Smell Of Smoke
It’s primarily the nightmare that wakes her up.
Myra thinks she should be used after two months of it, but it’s as annoying and as terrifying as it was in the first week.
She takes her time controlling her breath and as she slowly calms down she can go back to her usual instincts and hear everything going on around her. The first thing she captures is the sound of her brother’s footsteps coming from down the hall towards her room.
“I screamed again, didn’t I?” it’s the first thing she asks when he opens her door.
Gabriel has bags under his eyes but when he’s looking at her, his gaze softens a little bit.
“Just a tad bit.”
“Which translates into ‘you probably would have startled the neighbors if we didn’t live in the middle of a forest, little sis’.”
He chuckles lightly and shows himself in.
It’s in times like this – 03:08 in the morning, Myra takes note – that she remembers that he is indeed her older brother. Myra is used to being an Alpha by now – it is a full time job after all – and having her big brother as her Emissary makes her forget sometimes that he besides her right hand, he’s also an older brother and has dealt with her in very different shapes.
She’s just used to the shape being the ‘Alpha mode’ by now. It’s been a long time since he’s been in her room late at night just to make sure she doesn’t claw her own pillow.
“Want me to sing your song?” he asks nonchalant.
She bits her lips and fidgets with her blankets, looking at him from under her lashes.
“You haven’t done that in a long time,” she whispers in the dark like it’s a secret somehow. “Sang to me, that is.”
He looks at her with an easy smile like she just made a joke.
“Yeah, I should’ve made an appointment to sing to you, one of the most powerful Alphas of this time, between all the meetings and the things you do. What was I thinking?”
“I’m going to ask my Emissary to pin you in. He probably forgot.”
That makes Gabs laugh. “What a douche.”
They both share fond looks like it’s not three a.m. in the morning and Myra didn’t just wake up from the same nightmare that’s been hunting her for the past two months. Like they didn’t lose eleven people— like they didn’t lose their entire pack and were the only ones left alive. For a single moment it’s like the two of them are not in their mid twenties and are not the Mektigands, one of the most powerful packs in all Kingdoms.
(Myra refuses to be relieved they’re still as powerful even after their loss. She would abandon all power for her eleven betas back.)
“You can take my body all apart, and my apple heart—it will grow again. You can take these words from your lips to house, you can take these words, from the words part of when…” when Gab starts her song, the one their parents sang to her, she forgets all kinds of crap and just lays her head in his lap and closes his eyes.
She deserves a few hours of sleep and peace.
“Like a growing chains, I have worn believes and now link by link I have chattered them. For a soldier soul is a bootless thing since I found my feet in the woods part of when…”
“You have a meeting today,” it’s the first thing Gabriel whispers to her when she gets down to their dining room in the morning for breakfast.
Morning used to be so comfy.
It wasn’t the entire pack that lived here, but still. Seven people inside the same place were as amazing as it sounds. Pack worked differently than humans, loving the contact and letting go of most pretends to be attached with the human version of privacy.
Gabriel was a druid, but... Not Myra’s point.
She sits beside him and sighs tiredly while looking at the table.
“Let go of my fucking knife!” Benji hisses.
Myra lives with fucking cats now, great.
“I’m not fucking joking; behave the two of you, for fuck’s sake.” Myra is barely awake and they’re already fighting like five years old. She did not sign up for this. Or did she? “I did not sign up for this.”
She hears her brother chuckling from where he’s sitting beside his mate. Benji looks completely unaware of the fact that Myra’s brother had gotten her another knife, she’s having more fun arguing with Aaron apparently.
“Morning, boss.” Alexa jokes.
“Morning kiddos,” she greets the full table. She sits in one of the ends and smiles at all of her present betas.
“Benji, you’re going to fucking cut me!” Aaron nearly screams.
He actually just says one tone above the normal but this is a table full of werewolves for god’s sake – and a druid, not the point – and this is eleven in the fucking morning, so same thing.
Everyone else is just lost in their whispered conversations, eating or just looking amused at yet another Benji-Aaron fuss.
Benji rolls her eyes so hard at Aaron’s words Myra’s scared she’s going to lose them behind her skull at some point. “You’re a werewolf, shut up.”
“You’re also a werewolf and you’re fighting me over a fucking knife, eat with your bare hands!”
“I’m not a savage unlike you, moron.”
“Can the two of you not? For one single morning?” Licy asks in her usual morning pissy mood.
Neither Benji nor Aaron acknowledges her.
“I got you another knife,” her brother says matter-of-factly.
