attempted to walk past Jeremiah and his bullies.

Jerry grabbed René’s arm. “Look, I just want to talk. Who was that blond you left with at Mardi Gras?”

“Mardi Gras? I had an excellent time at Mardi Gras, do you know why?” René leaned forward and whispered into Jerry’s ear. “Because I didn’t run into you or any of your cronies. You must have seen someone else who you thought was me while you were in your infamous drunken stupor,” René replied sarcastically, snatching his arm back.

Jerry slammed René into a wall, taking the wind out of the cellist, but René laughed. “Yeah, that’s what I thought,” he said, frowning somewhat when he realized that he had dropped his cigarette to the ground from the force of the impact.

“Stop fucking around, queeny. It was you; clean shaven, but it was you,” Jerry said, not letting René go. “Who was that blond man? Answer me!”

“Why? Jealous?” René knew he was irking Jeremiah on, but René wasn’t one to normally back down from a bully, even if the odds were not in his favor.

Jerry’s hand curled into a fist, and he debating striking René for taunting him, the other guys around them cheering Jerry on to do it, René watching him with a raised eyebrow and a smug look on his beautiful face...daring him.

The sound of a motorcycle caught René’s attention. “My ride’s here. I suggest you let me go now.”

Ghost came roaring up and the sight of René being pressed up against the wall by some strange guy was enough to get his hackles up. The angry words pushed it over the top. Ghost threw the brake on the bike and stopped it with a screech of tires. A human would have been thrown from the bike but his reflexes were a bit better trained. He stopped the bike and dismounted in a seamless move that landed him squarely on the sidewalk. He never lost a beat as he ate up the distance between himself and René. The maneuver cooled some of his ire but he had no doubt that if the scum pressing René said the wrong thing, he would be nothing but a smudge on the concrete. “Hey, baby. Ready to go?” He completely ignored the riff-raff and moved to stand just behind Jerry and cocked his head.

Jerry sized Ghost up, then thought twice about the smart assed remark he was about to say. Jerry motioned for his friends to step back, but they were already feeling hesitant to start anything with the stranger. Something about Ghost warned danger.

Jerry slowly released René, watching coldly as René wrapped an arm around Ghost, “Yeah, I’m ready, baby. Let’s get out of here,” René said, giving Ghost a small kiss hello, then paused. “Where are my manners? Ghost, honey, this is Jeremiah; he plays for the Loyola Wolfpack baseball team. Jerry, this is my boyfriend, Ghost.” Maybe Ghost wasn’t his boyfriend, but if it cut René some slack with Jeremiah, René was willing to give out that little white lie. Hopefully Ghost wouldn’t mind it too much.

Ghost accepted the quick kiss and wrapped his arm around René’s slender waist. He discreetly looked René over to make sure he hadn’t been hurt by these ruffians. He kept his cool and tried to forget what he had heard and seen as he was driving up.

René introduced the one that had been hassling him. Ghost’s eyes left René’s face very hesitantly and they swung over to the other young man. He looked like the typical jock with more muscle then brains, and his pack of followers had already started to back down when his feet hit the sidewalk. ‘Smart move.’ Perhaps a simple low growl would send them scurrying back to their weights and locker room. Ghost looked the young man in the eye and acknowledged him. “Nice to meet you, Jeremiah.” Ghost punctuated the greeting with a growl that rumbled through his chest but was almost unheard. He extended his large hand in greeting even though he wanted to rip it off and beat all of them with it instead.

Jerry felt immediately intimidated by Ghost’s superior strength; the athlete and political science major knew when he was outclassed. He gave Ghost the friendliest smile he could muster, then turned his attention back to René. “Catch you later, Frenchie.” Jeremiah motioned for his cronies to follow.

Once Jerry was out of earshot, René muttered, “Jeremiah is such a fucking jerk, loves to pick on me like we were in high school or some shit. Anyway, let’s get going,” he said, giving Ghost a full blown kiss this time, wrapping both arms around Ghost’s neck and pressing close against him.

