The King of Vivion and the Omega Consort, His Royal Highness Prince Alexander of Vivion have touched down in Alaska in preparation for the International Dog Sledding Race. While not an official Royal visit, the King is to meet with several top officials in the coming days, if time and weather permits. The King and Prince Alexander are attending the IDSR because of their daughter, Lady Annabelle, the Duchess of the Ardelles, who qualified for the race just weeks ago in a last minute upset.
The Duchess’s sledding career has been closely followed in media since it started when she was sixteen. Now almost twenty years of age, the interest in her career from mushers and those outside of the sport has not abated, and many think that her presence in the sport has brought new vigor and interest to it. The Duchess is trained by Leila Dupont-Simmons, her Aunt and has a popular Instagram account featuring her entire dog team which is followed by millions, many of whom will be watching her race with bated breath tomorrow.
“What are you reading?” Alex asked Olivier, hooking a chin over his shoulder, peering at the screen. “I need new glasses,” he complained. “I’m getting old.”
“Just more stuff about Annabelle’s race tomorrow,” Olivier said, closing out of the article. “Don’t let her see it.”
“Like she’s even bothered to come to our hotel since we landed!” Alex said with mock-hurt. “I swear, that girl would sleep outside with those dogs if we let her.”
“I mean, technically, she’ll be doing that during the race,” Olivier said, and then shuddered. He didn’t want to think about it, his baby girl trekking across the great white wilderness, nothing but a bunch of dogs and her wits to protect her. The last time Annabelle had encountered a moose on the trail, she’d called him excitedly after her run, chattering about how she hadn’t even had to shoot to warn it off attacking her! Like it was a good thing.
But damn, did she love it. And god, was she good at it. When she started racing professionally, Olivier could see how impressed the older handlers were. And he knew he would need to foster this gift she had, even if it did come with rampaging moose and possible frostbite.
Which is how they had ended up here in Alaska for Annabelle’s first big race as an adult qualifier, with her four younger siblings on a tropical vacation with Uncle Theo and his Alpha.
Sun, sand, Mai Tais and Alex in just a towel, Olivier thought wistfully, staring out at all the snow. God, he hated the snow. But he would put up with it for Annabelle.
“Theo just texted a picture of the rest of the kids,” Alex said, handing his phone to Olivier. He looked down. Nora’s hair had purple streaks in it—he prayed that was temporary dye—and the triplets had straws up their noses like they were pretending to be walruses. He smiled, missing them like crazy.
He had wanted to bring them, but Alex had been right: wrangling the triplets—all three who were boys and sure to be Alphas—with this much snow and that many dogs? A recipe for disaster. The boys loved dogs almost as much as they loved their older sister, who they idolized. Plus, they were clearly having a ball on Theo’s secret island.
“I told them I’d take lots of pictures of Annabelle crossing the finish line first,” Olivier said.
Alex smiled. “I love how much faith they have in her,” he said.
“She could win,” Olivier insisted.
“She would be the first one to tell you that’s unlikely,” Alex said. “This is her first truly long-distance race and a lot can go wrong.” He looked worried, rubbing his arms up and down.
“Hey,” Olivier reached out and drew Alex into his lap, cradling his husband close. “She’s our kid. And definitely the one out of our brood that I would not want to come across in a wooded forest alone.”
“This is true. Do you remember those booby traps she built in the forest behind the Autumn Palace when she was twelve? I almost fell into one!”
“The one that caught you up in a net or the one that dropped you into a pit full of spikes?”
“Oh god, the net one, I didn’t even know about the pit full of spikes!” Alex moaned. “I’m a terrible father.”
“Hush.” Olivier pressed a kiss to Alex’s neck, making him hum, tilting his neck to give him better access. “It’s probably good we stopped after the triplets though,” he mused out loud, not really even thinking about it. But then Alex stiffened in his arms and his stomach dropped out from under him.
“Wait…you’re not…” he started, but then Alex turned and the look on his face…
“Didn’t you notice how many cinnamon rolls I’ve been eating?”
Now that he mentioned it, there had been two boxes from the airport Cinnabon that Olivier couldn’t explain in their hotel room…
Olivier’s heart flipped. Carrying the triplets had been hard on Alex’s body. His doctors had told them that he might be done having children and quite a few years had passed with well, no results. And they had never slowed down with their very vigorous trying.
“Really?” he asked, his voice cracking.
Alex beamed. “Really. I wasn’t sure how to tell you. I thought you were glad we stopped after the triplets?” he teased.
“Oh fuck that,” Olivier said, making Alex laugh as he cupped Alex’s still-flat stomach possessively. “I am fucking overjoyed right now. Another baby,” he said in wonder, kissing Alex softly, and then harder, and then pulling away to laugh, feeling a million things in a minute. “It’s been so long since we’ve had a baby in the Palace.”
“Let’s tell Annabelle after the race,” Alex said, cuddling close to Olivier, who held him tight, his heart aching, it was so full. “I love you so much. And let’s hope it’s a girl, because if the boys continue to outnumber the girls, I fear for us.”
“I love you, too. And yeah, it better be a girl, or we’re doomed,” Olivier said. He cupped Alex’s face, kissing him again. “I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
“Really get overrun by the children,” Alex said primly. “After all, there’s going to be a half-dozen of them now. You really need me.”
Six children. Six perfect souls for this perfect life.
He was a lucky man.
Olivier’s hands crept under Alex’s shirt, kissing him deeply. His Omega moaned, arching against him.
The luckiest of men.