Rhys tensed and then relaxed as he felt the Lady's presence and heard her sweet voice in his head. He drew a breath, all the anger going out of him, for the moment, replaced with only worry.
"I need to keep my children safe," he replied quietly and without hesitation. After all, they shared his bloodline and it was likely they shared his immunity, even if they weren't incarnated angels.
"But without too much disruption to their lives and friendships," Nat added, feeling her own distress easing to know that Avalon really was there whenever they needed it.
Gina glanced at Adam. She had only been to Avalon once, a special dispensation to attend Rhys and Nat's wedding, but there was no mistaking the owner of the presence that had swept through their kitchen. The Lady, however, spoke only to her Champion and Priestess.
We have many friends in your city, she assured them. Lionel shall assign them to your children, to your friends' children. To you. We do not abandon our own.
Adam remained silent. He couldn't hear what the Lady was telling his friends, but he could feel her unmistakable presence all around them. Though he hadn't received any special invitations to Avalon, he had connections of his own that not even Gina knew about. Rhys nodded his head, his heart constricting in his chest, but not from fear this time so much as relief. He trusted Adam and knew his friend would do everything in his power to keep his children safe, but Adam was only human, after all.
"Thank you," Rhys told her, not saying more than that for now. He said nothing about Nat's condition, assuming the Lady had probably known before he did.
We are always with you.
Those words came with the ghost of an embrace for both of them, the echo of a kiss dropped on Rhys' forehead. Nat let out a shaky breath as the presence subsided, raising her eyes to Adam and Gina.
"I am sorry," she apologised. "You do not deserve my anger. And I probably should have asked before inviting a powerful being into your kitchen for a chat."
Adam frowned, as though there was something still worrying him, something niggling at him, something he was still keeping from those closest to him. He was a Fed; he was used to keeping secrets, but in truth, he hated keeping things from those he loved, even if it was for their own safety. "I wish I could have told you, but I'm telling you now," he told them, apologetically.
"It is better to know," Nat agreed softly, stroking her fingers over Rhys' palm. "And we cannot do anything without knowing more of what these ... people ... want from us. We have to be patient."
Rhys grimaced. Patience wasn't one of his better traits, and they all knew it. If it hadn't been for the Lady's intervention, he might have slugged Adam. It wouldn't have been the first time or likely the last, but it was better if they worked together on this, and he knew Adam had his reasons for keeping secrets, just as Rhys had in the past. "Okay, so what happens now?" he asked, skipping past all the crap to get right to the heart of the matter.
"Now," Adam replied. "We wait to hear back from Aurelia," he told them simply.
"So we finish eating," Nat said, breaking it down further for her husband. "And you will go and get Micah from daycare, and I will fetch Ana from her club at the school. May I take Amy as well?" she added, tilting her head toward the other couple.
Gina nodded; she knew when not to argue. Rhys and Nat had absorbed plenty of worrying information in the last hour. They were allowed to overreact a little for the day.
"I can do that," Rhys replied, toying with his bacon. He was itching to get up right then and there and fetch their children, take them to safety, even to Avalon where nothing could harm them. He knew this was why Adam had kept things from them - that Rhys was more likely to fly off the handle or flee to safety in Avalon before thinking things through. Thankfully, he could take a little comfort in knowing the Lady was watching over them, at least. Adam watched his friend, knowing him better than he knew himself. He knew Nat was worried, too, and possibly Gina. He hoped she didn't read him the riot act when they were alone later, but she knew what she was getting into when she'd married him. Mostly, anyway.
"You might as well know, just between us," he started.
"Gods, what now?" Rhys muttered.
"Stow the attitude, dude," Gina warned him. She loved her friend, but Rhys' temper was not an unknown quantity, and his crankiness could last for days.
Nat glanced between them. "What is it, Adam?" she asked quietly.
"Yes, Mother," Rhys murmured, but he didn't mean it as a gibe. He'd lost his own mother long ago, and though Gina was more like a sister to him, he didn't hold it against her when she scolded him. Adam glared at Rhys, giving him a silent warning for a moment, but he knew Gina could handle herself. His expression softened as he looked to her, about to confess something even she hadn't known.
"This doesn't go farther than this room, but you might as well know, Avalon recruited me a few years ago."
Rhys' brows arched upwards in surprise, but he didn't look displeased by that news. "Oh, thank God. I thought you were going to say you were a vampire or something."
Of everyone at the table, Gina was the one who looked the most surprised. She raised her brows, meeting her husband's eye pointedly. "Well, that's new."
"I was sworn to secrecy," Adam said, lifting his shoulders in a light shrug. "I doubt it matters much now. I still work for the Bureau, but it doesn't hurt to have connections, and it's hard to tell Lionel no." There was a ghost of a smile on his lips, relieved to have finally shared that secret with those he considered his only remaining family.
Natalya snorted with laughter, glancing at Rhys. "I think we can both appreciate that," she assured Adam. "The reason we have two insane dogs is because a certain person couldn't say no to the Grandmaster."
It was Rhys' turn to shrug, relieved the tension in the room seemed to have dissipated, their friendship strong enough to overcome their secrets. "I always wanted a dog. Now I have two," he said, making no apologies.