(Warning: a portion of this scene contains sexual content) 

It had been several days. Once one was on the other side, such things were trivial. Of course, Eva was counting the days for another reason altogether. The meeting between all of the Packs came three days mourning after the pyres had been lit. It had been quite successful given how many Packs were involved in the peace negotiation. And now, there would be a celebration to honor that peace, hosted by Pack Weylyn.

As Devon prepared himself in the bedroom, he could hear the commotion outside, The Packs were setting up their tables and helping with the building of a bonfire from the framings of war; clearing space for dancing and enjoyment. It had taken his father’s booming voice to settle rising tempers several times through the talks as Alpha’s haggled with one another. He felt less worn out from the fighting and the fall through the window than from all of the fussing over good land and proper security. At least he’d made sure one less evil roamed the world. Now, with the packs happy with their after-war settlements and goodwill, it was just time to relax.

He tried working the braids and beads into his long blond hair himself and actually rumbled in frustration. The hair tangled around his big fingers. There was a low curse in the old tongue as several beads slipped free of his hands to bounce on the dresser and roll across the floor.

“You were told to wait on me, my mate,” Eva had been standing at the door, but Devon had been so concentrated on his beading that he’d not seen her until she spoke. Her scent had also been downwind so it had been perfect timing. She was in a beautiful mid-drift ceremonial shirt, the skirt pulled down enough that her tummy showed a lovely amethyst at her navel. She had bathed and had her hair pulled up to cascade down her back from a loose ponytail. The markings on her face and shoulders designated her as his mate and an Alpha. Her scent had changed of course, from what it had been before he left. Their last time together under the moon had given them new lives to come.  

Caught off guard the big lycan half turned in surprise to see his beautiful mate all decked for the upcoming celebration.

“I know but ya got busy with organizin’ things. I thought I could at least handle this myself this one time.” Devon moved to her and placed his hand on her abdomen. He grinned slowly, “Have I told ya lately just how beautiful ya are my mate.” He was still bare chested and hadn’t gotten proper yet. He was missing his cuffs though as he’d left them in Eva’s care before crossing through the portal.

She pushed him backward into the room and closed the door behind her, letting the bag she carried slip from her shoulder. Turning to look him up and down, she replied, “Show me.”

His expression was one of surprise mixed with wicked joy.

“Then I’ll get you ready for the celebration. It’s my duty, not yours.” She wanted to feel as close to him as she could. She was tired of waiting. That physical connection was very important to them.  

“Mmm, I’ve missed ya Eva.” He closed the space between them as his hands grasped her hips to tug Eva flush against his body so that she could feel just how much he truly did miss her. That spicy, sweet, exotic scent that was hers alone moved around him as if further encouragement was needed for him.

She tugged the tie free on the side of her skirt and let it fall to the floor. She didn’t want anything in between their bodies.

There was deep rumble that moved through Devon’s chest as he let his hands travel back and over the curves of his mates ass.

Devon pressed his face to the side of Eva’s neck and breathed her scent in as his scruff scratched over the tender flesh there. He nuzzled her a moment before seeking out her lips for a deep kiss. His fingers were working the hands full of bare flesh as one knee parted his mates thighs.

“Mmmm… yes,” she whispered before leaning back against the nearest wall and letting him have at her body. She’d been parted from her mate for long enough that she ached for his attentions and she couldn’t wait until after this celebration for them. She’d already been told she was being snappy…this would lighten her mood. Her fingers went into his still messy hair when the kiss ended and his traveling began.

With a husky chuckle he kept control enough to tug the material from her upper body as well and bent down to press his face into the deep cleft between her full breasts. The scruff of his beard tantalized and teased as the big lycan went to his knees and pressed his face to Eva’s mound. His vixen was both passionate and demanding. Those were just two of the things he adored about her though.

“Dev…von…”her voice got a bit higher when he hit the good spot. She was out of breath already and shaking all over from his expert handling. He knew how to keep her pushing more and more to enjoy without pushing her over the edge until he wanted her there. It was such a sweet torture!

The rumbling continued as he feasted on the sweet taste of Eva’s center. His hands kept her open so that he could lap at her nectar until she couldn’t take anymore.

While Eva could be stubborn and obstinate, Devon knew exactly how to make his Alpha female beg and he had no qualms in reminding her of it.   

