With Hands to Hold

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The whole Russo clan sat around the dining table in Sean and Emilia’s kitchen, the soft clattering of dishware and cutlery filled the room as they ate. There was the occasional chatter, and Larissa’s cute baby blubbering as they ate.

“The meeting today went well,” Vincent told them as he twirled another forkful of the delicious carbonara. “I want to get things done as soon as possible so I’ll be announcing my trip as soon as Sebastian gets the details to me.”

Spiraea balked beside Vincent, she refrained from looking at him with surprise although she really wanted to. He hadn’t told her about having to take a trip- they hadn’t even talked about what had happened in the meeting together yet. She tried to relax; he was looking to his father for confirmation, he had been in the meeting too. She supposed that he would talk it out with her later.

“I think it’s a good idea,” Sean nodded. “Though are you sure that you want to go?”

“Yes,” Vincent instantly replied with conviction. “This wolf is an Alpha, and a rogue. The is no way that he would listen to a wolf without rank. Besides this is my duty.”

“Have you decided on a date for this trip,” Spiraea asked quietly. She didn’t want to overstep her boundaries but she needed to be prepared too. She was slightly mad at him, even though she was trying not to be. She understood that so many things were happening at once but she felt a little bit blindsided.

“Not yet,” Vincent told her an apologetic smile on his face. He could feel her emotions through their bond and wished that he had waited until he had spoken to her first before bringing it up with his father. “But I promise that as soon as I do, you’ll be the first one to know.”

His hand found her thigh below the table in a silent apology, seeking physical contact as both comfort and reassurance. Spiraea nodded turning back to the conversation- Ellis had started to speak his own exciting news with the family.

“Larissa learnt some new words! She says it when I have to drop her off for work, and when she wants a nap.” He chuckled excitedly, turning to his daughter and tickling her gently. “Go on Rissa, tell them, your new favourite phrase.”

“Daddy go bye bye!” She shrieked happily, slamming her little spoon against the table top. Seeing the sheer delight on everyone’s faces at her outburst, she continued her excited, parroted cries. She was adorably cute with her chubby cheeks and food covered face, her raucous giggles practically contagious as everyone around her laughing at the sheer delight on her little face.

“Awww,” Emilia cooed. She turned a playful smile over to Spiraea and Vincent, a mischievous glint in her eyes. “I wonder when I’ll get some more grandbabies to fuss over.”

Spiraea bit her lip, both in discomfort and excitement. She wondered if Emilia and Sean would have a problem with them adopting Max, or what they would say when they found out that she may not ever be able to carry Vincents children. She already beat herself up enough over it. Spiraea knew in her heart that they were not horrible people, they would not see her any differently but it didn’t make her any less afraid.

“Actually,” Spiraea's hand found Vincent’s in her lap, gripping it tightly as he spoke. His hand gave her a comforting squeeze in return, a smile stretching across his features to hide his own nerves. “Spiraea and I were talking about adopting one of the pups in the Nursery. His name is Max, and he has an amazing bond with us both... We both agreed it felt right, and when we have our Luna ceremony we’ll also be announcing him as our son.”

“Oh my,” Emilia’s eyes teared up. She looked between the couple before turning to her mate with wide eyes. Sean held her hand on top the table in comfort, as she finally let he grin break free. “That’s wonderful! We can’t wait to meet him!”

“Congrats man!” Ellis grinned at his brother, quickly turning back to Larissa as she flicked some of her food onto her face. “Good luck.”

Spiraea could’ve cried in relief, overwhelmed with the acceptance and love from everyone around them. She actually felt a moment of guilt for being nervous- these people had never once given her a reason to doubt them.

Vincent was also overjoyed, he never really doubted that his family would have any issues with the adoption. They were loving and accepting people, and he had been taught to be the same; he was more afraid that they curiosity would put Spiraea in an uncomfortable position.

“Do you know when you’re going to have the ceremony?” Sean leaned back in his chair as he spoke- his relaxed state a comfort to both his son and his mate.

“Well I wanted to have it as soon as possible but with this Rogue Alpha situation I’m thinking we might have to wait a little longer.” Vincent grunted, rubbing his face with a sigh. “Spiraea and I haven’t even had a chance to talk about it properly ourselves.”

“Oh, alright... Well, I don’t want to pressure you guys or anything but your mother and I would love to help with the preparations,” Sean offered. He rubbed the back of his neck in slight discomfort as he eared the lingering suggestion on the tip of his tongue. “And, if you wanted of course, I would be honoured if you would let us officiate it.”

“Of course!” Spiraea blurted immediately. She could hardly remember the last time she had felt so apart of a family the way she did with them; she would always make room for Vincent’s family. They had done the same for her and she was eternally grateful.

“I guess that’s sorted... sort of,” Ellis laughed. He had come to really appreciate Spiraea, and couldn’t imagine anyone better for his brother or their pack. He hadn’t had the opportunity to spend lots of time with her, but he had shared conversations with her on the days he left Larissa in the pack nursery. She was truly a wonderful person, and he was glad that she seemed to be have opened up to their pack, their family, their way of life. “After all of that I’m ready for dessert!”

