Night passed and sleep did not descend upon Titania.
She instead, spent the night pacing and fighting the urges of her wolf; who forcefully, wanted one thing and one thing only and what she desired so, was currently caged in her cellar. She rubbed the tiredness from her eyes that were rimmed red. The blasted wolf had howled on into the dark and Titania had to physically slap herself when the urge grew too strong.
She didn’t like it. Not one bit. She was already in too deep and she’d only just met her so called mate.
Morning peaked its head above the snow topped mountains and Titania removed herself from her stack of papers. Her skin was paler than usual, her robbed sleep causing the light to fade in her eyes. She was exhausted. But, sleep deprivation had always been a torture Titania hated, and right now, that proved true as she was not in the best of moods.
Alpha Brett had been at the brunt of her wavering anger when he called the hour previous. While their discussion was cut short, they still managed to get the necessities done. He wanted to plan the traditional party that they had spoken about at the Elder ceremony, but sensing the clipped tone, he knew that it could wait.
Brett also had something he wanted to proposition to her and had planned to get a ferry over the week after. His wolf was not waiting any longer to express how it was feeling and following his wolfs instinct’s, which usually proved very much correct, he knew it was time.
Time to put himself forward as a potential mate for her.
Brett knew the majority of her past. The reasoning behind her hesitance, thus the patient waiting, but now he was more than ready.
She would be his.
Titania joined the pack for breakfast, which was slow cooked rabbit from the day previous. She kept her head down and ate at the head of the table while a buzz of chatter filled the room: gossiping between teenagers, conversations filled with the upcoming moving of packs and she even heard some languages thrown around. The Duskfall pack were a headstrong bunch and it came to no surprise that a disagreement was already brewing. They noticed her presence and left to go outside, using primal violence to settle the dispute.
For once, she did not converse with the surrounding wolves. Many could sense the air around her and let her be, her higher ranks included. Eóghan, Garth and Angus observed her from afar but she ignored them. Sitting stiffly, she put a forkful of rabbit in her mouth. Her mouth automatically chewing, her mind too deep in thought to realise she’d gotten sauce on her cheek.
Ramsay waltzed up to her with a napkin. Grinning cheekily at her look of confusion. He motioned to her cheek with a small giggle, “You missed a spot Alpha.” He chuckled.
A few of children made their way to her, discarding their game of tag to see what was making Ramsay laugh so.
At Titania’s slightly bedraggled appearance, some of the younger girls, including Lydia, sat beside her and one even sat on her lap. As you would think with one of the most dangerous Alpha’s in the European continent, many of the parents would forbid their children to be anywhere near her. But, they sat with their friends conversing, knowing full well that their children were safe. To them Titania was lost, but not a monster.
Titania leant forward while Ramsay used his small hand to wipe away the offending sauce. Her lips tipped upward as did that of Eóghan, who watched the sweet exchange.
Their Alpha did not show weakness, but little interactions like such shone through every blue moon. Reinforcing her pack’s respect of her.
The children giggled around her before darting off. Titania ruffled Ramsay’s hair before shooing him away. Her mood lightened slightly at the little ones who seemingly knew her mood and tried their hardest to perk her up.
She sighed, knowing that children would never happen for her.
Her mind wandered. Flickering here and there. She had completed the paperwork for today and she had scheduled a visit to see how the housing was coming along, for the packs were due to arrive in a couple of days. She cursed inwardly and the shimmering bond pulled, compelling her to see her chosen one.
Fuck, she thought. She had fought the bond throughout the night and was now too drained to continue. So, with a strained face, she ventured back down to the cellar. Hand on the knuckled door while she calmed herself. His scent alone was enough to elongate her canines. Sweet caramel, the type you’d find at the circus.
Schooling her features she made her way to the male who was currently sitting with his hands between his legs. He paid her no attention. She simply watched, letting her wolf enjoy his company for a few minutes. Hoping that the bond would be satisfied with such.
This continued for the next two days. Titania could not sleep and the wolf continued to howl, but when confronted by his mate, remained silent. For his hatred of her burned too deep to express anything else. The male wolf was mourning, for his lost comrades and his cousin.
He had nothing left.
After the second day, Titania could not stop but stare at the self-inflicted cuts along his wrists. Something stirred within and although her refusal of the bond she was troubled at the defeated male as in front of her. His fight, for now, had disappeared and she took pity at such a sight.
The male sensed this and snarled at her. Revealing the misty hazel eyes he had been hiding, eyes that were bloodshot from crying. He flew to the end of the cage and held on to the bars. The sizzle from his burning hands did not concern him as he glared down the foul wolf in front.
“Don’t mock me!” He growled, and Titania’s lips turned at the returning fire within his orbs.
He mistook this and slammed his body once again against the cage. Titania could feel the pain shoot through her, as his pain was hers. But used to such, remained statuesque.
“Why won’t you just kill me? Haven’t I suffered enough?!”
She hardened, “You shouldn’t have agreed to attack my pack. Then you wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place.”
“I had no choice!” He banged his arms and blood flew from his wrists, a few droplets landing on Titania.
