Vincent was surprised to find that the inside of the cabin was fairly empty. There were branches, and furs gathered together in a makeshift bed, as well as a few well put together weapons lining one side of the small space.
In another corner, laid out on leaves, sat meat, berries, herbs. There were even a few home grown vegetables. It was clear that these two had been living this wild lifestyle for a long time.
Vincent sat beside a dugout pit in the ground with Seth sat close beside him, a small fire crackling gently and warming the air.
Seth sat quietly and patiently as Vincent told him everything; about the land disputes, about the ways Damien neglected his pack, about the ways that man had neglected his very mate.
He tried to keep calm as he spoke, the very nature of the conversation sending pure rage to his core. God what he wouldn’t give to have Spiraea sat in his lap at that moment.
Seth listened intently. The girl, Orion sat quietly on the furs listening too— there were moments that she wanted to interrupt but she said nothing. Out of intimidation or respect, Vincent wasn’t entirely sure.
Once he was done, Vincent turned to Seth with little more than a stern grimace. “I don’t want to force you to do anything, but this is your pack and you have a duty, honour and right to know about the things that are going on.”
Seth nodded with a pensive look on his features, half ready to tell Vincent that he’d help. The rogue took a glance over to his female companion, Vincent guessed that she was his mate from the way that his gaze softened.
She looked terrified, she was already shaking her head silently when he looked over to her. The rogue, Seth, let out a sigh before turning back to Vincent.
“I need to talk to my mate about this first.”
“I’ll give you both a moment,” Vincent nodded in understanding. He walked out of the small shack, joining his men outside.
He couldn’t help his anxiety as he paced up and down; this was a decision that would affect the rest of their lives it was no wonder the girl was terrified. But could she, would she, convince Seth that shunning his history and duties as an Alpha was justifiable?
Sure Vincent could imagine living in the wild, alone with your mate seemed like a good plan for a little while, but after a while a wolf would begin to miss the community of a pack. Besides, it was not just about those two, it was about an entire pack— an entire world of people who needed help and they were the only ones who could.
Vincent prayed that he would hurry and make the right choice— he wanted very much to resolve this conflict. Not only that, he wanted to go home, marry his mate and hold his son.
He let out a harsh breath half unsure and completely tired. He had insisted that he was the only one capable of finding and convincing this rogue to come back to his pack... He hoped that he was right, and that the time away from his woman was not spent in vain.
A few moments later Seth walked out the hut with Orion by his side. She wasn’t looking at him, she looked in the opposite direction, evidently still upset. A few tear tracks stained her cheek, and another tear fell that she quickly wiped away.
Seth tried to comfort her, but she pulled out of his hold so instead he walked up to Vincent with a nod.
“I will take my pack back from Damien, but I can’t do this alone.”
Vincent smiled, the first smile in the last five days that he had been away from his mate, his hand clasped Seth’s shoulder in support and friendliness.
“You don’t have to.”
He encouraged them both forwards, and they made a short plan for the journey home. It had taken them two day to get as far out as possible, but with Orion, a human, they were unsure of how fast they would be able to travel.
“Orion can ride on my back,” Seth reassured them. He never once saw the girl as someone who slowed him down or held him back in any way, she was the only reason that he had kept his humanity for the amount of time that they had to live in the wild.
Vincent understood the man, and was actually quite happy that he had a mate. The Moon Goddess had clearly been looking out for him, even in his time of misfortune. However it did not change the fact that they would not be able to travel as fast as he would have wanted.
The optimist in him had hoped that Spiraea would be in his arms, or he would find her in his parents kitchen how she loved to be, before the next day was out.
Regardless, he was just happy that he would be seeing her again. He couldn't wait to kiss het lips, to make love to her again, or to just be with her.
He had also missed Max a great deal too, he couldn’t wait to for them to adopt him— he couldn’t wait to start living the future that he had always wanted.
“Alright, let’s go home.”
Getting home took the group another two days. Whilst Vincent was upset at having to spend another 48 hours away from his mate, he would have live though it all over again just to see the sight he was met with when he finally arrived back on his own lands.
A small group of people were waiting for him in front of his pack house; his father and his Beta who carried fresh clothing for the arriving wolves, he even had an extra pair for their guest. But the people that Vincent cared most about, was his waiting mate who stood with their son in her arms.
