Shane stepped into Viktoria’s house, greeting her with a tight hug and a peck on her lips. Then the Luna leaned her head onto his shoulders for everyone to see. They headed to her room and returned to their normal selves.
“Are you excited about joining the pack soon?”
“Of course. I’m happy that I finally belong somewhere. To belong to you.”
Shane and Viktoria had spent pleasant days together. Their fates and futures finally seemed to be traveling together, in the right direction. Tyler and Shilo backed off after the pack heard about the Delta’s misdeeds against her and stood by Viktoria. The pack welcomed Shane with open arms.
“About this Alpha thing...” he scratched his temple, “You’re sure you want it? What am I supposed to do next? Will we mate?”
Viktoria’s lips parted, but she was unable to give him a straight answer. She lowered her gaze, but he lifted her chin to meet his eyes. He then tucked her blonde hair behind her ears.
She felt him draw her closer and stiffened up, putting a palm between them. “I know this is a lot I’ve asked of you, but we barely know each other.”
Viktoria sighed. “I know it’s crazy that I asked you to do this, but I don’t want us to go too fast. You’re young and...”
He shut her mouth with a soft touch of his finger. She blinked at him, uncertainty dewing her eyes.
“I like you, Viktoria... I can wa-.”
Before he could say anything else, Falcon knocked at their door and then stormed into her room.
“What is it?”
“I’m sorry to interrupt Luna, but the guards at the gate have Alpha Koden and his Delta wanting to get in here to talk to you. They told the guards they needed to speak with you and that it’s something important.”
Viktoria instantly recalled the glaring similarities from the night when she’d barged into gates of the Grayhide pack to speak with their Alpha. From there, her thoughts went towards the dubious scene she’d witnessed when leaving the place.
“So, shall I link the guards to tell them to go away?”
“Yes...” She’d barely completed her statement when she immediately regretted it.
Something deep down told her that she ought to speak to Koden. Putting her dreams and fantasies about the Alpha aside, she wanted to talk to him anyway - It was her wariness that’d kept her away for so long. But, now that he was here, it made sense to let go of her pride and meet him. She felt she owed him that much. Who knew? They might get to talk about their doubts and differences.
“Never mind, Falcon.” She got up from her bed. “I’ll meet them.”
A few minutes later, Viktoria and Shane joined him and Nicky in the living room.
Koden’s wolf gave the other man a death glare once he saw the Highcrest Luna posing with a stern hand on her waist – and the tune of his wolf changed. His eyes turned to a darker shade showing his anger at the scene.
“So, what did you want to talk to me about?”
Koden cleared his throat. “Could I speak with you? Alone?"
Viktoria glimpsed over at Shane, who placed a supportive hand on her shoulder.
“She’s not going anywhere,” Shane announced. “Anything you say to her, you can say with me present.”
Koden’s wolf gnarled loudly, and he was about to retort, but Nicky interrupted him. “It is important, Luna. We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t. Please hear him out.”
Her expressions flinched, then nodded in slight confusion. “Shane, can you wait outside, please?”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. I’ll be fine. Don’t worry.” It took him a whole minute before he turned around and left the room, and Nicky followed.
Viktoria let Koden to her study. It was soundproof, and they could talk without being overheard.
Viktoria surveyed Koden with an unblinking stare. The resentment in her tone was poorly masked. “What news do you have?”
He dissolved the distance between them, pinning his gaze on hers, his heart racing faster than wolf-gallop as he did so.
“I’ll make it short. We have intel that suggests some of our pack members teamed up with Rogues to kill our mates. I suspect they wanted us to turn on each other all along, thinking we did this to each other’s mates.”
“How do you know all this?” Viktoria was hesitant to believe him. After all, she thought she couldn’t trust him all this time.
“Just tell me!”
“My Delta and I were able to gather proof that this is true.”
“And what proof did you find?”
“I found the wolfsbane used to kill Amethyst, the tools used to kill Randal, and a note buried near my pack’s border.”
Her shaky fingers went up to her lips.
“Oh, my goddess. It all makes sense now!”
“What makes sense?”
“When I left your pack, I saw your beta trying to bury something, and it looked suspicious.”
“What?” Shock parched up Koden’s throat till he could utter nothing. A man he’d trusted for years like one would a brother, capable of such a betrayal? “No... this can’t be...”
“I thought... I thought he was doing so on your orders, and I felt it had to do with Randal and Alice.”
“No, he most definitely wasn’t acting on my orders,” He rubbed the growing prickle on his nape agitatedly. “This cannot be true... I’ve known him since we were kids.. you must be mistaken.”
“Trust me. I am telling the truth. I wouldn’t lie about this. Seeing that terrified me so much, I didn’t want to have any contact with you to this day.”
His inner-wolf strutted tall and proud. “See? That was why she never called!"
“We need a plan, or I will fucking kill him and blow our cover.”
“We have to be cautious to catch everyone involved. What do we do now?”