Emilia chuckled at her son’s cheery disposition; she had no idea how he managed to stay so happy. Just the loss of his mate should’ve been enough to have him miserable all the time, but somehow he managed to power through each day as it came. He was a whole different breed of strong.

“Well you boys are in luck,” Emilia hummed as she rose from the table to retrieve dessert from the fridge. “I made lemon cheesecake.”

Vincent and Spiraea went home with full stomachs and cheery moods. Dinner had gone over really well; after the chatter about the adoption and the ceremony, Ellis felt rather nostalgic. They shared memories from his ceremony, and even further back.

Spiraea learnt a lot about Vincents childhood and more about his family. It was amusing for her to hear all the stories about her mate; he had been an interesting child. She loved hearing about how the mischievous Ellis would continuously mess with Vincent - with his toys, his clothes, and anything else that he could get his little hands on. It was nice to see that they were still close as adults, and she knew part of it was attributed to their very way of life.

When they got home they went to bed; after they were both sufficiently satiated and tired out, they lay together holding each other in the darkness of their room. Spiraea lay on top of Vincent’s chest, her ear pressed against to his skin listening to his heart beating rhythmically whilst his hand brushed up and down her back lazily.

“I don’t want you to go,” She murmured into his skin, nuzzling her nose against his chest as she spoke.

“I’m sorry baby, I have to go.” Vincent’s fingers paused its movements, his brows furrowing in upset. It was just as hard for him as it was her, but he had to do this. “I promise, I’ll not be gone for more than a week. Plus, we haven’t decided anything yet so there’s no point worrying about it now.”

“I still don’t want you to leave,” She whimpered. Just thinking about him going caused her throat to close up and her eyes to sting. She knew she would be surrounded by all the great people of the pack, but none of them were Vincent. “Can’t you take me with you?”

He sighed heavily. “Spiraea, I want nothing more than to have you by my side, but I can’t take you into rouge territory. There would be no safe way for us to travel and if anything were to happen you wouldn’t be able to protect yourself. The safest place for you is here.”

Spiraea knew that he was telling the truth, but she still felt somewhat rejected. She wished she wasn’t so weak, maybe then he would have taken her with him- she suddenly wished she wasn’t a human. She had always felt like she was a burden to him, but now she wasn’t just a burden, she was a complete invalid.

Vincent could feel her emotions, they were strong enough that they were leaking from her pores in a horrible, acidic scent. He didn’t mean to hurt her feelings but he also needed her to be safe. He rolled over, pinning her below him and forcing her to look at him as he called her out.

“Look at me, little one.” His voice a little bit harsher than she was used to, she winced looking at him with wide eyes. She wasn’t frightened of him hurting her, but she was afraid that she had disappointed him somehow. “You are not weak, or a burden. I want you exactly as you are. Your strength lies in your perseverance and I love that about you. I’m not rejecting you or leaving you-”

“I know...” Spiraea recanted somewhat guiltily, suddenly feeling rather silly for letting herself get emotional for something so small; especially when she already knew the answer. “What will happen when you go?”

“Well, you can stay with my parents, and you can even start planning our ceremony.”

“But shouldn’t we do it together?”

“Well we could, though usually the family are the one to plan it.” Vincent explained, giving the girl a comforting smile though it soon turned to concern. His voice dropping to a whisper as he held her a fraction closer. “I just don’t want you worried about me whilst I’m gone, I still feel bad about having to go in the first place. At least if you’re planning the ceremony then you’ll have something to do. It's up to you baby.”

“Then don’t go,” She whispered. Spiraea shook her head a small sigh escaping her; she knew that she was being selfish. She knew that he had to go and she would deal with it, but it didn’t mean that she was happy about. “Fine, I’ll stay with your family and think about the ceremony.”

“Thank you little one.” Vincent kissed her forehead, his lips lingering there as they let the quiet engulf them both. The only audible sound between them was their thumping heart beats in the dark room.

Spiraea let her thoughts drift; she thought about her future to come. Though her mind admittedly drifted to her upset at Vincent having to go away, she soon found herself thinking beyond that.

She thought about their ceremony, about adopting and raising Max. Perhaps she could convince Vincent to adopt more than one pup. She couldn’t wait for Christmases and birthdays, to share special times with her soulmate and her family.

It was the first time that she had ever considered the future with so much certainty. She loved to dream about all the bright possibilities. It was exciting.

Vincent lay beside her, he too dreaded having to leave his mate, but he looked forward to his return. It would mark a new chapter for them both, one that he was excited to start.

Part of him was still troubled over the ever brewing conflict, he truly hope that whatever information Sebastian had to give would be the key to the most peaceful resolution for his pack.

He would overcome whatever he needed to of it meant that he could be beside his mate, beside his family.

He instinctively pulled Spiraea’s naked form closer, wrapping his arms around her protectively. She kissed his chest, already half asleep, before falling completely into a dreamless sleep beside her mate.

Her touch was like magic, soothing his worried mind. He smiled against her forehead, catching a faint whiff of her sweet smelling shampoo.

The sound of her soft snores, her smell surrounding him, and the feel her warmth pressed against his own naked body was his own personal heaven. Her, everything about her, relaxed him, so much so that he followed his mate right into a restful sleep.

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