“Please…” she hitched her breath and her body arched for him. “Goddess, Devon, please. I need you…” she growled. Eva was ready, so he’d have a very easy welcome to her body. Her mate had both girth and length to please. She didn’t just want him, she needed him. And she was ready to claw and snap at him if he didn’t hurry up, soon.

With a feral growl Devon shifted their position so that Eva was on his bed beneath him on her back. He tugged the leather pants open and freed himself. His golden gaze glittered for her while drinking the sight of her in. Eva was open and ready for him and Devon wasn’t up to waiting any longer to be joined with her. He lifted her legs just enough to angle her proper and then slid into the warmth that he knew was eager for him.

Eva’s body hugged him, Devon groaned for her as his body stretched out above her. He gave her a moment to adjust and then began to move. There was no way he’d last long after going without her for such a span of time. His teeth grazed over one full breast and teased the peaked nipple to keep her on that beautiful high for as long as he could.

Once she had gotten ready and was enjoying again, she lifted her body to meet his thrusts. He’d put her to that point and now, he was taking her beyond it. She felt him touch that spot and she grabbed his back with her clawed fingers to let him know he was perfect for her. As his mouth went for her breast, she took in the scent of his hair and growled playfully for him, getting his attention upward. When he finally moved up over her better, that itch that needed scratching got it. Eva sucked in a breath and her back arched despite her trying not to. The entire world could have fallen apart and she wouldn’t have known in that moment! All she knew was that she cried out for him. Her body shook, and she was holding on for dear life.    

The way she cried out for him and the way that her body clung to him was euphoric to Devon. Eva was what he lived for and breathed for! She was his heart and soul and in the sweetest moments like these, he was reminded of it. Rolling to his back, Devon flexed his hips to keep himself deep as he let Eva take the upper hand. His hands gripped her hips. He guided her as their rhythm started up again. “Goddess blessed me …with ya … I couldn’t …be more… thankful …to her.” He was breathing heavy and it would tell his mate that he was still recovering though he said nothing of it.

“She saved me the night she let me have you,” Eva replied, her fingers digging into his pecs as she tried her best to keep control and find and continue the rhythm they had already established before she had climaxed the first time. But he normally wouldn’t have shifted so soon. Wouldn’t have put her here so quickly… and his breath… she slowed, her eyes looking into his.

When it seemed that she might hesitate Devon growled and his canines were visible. He felt that tension rush through his body and it let him know that he was close. The tips of his fingers rolled across her back to urge Eva on. He loved feeling her nails against his skin and he wanted her to finish what she had demanded from him. He’d started it, now she was going to finish him either now or after a tussle which would end up with her on her hands and knees!

When he urged her like that, she couldn’t back down. They were both stubborn hearted and full of passion. His growl was like a challenge to her and so she dove right back in. She didn’t just find that rhythm, she shoved her hips forward with her knees and forced herself back onto him harder and faster with every passing second. Her fingernails dug into his shoulders, her mounting need building her to press her body forward on him more and more. Her eyes glowed and her canines showed themselves in the frenzied physical push to climax. It wasn’t until she felt him expand within her that Eva pressed down with all of her might to grind into him. She popped her bottom for him and saw his eyes go wild and wide. He was over the threshold and there was no turning back now. So she sped up just enough – just enough so that she could join him.  

Devon’s whole body tensed as he let go and he cried out in a way that sounded a lot like a howl. His hands gripped Eva one at her hip and the other around her lower back to keep her closer as his own hips flexed once, twice, three times before finally pressing deep for that final hard jolt. It was so good that it was damn near painful!

His grip loosened as had to close his eyes a moment to catch his breath.

Eva let herself collapse on his chest to enjoy the feel of him still inside of her. His heart was all over the place and that bothered her along with the sound of his breathing.  He’d not mended completely.

“I thought you told me you hadn’t been hurt so bad,” she whispered the scolding and waited on his reply before deciding how much trouble he was in. Would he lie more or come clean?

“I told ya I went through the window. I had glass in me, but I don’t really remember much after that so I can’t tell ya how much was in me. Inea removed it while I was out.. I think I’m just still feelin’ worn out from it all ya know.” Devon was in no rush to let her go. Sure they were expected at the celebration, but he was in no hurry to show up.

Sitting up on him was difficult, but she managed it. After all, she still had things to do. Her hands moved over his chest and a warmth spread from her palms through his ribs and lungs and then down and up his spine to all other areas of his body.  She was a shaman… the first turned shaman of his people. She could help push lycan bodies to healing. Devon needed this.  

