Mage's Fire

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Twenty-Six: Nadia

Gramma, Delta, and I returned to Wolf Valley on Saturday night. We had driven all night and day, and when we got home, I barely had enough energy to climb up the stairs to my room. Delta and I crawled into bed, and within moments, we were both asleep.

The next morning, I woke up to find that Riley was downstairs. I laid in bed for several moments, listening to her argue with my Dad for several moments before I finally mustered up enough energy to get out of bed.

Delta whined, yawning when he licked my hand. I chuckled and reached down to rub his ears before turning to the door. He followed me as I stepped out into the hall and down the stairs. Dad and Riley were still arguing.

“…why I can’t see her,” Riley was saying when I approached the living room.

“She’s resting,” Dad said as I stepped into the living room. Neither of them noticed me as I leaned against the wall and crossed my arms over my chest.

“But I—” Riley suddenly stopped, tilting her head up slightly. She snapped her head around, staring at me with wide eyes. Dad followed her gaze, smiling when he saw me.

Before I knew it, Riley was storming across the living room and throwing her arms around me. I stood still for a moment, frozen in shock. Then I wrapped my arms around her and hugged her back, burying my face into her neck. She sighed heavily, as if she had been holding her breath all weekend.

“Don’t,” she murmured into my hair, “ever do that again. I was worried sick!”

I laughed and pulled away. “I know,” I said. “I’m sorry. I just… I needed to clear my head.”

She nodded. “Will you tell me what happened?”

“Yeah,” I said, casting a look over at Dad.

He held his hands up and smiled at me again. “I’ll just leave you two alone to talk,” he said. He came over and gave me a hug, then he turned and left the living room.

Riley and I sat down on the couch. Delta jumped up onto the couch next to me, panting happily as he leaned against me. I chuckled and rubbed his chest, trying to avoid the conversation I was about to have.

“Where’s your grandmother?” Riley asked, trying to start off easy.

“Probably still asleep,” I said, keeping my eyes on Delta. After a moment of struggling under the heavy weight of her gaze, I sighed and looked up at her.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

I nodded. “Yeah, I’m fine,” I said. “As fine as I can be, anyway.” I looked back down at Delta, letting myself get lost in his dark, mesmerizing eyes for a moment. He panted happily as he stared up at me, and I knew that even if I lost my best friend within the next few moments, I’d always have him.

“I think I might be… into girls,” I murmured, refusing to look at her. A moment of silence passed, and when she started laughing, I snapped my head up to stare at her in surprise.

“Oh, come on,” she laughed. “Don’t look so surprised. I always had a feeling that you might prefer girls.”

“Why do you say that?” I asked, suddenly defensive.

She laughed again. “Well, you do check out the cheerleaders a lot,” she said. “As well as some of the girls on the varsity soccer team.”

Like the idiot I was, I grinned. I had to say, I missed soccer. Because of everything going on with the Wolf Valley Pack, Riley and I had to turn in our resignation letters for the season to Coach. He wasn’t happy about it, but he understood that we had “more important obligations” to attend to.

“Okay,” I said. “I guess you caught me there.” I peered at her and said, “If you’ve known all this time, then why haven’t you said anything?”

She shrugged and pulled her knees up to her chest. “I don’t know,” she said. “I guess it’s because I didn’t care. N, I love you for who you are. You’re my best friend, and all I want is for you to be happy and safe.” She grinned and added, “That, and to kick ass with me until the day we die.”

I laughed. Just like that, it felt like a great, heavy weight was taken off my shoulders. I felt free and weightless, like I could handle anything. As long as my best friend accepted me, then I didn’t have anything to worry about.

Except for Colin…

For a moment, I thought about telling Riley about him, and what Gramma told me. But after everything she had been through, with Dominic and then Donovan, and now Jeremiah and the rogue pack… I didn’t want to add any more trouble to her life.

“So…” Riley started after a moment. I gave her a confused look and she said, “Sierra. You like her, don’t you?”

It was just like Riley to get straight to the point. I shrugged and said, “I’m not sure…” Although, deep down, I had a feeling that I did know. Sierra was a pain in the ass sometimes, and she seemed to know more than she let on. But, she seemed to see me in a way that no one else could.

Riley nodded. “Well, if it helps you to know, I think that she feels the same for you.” She shrugged. “I could be wrong, though.” She grinned.

I laughed. She wasn’t wrong. The way that Sierra looked at me, the way she almost kissed me… I was pretty sure she felt the same way, too.

