Warning: This is a VERY LONG One-Shot. This is the head-canon for my character and his backstory up to his present situation. ( Special thanks to @Morrigan and she knows why )
Born to a well-to-do family in suburban France, Henri was bounced between family estates a lot as a child. He wouldn't remember the reason; that his parents were not having a good time of their relationship. He wouldn't remember the fighting, or the screaming.
Instead, Henri would remember the sheep and the goats, making cheese, and bouncing between public school and a prestigious, expensive academy his father insisted he go to. Summers spent with Russian cousins who were sent to visit who smoked cigarettes, and drank cheap vodka. The Russian he learned was passable. Enough to communicate with the older, wilder kids.
But when it came to school, Henri would spend month here, a month there. It wasn't an ideal situation, but Henri thought nothing of it. It never occurred to him that it was anything but normal. The bloody fights, when both his parents would come home covered in blood--they didn't bother him. He didn't question it. His parents were the alpha pair of their pack. It was part of the territory, right?
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When he first turned, Henri was twelve. It was unexpected, and triggered by him getting gravely ill. Some sort of something was going on; something rough. Something strange. A massive fever rocked his body out of nowhere, and the doctor who made the house call to the family said he wouldn't make it.
Henri's father kicked the doctor out of the house, and Henri became a wolf that night. It wasn't during a particular phase of the moon; in between phases. It would be one of many strange things in his life. He was a wolf for days, a veterinarian brought in to give him antinflamatories, antibiotics. Thinking he was just a family pet. A wolf-like looking dog. Henri would never remember it.
With the wolf's arrival, Henri spent a year outside of school. He started going camping with his cousins a lot. Spending time away from home, often winding up at his grandmother's for stretches of time, chasing the goats, making cheese...
Some things never changed.
Henri had never been particularly popular. He was a geek with glasses and a manner of being quiet. But after the wolf? He began to develop a little muscle here and there, started to fill out, wasn't a scrawny little boy anymore.
He was popular, athletic, by the time he was fourteen. Just old enough to start screwing up. He got a job at a gelato shop. And that's where he met the girl who would change much of his life.
Spanish, quiet, a bit of a mean girl... Henri knew he didn't love the girl, but the way she wanted him... he didn't want to tell her no. What teenaged boy would tell such a girl no? Round, bouncy, perky breasts, a tiny waist, rich, creamy thighs that spread so easily... He was hotblooded, young, and male. The second she flashed the fact there was nothing under that skirt of hers, he was entrapped.
The weeks turned to months of sneaking around and even though Henri knew every bit of it was wrong, it wasn't until a few months later when he was told that she was pregnant, that he really realized what he was doing was a bad idea.
He went instantly to his father about it who did nothing but shout about disappointments, bad behavior, and human sluts. It was enough to make Henri hate the man. Especially when it was pointed out he had no love for the girl.
Henri should have felt bad, should have felt guilty. But he didn't.
When the child was born, Henri was there, in the delivery room, and immediately, the girl didn't want Henri anywhere near her. And she didn't want anything to do with the baby either. She was wheeled to another room, while Henri was left holding the tiny, nameless infant girl.
Still in school, and this tiny thing was suddenly his responsibility. He fed her with a nurse's help, and eventually, his mother showed up, thin-lipped, and made him name her, before they brought the baby home.
They weren't prepared. Not in the least bit. And it wasn't for a fair while before they found out the girl was deaf. But even though Henri hadn't been ready for a child, he did his best. Applied himself to the child the same way he applied himself at school. He was smart and quick. These were important things.
He still graduated from school, and soon moved out of his parents' house in favor of a small apartment. An apartment he would remain in for several years...
As the early years went on, Henri tried to maintain attending classes for accounting and actuarial information; he delved in statistics, took sign language classes for himself, and with his daughter. Speech therapy started when she was at the age where she should be talking, and eventually, things seemed to be working well.
The warning signs were there, when it came down to it. To the night when most of the family was murdered.
Bay was five, happily in school, doing amazing because of how devoted he was to his little girl. Henri did his best in as many ways as possible. It wasn't perfect. It was far from perfect.