As the warmth moved through him Devon rumbled low in appreciation even as he cautioned her with a whisper, “Not too much that it harms you or our pups.” He lifted up on his elbows to press a kiss to the tip of her nose before pushing the rest of the way up to sit upright as he held her in almost a lotus position.

“You know I know my limitations,” Eva nuzzled his cheek before moving to let him up better. “And if I could handle you just now, a little healing energy won’t harm me or the pups any.”  She grabbed each side of his scruffy jaws and pulled him to kiss her mouth. She felt playful now, and it showed.

“Guess we should get ready huh?” He nuzzled Eva and just kept a loose grasp on her so that she could move as she pleased. Where he had been partially dressed before their fun, Devon now had to start all over again. It pleased him to know that his mate was in the same position at this point. His hands took full advantage of that.

“Mmmmm… yes, and I need to braid your hair.” she sucked in a breath and hopped up with a quickness. “Oh Goddess… we need to hurry! I promised Zenlial that I’d help her get ready, too!” Eva zipped across the room to gather up clothing and then moved to the bathroom to get their washcloths dunked and ready to clean themselves. She’d not given a second thought to what she had just said to her mate.  

Easing back to lay flat on the bed, Devon sighed. Then his brain finally started working again. He thought over Eva’s words…

“Help Zen get ready? I didn’t know she was going?” When Eva was ready for him, Devon finally climbed to his feet and finished stripping off the pants. He moved to wash himself down while listening to what his mate said.

Eva took the cloth she had used for herself and also moved it over his sensitive areas before popping it back into the heated, scented water. He’d need a second going over and she’d probably need a third. They didn’t have to get each others scents off of them, but it was polite to at least get rid of the sexual scents as best they could. Once the party was in full swing, that  wouldn’t matter as much. But this first portion was more of an announcement and official communication to the rest of the packs who were joining them. You didn’t want to smell like sex around a bunch of lycan. It was rude.

“She’s never experienced a celebration. She said that after everything bad that has happened and all of the tears she has shed, she really wanted to experience … how did she put it?” Eva cleared her throat and stood straight, her breasts bouncy in the moment as she tried her best to look like the little elf. She even lightened her voice a bit, “I want to at least experience lycan resilience by going to your celebration tonight. Would you please help me dress proper for it, Eva? You’re so beautiful…” Eva looked over at Devon and continued. “…I admire you so very much, I need your advice…” She couldn’t hide the smirk.

“Ohh listen to ya now woman.” Devon reached for an arm and used his other hand to cup a breast and tickle the underside with his calloused fingertips. At first meeting, Devon had felt that small flash of jealousy from his mate. He couldn’t blame her because he’d had a taste for elves before his Eva had come along. After first sight of Eva though, his golden gaze and his heart had belonged to her and her alone.

When he got hold of her and tickled her, she giggled and laughed and fought.

“Okay, okay, I went to far, but you get the picture…stop!” She had to give Devon some shit. She already called Zennie his “pet elf” once and got into trouble for it. Maybe she could make up for the slight this way?

Once he had relinquished her enough, she got the cloth again and wrung it out to continue cleaning him. Once she was done with him, she washed herself again and then pulled her skirt back up to her hips and tossed her shirt back over her shoulders. Then, she grabbed a cleaner cloth so that she could use it to dampen his wild hair.

Reaching for a fresh pair of leathers, Devon drank in the sight of his mate dressing and rumbled, “She’ll look lovely I’m sure darlin’.” The thought of Eva dolling Zenlial up had him grinning.

Devon moved to take a seat so that Eva wouldn’t have to work so hard on him. He kept a hand on her just to keep contact between them.        

She dampened his mane as best that she could and began braiding his hair so that his beads were presented properly for the world to see.  This was something very important to males of the pack and some females for that matter. The beads displayed each had a separate meaning. As Eva braided and wove in the beading, she continued the conversation.  

“There’s talk goin’ round about how much enjoyment she and her assigned guardian have been havin’ together. Her wanting help with this makes me wonder if she’s taken a shine to him. Makes me wonder if she knows the pitfalls of taking a shine to someone of his station when she is… someone of her station…?”

His fingers of his free hand reached up to scratch through his beard at his chin. There was a deep serious rough sound from him that let Eva know that her mate wasn’t too keen on the idea of the two becoming a couple.

