Vincent looked up eagerly when both Seth and Orion came out of what used to be their home, but Orion couldn’t face either man.
Her heart heavy, and her eyes burnt with tears. She kept her gaze down so they wouldn’t see her tear stained cheek. She was still upset with Seth for shutting her down the way he had so when he tried to wrap his arm around her waist, she pulled away.
She could sense his upset at her pulling away but she herself was much too distraught to be of any comfort to him. He recovered quickly though, walking over to Alpha Vincent with a nod.
“I will take my pack back from Damien.” He affirmed with conviction, though hesitation filtered in. “But I can’t do this alone.”
“You don’t have to.” Vincent smiled, a comforting smile as he clasped Seth’s shoulder in a gesture of support and friendliness.
The group gathered around, making quick plans on the journey back to whence they had come. They seemed somewhat unsure of what to do with the girl, no doubt seeing her human self as somewhat a disadvantage to their desire to travel hard and fast. If Orion wasn’t so disheartened at the prospect of leaving her haven in the woods then perhaps she would have given them all an earful of what she thought.
Luckily for them all, she didn’t have to as Seth spoke up to reassure the group with a strong, firm affirmation.
“Orion can ride on my back,” his gruff voice tickled her ears pleasantly. There was a roughness in his tone, and even having lived with the brute of a man for 17 years, Orion couldn’t tell if it the sound was a sign of his emotion or just its natural quality. There was something about that man, that everything he seemed to do or say, was steeped in either anger or passion and both emotions looked equally the same.
Seth was proud of his mate, though he could sense the lingering doubt in Vincents men. Their worry wasn’t entirely misplaced; humans after all were fragile creatures but Seth knew without a doubt that his mate was far more robust than any normal female.
She was fierce and strong, she could keep up with him and much more. She was the one reason that he had clung onto his humanity with everything that he had; she had kept him sane.
The man Vincent nodded, taking a deep breath of his surroundings before a faint smile played on his lips. “Alright, let’s go home.”
Orion wanted to scoff at the words, she was home; well she supposed she didn’t have a home anymore. Perhaps she never really had one to begin with.
She turned away as the men began to strip and shift; her eyes squeezing tight until she saw nothing but darkness behind her closed eyelids. She could hear the snapping of bones, the clenching of teeth and the grunts of exhaustion as they succumbed to the change their bodies were forced to endure.
It didn’t frighten her, not in the way it had when she first saw Seth change. As morbid as it was, it was a comfort to her; the sounds (she had always given him the privacy of not looking) reminded her of Seth, of when they would hunt together in the woods. It was strange, because even though she knew the change was painful, she also knew that Seth was strong enough to overcome it- she supposed all wolves had to be, otherwise they wouldn’t change at all.
The girl felt a soft nudge against her side as Seth’s beast gave her the okay to look; there was something about his fur side that always seemed to be a lot softer than the man as contradictory as it seemed.
She caressed the side of his maw, kissing his nose gently as he whined quietly. One thing about the beast was that it never hid how it felt, not even when Seth tried to. It comforted the girl a great deal to know that Seth too had some sort of sadness and apprehension about this decision.
He kept whining as he tried to nuzzle her- comfort her in what he knew was her sadness. She could feel his emotions- ever since he had saved her with his mark at 18. He was also upset that she was mad at him and for some reason, that saddened Orion too.
“I’m not mad at you,” She rested her head against his, burying her face in his warm fur. “Well, not entirely.”
She meant what she had said; she wasn’t mad at him and if she was it was never for long. Deep down she understood that this had to be done, that this would have happened sooner or later. She was beginning to realise, one way or another, things always made themselves right. Seth had often told her stories of the Moon Goddess, about fate, and she realised now that those things couldn’t be dismissed.
It made her sad right now, but if Seth was right in all his story telling, the sadness would be replaced, and the happiness she had clung to before would be restored by tenfold. If Seth believed in these things, then she could find it in her heart to believe in all that and more too.
They travelled through the day, and camped through the night. It took them roughly three more days to get to where they were headed.
The men stayed in their beast forms the whole way so as to save time between shifting, which meant Orion had plenty of time to cool down from her lingering hurt. She also used the time to ponder what it might mean to be Seth’s mate.
She found her mind running around in circles; she knew that when two animals came together they mated- so did that mean that she was Seth’s life partner? But then she reasoned it couldn’t be so, because Seth had never shown any interest in her that she had ever seen or felt. She considered that mates could also mean friend, which would make sense because she was Seth’s friend. But then she would tell herself that it didn’t explain why Vincent and his men looked so surprised when Seth had revealed the fact.
Thus her mind spun for hours until she found herself sleeping to forget about the endless carousel of confusion. She woke not too long later as the group suddenly shifted their pace, slowing down considerably. They ran for another few miles until the trees began to diminish and buildings began to dot the landscape.
A small handful of people were gathered outside the largest building that they came to a halt in front of. Two burly men carried in their arms fresh clothing for all the wild ridden men-it surprised Orion when one man, bearing striking resemblance to Alpha Vincent even placed some clothes down in front of Seth’s beast.