But that was okay. He worked while she was in school, took classes at night when someone could watch her as she slept.
His parents had been getting into fights again. The Russian cousins hadn't visited in years. Things were tense... and Henri for the most part ignored his father's pressing for Henri to join up arms with him--to get ready for being the Alpha of their little pack.
Instead, he ignored his parents.
They had hired a mage, when Bay was only three...
"I won't do it. There is nothing wrong with your granddaughter. She is perfectly healthy." Lilya stated, sourly.
"But you must! She cannot communicate!" Henri's mother begged and the young man rolled his eyes.
"Your son seems to disagree. Did they tell you they were asking someone to come look at your daughter's ears?" The mage asked, raising her eyebrows.
Henri shook his head no.
"Well then! My time here is done. Congrats on your perfectly healthy, deaf grandchild," the woman said, giving Henri's mother a withering glare which broke the other woman into tears.
And just like that--she was gone.
Henri licked his lips a bit, shook his head at his mother.
"I can't believe you. You're not watching Bay again."
It didn't last entirely; but it was a long time before Henri let his mother watch Bay...
It was lucky he was home that night.
That night when everything went bad.
When the hunter group went after them. When he got shot... it was a turning point for the family.
Henri had no idea that everyone who was gone, was gone on purpose. His father had anticipated the attack.
And he hadn't meant for Henri to live. A fact his grandmother would tell him several years later.
They packed their things, all but Gram, and left.
Henri took everyone to the English coast. It was beautiful there. Henri needed to keep his little girl safe. She was the single most important thing in his life. The only thing he could find important. And so, they moved.
Life on the coast was good. Bay went to school, and Henri worked, moving into private security. He found it more interesting. By the time he was 24, he had found a successful little niche. Henri did the security for all the local businesses, and even many private homes. The hunter group had not sought him out again.
Everyone was fine. Everything went very well for several years.
Henri raised his daughter, and did his best not to fight with the others. But by the time Bay was ten, the fights were fairly frequent, and somewhat bloody.
Particularly, with Calliope.
She put Henri in the hospital once before their move to London, after the older people in their group had died. She had nearly broken his neck, pushing him off the roof of the house. He'd fallen into a tree; dislocated his shoulder, tore ligaments, broke his ribs, his ankle.
it was shocking that she would try to kill him.
She'd never crossed that line before.
Moving to London, Bay only agreed to the move because she was left scared with her father's injuries. He healed very fast, though it took a couple of surgeries, and then, he was okay... It was scary, and they never spoke of it again.
People--pack members--kept dying.
It was entering the height of that when Henri met Alice.
Because now, things were particularly a mess at home.
His life was falling apart.
And here he was, taking a good run, to try to not think about everything that had been going on... And there she was.
Well, there were a couple people. They had wandered rather purposefully into the woods, and he'd seen them from a distance. They smelled like hunters; it was terribly obvious.
The man's face was almost always in shadow, he didn't notice him as much as he noticed her. They seemed to have a... unique... sort of relationship. There was a lot of fire there. They were doing some sort of joking around.
It was fine, he supposed.
And he continued on, heading off silently away from them, moving more like a feline than a canine. Being extremely quiet was not something he found difficult.
Henri smelled the other wolf, before the humans would have any idea the other wolf was there. He kept his distance from the wolf for a little while, then began curiously tailing it. There weren't many wolves in this area, and he'd made sure to avoid others' marked territories. This wolf didn't belong here. Something wasn't right.
He heard the attack, practically smelled it before he saw it.
Henri was a bit farther off than he would have liked to have been when it came right down to it. He managed to take down the other wolf, teeth sinking through the soft tissue at the neck, ripping through like a hot knife through butter... but the man was dead already, and the woman... She wasn't okay.
He stared at the face of the man who was killed. It was strangely like looking into a mirror, almost. If that mirror was a bit more cruel than normal, at least. Older. Meaner. A version of himself he didn't want to exist. He knew the weapons couldn't be found. It took a couple phone calls... and then getting the woman to the hospital.