“Wulf’s a good warrior and friend, but we both know that he ain’t eager to claim his birthright and has been prowlin’ with females since his balls dropped. Zeni’s had a rough go of it since her kindragon’s death. I don’t want to see her hurt any more than she’s already had.” His eyes closed as he enjoyed the feel of her fingers moving through his hair in that familiar way. For years she done this for him and he had never appreciated it more than he did right now.

“She’s not told me much of her past. But then, you’ve had more time. I know she is a very graceful warrior and has a heart of gold. Her aura is one of honor and sadness, though she definitely retains some playfulness to her. And that might be why she’s taken so well to the pack she has fought with. Are you sure she wouldn’t fit… eventually? Stranger things have happened.” Eva was one to keep her mind open to such things. After all, one of her sons was in what she had found was called a polyamorous relationship with two of other species entirely. Russ was lycan and he was entangled with the half-vampire daughter of Sebastian Evansworth and in turn, she was entangled with Starrfire, the dragon son of Senias… or had Devon forgotten that surprise?  Eva continued the braiding as quickly as she could. She loved playing in Devon’s lengthy mane, but she did have other things to do. “I mean, she’s a Councilor, but newly appointed and she ditched that as soon as she saw a chance at coming back here…”

“She’s goin’ back over with us Eva, this shine will fade once she takes on bein’ a Councilor. Wulf won’t go over with her and he don’t know what it means to abstain from all other females for one.” His broad shoulders shrugged, “Who knows, maybe her bein’ at this will show her what I mean more than any words spoken ever could.” Devon had no idea that Wulf had stopped attending the full moon celebrations for over a decade now. He was just going by the knowledge of the younger lycan he remembered and had been told about.

“Perhaps. But don’t be surprised if she enjoys herself – I aim to make sure she does, whether it’s with Wulf or without him. I am very thankful for her caring for you,” Eva turned his head while her hands were fisted in his hair so she could kiss him.  “I owe her for helping you and our pack when she had no reason to do so.” She kissed him again, but before he could kiss back she moved his head so she could finish off the last braiding. She giggled as he growled.

“Tease me too much woman and we won’t ever make it to the celebration to enjoy it.” He chuckled and was thankful the worn out feeling was all but gone. Inea had worked her magic on him as had Zeni, but his mate’s final touches were what brought it all together to patch him the rest of the way.

“We’ll make sure she enjoys herself no matter what I promise darlin’.” Devon waited until Eva finished the last braid before he swatted her on the bottom, “Now wench paint me up and make me look like an Alpha.” He gave a toothy grin and winked at his love as he stood up from the chair.

“You call me wench again and you’ll have the paint dumped all over that beautiful hair of yours and it’ll match yer black eye,” Eva told him really quick. She’d take teasing and flirting and they both got in on the swats and rubs so long as it was with one another only… but there were words and phrases she didn’t tolerate. “You wouldn’t be trying to get into a fight so we can make up? Or did that fall rattle some of your brain out your ear?” Eva turned to properly tie off her shirt again before she left the room for some paints.  He could explain himself or not and she’d just let it drop for now.

Putting on his saintly look Dev sighed loudly, “Now would I pick a fight with ya like that my lovely?” He chuckled low was Eva vanished from the room. Making up was the best part of arguing.

 

**************

 

Zenlial looked into the mirror at the end of the hallway at the palace downstairs guest wing, where she had been staying. The shirt was too big as was the skirt. It actually hung to her hips instead of gathering at the waist. She at least had hips – thank goodness for child birth and breasts, thank goodness for feeding babes.  She lifted the shirt she had been given to look more closely at the skirt’s design. It nearly reached the floor, but was handkerchief – like at the bottom in points. It was lovely on her, she was just… she was not accustomed to wearing something like this. The scars on her back would be visible if they could find a shirt that fit her properly, so perhaps she should wear this one instead? But then this one was so very long it would cover her mid-drift which was apparently in fashion to be exposed at these festivities? She hadn’t shown herself off in ages. She had been in the service to the Elven High Court. There were… expectations.  

The elf huffed and took the shirt completely off and studied the designs on it. She ripped it with her teeth down the side seam and then tore off four inches along the bottom. She’d need to resew this. Walking around with the skirt and her wrapped upper torso, she went in search of sewing supplies. Eva would know where some were and would probably help her resew this thing to fit her properly. So she made her way up the stairs to the rooms known to be for royal family. She knew where Devon and Eva would be, because she had visited and helped out with Devon’s recovery.  Her powers were not very strong, but they could help.

