Thorn (Werewolf)

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Chapter Forty-Nine

THORN

I look towards the darkening sky as I walk the children and their parents back to the mountain. I didn’t have time to really appreciate it last night because I was helping Devon with her transition and had a psychotic alpha to kill, but tonight is different. The sun has set and it doesn’t feel real yet, I keep looking at my hands and expecting them to change like they have done for over a century. I’ve waited for this night for so long. To just be human again, to feel human again.

I show the others where to go before I head in a different direction. I check in on Lucias first but all I find is his binds at the bottom of the tree. I’m not entirely surprised to find him gone. He’ll be transitioning somewhere, I just hope it’s far away. Even he wouldn’t risk attacking the mountain with the amount of werewolves up there.

When I arrive back at the mountain, the sight makes me smile. The two packs are sitting around campfires, sharing drinks and stories. The children are infatuated with Pal and Balan as usual and are telling them all about their night in the cave.

Myself and my pack have never been one for allying with other werewolves. Most of our travels consisted of discovering some of the worst evil to walk this Earth. But seeing them turn their backs on Cole yesterday and choosing to be loyal to Crasuel has opened them to trust each other. Even if it’s just for one night.

There is laughter all around me. It’s a sweet sound. The sound of freedom for all of us. I keep on walking, hearing all different topics of conversation from excited voices. Stories about fighting off bears, competitions to see who can hold their breath underwater the longest, who is unbeatable in races. Crasuel’s pack agree on a man called Bone, who is smirking to himself from the achievement.

“You and Thorn should race one day,” Kira says. “You’d definitely lose that grin.”

Bone takes a sip of his drink nervously as I walk past. Kira smiles at me before dropping her gaze to Shadow’s hand that tightens around hers. At the next campfire, the packs are having arm wrestles over a small fold out table. Nadia is taking on a man twice her size and I stop for a moment to witness the outcome.

“Are you made out of metal or something?” the man growls.

“Close.”

Nadia smacks the man’s hand down and laughs to herself. He stands up angrily and storms off. I walk away smiling, reaching the very end of the long log. I look for her instantly but she’s not with her family.

“Where is she?”

Crasuel nods his head over to a bench beside the cabins, wrapped in darkness. “It got overwhelming for her. She wanted to be left alone.”

“She’ll come back to us when she’s ready,” Madison says.

I start approaching her. She sits alone on the bench, playing with her fingers sadly in her lap. She won’t even look at me. I sit beside her and I place my hand on top of hers, forcing her to stop.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” she whispers. “I sat there and one moment I was smiling and laughing and the next. . . all I could see was his face.”

“Lyle?”

She shakes her head and wipes her cheek. “No. My brother.”

“You’re leaving tomorrow, it’s natural to feel like you’re abandoning him.”

“It’s not just that,” she says. “I died and he never would have known. I came back and saw all these strangers, and they knew. They were about to bury my body without even knowing me. But not my own brother. The person that was there for me my entire life.”

“Devon, I swear to you, I would have told him. I have no idea who he even is but I would have tracked him down and I would have made sure that he got the chance to say goodbye.”

“That’s not the point. He doesn’t know what happened to me. He doesn’t know where I am or. . . what I am. I can’t leave without seeing him. I need to set him free too.”

“Okay,” I say. “Then I’ll help you.”

She takes a deep breath and her lips start trembling. She’s afraid. Not to face her brother, she’s afraid of going back into that town. Her humanity is still connected to it, no amount of werewolf strength can erase that anxiety. Her own father ordered hunters to shoot her if she didn’t comply. She was a product to them, a stepping stone for them to get richer and more powerful. She was never their daughter and that realization is hitting her the hardest right now.

“Will you come with me?” she says. “I can’t do it alone. I might lose control.”

“Of course.”

She leans her head against my arm and I fold my arm around her shoulder. “I don’t know how many moments like this we’ll have. You might have to lock me away soon.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I have a mystery power within me that my father thinks will unleash itself when I’m at my angriest. Facing my home might bring that on. I need you to promise me something.” She lifts her head and looks into my eyes. “Promise me that if this power unleashes and it hurts someone—anyone—then you’ll lock me up and stay away from me.”

I squint my eyes. Her request startles me. “No, I won’t promise that.”

“You have to, Thorn.”

“No,” I repeat. “Whatever power you have, if you even have it, we’ll find a way to deal with it.”

“Even if it kills you?”

“You can’t know that. And even if you somehow manage to bring out the worst power in the history of psychotic witches, I will still stay by your side. I will still help you to control it because I’m not afraid.”

She leans away from me and digs out something from within her jacket pocket. “You should be.”

She holds out a small, black book. I take it, opening the first page to see paragraphs of some weird wicca language. They’re spells.

“What is this?”