Henri stayed with her. Texted his daughter about it. Called the others at the house.
But he stayed with the woman.
She was far too beautiful to be going through this... at least, alone.
And he didn't realize she wasn't really alone. It was a mess... and it took him away from his pack, and his daughter for a while.
Henri wasn't the most impressed with himself over that fact. He could have done some damage to Bay by spending time with this woman... but she'd been bitten. And when she realized it, he knew she was going to lose her shit. She was a hunter. She wouldn't be happy.
Henri felt bad for her. She was pretty, and she was actually quite brilliant, if not also kind of amazing. She was tough. He didn't really realize how tough at first.
And that was a lot to handle. A lot to take in. She was... something else. His heart could barely handle it, and he didn't much like it.
Henri had never been really happy about dating, especially with the fact he had Bay. Finding his mate was not anywhere on his 'to-do' list. And yet... those long-warned-about feelings were already a problem. He told his wolf to shut the fuck up, and tried to ignore it--but at the same time he couldn't leave the woman's side. It was almost annoying.
Bay was going to be so damn pissed, wasn't she? Ultimately.
And it turned out, she was. Briefly. Until her Sight had told her otherwise against her worry. He was thankful. When it came down to it, Henri was....falling in love with this brash, over-the-top woman, who wanted to die--who would rather be dead than be a wolf.
And ultimately he had very little to try to keep her alive. Very little he could convince her of.
He kept trying.
He wanted her. He wanted to keep her. And then, more people died.
And he was getting sick. And more people were dying... and he was in trouble.
The others attacked him. Tried to attack Alice.
He was, ultimately, thankful that his daughter was deaf. There was so much more terrifying for her to have to deal with. Of course, Bay did not discuss with her father the important things that were going on with him and Alice too much; she wanted him to figure things out for himself, other than when she got upset and jealous.
It was a very difficult sort of situation, and Henri did his best to just take it a day at a time with his daughter, and also with Alice.
Every day was a struggle, and more than once he did have to wonder if it was worth it.
Of course, then he almost died, and the fact she was a hunter was the only reason that he survived. It was a bitter pill to swallow and he could only hope that the woman, pregnant by another man, could love him the way he loved her, and that fuck the circumstance of it all...
He wanted her to love him.
His daughter needed a mother, and above all else, even after she killed the bitch who'd given birth to Bay... he couldn't stop loving her. Violent tendency and snapping.... these were things he couldn't change...
Henri didn't want to lose Alice. A lot of things didn't make sense in his life, but being with her felt like something he'd never felt before. When she left, he couldn't handle it. It spiraled him out of control. Henri had never felt so low in his life. Not ever.
When his grandmother called him to come do paperwork, he left abruptly. Trusting that Bay would be fine for a couple of nights alone. She had assured him she would be fine... but of course, when she found she couldn't handle being alone, the girl hadn't called him... and that? That had gotten him into a lot of trouble with Alice. And probably rightly so.
Because he'd turned off his phone, put it away, and tried to just calm himself down.
Being in Versailles wasn't the most fun, especially insofar that he knew he was the last of his line other than Bay; and as he had no sons, the name would die with him. He fully expected his daughter to marry off to someone and have kids of her own and be a happy woman.
It was very sad in his opinion, that his family name would end...but he figured it was likely for the best. He didn't expect Alice's child to have his name. He'd be the child's father .... if she came back. If she stayed with him... but father in title only. The child wouldn't be his blood. That would, of course, change nothing.
Henri wasn't a total useless dickhead. He knew better.
But he also didn't think Alice would come back. Because he had little faith in himself. Even if she was his mate... maybe she felt he wasn't hers. He hated that.
Hated that he'd let himself love someone. Because she had walked out.
Especially hated that it was his own damn fault.
Henri met with lawyers off and on in addition to his grandmother. He did his best for her.
She still hated that he was alive.
He was supposed to be dead.
So was Bay.
And the fact that his grandmother didn't want to be able to communicate with his daughter? Hurt him.