Ghost returned the kiss, but kept an eye on the bully and his gang over René’s head just to make sure they kept moving. He didn’t tolerate anyone who belittled others. Despite his size, there had been occasions when he’d had to prove his worth, especially when claiming a mate.

With René’s slender body pressed tightly to his, he soon forgot the idiots and gave his full attention to his lover. René was more interesting anyway. He pulled back from the kiss when something occurred to him. “Did you say boyfriend?”

René’s blushed profusely, feeling rather embarrassed. He wrinkled his nose a little and bit down on his lower lip. “Oh, that...uh, sorry. Thought it would deter Jeremiah, but if it bothers you, I won’t say it again. I didn’t mean to assume.” Not that I’d mind if I was, but not really up to me if we are. That’s something that needs to be discussed between the two of us. “You’re not, mad are you?” he asked somewhat worriedly.

René’s words delighted and relieved Ghost. He had been afraid that he had been letting his feeling run rampant with no basis. “Mad! How could I be mad?” He stroked René’s cheek tenderly. “I’m delighted that your feelings might match mine. I feared I was moving too quickly and would scare you off.” Ghost wrapped the young man up in his powerful arms and held him close.

“I would love to be considered your boyfriend and as such I have a request.” He peered down at the René. “I’d like to have a place in town that has a few more conveniences than my present place. Would you help me find a new home?”

“I told you what frightens me and you’re not one of -- them.” René whispered against Ghost’s cheek. Then the rest of Ghost’s words sunk in, and René’s face lit up. “Really? You’d want me to be with you, like a real couple?” His thoughts strayed to Melinda for a moment. He really, really liked her, but she had not wanted any commitments and she said she didn’t want to hurt him because she didn’t feel as strongly as he did. René hesitated a moment. He was unsure of what to say next: should he hold on with Melinda and hope she could love him sometime down the road, or should he take a leap of faith and go with Ghost?

Ghost had revealed so much to René, told René his deepest secret; that he was a werewolf. Melinda had shared her secret as well, that she could communicate with spirits. And yet René had held back a lot of his past from them both. René had told Melinda and Ghost of his former vampire master, but not of the drug and alcohol abuse he undertook to heal his broken heart when the vampire ignored him.

“I would love to help you find a home here in the city, but there’s something you should know about me… if you want to be with me, that is.” René gave Ghost a wistful smile. “This isn’t easy for me to say. I don’t like to tell people because they tend to look at me differently after they know. I want you to know me as I am now, not the asshole I used to be.” It was similar to what he’d told Melinda, but it was true. René had been scared to death to reveal this part of himself to her, afraid he’d lose her forever if he did. Truth is, René didn’t feel worthy of Melinda. She was a lady of class and style and René was riff raff; at least that is how he saw himself in comparison. Melinda deserved the best and René knew he was far removed from being that.

Ghost deserved better as well, but since Ghost had shared his deepest secret, René would not refuse to share his most shameful. “Ghost, when my former ‘master’ started to ignore me and show favor to other thralls, I became consumed with jealousy and grief. I would have done anything to capture his attention, so I did some things...bad things...even if meant that I would lose a bit of my soul to garner another night with my ‘master’.” René sighed; there was no easy way to say this. “So I took to using some pretty harsh drugs and I drank...a lot. So much that if I drink anything alcoholic now I may not be able to stop. I was really fucked up then; it was a very dark time for me. I was a complete man-whore,” he lightly chuckled. “I had no respect for anything or anyone, but I’m not that person anymore. I don’t want to become that person again, and I’ve taken the steps to ensure that I can stay on the right path. I have a sponsor, Alfonso, who makes sure I stay out of trouble; I attend meetings and belong to a support group.”

