Later that evening Seth and Orion had dinner with the rest of Vincent’s pack. Orion introduced him to Leo and some of the other people she had met over the course of her day, and Seth, whilst he had never really been a people person, was amicable. They came up to him with questions about things that he didn’t realise they knew- things about his past and relationship with Orion. It startled him greatly, until Orion explained that she had told them stories about that part of her life.
It didn’t make him uncomfortable per say, and he knew that Orion was well within her rights to tell them her own life experience. However, he felt somewhat unnerved by the situation there were times in their past that he never wanted to think about again- like the very day she had almost died. He made a mental note to talk to her about it later when they were alone together.
Dinner lasted a couple hours, and Orion wanted to stay longer to socialise. Once she could no longer hold back her tired yawns, Seth decided it was time for them to take their leave. Initially the woman tried to fight him on it, but as soon as he- quite literally- swept her off her feet, her petition and desire to socialise died on her lips. She snuggled into him closer letting him carry her back to their room.
Once they had both showered and changed, they lay down together under the covers of their bed. Seth’s arms wrapped themselves around Orion’s body, whilst she traced noncommittal patterns against the skin of his forearm.
It was quiet for a bit, until Seth decided to speak; he wanted to talk to her about his earlier concerns before he forgot.
“Orion,” His voice was calm and even as he spoke. He always was tremendously good at keeping his cool and hiding his emotions; well, until Orion got upset and started to yell. “Why did you tell those people about our life?”
“Leo saw some of the scars and asked.” The girl shrugged, “they all seemed fascinated by it y’know.”
“I’m not comfortable with you sharing that part of our life with anyone else.” Seth pulled her in closer to him, his arms tightening around her body. There was a need in him, and Orion could sense it; the sparks that fired off when they touched were like wildfire dancing across her skin.
“I didn’t realise... how come?”
It was quiet for a moment between them as Seth tried to think of the right words to explain how he felt. He didn’t want her to think, or feel in any way that he was telling her what she could or couldn’t do. Orion had always had a spark in her soul, she was as wild and free as the forests she had grown up in; it was one of the things he loved most about her. However, he knew that with that wildness, with that spark came a fire that was impossible to tame and he didn’t want for a second for her to think that was what he wanted.
“It’s just that that’s our time. Everything that happened, all the scars, and all the stories, it’s ours and I don’t want to share that with anyone else.” Seth winced slightly, realising how hard his tone really was. He had tried to soften it, the way he had heard Vincent when he spoke to his own mate, but it was not something he was good at or able to do. As for his words, he hoped they were enough. It had been his best attempt to try to explain, he wasn’t entirely sure he had said all that he really wanted to but he just hoped that she could feel what he meant.
“I think I understand.” Orion nodded, turning to face him and cuddle into her chest. “As much as I enjoyed telling them, I still felt strange. It was like I was giving away a part of myself.”
“My father used to tell me, a very long time ago, that our stories have our very essence woven into them. You felt like you were giving a part of yourself, and for all intents and purposes you were- stories are what make us.” Seth murmured against her forehead, kissing the skin there lightly.
Orion laid there, quietly in his arms as she thought about what he had said. If that were the case, then maybe she wouldn’t mind keeping some of her stories to herself. She was reminded by how much she liked to listen to him speak, he always said something worth listening to. It always surprised him when he spoke of his parents, but she was glad that he was comfortable enough with her to share that part of himself; she wanted him to feel comfortable to share everything, even the boring everyday things.
“Hmm,” she mused. “I just realised that you’ve heard all about my day, but you haven’t shared any of yours... How was it?”
Seth considered her question for a moment, thinking over the events of his day. Considering the progress he had made with Vincent, he figured that it was indeed a good day. “We got a lot done. Earlier Vincent, the other men and I began to discuss the logistics of a coup which I mean makes sense, though personally I’d love to just walk in and kill the bastard.”
“Oh.” Orion balked, something about it irked the woman. She couldn’t say exactly what, nor could she decide whether her upset was justified. “You did?”
“Yeah, Vincent thought it might be a good idea to get a rough plan figured out because it’s going to take a lot of coordinating with the other Alpha’s too. We also agreed that from now on, I need to start focusing on my physical training.”
“What else did you decide?” Orion tired to keep the sting out of her voice, though she failed. She didn’t want to be mad at him, but it hurt her to know that she had been purposely excluded from decisions that would directly affect their future. She wanted to believe that it wasn’t entirely Seth’s fault, but couldn’t he have said that he wanted Orion there, or that he wanted to at least talk to her before laying down plans.
Seth, meanwhile, had sensed Orion’s rising annoyance, though he wasn’t entirely sure why. Surely, he thought, she would be glad that they were making progress. He knew that she was beginning to feel settled here, and that she was beginning to enjoy pack life, but if she felt anything like he did, then she was acutely aware that they were still guests in someone else’s pack.
“Nothing really, we were mostly trying to figure out this coup plan and how the physical training would work. There’s a general consensus that my uncle is far craftier, and possibly stronger than he seems.”
“Well I’m glad to know that you have everything figured out.” Orion mused nonchalantly, though she didn’t sound entirely glad to Seth. Orion huffed, turning over in his arms. She knew that she was being somewhat immature, and that she should just confront him but her wounded pride wouldn’t let her. Had she really not crossed his mind at all whilst making such important decisions?
