He hmmed his response. The sound sent vibrations through her body which was laid on top of his.
Artemis stopped typing on the keyboard. “Mom was wondering if you’d like to have dinner at her place tonight.”
He tightened his arms around her. With Zena came Lukas. They were a package deal.
After a few seconds of reluctance, he replied, “okay.”
“Yeah? Are you sure?” Artemis asked carefully.
Raiden nodded and placed his chin on the crown of her head.
“Great. I’ll invite Sol too.” She took her phone out and drafted a text for the other lycan.“Don’t worry about my dad. He’ll try to be civil,” she promised.
She placed her laptop on the coffee table and then spun in his arms. Her palms rested against his chest while his were on the small of her back.
Raiden grumbled moodily. “It’s not him I’m worried about.”
She chuckled. “I think dad has become your new arch nemesis.”
Raiden shook his head. “No. That position is reserved for Sol. Lukas doesn’t come close to being as annoying as he is.”
“Why don’t you like Sol? He’s hilarious!”
That comment prompted an eye-roll. “Brain dead is what that mutt is. Luna neglected adding about 5 screws when she made him.”
She burst out laughing and Raiden felt about two inches taller. He wasn’t expecting his grumpiness to be translated into comedy but he was glad that his dry personality brought her joy.
Artemis was just right for him. He should’ve never doubted the Moon Goddess.
“What are you reading?”
Raiden looked away from the letters littering the page in front of him.
“I am re-reading The Alpha’s Codex.”
Since Artemis worked during the day, he figured that he should read to keep himself busy. He knew that he had to rule the pack beside her one day and wanted to prepare himself by freshening up on werewolf society and politics.
“That book is so boring. It’s just a bunch of rules.” She sat down next to him and gently grabbed his crooked tie. “Take it easy, okay? Don’t feel like you need to learn everything there is to know about running a pack. Just worry about your health. I can handle the rest.”
She released his adjusted tie and inspected her work. Her eyes moved back to his when he didn’t reply.
“I want to kiss you.”
She blinked. It would take a while to get used to Raiden’s straightforwardness.
With a giggle she responded, “you don’t have to ask permiss-”
He kissed her.
They didnt run into any pack members on their way to Zena’s house. Raiden was on edge the whole way there.
He knew what werewolves thought of lycans. Once the pack found out that the man that killed their Goddess was destined to become their alpha, they would riot.
He wasn’t looking forward to being introduced to the pack. He could take the criticism and insults thrown at him but not the fact that his existence would cost Artemis reputation, friends and business partners.
They hadn’t talked about it since he only entered the territory a few days ago but Raiden’s anxiety never failed to make him think ahead.
Artemis knocked on the door and it was pulled open by Lukas who was quick to embrace her.
“Hi dad,” she smiled.
“Hey kid.” Lukas turned to Raiden and lost all hints of happiness. With a colder voice, he said, “Wrath.”
Artemis frowned. She didn’t like that ugly name. It solely addressed destruction. Raiden was indeed capable of destroying but he could also protect. He was more than an evil and cursed protagonist from a legend. The name Wrath didn’t give credit to his selflessness.
“Do you think you can address him as Raiden?” She requested with a smile.
“It’s fine.” Raiden spoke up. “I don’t care what he calls me.”
Artemis turned to him with a look that promised a battle. Lukas recognized it. Whenever it crossed Zena’s face, she always ended up getting her way. As a matter of fact, he lost most arguments with Clark Rhee women nowadays. To avoid wasting his time, he nodded. “Anything for you, kid.”
Artemis shot him a grin before she took Raiden’s hand and guided him into the dining room. Zena’s laughter reached them. They found her handing Sol a napkin who accepted it before he noticed them.
“Hey love birds,” Sol waved.
Raiden ignored him and turned to Zena. He greeted her with a sharp nod. He wished he had the inclination to smile or hug her but only Artemis had the ability to awake those urges.
“Welcome. Come sit!” Zena joined in.
Artemis sat beside her mother and Raiden fought the urge to pick her up, take her seat, and place her on his lap since wouldn’t be proper. This was another reason why he hated being in public.
He sat beside Sol just as Lukas returned and sat beside Zena. They began chatting immediately but Raiden focused on tugging his tie which felt awkward around his neck. He could barely keep up with the conversation since wasn’t used to being surrounded by a group larger than 2 people.
Dining with family was an activity for normal people. He wasn’t normal. He lived in a forest for the past 30 years with only birds as neighbors. He hadn’t worn a tie in even longer.
His left leg began bouncing with anxiety. Now hopeless, he looked from his empty plate and sought his mate.
When they made eye contact, the bounce of his leg and speeding of his heart immediately ceased. Artemis gave him a toothy smile and with that, he was okay again.
He returned the gesture. His smile was smaller than hers but equally heartfelt.
Lukas watched the whole ordeal. As he predicted, Raiden was a nut job, a complete mess. What he didn’t expect, however, was how tame he became just by looking at Artemis.
An abrupt clatter made everyone turn to Sol. He was now hunched over and shaking. All evidence of his cool had been washed away by chaos.
Raiden shot up from his chair and held a hand up to signal everyone to stay away. Sol’s snarls rose in volume and he stumbled to his feet.
Everyone but Raiden watched with shock.
“What’s wrong with him?” Artemis asked worriedly, vaguely aware of the hold Lukas had on her arm to keep her seated.
“Lycans are forced to shift for thirty days every year,” Raiden replied while avoiding her horrified expression.
“Its a dark time for us,” he added silently.
Sol’s form crumpled to the floor as he tried to hide his shameless lack of control. He hated this part of the curse. All lycans did.
Raiden fell to his knees and placed a supportive hand over his shaking shoulder. “Pride...” he drew out emphatically. He knew what being forced to remember your sin and having your humanity ripped from you every year was like.
"Brother," Raiden whispered to the suffering man whose friendship he had denied time and time again.
Sol’s struggle continued until nothing of his human body remained. Wordlessly, he scrambled out of the house and into the forest.
Artemis was in Raiden’s arms seconds later. “Is he ok?” She asked shakily. “Should we go after him?”
Raiden shook his head slowly. “No. It’s best to leave us alone when we’re like that.”
Artemis noticed the small frown on his face. He was sad. Because while he denied it, he cared for Sol.
A/N> We won’t see Sol for a long time. You can read his story, The Tale of Pride, but I must warn you that it contains spoilers for The Legend of Wrath.
Sorry for the typos and weird spacing. Im writing on my phone.