She smiled shyly, her gaze falling to the the group with- particularly the human girl who looked to be around her age or so. She bit her lip as they all shifted, waiting for Vincent to approach her; she expected him to sort out his Alpha business first, and that was okay, she could wait. However she was pleasantly surprised when he strode straight over to her, eating the space between them in three greedy steps.
His hands cupped her face gently, taking her lips against his in a soft caress. Spiraea got lost in him, completely forgetting that they had an audience. None of that mattered to her, being away from him was like being lost at sea, and she had finally just found land once more.
His tongue brushed her lips, then her tongue as she let him in; it was an intimate greeting, she could taste it- feel it. He was telling her ‘I missed you, I love you, I’m so glad to be back’, and she knew it because she was telling him the very same with each gentle peck.
It was over too quickly, and once he pulled away, he turned his attention to Max who was demanding his attention from Spiraea’s arms. The small creature lifted his chubby arms, trying to grasp Vincent’s clothes or face. He couldn’t help but chuckle, taking his son from his mother’s arms and holding him close; the elation of being home hitting him once again with a new fierceness.
He turned back to his guests, with a warm smile. “This is my mate Spiraea, my son Max, my Beta, Fletcher and my father Sean. You are both honoured guests here and you have our support in anything that you need.”
Spiraea, though not usually social, braved a smile and extended a hand to the young girl. She felt almost as if she was watching her past self in front of her, but she could tell just from the look in this girls eyes that she wasn’t like her past self. She had not been broken, in fact, she had a wildness about her that Spiraea almost envied.
They were so similar yet so different; this girl would have to face the challenge of adjusting to a whole new way of life. If anyone knew how hard that was, it was Spiraea. She felt something within her, to do something for this girl, help her and comfort her the way she had once been helped by another strong woman.
“A pleasure to meet you both, please let me know if you need anything. I know how overwhelming this can be, trust me.” Spiraea smiled, a sincerity coating every word. “I hope that we can come to be friends.”
The white haired human looked curiously at the other small woman. It was the first time in a very long time that she had met another girl, far less for another human. She watched her open hand with interest, looking to Seth. He gave her a small nod, so she let herself shake the other woman’s hand.
“Thank you. I’m Orion.”
“Well, I’m sure you’d both like to rest.” Spiraea suddenly spouted, she could see the weariness in everyone’s features. She wondered how badly she looked herself. She moved back to stand beside Vincent, taking his hand in her own as she sought comfort from his touch.
“Spiraea is right, there is still much for us all to discuss but for now some dinner and sleep should do us all well.” Vincent spoke cheerfully, his joy and relaxation at being home evident to all. “Fletcher, please show Seth and Orion to a place they can stay and have a warm meal sent for them both.”
“Yes Alpha!” Fletcher saluted, gesturing their guests to follow him as he lead the way to the pack house.
Vincent dismissed his other trackers, who took their order gratefully. They had pushed themselves hard, running relentlessly for hours only stopping to rest at night and whenever the human girl needed to stretch her legs.
“Hey Pa, can we stay at yours tonight?” Vincent turned to his father, with a tired look on his face.
Vincent bounced Max gently, stopping him from pulling at his unkempt hair which seemed to agitate the child. He started to fuss, but settled down when Vincent began to rock him gently once again.
“Of course, you don’t even need to ask. You know you’re always welcome home! Besides, Spiraea and Max have things at ours... it’s not a problem but I don’t know if you want to take them back to your own place.” Sean waved his son off before starting to walk towards his home. Both Spiraea and Vincent followed behind him, exchanging soft looks and gentle touches.
“We’ll see, I’m glad I get to see Ma though. And Ellis too of course.” Vincent scratched his chin, trapping Max’s fingers in his lips when the baby touched his face gently.
“I’m glad you’re finally home! Emilia and I wanted to make a seafood stew but we were waiting for you to come back first.” Spiraea smiled brightly; she had missed cooking for him whilst he was away.
Perhaps it was her instinct as a mate, or just because she loved him, maybe it was just because this was something that she was good at and loved to do; either way, she loved to cook for him. It made her happy to see him enjoy and be satiated by her food. And she wasn’t the only one.
Vincent had also missed Spiraea’s cooking and he wasn’t ashamed to admit it; in fact he was excited to eat as a human once more. He could think of nothing better than to eat something warm and comforting with his family.