“Not the point koi, but thank you lovely,” she tells him in a sweet loving tone.
Myra scrunches her nose because even though they are mates… it’s her brother. The sweet ass loving tone at eleven in the morning it’s too much for her.
“The point is principles,” she glares back furiously at Aaron. And then Aaron turns to Myra.
“Can you tell Benji to stop being a kid?”
“Can the two of you stop being fucking kids?” Licy growls. Being the Alpha’s girlfriend the rest of the betas in the table give in a little to her harsh tone, but Aaron and Benji are fucking impossible when they want to.
“When did I become a mom?” Myra asks her brother rhetorically. The bastard laughs at her, obviously.
“Give me back, Aaron.”
“Don’t make me flash eyes at this hour,” Myra threatens without any heat what so ever.
It works anyway.
“Myra?” her brother’s voice brings her from the memory.
“Sorry,” her voice cracks but he says nothing. “Meeting with who?”
Druid or werewolf or human, with a pack bond as strong as theirs Gabriel can definitely feel her grieving. He says nothing to that too and clears his throat.
“Flora, the witch from Cameghen.”
“Okay, I’ll get ready.”
He nods and they eat in silence, both of them too lost in their own thoughts.
The empty table hurts as much as the first day and Myra wonders when the pain will start to numb a little bit. She’s taking feeling numb over this constant pain now.
The meeting is uneventful and goes smoothly because Flora is in the first place one of the nicest people in the entire universe. She’s young – only eighteen – but she’s so bright and true that both Mektigands leave the place feeling a little better than when they came in.
Being non humans both of them love to walk – even long walks like this, crossing kingdoms and everything – and they got here in Flora’s place yesterday evening. The walk back is going to be a little longer because they both decided to stop straight in the village as soon as they get back in their own kingdom.
The Mektigand pack used to take care of Gunsthat’s villages. The Kingdom absolutely loved their pack. Every generation of it.
The tragedy of what happened struck everyone, so now it was time to reassure everyone that at least the Alpha was okay. The King from Gunsthat never actually saw Myra’s face – only her Wolf form – and she knew better than no one that her secret was safe with villages of people that loved her well enough to protect her, hated him enough to not side with him and those who did never came close enough to get a glance at her in the first place.
Everyone was welcoming and understanding when Gabriel asked quietly that they didn’t get in her personal space too much.
Two months and she was still fidgety.
Losing a family member is not losing a pack member. Losing a pack member feels like legitimately losing a limb. And Myra and Gabriel lost eleven of those.
“Are you sure you don’t want tea, my darling?” Mrs. Corsa asks again.
Her sweet and caring smile always soothed Myra.
“I’m sure Mrs. Corsa.”
She nodded calmly and then she jumped out of her seat like someone burned her.
“I’ve got something for you, Gabriel.” She says as she walks further into the house. “I found the old book while cleaning the things from Alexa. I think she was going to give you as an October gift.”
Mrs. Corsa doesn’t raise her voice while still talking very distantly from them because she knows that even though he doesn’t have wolf ears, Gabriel has ears that work way better than humans’.
Myra studies her brother’s features and sees a tiny smile in there somewhere. He’s closed around other people, and even being a grandmother of one of her deceased pack members, Mrs. Corsa doesn’t smell like pack well enough to leave his guard down.
Gabriel blames himself just as much as Myra blames her.
It’s probably a family thing.
“Here my darling,” she comes back baring a book that looks a thousand years old. The book is well cleaned and doesn’t even look dusty. Trust Mrs. Corsa to take care of antiques anytime.
Before giving it to him though, she appears to have second thoughts.
“Is there a problem Deidra?” he asks the woman.
Myra was never close enough to Alexa’s family to go in first name basis. It’s an Alpha thing. She was always possessive, never liked acknowledging that other people held a special place in her beta’s hearts almost as big as hers.
“I don’t know now…” she whispers. Myra can’t read the title of the book for shit.
I mean, her vision is good enough but… Was that Gaelic? It was. So… Nope, thanks.
Give her Latin. Archaich Latin over anything.
Her brother on the other hand… “’The Guide of Mates’. The prime study on mates. By none other than Frenco Luthian.”
Myra leans towards him.
“Who the hell is that dude?”
Whatever tension is left in the room evaporates as her brother can’t help but laugh.
“That dude was none other than the first Alpha to give in his full time to the whole study of mates. He did the whole thing. He designed the Mating Ritual as safe as it is today, he designed the different tattoos for different kinds of mates and their meaning, he’s—“
“The Aristotle of Mating subjects, got it,” she smiles and sits back straight. “Sounds like a nice lad. Who was his mate?”
