I loved the rain, loved the sensation of the water washing away every stressor as I regained control of myself. I closed my eyes mentally drawing the water to me feeling the calming pattering of drops on my face. Rain was like the universe's way of righting all wrong.
Days like today there was plenty for the universe to make right.
'We haven't been forgotten, we just haven't found her yet.' My wolf, Brooke, whimpered in the back of my head.
'Sure.' I said unconvinced as I slowly opened my eyes to look out over the ocean watching how every insignificant drop hit the surface. I sighed, running my hand through my shaggy hair, brushing it out of my eyes.
'Richard.' Logan's voice boomed through our mind link, causing me to flinch.
'Yes, Alpha?' I responded respectfully.
I would have said something more sarcastic to my best friend but I could feel other consciousnesses listening to our conversation. As Beta, I would never set an example of disrespect with others around. When it was just us there was no hierarchy. We were true brothers in that sense.
'Have you finished patrol yet?' His voice was dripping with formalities and I absently wondered if he was prepping for a meeting or if he had just finished one.
Logan was really bad at transitioning from professional conversation to casual; it always took five to ten minutes for him to make the transition.
'Yep.' I said casually. 'You need me back at the house?'
'No, actually, there's a rogue near town and I need you to verify it's not a danger to the pack.' His voice was slowly losing it's tense tone, clarifying that he had just finished a meeting.
'Sure do you want me to scare them off?' I asked, feeling Brooke bristle with excitement.
'That might be best, but I'll leave it up to you.' His exhaustion was suddenly palpable.
'Everything okay Logan?' I asked, suddenly concerned.
'I'll talk to you about it when you get back. Trish is almost out of lemons could you get some?' He said and I could visualize him ringing out his hands the way he always did to motivate himself.
I chuckled remembering that between being the alpha and his mate being eight months pregnant, Logan was bound to be exhausted.
'Of course, let me know if there's anything else.' I said smiling to myself.
With that I took off running. In seconds I was in the forest that bordered the beach. I could feel each blade of grass against my bare feet and I loved it.
'Shift!' Brooke whined.
I shook my head in one quick jerk. It was my turn.
Suddenly a chocolate brown wolf flanked my right and an ash gray she-wolf on my left.
'Zane, Rowan.' I acknowledged them.
Then rolled my eyes of course Logan would send back up. I could just hear him saying better safe than sorry for the millionth time.
The she-wolf, Rowan, nodded in response to my greeting.
I saw a flash of red and orange and was suddenly concerned that there might be a fire, but I smelled no smoke.
'Shift Richard, there's two of them.' Rowan said her grey fur shimmering metallically.
I pause momentarily to strip my shorts and store them with my shirt around my ankle. Then I let Brooke take over. I shuddered at the familiar heat that shot through my body as I shifted. The others hadn't waited but it didn't matter. I was bigger, faster, and stronger than both of them.
I overtook them quickly, racing ahead and chasing the flame that through Brookes eyes I could now see was a small she-wolf.
I could also see, Rowan was wrong. There were three wolves.
The she-wolf used her nose to urge her young pup forward, but I could smell a male too.
Suddenly the she-wolf's pursuer leapt out of the trees next to her biting down on her right flank. Her pained howl filled the forest.
Brooke growled furiously, ramming the wolf in his ribs. He flew through the air smacking against a nearby tree, the young maple snapping under the pressure.
The male wolf was large with a sandy brown coat and blood staining the fur around his muzzle.
He sprung to his feet snapping his razor sharp teeth at my neck. I evaded the attack easily and we paced slowly back and forth snarling and snapping as we sized each other up.
I was careful about keeping myself firmly between him and the she wolf who was cowering behind me.
I was bigger than him but he was faster. He lunged biting down hard on my front left leg.
I yelped in pain as Zane, finally catching up, bit down on the wolf's neck throwing him off of me.
I forced the raindrops nearest to him to combine and freeze solid before shooting directly at him.
I lowered my head farther, snarling at him as he pulled back trying to get away from the pelting ice. Of course with a simple push of my mind, the ice balls followed him. They pushed him farther and farther away from the girl.
The stranger not liking the sudden change in the odds started backing away slowly before turning and running away back towards the border.
'Zane, make sure he leaves the territory!' I growled.
Zane nodded his large brown head, before taking off after the stranger.
'You okay?' Rowan asked, nudging me lightly and cocking her head to the left.
'Fine.' I groaned before turning to face the she-wolf and her pup.