She slid off her beast, looking around as he shifted beside her. Orion couldn’t help but be fascinated at the sight- so this was a pack. The buildings were made of stones, not wood, she had no doubt they were incredibly sturdy, hardly needed repairs and did not leak in rain or snow storms. The ground, though muddy, also had paths of stone which made her wonder if they had been made or if they were naturally placed. But what most fascinated Orion, were all the people.
Even though the welcome party was small, it was still the most amount of people the girl had ever seen in her life. They all looked different- the men, now all shifted, and amongst new company were all different sizes and shapes. There was another woman there too; she was small, somewhat fragile with light brown skin, black curls and brown eyes. A small baby in her arms.
The woman was looking at her curiously, but any spell was broken when Alpha Vincent made his way over to her. He took her face in his hands, his mouth covering hers with his for a moment; the whole thing was confusing for Orion, she had never seen anything of the sort before.
Vincent turned back, the baby in his arms, as he introduced everyone, but Orion wasn’t entirely paying attention. She was more focused on the woman whom Vincent seemed smitten by, whom he introduced as ‘Spiraea’. She was much smaller, shorter than even Orion, and she didn’t have that supernatural beauty or grace that were typical of werewolves.
“A pleasure to meet you both, please let me know if you need anything. I know how overwhelming this can be, trust me.” The woman came up to her with a warm and kind smile, offering her hand graciously. Her words were coated with sincerity- there was no pity, just understanding. It made Orion feel something that she had never felt before- a sense of gratitude and true understanding.
She loved her life with Seth, but he was a werewolf and male. He didn’t always understand her in the ways that she wanted him to so it was humbling to meet someone that could truly understand. Orion liked Spiraea, she was very curious about her; it was the first time she had seen another human woman and she was surprised to see how different she looked to herself. How curious that humans could have the same parts, but in all different shapes, colours and sizes! How magnificent it was!
Orion watched her hand, looking back to Seth in question who gave her a encouraging nod whilst subtly gestured a hand shaking motion. Orion placed her hand in Spiraea’s with a firm, confident grip; her darker skin contrasting against Spiraea’s lighter one.
Spiraea smiled. Orion supposed it was her turn to speak. “Thank you. I’m Orion.”
The woman nodded good naturedly, her tone never once dropping from its friendly demeanour as she spouted. “Well, I’m sure that you’d both like to rest.”
Seth didn’t doubt that the weariness on all of them had set into their features over the last few days. He couldn’t help but notice that even the Luna herself seemed to be somewhat exhausted; he wondered if that was the effect of being away from your mate. The fact Vincent was willing to take that sacrifice to come and find him for his help told Seth everything he needed to know- in fact it was somewhat touching.
Vincent took his mates hand in his as she fell into place beside him, Seth could see them both physically relax a little bit at the contact. He wondered if he was like that with Orion- though they hardly ever touched (he made very sure of that) there was still a solace that he got whenever she was near him. That solace without which, he would have gone rogue, irredeemably.
“Spiraea is right , there is still much for us to discuss but for now some dinner and sleep should do us all well.” Vincent addressed, his tone was so different to two days ago when he first encountered Seth and Orion. “Fletcher, please show Seth and Orion to somewhere they can stay and have a warm meal sent over for them both.”
“Yes Alpha!” Fletcher saluted playfully before he gestured for Seth and Orion to follow him as he lead them towards the tall building.
They walked, and the man Fletcher, spoke in his cheery manner. He made a few jokes as well as showed the couple all the things they passed. He explained that Alpha Vincent had arranged for them both to stay in the pack house temporarily until the future had been decided.
Orion wanted to hate this new and peculiar place, she wanted to be angry that this place had been the reason she had to leave her bubble... but the more that Fletcher spoke, even in her tired state, she couldn’t help but feel welcomed by all these people. They had all been kind; she couldn’t lie that she kind of liked all people she had met so far too.
Fletcher showed them to a room, assuring them that someone would be up soon to deliver them some dinner. He spoke briefly to Seth at the door, Orion overheard something about a meeting in the very near future whilst she looked about the strange room.
Everything was different from what she used to, she felt like an alien in a completely new world. She stood awkwardly, surveying her surroundings barely hearing as Fletcher left and Seth shut the door.
The room was nice, she supposed, she had never seen anything like it to compare. Did all people live in rooms like this; she found the thought peculiar.
The room itself was as large, if not larger, than the whole hut she and Seth had in the woods. There were no furs for sleeping on, no fire pit for warmth nor anywhere to store or reserve water; how were they to survive without those vital things?
The silence seemed to echo around her, her discomfort flooding the room. Seth came from behind her, sitting himself down on the raised, springy surface in the centre of the room.
The man looked up, his eyes finding Orion; she looked as out of place as she felt in the new environment. His heart softened, and he had the urge to pull her to him, hug and kiss away her discomfort. However, he supposed it would be much more welcomed, and appropriate for him to explain to her the strangeness of this new world. He could sense her curiosity, she had always been an incredibly curious and mischievous child.
The idea was appealing to him too if it meant putting off the impending conversation about mates, if not for a little while. He knew that the conversation would no doubt spark another argument between them; he would much rather bask in this moment of peace and innocence for just a little while longer.