Mrs. Corsa carefully hands the book over to her brother.
Myra eyes widen.
“Whoa, please tell me they were not bro—“
“No,” her brother interrupts quickly with a scrunched nose and obviously Mrs. Corsa laughs.
“They never figured his single surname, darling. He was a whore before he met Luthian,” she explains and okay, that sounds pretty amazing. “He was a whore, an omega and an alchemist.”
“Holy shit, he was like, the worst stereotype to ever exist in the supernatural community. And given the looks of this book I’m gonna go ahead and say that they were even more judgmental back when this Luthian wrote this—Hey, I remember this name!” Myra looks to her brother with a smile. “I remember now mom mentioning ‘Luthian’ as she gave me Mating 101 lessons.”
“I’m surprised you remember those even existed,” he teased.
“Ha fucking ha, Myra doesn’t believe in mates—“
“I didn’t. You know that.” The pointed look she gives him makes both of them sigh.
Kind of impossible not to believe in mates when she had her brother and Benji under her nose since her high school years up until… well.
“You don’t believe you have a mate, I meant.”
Myra chuckles bitterly.
“Not every werewolf meets their mate, you know that. Technically the statistics say that more werewolves meet a very good pair. Not their mates. I mean, when you date someone as a human it’s different, we… We can sense truth. Loyalty. Love. Even their scent makes things better… Most werewolves meet the closest they can get to their mate.”
“Luthian talks about that in the book,” Mrs. Corsa says sweetly. “And I know what you mean. My husband was like that. We were not mates. It kind of hurts a little because you can’t perform the Mating Ritual not being mates… obviously. They say it’s one of the most beautiful things that ever happened in this Earth.”
“It is.” Gabriel’s voice is strained and his knuckles are white where he’s holding the book, but he’s learned to keep his cool by now. “It changes your vision of the world ‘beautiful’ and ‘love’.”
“Don’t remind me of the heavenly days I could spend without Benji and Aaron arguing in the morning,” Myra jokes.
Gabriel looks at her with a sad smile. She’s the only one who can still say her name without him looking murderous or slightly pissed.
She’s pretty sure he cursed a few people mentally who dared talked about her.
“It lasts three days?” Mrs. Corsa asks curiously.
The question doesn’t surprise Myra since it’s normal that the details of Mating Rituals are not known because they’re something extremely private and reserved for supernatural community and Mates. Mrs. Corsa is a witch and even though her husband was a werewolf, Myra was certain there was just one case of Mates in his pack.
“Three,” Gabs agrees. “The coven stays on the first day to perform the Ritual, the Pack goes in the second to acknowledge the Mates and in the third it’s just the Mates and the Moon.”
“I’m gonna have to borrow that book of yours, big bro.”
Gabs gives her a pointed look.
“Meaning I’m going to have to translate about—“he interrupts to look at the number of pages. “729 pages of Gaelic for your highness?”
She smiles brightly.
“Hey, that’s fun for you for like… a week!” she jokes and he looks a little murderous but she can see the hidden smile on his face. “And since I’m never gonna have one of those I might as well live through vivid fantasies given me by the start crossed love story of a whore and… what was that Luthian again?”
“Did you pay attention to one word mom said?”
“He was a King.”
Myra rolls her eyes. Hard.
“Obviously.” She rolls her eyes again just to make sure her point is made. “The King and the whore. What bullshit.”
The nightmares give her a week of peace.
She goes on more meetings, she goes to the village and she feels the void left by eleven people that she knows are gone.
And it doesn’t matter what Gabs says, she does not think about ways of killing the King.
Her psychotic smile just happens to be part of her face, okay?
They’re on the forest outside of their property because her brother’s training yet another one of his spells when it all starts.
“I finished the book, by the way.”
She draws another arrow and sets in her bow. Not even looking at him, she hums and smiles.
“Reading or translating for your beautiful little sister?”
She hits the target.
“Aren’t you wonderful?”
“Learned with you.”
They both stop what they’re doing to look at each other and smile the brand Mektigand smile.
“You’re going to get your eyes stuck behind your skull from rolling your eyes by page 100.”
“Why? The book starts with the king and the whore star crossed lovers-mates story?”
“It’s a classic, little sis. You can’t say no to that.”
“Stop being mean me.”
“That’s really not me being mean,” he laughs and adds a weird black goo to his cauldron. It smells awful.
“What the hell is that shit?”
