Seth’s eyes remained firmly on the door for a moment after Orion left with Spiraea; he knew that she did not need him, she hadn’t needed him for a long time but he always got that protective pang in his chest whenever she left. When it changed from the concern of a friendly guardian to that of a mate he could hardly remember, or even tell.
It was such a strange though for him to consider, just a couple months ago he and Orion had been living their own separate lives- away from packs, away from conflict... and away from each other. They were closer now than they ever were when they lived in their alcove; it made him wonder what their fates would have been had Vincent not found them. Then again, perhaps it was fate that led them to be where they were, where they needed to be.
“Whilst those two are out, I figured we could use this time to discuss the other side of your training.” Vincent spoke, drawing Seth’s attention back to his form where he was seated behind his desk still. “Orion won’t need or ever have the physical prowess that you currently have. You need to be able to train your body to be prepared to take on your uncle, otherwise, all of this will be for nothing.”
“How do you know that I won’t be able to take my uncle down as I am now?” Seth asked, a little bit insulted. True, he had spent half of his life acting as a caregiver to his mate, but he had also spent that half of his life barely controlling his rage and desire to rip his uncle to shreds.
“You want to kill your uncle for revenge, not because you want to take over you pack. That alone is something I worry about.” Vincent admitted quietly, though it was still more than audible for all in the room. “Your challenge to your uncle marks the beginning of your reign as Alpha, if your pack sees you as someone who takes pleasure in revenge and war and death you, you will end up exactly where your uncle is now. First impressions count. So, can you put aside your baggage and personal history with Damien for the sake of your pack?”
Seth’s mind was a stew of emotions, he was reeling with shock and thoughtfulness at Vincent’s words. However, above everything, he felt rage. Unadulterated rage. It made him angry to think that after everything that man had done, he would not die in a way that he deserved. He had spent so long planning how he would torture and drag it out, for everything that he had out his family through, for his father, for himself. He didn’t want to let that go. A part of him was frightened knowing that this was inside him, that he couldn’t shake this darkness that wanted to consume him.
“I don’t know.”
“Where are we going?” Orion found the courage to ask as the pair left the building that held Vincents office. She was excited to be on a ‘field trip’ but with every step she took that was further away from Seth she wondered whether she would be okay.
There was a part of her that hated how dependant she was on him. They had spent so long together, and she knew he always came back so she really had nothing to worry about. Plus, Vincent and Spiraea’s pack was safe.
“Well Vincent thought it might be a good idea for you to see me doing what I do around the pack.” Spiraea explained as they bother strolled down a dirt pack that led to the heart of the pack. “See being an Alpha or a Luna, people mistake that for meaning you are above the pack, that you rule. But if I have learnt anything, it’s that it’s the opposite. To be leaders you act in service. You both act as the pillars that supports, nurtures and encourages each other and your people; you are below the pack. Do you understand?”
“Yes, I think so.” Orion nodded. “You said you work in the nursery?”
“Si,” The Luna nodded. “But I agreed to help Marianne with delivering some food to some of the men working on repairs before tending to the babes. I love to cook.”
Orion’s stomach rumbled at the prospect of food, even though she had eaten breakfast she could never say no to the pleasure of food. Spiraea giggled, her own tummy making a grew rumbling noises.
“Whilst we’re there, maybe we could find something to eat too.” The Dominican woman added with a wink.
The women stopped at a bistro, the owner was a kind older gentleman, he introduced himself but Orion was more focused on the divine smell coming from the kitchen to really pay attention. Spiraea spoke for a moment with the man, Orion catching the end of the conversation as she reigned in her focus. She heard as the man explained that there had been a miscommunication and he still had a lot more food to prepare in order to feed everyone; Spiraea gladly offered both their help.
They stayed for roughly an hour there; even managed to fit in a hearty lunch before they started to work. With both Spiraea and the gentleman that Orion found was called Jean-luc, they managed to prepare enough food in record timing. Orion could sense a sort of serenity about Spiraea as she worked; it was evident that cooking came as easily as breathing for her, and it was her solace. Orion on the other hand, wasn’t as proficient around the kitchen. Whilst incredibly curious about everything, and her enjoyment of the atmosphere, she wasn’t skilled in the art of cooking at all; it was almost like having a child in the kitchen. In the end, she helped to pack everything into their rightful containers and bags, organising everything in a way that made it easy to hand out later.
