When Artemis woke up, she was glad to find that she wasn’t buried under a pile of rubble. She pushed herself off the floor and cringed when her dusty hair flopped on her face. Her clothes were so wrinkled that she swore she heard them creak. Her insides were not living their best life either, as attested by her hollow stomach and sore arms.
The werewolf ironically stretched like a cat before rising to her feet and venturing deeper into the room. Although she was wearing socks, her feet felt cool kisses of the wooden floor. As she traveled through books she prayed she didn’t knock a pile over.
When she turned to her left, calculating brown eyes were there to meet her. Wrath sat on the floor a small book contrasting his large hands. He offered no response other than the rise and fall of his chiseled chest and an unwavering stare.
Artemis’ breath left her. Even while in a relatively harmless pose, he still looked menacing. “Well, good morning. Glad to see you weren’t crushed in your sleep either. I’m going to get food... Right, no English. Uh... food?” She tried to explain what the noun needed for nutrition was by patting her stomach.
Wrath dropped his attention back to his book, signaling her to leave.
“Why in the flying fuck does this bastard find it necessary to live in the middle of nowhere?” Sol asked particularly no one as he undid the top button of his suit jacket. He brought his expensive shoe over a fallen log only to have it dip into a puddle.
The lycan growled before kicking his source of anger and then resuming his stomping through the greenery. Ten or so minutes later, he spotted the peak of a cabin over a hill. He sighed with relief and picked up his pace.
He was only a few meters away before the lycan he was so desperately seeking barreled out of his cabin with claws ready to draw blood. Sol braced himself with confusion. Whenever he visited, Wrath tended to greet him with annoyance, not hostility.
“You crazy motherfucker!” Sol growls out. The sound of his voice reached Wrath and seemingly snapped something in place. His claws retracted and he flipped his body forward, pushed himself off the ground with his hands and thudded into a stop in front of Sol.
“Sol,” Wrath grits out when he recognized him.
“Hey, Raiden. Mind explaining your attempt at decapitating me?” he quipped, showing his displeasure by crossing his arms over his chest.
Anyone looking at the pair would never guess that the suited man and the half-naked savage had much in common. Sol looked like the kind of man dads wanted their daughter to bring to dinners. He was laid back; so charismatic that he could school psychopaths in the ways of charm. The guy cracked jokes as much as he cracked Wrath’s patience.
Wrath’s frown rebutted Sol’s grin. “What the fuck are you doing here?”
He shrugged and his grin shifted to a smirk. “I was a few states away and figured I checked in. I see you’re still alone, depressed, and insufferable,” he chuckles.
Wrath’s hand found refuge in his hair and pulled vexedly. Though he hadn’t seen the other lycan in many years, he could’ve gone a few more without his annoying upbeat attitude and smart mouth. “Well, I guess you can take my other issue on your way out,” he audibly thinks.
“What other issue? And are we really just going to ignore the fact that you just went full mental on me?”
“I picked up the scent of an unfamiliar male werewolf in my territory and acted accordingly. That is all,” Wrath explained. His eyes scanned the background carefully, seeking anything out of place. Sol noticed this and resisted the urge to roll his eyes at his alertness. The day Wrath adopted the concept of winding down would be the day Sol stopped smiling.
“And as for your other question. I need your help,” Wrath admitted. The sentence left a bad taste in his mouth.
“Whose body are we burying?” Sol joked.
This earned him a scoff. “Yours if you don’t stop fooling around. Now, follow me and stay low,” he instructed before leading the way.
“You know,” Sol starts another tantalizing sentence. “I was recently wondering why I take so long to visit. Thanks for the reminder.”
Wrath ignored him and melted into the trees. Sol followed suit. He picked up the scent of a female alpha and realized that they were following her trail, but did not ask any questions.
When Wrath came to a halt, Sol stood beside him and recognized the girl instantly. She was multiple yards away, studying the fruit of a tree. Her clothes were modern, nothing like Wrath’s attire and she had the signature pitch black hair of Zena Rhee.
“What do you know?” Wrath quizzed.
Sol turned to him with a raised brow. “And what exactly makes you think I know anything about her?”
