Broken Bonds

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Milking the cow.

Rey sighed as she wiped off the droplets of sweat settled on her forehead. Summer was around the corner and while the weather was still bearable enough to get her job done outside, spending the majority of the day exposed to the sun took a toll on her.

The woman carrying water, which Rey later found out was the new luna, didn’t show up again. Not that Rey blamed her. But she was really glad she sent someone else. Her parched throat especially appreciated the water Rey gulped down.

She finished re-bandaging the pack members a lot sooner than yesterday. The patients, she treated, no longer had any life-threatening injuries. Even the bruise on her back was just a memory by now.

If Brynn had similar luck, they could leave as soon as tomorrow.

Except ... Lia was mated now.

And she refused to acknowledge it, or anything else for that matter. For the last 24 hours, she barely said three words to them. Brynn suggested they should leave her alone to cool her head down a bit and Rey decided to listen to her.

Not that she had much of a choice.

But one thing was for sure. She wasn't very keen on going back to the tense atmosphere inside the house. Instead, she used a bit of a free time she had before someone would undoubtedly come looking for her to look around the place she grew up in.

Despite the population of the village growing at least twice as much, she could count the newly build houses on her two hands. Not that it surprised her. Three years were quite a long time, but damn was it hard to build a house. Even with their werewolf strength.

Her father experienced it on his own skin when he decided it was the right time to demolish the original wooden houses and replace them with once made of stone and brick.

Luckily, he had enough common sense and started doing it slowly. With Rey's temporary workstation put right in the middle of the village, she could see the clear contrast between the new build houses on her right side and the old ones on the left.

There wasn't much colour to the houses itself. But the villagers made sure to plant enough flowers and bushes in front each one of them, making the village to look colourful. The surrounding woods helping the case.

It wasn't much, but it was home. At least, it used to be.

Rey sighed again and deemed it the right time to return. Maybe it was too soon to celebrate her her healed injury because as soon as Rey thought to herself she was no longer in pain, her legs tripped over something and she felt gravity pulling her down.

But before her head had the chance to hit the ground, small hands encircled around her wrist and steadied her.

“Careful!” S scolded her. “You know how dangerous it is for you to get hurt.”

Rey smiled and turned to face him. Her hands ruffled his hair as she said: “That’s why I have you here. My very own knight in shining armour.”

His cheeks flushed, and he rose the leather bag he got from Brynn in the morning: “I don’t have an armour yet, but I do have a ton of new herbs.”

Rey wasn’t very keen on the idea of letting him roam the surrounding woods, the threat of humans still fresh in her memory, but he promised he wouldn’t go very far, and Brynn needed to restock the supplies they used.

“That’s great,” Rey smiled again.

It was so easy to smile when she was around him, and she kind of feared the time when that would change. He could already reach her shoulders and a year ago he could barely reach her waist.

“When are you going to stop growing, huh?” She asked.

He puffed his chest and laughed before he answered: “Never! I am going to become a big bad alpha!”

“Oh, great. What am I gonna do then, huh? When your ego will be as high as the sky?”

“Like you would let me get an ego like that.”

“Yeah, probably not. We would have to get your feet back on the ground. I think Lia would be best suited for that job.”

S shuddered as he imagined all kinds of methods Lia would use on him and Rey laughed at the frightened grimace on his face.

“If you don’t mind me asking,” an old woman, one Rey didn’t know from before, approached them and said, “are you two related?” She held a basket in her right hand.

Rey and S exchanged surprised glances, while the woman continued: “I mean, you just look so happy together. If he would be a little bit smaller, I would guess that he is your son.”

“Well then, I guess it’s good, we didn’t come a year ago. That would be some rumours,” Rey finished at the same time as S gifted her with a small punch in the arm. His height, or a lack of it actually, was kind of a sensitive topic back then.

“No. We are not related,” he answered, his face darkening a bit, and Rey could feel her heart squeeze. It reacted that way every-time someone mentioned family in front of him.

“Maybe not by blood,” Rey said, ruffling his hair once again, “but I definitely think of him as of my little brother.”

As soon as those words left her mouth, the sparks in his eyes returned and his hands engulfed Rey in a hug. She returned it but she also didn’t let the opportunity to tease him again, pass by: “A little bit annoying, but I guess that comes hand in hand.”

“Hey!” He protested and let go of her. “Take that back!”

Rey showed her tongue at him: “Never!”

Submerged into their bickering, they almost forgot the guest that was still studying them closely. But the woman’s laughter brought the attention back to her.

“Looking at you too, I kind of wish I had a sibling growing up,” she confessed.

“Sure, you do,” S pouted, “you should feel lucky, no one was there to call you annoying.”

Despite his pout, Rey knew her words did little to really hurt him. He was just milking a cow now, trying to get someone to pity him.

“Tell you what,” the woman said, “help me carry this basket to my house and I might have something that would help your poor little soul.”

“Sweet!” He jumped a bit from excitement. This boy would really sell his soul for a piece of candy.

“Hold this!” He threw the bag of herbs at Rey and grabbed the old woman’s basket instead. It had no cover on, so Rey could see it was filled with food.

Nothing very dangerous then. Hopefully.

Not that he asked for her permission to go anyway, he just grabbed the old woman with his free hand and started dragging her away.

Rey watched them go, a small smile still playing on her lips. S itched to go a lot faster than the old woman was able to, making the duo looked comical.

“Are you enjoying the view?” Someone from behind Rey’s back asked.

She had to spin around to see who was talking to her and when she did, she came face to face with the new luna of the pack.

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