When they walked through the front door he could hear his mother and brother chatting quietly in the kitchen. At the sound of the door clicking shut, Emilia’s footsteps became audible as she came to meet her husband at the door with Larissa on her hip.
Sean met her with a sweet kiss, then another— once, twice then a third. He ruffled the short blonde curls of his granddaughter, giving her a small kiss to the head. The whole scene was rather domestic and Spiraea couldn’t help but gush inwardly; a part of her couldn’t wait for that to be her and Vincent. She would finally have the family she didn’t have growing up; in fact, she already did.
Emilia turned to Vincent with a bright look, instantly codling him with a kiss. No matter how old her sons got, they would always be her boys and she would always want to mother them.
“Alrighty, I’m sure you’re all hungry!” She smiled brightly. “I just took Spiraea’s bread rolls out of the oven... Sean, why don’t you get the other high chair for Max?”
“It’s fine, I like holding him.” Vincent stopped his father; having the small baby in his arms was somewhat comforting. It was another beautiful reminder that he was home— a part of him didn’t want to let Max go, wanting to make up for the time he had missed when he was away.
They found Ellis trying to sneak one of the said rolls when they all came into the kitchen. Emilia swatted his hands away with a deadly glare, setting Larissa down in her chair.
The smell of the warm seafood stew filled the whole room, it was enough to set off a chorus of rumbling stomachs. Vincent was practically salivating, his eager eyes waiting to get a greedy peek at the evening meal. Even Max seemed to agree as he gurgled, slapping his hands against the table eagerly.
Spiraea served Vincent and herself, before she went to quickly make a bottle for Max whilst Emilia served the rest of the family.
She tested the milk on her forearm quickly, gasping when she saw Vincent feed him a small bit of stew. “Vincent!”
“Relax baby it’s fine, there’s nothing he can choke on. Besides he’s practically 5 months, he more than ready to start eating solids.” Vincent soothed his mate patiently.
Aside from her working in the nursery for the last few weeks, Spiraea didn’t have much experience with babies. She herself was hardly into adulthood, she would be reaching her 19th year in a few months.
Vincent remembered seeing his parents caring for Ellis when he was born. He could tell that parenthood would be a journey for them both, with plenty of hurdles for them to get over.
Spiraea turned to Emilia with a cautious look; in the short week they had spent together, the woman had become someone that she not only trusted, but also relied on. Especially when it came to Max.
“Is it really okay?”
“Yes, he’ll be fine! Don’t forget he’s also a wolf, he will learn to tell you what he needs in his own way.” Emilia’s motherly tone comforted the girl greatly. “I remember when we had Vince, I wasn’t sure either! We knew he was ready for solids when we found him in front of the fridge going at the meat!”
Ellis and Sean let out a bellow of laughter, the sound loud and harmonious. Vincent let out his own chuckle, though his cheeks tinged pink in embarrassment at hearing about his mischievous younger self.
“Well, I’ve already made him a bottle... So solids will have to wait another day.” Spiraea held out the bottle to Vincent, he paused to feed his son.
Max the clever baby, grasped onto the bottle. It took a few tries but he finally managed to hold onto it properly, though Vincent still held most of its weight.
They stayed around the table for another few hours. Both Max and Larissa had eventually fallen asleep, and after they had been laid to rest in their cribs the adults recongregated for dessert.
Emilia had made a delicious summer fruit pavlova, which went down nicely with a glass of champagne.
Vincent took the opportunity to ask his father for advice on how to proceed with the situation with Seth, but other than that the conversation died down as the tiredness kicked in.
Ellis was the first to retire to bed, bidding his family goodnight. Spiraea was next, after a brief conversation with Emilia. Then Vincent and his parents followed not too long after.
It was as if Vincent were a magnet, seeking out his other half. After roughing it in the wild for the last week he was thankful to have her in his arms, on a soft mattress.
It made him respect Seth and Orion even more, who knows how long they had been living that kind of lifestyle.
“We need to talk about the wedding stuff,” Spiraea mumbled sleepily.
Although she wanted to talk about everything that happened, and all the plans, she was far too exhausted. The fact that she had barely slept whilst he was away slammed into her at full force now that she was laying beside him, under a warm duvet, with his comforting arms around her small form.
“Tomorrow, little one.” He murmured into her hair, pressing a gentle kiss there. “For now, I just want to sleep with you in my arms.”