My Omega Mate

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Chapter 3: Max

Max massaged his temple, keeping his eyes closed while trying to tune out his headache by focusing on more pleasant things, like the quiet sounds of the forest where birds chirped or crickets sang in the grass; the smell of damp earth and fresh flowers from the garden behind the packhouse; the pleasant aroma of the steaming coffee which Bridget, Jeremiah’s mate, had prepared for him even before he had asked for it.

He couldn’t sleep much, thanks to Logan next door taking full advantage of the Silverton pack’s hospitality, so he had gone out to check the rogues’ trail while it was still fresh. Jeremiah and his men had already done that, but apart from finding out the rogues came from the southwest, there was no sign of what prompted the attack or what kept them all together. Usually, when a werewolf went rogue, its mind would degrade to that of an animal led by its instincts and needs. But unlike regular wolves, rogues refused to accept authority, even when facing a stronger individual, and they attacked and killed for the sport of it rather than to protect themselves or others.

Still, they did that alone. Coming in contact with another rogue would usually result in a fight and one or both of them dying. Those here, they were somehow moving like a pack.

Nowadays, there were ways to pull someone from the primal madness before it consumed them, but there were always those who slipped in willingly or lone wolves with no one to turn to that succumbed to the darkness for whatever reason.

And even if that weird occurrence wasn’t enough, the fact that it wasn’t the first rogue attack lately was just as concerning. The others he had heard of weren’t on that scale, though. There were two or three rogues at best, appearing everywhere from the Northern parts of the continent all the way to the border with the south — probably even further down, but he had no eyes and ears in that territory yet, so he couldn’t be sure.

He hoped that would change soon. If their meeting with the Ironclaw pack went well, the north and the south could finally work together for a better future for all the werewolves out there. It was enough that they had to be wary of the humans finding them out and hunting rogues before they exposed their secret to the world or hurt others, but the constant fights between packs were only weakening them and causing even more pain.

And not to mention the unhealthy rank segregation. He knew his father’s legacy was met with a lot of mistrust and opposition, but his own pack was thriving and they were happy. Even the omegas.

And now, with Jeremiah agreeing to sign the pact, he was one step closer to achieving his father’s goal. One step closer to keeping his promise. Answering that call had been a good choice, even though he had been rudely rejected just hours earlier. Lives were saved, allies were made, and now he had one more ace to use against the Ironclaw pack.

Jeremiah’s pack wasn’t among the strongest or the biggest, but he had something which nobody else had — access to Moon Alasse, which was the key plant used in the remedy that could bring back a rogue from their delirious state. The flower only grew under certain conditions and on the entire continent, only the small mountain where Jeremiah’s pack lived had those conditions.

The sounds of steps slowly approaching made Max open his eyes and finally lift the cup to his lips, letting the hot liquid warm his throat while leaving a bittersweet aftertaste on his tongue. He continued to sit on the top stair outside of the packhouse, staring at the now empty square, which had become a battlefield just yesterday. The bodies were gone, but the smell of blood and disinfectant lingered along with the presence of death.

There had been nine confirmed deaths, four people were still fighting for their lives and two dozen were injured. If it weren’t for him and the others, those numbers would have been much higher.

The Silverton pack was among the weakest in terms of raw power since most of its members joined it to work on the fields, not to fight. But considering that all other packs needed the Moon Alasse, there was an agreement among those closest to the mountain, that all of them would protect Jeremiah’s pack from outside trouble. After all, if anything happened to the Moon Alasse, they would all suffer for it.

Max hadn’t expected repayment for the aid, but Jeremiah agreeing to sign the pact was a welcome surprise. Even if he hadn’t changed his mind, Max still would have helped them. Luck was on their side this time — if one could call that ugly, twisted coincidence luck.

The steps stopped behind him, but he still didn’t turn, just took another sip while Logan sat down next to him, letting out a heavy sigh. Max finally turned his eyes to him, trying not to snort as he saw the tired, but pleased expression on his beta’s face. Logan’s dark blonde hair was still wet from the shower he must have taken and he smelled strongly of shampoo, toothpaste, and sex.

“I like it here,” Legan said with a smirk. “People are very nice and welcoming.”

“I heard,” Max scoffed. “By the goddess, they need thicker walls. We could all hear how welcoming your bed partner was.”