She simply shrugged, “Everyone has a choice, it’s what you do with it that matters.” At his burning eyes she continued, “And you let weakness control your choice.”
Disgusted at such cold answers, but expecting no less from the female Alpha, he snapped his jaws, hoping to take a bite out of her. With the cage a barrier in front of them he growled impatiently.
“You need to come to terms with the facts and stop blaming others for your choice. Do you think the warriors you would’ve killed would benefit from the choice you and the others chose?” She produced a key and inserted it into the lock, “If fighting me helps you realise the stupidity of your choices, which you haven’t learned from, then so be it.”
She opened the cage doors wide and he leapt at her, without hesitance. “Hah, as if you could give me life lessons Alpha.”
He curled his lip, “Your life is show enough to the worth of your words. Which is fuckin’ zilch.”
He ran at her and sent a kick to her stomach. Titania expertly dodged and let her claw drag up his leg, using his own momentum against him. She knew he was no match, she could see from the anguish behind his eyes that he was fighting blind, purely riding on emotion. She cracked her knuckles before sending a hard punch to the side of his face. The hit forced him to land to the side as blood dripped from his canines.
He smirked rabidly, licking the blood off his lips, “Best you got Alpha?”
Her expression tightened as she prepared herself for another attack.
“You’d want to wish it was.” He flashed his eyes, “I don’t care who you are to me but I will not back down.”
She smacked her fist into his side and Titania felt the hit as if her own hand had punched herself but refusing to let him see; she steeled herself, smirking as her expression wound him up further. He wanted her to admit she was wrong, that killing his friends was not necessary but all he saw was cold acceptance and no ounce of regret. If his hatred for her continued to increase any further he’d go mad.
“That’s what they all call me.” She shrugged, unmoving to his words that were meant to hurt.
He rammed into her, his claws desperate to cut through her skin. Mate or not she was a monster and to him, needed to be killed. She side-stepped him and sent a clawed hand to his leg. He tumbled to the stone floor with little grace as blood pooled around him. He had no energy to continue but, refusing to give up, came for her again.
The males endurance proved futile to a fully seasoned Alpha who batted him away every time he got back up. She admired his drive, but not his sloppy fighting style. She wondered how he’d lasted in the Highlands.
With the last thud, he collapsed on the floor. Eyes unfocused, Titania’s figure hovered like an angel above him, and he cursed her once again.
“I will never accept you...” If she had heard the weak words she did not let on.
His limp body lay there for a few seconds before he felt warm hands carry him, destination unknown. Finally, rage subsided, he passed out, letting the darkness embrace him.
She cursed the male who now lay in a hospital bed; white bandages covering the entirety of his arms. In the space of a few days he had flipped everything and Titania wasn’t sure whether to feel disdain for such an immature wolf or pride from the obvious hate in his eyes. Whatever she thought, the bond manipulated. She could tell it was desperate to be fed and made sure she knew. It ached with such images.
A knock at the door alerted her to Eóghan’s presence as he made his way into the make-shift hospital and took a seat beside Titania.
“You missed training so I came to find you.” He offered in explanation. “You never miss training, so something important must have come up.”
She could tell he had questions lingering on his tongue and she sighed, pulling her loose braid back into a ponytail. “How chivalric of you.”
He chuckled at her bare response and motioned to the wolf in front, “Is this the rogue?”
She nodded and he didn’t miss the slight pink tinge to her cheeks.
“The rogue that was sent to assassinate the border patrol?” He sighed, “I must say I was expecting a rogue much bigger, but since they were just sent to test the border maybe Alpha Jared was trying to scare more than the actual following trough.”
At her silence, he continued, “I’m not sure the Alphas tactics but this was low. Did you find out where he originates from?”
Leaning back in her seat she straightened, “No, there were more pressing issues to discuss. The pack down south took priority over where he’s from. From what he said it sounded like he’s a rogue to hire. Who knows where he’s really from.” She shrugged, “No much use really.”
“If he wasn’t any use then I would’ve thought he would have been disposed of by now.” He thought out loud, watching Titania’s expression harden.
She had briefed her top rankers of the information that the rogue had given her. It was most peculiar that she had kept the rogue alive.
She turned to her Beta wolf, her acquaintance of many years and could see the curiosity that delved deep within.
“He’s my mate.” The statement sounded breathy and bewildered both in one.
Whatever thought Eóghan had, disappeared with her revelation. He looked at her wide-eyed and she turned her body back to the bed. Eyes unconsciously tuned into the males rise and fall of his chest.
It made sense. The time she had spent in the cellar was questionable but he had assumed she was torturing out valuable information. The rogue certainly looked like he had been tortured but he did not comment on such. He was floored. Stunned, that his Alpha had finally found a mate that could counteract all the brutality she had encountered in her life. His Alpha deserved as much.
“Mate? You’re sure?” He asked.
“Of course I’m sure Eóghan, the bond can’t be mistaken.”
The beeping of the rogue’s heartbreak on the monitor filled the room. He sat back and ran a hand through his beard in thought.
