Chapter 19: Need
E V E R E T T
“Everett, calm the fuck down,” Lucius yells above the racket of me trashing my office. Why the fuck would she leave? Why would she just run off? And no one saw her? Where would she even go? It’s been hours now and still no sign of her. I had to return from the hunt when I found out she was missing. I have a wolf regularly making sure she’s eating and sleeping and checking up on her. But I don’t know too much of what she does. Maybe she’s been planning this, planning to leave me. She can’t leave me! “Everett, oh Goddess, we’ll find her it’s-”
A voice through the mind-link cuts off my attention on Lucius.
‘Alpha, can you hear me?’
‘Ace? Where are you? We couldn’t find you during the hunt and then Aurora went missing so I had to come back.’
‘Rory’s with me, and she’s fine. She isn’t hurt, she’s just asleep. I don’t really want to move her, just in case she’s not okay so you should come to get her.’ Thank the goddess she’s safe. She’s with Ace. But that means she’s out in rogue territory. What could she be doing out there? Why would she be so stupid and reckless? She was lucky enough the first time with the rogues, why would she try her luck again? What would possess her? I just hear Chaos screaming at me, telling me it's my fault, which I already fucking know. She could have been hurt, she still can be.
‘I’m coming. I’m sending a group out with me to scour the territory. Do you know whereabouts you are?’
‘About one and half hour out. We’ll be waiting. I’ll keep her safe.’
My little Aurora. I thought I lost her. I thought she had run away from me. Maybe she had. Maybe that was her attempt but she ended up in rogue territory. Luckily, Ace found her before anything bad could happen to her.
'You weren't there to protect her,' Chaos lectures.
'I can't always be there.'
I immediately gather a small team and head out, my Beta by my side. I track Aurora’s scent whilst he tracks Ace’s. They can’t be too far from us. But I can’t feel her, Aurora. Normally I can just feel her presence, her life, her spirit. Even though we aren’t mated yet. I say yet like it’s a sure thing. Even if I decide I want her to stay and be with me, she may decide that she wants nothing to do with me, maybe she already has. I don’t want her to hate me, even though I haven’t done anything that would make her particularly like me, at all. I take her from everything she knows, forces my lifestyle and pack upon her, and give her doubt about whether she can stay or not. Where would she even go if I did reject her? She has no home anymore. I’m her home, sort of. But I still need to think of the pack, and I’m not sure Aurora could ever make a strong Luna, the strong Luna this pack needs.
I continue to trace her faint scent. Ace said she wasn’t hurt, thank the goddess. But she could have been, easily. And not even from rogues. She hurts herself regularly. I have slept next to her for over two weeks now and most mornings, I wake up to a big fall off the edge of the bed, no matter how many times I try to place her in the middle of the king size bed. She just rolls right off and slams onto the floor. Luckily she has both a high tolerance for pain and is used to this morning ritual, plus the fact that I have carpet in my bedroom, our bedroom.
As I catch her stronger scent, I sprint towards it, Chaos leaping at seeing our mate again. The fright of finding she was missing wrecked us, very badly. My office is wrecked to that same extent, books strewn all over the place. And all because we wanted her. We needed her. Our little mate.
“Aurora,” I call out to her as I spot her petite form and Ace’s relatively larger one. He nods to me in acknowledgment and Aurora whips her head around to face me. I can’t read her expression. Why can’t I read her expression? Does she hate me? Did she really run away? Of course she would hate me. I gave her every reason to run away, to not get too comfortable in the pack because I could possibly reject her. And that’s still an option. I have to think about the pack, not just become overwhelmed by the mate bond and give in. But my little Aurora ran away from me. She’ll run again. She’ll run now.
But what happens next shakes me to my core? Something I’ll never forget. Something that can possibly make me lose all my senses completely, then and there. All my principles melting away and the logical brain fading into the background.
She hugs me. She leaps over to me and squeezes me as tightly as her little human body can. She just... hugs me. And it confuses me more than I ever have been in my life. Her petite body fits into mine, and I never want to let her go. I just hold her. And it feels right. It’s not just the mate bond. This is real. We’re real. This moment together, it’s real. I need her, and she, strangely enough, needs me right now.
“Why did you run away?” I ask, not trying to sound too pathetic and heartbroken in front of her. She looks up to me, breaking her body away a little so she can see me and furrows her brows.
“Run away? I didn’t run away,” she tells me, almost melting my heart. She didn’t run away? Then what the hell is she doing out here? She could have gotten seriously hurt. And that idea makes my gut boil and the heat rise throughout my body.
“Why were you out here, Aurora?”
“I heard you and Lucius talking this morning,” she admits, her eyes flickering to my chest so she doesn’t have to look me in the eyes anymore. “I just... I heard you talking and I know you’re disappointed to have me as a mate and I’m not a wolf and I can’t hunt. But I... in the moment, I just wanted to prove something. So I followed you out here. But I heard something and I got lost. I’m sorry, don’t be mad,” she explains quickly. She’s clearly panicked I would be angry with her, and I am. But more relieved than anything.
So I embrace her snugly into my body, sniffing her sweet scent. It both relaxes and excites me.
‘Thank the goddess we found our little mate again. If Aurora was hurt, I’d slaughter whoever did that to her,’ Chaos declares.
‘But she’s not, thankfully.’ I pull her back to look at her, just to make sure she’s not hurt. But when I see her tired eyes, the small pout she subconsciously does when she wants to sleep and her little hidden yawn, I pick her up bridal style, much to her content and trudge back to the pack with Ace beside me.
She almost instantly falls into a deep slumber, exhausted from her trip into rogue territory. I just stare at her beautiful face, wondering what I would do if she wasn’t here. Could I even reject her if that was my decision on what’s best for the pack? Maybe I could before, but she’s not what I thought. There’s more to her, much more. As stupid and dangerous as it was, she wanted to follow us and prove that she could be strong, that she could be a Luna, to prove Lucius and me wrong. She shouldn’t have heard us talking. It was my mistake. I don’t want her to think that she’s not good enough. But maybe she isn’t cut out for being a Luna.
“There’s more to her than I originally thought,” Ace states through the silence, which catches my attention.
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t know... yet. She’s a mystery. But I wouldn’t be so fast to dismiss her anymore. She’s stronger than I thought she was. Maybe not in body, although she does have a high pain tolerance, but she has a strong will. And sense of loyalty.”
“Why would you say that?”
“She can easily leave, she’s proved that. She’s staying for you.”
“Because she has nowhere else to go. That doesn’t prove her loyalty.”
“Maybe not. But when we were out here in rogue territory, I told her to go, to run, because we were around rogues. But she stayed and she looked like she wanted to fight. It may not have been the wisest choice, but she didn’t want me hurt,” he tells me. Why does it feel like there are some lies woven into this truth? But whatever happened to change his attitude towards her, it must really show that she is special, that maybe she could make a good Luna.