Being here was not fun for Henri. But he did it anyway. He tolerated it.
And all with no contact with the rest of the world.
He just wanted to get the trip over with.
When Alice showed up, Henri was truly shocked. But when he saw Bay with her, he knew he was in trouble. Trying to get a women he loved that had loved before him... to be with him.... it was hard; and things were awkward.
It was awkward for him. He didn't know what to think and tried to settle with himself, but it didn't actually do him much good. He felt empty without the crazy, beautiful woman that Alice was. It was frustrating. He was intensely thankful that she came to France. It then was not as easy to get back home, but it was one hell of a wonderful thing to see his grandmother eat a cup of her own nasty soup when Alice gave the woman a taste of it. It was brilliant.
He was so proud that that was who he loved. The women he was in love with.
The trouble was, no matter what, he felt that he'd never be actually married to her, even if he wanted to be. It was hard; she had history. He knew some of that history. Had gotten other bits from the other wolves and her mage friend, over the past several months.
While Henri had always considered himself incapable of maintaining a relationship... the longer he spent with Alice, the more he wanted things to work out, and that was painful. Because he worried. He worried that when the baby came she'd still want to leave. To raise her son as she saw fit, no matter how much he wanted to help....
It was an intense fear that he kept hidden the best he could, as Bay seemed to think that everything would be fine.
He had to trust his little girl.
It was the best he had.
When they got home, Henri was glad to have her.
She was amazing.
How she forgave him, he'd never be clear. But Henri knew better than to ever question it. He couldn't. If he did, he could lose her.
Things slowed down a bit, when they got home. Things were okay. Henri handled them the best he could. One day at a time.
Alice slowly got bigger, and Henri loved her no less, even when she was unhappy with the weight. She could rag on herself all she wanted and he'd just ignore it and insist otherwise...because Henri found her sexy as hell, even when she was heavily pregnant and looking like she would pop any day now.
They planned, of course, on a home birth. Her mage friend was often visiting, making sure all was well, and when and what to expect often... Alice's due date came, and went, Mordria came around every day.... It was two weeks past when Alice was actually due when Mordria decided it was time for the little boy to be born.
Wolves didn't go to the doctor.
They didn't go to hospitals.
They most certainly did not have their children in hospitals.
When the day came, Henri felt like a chicken with his head cut off. He kept by Alice's side about ninety percent of the time, and the other ten percent was literally running to get her things, and such like.
Mordria was there, and that was... the best they could hope for.
Alice was not comfortable.
She was in pain.
And Henri hated it. When labor was active, he sat with her, held her hand tight in his.
It was long. It was brutal. He was lucky she didn't break his fingers.
Baby Lamont was, however, quite healthy, despite the hell he put his mama through in order to make it into this world.
But the most shocking thing for Henri that day?
Was when Alice chose her son's name.
And hyphenated his last name.
Henri had managed to not cry until that point.
He leaned his forehead against Alice's temple, thankful that they'd made it through the day.
Bay came downstairs only after she was sure it was 'safe', as she didn't want to see certain things, despite Henri had teased her intently to try to get her to do so. She promised she'd stay in the room 'next time'.
Of course, Alice was already insisting this wasn't happening again. (And who could blame her, she was in a lot of pain.)
Bay smiled to her parents and signed 'May I?' with a gesture to the baby.
Henri couldn't help his smile as his daughter held her little brother.
No blood relation, and yet that didn't matter... This was what family looked like.
And Henri liked it very much.
It had been almost sixteen years since Henri had had a baby. It was harder work than he remembered.
Even with the fact he'd been a lazy, privileged, hot-headed teenage single-father... Henri still felt that this had been easier back then. Somehow, this was harder than he remembered. Hell! He didn't think Bay was quite so fussy with diaper changes, for that matter.
But he helped Alice as much as she would let him, giving her appropriate distance (which was sometimes hard) because he knew she needed to learn some of this for herself. He gave her tips and things only when she requested, with the understanding that she could and would ask any time she wanted to pick his brain for possible memories on ways to make things easier.
