Orion woke before he did. It was almost as if she could sense when he would have a dark night, it was in the way he shifted restlessly in his sleep, or how he would make those pained sounds behind closed lidded frantic eyes and furrowed brows. She knew better than to wake him when he got like this, so she simply waited, her hand stroking through his hair soothingly.
Seth shot up, his eyes searching the room desperately, his fear gripped him tightly by his beating heart which threatened to tear itself right out of his ribcage. A soft, warm palm against his pants covered thigh grounded him as he found what he had been looking for. All he could see in his minds eye, was the remnants of his terror filled dream, of his uncle laughing maniacally with the bodies of his loved ones at his feet.
He didn’t pause to think, knowing that it would only make him hesitate. Instead he followed his instinct driven need to have her closer, to take from her the comfort only she could give. He pulled her into his lap, burying his face in her neck before taking a deep breath of her scent.
It reminded him of their cottage, she smelled like the clearing there- a crisp scent, that crystalline sharpness in the air that came on a cold day, or just after the rain had fallen. He loved it; it smelled like home. She smelled like home.
For a moment, he wasn’t entirely sure that she was really there, his hands biting into her hips a fraction tighter drawing blood where they became claws whilst his lips desperately sought the flesh of her neck and collarbones as if to prove to himself she really was there.
Orion straddled his lap and continued to stroke his hair gently, murmuring soft assurances that she was there and that he was okay. She barely even let out a sharp hiss at his claws, and though it hurt she knew he would hurt himself more if he found out that he had hurt her in any way.
Seth was grateful that she didn’t push, simply letting him calm himself with her presence; it was as if she knew exactly what to do to ground him. He felt him self steady, as if he had finally stepped off a tightrope onto solid ground, in waves he felt the changes as his heart slowed, his hold on Orion loosened and his claws turned back into fingernails.
He lifted his face to meet Orion’s gaze, her hands caressing his cheeks before resting on his neck. He reached up, his intention to tuck one of her newly un-braided curls behind her ear but froze at the sight of blood on his fingernails. He looked down to her hips, a new and different kind of distraught filling him.
“I hurt you.” His voice, tinged with disbelief and almost not there at all, broke the silence.
Orion caught his hands, halfway to his head before he could bury them in his scalp. She shook her head, nudging his face with her nose tenderly. “You didn’t hurt me. I’m okay.”
As if to prove it to him, she kissed him- starting by his cheek, then down his jaw and across his chin before teasing his lips. She nipped, sucked and bit at his lips gently until he finally relented and gave in to her advance, kissing her back with a groan.
One of his hands found its way back down to her hip, snaking down to rest against her tail bone whilst the other slid its way up her spine, until his fingers were wrapped around the back of her neck, holding her in place for him to take more from her hot, delectable mouth.
He rolled over, hovering above her, eyes full of apology as he took her lips with his once more. His hands trailed her sides until they reached to her hips, pulling back to get a better look at the damaged he had done. He tried not to be too hard on himself, to push away those thoughts that told him that he would only hurt her, that she deserved better.
The cuts were small and not at all deep, they had barely beaded any blood, mere scratches than actual cuts. To him they were cuts deep enough to prove that he was perfectly adept at destruction, that he would ruin her if she trusted him too much.
But he also knew that he had the chance right then and there to prove to himself that he was better, and could be better for her. Light as a feather floating in the wind, his lips touched her hip. He traced each small cut with ghostly kisses, each as tender as the last.
Orion’s hear skipped a beat; she did not know that a man of his size, personality or history could possess such a gentleness within him. Then again, she knew that he would always do right by her. He didn’t have to say a word- she knew, she could feel it in his actions- this was how he spoke to her, this is how he told her. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I don’t want to hurt you.
She caressed his cheeks, guiding him back up to her face and with another peck to his lips, she quietened his doubt. “You didn’t hurt me. It’s okay.”
He lay back beside her, his ear pressed to her chest and his arms holding her firmly to him. The sound of her steady heartbeat against her ribcage lulled his mind to a serene trance, his mind focused on the rhythmic counting of each beat.
An hour had passed since Seth had woken, but neither of them could go back to sleep. Seth, though he would never admit it out loud, was partly afraid to close his eyes again lest he see those terrifying images that haunted his mind. Orion was much too awake, between the adrenaline rush, her swooning for Seth’s actions earlier, or her general worry and curiosity over his nightmares, the girl was unable to rest.
The silence filled the space between them, until Orion, no longer able to handle her thoughts shattered it with her quiet whisper.
“Do you want to talk about it?”
Seth was quiet, and for a moment Orion thought he had fallen asleep. Seth let out a small sigh, before nuzzling into her chest as he debated whether it was a good idea or not. He was never one to talk, but he couldn’t deny that the times he did speak, it felt like such a relief.
“Its not always the same. Sometimes I watch him kill my parents, sometimes he hurts you... sometimes it’s not even him, sometimes it’s me. But every single time, he’s laughing.”
