The whole morning was now gone and still no trace of Maximus. Was he all right? What did the Shaman do to him? Would he be able to reconnect with his wolf?
All those questions kept me from focusing on my work. I was anxiously waiting for him to come back and that made me chuckle. I sensed a serious deja vu here. Would I be waiting for my mate my whole life? I had to get myself together. Maximus was more than capable of doing it all and come back to me. I had to have more faith.
I sat back down on my desk and focused on the papers in front of me when there was a knock on my door. Without lifting my eyes from the report on border patrol, I said.
Circe opened the door and walked in with her arms full of papers. Did that have no end?
"New reports signed by Isaac and me." She said. "Nothing too exciting though... It seems that nothing happens lately."
"It should be so." I sighed. Even I was getting bored lately. "We are lucky that the hunters who brought Maximus here, didn't retaliate yet."
"That could have been epic." She chuckled. "A fight between the pack and the hunters..."
"Deadly you mean." I said scowling. "Those hunters aren't to be messed with. At least not without the Council knowing what is going on."
"You don't think that we can take them?" She asked serious all of a sudden.
"I don't know." I said honestly. "Maximus told me what they do have to protect their base and I'm not sure that, even with our trained warriors, it will be enough."
"That bad huh..." She said avoiding my gaze.
"Yes..." I sighed.
"But wasn't Maximus their best asset?" She asked.
"I don't know. He certainly was one of their best but maybe he never knew if there was... Someone or something better than him in that hellhole." I said feeling anger rising inside of me just talking about it.
"It looks all so complicated..." She said. "But you're still determined to have them all killed?"
"Yes. We can't let them continue to abduct our own and do whatever they want with them. I won't accept that as an Alpha." I said determined.
Our pack was certainly not their first victim and we were not their last. I could not tolerate that now that I was in charge of protecting all those wolves. I never wanted for anyone to go through the pain of losing someone like that again. Maximus' disappearance had killed his father, almost drove me insane and left a hole in the pack since we had no Beta and I knew that our case was far from being unique. Other groups must feel the same and have similar stories, all of it because of the hunters. No more.
"I hope you'll come up with a good plan then." She said before leaving the room.
I had not really been focused on that so far. I was more focused on helping my mate recover from the trauma and feel at ease here with the pack. That had absolute priority to me. I knew that things would never be the way they were ever again but... I did want him to feel welcomed and comfortable with us. He deserved to have a normal life again.
Thinking about it brought another wave of concern but I drowned it by focusing on my work. Making the pack a safe place would allow every wolf in the pack to have a normal life and I owed each of them that.
It was late in the afternoon when I heard the door to my office open. Who dared come inside without knocking? I lifted my head up to give them a piece of my mind but I froze. Maximus was standing in front of my desk smiling. It was all I needed to send the papers to Hell and jump into his arms.
"I haven't been gone that long." He chuckled as he embraced me tight to him.
"Are you kidding me? It's almost dinner time! You've been gone almost all day." I said burrying my face in the crook of his neck. "How did it go?"
He sat us on the couch in my office first before he answered my question. I could feel through our bond that he was calm and happy that I was so happy to see him.
"It wasn't easy." He said his hand going through my hair lazily. "It took some time to convince my wolf that I didn't need him to jump in to protect us all the time anymore... That we weren't alone and we were now in charge of protecting the pack alongside you. You're actually the only one he wants to protect and he doesn't care much about the pack since we lived like a lone wolf for so long."
It was rare to have lone wolves, wolves that actually chose to be alone. Rogues were bannished from packs but lone wolves wanted to live closer to a human. It happened to a lot of bitten, wolves made and not born but it sometimes happened to born wolves as well. So Maximus' wolves saw himself as a lone wolf, no wonder he could attack the rest of the pack so easily plus he had been trained to do so. I could understand where he was coming from.
"Could you find a way to make him understand?" I asked.
"Yes. He's still suspicious but he accepted to try and give the pack a chance. He will need a show of trust though..." He said.
"We'll make it so." I said with a smile. "Only Isaac has been an issue so far..."
"Helena..." He sighed. "I know that the whole pack is still unsure about me, you don't have to hide it from me. I understand why they are too. Not so long ago, I would have killed them on sight without feeling any kind of remorse. I feel... Better now but there's still a long way to go for me and the pack."
I do not know how he picked up on the uneasiness that was always there whenever someone in the pack mentionned him since he had been staying far from everyone but... He was a part of this pack and that was maybe what he felt through the mind-link. Sadly I was no expert in pack magic but that was probably what was going on here. It was making him feel all the concern of every wolf towards him and yet, he was still fighting. I wish everyone could welcome him with open arms but, as the Alpha, I would have to show the way.
I wrapped my arms around his neck and put my forehead against his. He was looking quizzically at me, waiting for me to make my next move.
"You're a part of this pack Maximus." I said using the Alpha power so every wolf would feel it in the pack bond. "You just took this huge, dangerous step towards us and we, as your family, will do the same."
His eyes widened as he took my words in. It was rare for a pack to take new wolves in but we still had a ceremony for it. I would not use those words to welcome a new wolf into the pack but I could use them to welcome a member back. That would also make his wolf feel a part of the pack again and not like a lone wolf anymore.
"What do you say?" I asked.
"I agree." He said with a soft smile. "I feel ready to face the pack and be welcomed back."
"I'm glad to hear that." I said smiling back at him.
"I feel also ready to talk to the Council and face my past once again." He added his sunflower eyes steeling under the resolve.
"I'll arrange a meeting." I nodded. "It's time to move forward and make them pay."
For all answer, he kissed me hungrily. I returned the kiss with all I had and I could feel that, for the first time, it was pain-free. He was kissing me with only love in mind. I just hoped that seeing the Shaman really set him back on the path to healing and would not make him suffer more in the future.