“So,” Riley said. “What are you going to do now?”

I rubbed Delta’s ears before standing and stretching. “First, I’m going to take a much-needed shower,” I said. “Then, I’m going to go find Sierra.”

Riley grinned. “I can get behind that,” she said. “Want me to come with you?”

I shook my head. “No,” I said. “Thanks, but I think this is something I need to do alone.”

She nodded. “Okay,” she said. She stood as well and reached out to put a hand on my shoulder. “Nadia?”


“I love you. You know that, right?” Her eyes searched my face, probably looking for any signs that I might run again.

I laughed. “I know,” I said. “I love you, too.”

She smirked. “Good.” She pulled me into another hug, her arms fierce and protective around me. I hugged her back, relieved that I wasn’t losing my best friend.

I sighed and leaned back against the bench, checking the time on my phone. My knee bounced wildly, anxiety making my nerves run wild. Delta laid at my feet, snoring softly as he napped.

Sierra was supposed to meet me by now. When I texted earlier asking for a time and place to meet, she responded instantly, saying to meet at the park. Now here I was, worried that something had happened to her. Something like Colin…

Just as I was about to have a mild panic attack while thinking about all of the different possibilities, Sierra arrived. Delta yawned and woofed softly in greeting. I snapped my head up, relief washing through me when I saw Sierra strutting over to me.

She sighed heavily as she dropped onto the bench beside me. “Sorry I’m late,” she said, her tone tired and somewhat dejected. “My dad was yelling at me.”

I frowned. “For what?” I asked.

She looked over at me, and the intent expression on her face took my breath away. “For coming to see you.”

“Oh.” I looked down at the ground, playing with a rock with the toe of my shoe. “Is that why you’re an omega now? Because of me?”

She sighed. “Yes,” she said. “Among other reasons. Dad isn’t happy that I’ve become more rebellious than normal during the past few months, and he wanted me to stay home.”

“What’d you tell him?” I asked.

She smirked and looked over at me. “I told him to go fuck himself, I packed a bag, and I walked out.”

My stomach dropped. “You didn’t,” I whispered.

She shrugged. “I did what I had to do,” she said. “I’m tired of living as an omega. I’m done with it.”

I nodded. “Why did you become an omega?” I asked.

She sighed and leaned back against the bench. “When my dad started this stupid war with Riley,” she said, “I refused to attack her and the others. Dad demoted me, making it so that I had no choice but to obey.”

“Oh…” Seeing as how Riley refused to have an omega in her pack, I barely knew what the rules were. I only knew that life was horrible, and even pups were higher in rank than an omega was. I shifted on the bench next to her, crossing my arms over my chest. “So, you’re a lone wolf, then?”

She grinned. “Well, Riley did say that I could run with her. So, I’m going to see if I still can.” Her face darkened slightly, her worry and fear rolling off of her in waves.

Her hands were resting on her thighs, her long, sharp nails digging into the fabric, and possibly into her skin. I reached over and rested a hand on top of hers, and instantly, she relaxed. She sighed and looked over at me. I smiled and nodded. “That sounds like a good idea,” I said.

She grinned. “I thought so, anyway,” she said. She looked down at our joined hands and I felt a blush creep up over my cheeks. She looked up at me through her long, dark lashes, and I knew that she could hear my heart starting to race in my chest.

I cleared my throat and glanced away. “Um, Sierra? I want to ask you something…”

She chuckled. “Go ahead,” she murmured, as if she knew what I was going to ask.

I looked back at her, annoyed to find an amused expression on her face. “Last week, when we were hanging out… were you going to kiss me?”

Her smirk grew. “Possibly,” she said. “Why? You interested?”

Very, I thought. I cleared my throat again and said, “Um, yes, but…” I was terrified. After I started thinking that I might be into girls, I couldn’t ignore just how right it felt. The more I thought about it, the more I realized just how long I knew I might be gay, but never gave conscious thought to it. I was scared. This was all new and confusing, and I feared that I might be an outcast for it.

“But you’re scared,” Sierra said, almost as if she was reading my thoughts.

I nodded. “Extremely,” I said.

She smiled and nodded. “That’s okay,” she said. “I won’t do anything that you don’t want, okay? And we’ll take it slow. You’re calling the shots.”

I couldn’t help but break out into a huge smile. Something I had learned from having an alpha werewolf as my best friend was how important it was to have control. That’s what Sierra was giving me, and I couldn’t express my gratitude enough for that.

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