With Hands to Hold

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34

Vincent’s entire body ached. He had been away from his mate for nearly a full week, scouring the northernmost area of no man’s land. Thus far, he had found nothing and developed an incredibly pissy mood from missing his pack and mate.

He was starting to feel a little bit claustrophobic in his fur, having been in his wolf form for several days. It was the longest he had spent in that form; even though he loved his beast he was starting to miss the small novelties of being a human — like hands, and cell phones.

He had not been in contact with Spiraea since he had left— 5 whole days ago. Cell phones would not work out here, and he was too far to mind link her. He hoped that she wouldn’t be too upset when he got back, though considering her reaction to him leaving he wasn’t so sure.

If she felt anything like what he did then her anger would pass quickly once he returned... (Or so he hoped.) He decided the first thing he would do when he saw he again was bend her over the closest surface and have her. Just thinking about it only fuelled his frustration, agitating him further.

He was close to giving up, the week that he had promised Spiraea was almost up, and it would take another couple of days to get back to his pack.

It truly had been a great effort, but perhaps he shouldn’t have put all his hope in a pipe dream. Even his best trackers couldn’t find any trace of anyone living out here.

Just as he was about to give the order to pack up to return home, one of his trackers came trotting forward. The dark brown wolf shaking his head and pointing off to the left.

Alpha, we found something.

Vincent shifted back into his skin, a short burst of growls and grunts turned to human vocalisation as the painful transformation overtook his body. Once the human emerged from the beast, he quickly pulled on a pair of track suit bottoms and a t-shirt before nodding to the wolf.

“Lead the way.”

The wolf trotted along, the rest of the team following along in perfect formation. They jogged for a few minutes, Vincent even in his skin side able to keep up with his wolves quite easily.

They came to a stop near a small brook. Vincent recognised the disturbed dirt on the bank, as if someone had been there to draw water. Upon closer inspection, the bushes nearby had also been disturbed, almost picked completely clean of the berries that it blossomed.

“Can you trace a scent?” Vincent turned to two of his leading men. A small hopeful feeling blossoming in his chest; for the first time in a very long time, Vincent prayed to the Goddess.

‘It’s faint, but I can track it.’

They took of in an instant, at first the scent seemed to lead them eastward, but eventually it circled right back around. It was annoying, but they stuck with it anyway. This rogue-alpha was clever, it would be a skill that was much needed later. If they could find him.

They slowly began to veer off further into the forest once more. The were trees a little bit denser, but they didn’t slow down at all. The wolves maneuvered around the trees like water around rock— they were impressively agile for large beasts.

The tracker in front, a young male name Kieran suddenly stopped. In front of him stood a curtain of leaves and flowers— lavender. The scent was so strong that it filled the air around them; it was clearly being used to mask the scent of the rouge.

Vincent gestured for his wolves to wait, moving forward to cautiously part the wall of flowers. He took another cautious step, not daring to let his guard own— he had no doubt that this Rogue knew that he was there.

Beyond the curtain, was a completely different place than the forest behind it. There was a bed of emerald green grass, littered with occasional flowers a small cabin in the centre off the small clearing. It was wooden, rough, practically hand made; it reminded him of home, of Spiraea.

Suddenly Vincent found himself on his back, a large wolf pinning him down. Thinking of his mate had caused him to lower his guard, even when she wasn’t around she managed to affect him.

Vincent fought back, his hands pushing the wolfs open jaw away from his vulnerable neck. His wolves burst through the curtain of lavender at the sound of the scuffle. They all moved as if to step in, wanting to help, to protect their Alpha but Vincent stopped them.

“No, stay back.” He grunted, from below the large beast to his men. His leg shot out in a powerful kick, it landed and was enough to wind the creature.

It stumbled back, giving Vincent barely enough time to get up before it charged again. Vincent stumbled back at the force but managed to catch the huge wolf in a headlock.

“I’m not here to hurt you. I came to find you. Please listen to me.” Vincent tried to reason with the beast.

However it did no good, the wolf continued to thrash against his hold violently, trying to escape. For a moment Vincent thought that he had gone full rogue— completely succumbed to his beast. He wasn’t sure what to do, put down the creature and wage war? He did not want to, but it was starting to feel like his only options.

“Please stop!” Vincent roared once again, desperately wanting the wolf to comply. The hope he had previously felt was slowly diminishing with each thrash of the violent beast.

The beast let out a loud roar, something between a howl and a growl. This was it, Vincent looked away with remorse, his arms tightening a fraction around the beasts neck.

Then something unexpected happened, the door to the cabin opened and a small frame came tumbling out. A human girl with hazelnut skin and pure white hair, barrelling towards Vincent and the huge wolf locked into his arms.

“Seth!” She sobbed, “Let him go! You’re going to kill him!”

***

Spiraea had barely slept while Vincent was away. He had been gone for 5 days now and she was beginning to get restless.

The afternoon that she arrived at his parents home, Emilia had sat her down to explain the ceremony which Spiraea was extremely grateful for. Vincent had hinted that the ceremony was different to a human wedding, but she hadn’t realised how different.