“You are not your uncle. You are nothing like him. Plus, you have me and as long as we stick together things will work out just like they always have.” Orion assured him. “I know he won’t hurt me because I know that you, and Vincent and all those other Alphas, would never let that happen.”
“I won’t lie, little star... I’m afraid. I wonder if this was the right choice.”
“Do you remember, every time I would wake up those nights with those horrible memories of what happened to my family? You would tell me the same thing. The Moon Goddess is watching us, guiding and protecting us... Well, if she led you to me, then she’s also brought us here; you have nothing to be afraid of, the goddess will guide you.” The woman’s fingers played with his soft hair, her voice never breaking higher than a soft whisper. It was soothing, a pillow for Seth to lay his weary head to rest; when had she become his rock, his comfort, his peace? She had come to grow, so much and so fast.
“You’ve grown.” He murmured, kissing the spot right above her beating heart sending the organ there into a complete frenzy. “You’re no longer a little star, now you’re an entire constellation.”
“I like being your little star,” she admitted quietly. He had called her that ever since she was younger, never really understanding at first. Then when she was around 14, he showed her, pointing up at the diamond encrusted night sky all the constellations, and the one she was named after.
She would stare up at the gems on quiet nights, wondering if her parents were watching her, if they were proud of her, and if she would ever burn as bright as those little lights. Later, when she was 17, she decided that she didn’t need to burn so bright because she was his star.
“You’ll always be my little star.” He looked up, catching her light brown eyes practically glowing as they caught the soft moonlight just peeking through the curtains a few feet away. “And my favourite constellation.”
When the sun rose, both Seth and Orion were up and ready to get started with their day. Living in the wild had trained them that way; never failing to greet the sun as it greeted the day. Vincent had agreed today would be the day that they started Seth’s mentoring whilst Spiraea and Marianne were due to take Orion out for a day of shopping in the pack.
The couple decided to eat breakfast with the other pack members in the dining hall on the bottom floor. Spiraea tried for the first time porridge, sweetened with honey which she also ate with some fresh fruit. She also tried what Seth told her was coffee, the bitter taste was sharp and left a searing in her mouth but with the sweetness of the porridge it was a pleasant combination. She liked them both very much.
Seth also got to indulge in a full English breakfast for the first time in far too long. He couldn’t scarf down a plate of food any faster than he managed to shovel down the combination of eggs, sausage, mushrooms, beans and toast. He even had space for a second helping afterwards.
After breakfast they got changed into appropriate clothing for their respective activities; Orion putting on a knee length sundress that she found in the bag of clothes. It was light, and she felt somewhat exposed with her legs bare. It wasn’t something she felt comfortable with, but there wasn’t much other choice in the clothes she had. Seth picked out a dark pair of jogging bottoms, and a t-shirt that fit him a bit too tightly. He also found a zip up hoody to throw on over the top.
Orion felt a pit in her stomach, it started as a small seed but grew until it seemed to encompass her completely. Maybe he could sense it too, she wondered if he felt the same way.
They both, whether knowingly or not, took their time-almost purposefully drawing out the domesticated actions as if realising that they would soon have to spend time apart. It would be the first time that they’d be separated since arriving in Vincents pack which spiked anxiety through them both.
Orion in particular didn’t want to leave Seth after finally having had the opportunity to be so affectionately close to the usually taciturn man.
Seth walked Orion down to the front of the pack house, and waited with her for Marianne and Spiraea to arrive. She fidgeted for a moment, only stopping when Seth took hold of her hand in his. The sensation of his warm palm, and the familiar tingles calmed her thoughts almost instantaneously.
There was nothing else that either of them could do but try to fill themselves with each others touch for as long as possible before they had to split up. Unfortunately it only took four minutes before the two human girls showed up; Seth held in a groan as he realised he would have to let her go, if only for a few hours.
“Are you ready?” Marianne chirped brightly, she always seemed to be full of cheer. It was strange to see someone so full on energy, especially next to Luna Spiraea who seemed to be far more reserved than her friend.
Orion nodded, giving Seth’s hand a small squeeze before pulling away to leave.
She hadn’t gotten more that a couple steps away when he pulled her back to him, his lips coming down hard on hers in a bruising, lasting kiss. It lasted not much longer than a few seconds but to Orion it felt as if he had imprinted himself onto her; she would be able to feel his lips on hers for a long time after they left one another.
“I’ll see you later,” he grunted gruffly. He turned and walked from her, knowing that if he watched her walk away, he wouldn’t be able to let her go.
In that split second that he reached out for her, it frightened him that she wouldn’t come back, that she was his only connection and now she was leaving. It had been a need so deeply ingrained that he didn’t even think about it, his body simply reacted. He felt it, like a violent thrumming in his veins, Goddess only knew what he would do- could do- if someone tried to stop him. Was this what Papa Bois had been trying to warn him about?
“Yeah, see you.” She smiled, watching him go a few steps before turning back to the other two girls. They were both waiting patiently, understanding looks on their faces. They understood, they had been there.
“Alrighty, lets go shopping!”