Marking Each Other
There was something about the way Ahote was pacing about the room that made me nervous. He would walk around in circles in front of the bed, pause as stare at the wall, and maybe give me a smile if he caught my eyes before repeating the odd behavior again. I didn’t know what he was pacing, but whatever it was certainly bothered him.
It was around eight at night, and a good chunk of the wolves had left the pack house for their own cabins and flats across the pack grounds. I could still hear some kids playing from the open window as they ran past it. Their laughs and shouts occasionally filled the small room that had once belonged to Honon that was now mine.
Ahote stopped in his tracks before running his fingers through his hair as he looked from the walls to the floor. He nibbled his bottom lip like he did when he was deep in thought, before turning to lock eyes with me. It was sudden, so my eyes widened from surprise. He gave me a soft smile before walking over to the bed I was sitting on.
“I’ve been thinking,” he started, taking the space beside me on the bed before picking at the wool of the blanket on top of it.
“I noticed,” I muttered, and he smiled again. I mirrored it, not sure if it was one of good or bad news. I just wanted Ahote to get whatever that was troubling him off his chest.
The omega looked away from me again, but he scooted closer to me before taking a hold of my arm and resting his head on my shoulder. It was a calming gesture, and it made me less worried about what he had to say to me.
The laughter and yelling of the kids completely died down when the sound of a woman shouting over theirs made them go pin silent. It seemed like they were being shooed off to bed. The absence of their noise made the room go completely silent. Ahote hadn’t said anything yet, He was putting pressure on my arm by tightening his grip and then untightening it. As I wondered about what was in his mind, I let myself rest my head on his too.
“You’re staying right?”
I groaned, rolling my eyes at his words. “Of course,” I answered, not needing any more detail about what he was talking about. For the past week, Ahote would randomly ask me if I was planning to stay in the pack. He did it everywhere. In the kitchen, in the bathroom, when we were lying down side by side — everywhere. I wondered why he kept asking me this. I’ve communicated my feelings about this before. He was making it seem like he was the one waiting for me to make up my mind and not the other way around.
“That’s if I’m allowed to,” I added, remembering that it wasn’t a guarantee. I could want to stay here, but that didn’t mean the pack elders would let me. The construction up north was still going on, and it didn’t look like it would end anytime soon, but what would happen if it did end at one point and I was asked to leave? I couldn’t do anything about that. That wasn’t within my control.
“I know, I know,” Ahote mumbled, raising his head from my shoulder before creating some space between us. His brown eyes were giving me a determined look, and it seemed like he was on the verge of finally telling me what was going on in his head. “I just wanted to be sure before I asked my question,” he muttered as his eyes fell on the space between us. “I don’t think it’s a secret that we want to be with each other,” he started, finding the will to look back at me again. “But I’m not sure why it seems so hard to ask if you’d like to get bound to me. Like tied — I’m not sure what you call it where you’re from,” he muttered as his tan skin caught a bit of color.
It took a while for me to figure out what he was saying, but when it clicked my face warmed up too. “Like a marriage,” I said in a low voice, and Ahote licked his lips, nodding his head slowly and making the stands of his long hair fall over his face like a thin curtain.
“Is that taking things too far?” he asked softly, and I wasn’t sure how to answer him. “We’re not mates, but I don’t think that matters in a decision like that, does it?” It seemed like he was asking me the question, rather than it being rhetorical. Did it matter? I wasn’t sure. I knew getting tied was something mates did when they decided to start a family, though it wasn’t a mate exclusive thing. I’ve known people whose mates have died getting bound to new people after some time.
“I don’t think that’s taking things too far,” I said. “That’s what I want. Someone to love. Someone to start a family with — and of course, I want that someone to be you. Do you think it’s taking things too far?” I asked, reminding him that he was the ones with the options here. He was the one with a mate. He was the one that would carry any sort of burden attached to this.
The look on his face told me that he was conflicted. I reached out to brush the hair away from his face, and my heart felt full from simply staring at his slim face and full lips. He was glowing slightly, and it made me wonder if he would be on heat soon.
“Can I ask you a question?” Ahote asked in a low tone as I brushed his cheek with the base of my thumb. Even the freckles he got from heat damage when working in the garden sat well with his face. He looked amazing. He always looked amazing, and for a slight second, I forgot we were in the middle of a conversation.