Seeing the door already open, Zenlial smiled as she walked in. “Eva! Do you have sewing tools? I need to fix this… shirt?” she was still questioning it.  She almost ran into Devon.

“Well hello to you too Zeni. What’s this about sewin’?” The Alpha was shirtless which wasn’t unusual for these festivities. He had never been so around her that he recalled. And for a brief moment it was awkward until she spoke.

“Oh! Sorry Dev! I… I was looking for Eva. I don’t think the lycan know how to fit me properly…” She took a step back and really looked at him, so clean and polished and the braids.  “You look gorgeous. What happened to the gruff, filthy mess I’ve been spending my time with since we met?”

There was a deep chuckle along with a response, “Gotta clean up and behave myself now that my mate is on this side.” Devon looked from her to the shirt in her hand and then back at her. “Had to take up Alpha again ya know.”

“OH! May I see your beads properly braided? You told me about all of them. I would love to look!”

“Love to look at what?” Eva asked as she walked back into the room with the paints. She wasn’t going to get huffy, yet. But she did have the eyebrow arch already set seeing the elf so close to her mate… and both half dressed at that.  

While he could’ve been wicked, Dev simply reached into Eva’s s bag. He was still digging in it when he heard Eva’s voice from the door. “My beads, cause she was wantin’ to know what they mean.” Dev stood back up empty handed and figured he’d let Eva find the kit.

“And he spoke of them but I had not seen what they look like,” Zenlial took two purposeful steps back. She didn’t want to irritate the lady of the house.

“I brought your cuffs as well,” Eva liked that the elf took steps back. It showed the girl’s place in this room among these two who were mates. Eva also found it interesting that Zenlial – an elf – had already picked up on how to act around a mated pair, especially Alpha. She moved onward to place the paints on the dresser and slipped the box from beneath them. She held the box out to Devon. These were his to place.

Devon’s grin brightened if it were possible. He rumbled in appreciation as he took the box and brushed a quick kiss on Eva’s lips. His golden gaze glittered in that way that was just for her. Setting it on the dresser Dev opened the box and pulled the cuffs out. They were big enough to be chokers for his mate’s neck and weighed a few pounds each. The silver was beautifully engraved scrawling designs that signified he was Alpha of their Pack on one and the other held the family lineage which had been added to with each of their pups birth. Placing one polished piece on each upper bicep, Devon turned to look from one beautiful female to the other.

Zen nodded slowly in approval. She then let her eyes go to Eva. The woman’s aura was… spectacular when she was so focused on Devon.

Eva simply watched him, taking in the entire lycan for who he was. She adored him and the glow about her wasn’t just the afterglow of the previous enjoyment or the glow of a pregnant mother… it was her love for her mate.  

Moving back to Eva he stood straight and rested his arms at his sides so that she could do as she pleased. And she did. She came forward and first kissed his chest before moving to each side and adjusting the cuffs just a bit, then she moved around him to make sure the braids had settled. He felt her featherlight touches here and there as she went. He was relaxed and his guard was down which was something that Zen hadn’t seen until now. It showed his full trust in Eva, this was his greatest love and his greatest weakness; his mate. Devon was showing the elf things she needed to know without even realizing that he was teaching them to her. Eva held his heart and she was his soul, he’d always trust her and always respect her.

“Anything you need me to do?” Zenlial suddenly felt a bit out of place here. She’d almost forgotten why she had come, she had been so enthralled by the couple. She’d come close to having such a love with her kindragon… the absolute trust had been there, that was for sure. Just… Eva and Devon had something different… something more as well.  Her mind flitted back to her enjoyment of the food in the kitchen with Rory… no… Wulf… She scolded herself mentally. He wanted to be called Wulf. But she really loved the name Rory. She hated that he didn’t use it.

“You can look at my beads and ask what ya like while Eva paints me if she don’t mind.” Devon’s warm gaze looked to his mate for permission as Eva had the final say.

Eva had paused in getting the paints a bit closer on a stand to grin at the elf. She looked to Devon and winked at him before getting closer.  She was letting him know she completely understood his pet elf’s curiosity. She’d been in those shoes once. Well… she had been barefooted, but she’d definitely been in awe and been curious about everything truly lycan when he had found her.  

Zen tossed the forgotten material for her shirt aside and hopped up on the bed so she could get a better view of the beads.  

