Broken Bonds

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Talon.

Despite his father’s wishes, he was still just a scrawny little kid when he first met her. He thought he finally lost his marbles as he stared at the little girl that came out of nowhere. Chasing butterflies, she said. Like it was the most normal thing in the world and not a total absurdity. He wanted to laugh, he realised. For the first time in what felt like years. And he knew then, he had to send her away. Warriors shouldn’t laugh. They were born to do only one thing. But sending her away, it was easier said than done.

***

He couldn’t do it. No matter how wrong the rational part of his brain told him it was, he just couldn’t stop going to her. Somewhere between the cheerful laughter when they chased each other around, the gentle touches when she treated his wounds and the outrage in her eyes as she cursed his father, the little girl became his best friend. One he could no longer imagine his life without.

***

He didn’t even notice when the change first started to happen. She was still his best friend, but somewhere along the way his feeling grew into something way stronger and way more beautiful. But also way more dangerous. Their packs hated each other. It would be a total disaster. And it was almost funny how little he cared about that. All he cared about was her and the strong need for her to love him as much as he loved her.

***

He hated himself for what he had to do. Almost took back his words when he saw the betrayal in her eyes. But staying away was necessary if he wanted his dreams to come true. And he almost couldn’t believe it when they really did. One look was all it took for him to know. She was his soulmate. He kissed her then, no longer able to hold the turmoil of emotions inside him. The very first kiss he ever gave to anyone. It was nowhere near as graceful as he wanted it to be, but it was perfect. Because she was perfect. And she belonged to him. Forever. Nothing was ever going to tear them apart. God, how wrong he was. They took her right from his arms.

***

The thumbs of their heartbeats accompanied them as she laid in his embrace. Her eyes closed, a blissful smile playing on her lips. His own eyes were sparkling as he watched her and although he stopped feeling his back hours ago, the hard bark of the tree pressing into it, he would rather die than move and disturb her sleep. He was so ridiculously happy. And in love. But the bubble burst with the sound of the footsteps.

***

The torn skin on his back hurt like hell. Whoever whipped him did a mighty good job trying to weaken him down. But they didn’t realise that nothing they would do to his body would ever hurt as much as his soul. They had no right, but they ripped a part of it away anyway. And with it, they took away his will to continue living. And that feeling only intensified when he learned that the woman he loved left.

***

A year passed. A year filled with heartache and sadness as he still wasn’t able to find any trace of her. But he was not going to give up. He was going to spend the rest of his life searching for her if necessary. Or he thought so. The universe had other plans for him. When the news of his mother falling sick reached him, he knew it was time to return home. If he could still call that godforsaken place that. Who would have thought, the next time he would leave, it would be with a new title before his name?

***

He killed his father. Those words should awaken horror inside him, but he only felt relief when they played inside his mind. The bad beast was gone but an even worse one was about to take his place for he was about to do something unforgivable. He was so sure she would always stand by his side. But when the day he waited so long for finally came, there was no one there. He became an alpha, but she was gone. And the time he had to find her ran out.

***

When he met her, the sadness in her eyes mirrored his. Maybe that’s why he was so drawn to her. He didn’t allow himself to think about it too much. The fear of changing his mind not allowing him to sleep. He knew that if he were to think about it, his heart would lead him far far away from this place. But his hapiness could never be more important than lives of people. Instead, he bent on one knee mere days after they first met. She needed protection, and he needed a wife. It was a win-win situation. One he came out of as a total loser. Because with the oath he took, he forever betrayed the woman his heart belonged to.

***

They came out of nowhere. There were no signs of an attack being planned. They spend months living in a total piece, but a split of a second was enough for it to shatter completely. An uncontrollable rage filled his veins as the view of his bleeding pack members lay in front of him. He barely remembered the next few hours of his life. Only that he was dragged away to guard a part of his territory. And that he did. Until he was called back with no clue of what was waiting for him there.

***

Okay, fine. Now he lost his marbles. Because there was no way she was really standing there. If this indeed was an illusion made by his brain, maybe being crazy wasn’t such a bad thing. She was as beautiful as he remembered her to be. And her face held so much pain, it made him wonder whether it really was just a dream. The guilty expression on her father’s face was enough of an answer. It brought him another few hours of fuzzy memories as his wolf took over once more.

***

She stood in front of him for the first time in three years, and all he wanted to do was fall on his knees and beg her for forgiveness. But he couldn’t. He was an alpha now. There was no place for weakness. I am very sorry if I scared you yesterday, he said instead. The corners of her lips lifted in a small smile and he swore his heart skipped a beat. Then she turned to leave, and he could swear he heard it screaming don’t go. But it was too late. He made his bed. Now he had to sleep in it.

***

He heard her scream. The sound pierced through every cell of his body and made his legs run faster than they ever did before. Blinded by rage, his only goal was to hurt the one that dared to hurt her. And so he did. He only realised how badly he screwed up as he stared into his lover’s eyes while she clutched her bleeding hand to her chest.

***

He bit her. He bit the woman carrying his child. God, what was wrong with him? He was genuinely happy when she shared the news with him a couple of days ago. He doubted he would ever love anyone as strongly as he once did, but he had feelings for his wife. He really did. And now she was going to give him one of the greatest gifts. He swore to himself he was going to do anything in his powers to protect her and their unborn child and then boom, here he was. The sole reason why she was hurt. Maybe that was the problem. Maybe he needed to stop promising things to himself.

