I moved across the field towards my mate, my eyes solely for her. Her eyes revealed how much pain she felt, how much heartache she had endured without me. I hated that I hadn’t been strong enough to protect her, strong enough to be the kind of mate she needed.
Instead of saving her, I had enabled her. I had become just as destructive as she had been.
I had failed her, but I would not fail her again – never again.
“Sidero,” I whispered. “My sweet, sweet love.”
Tears shined beautifully in her gray eyes as she dropped the sword in her hand to our feet and reached up with both hands to trail the tips of her fingers over my face, her fingers shaking as she touched me after so many centuries of being apart. Her bottom lip trembled, her tears spilling down her cheeks. I just wanted to kiss them all away. “It’s you.” She cried. “Oh, my God, Vulcan; it’s really you.”
I circled her wrist with my larger hand and turned my head to press a kiss to her palm. She sobbed, the sound so beautiful to my ears, yet tearing at every piece of my soul. She had hurt so much without me. “It’s me, my love,” I confirmed as I turned my eyes to face her again.
“I thought that I would never see you again.” She choked out. “I never forgot.” She drew in a shuddered breath. “Jupiter couldn’t wipe my memories when he wiped everyone else’s. My entity wouldn’t allow him to manipulate me.” She sobbed again. The raw pain in the sound shattered my heart. “Oh, I wish he could have. The pain of being without you was unbearable.”
I leaned down and softly brushed my lips with hers – as light as a butterfly’s wings. She sighed into the kiss, the sound soothing my tormented soul. “Nothing could truly keep us apart. I’ve always told you that.” I reminded her, my lips still brushing hers as I spoke. She sobbed again, her hands clutching at me, holding me close to her. I circled her slim waist with my hands, leaning down to nuzzle her neck. “Our love is too strong to ever keep us apart for long.”
Pluto strode to our side, his burning eyes running over his daughter. “Daughter.” He greeted, love shining in his voice for her, as well as pain. She turned her beautiful face to him. “I never forgot you, my girl. Jupiter could never bury my memories of you, my sweet daughter.”
“Father.” She whimpered, diving into his arms. He wrapped his arms around her, holding his daughter to him for a moment. She cried harder, the sound tearing at my soul. “I missed you so much.”
He gently eased her back towards me. She clutched at me as I wound my arms around her small frame, my body easily dwarfing hers. I looked over at Pluto, my eyes clashing with his. I could see the flames in my eyes reflected in Pluto’s. My soul was reacting to her being so close.
Unlike Pluto, my eyes were not always burning. Instead, my fire only made itself known when my emotions were heightened – like now. They always did when she was close to me.
“I must warn you both that because I defied Jupiter’s orders, Hell will be unleashed on Earth,” Pluto informed us. “And since I’ve rejoined you two, if we wish to save humanity, Sidero must be the humans’ savior. There is no other way around it.” He winced, reaching up to hold his head. “Jupiter is very demanding.” He growled, glaring up at the dark sky.
I clenched my jaw. Sometimes, I really hated Jupiter. He was an amazing God, giving each of us the second chances we so desperately craved, but he could be a righteous asshole when he had to give out second chances like this.
“You have exactly three months,” Pluto told me, warning me that I had little to no time to save Sidero from herself. “At exactly twenty-one hundred hours on December eighteenth, the fate of the world will be decided. The path that my daughter chooses will decide what happens to humanity and the world as we know it.”
He reached out and brushed his hand over his daughter’s hair. She sniffled against my chest. I tightened my arms around her, leaning down to press a kiss to the top of her head. “If you fail her again, Vulcan, Jupiter will destroy her when he creates the new world.” I released a roar, wings of fire ripping from my back at the mere thought of completely losing her. I would not lose my mate again.
Sidero pressed a kiss to my chest, silently coaxing me to stay with her. My fingers tightened on her. “You have to save her, Vulcan. You’re the only one who can.” Pluto reminded me, pain in his eyes at the thought of losing his only daughter – this time for eternity.
With that, Pluto disappeared in a cloud of smoke, the smell of sulfur and brimstone left in his wake.
I looked down at my mate – at the other half of my soul. I hated what I was about to do to her so soon after having her back with me, but I had to really try this time. I had to save her from herself before I lost her for the rest of my existence.
That was not – would never be – an option.
She could hate me now, but I knew she would thank me later.
“Sidero, my love, I’m so sorry,” I whispered.
Before she could ask me what I was planning to do, I pressed my lips to hers in a soft, sweet kiss and called on my power of fire to yank us down into the Earth to my part of the Underworld.
The part of Earth that she had absolutely no power at.
I stared out of my bedroom window at the burning fires of the Underworld. Due to being a really good friend of Pluto, my home was inside of his realm in my own little section of Hell that he had gifted to me. And by using my powers, I had created something beautiful that I had always hoped to share with Sidero before our memories had been wiped, and we had been forced from each other.
But here, her powers were suppressed. Because she was Pluto’s daughter, two of the same blood could not hold power within this realm – it would be catastrophic. Because Pluto was more powerful than his daughter, and he was the ruler of the Underworld, he got to keep his power while Sidero was ripped of hers.