“If he told you anything, he would’ve told you about the ones that represent pack, status, and his family, including one he had designed for his own family…and one he shares with his adopted brother…” Eva paused as Zenlial looked them over and she looked up into Devon’s eyes. “Sorry love. I get excited, too. Go ahead. Explain.” Eva went about making the blessing markings on Devon’s chest.  

“Adopted brother? How many brothers to you have? How do you decide between brothers who shall be Alpha?” Zenlial giggled in her spritely way before getting closer so she could study each of them. “Does the placement of the bead matter?” She loved learning things like this.

“I have one adopted and one birth. I had three elder brothers that are now in the fields with our mother.” Devon cleared his throat and held still as Eva painted him and Zenlial inspected his beads. “The strongest leads if our father doesn’t choose between us. In some cases we have to take Alpha, but that isn’t often.” He grinned as he listened to the beads click against one another. “Of course placement matters.”

As Zen lifted the first braid he explained, “The braid at the front closest to my face is for my mate. The bead matches her eyes, I picked it that way and she placed it on the day of our matin’.” Devon winked at Eva, “ I have only taken her as my mate and so she shares the braid with no other. If I’d had another before her, that bead would be there. I’ll have no other mates, I’ll follow her to the fields when that day comes.”

“The next braid is for our pups and she chose those beads a few days after each birthin’.” There were blues, greens and even a few that looked reddish brown. “The braid followin’ that is my Pack braid it holds my Alpha bead that came from my father and the Weylyn bead which matches the one that my adopted brother wears. The next braid is for battles and wars that I’ve fought in, each has a different color and you’ll see others sportin’ ‘em if they were in ‘em. The last braid is for the lives I’ve taken, I have ten black which means countless.”  

“What if you had two packs? Would you have a bead for each? Like Derek and Twilight, or Rory?” Zenlial was carefully studying the swirled pattern of the Weylyn bead and not really paying attention to the examples she had given.

Eva paused mid-stroke of the last symbol she was painting on Devon with her finger when she heard a name she never thought she’d hear again. Devon had only told her the name once… just in case she needed it for spell work as a shaman. Not many knew that name at all.  

Zenlial was too focused on the bronze and gold bead or she would have seen the momentary look of surprise on Devon’s face. His gaze to Eva showed his lifted brow. Had she been right and this was more than just a shine to the elf? Wulf never told anybody about his given name.

“Derek and Twilight wear our Pack bead because their mama took our Pack as her own when she mated with their father.” Devon’s gaze dropped a moment as he took a deep breath before answering for the other. “Wulf wears no beads for now. He can’t claim Weylyn as a Pack, we are allies, but he’s not Weylyn. He carries no Pack name until he chooses to carry his own.”

Zen dropped the braided hair, the click of the beads against the others telling Devon that she was no longer studying it. Her attention was on him.

Eva cleared her throat and her eyes shifted toward Zen and then she went right back to finishing the design before these two could get started on a debate – something she had noticed since coming back was popular between the two mismatched friends.  

“Why would he not be allowed to claim Weylyn as his pack? He told me that he no longer even goes by his true name. It would seem he’s taken to your pack and has defended it with his life.”

So, maybe he’d been open, but not completely open? Eva took note of this as she finished the pattern and, nodding to her mate, moved away from Devon so he could actually talk to his friend.

“I’ll just… eyeball this top and sew it up properly for you, Zenlial.” Eva snatched the shredded garment from where the elf had tossed it on the edge of the bed and smiled sweetly at Devon before making quick for the side door.  

Oh sure, now his mate was abandoning him to the elf. “Thanks…” He muttered under his breath in a way that would tell Eva he would happily tan her backside for it later.

When it seemed that Zen was confused and almost a tad upset at this Devon tried explaining another way without putting Wulf’s business out in the open.

“Well, it’d be the same for me, Zeni, an Alpha can’t be claimed by another Pack. It’d be turnin’ his back on his own blood and disgracin’ ‘em.” He looked into his pretty friend’s eyes, “Get what I’m sayin’?”  

The elf was standing at the same height as him while also standing on the bed. She was just a tad shorter than his own mate. Her eyes searched his and then he could see her eyebrows and expression twitch – all the way to her pointed ears.  

