It’s so hard to explain. But I just knew.
We had imprinted.
No one had told me about it. Imprinting. But I somehow knew what it was, a nameless word. A feeling. A sensation of togetherness that had crippled me as soon as I had laid eyes on Sam. Sam the Changed One. It was a spark. A spark of recognition. Of blinding feeling. Most of all…of love.
It was just a feeling. We were together. And that was all that the both of us knew how to feel right then.
I felt full as the sun rose into the new day, Sam and I standing together with the others as we regarded the coming day with a sense of readiness. We were powerful. The magic surged through us like it had always been there, waiting for the moment to surface. To work its wonders on our minds. Our bodies.
Sam’s large form overlapped with my own small one. There was a feeling of safety that rose up in me. He breathed beside me. I could see his breath in the cold winter morning. His coat shone with all hues of warm brown, like a burning hearth beneath the ebony. He was beautiful. I was beautiful.
They are coming. Sam’s voice echoed in my head. I knew that the same communication had been received by the others. Paul exhaled from beside me, the frost escaping from him as well. Rick looked antsy as he stood there in all of his grandness, shifting on his large haunches. Max and Damon stood like the yin and the yang, blended together even in silence. Their large eyes that were still unmistakably theirs stared out over the winter horizon, the chilled air brushing against their coats.
Les stood near me. Our eyes connected. I remembered with astounding clarity, although most of my other human memories were subdued in my new form, that day that he had come to me at the library. My astonishment, and then, embarrassment. His charm. His smiling face that had secrets untold trapped beneath the gleaming and handsome brightness of its exterior.
I couldn’t have known all that was to come that day.
We stood at the edge of the forest. I could sense the nearness of the safe house, although it wasn’t in plain sight and it was most likely miles away. But I could somehow feel it still. Deep in my bones. I breathed in, the scent of Sam and the safe house and of home cascading through my senses, filling me with a sense of rightness. I was supposed to be there. With them. With Sam.
I was a Changed One.
My ears pricked at the sound of footsteps along the forest floor. Barely there. Lithe. I could sense them.
Sam and I looked at each other. Those dark eyes were still there on his wolf face, forever wondering. Forever engulfed in mystery and allure. I couldn’t stop looking at him. His paw grazed against mine, and I felt his warmth. The stunning power of the imprint that surged through our veins. The golden elixir of love and happiness and togetherness. I was his. He was mine.
And then, there was a change in the atmosphere.
All of us could feel it.
It was sunrise; we were supposed to be Shifting back. But no one was Shifting. I kept waiting for the familiar surge of heat, the agonizing split of atoms before everything was righted again, marking our return to the safe house.
But something was holding us back. Something powerful. Or rather, someone.
He’s here. Sam echoed in my head again. And we all turned to attention, our ears pricking and our senses going wild, something shifting in our heads. We were making room for another person.
And Hunter was not far behind him, a glorious russet color, gleaming in the early morning. The gray light of the dawn. And there he was.
Adonis radiated power. His ebony coat that was nearly blue gleamed even in the faintest of lights. He was absolutely hulking. I felt the distinct difference in our sizes as he neared us, approaching Sam and I first. The Alpha to the Beta. Hunter changed directions, splitting from the Alpha decisively. His dark eyes came to rest on me with silent regard before he stood beside Rick, stoic and silent.
Adonis approached us. Nobody spoke. His yellow eyes that were liquid gold in the morning light connected with Sam’s own black ones. There was a subdued crackle, and then, it was deafening. They joined together, like puzzle pieces fitting into the groove of the other. There was a distinct shift. A feeling. It rose up in me, as though everything was righted in the tumultuous world that we lived in. For just that one moment, as everything came together in a perfect and powerful union.
I felt the two wolves exhale. Their breath escaped in frosty mist into the morning air. Adonis brushed his muzzle against Sam’s. An act of respect. They stood close. Always close.
The unchanged voice of Adonis echoed in all of our minds, his deep voice carrying with it an omen of both terrible power and glorious beauty as he alluded to what was to come. The duty of the Changed Ones. His golden eyes met mine, and the crackle echoed in the air with finality.
With that, the pain of the Shift ensued, a painful blackness closing in as the world welcomed the brightness of the new day, our fate sealed once again.