“Can I?” he repeated, making me realize that I had forgotten to answer him.
“Sure,” I muttered in a soft voice, leaning in to steal a kiss before pulling away. “Sorry, I couldn’t help myself,” I apologized, licking my lips. I watched Ahote’s eyelids flutter, and soon his gaze was on my lips, then my chest, and then on his hands that he had nested in his lap.
“Do you love me?”
I wasn’t sure why the question surprised me, but it did. I blinked back a few times. Pulling away from him before facing forward and staring at the red brick walls. “Yes, I do. I thought that was as plain as day?” I said, realizing that even though those where the feelings I had within me, I’d never properly expressed them verbally.
“I love you,” I said as I turned to face him. “I’m saying it now. I love you,” I repeated reaching for one of his hands before giving it a soft squeeze. His hands weren’t soft like in the winter, they had a rough texture like that of someone who worked a lot, which was the case now that we were in the middle of spring, but his fingers were lean, and those were the fingers that touched my skin and made my heart race when they teased my body or latched on to me playfully.
“Do you—do you love me?” I asked, watching as Ahote’s eyes grew wide. To be honest, it wasn’t something I thought about, I had just put two and two together over the course of our time together, but it seemed like it was something he thought about a lot, because my question made him nervous, and he didn’t seem like he was able to meet my gaze.
“Y-yes,” he managed, finding his voice. His words made the edge of my lips tug up in a smile. It was so wide, and almost painful, even. I reached out to take his other hand, before giving it a soft squeeze as well.
“Won’t you look at me?” I asked, noticing that he wouldn’t still meet my gaze.
“I’m a little overwhelmed,” he mumbled, and I chucked.
“That’s alright,” I said, pulling him towards me before hugging him to my chest. Elan was sleeping alone in Ahote’s room. He had passed out after having me make cups of hot chocolate for him. For whatever reason, it fascinated him, and I only stopped because I got scolded by one of the housekeepers who told me chocolate made the cubs sick.
We stayed like that for a bit, hugging each other in the room lit by the orange glow of cheap florescence bulbs.
Ahote stirred, and I loosened my grip a bit so that he had some space to adjust. He took the chance to sit up a bit, staring at me with a small smile before catching my lips with his. We kissed for a while. His soft tongue finding its way in my mouth. He’d gotten better at kissing — at touching and allowing himself to enjoy the moment. It had taken a while for him to open u to the extent where he didn’t seem scared of his own urges or scared of me and mine. I realized that whatever had happened on that night he got pregnant and had sex for the first time must have deterred him.
The thoughts about Honon didn’t allow me to melt into the kiss as I had wanted to. I ended up breaking it, before getting off the bed and heading towards the closet.
“Did I do something wrong?” I heard Ahote ask as I went through the closet to find what I was looking for.
“No, I just remembered something that I should have shown you a long time ago,” I muttered, finding the box of books, pictures, and stray exam papers.
“For Honon,” I said, turning to face him with the box I had in my hand. He looked perplexed, but once I walked over to the bed and dropped it on the mattress Ahote got a better look of its contents. He let out something that was a cross between a sob and a whine, and for a minute I wondered if it was a good idea to have brought it out. He must have known it was there or did he just never check?
“Should I put it back?” I asked, noticing how Ahote was staring at the cardboard box like it was mail from Hades.
“No. I just — I don’t know,” he mumbled under his breath, pulling his fingers as he looked from the box to me, and then at the box. “I don’t want to look at her,” he muttered, making me realize he must have noticed who his mate left him for.
After some thought, I walked over to Ahote before taking a seat beside him at the edge of the bed.
“She’s really pretty,” I muttered.
“Yes,” he said, agreeing with me in a matter of fact tone.
“Does that make you upset?” I asked, scooting closer to him until our thighs were touching through the fabric of our pants. Ahote sighed, leaning forward before covering his face with his hands.
“Before,” he muttered.
“What about now?” I asked, and he seemed to hesitate for a bit before saying, “I don’t know.”
I hummed to myself before stretching behind him to pull the box to my side. I picked up the stack of pictures at the top before going through them myself. “Are you sure you don’t want to look?” I asked, and Ahote raised his head a bit, peeking at me from the space between his fingers.