The two women also agreed to deliver everything, and so they shared some brief, warm goodbyes with Jean-luc before heading off on their way with two full wagons of packed lunches. They stopped at the heart of the pack, there were a large group of men milling about, there were also a group of women nearby some chatted whilst others tended to their own tasks. Once they spotted the two Luna’s they were quick to hurry over and assist them in divvying up the lunches.
The group ate heartily, and Spiraea and Orion stayed a while there too. They all ate together, then the two ladies watched as the men worked. One man in particular caught Orion’s eye, hanging precariously on a ladder as he hammered away at a piece of board on the roof he was working on. She couldn’t help but rush over to him, steadying the ladder below his feet. The man, so startled, practically toppled from the ladder landing unceremoniously on the ground.
“Steadying the ladder was supposed to stop me from fallin’. Thanks an’ apologies miss.” The young man chuckled embarrassedly from the ground. Now that he was was a lot closer, Orion couldn’t help but notice how young his face really was; he looked like he couldn’t be much older than 18 or 19.
“You don’t need to apologise for falling,” Orion raised her brow both amused and confused. Who apologises for accidentally getting hurt... What a silly boy? She helped him up with a hand, as she commented, not unkindly. “I noticed a couple things whilst you were up there, you’re lucky it was only a fall.”
“Oh,” he rubbed the back of his neck with a bashful smile. “It’s my first time helpin’ out around the pack. My pa’s been saying I should be helping around for ages, I’m more of a bookish type boy. I’m really supposed to be running errands, but I wanted to give this a go.”
Orion smiled, the boy reminding her very much of herself a long time ago. The had been plenty of times when Seth had set aside jobs- repairs for the hut, their clothes, hunting- to do, and she always managed to push herself into those spaces too. She was glad for it, because it had meant she learnt valuable skills that she could look after herself or make shelter if he was ever away- not that he ever was for very long.
“I’m Orion. What’s your name?” She asked, regarding the boy with a new fondness.
She looked over his frame, taking the time to really look at him. He looked different to her. He had brass, almost golden, his hair wavy and the colour of hazelnuts and his eyes a dark earth colour.
“Leo... I guess our meeting must have been written in the stars,” Leo joked.
Orion was confused at first but once he explained that there was a constellation called Leo she found herself giggling. She liked Leo, they seemed to get along well. She was glad to keep making friends here, though a part of her was sad to make ties to a pack she would soon be leaving.
“How about I teach you how to properly patch a roof?” Orion suggested. The boy nodded happily, running off to get the equipment that she rattled off to him.
As he left Spiraea came up to her once again; Orion was thankful to the woman who she now viewed as a friend. She had been dutiful in not only looking after her, but teaching her in a way that she didn’t realise she needed. The help she received from Spiraea, inspired her to help others too.
“I think you’ve found something you’re good at,” Spiraea smiled, her whole face lighting up with her genuine happiness for her friend.
“I like this,” Orion admitted. “I didn’t realise that helping the pack could be so fun!”
“I’m glad you like it! I still have to go help out at the nursery, but I will come and find you again when it’s time to go back?” Spiraea offered. Usually Vincent would come and find her, but she wanted to make sure Orion got back to Seth so she supposed there was nothing wrong with bending their routine for their allies and friends.
“Alright,” Orion agreed. She pointed over to a large tree, wanting absolute clarity. “We can meet by that big tree.”
Spiraea nodded her own agreement, giving the girl a warm hug before walking down the path back towards the pack nursery. Orion paused realising that having Spiraea come back for her later was out of the woman’s way, but didn’t have time to contest or even think further on it because Leo came bounding over waving a large hammer around.
“Leo! Be careful with that thing!”
Silence took over the office; it was as if they were all realising that this ‘plan’ had never really been a plan. They were balancing on the razor sharp edge of a precipice, one wrong move and everything would fall apart.
“Seth, I know as your mentor, I’m supposed to guide you but this is not something I can help you with. You need to get your shit in gear, sort through your emotions and make sure you can keep yourself in check, or else someone else will have to.”
The words hung in the air, a threat tightening around Seth’s throat like a noose. It was odd, he thought he should feel angry, he should feel stifled and angry. He felt as though he was meant to lash back, but Seth felt nothing but a calmness taking over. Like the falling of rain after a stiff heat, the cool blue light of the moon after the red hot of the blistering summer sun.
“Thank you.” Seth spoke, and he meant it with upmost sincerity. To have someone willing to hold him accountable was exactly what he needed; the last thing he wanted to do was to hurt Vincent or his pack, especially not after all the help he had offered him. Or Orion, and his own people- they had suffered enough.
Vincent was right, Seth did need to get his shit together.
“Okay, Physical training. What else?”