“This… thing, is a wonderful Fire-Eater spell/potion I’m learning.”
“Well, your Fire-Eater spell slash potion smells like shit.”
“I am so sorry my efforts to be a good emissary offend your highly sensitive werewolf nose—“
“It’s not highly sensitive, mom tested me!”
Gabriel throws his head back and laughs loudly.
“And let’s not get started on the hearing of yours that gets things wrong. I mean, for a badass Alpha werewolf that’s pretty concerning little sis.”
Myra’s growl is low on her chest.
“Stop teasing me! Dad tested me too!” She draws an arrow in a quick supernatural motion and launches it in his general direction. The arrow explodes in the air a few meters in front of his face and her brother is full-on laughing now. Why does he like blowing up things so much? “You’re mean when you want to.”
“You love our brotherly bantering.”
“Keep saying that, asshole. Whatever floats your boat to help you sleep at night knowing that you torture your poor little sister—“
“Dear gods you’re a drama queen,” he laughs again.
“You know what? You can catch all that black weird goo, roll it up in a branch and shove it up you’re freaking a—“
Both Myra and Gabriel’s heads turn around to the direction of their front porch.
Gabriel raises his head and his blank expression is back on. He’s on Emissary mode as quick as a blink, just like that.
When they get to the front part of their mansion, there’s an older man with pamphlets on his hand, a tiny smile on his face. He looks like one of those old grandparents that are way too cool for their age and still do exercises. He’s obviously doing a fast job of delivering pamphlets for someone, and in the last couple of months Myra didn’t want anything to do with whatever party or gathering the village threw because too many people in the same place still left her on the edge and she was sure Gabriel made sure everyone knew that.
“I’m sorry to interrupt, but I’ve got Royal Message.”
Myra felt her brother tense as much as her. She was fairly certain they both looked like twins right now because they were barely breathing.
They still managed to look calm and Gabriel was brief while receiving not a pamphlet as she thought, but a very large and formal looking letter.
Gabriel read it in silence, but the letter still catches on fire once he’s finished.
“They’re throwing a Ball.” The venom on her brother’s words is so announced he might as well have said they were burning babies on the middle of the square.
From King Leon, Myra would have expected anything.
“Let’s go inside,” Gabs says and doesn’t wait for Myra to follow as he enters.
She knows well enough when her brother is lost deep in thoughts that are more than just thoughts and she doesn’t dare to interrupt.
“It’s because of what Leon did. He feels threatened.”
Two months ago, King Leon killed Myra’s entire pack.
He was well hated by everyone, exaggeration left aside. It was well known in the villages around the Kingdom that Leon left his own father rot in his death bed. Leon’s father was sick and it was expected of him to take care of the King, but Leon did his least.
He became King then, married and had a son like he had done nothing.
Leon ruled just fine—in all fairness, he was great at politics. The problem was simple: his raw and endless cruelty. King Leon didn’t have a loving bone in his entire body.
And two months ago, he performed on of the rituals that contained the biggest black magic ever. It was something even dark witches and darachs didn’t perform.
Werewolves that were able to do the full shift were known to have something called “wolf skin”. It was mostly called that because it’s what it was. When you’re a human in wolf form, you’re in your wolf skin.
And then a group of Darachs – that were well dead now – once developed a ritual so black and awful that it could only result in something equally as terrifying. The ritual created a bullet that if shot a werewolf in full shape on the Full Moon, it was able to separate the human from the wolf skin.
Meaning that after being shot, what was left was a dead human body and a literal a wolf skin. Like somebody’s been on a hunt.
And it wouldn’t be so mean and cruel and absolutely soulless if it wasn’t for the fact that in the wolf skin was everything the human ever was. Still conscious. It was like somebody trapped a human inside a few meters of wolf fur, a still breathing and thinking human being, forever lost in a limbo of darkness.
The wolf skin itself wasn’t even worth for nothing. No use in spells of any kind. The result was just a human mind trapped in that wolf skin and that was absolutely the cruelest thing ever. The ritual to create the bullet itself apparently involved baby sacrifices, virgins and all kinds of black goo that Myra shivered just from thinking.
And that’s what Leon hired a group of assassins to do.
That’s what he did two months ago, with the missing point of Myra because the witches ran away when her and her brother finally got free from the torturous spell they were put under while their pack was murdered.
“He’s terrified because he thinks we’re going to go there and slash his throat,” Myra says slowly.
“Or poison his wine with the worst kind of black magic I could find that would make him die as slowly and as painfully and consciously as supernaturally possible,” he brother retorts, voice cold and distant. “I was thinking Frichno. A spell with that plant is just vicious.”
