Gabriel couldn't help pushing his wolf harder knowing that he was only minutes from Jayne!
He finally felt that his pack was secure enough to leave them for the week it would take to pack up his mate and bring their Luna back to them.
Seeing the familiar road, Gabriel couldn't help but yip and bounce as he hurried forward.
"Jayne!!!!" he called, desperate to hear her voice again. "Jayne!!!!"
Shift on the fly, he ran to the door, pushing it open ignoring his naked state.
Looking around the dimly lit room, he stopped in his tracks.
His mates scent was weak, as if she hadn't been there in days, maybe weeks.
'Maybe she's out in the field with the wolves,' his wolf offered.
Moving towards the kitchen, Gabriel saw a piece of folded paper with his name written on it.
Picking it up, he fell to his knees as he read Jayne's message.
He was too late. She was gone.
Opening his mouth, Gabriel screamed silently in agony as he curled up into a ball.
After everything, he'd fucked up again, waiting too long to get back to her.
His mate had given up hope that he'd return.
Soon, rage began to replace the overwhelming sadness as his wolf berated him for loosing their mate all over again.
Half-shifted, Gabriel tore the cabin apart looking for any indication as to Jayne's whereabouts or destination. No piece of furniture was left in one piece, not floorboard left intact as he searched.
Finding nothing, he collapsed on top of the ruined bed he'd on shared with his mate, his face buried in her pillow as he sobbed feeling his heart breaking over again.
The next morning, Gabriel began the long track back to his pack, his journey slow and wandering this time.
Gone was the boundless joy he'd felt the day before replaced by an emptiness that felt like it could never be filled.
Relying on his wolf to get him home, Gabriel shut off his mind and wallowed in guilt and remorse. Even in death his father had managed to break him all over again.
Lock in his self-imposed solitude, he was unaware of the fact that he'd stumbled into a rogue's camp until he got a whiff of the unmistakable smell their kind gave off.
Hearing a low growl, Gabriel pushed himself to the forefront and saw that he was surrounded by a pack of eight filthy, snarling beasts.
With a smile of pure rage, Gabriel attacked the first on the mangy creatures, determined to let out all of his sadness and fury on the whole lot of them.
Fur flew, jaws snapped and blood flowed like water down a creek as he destroyed every single one of them, his own injuries ignored until he ripped the throat out of his last victim.
Panting, he looked over the carnage he'd created with satisfaction until he tried to move off and his injured leg betrayed him.
Looking down, he saw that a large section of skin and muscle had been torn away almost to the bone as his own blood mixed with that of the dead.
Slumping to the ground, Gabriel's wolf took inventory of all of his injuries and informed his it wasn't good.
He'd lost a lot of blood and continued to do so. He also had several deep bites, claw gashes and three broken ribs.
Chuckling to himself, Gabriel hoped it's enough to kill him and set his pain filled heart free, but fate seemed to be against him once more.
In the morning, he woke with the sunrise, sore and stiff, but still alive.
Sighing in resignation, he pushed himself to his four legs and continued his journey home.
Reaching the pack boundary, he was at least gladdened to see that all of his training was paying off.
He was challenged by no fewer than three of the border guards before they recognized him as their Alpha because he refused to answer their mind-link demands wanting to test their skills.
Reaching the pack house, Gabriel shifts to his human form and pulled on a pair of shorts that he had ordered placed strategically around the pack grounds for moments just like this.
Walking up the main staircase, he passed Evangelina ignoring the look of worry on her face.
"Gabriel," she ventured softly, "were is your mate."
"She was gone by the time I got there," he explained, without stopping.
"Oh Gabriel," Evangelina gasped, covering her mouth with her hand. "I'm so sorry."
Gabriel simply shook his head sadly, waving his hand to end the conversation.
Reaching his room, he walked straight into the bathroom and stripped.
Stepping into the shower, he turned the water on as hot as he could, relishing in the stinging pain it caused.
Jayne could barely keep her smile in check as she reads the letter she'd just received.
"We did it," she said to her large stomach, rubbing it happily.
According to its contents, her thesis and dissertation had been accepted and she had been granted her Master's Degree.
Sighing, the smile on her face slipped when her next thought was to run and tell Gabriel the good news.
Turning to her laptop, Jayne pulls up a digital map of all of the North American packs.
It wasn't as if she needed to look at the map. She'd memorized his packs location almost as soon as she'd come out of her depression, but until this exact moment, when she wanted to share her joy with her mate, she'd never considered actually going there.
Hitting a few keys, she soon had a printed map to him.
With shaking hands, Jayne began to pack a small bag not sure if she should be planning such a trip.
Gabriel had a new mate, and a new life. Was it fair of her to just show up and expose her secret?