“It’s one of Malese’s spell books that Crasuel gave to me. Turn to the last page.”

The last page is in English, but it isn’t filled with spells, it’s a list. At the top is the word ‘telekinesis’ with a line through it. Underneath it is ‘teleportation’, also with a line through it.

“It’s a list of powers bestowed to each first-born from the Rivers bloodline,” Devon says. “When that power is given, it gets crossed off. Magically.”

Almost all of the words are crossed off, except for four.

Hovering. Shape-shifting. Telepathy.

I reach the fourth power and the book almost drops from my fingertips. There is no explanation to what it means or what it even is, just one word to summarize something we might never fully understand.

Death.

“See?” Devon says. “How can a power even be death? What the hell does that mean? That I can kill anyone I look at? Think about?”

“I don’t know.” I swallow, closing the book. “I’m not exactly an expert on this.”

“Neither am I and Crasuel doesn’t know what it means either. I just feel like that power is meant for me.”

“There’s still a one in four chance.”

“I died twice yesterday,” she says. “Of course that power is meant for me. I’m the girl that cheats death so obviously I’m going to become a sociopathic serial killer.” She rubs her head and laughs to herself. “And if I don’t, then I either start turning into even weirder things with tails or I have everyone else’s thoughts screaming inside my mind, pushing me to insanity.”

“Or. . . you could hover,” I say. “That sounds fun.”

She glares at me. “This is the universe’s way of punishing me. I am going to start killing people and you’re making jokes.”

“You’re not going to start killing people.” I laugh and I pull her arm until she surrenders back against me. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned after over a century on this Earth, it’s that evil is a choice and there is not a drop of it within you.”

“Crasuel said that the werewolf gene makes the power stronger,” she mutters sadly against my arm. “His father had the power of animal communication and could talk to ants. Why couldn’t I have had that power?”

“Wait, what did Carlton have? Malese’s son?” I open the book again, staring at the list and the tiny numbers scribbled next to them.

“Lie detection. Why?”

I stare at the number beside it, 315, it’s exactly one number after telepathy. Crasuel’s power of electricity is one number after animal communication.

“I think the numbers are in order of first-born descendants,” I say. “Crasuel follows his father.”

“What?” She bursts up and places her hand on the edge of the book. “What number is after electricity?”

We both look together. Electricity is 318, and death is the first thing we look at, which is 320. The other two don’t have numbers but 319—Devon’s power—belongs to telepathy. I lean back, replaying the last few days on a loop in my head.

“Telepathy,” she says. “I could live with that. I mean, hearing people’s thoughts isn’t exactly a head-ache free guarantee but at least it won’t hurt anyone else when it activates.”

“Devon,” I say. “I think it already has activated.”

“What do you mean?”

“Not entirely in its full capacity, but you have used it before. With me. During the transitioning connection. I could never work out how we were able to hear each other’s thoughts.”

“I did that?” she whispers. “I wasn’t even aware of it. I just remember sitting with Sky and Dominic and I had this overwhelming urge to speak to you and then I heard you calling my name like you were in pain. But why can I only do it when you’re in transition?”

“It must have been easier for you to access it. Like Crasuel said, the wolf gene makes it stronger. And the mating bond is considered to be the strongest connection on the planet. Your power just jumped through without you even noticing.”

“Spooky.”

Her eyes go back down to the book and she lingers her gaze on the number that we’ve both been avoiding. Her teeth start biting against her top lip and then the life drains from her face as she focuses on it.

“You know what this means, don’t you?” she says.

I nod.

“If we have children, our first-born will have the power of death.”

I slam the book closed. We’ve never spoken about having children until now. It’s something that I’ve always wanted—a family of my own. Even just having the discussion of it should mark the beginning of our lives but now it’s tainted with uncertainty.

“I still stand by what I said,” I say. “Evil is a choice. And there is no way a child born from you could ever be bad. It’s a risk, but it’s a risk that we’ll take together. No matter how dangerous this power might be, I know that any child of ours will be protected and loved. That’ll be enough.”

I tuck her hair behind her ear and I kiss her. She smiles through her fear, kissing me back with a stronger edge. She pulls back and stares at me intensely, her hazel eyes squint in a strange way.

“What are you doing?” I laugh.

“Trying to read your thoughts.”

“Any luck?”

“No but I think I could plant something.” She pushes her lips back to mine and grips my hand, almost dragging me out of the seat.

“What about the party?” I say.

“Screw the party.”

We run together through the dark and quiet woods, following the bright stars as a pathway towards the edge of the mountain.

“Let me show you the best thing about being a werewolf,” I say.

I lead her towards the edge and we glance down to the ground that is half a mile below us. She starts to breathe heavily so I tighten my grip on her hand.

“Together.”

“Together,” she says.