“You could put a hint of Driado.”
“Yeah,” she mutters back, voice as cold as her brother’s. “Do a linking spell, make him feel what you did. They say nothing hurts more than losing a Mate. Implant the pain in him. Throw some ashn in the spell too to make him a little delusional for a few hours but to balance the reaction and he’ll be conscious while he dies.”
Gabriel doesn’t answer for a few second.
“And gorcha.” Myra raises her eyebrows at him questioning. “That black goo in the spell I was using outside. It tastes like vomit mixed with garlic, people say.”
Gabriel looks distant and lost for a few more seconds but then sighs and runs his hands over his face.
The plan forms in Myra’s mind as she watches him in front of her. Her brother looks as pained and as tired as he did in the first days after the Incident.
Myra lost a pack and she knows the pain is basically the same as losing a Mate, but there’s a hint of something more with mates. She analyses the book Mrs. Corsa gave her brother a week ago that’s sitting in the living room’s middle desk. It’s open in a random page – Gabriel likes to take notes of the things that interest him the most – and Myra can see a drawing that catches her attention a lot.
There’s a moon and some sort of wind connecting an anatomic heart to a Wolf’s eyes. She doesn’t need to understand Gaelic to remember her mom talking about the Mate’s supernatural pulling to the wolf was as strong as the Moon’s.
She doesn’t know how long she sits in the living room before her brother comes down from his room. It’s dark and the Full Moon is tomorrow so she’s starting to feel a little weird already.
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have left you.” The whispery tone is something they’re used to in this house. It’s so soothing, and it’s something they got from their dad. Their mom is a loud and vivid Alpha, but their dad is a snarky and sassy introvert who likes to talk in whispery tones like he isn’t in a house full of werewolves. It’s contagious.
He lies on the sofa and rests his head on her lap.
“We should, you know?
“Kill him?” she asks.
“It wouldn’t dull the pain. The memories.” She sighs. “The anger.”
“It sure as hell would make me sleep better at night.”
“Not it wouldn’t,” she sighs. She places her hand on his neck lightly knowing that an Alpha touch soothes even an Emissary. He relaxes a little, but he’s still stiff and smelling of anger and grief.
Myra thrives in the small moments that he doesn’t smell like that anymore, like when they’re training together or doing their brotherly bantering. She never thought in all her years she would love so much the bantering between them.
“You know you wouldn’t be able to sleep knowing you orphaned a boy.”
Myra doesn’t know why she says it, but she feels like deep down is truth.
Her brother does give her a weird look, though.
“People in our Lunad village say his father doesn’t take a breath without passing it through the kid first.” Huh. He’s probably scared to raise a kid who’ll do to him what he did to his own father. “If he was okay with his father killing a pack because poor king Leon couldn’t take having people with more power and who were more loved than him around, I don’t think that kind of person would interfere in my sleep that much, Myra.”
She sighs and feels a weird tug in her chest.
“How can anyone know about this and say yes?”
“My words exactly.”
They just look at each other and fall into a silence.
They’ve always managed to be in each other’s presence without the need to talk, but lately it’s like a small place of peace. After many heartbeats, Gabs go back to whispering.
“Do you ever just get lost in a memory here? In the house?”
“All the time. All the fucking time,” she confesses.
“Remember movie nights?”
She doesn’t answer because her head goes straight to it.
“Move your foot, loser!” Carol bullies Phil.
Benji growls at Carol which makes Karly growl at Benji and consequently Gabriel does his magic and pinches Karly all the way from the kitchen.
“It’s like I’m surrounded by children,” Aaron sighs.
Benji rolls her eyes at him.
“Shut up, infant. You’re sixteen, you shouldn’t even be here. Don’t you have curfew?”
“Oh yeah, because my dad is going to stop me from spending quality time with Pack! Sometimes I question your intelligence Benji-girl-boy.”
She looks at him like he’s eaten broccoli with chocolate while naked in front of her.
“It would be quality if you weren’t here.”
Myra should probably interfere. Roll her eyes, flash her eyes or something.
But since she knows Aaron and Benji fucking love each other and bantering is their way of showing love, she lets it go. If it gets too much – which usually doesn’t – she’ll even open her eyes.
“I’m pretty sure you two could be doing a lot of more productive things instead of bantering right now,” Ben mutters from where he’s lying with his boyfriend on his lap. “On the top of my head pops up around fifty things. Like making out. All this tension is killing me.”