René shrugged a shoulder. “Yeah sure, I sometimes get tempted and the cravings are there, it’s common to us ex-addicts/alcoholics, but I went through rehab and I’ve been clean and sober for two years. I knew I couldn’t stay in New York City. I needed to remove myself from all the bad memories there, so I moved here and decided to finish my college education. My sponsor, Alfonso, he works for some benefactor of mine. Not sure who this person is, I’ve never met them or talk to them; they pay for the school and my housing. I pissed away my scholarship at Juilliard and I qualified only for a partial scholarship here, so I took the benefactor’s offer. What choice did I really have? Alfonso mentioned that they were one of those patrons of the arts that like to help a lost soul, so I guess that meant me. ”

René reached for Ghost’s hand, hoping Ghost would not reject him after hearing about his dark past. “Suppose my turning to drugs and alcohol when I was heartbroken should have been expected. My old man did the same when my mother left. Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, huh?” René looked at Ghost expectantly, nervous as to what Ghost might think or say. “Please say something...” he said, feeling a little fearful.

Ghost just pulled him back to himself and held the young man. “It doesn’t matter. None of it changes the feelings I have for you.” He looked down at the beautiful young man in his arms and he saw hope. “All of us have a past and demons that we wish to hide. I see you in the here and now, and what I see I like. Your past has shaped you into someone worth knowing. Not that you weren’t before all that happened, but it didn’t defeat you. It made you stronger. That must have been so hard to put into words. I’m very proud of you, René.” Ghost leaned back and brought his hands up and held the young man’s face. “René, I have a few more things I need to tell you about myself too. Hopefully they won’t change your opinion of me or the world I have lived in, but let’s move this where we don’t have an audience, for what I have to say could be dangerous if over heard by the wrong people. There is a loft not far from here that I wanted to look at. Please come with me?” Ghost stepped back and held out his hand, beckoning the young man to come with him.

René smiled in relief. Ghost had not pushed him away. So many had stopped associating with him when René revealed that part of his life that he was quite hesitant to share that with anyone he cared about. René gave Ghost a hug and a fiery kiss. “I’ll follow you anywhere, so lead the way, gorgeous.” His smile widened, “Umm, question; so, umm, does this mean we are, uh, a couple now?”

“Let me finish my story and we shall see but yes, I would very much like to be a couple.” Ghost looked around at the students wandering the college. “I think we have put on enough of a show. Let’s take this elsewhere.” He scooped René up and carried him to the bike. After he deposited the young man on the back and joined him, he revved the powerful engine and took off. It wasn’t too far to the first place, but he was afraid if they stood there for much longer, everything would come out; and there were those in this world who didn’t find those like himself acceptable, and he didn’t mean liking his own sex.

René laughed playfully as Ghost carried him off toward the motorcycle. He waved to a fellow student who was in his Music Theory class. The other waved back with an amused look on his face.

René held on tight as Ghost weaved through the New Orleans traffic. The drive toward the French Quarter took a bit, but with Ghost’s driving skills it took less time than usual. René laughed and pressed against Ghost, enjoying the ride. When Ghost parked the bike, René took a good look at the surroundings. This was a part of town that was far enough away from the tourists but yet close enough to the action to make it an ideal location.

He pulled up in front of a line of storefronts. Most of them were occupied but two still stood empty. The neighborhood was up and coming, the shops trendy and attractive. There were several restaurants in the area too, and it wasn’t far from Bourbon Street. He got off the bike and reached for René’s hand. He wanted to get another look at the outside first before checking out the living area. “What do you think?”

“Looks pretty rad from out here, can’t wait to see the inside,” René said, stepping off the motorcycle.

“This is the one I’m really interested in, but I have two others waiting to be considered if you found something terribly wrong with this place.” Ghost left his bike parked at the front and led René around to the side and up to a freight elevator. He punched in the code given to him by the realty lady and gained access. He stepped inside, pulling René with him. “There’s another entrance in the back alley but that has only stairs leading up to the third floor. The elevator’s easier and I can park my bikes inside.” The lift doors opened and Ghost stepped out into a huge empty room. It had an open second floor at one end and lines of tall windows covering the wall on each side of the elevators. “Isn’t it great! I can bring my bikes right into the loft. I thought of building a garage and workshop of sorts by the lift. The second floor over there will be the bedroom and below it there’s some plumbing so I can have a kitchen and bathroom installed.” He turned around, pointing out the open spaces. “There‘s room for a living room and a gym and if I turn into some kind of social butterfly, it would be a great place for parties.”