Sidero couldn’t stand not having her powers. But not having her powers would hopefully keep her entity suppressed until I could figure out how to separate the two.
But she wasn’t leaving this realm until I could save her soul – save her from the wickedness that resided in her.
“Vulcan, why am I here?” Sidero asked, sounding panicked.
I turned to face my beautiful woman. Her gray eyes were panicked as she focused them on me, her heart pounding hard in her chest. I moved over towards her, crouching in front of her where she was sitting on the bed.
“I refuse to have a repeat of last time,” I told her quietly. Her eyes flashed, that beast within her making itself known. This wouldn’t keep it suppressed, despite my hopes, but maybe it would keep it weak. “Sidero, you’re better than this, my love. I made a mistake last time in letting you choose, and I followed you helplessly, so desperate to please you, to be with you.”
“I can’t be here, Vulcan!” She screeched, her chest heaving up and down.
Wings of fire ripped from my back, my eyes turning black as flames roared inside of them and sprouted from my body. She shrieked, cowering back on my bed, though she knew I would never hurt her.
But it forced her into submission, forced her to listen to me. I hated doing it to her, but when she got like this, got overwhelmed and panicked, it made it easier for her entity to push forward.
I forced my body back to normal, standing back in front of her as her mate – not the God of Fire. “This time, we’re doing this my way, Sidero,” I told her. “I will not lose you again. We were separated for centuries, my love, and it tore us both apart. I don’t care what lengths I have to go through this time. I will calm whatever entity is inside of you, or I will separate it from you.” I told her, meaning every word.
We would never be separated again.
Hot tears slid down her beautiful cheeks. “I can’t do it, Vulcan.” She cried. “It controls me – you know that.” She pleaded, trying to get me to change my mind, but I knew it was her entity talking, not her. I knew if Sidero had complete control, she would beg me to get that thing out of her.
I moved towards the bed and wrapped my hand around the back of her neck, pulling her lips up to mine. That beast within in her pulsed under her skin, clawing to break free, to feed off of me. I pulled back from her, watching my mate as she panted, her eyes flashing dangerously, warring with the entity inside of her.
“That’s alright, my love,” I soothed, “because now, I’m the worst monster in this room because of your entity.”
Talons grew from Sidero’s nails. I growled quietly, forcing her beast back under. I held the power now. Things were different all of that time ago, but now I understood what I was facing, knew the power that it could hold over me if I allowed it.
That wasn’t happening this time.
Because this time, I was saving my mate.
I held Sidero in my arms as she slept with her head resting on my chest.
God, how many centuries had I spent begging for my mate back?
Granted, I hadn’t known exactly what had happened for all of those centuries, but the one part of my memories Jupiter had allowed me to keep was that my mate had been ripped from me and placed in human body after human body after I allowed her to wreak destruction all over the world. He had taken little pieces of my memories out, enough for me to never be able to access my powers.
Because with them, he knew I could have found her and reunited with her.
So, he made me forget that I was the God of Fire, which in turn, made me forget how to use my powers, my magic.
Surprisingly, Sidero wasn’t putting up a huge fight about being in the Underworld anymore. In fact, she seemed pretty content to be here with me except when her beast rose to the surface, clawing to get free.
It was vicious when it was being detained, and every time it clawed to get free, Sidero cried, her entity causing her internal pain.
Even now, I could feel it trying to push forward, but I kept it locked down. Eventually, I hoped to become strong enough for Sidero so that my presence alone would keep her internal beast locked away.
No one truly knew where Sidero’s beast came from. Pluto had no idea how the entity had been placed inside of her. I had just accepted that it was a part of my mate, but if I could figure out a way to separate them, I would. Until then, I would do my best to figure out a way to keep it suppressed until Sidero could become strong enough to fight it herself.
I ran my fingers through Sidero’s hair as I turned my head to brush my lips to the top of her head. “My beautiful little mate,” I said softly, so happy and content to have her back in my arms again.
God, all of those centuries had felt so lonely – so empty – without her. It almost felt as if I had no purpose, which is probably why Jupiter had placed me as the Alpha of a werewolf pack while my memories were suppressed. Being an Alpha had forced me to remain strong for my pack.
I waved my hand towards the ceiling, revealing the moon and the stars to me. The moon was shining brightly up on Earth. I had always felt that her beast mimicked the moon. The fuller it got, the more vicious it became. And the less that the moon glowed, the calmer her beast was – the easier it was to detain.
The moon had always reminded me of Sidero, as well. How many nights had I stood outside and stared up at it, hoping to get some kind of answers of why my mate couldn’t have been with me – why I had to fail her? Why hadn’t I been strong enough to save her the first time?
Everyone else around me had been able to be happy with their mates, creating beautiful children together, having gorgeous, little families together.
But it was because they hadn’t tried wiping out humanity. They hadn’t tried destroying Jupiter’s world.
But because we had, Sidero and I paid the ultimate price. We were separated, never able to find each other.
I knew it was my fault. I was meant to be her savior, and instead, I had let her beast sink its claws into me, turning me into a monster as well.
I hadn’t saved my mate, and because of that, we suffered.
“I will save you this time,” I whispered against her hair. “I will end that torment inside of you, my love.” I quietly promised.