Of course, Henri didn't have all the answers, and many sleepless nights left them with a fussy baby and google, and the occasional call to Dria to make sure everything was fine--only ever used as last resort.
Bay was thankful that she was deaf; she was thankful she didn't hear the baby scream. And she was willing to help by rocking the baby, and otherwise helping care for him in as many ways as she could. However, she couldn't be left alone with the little one. She couldn't hear him cry, and unless he was in her arms or she was watching him directly and quite literally, being alone with him was-- in her opinion-- unwise.
Henri didn't want to push his daughter into a place she didn't want to be in, of course...
And after a while, they fell into a natural rhythm... and Little Lamont liked very much to put things in his mouth. All the time.
Henri also didn't remember babies growing up so quickly... but boy did they grow fast.
The few months they had before Russia were, to be honest, intense. Little Lala was already growing up way too fast, and Henri was sure to make sure that Alice got lots of pictures.
They went, when the baby was three months old, for a family portrait. His grandmother flew in from France to participate. The pictures took all day, and went through multiple changes of clothes. And a few breaks for baby, of course. Pictures were taken of just little Lala, too--and had been when he was just a few days old, as well.
Henri wanted Alice to have ALL OF THE PICTURES. He was happy, also, to have his family in his wallet, to show off, too.
Because his family was no longer just Bay. Now he had lots of pictures to show off.
Okay, his wallet only had room for three, but still. They were the best pictures ever.
Maybe Henri was a bit biased. But it was his family.
When they found out about Celeste dying, everything had been good; they had actually been visiting when she had taken the fall that wound up taking her life... which, was jarring.
It hadn't been an immediate decision to go to the funeral... especially with the funeral being in Russia... but when it came down to it, and the fact that the twins heeded a bit of help; that sort of solidified that They Were Going. The Sorokins were down one; and it made them down two, when it came to brass tacks.
It didn't help that the family also included another infant and a little one, to boot.
They were in trouble. And they had the resources to help, so they were helping. It was important to help.
So the family packed up, and headed to Russia.
It was, above all else, beautiful. But when the Sorokins had warned them about a 'little bit of an active volcano' Henri had not expected having to climb up the damn thing.
But it was actually an amazing experience that he wouldn't have traded for anything. Bay, while she'd hated the flying, seemed thrilled about the trip. Changing into indigenous clothing, the way his daughter was grinning... that, to Henri, was gold.
It was a strange thing, and he couldn't help but grin at Alice's refusal to leave her leather jacket behind. He didn't blame her. He understood enough. She wanted to cling to some control, and familiarity. He didn't blame her.... but really, he was loving being there.
It made his wolf very excited, and thus, him very excited.
Henri liked this; liked being in a place where he could fade into the background and learn something. He didn't speak any of the sorts of Russian these people spoke (He had no idea what Koryak was, just thought it a dialect, when it was more it's own language, but it was what it was.), but some of them spoke English and others French and he found ways to communicate in that manner.
It was kind of great.
He hoped Alice would like it as much as he did.
Of course, he hand't meant for her to get a bit of the raw end of the deal, he hadn't realized how patriarchal the society was, despite it was fairly clear the women ran the show. They were the ones doing most of the work.... Gatherers, home-makers; while the men were the hunters. He knew it was unequivocal, but he would wait until Alice brought it up to him, before they became once again inseparable, much as they were at home.
It wasn't easy for him, and he didn't want to fully admit that... that he didn't like being apart from his mate. The other men teased him mercilessly as it was. He didn't want to make it worse, of course. So this wasn't easy.
He just did his best to make it look that way.
At least Bay was having a lot of fun, right?
And when Alice finally stepped up and decided to join with him, the fun for them became much more. And he loved every bit of his time with her, sometimes alone. There was no shortage of baby-sitters for them, even if they were also in the baby-sitter rotation, themselves.
It was a trip to remember, certainly.
He hoped it didn't have to end too soon, especially with Alice's friend falling ill.
it was strange, really. Henri didn't know that mages could fall ill.
© Ghost, 2014