“I don’t appreciate that statement,” Gabs enters the room and sits between his girlfriend and his boyfriend. Phil looks so at ease now that Myra can hear his heart beating steadily.
Benji and Gabs might be Mates, but they love Phil and whatever the hell they have is working, so she’s not going to say a word.
As long as the three of them don’t kiss in front of her and traumatize her for life she’s cool.
“You two have been impossible these past days,” Ben says.
Patch agrees from his lap like his boyfriend had the epiphany of the year.
“Shut up y’all ‘cause I need focus to pick a movie,” Licy silences them.
Myra’s sitting with Alexa lying against her and she’s waiting for Licy to join both of them so she can just lay there with her girls in her arms in sleep because she hasn’t been able to do that in three days. Full Moons always take a toll on her.
“Okay, that’s it.”
“I swear it, if it’s a romantic fluffy bullshit movie again I’m going to steal my girlfriend right back,” Alexa threatens without heat from where she’s lying.
“You can’t steal what you already have,” Licy mutters bitterly. “And it’s not. Just one simple sad, sad movie. You all need to release some tears and ugly snots, there’s too much tension in this room.”
“The only tension in here is from the unresolved love triangle going on with you, alpha wolfie and Allie girl.” Patch’s finesse while talking and stuffing popcorn in his mouth should probably scare Myra.
But she’s a tough girl.
“There’s no tension,” Alexa says with a well known teasing tone and oh god here comes a shitstorm. “It’s all pretty simple: I dated alpha wolfie, I left for college and she started dating Ariel over there. I came back, the sex was too great for Myra to ignore the tension between me and her and now the three of us live happily ever after.”
“I don’t know in what world,” Licy kicks Karly a little so she can sit in the sofa too. “And I’m in love with someone else, you two can have a spring wedding and I won’t give two fucks. I’ll be the maid of honor, babies.”
“Someone else?” Gabs raises his eyebrows.
“Her name is Athena and we’re soulmates.”
“So this is the girl of the week?”
“I’ve been wooing her for three weeks asshole, shut up.”
“I’m sure that’s the situation. You’re sure this is not just—“
“Alexa ma Cherie, don’t tease the best,” Myra finally opens her mouth. “Let’s just all cry ugly tears and hug each other, all right?”
Alexa rolls her eyes but she smiles and leans up closer to Myra. Licy’s lying on the other end of the sofa but her feet are in Myra’s lap and Alexa doesn’t seem to care.
“I have a plan.”
Gabriel opens his eyes and Myra looks at him with a weird feeling pulling her guts. She wants this so bad, she wants Leon dead. She wants to have his ashes thrown into three different places to make sure he won’t come back not even in another body in another life, but for some reason her anger is making her all weird.
It’s probably the Full Moon.
Once she’s finished telling her brother her idea, he’s got a sinister little smile in the corner of his eyes.
“We’ll buy you a dress tomorrow.”
They don’t really go buying clothes. A week after the Full Moon when both Myra and Gabriel are fully recovered – they do a lot of magic, it’s a little draining – and they decide to stop by at Mrs. Corsa.
She’s happy with the visit considering they haven’t been around much and it’s quick to make them some tea.
“You’re here because of the book?” she asks Gabriel.
He shakes his head but smiles at her nonetheless.
“But thank you for that one. It was a great book.” She smiles at him as a way of saying ‘You’re welcome’. “Myra liked it a lot too,” he adds after a few seconds.
“Oh yeah, the king and the whore story was very inspirational,” she mutters sarcastically while adding a bit of milk to her tea.
“Not counting the Luthian mates story. Obviously.”
“Oh c’mon! I loved it,” she says, the sarcasm dripping from her voice. “All that story about how the King had walks late at night. Alone. With no guards. Because he felt a pull towards his beautiful mate—“
“We get it, you laughed the whole time.”
“The whole time,” she agrees.
Mrs. Corsa offers Gabriel his cup of tea and sits in the table with her glare fixed on Myra. “You don’t think the story is true?”
“She knows it’s true, hence the reason she hates it with her guts,” explains her brother.
Myra just shrugs and sits in the table with them.
“It bugs me,” she says looking at Mrs. Corsa. “I wish I had the option of thinking that’s bullshit—“
“The option of thinking that’s untrue, but I don’t.”
Mrs. Corsa doesn’t answer her for a while and the three of them sip their tea quietly, but the old woman seems to be lost in thoughts.
“Can I ask you a question, Myra?”
Her brother gives her a look, and Myra knows why. She has a problem with people talking to her about that kind of subject, just as much as he has with people talking to him about the Spark.