Ghost stopped and took a breath. He hadn’t let René say a thing. For all he knew the young man could have decided that it was rad on the outside and a stinker everywhere else. “What do you think of the inside? Will it work?”

René walked around the place, nodding here and there as Ghost described what he was going to do with the space. “Cool,” he whistled appreciatively. This place would be killer once it was fixed up. “I like it, but you should still look at the others and weigh your options.”

Ghost didn’t think it would matter. He loved this place, especially with René in it. “I suppose, though this place feels right.” He tilted his head and looks inquiringly at the young human. “René, you were very honest with me a while back, painfully so I’m sure, and I need to reciprocate. There are a few things about weres and me in particular that you need to know. Weres of all species are very long lived compared to humans. We are not immortal, but we are often older than we look.”

Ghost walked over to one of the windows and looked down into the street. When he didn’t hear the elevator start up ,he continued. He explained how a lot of weres lived or were closely associated with a pack, though he was not. He gave René a brief outline of his history, leaving out the part about Lucinda and the murder of the pack. He halted when he got to the part about a child. He turned around and faced the young man. “René, I need to breed with a she-wolf and produce a son at some point in my life. It is my duty to my line. I realize that by that time you may have grown tired of me and found someone else, but you need to know. I’m not saying our time is finite, because I do want you very much, but at some point I will have a child to raise and I will raise him without his mother.”

“Oh.” It came out more like a whisper, but René tried to hold his smile. “I understand, we’ll be together until you have fathered a child.” He felt as disappointed as when Melinda talked to him that New Year’s Eve. How was it possible that two wonderful people entered his life and neither wanted any type of long-term commitment? René chalked it up to karma, and he averted his eyes, not wishing for Ghost to see the sadness reflected in them. René turned and walked into one of the other ‘rooms’, pretending to be interested in the space. He ran a finger along the cool wall. “This will make a great place for you. I can picture a grand kitchen here, just like you said,” René continued, keeping his back turned to Ghost.

No, this would not end just because of Ghost’s duty to have a child. He would not let René walk away and act like it didn’t matter. Ghost followed him into the shadows under the “second floor”. The were stopped behind him and enclosed the young man in a firm yet tender hold. “René, I need to father a child. It was what I was born for and I will fulfill my duty, but I won’t give you up. I found you at a low point in my life and you made me want to live again. Any she-wolf who agrees to carry my child will have to accept you in my life. I will not make a bond with her.” He slowly turned René to face him. ”Not when my heart is quickly becoming yours.”

René nuzzled against Ghost’s tender touch. “I’ve learned to appreciate what I have and not yearn for more than that. I would not have your child denied the presence of his or her mother. My only hope is that whoever carries your child will not resent my being a part of your life. If I suspect that my being with you will cause you grief, as painful as it may be, I will leave. I cannot rip you from your family. Mine was torn apart when my mother left my father for another man. I was just a child and it took me a long time to accept that she abandoned me. I would not have your child grow up with that pain.”

Ghost’s eyebrows furrowed with shame. “You must think me callous for speaking of separating mother and child so lightly. I apologize.” Ghost lowered his face into René’s hair so he didn’t have to see the young man’s eyes. “It was the way that I was raised, as was my father and grandfather before me. Several in my line have discovered that they have no interest in a female mate but had the compulsion to produce a child. My own mother was found abandoned by my father. She and her brother had been orphaned and separated from their pack when they were young. The male cub died of sickness but my mother survived. In time my father came to love her in his own way and mated with her. He was not pack, but she had been and desired to be again. He couldn’t deny her anything. He petitioned a pack for her sake and for a short time he was happy, but then the need to be on his own got the best of him. He was unable to conform to pack life. He left the pack when I was five, taking me with him. I was raised with the idea that we would eventually leave. I have never thought of being separated from my mother as a hardship. If you can live with me having a child, we can decide together what is right for my son when the time comes.”