“Sorry,” Logan grinned with an expression that didn’t contain a single shred of regret. “She came into my room and I couldn’t exactly turn the lady away, could I? It would be disrespectful to the host! Besides, she wasn’t mated, so no harm done.”

“Huh,” Max scoffed, shaking his head. He could feel Logan’s eyes on him, so he took another sip from his coffee, but his beta kept starting. “What?”

“You were with a woman too, weren’t you? I can smell her scent on you. It’s faint but…”

“I wasn’t,” Max replied, letting his smile drop and releasing an annoyed sigh. “There was a woman waiting for me in my room when I got there, but I told her I wasn’t interested and kicked her out,” he said, noticing Logan’s expression changing to one of exasperation. “She was lying naked on the bed when I walked in, so that’s probably how her scent got on me. I did sleep there for a bit before you really got into it.”

“I didn’t send her, I swear,” Logan said, raising his hand in surrender and taking a sip from his coffee. “I already learned my lesson. That handsome face and body are such a waste on you.”

Both of them grew silent, focusing their attention on a couple of omega girls that appeared from one of the single-floor buildings, carrying a load of laundry each and quietly talking. When the omegas noticed them, they quickly grew quiet and lowered their heads in greeting before hurrying away. Max and Logan let out a sigh, ‌raising their cups to their lips.

“Was she ugly?” Logan asked out of a sudden, and Max needed a second to remember what they were talking about.

“What does that have to do with anything?” Maxwell murmured, glaring at the bottom of his cup that told him his coffee was gone already. Logan grunted, running his hand through his hair, eyes still locked into the distance. His face looked wan and tired, and it couldn’t have been just from his nightly escapades. They had been running ragged for the last six months, visiting pack after pack and trying to convince everyone to join. Even Max couldn’t remember when the last time he got a full eight hours of sleep was.

“I know you find this meddling bothersome, but I wouldn’t have to do it if you weren’t so difficult,” Logan said with a voice that suddenly sounded too serious for his relaxed expression. His beta continued to avoid his eyes, which usually meant he was going to say something Max wouldn’t like. “Our pack is growing anxious since you still haven’t taken a mate.”

“I am not even thirty, for god’s sake. What’s the rush?” Max said with annoyance.

“It’s not the lack of mate that concerns us, it’s the lack of interest from your side. You’re not even looking. When we go to other packs, you meet with the alpha and then you retire to your room. What if your mate is in their pack? Why not at least meet the people there?” Logan continued, turning on his lecturing voice without even realizing it. “There is another concern. What if your mate is a human? Bringing her into our world would be difficult all on its own, even if we didn’t count the dangers. Worse — what if she is an omega? Inside our pack, that wouldn’t matter much, but we have to watch out for the others. This would be like an invitation for an attack from our enemies and even our allies. Some are very conservative when it comes to the order of things and having their chosen leader recognize a lowly omega as his equal partner can shake their trust in you.”

“Logan, drop it,” Max sighed, scratching his brow in frustration.

“I’m just saying that…”

“Drop it,” he repeated, adding a command in his voice this time. Logan shut up immediately, looking down at his feet. Max gritted his teeth, cursing himself for doing that. “Sorry, just give it a rest. I promise I’ll take it more seriously.”

“Got it,” Logan replied, raising his head and looking at him with a bright smile. “And I’m sure that your mate — fated or chosen — will be a smart, sexy, beautiful girl that is perfect for you in every way.”

“Shut up already,” Max grumbled, shaking his head when he sensed his phone vibrating. He took it out, turning off the alarm that was supposed to wake him up just now. He got to his feet, stretching his stiff muscles. “Let’s go wake the others. If we want to return in time, we have to be on the road in no more than an hour. And we really can’t afford to be late.”

“Yes, yes,” Logan nodded eagerly, getting to his feet and finishing his coffee in one go. “I got a call from Steven before I came down. He said that the Ironclaw Pack is arriving on schedule and he and Nikki have prepared everything already. It’s just our Alpha that’s missing.”

“Let’s hope things go as planned. Signing them into the pact is a must if we want the others in the south to follow. From what I’ve heard, what the Ironclaw Pack says goes,” Max said, heading towards the front door of the house. He could hear the others moving and talking inside, most of them in the kitchen grabbing food before it was time to go. He stopped with a hand on the door, looking back at his beta. “Keep your guard up. We absolutely cannot let anything get in the way.”

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