“I hope you’re not thinking of rejection.” Eóghan finally broke the silence. He scowled at her lack of response and continued pushing, “This is meant to be, the others were not. Don’t let the past ruin your future.”
She snapped at such a reply, “You do not know or understand what I’ve been through so don’t you dare say I should just abandon the past.”
Moments passed and her shoulders slumped, “The day I abandon my defences is the day that I get hurt beyond comprehension. The mating lifestyle is not for me and the last decade has proved that to me.”
“Don’t rule it out. Despite his motives, he may not be as bad as you think.”
She sulked. It was strange. Despite not knowing the wolf for more than a few days, she could feel a sense of connection that lay deeper than the surface. In a way, the bond enabled her to know him. But, she’d never acknowledged that bond so she could never be as intimate as mates were.
“Maybe not but it will never work. You know that more and I do.”
He stared at her for a second, “That’s what you think. Why not give it a chance?”
At her twisted features, he regretted his choice of words, the soft Alpha from the morning had disappeared and instead, sat an eerily cold shell of Titania. “I did that three times and what did that grant me Beta? What did each time give me, other than despair? Well, it gave me more scars than I’d like to remember.” She indulged.
Wary at her current disposition he eased off the topic, “Come train, it will do you good. Sitting here thinking about the past will rot your brain and we can’t have you losing brain cells.”
The male wolf lay conscious but unable to move his eyelids on the bed. He could sense the second the Alpha left the room and he sucked in a deep breath, that was clear of her dominant vibes. His arms throbbed and the dull ache of his body, a result of his anger induced fight with the Alpha, slowly started to burn. Letting him fully feel the extent of his injuries.
The heart monitor increased and soon he was joined by a doctor who he could hear muttering about vitals. He managed to crack an eye open, catching the eye of the grey haired man. He was met with wooden walls framed by windows varying in size and as expected of usual hunting lodges, a pair of antlers propped proudly on the wall. Catch of the season 2015, it said on a small plaque underneath.
His head swam and he struggled to recall where he was. The doctor swiftly recognised his confusion as he checked his pulse.
“You’re on Duskfall pack lands.”
“Duskfall?” He asked, mind still groggy and refusing to cooperate.
The doctor forced a smile, trying, as his Alpha’s request to fill the wolf with something other than coldness, “In the Highlands of Scotland.”
The rogue nodded, slowly but surely coming to the realisation of what had occurred previously. He moved his brunette hair out his eyes and slumped into the cushioned bed; it was surely more comfortable than the cell he had occupied for the following week or so.
He watched the doctor perform all his checks. He even took a vial of blood, for whatever purpose, and slid a small needle into his wrist. At the rogues look the doctor explained as if talking to a small child, “You’re dehydrated, I’ve fitted an IV to make sure you get the nutrients needed.”
The wolf nodded, but he wondered why the pack were looking after him. Shouldn’t he be in a cage bleeding out without a care for dehydration? He studied the room looking for the wolf that had the answers he was looking for.
“The Alpha has sorted a room out for you as soon as you’re discharged.” Before the rogue could respond he cut in, “Don’t ask why. If it were up to me you’d be back in that cell where you belong. Wolves don’t get away with committing attacks on packs without repercussions.”
The rogue was too exhausted to respond to the doctor’s snippy comments but remained complexed at the Alphas behaviour. A room? What was her angle?
He simply let the doctor continue his checks before he was left alone, once again. It wasn’t an hour later before a small redhead escorted him to his new lodge. She was a wolf of many words and he soon noticed that she made the conversation all on her own, without another person. He found her vibrant personality pleasant and didn’t mind listening to her yattering on about her favourite colour or what happened at her mother’s fortieth birthday party. It made a nice change from the looks and whispers that flittered around wherever he walked.
The pack knew he was an outsider. They could smell it, sense it. His bloodied appearance did nothing but encourage the whispers. The girl, who he assumed was a teenager, gave him a small key and with a good luck and goodbye, he was once again left to his own devices.
With a small click, the wooden door adorned with a number twelve opened, revealing a small but modest log cabin. He’d never had his own home and marvelled at the oak smell that wafted through the bungalow. Wooden furniture matched the interior with a deer hide rug covering the floor. He assumed this was a new building as it was fitted with appliances he hadn’t seen elsewhere on the parklands. With a smile, he ran and landed heavily on the double bed. Despite his circumstances, the small childish act swept some of his grief under the metaphoric carpet, letting the anguish from the past week diminish.
From his taxing time spent at Duskfall he quickly took a shower, changing into clothes that had been left for him; a blue tartan kilt with a white shirt. He gave the clothes a look over, not used to wearing a skirt but put them on regardless. The male would not wear the clothes that were tossed to the side, too covered in blood, grime and whatever other stains.
Clean and tidy, he couldn’t help but marvel at his own space. It was difficult for him not to think about Titania, she could have easily thrown him back in the cellar without a second thought but here he was; sitting in his own cabin with new clothes.
His cousin would laugh at him now, he was dancing with the enemy and she was not one for cute ballets or ballroom. A dance with her was a tango with the devil and who knew how long it would be before he got burned.