But since it’s Mrs. Corsa and the woman has been nothing but polite towards her since forever, she just smiles and nods.
“What is your… issue with mates?”
Myra sighs. Her brother just goes back to his tea because they have had this talk before and since he knows what the answer is, he decides not to look at his sister so much because too many looks on her while she talks about this can make her uneasy.
“It’s not an issue. At least I don’t think it is.” She puts her cup down and talks while tracing patterns in the wood table. “I know those stories are true, Mrs. Corsa. I have seen mates, but the worst part is… I have lived with mates through my entire life. My parents are mates; my aunt and my uncle have their mates and even dad who has only one brother, he has a mate.”
Mrs. Corsa looks confused, but Myra continues.
“I have seen and lived with mates ever since I was born. When I was fifteen, my brother brought his mate to our house. And… ever since I was eleven, when mom said that it’s the time of your life your pull towards your mate begins, I never… felt it. I never felt the pull, you know? I’m not skeptical about this, I know it’s real. But I know I can’t have it, never will.”
“That bothers you?” she asks.
Myra looks at her with a bitter smile.
“It shouldn’t?” Mrs. Corsa doesn’t answer, so Myra finishes her trail of thoughts. “I guess it made me a little bitter towards the subject knowing that I’ll never have what I grew up seeing. It’s like I’m… settling for less.”
“You think I’ve settled for less?” Mrs. Corsa asks her and it’s not bitter in any way—just plain curious.
“I don’t.” The answer is truth, but Myra still has a distant look. “It just makes it look that way when you grow up surrounded by that. And I literally mean surrounded.”
The woman takes a long look at Myra and after a while nods like she finally understands.
“I get it now. I can’t say I understand, but I get it. I didn’t grow up with this constantly in my life.” She gets up now, somehow knowing the cookies she was doing are ready. “How are your parents?”
“Hilarious.” Myra and Gabriel say at the same time and end up laughing a little.
“They’re absurdly different,” Gabs says. “Mom is an Alpha and loud and just… loud, in general, you know?”
“And then you have our dad who’ll barely say two sentences to people he doesn’t know,” Myra continues. “He always engaged himself in conversations with us because we’re his children, obviously, but he’s really, really quiet. And mysterious. And broody.”
“And sarcastic,” Gabs completes. “They seem like two people who wouldn’t touch each other with a ten feet stick pole, but they just melt together.”
“Mom somehow learns out of nowhere how not to draw the attention of the entire room to herself, she seems less fidgety and more… calm. And dad speaks a little louder, laughs a little brighter and remembers that he still has that power to capture the attention of everyone he wants. It’s quite beautiful to watch.”
“They’re coming here again in a few months, aren’t they?”
“Yeah, they are.” Gabriel smiles.
Their parents moved to the Kingdom their Aunt Heather lived in so they could take care of her and her three children. It was with the transfer of her mother’s Alpha power to her that Myra was left in charge in Gunsthat.
Aunt Heather lost her mate in a battle that harmed all three of her children. They were still too young to understand rivalry and fight and death and why their mother was not the same person now that she’s lost her husband and mate. Katarina and Oliver decided then that it was their duty to move since Myra was old enough to take over a pack and mature enough to handle the obligations that came along with being an Alpha.
They were still the parent’s little kids though and they missed them, so Kat and Ollie always came back every few months.
After a few hours talking about Luthian’s book and the upcoming visit or their parents, Mrs. Corsa told Myra she had exactly what she needed when Myra asked about a dress.
“Alexa was not a very big fan of dresses,” Mrs. Corsa said as she dragged Myra inside the house. “But she always gave me beautiful fabrics to work with.”
“Leather pants and killer corsets, though.” Myra still remembered when she met Alexa and the girl was wearing a red and black corset that still made Myra a little weak in the knees. Gods, how she missed her. “Those she had by the billion.”
They both laughed and Mrs. Corsa opened the door for one of the largest ateliers that Myra has ever been to. There were so many dresses – and corsets for the matter – in that place that Myra knew for sure she was going to find the one.
“I’m sure you’re thrilled with the aspect of trying on almost every single one of these dresses, but I’ve got just the one for you,” Mrs. Corsa is moving through one of her very high design dresses, all very carefully placed in special hangers. She takes a golden hanger from behind of what it looks like a bride gown and the dress in her hand makes Myra take a step back.
“Oh wow, even I would wear that,” her brother’s voice comes from the door. He’s holding yet another cup of tea and his eyes are examining the dress carefully, then he looks from the dress to his sister. “That is going to look really good on you.”
