“Tell me when you find something,” Lucien said, after about the twelfth call he’d made for the day.
“That was creepy as hell,” Katherine cursed as she dipped a french fry into some ketchup.
We were all in a nearby restaurant sitting in a small booth for lunch all while Lucien made the decision to hasten the process of looking up who it was that my sister was collaborating with. I’d shown him what Ignus left on my phone and told him about what I had heard - in my head from the mysterious Ignus himself.
“I still don’t understand how he could’ve mind-linked you,” Desmond said. I nodded.
“Trust me, I’m confused as well.” I looked to Lucien and placed my hand on his lap. He followed by placing his hand on mine.
“Though, I have to say, the man works pretty fast. Whatever he’s planning seems to be going his way. He didn’t even hesitate to talk to you… which is pretty fucking terrifying,” Katherine pointed out. I bit my bottom lip.
“Have you contacted Zaina?” I asked and Lucien nodded.
“She hasn’t responded and I don’t think that’s a coincidence.”
“But how the hell does he know you? I mean cases of a human werewolf are rare but they’re definitely not unheard of,” Desmond said and Katherine rolled her eyes.
“Except, we all know she’s the daughter of an Alpha- basically the strongest carriers of the werewolf gene,” she countered and Desmond paused.
“But that doesn’t make it an impossibility.”
“Actually Auden, I was really wondering about that… and you can tell me if I’m being insensitive or crossing a line- but… when you say you’re human, does that actually mean human or does that mean that you’re wolf was traumatized in the past or something? And just, I don’t know, can’t come out?” Katherine asked. I paused for a moment and leaned back against the seat.
“When I turned sixteen, my family waited all day to see if anything would happen and nothing ever did. I didn’t feel any different - and I still haven’t. I mean, my parents tried to trigger it - shifted in front of me, trained me - made me drink all these weird supposedly magical concoctions made of like raw meat and wolf-like food, I guess… But in the end, nothing happened,” I said with a shrug.
“Did your dad ever talk about it?” Lucien asked and I paused.
“Actually, out of everyone- my dad was probably the least concerned…” I trailed off.
“But he’s the Alpha-“ Desmond said but I couldn’t pay attention.
I sat on the grass and pulled at the plants around me. I felt my chest hiccup and heard someone behind me.
“Is there something wrong with me, daddy?” I remember asking my dad.
“There’s nothing, nothing, wrong with you my darling,” dad replied as he took a seat beside me, pulling me into his lap. “Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”
“I mean, I guess he was being supportive,” I said, though I was unsure myself.
“I can call him and we can ask,” Lucien said and I shook my head.
“Dad literally just came back from this place, I doubt he’d be able to make a flight back here without getting my sister on our backs… She already knows we’re here in Vancouver,” I explained.
“Something’s oddly suspicious about this whole situation though…” Katherine added, leaning back against her seat.
“Yeah, tell me about it…” I trailed off.
“How do you think Carmine is doing?” Lucien asked as we hiked our way towards the pack house.
“I’d rather not really think about it… but I’m guessing it’s running on a lot of secrets and suspicion these days - our pack’s very close… but I haven’t been a part of that pack in almost ten years so I guess my thoughts on how the pack is doing won’t be anywhere near reality.”
“Do you mind if I ask how it was for you- leaving your pack at sixteen and all?” Lucien asked as we finally made it to the house. I took off my coat and sighed as I stomped my feet to get rid of the gunk and snow beneath it.
“It isn’t anything too dramatic… I guess. I didn’t find it dramatic. One day, I just decided to take a hold of my life. If the Moon Goddess or whatever it is up there decided I couldn’t be a werewolf – where else was I supposed to go? I thought it’d be better for me if I lived a human life – get out of the werewolf trap,” I explained as I took a seat on a nearby couch as Lucien followed suit.
“Why’d you choose to become a vet?” He asked and I looked at him.
“I love animals – and if I couldn’t be a werewolf, I guess, I thought it’d be good to be useful someday. Besides, even though I’m a full-on vet – I’m confident enough to say that I can pass for your average doctor, a surgeon even – just don’t have the license or a degree to prove it… Not that I’d need one under our… packs and stuff,” Lucien took my hand in his and gently traced a circle around my palm. I sighed as I leaned against him.
“What’s it like being an early shifter?” I asked, thinking it only right for me to ask questions. Lucien paused before speaking.
“That’s it?” I asked, turning to face him.