Seth let out his own sigh, as irritation began to bleed into his veins; he wasn’t irritated at her, just at the fact that she wouldn’t say what the matter what. He hadn’t realised that he had done anything to anger her, in fact they had spent most of the day apart. Is that why she was upset?
Whatever the problem was, he didn’t want to play a guessing game to find it. “Little star, what’s the problem?”
“Nothing,” she dismissed him.
They both knew she was lying, but how could she possibly explain that she was hurt over something so small and trivial? She knew that Seth still saw her as a child sometimes, the last thing she wanted was for him to think that she was being petty and childish over him leaving her behind. In retrospect, she supposed she had already done that.
She was just tired of him taking on everything because he wanted to protect her, because he didn’t think that she could handle it because she was only a small delicate human child. It was chivalrous, and she admired that he wanted to do those things for her and loved him for it but she didn’t want him to do them because her felt that she was inferior or incapable.
“Orion.” His voice changed, it was more than a scolding tone. In crept the darker part of him, the side of his beast that came out every so often when he couldn’t keep control of his emotions. Orion wasn’t afraid, well, only a little bit. She knew he never wanted to hurt her, even the beastly side of him held affection for her.
“Do not use that voice on me.” She sat up, facing him with a withering glare marring her features.
Seth didn’t like it, he had barely even noticed his beast coming forward. He closed his eyes, taking a deep breath to calm himself; his whole body loosened, shoulders relaxed, his face softened along with his voice. “I’m sorry. I’m not going speak to you like that, but I need you to tell me why you’re upset.”
“You left me out Seth. You went ahead and you made all these plans that are important for our future and you made them by yourself. And now you just want me to be okay with whatever you cam up with?” Orion looked away from him with a shake of her head, she wasn’t entirely sure if she wanted to cry or if she wanted to just leave. “You take things on yourself all the time without ever asking, you’ve never once stopped to consider that maybe I could help. No wonder you’re so tired all the time, you’re trying to carry the whole world on your shoulders.”
“I will always do what’s best for you.” Seth countered firmly, taking her face into his hands so that he could look into her eyes. He could get lost, staring forever into her beautiful hazel eyes.
“Seth you don’t need to decide what’s best for me.” Orion raised her voice slightly, her tone just as firm as his had been. “I’m not a child anymore. I can make decisions for myself, I can do things for myself.”
“I never said that,” Seth suddenly felt defensive. Is that what she felt like he had been doing? Is that what he had been doing? He didn’t see her as a child- he knew she wasn’t a child but she was a lot younger and human. “I know that you aren’t a child, but you still need to be protected.”
“Seth, I’m not saying you can’t protect me,” She took hold of one of his hands that held her cheek, pressing her lips to his palm in a lingering, tender kiss. “I love that you want to keep me safe but there are things that you can’t protect me from. There are things I don’t want to be protected from. If I’m going to stand by your side you need to trust that I’m capable to be there, because otherwise it means you don’t think I’m supposed to be, and if you don’t believe it neither will your pack, and neither will I.”
Seth pulled away, his breath quickening as he stood from the bed and began to pace. He could feel his blood heating in my veins, his brain clouding with what felt like a fog. “Me keeping you away from harm and bloodshed is because I don’t trust you.”
“Well then, if this is how this is gonna work, I don’t want to be a part of it.”
Orion stood from her own place; in her mind her intention was to leave, though when she really considered it she didn’t really want to. She didn’t have anywhere else to go, yes she had made friends here but her home was Seth and she didn’t want to leave. She could also see that he was walking a mental tightrope, his battle was more than just the one he was fighting with her; she could see just by the look on his face that he was fighting for control within himself.
She moved closer to him, to try to calm him down but with every step she took towards him, he took another step away.
“Leave.” He grunted between gritted teeth.
If she hadn’t recognised what he was going to, she might have mistaken his command for him not wanting her anymore; she was far too perceptive. Besides if ever he did decide that he was over her it would hurt her immensely but she would not go down without a fight...She instantly regretted her last words.
“Seth, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that.” She took another step closer, he had reached the corner of the room now and there was nowhere for him to to. He looked so much like a wounded animal crouched and cowering in a corner, her heart broke, though she also knew that hurt animals were the most dangerous. “Seth please-”
“Orion go!” He growled, the sound low and predatory in the back of his throat.
“I don’t want to hurt you.”
He hadn’t even realised that she had reached his side, that she was crouching beside him. Her hands reached out to wrap around him, pulling his head against her chest as she hugged him tightly to her. They sat there for a moment, until she pulled back so that she could see his dark, earth coloured eyes.
“Seth you will always be my protector, but I have no disillusionment on how this world works. What things can you protect me from that I haven’t already seen? I’ve grieved, I’ve killed, I’ve seen the aftermath of betrayal.” She brushed one of his curls away from his forehead, pressing her skin to his. He knew all she said was true, she had lost her parents and been subjected to the wild, she had seen his trauma when it plagued him at night; she had her own too. “You are my home, and I want nothing more than to be with you always. We promised that we’d to things together, so don’t leave me out.”
Seth nodded, in understanding. The agitation, the lack of control, the heat in his veins subsiding with every touch, with every word. A small tear fell from his eye; sheer relief, love and revelation covering him.
“I love you.”
Orion smiled, wiping away his tear and pressing a kiss to his lips. “I know.”