“That dress is…” Myra doesn’t finish.
That’s it. She’s in love.
With a dress.
Oh well, nobody can blame her.
“Let me see if I got this straight, we have a ghouls problem?” Carol asks from the other side of the table. Myra nods. “And they’re being controlled by a crazy, and by crazy you literally mean ‘out of her mind’ crazy super powerful witch who has a shit ton of black magic to explode this entire city?”
“Correct again,” Gabriel smiles sarcastically.
“Oh gods we do not get a break,” Jack sighs loudly.
The O’Donell brothers absolutely hate the supernatural crap. It’s so funny, Myra thinks.
They’re that kind of twin brothers that say stuff together and get very little things differently, but hating the supernatural crap that happens in the supernatural world – not one of them.
“They got me when I was coming back from college,” Phil says a little quietly.
The pack is sitting in their meetings room, the large circle-shaped wooden table filled with only those of the pack that is above eighteen.
On Myra’s right side sat her brother, then it went: Benji, Phil, both the O’Donell brothers side by side, Emily, Licy and it then on Myra’s other side sat Alexa.
“I say we kill them,” Benji says examining her nails. She’s not even concerned about them.
“You just wanna kill them because they scratched your boyfriend,” Emily laughs.
“Yeah well, I don’t appreciate people who are not me or my mate touching our Phil thank you very much.”
Phil looks smug and cute at the same time from the statement and Myra rolls her eyes at them.
“The best thing we can do is track the witch down and find ways to corner her. Take away her resources and make sure she doesn’t have a way out,” Myra explains calmly.
“Her ghouls?” Licy asks in a professional tone. She’s always good in strategies when it comes down to the pack fighting supernatural forces and she’s even better in pointing out the flaws in their plans so they can make it as perfect as it can get.
“I’m working on it,” Gabs says.
“How are we going to get close to her? I’m pretty sure her territory can’t be touched with a twenty feet stick pole,” Alexa points out.
“We should do a scanning of the area. Find the flaws and the parts she leaves a little forgotten,” Jack draws out his huge detailed map that he drew of the areas of Gunsthat. When he finds the part the witch’s staying in, he points to it.
“It’s big, we really should do a field research on those surroundings.” Carol turns to Gabriel. “You figured how to stabilize that pack mental spell that allows us to talk to each other from distance?”
“How does it work?” Emily asks curiously with her eyes focused on the map.
“It’s like a physical thing, like wearing a bracelet; you can feel the bond in your brain, when you need to talk to someone of the pack it’s like you touch it.” When he sees the alarmed looks he’s getting, Gabriel sighs. “No, it doesn’t allow anyone to read your mind.”
“Thank the fucking gods for that,” Emily says making everyone laugh. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’d love to cuddle myself in our dear alpha wolfie’s thoughts, but I don’t want to touch Jack’s with a stick.”
“Right back at ya, darling.”
“Like I’m half the dirty bastard you are,” Emily snorts.
“Not half, just a whole.”
“Guys, focus,” Phil asks. “So when are we doing this? And are we bringing the pups? ‘Cause I know they’re definitely not going to be there for the battle, but for the field mapping we could use them.”
“Yeah I guess it’s alright to bring them, I’ll keep them with me,” Myra decides.
“I bet Phil’s brain is like a big cloud of marshmallows and rainbows,” Carol sighs dreamily.
“He doesn’t swear sista, I bet there are even unicorns in his brain.”
“I wouldn’t doubt,” Benji smiles sweetly at her boyfriend. “I’d love to get a peak at his brain.”
Phil blushes but he still nudges her with his shoulder. “It’s not like I don’t tell you everything.”
The pack stares at them for a second before smiling and rolling their eyes.
“Forget what I said, I don’t want to see the haikus he writes mentally for his girl and his boy,” Jack sits back in his chair.
“I still do,” Licy laughs.
“Put me in this,” Carol agrees.
“Same,” says Alexa.
Myra knows a lost battle when she sees one.
It’s not like she’s getting back their attention from the dreams of getting a peak at Phil’s brains. She looks at the map and takes a few small pieces of parchment and starts to right the names of the small groups she’s going to do while they still talk about Phil’s brains and the images of him making out with her brother or something – gross, oh gods – and puts the groups back on strategic points of the map.
She pins the spell her brother developed for the brain link to the thing, and gathers the book and the other papers her brother found on the black magic the witch could be using so she can read them.
As they discuss the rainbows of Phil’s brains, Myra does her Alpha job.