“I used to hate shifting – it hurt everywhere. Every time I shifted – something was always different. The older I became, the worse it hurt until I finally got used to the pain,” Lucien explained, “Since our bodies are smaller and aren’t as developed, it’s harder for us to run or fight… It’s better than fighting as humans but it’s hard being a kid and having all these… senses. Though, we hit harder than most… And that lasts the rest of our lives… We’d be the perfect puppet dogs I guess, which is why we get hunted…” I simply nodded before I moved to straddle him, Lucien looked up into my eyes as I placed my hands on his chest.
“But… Lana seems to shift without a problem,” I said and he smiled.
“Xander helps her get over it – though I’m not sure he thinks it was a good idea now that she shifts all the time. It didn’t exactly play to his advantage when we were in New York.” I giggled before peering into Lucien’s hazel eyes. “Are you… usually this forward with men?” Lucien asked and I laughed.
“Would that bother or relieve you?” Lucien shrugged.
“I’d like to think we’re at a good spot – even if I did act like a bit of an ass-“
“When exactly did you – oh. You’re referring to the parking lot and that whole ‘I can make you kiss me’ thing,” I said and Lucien chuckled before reaching up and caressing my cheek.
“Exactly.” I smiled and just as I was about to pull forward to plant a kiss on Lucien’s lips – his phone rang, causing me to sigh and Lucien to chuckle as he pulled out his phone.
“Alpha Lucien speaking,” he answered. Knowing that I would be able to listen, he placed his phone in between us and pressed speaker.
“This is Dante of the Carmine Pack.”
Why would dad call you? I asked and Lucien merely glanced at me in response.
“What is it?”
“Zaina is planning to visit Vancouver to meet with someone tomorrow-“
“We’ve already met ‘I’ who’s probably that ‘someone’,” I said, causing my dad to pause for a fairly long period of time.
“Stay away from him Auden… Promise me,” he said and I got off of Lucien’s lap before taking the phone from him.
“He’s not someone you want to take lightly… Trust me, Auden, I have spent a lifetime trying to lose him and his… ‘kind’.”
“What? Who is he?”
“Auden, you have to-“
The call ended. I swallowed a dry lump in my throat as the phone rang again. Another name displayed on the screen as I took a deep breath. Lucien gripped my free hand as I slid my finger across the screen to answer the call.
“Zaina,” I greeted.
“So you’ve met him,” Zaina said simply as I grit my teeth together.
“What the actual fuck were you thinking?!” Zaina chuckled in response.
“I decided to make some benefit out of a complicated situation… Unfortunately, you were part of it,” she said and Lucien and I looked at each other.
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
“It means you were the chip to bargain with. To be honest, I’d have thought the wolf was more important- I thought they were just using the poor little girl as an excuse to get your attention-“
“Give me a second to understand… You let them kidnap a little girl to get my attention, use our apartment complex, accept their money and didn’t even stop to think for a moment to let me know that this was going on?” I asked, practically hissing my words.
“…You haven’t really met him then.”
“Can we stop talking like I’m supposed to know shit that I obviously don’t?”
“Listen, Auden, I don’t know what that man wants you for – but he’s looking for you – and since you’ve obviously met him – or at least seen him… you better be saying your farewells.”
“Who the hell is this guy?!”
“His name’s Ignus and trust me, we’d be better off speaking in person.”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Lucien said loudly, growling immediately after. I placed a hand on his leg to calm him down.
“Then you both better decide which one of you you’d be willing to lose- because he seems just as interested in your little family, Alpha.” Lucien grit his teeth and his body tensed up. I reached for his hand, my fingers sneaking into his grip to make him relax a bit.
“I’ll be in Vancouver until the day after tomorrow. I’ll give you a location – meet me if you want.”
And with that, Zaina hung up.
“You’re not meeting her,” Lucien growled. I put his phone aside and straddled his legs before placing my hands around his face.
“Lucien… I need to know what’s going on,” I said and Lucien shook his head, running his teeth against the pads of my finger.
“She’s most likely going to meet that Ignus guy… I don’t trust her.”
“She’s still my sister.”
“I don’t give a fuck- she’s bad news Auden.”
“And so is Ignus – apparently… and according to what he said, he’s still going to come back – whether it’s to treat that dog I helped him with or… something else. He already knows where I work-“
“Then you’re not working there anymore-“
“Lucien.” He stared into my eyes and wrapped his arms around me, gripping me tightly.
“I can’t lose anyone. I don’t care how little we’ve known each other – I will not lose my mate.”