We jump from the edge at the same time, our bodies falling through the air like bricks. We land with our knees bent. I receive a tiny shooting pain up the side of my leg but it vanishes a moment later. Devon twists her head and stares up at the mountain in wonder.

“I’d ask you how we survived that but I’m afraid of the answer.”

“Your human days are long over.”

Her smile widens. “What else can we do?”

“A lot.”

“What about swimming? How long can we hold our breaths for?”

“The record before passing out, not dying, is an hour.”

She grins with amazement and then walks closer, her fingers tugging against my shirt in a seductive rhythm. “What about. . . mating?”

I move my hand over hers. “Are you sure you’re ready for that?”

I wasn’t even aware that I was undressing her earlier until she said his name. She shocked me back to the reality that he almost raped her. I was caught in a moment of blissful ignorance of having her back and alive. It slipped my mind that he almost took her away from me completely. I won’t allow myself to ever be that ignorant again.

She takes a moment to be angry by my question and swings her arms around my shoulders. “Thorn, I am ready for everything. I killed Lyle. I took his last breath and I freed myself. So much has happened since then and I am just so grateful for every moment that I have with you. He didn’t break me. And if I bow to that now then I become a victim and I will never be his victim.”

“You shouldn’t have had to do that. I should have protected you. I’m sorry.”

“I know that you feel guilty about not being able to stop it but you have to let that go. We both do. It’ll consume us otherwise.”

I look into her wise, adult eyes and I almost don’t recognize them. She was so fragile when we first met, this breakable thing that was terrified of being captured and forced back to a life of suffering. I can’t believe it’s the same person. She notices that I’m studying her and she leans back with slight offence.

“Why are you looking at me like that?”

“I was just thinking about how far you’ve come since we first met,” I say. “Sometimes I still think of the girl you were back then and I forget that the woman standing in front of me isn’t the same girl.”

“Because you made me stronger,” she says against my lips. “And it’s that strength that will get me through anything. I never needed the wolf gene to face Lyle. It saved my life but I never needed it. I faced him in that room—unafraid—because of you. Because you taught me how to fight, how to get back up, how to never give in. When I’m with you, I don’t fear anything. There’s no pain, no trauma, no misery. And I just hope that I can feel that way for the rest of my life.”

I smile as I touch her cheek. “I told you those fighting lessons would be useful.”

“I knocked him on his ass. Twice. You would have been proud.”

“I am.” I drop my hand to hers. “Come with me.”

“Where are we going?”

“You’ll see.”

We walk for a while, both of us simultaneously taking notice of things; like the sound of running wolves or the scents of various animals. She is so involved with the little things that it takes her by surprise that I’m leading her home.

“The lake,” she says, her eyes prizing onto it like it’s the most fascinating thing she’s ever seen. “We’re at the camp?”

“I’m a little offended that it took you this long to notice.”

“I have a bad memory.”

“Says the one with the telepathy powers.”

She laughs.

The camp is still in one piece, thankfully. I haven’t been back here in days, and neither has she. I guess wherever our story ends, this is where it began. Right here. She walks over to her thief station, picking at the insignificant things that she collected over the few weeks that we spent together. I stay on the ground, watching her get nostalgic over one of the wooden poles that holds up the roof.

“I’m going to miss this place,” she says.

“Me too. We’re trading it in for actual walls, we must be mad.”

She moves around slowly, gently pulling back the thin curtain to look at the bed. She stares at it for a while and then grabs at the corner of the thick quilt, dragging it behind her as she meets my eyes mischievously. She lays it out on the ground beneath our feet. I step onto it.

“Am I where you want me to be?” I ask.

Her lips twist into a smirk. “Not quite.”

I am forced down to my knees by her surprising werewolf strength. I roll my shoulders back tenderly.

“Don’t tell me that hurt.”

“As if,” I puff.

It did a little.

She collapses down in front of me and runs her hands along my shoulders and down my arms. I close my eyes as she lifts my shirt over my head.

“I can hear your heart racing,” she whispers.

I roll my head back as her lips press into my throat. I’m becoming so hot that it feels like I’m in transition. I run my hands beneath her shirt and up her back, pushing her closer into my throat.

“Any requests?” she says.

“Be gentle with me.”

“Really?”

I smile before I grip the ends of her shirt and I tear it in half, all the way up her spine and all the way down the middle of her torso. It makes her gasp. “No,” I say.

We collide passionately. She straddles my waist and her kiss is fucking sensational. Her breasts squeeze against my chest. I pull on the back of her hair as I wrap my lips around them. My grip gets tighter, forcing her head to the sky. She clenches on her teeth, unleashing a sharp and pounding moan. I wouldn’t have done this if she was still human but as a werewolf, she can take it. She likes it.

I release her hair for a mere moment and she dives down, her nails gripping into my waist. She rips my trousers from my legs and throws their fractured remains over my head.