“Well, what’s the celebration everyone’s talking about?” Koden angled his head towards the bustle outside.
“A ceremony for Shane,” the Luna clicked her tongue, her pupils dewy, “He is supposed to join the pack tomorrow for my protection. But now I’m not sure what side he’s on. I’m hesitant now.”
Koden nodded civilly; his wolf, however, was swearing curses at Viktoria’s seeming love interest. A fresh shade of envy colored his mood. If anyone was her protector, it was him. Koden took a seat beside her, his wolf continuing to howl inappropriate suggestions.
“That guy is a Rogue. You know what that means, right?” Horror began paling her skin, draining its color layer after layer.
Viktoria sunk on the chair, shaken. Her feelings swayed between despair for Randal to doubts about Shane. Yes, the man was a rogue. But was he involved in this deceptive quest? Is that why he saved her from Tyler and acted noble? To get close to her, thus wriggling his way into the Highcrest pack? But it was her that suggested him joining her pack. Could he really have planned it all?
An awkward silence befell the room.
Viktoria wrapped her arms around herself, clearly struggling with something.
Koden leaned closer to her, his face filled with concern. “Viktoria, are you okay? Talk to me.”
“Yeah... it’s just—a lot to process. I’m concerned about Shane now.”
“I agree. I don’t think you should let a potential threat join your pack, Luna. But you’ll have to be careful with Shane as well. If the rogues find out that we know, it will blow our cover. They will deny it all.“, said Koden, trying his hardest to think of a solution. “How about you delay the ceremony for a week or two? We’ll come up with a plan in the meantime. You will see next week if he’ll stick with the rogues or with you. Don’t change a thing. My pack and I will intervene if anything happens.”
She looked adrift and nodded. “Let’s do that. Please don’t make me regret trusting you.”
“Viktoria, I would never do anything to hurt you. Please, you have to believe me.” He pleaded while placing a hand over hers.
“I do. I’m relieved to know you’re one of the good guys.” Koden nodded, a sense of relief coming over him.
“Let me stay and protect you, Viktoria. I could stay and send Nicky back home.” He bit his tongue after he said that. He hadn’t meant to sound that overprotective. But he truly wanted to stay by her side and keep an eye on her.
As Viktoria looked at him, she could sense a sparkle brighten by looking at those grey eyes. But then, she sighed as she shook her head. “If you stay, Shane will suspect something is wrong. I’ll have to trust him for now. I’ll be careful.”
Koden’s wolf yelped in disbelief. “But. But. Why! What did we do this time?”
But Koden gave her a slight smile as he got up. “But if there’s anything wrong, give me a call first.”
“You promise you will this time?” He looked at her, hopeful.
At this point, she couldn’t say no when his hypnotizing eyes pleaded her to fulfill a promise. “You have my word. We need each other, and I realize that now.”
With that, Koden got up from his seat. He tried his best to look for words that wouldn’t push her away from him.
“Take care of yourself, Viktoria.“, his wolf yelped again as the Luna opened the door for him.
“Thank you for coming over.“, said the Luna.
They stood in front of her house; another awkward silence was filling the air. It seemed as if both didn’t want him to leave.
Koden slammed the door as he sat down in his car next to Nicky. His eyes turned a darker shade of gray. The Delta could immediately tell that the Alpha was very upset.
“Everything okay? Did Luna Viktoria believe you?” whispered Nicky as she eyed him from the side.
Koden sighed, then looked for his keys to start his car.
“She did... I discovered who implanted the tools in our pack.”
“Yes, the night she came to see me, she saw him burying them. We agreed we would figure out a plan.”
“What’s our plan then? And what’s the deal with that man?”
“I’m...I just don’t feel she’s safe here. She’d rather stay with that guy Shane.”
Nicky nodded in understanding. She knew that there was more behind that than what Koden was saying. Still, she decided to keep quiet for now.
Another growl escaped Koden’s throat as he told his Delta all about what they talked about, Dalton, the rogue Shane, the delayed ceremony, and Viktoria’s need to bring in Shane to protect her. He didn’t understand. Why was he there? But as he talked to Nicky, he could suddenly see a quite familiar-looking silhouette, next to an open window.
He didn’t even really notice it himself as he opened the door and snuck back out of the car again. The gloomy evening air concealed his changing form. As Alpha, he’d be able to listen in on Viktoria’s conversation.
“What’s going on, Alpha?” Nicky said, quite carefully, trying to calm him down.
“Nicky, go back home. I’ve got unfinished business to tend to here.“, growled Koden.
“I actually was going to ask you to let me stay here until tomorrow.”
“I found my mate, and I wanted to spend time with him.”
“Please. Please tell me it’s Shane.”
“No. His name is Falcon.”
He cursed inwardly; he wasn’t that lucky. Just then, Koden’s enhanced wolf hearing picked up Viktoria’s whimpering. This sent his spiraling emotions over the edge.
“I’m happy for you. You can stay. I’ll be around, okay?”
“But.. wait, Alpha, where are you going!”