His bare feet were sunken into the fresh snow, the cold nipping at his skin and his chest was hit by the chilling wind that carried small slivers of ice with it, but he barely felt it.
His instincts were screaming for him to leave, that he wasn’t part of this pack anymore, he was a lone wolf and should just leave.
His mind disagreed, these were family, and lone wolf or not, he would help them, no matter how much he didn’t want to.
His heart on the other hand was clenched tight, each beat causing pain to shoot through him as if he had pulled it, as if it was just an ordinary muscle that he overused.
It was silent, hurting as it constricted with each beat, but it did not give a reason, did not tell him why it hurt.
But he knew, there was no other reason.
Fifteen miles from where he stood, was a she-wolf he didn’t want to face.
A family he didn’t want to face.
He just wanted to turn around and run again.
“We have been waiting for you,”
Three men stepped through the foliage, all three covered from head to toe with mud and muck that was designed to disguise their scents. At the head stood a golden eyed male.
“Wrath,” Rage greeted his bear- to- the- world brother, keeping his attention on the crusting mud chipping from his face.
“Nice to see you, bother,” his voice was cold, despite the friendly words. His face as cold as ever.
The men beside him were young, looking at Rage with wide eyes as if he was going to turn on them at any moment. He wondered if that was really what they all thought.
Silently, they left the other males at the border and Wrath lead him through the woods, taking the long way back to the castle. Not surprising considering his state of dress.
The crunch of leaves and twigs with the occasional squirrel or bird, were the only noises as they trekked the way to his childhood home. Each mile seemed to cut into Rage’s anxiety more. His mind wondering between memories he had of these woods and worries of what awaited him at their destination.
When the trees finally broke to reveal the face of the mountain, Rage took a moment to regain himself, staying in the shelter of the trees. He looked up at the castle, he could see the windows on the upper levels, set deep into the stones so only those who know they are there can see them. If he looked closely he could even make out the seams of the double door entrance.
“Hunter is in his office,” Wrath said beside him, before turning, and leaving his brother standing in the treeline.
With a deep breath, Rage forced himself forward, making his way across the field. The stone doors were pushed open and two guards stood against them, mirroring each other.
They stayed as still as statues as Rage passed through the doors, their only movements where pulling the doors closed once he was inside. They stood before them once more, not making a move. The action bothered Rage for some reason, as if just now noticing the oddness of something he had been so use to for years.
Shaking it off, he moved through the entryway, making his way to the office that once belonged to his father, he wasn’t sure he could say it was Hunter’s, to him it would always be their father’s office.
He was stopped in his tracks as a scent bombarded his seances. He mentally groaned hoping that he had just missed its owner. But the gasp confirmed his thoughts.
He turned and found Willow standing at the top of the staircase. Her eyes were wide, the warm brown swirling with emotions.
“Willow,” he whispered, not even realizing the words escaped his mind. The book in her hand slipped and slid down the stairs, his foot bringing it to a stop.
The moment his gold eyes were off her, she seemed to break from her frozen stance. She spun around, and took off at a run. Shadow sat down in confusion for a moment before quickly following her.
She reached her door, pushing it open and quickly shut it, Shadow just barely able to squeeze in before the door was closed and locked.
Her chest was tight with panic, her breathing coming out fast and hard. She slept on the door as her thoughts wondered to why he could be here.
Rage wasn’t that surprised that she ran. She seemed shocked to see him and he didn’t blame her. He did swear he would never come back here. And he did leave her in bed after...
He leaned down to pick up the book. Flipping it over, he smiled at the cover. Beauty and the Beast, seemed fitting.
He didn’t peruse her as he gripped the book. He made his way to the office on the first floor, tucked among the much larger rooms.
Not bothering to knock, he gripped the handle and pushed the door open.
Hunter looked up from his desk with a frown. Rage stood before him, face hard as stone, eyes cold, brows frowned as he looked at him.
It was strage, both of them not seeing each other anymore, when the spent years never apart.
Hunter noticed the book, gripped tightly in his twins hand.
“I see you bumped into Willow,” Rage looked down, following his brother’s eyes to the book.
“Yeah,” he didn’t want to elaborate. He didn’t want anyone to know she ran, that right now, she was more than likely having a freak out about him being here.
Hunter smirked, resting his elbows on his desk and watched as Rage acted the way he had suspected. Sometimes he wondered if he knew he wasn’t as good at hiding his feelings as he thought.
“Well, she is one of the things I wanted to speak to you about,”