Emilia had sat her down, and had even brought out her picture album to show the younger girl her own happy day.

“Sean's parents had planned the entire event for months,” She mused gently, a small nostalgic smile on her features as she spoke. “They wanted it to be perfect.”

“You look amazing.” Spiraea’s fingers brushed over one of the aging photographs carefully.

“Thank you, I was a looker back in the day. ” Emilia joked. Spiraea couldn’t help thinking that she looked pretty much the same from her ceremony. “Red however, is not my colour... But it's part of the ceremony.”

“Why red?”

“Well, red is the colour of love. Its also a symbol that you are freely choosing to be tied heart and soul.” Emilia explained. “The heart of the ceremony is really about connection, to each other as mates and to the pack as leaders.”

They had talked for hours, Emilia telling her about all the formalities and the festivities afterwards. It was interesting to listen to, Spiraea enjoyed listening to Emilia’s memories of her own big day.

Spiraea had fallen a little more in love with the idea of the ceremony since that day. It was romantic, beautiful and so full of meaning, every day she couldn’t wait for Vincent to return so that she could marry him.

The days afterwards she had spent with both Emilia and Marianne picking out details like seating arrangements and decorations. She preferred things to be fairly simple, she hoped Vincent would approve of her choices. She was fairly certain he would, but she wished that he was there to make the decisions with her.

Spiraea had also decided to go back to the small tailors to get her dress made. She had really taken a liking to Mama D’Leau and Papa Bois, they were like the grandparents she never had. She really wanted them to have the honour of doing the gown and embellishments for her big day.

They talked about designs for a few days before Mama D’Leau got to work. Spiraea had even asked Papa Bois to work on a special project for her.

Between planning for the ceremony and looking after Max, Spiraea made sure she was always on her toes. She made sure to make time to see him every day, and even brought him home a couple times. Both Emilia and Sean had no qualms about housing the baby, and were quite overjoyed to meet their newest grandson.

She was grateful to have so many things to keep her busy. With so much to do, she had no time to think about missing Vincent. Well, that was at least during the day.

Every night when she went to bed, she lay awake missing her mate. It was only out of sheer exhaustion that she would eventually fall into sleep, and even then it was not restful. Without him she was cold, in both mind and body- she found herself often thinking of the harsh reality she might have been dealt had she never met Vincent. Thoughts like those, only made her miss him more.

She shook her head from thoughts of Vincent though she knew it was impossible. She would find herself thinking of him whenever she let her mind drift. He was so deeply ingrained in her that even when he was away, he never really left her. She kept counting down the days until she would see him again, she wished the days would go by faster. He had promised her a week and she would wait.

She took the short walk over to the nursery, saying hi to Kate before checking up on her favourite boy.

Max gurgled happily at seeing the woman, who lifted him into her arms carefully. He cooed, pressing a wet kiss to her cheek.

Spiraea laughed wiping away his drool before returning his kiss with on of her own. She only wished Vincent was there to share in the moment with them.

***

Vincent let the wolf go instantly, the girls shouting ceased. She immediately moved towards the beast who began to change, his bones cracking and reforming to form a human male.

“I told you. stay. inside.” He growled at the girl, it was a dangerous sound but the girl wasn’t deterred.

“But I could hear you—”

“No! What if it was a rogue? Next time do as you’re told.”

The girl looked as though she was going to argue again, but his glare made her rethink it. She huffed, pouting gently in obvious disagreement but she still nodded as if to appease him.

Once the male, Seth as she had called him, was satisfied with her, he turned his withering glare onto Vincent.

“Who the hell are you, and what are you doing here.”

“I’m Alpha Vincent, and I’ve been searching for you. I really need your help.”

The male looked suspiciously at him for moment, sizing him up. The girl looked between her rogue and Vincent carefully, not fully understanding what was happening.

“I can’t help you.” The rogue grunted, standing from his position on the grass in all his naked glory.

The nameless human girl blushed, her eyes dancing around the clearing. Every so they would take a glance at her naked rogue, but she tried to focus on something else to make her interest less obvious.

“Orion, come on. Lets go back inside.” He motioned her to the door of the small wooden cabin. She stood for a moment, giving the strangers another glance before walking back over to the door.

Vincent felt his heart sink, this was his last chance. And it was walking away without a care in the world.

“If you don’t help me, Damien will wage war on my pack. Aren’t you the rightful Alpha? Doesn’t it make you sick to think about how he’s been abusing your pack?!”

Vincent practically shouted, wanting nothing more than to throttle the stranger before him. This man was supposed to be an Alpha? No, it seed that he had forgotten all that it meant to have that responsibility.

The anger was rising within him, making his blood hotter; he wished more than ever Spiraea was there to calm him down. With her around he had almost forgotten how hot his anger could burn. Vincent took a deep breath trying to keep a semblance of calm.

“I’m giving you a chance to take your birth right back. I’m giving you a chance to end Damien.”

The man stopped in his path, he stood with his back to Vincent for a moment as though thinking through the proposition. Then he turned, a dark ferocity in his eyes as he studied Vincent carefully.

“Come inside.”

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