Ghost stroked René’s back and kissed the top of his head. “This is a lot to take in for the short time we have been together. You didn’t even ask how old I was. Family is very important to you, isn’t it?”

“It doesn’t matter how old you are, Ghost. I know that my lifespan cannot compare to yours, but if you choose to be with me, I will give you my all with what time I have on this earth,” René answered, once more leaning into Ghost’s touch. “I’m not sure how good of an influence I would have on a child considering my past, but as you said, that is something we can decide together when the time comes.”

René kissed the side of Ghost’s neck. He needed a moment of tenderness before continuing what he needed to say. “I understand your duty to your family line, but my values on family are jaded, I’m afraid. Ever since I can remember, my mother cried over my father’s abusive treatment of myself and her. He drank and when there was not enough alcohol in the house, he became a true monster.” René ran a hand through his hair. This was not easy for him; he hated opening up, it made him feel vulnerable. Talking about his mother usually soured his mood, but René felt he had to tell Ghost; the reason didn’t matter. “It’s not hard for me to understand why my mother found another lover and left; what I don’t understand is why didn’t she take me with her? My father told me it’s because she did not love me and for a very long time I didn’t believe him. I needed something to bring me hope. I remember-- I remember her crying as her new lover told her that I was not welcomed in his home-- she fought against him as he pulled her out the door, her arms reaching out to me; but my father held me back, cursing at her as she departed.” René let out a slow sigh. “As I grew older, the memory distorted. Perhaps that is not as I remember it; just a child’s foolish hope. I grew resentful, when she left me with that monster and never returned. Father told me that she was dead but I’m not certain if he meant that figuratively. To all intents and purposes, she is dead to me now.” René wrapped his arms around himself. He couldn’t talk about it anymore.

Ghost’s emotions were in turmoil. He wanted to rage at those who had done this. He wanted to make them hurt as they had made René hurt. He had no sure fire answers for René, but what he did know is that he wanted to wrap this dear sweet young man in his arms and love him forever, or for as long as they had together. They’d had enough truth telling for one night. He had to get René to some place where he could show him that things had changed. There was someone in his life that wouldn’t hurt him; someone who loved him and wanted him.

He wrapped the young man back up in his powerful arms. “I think we have had enough talk for tonight.” He glanced up at the bare walls and empty space. “This place is just what I was looking for. I don’t need to look at the other two. Let me take you some place where I can show you love and devotion until that is all we both can remember.” He gently guided René in the direction of the elevator. Tonight he would let his rage fuel his passion and give René the night of his life.

René nodded. “I agree, that’s enough solemn confession talk for one evening.” He managed a small smile. “You know, this place isn’t too far from my apartment complex...we could, ah, head over there.” He paused and gave Ghost a steamy kiss and pressed against him suggestively.

Ghost growled as René’s lips latched on to his. His emotions were riding high. His wolf was whining to be freed. It wouldn’t take much to have him pressing the young human up against the nearest wall and fucking him for all he was worth, but René didn’t need that tonight. The young man had revealed some painful memories, and the talk of Ghost’s future child seemed to make René unsure that he had a future with the big werewolf. Ghost would try to give René back some of that confidence because the were had no plans to leave the young man.

Ghost pulled the slender body against him. He released the luscious lips and groaned. “I love the way you think.” Ghost nipped at René’s ear. “Do we walk, or maybe I’ll just throw you over my shoulder?” Ghost gripped the young man’s ass cheeks and squeezed, just to let him know that the talking portion of the evening was over.

René let out a small laugh. “I think I can manage,” he said, taking Ghost by the hand and leading him back toward the elevator, “But we should hurry, lest I forget myself and allow you to ravish me here.” He grinned devilishly at Ghost, the earlier feelings of uncertainty faded away.

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