***

If you leave me here now, I swear I am going to hunt you down and skin you alive! He shuddered hearing those words. There were no doubts in his mind that she was capable of doing so, but bolting still seemed like a good idea. It was his treacherous legs that refused to move and in the end, he was forced to face her. The message of his lover missing him caused a pang of guilt inside his chest. But he couldn’t go to her, not before he would figure out what was wrong with him. The pipe dream in front of him shared a different opinion and she would continue sharing it, had the bells not sounded.

***

His pack barely suffered any injuries from the newest attack, and yet he felt like he was going to lose his mind any second. She laid there. Face pale as snow, chest barely moving. Wake up, he begged her. Come on. You are stronger than any of us. So please, wake up. I am going to lose my mind if you don’t. But she didn’t even as much as stir, and he had no idea there were thirty more torturous days waiting for him before he would be able to see her eyes again.

***

He no longer cared about what was right and what was wrong. He needed to see her. A month passed since she last woke up, and even her closest people were starting to lose hope. But she proved them wrong. He knew she would. And at least a little part of his heart healed when her eyes finally stared back into his. It was wrong on every level, but he was willing to risk it all and kiss her right there and then. Maybe he even would, had the small boy not been there with them. He excused himself soon after, and when the door closed behind him, the resolution to stay away from her grew inside him.

***

He was never good at trying to stay away from her, and this time it wasn’t any different. He was a foolish, foolish man. He had a beautiful wife and a child on its way, and yet he barely ever felt as content as on the day they lay next to each other on that meadow. It was the first conversation in years that didn’t involve any prying eyes, and he wished it would never end. But it did. And his lifeline almost ended too when he learned she ran away from him once more. No! Not this time! She was not leaving him!

***

Amnesia? Was that what he was suffering from? How else could he explain that the last thing he remembered was the anger filling his veins and then only the howls of his pack calling for him to come back? He screwed up badly, that much was for sure. He could tell from the terrified look in her eyes. But he didn’t have time to ask questions, his wife was giving birth, and she needed him by her side.

***

He was terribly wrong when he said he was never going to love anyone as strongly ever again. One look was all it took, and he knew he was a goner forever. Just as he once wanted to move mountains for the woman they took away from him, he would do the same thing for the little girl resting in his arms. But he should have known his happiness wasn’t going to last a long time. Life seemed to have something in particular against him, and the theory proved itself again when his wife refused to see the baby.

***

Remember when he said that alphas had no place to show weakness? Well, he almost wailed more than his little girl when he saw her for the first time in her mother’s embrace. She looked like she wanted to bolt at any second, but she was holding their child and that was everything. And to think that it was his pipe dream that had her hands in it. He betrayed her on every level he could, and yet she did everything she could to bring back the smile on his face.

***

He was so done with everything. All he wanted to do was spend time with his family, but his pack seemed to deem this the best time when they needed their alpha. It was selfish, alright. But didn’t he deserve to be selfish at least once? Apparently not. Because there was a dead body lying on the ground and a woman claiming she killed her mate. It shouldn’t be possible, but he wasn’t stupid enough to ignore her story. There was not supposed to be any bond breaking too and look how that turned out. So he did what needed to be done. He prepared his pack for yet another attack.

***

They won the battle, but they lost the war. The woman he swore to love and cherish for the rest of his life was gone, and the hole in his chest was ripped open once more. What was he supposed to do now? How could he even look his daughter in her eyes when he knew that her mother was never going to come back? Was he even capable of raising a child on his own? What if he screwed everything up? But at least this worry of his turned out to be unnecessary because help came from the person he least excepted it to come from.

***

This was the worst kind of torture anyone could ever go through. It had been an entire year since the last attack on his pack and he was slowly losing his mind. Because she was there, as kind, as loving and as beautiful as ever, and she was singing lullabies to his daughter. To a child that could have been theirs if things went differently. And he knew he was forever going to burn in hell, but all he could think about was how one person could be this selfless and this strong. And it only made him love her more.

***

She was everywhere, and yet she was nowhere. He saw her every morning when they ate breakfast together and he saw her every night when she was tugging his child to bed, but it still felt like he didn’t see her at all. She was avoiding him like a plague. Barely said any word to him. And he understood why, he really did, but all he wanted to do was squeeze her in his arms and never let go.

***

It had been years, his pack members whispered to him. You have every right to be happy again. And she would make him happy, he knew that much. He would be the happiest person alive if she stood by his side again. But he betrayed her. How could he ask her to give him her heart again? When his feelings got to be way too strong, he would run like a coward. Run to the only place where he could regain his inner peace. And it was there when he once again heard footsteps.

It was her. She was clutching something in her hands, as she always did when she was nervous, and he could tell she was fighting an internal battle with herself to not run away. But her eyes, they were not leaving his. Was she here for him? Was this finally the end of the years-long torture? There was only one way to find out.

“Still chasing butterflies?” He asked, his voice barely above a whisper.

She smiled and then she said, changing the world: “No. This time I came for someone else.”

He didn’t remember who moved first. Was it him? Or was it her? But did it even matter? He had her back in his arms and he was not letting her go again. No longer able to wait, he leaned down to kiss her and as their lips collided, he made a promise that no matter the end of their story, this time it would be written solely by them.

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