“I liked those trousers,” I mutter.

“I liked that shirt.”

I think we might be playing a game of which clothes can survive the night. The answer: none. She swings her hair and leans over me, bringing her lips back to my throat for another heart-racing build up. I take advantage of her position and I rip open the front of her tight, leather number. Something else of Sky’s, I imagine.

“Good luck ripping them off while I’m on my knees,” she teases against my ear.

“Why do I need to take them off?”

I push my hand against her underwear and she rocks sideways, gripping the back of my neck for balance. Her breathing becomes just a little bit heavier. It’s not good enough. I rip her underwear too, friction burning her waist. She hisses and bites down into my throat. My fingers rub against her opening, getting faster and faster. She can’t handle it. Her nails dig into the back of my neck and she scrapes them along my skin as she takes quick and pleasuring breaths against my throat.

One of my fingers enters her as I keep working against her clitoris. I suck against her breast and she can’t even focus on my throat anymore. Her body is pulsating with climaxing trembles and I’m enjoying every one of them.

“I’d ask you if you were close but. . .”

“Fuck you,” she mutters.

“Yes please.”

She lets out a panting gasp that isn’t quite a scream and her grip on the back of my neck is almost life threatening. I hold her against me, feeling her orgasm against my chest along with her. Then she falls off me, rolling herself onto her back. I can’t hide my smugness that she needs time to recover from that. We’ve hardly begun.

“If you can give me that reaction then you win.”

She lifts her head, still panting, and narrows her eyes. “Your sex-ego is irritating.”

“It’s the best type of ego.”

“I know you, Thorn,” she says. She yanks off the rest of her clothes and throws them away. She starts crawling over to me. “I know how much you hate losing control. So I’m going to make you feel the most vulnerable that you’ve ever felt.”

I grin as she pushes her hand against the middle of my chest, forcing me backwards. “I’m not afraid of feeling vulnerable.”

“I didn’t say you were afraid of it. I said you hate it.”

“If I’m scared of anything right now, it’s you.”

She drags my underwear down my legs and tears them apart at my ankles, devouring them with one smooth pull. I can’t deny that this side of her is sexy as fuck. I almost climax just by the way she’s looking at me. Those eyes—bright and alert, like the predator I always knew she was. I’m unsure if she’s going to touch me or bite me and I’d be fine with either. It’s like the wolf part of her has completely taken over. There’s a confidence in her that wasn’t there before.

“Tell me you want me,” she says.

“I want you. Fuck, I want you.”

I bite on my teeth as her hand strokes my penis. The animal within is getting stronger. I can’t contain him. I don’t want to. She starts to suck, her tongue trailing around the edges in between. My control is slipping. I’m at her mercy. I’m hers. All hers. For fucking ever.

“Argh!” I groan, folding my arms around my eyes.

“That is the sound of realization from a man that knows he is vulnerable.”

“Okay. You win. I’m vulnerable.”

She laughs out and bounces excitedly back up to me. She lays on her side and slides the condom into my hand. We kiss as I get myself ready. It was a game up until now, fun and dirty. But it becomes much more than that when I position myself over her, she falls silent and stares into my eyes with so much adoration that she becomes the vulnerable one again.

I push myself into her as I claim the beautiful scent of her throat. Her skin is soft and smooth, I never want to stop touching it. My main obsession still remains to be her hair though. I pull on her thick, blonde curls as I gently ride her into the quilt. She’s so beautiful that sometimes I have to question if she’s even real.

“What are you thinking about?” I ask her.

She closes her eyes and smiles to herself. “None of your business.”

“No fair. You’ll be able to read my thoughts soon, give me something.”

“Fine.” She opens one eye and then surrenders. “One day, when I’m too old to even remember my own name, I want to remember this one moment. How it felt, how it looked, the beautiful stars above us. How unbelievably happy I was. Even if everything else is gone, I want to remember this.”

“That might just be the cheesiest thing you’ve ever said.”

“I’m serious. Whatever happens from tomorrow, this is enough. It can’t get any better than this.”

“I agree. Just being able to touch you right now in my human form underneath the stars will be a pretty hard night to beat.”

“I completely forgot about that!” she says. “You must be finding it so weird.”

“It’s certainly strange,” I laugh. “I spent fifty-one thousand, four hundred and eighty-three nights as a wolf.”

“That’s really depressing that you counted.”

“What’s more depressing is that we’re discussing it in the middle of sex.”

“Agreed.” She throws her lips back to mine, almost animalistically. “No more talking.”

I push myself deeper into her and it ignites a moan so loud that it vibrates against my ears. Slow isn’t the theme of the mating anymore. Our bodies are writhing, our fingers clawing, our souls twitching and exploring the wonders of the bond that keep us constantly craving more and more. No longer wolves, or even werewolves. Just completely and simply human.

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