“Cut the crap. You’ve been alive for an unfortunate amount of time, lollygagging around with humans and werewolves. You know who she is. She reeks of authority so tell me which pack she’s from before I knock those teeth you love so much down your throat,” Wrath glared.
Sol offered a chuckle. “You should really keep track of werewolf politics,” he advised. While Wrath kept to himself in every sense of the term, Sol was very intertwined with the modern world. “It’s hard not to know her when she’s the heir of the largest pack in the continent. Her name is Artemis.”
Wrath nodded. Artemis, huh? She had the name and body of a goddess. As he predicted, she was meant for great things and he had absolutely no place in her agenda.
“Now that I’ve answered your questions, mind explaining why an alpha that has been reported missing is in your backyard picking fruit?”
Wrath watched her move on from one branch to another. “She showed up two days ago. Got in a car accident, lost her memory, and wants me to take her to my alpha. Which, I don’t have thanks to the whole lycan situation.” His answer omitted multiple chunks of information because he knew that Sol was a handful and would most definitely try to pull some nonsense if he realized the two of them were mates.
“Well, I’m sure Zena and Lukas would be glad to have their pup back. I’ll drop her off on my way back,” Sol offers, knowing that he would rather be shoved into a volcano than enter a city.
Wrath nodded his agreement. Though Sol was a lycan, he did not live up to his dark past. Artemis would be safe with him. Unless Sol decided to talk her to death, which he was very capable of doing.
“You should leave now. Take her with you.”
There was no goodbye, no assurance that he would still be there twenty years later when Sol decided to visit. There was just coldness. But Sol wasn’t hurt or surprised by this. As a matter of fact, he understood. Wrath was not a fan of goodbyes because he had given too many only for people to never return again. To die while he remained waiting for his turn.
“We’ll meet again, Raiden,” Sol says.
Wrath shook his head. “That’s not my name. Leave. Now.” And then he was off.
Sol straightened his suit, preparing to step out of the woods and introduce himself. Luna, however, had other plans in mind. “Hello Sol,” she greets.
Sol’s eyebrows rose before his lips curved upward. “Well, hello there boss. Or mom, Luna, goddess? Your Highness? Wow, you must have interesting family reunions. I haven’t seen you in centuries, literally! How are things?”
Luna’s frame was outlined by pure light and a moon crescent was painted on her forehead, announcing her rule over werewolves. “Fantastic. I am here because I need your help.”
Sol chuckled. “Help the goddess that cursed me, forcing me to live a life where I have to be cautious about getting attached to people because they tend to die after seventy years? I don’t know, I’ll have to get back to you.”
Luna's expression turned stern. “I do not have time for your impudence, Sol. This is about Raiden.”
“I’m listening,” he tells her with newfound interest.
“Artemis is his mate,” she reveals and Sol nearly growled at the admission. His brown eyes threatened a shift as he abandoned his laid-back persona and picked one that was much more similar to Wrath’s. “Why would you give him a mate? She will die in a few years and Wrath will break further. Your retribution has become cruelty,” Sol reprimands.
“Enough.” Luna cuts in. “I’ve given him back his mortality. You have no entitlement to criticize your goddess. Especially after all the sinning you have done.”
“Hmm... mortality, huh?” Sol says, focusing only on her first sentence. He nodded his approval. “This is good. He has been grouchy and miserable for far too long. About time he gets laid.”
Luna sighed at his crudeness and started to wonder if coming to him was the right thing to do. “You just need to make sure that they stay together. You cannot bring Artemis home."
Sol looked at Artemis who was now walking off to the distance, completely ignorant of the celestial being and lycan in the area. “And how do you suppose I do that?”
“Raiden’s emotions tend to be magnified. To my understanding, jealousy also has this effect. I do not care what you do with this piece of information. Just keep them in this forest and I will do the test.”
Excitement bubbled in him. “Jealousy? Well, I do believe a punishment is in order for lying to me, Raiden.” Sol chuckled.
“Don’t push him too far. You know how he gets.” Luna warned the troublemaker.
“Don’t worry, my queen. I’ll have those two feeding each other spoonfuls in no time. Get ready to crown me as the new god of love,” he winks obnoxiously.
Luna uncharacteristically rolled her eyes. “Right. I’ll relay the message to Aphrodite. Anyway, good luck. I will be watching.” She then vanished.