“Why should I?”
“If you’re jealous of her doesn’t that mean you still like Honon?” I asked, and Ahote sat still as if he had just realized something.
“I haven’t really thought about him that way in a long while...” he trailed, and I nodded. It made sense. The few times we’ve slept together would have weakened their bond to a mere tinge. I wasn’t sure if it could be completely broken, but while talking to Lapu he’d given me a reason to believe it was possible and it would just vanish over time.
“Or you could just mark him to make the process faster.”
I swallowed down, blinking back when I remembered his words as we were crouched over the dead moose the hunters had just shoot down. Marking was a sign of property claim — ownership, and marking something that has already been marked was like stealing, and it was sometimes it was seen as an outright challenge to ownership.
That was why the rogue pack in the town over clashed so much with the Peace river pack so much. They went around marking already claimed territory. It was a similar concept from where I was from.
“She’s very pretty.” Ahote’s words brought me out of my thoughts. I hadn’t noticed when I decided to look at the pictures I had in my hand.
“But you know...” Ahote started, sitting up. “It doesn’t bother me. I don’t care,” he said, and I looked at him, staring at the part of his neck where his shirt hung low and exposed his collar bone. I had an urge to reach out and touch it. I wanted to kiss him there — bite him there.
“Is something the matter?” he asked, and I nodded being honest.
“What is it?” he asked, cocking his head as if giving me proper look would make him understand what was going on in my head.
“You asked me if I wanted to get bound to you, and I said yes,” I started, and Ahote nodded, showing me that he was following. “If I asked to mark you, would you say yes?” I asked, and Ahote seemed taken aback. He reached out for his neck were the fading pierce mark Honon had given him sat. To a human, they looked like two fading chicken pox scars, but to wolves, it meant so much more — it was only second to binding bracelets.
“Yes,” he said after a while, letting go of his neck. “I’d say yes. I’m saying yes,” he muttered, nodding to himself as he pulled down his shirt a bit. “You can do it now.”
I wanted to do it, but I didn’t want it to be rushed. I took off my shirt before reaching out to tug the hems of Ahote’s and he got the message and took his off too. I leaned in to kiss him, letting my hand run down his chest as we deepened the warm kiss. As we sighed and mewled into each other’s mouths we moved into the bed more, and somehow knocked over the cardboard box filled with Honon’s things.
I pulled away from Ahote to remove my pants and underwear, before helping him out of his. We stayed in bed, touching, kissing and staring at each other. I moved to spoon Ahote, kissing down his neck and shoulder as I let my hand travel to cup between his legs, as he moaned and bucked, I took the opportunity to press my emerged canines on his neck. His skin tensed against my teeth, and I could feel his pulse.
He was nervous.
“Do it, what are you waiting for?” he asked in a coarse tone as his hand reached out to rest over the one, I had between his legs. “I’ll be fine.”
With a little hesitance, I pressed down, and Ahote let out a cry. I stayed put for a bit, as he spazzed, and tried to get used to the pain. When he had calmed down a bit, I drew out my teeth before coaxing the wounds I had created with saliva.
I turned Ahote around so that he could face me. His face was wet, meaning that he had probably shed a few tears from the pain, and he was still shaking.
“I’m sorry,” I muttered, not knowing how to control the dread inside me at having to see the man I was in love with in pain because I was being a little selfish.
“It’s fine,” he muttered, but the way he shivered as if recalling the pain didn’t allow me to believe him.
“You should mark me too — if you want,” I said pulling him closer to me. His head was resting on my shoulder, and it just seemed like the right time. He nodded against my shoulder, pressing a kiss to it before biting down.
It wasn’t painless, but it wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be. I guess I can simply withstand more because I’ve encountered much worse from hunting parties gone wrong.
When Ahote withdrew his teeth and licked over the wound I felt them close a bit, and my chest was filled with happiness from the fact that what those scars were would be recognizable from tomorrow morning.
I think Ahote was tired because he slept off after that, but I couldn’t sleep. The way my heart was pounding in my chest wouldn’t let me.
Ahote was mine.
Even if Honon showed up today, I wouldn’t give him back.