I couldn't see the pup behind where she stood protectively. Her fiery red fur stood on end, making it difficult to see where she was bleeding from. The snarl she gave me was forced and weak. Her tiny body trembled adding to the illusion of flames.
Suddenly her legs seemed to fail her and she fell to the ground. I lowered my head in a gesture of peace as I stepped forward with a soft whimper.
She snarled weakly in response, forcing herself back to her feet trembling.
'She's hurt badly. What's with her fur? I have never seen anything like it?' Rowan asked carefully.
'I don't know.' I responded fighting the urge to get closer, I didn't know why I wanted so badly to help her.
'She's scared of us. Mate is scared of us.' Brooke whined.
I froze and stared at her wide eyed.
'Mate?' I asked him, watching as she shied away from me again.
Brooke only whimpered softly in response.
'I'll be right back, stay there.' I nodded at Rowan before backing behind a tree and quickly changing back and throwing on my cut off jean shorts and white t-shirt.
Shock flashed through my mates eyes as I returned in my weaker form.
"Shift." I said calmly.
She whimpered, fighting my command. I wasn't Alpha but as the Beta in this territory I had authority, and every wolf under me had to respect that.
I quickly pulled my shirt off and tossed it towards her realizing that she might not have any clothes.
"Shift, now." I commanded again, my deep voice echoing with an authoritative ringing tone.
I glanced away as her fur started to ripple and she shifted. I listened to the fabric as it slid over her body then turned back. My breath was suddenly trapped in my throat.
My shirt hung to her knees and already had splotches of blood staining the white fabric. Her long strawberry blonde hair was matted with mud as well as blood and hung in loose waves down her back. Her warm brown eyes stared at me terrified. Her honey colored skin was several shades lighter than my own almond skin tone.
"What's your name?" I asked calmly, hiding the internal fight against the desperate pull I felt towards her. She was definitely my mate.
"Myra." Her bell voice chimed quietly as she bowed slightly to my authority.
I frowned internally, I'm not commanding her. I don't want her to feel she has to submit to me, why would she bow.
"What's your business in the New Moon territory?" I asked robotically.
"I..." She started, then froze staring at Zane as he walked back up next to me.
'He's long gone.' Zane said calmly.
I nodded my thanks then gestured for him to join Rowan a bit behind me.
'How about you guys go get lemons for Trish, looks like I wont be getting to a store today.'
'You sure you're okay? Should we chase them off as well?' Zane asked curiously.
'Mine!' Brooke snarled in head.
'Finally!' Rowan shrieked excitedly as Zane flinched at my tone.
Rowan took a step forward and Myra snarled weakly. In response Zane snarled a warning as Rowan froze.
'Go!' I snapped in return, glaring at Zane, who for his part looked slightly abashed.
Rowan nodded then nudged Zanes shoulder playfully before loping into the trees, Zane rolled his large eyes following with a raspy barking chuckle. Before he disappeared completely he stopped looking back.
'I'm sorry, it was instinctive.' He thought, then he was gone.
I, of course, already knew this. Rowen was Zanes' mate of course he would step in if she was threatened at all. That didn't however stop the anger I felt towards him for threatening my mate.
I turned back to Myra smiling patently. "My apologies, continue please."
"I didn't know. We were, I was just running..." She flinched as she said the word we, before glancing over my shoulder to where the other wolf had vanished.
"Zane said he's long gone." I said comfortingly. After a couple seconds I added in a disbelieving tone, "You didn't smell the border line."
"Well yes." Her cheeks flushed red as she shifted her weight staring intently at the ground, "I hoped he wouldn't follow us here."
Suddenly the child's face appeared for a moment at her side.
He peeked out with his dark green eyes wide, but not with fear. He stared at me in awe, his black hair poking out at odd angles. He looked to be about five or six, which shocked me.
Since she was my mate she had to be my age or less then a year younger. So Myra had to be twenty-one or twenty-two. She wasn't even old enough to have a mate when she had a child?
Despite the different hair color he was clearly her child. It was like someone had copied and pasted her facial features onto the child. His eyes were the same almond shape, he had her nose, and stared at me with the same cautious untrusting expression.
Myra crossed her trembling arms, sidestepping to block my view of the child again. I watched as she winced at the movement and listened to her heart as it raced.
"You were injured, are you healing?" I asked, suddenly concerned. I stepped forward, reaching out to help.
"I'm fine." She snapped limping backwards.
Brooke whimpered in the back of my head.