“Then how about we let someone else meet her?” I suggested and Lucien paused for a moment. Lucien closed his eyes and I knew he was mind-linking someone. His grip loosened as I waited for whoever it was to respond.
“Katherine will meet with your sister tomorrow. I’ll have the other pack members be on guard.”
“Great,” I said with relief. “Speaking of other pack members – how come I don’t see anyone other than Katherine, Desmond, Xander – and… Well, you get the point, I haven’t really seen anyone aside from when we were all in New York.”
“They’re spread out, we’re not exactly an active pack. There are no packs coming after us – well, not my whole pack. Besides, we like having all this space to ourselves, when they wanna run in a safe place – they can run on this mountain. They don’t live too far away from us, but for the most part, we like being a peaceful pack. Xander, Katherine, and I are basically the ones that lead training for members that want to be a part of our little ‘army’.”
“So you guys do have an offensive unit.”
“Of course we do. I’m ready to protect my pack when I have to, I just hope that I won’t need to resort to that.” I nodded in response before resting on Lucien’s shoulder.
“Tired?” He asked and I nodded, causing him to chuckle as he wrapped his arms around me and stood, carrying me as he went downstairs.
“If you drop me, I swear-“ Lucien moved away from me and planted a kiss on my lips causing me to gasp.
“You swear what?”
“…Is my Alpha learning how to seduce me?”
“Well, if you don’t let me call you mine, I’m sure I can find someone else to call-“
No way. He mind-linked.
Lucien leaned in once more and I laughed as I pressed a soft kiss against his lips.
“Auden!” My dad called, I turned to look at him and he smiled as he pulled me into his arms.
“Where’s Zaina and mom?” I asked and he paused for a moment.
“They… took a trip, they’ll be back soon,” he said and I pouted.
“Why didn’t they bring me?”
“Well, they didn’t bring me either, so that makes two of us,” he said as he squeezed my nose. I frowned before snuggling into the crook of his arm.
“Daddy… Why can’t I hear the others?”
“What?” Dad asked.
“Why can’t I hear the rest of the pack?”
You can hear me, though, can’t you? I lifted myself from dad’s shoulder and he smiled as he put me down and he pinched my cheeks.
“You’ll hear them eventually Auden, you’re just… too young right now,” dad explained. I crossed my arms over my shoulders.
“But Zaina said she heard everyone as soon as she knew how to speak-“
“You just… learn slower, you’ll hear them, Auden, just-“
“But why can’t I? I’m already eight – I can speak, I can do everything else they can- I just-“
“Auden.” Someone called out and I opened my eyes. I felt a hand brush my face and realized that my face had gotten wet from tears. I looked to my right and found Lucien beside me, we were in bed together.
“Bad dream?” He asked and I snuggled into his arms.
“Yeah…” I trailed off as I sniffled.
After a few moments, I shifted about and looked at Lucien, who immediately looked back at me.
“I really think I need to meet my sister, Lucien.”
“I can’t let you do that, not when I don’t know what she’s up to-“
“I can’t. I can’t lose someone I care about-“
“We haven’t even known each other that long, Lucien-“
“I don’t care. I’m not risking your life-“
“But you’re willing to risk Katherine’s?” I asked, getting up. Lucien sighed before he got up as well and wrapped his arm around me.
“Katherine isn’t someone they want. And she’s a wolf – she can fight her way through a bunch of enemies in that form-“
“And I can’t fight because I’m not a wolf?” I asked and Lucien sighed once again.
“You know that’s not what I meant.”
I took a breath before I leaned against his frame. He pulled me closer and I wiped my eyes as I snuggled into him.
“I’m sorry… I just, I need to know…”
“I know… And you will, eventually. But we can’t just rush in, we need to learn as much as we can before we push our limits,” Lucien said and I turned to look at him. He stared at me, his hazel eyes revealing a swirl of emotions.
“Don’t you wish you had a normal mate?” I asked and Lucien chuckled.
“Who cares about normal? I enjoy you and your… ‘abnormal’ self,” he said and I smirked.
“Thanks… I guess,” I muttered before I fell back on the bed. Lucien did the same and I caressed his cheek as I felt my eyes fall shut.
“Tell me everything that happens tomorrow,” I said as I yawned.
“I’m bringing you with me,” he said and I smiled as I snuggled into him.
“…Good night, Auden,” Lucien replied and I smiled before I opened my eyes briefly and kissed his cheek before resting my head on his arm again.