“The proper speech. He drifted into proper speech more than once with me.” Zenlial was thinking back over everything. There had been clues. But she had overlooked them. Most lycan spoke common and had a brogue or very rural accent to their dialects. But those of royal family were brought up for all sides of life – warriors, agriculturalists, technicians, and of course – courtly life dealing with others. And so they drifted into proper speech and non-dialect speech.  “He’s royal of his pack.” Zenlial let her feet drop out from beneath her so she landed with a small thump on the bed. What did this mean? What were the implications? No wonder he didn’t want to remember his name… he was a survivor of a scattered and defeated pack but no matter how young he might have been, he was supposed to be a leader for them. That was a lot to process even for her. “I can’t imagine what it must feel like. I’m trying.” She looked up at Devon, now. “How much weight he must carry…”  

Slowly Devon went down on one knee before her, “A great deal of it. He is here and when stragglers from his own Pack come through he helps ‘em, but none know that he survived. It’s why I’m surprised that he gave you his name. Not even all of our Pack know of him, and definitely not any outside of it until now.”

“He couldn’t help how things went, Devon. He shouldn’t be ashamed, should he?” She was asking, because she didn’t honestly know.  

Devon shook his head, “No, Zen there was nothin’ he could do. He was just a pup and they hid him in the throne room. He saw what happened to his folks but wasn’t able to help ‘em. When he got to us he was a mess and in shock. He wasn’t but maybe ten summers old then. We’ve all told him there was nothin’ he could do, but it’s somethin’ he has to realize himself. He’s never even been back there since that day.” Devon remember finding the bedraggled pup half starved and in tatters on one of their scouting runs. Kieran had wasted no time in giving the pup a place and it had been the ole man’s idea to hide him with the Pack until Wulf was ready to claim what was his.

“He has a good heart in him, he just ain’t found his way yet.” Devon paused. Seeing the look of confusion upon his friend, he debated very quickly in his heart. He cared about Wulf, but he had come to care very much for this little elf in front of him, too. She deserved to know. “Zeni, since he came of age…” he cleared his throat when she looked into his eyes. “Seems he’s been on the prowl since he first caught scent of a female.” Devon wanted to warn her of what she was dabbling in before she got to deep in to turn back. “He’s never been serious with anyone Zen and he’ll never cross through the portal.”

The fae features of the little elf exaggerated the emotions she felt. Normally, she seemed so strong and fierce, but in this moment before her trusted friend, she seemed weary and saddened; Heart-saddened. She did not hide her eyes from him.

“He is lost and prefers that to the truth. I may not be able to understand or empathize with the rest, but that? Hiding because you’re ashamed of not taking back what you are?” She pointed over her shoulder to indicate her missing wings. “I understand that. It is not a good place to be. And sometimes, I admit that I let myself pretend that I never stood against my people in defiance. It’s easier than remembering what it cost me. And I did have a choice.”

She had told Devon of her pain and the loss of her glorious wings because of the choices she had made in love and family. Devon hadn’t held it against her and had kept her secret because it wasn’t his tale to tell.

“You’ve no more to be ashamed of then he does. We can try all we like to help and we can do all that is in our power, but sometimes it just isn’t enough. He was a pup losin’ a Pack and you were a kindred losin’ her dragon. Eventually we have to own up to things and take our lives back Zen.”

“I think I’ve figured it out, but I changed the design to make it easier,” Eva stopped her forward motion at the door. Had she come back, too soon?

“It’s alright darlin’ come on in. I think she’s ready for that.” Devon grinned as he stood up.

“Is there any way you can leave the back off of it? I have scars that I no longer wish to hide.”  Zenlial moved from the bed, letting Devon help her up to do so. She walked to Eva and began unwrapping herself, covering her breasts when she was done with an arm, after all… Dev and Eva were mated and it wasn’t her place to show everything in front of them…

“Well, here, let’s see…” Eva’s eyes grew large when she saw the scars from someone cutting off… “Wings?”  The lycan swallowed and looked to her mate. He had known? Zenlial was Avar – a type of fae with wings and healing ability more powerful than that of a shaman. And she was parading around as just an elven warrior?

“It was my caste, until I refused my people. I didn’t refuse my people… I disagreed with whom my people were defined as.”  Zenlial explained. “I helped humans and dragons and had children with a dragon. I was the creator of abominations, according to elven belief. They hunted us down for abandoning our people in their time of need – transitioning to this world. I’ve been a hypocrite in hiding these scars. Tonight, I will not be.”  

Eva looked to the material that matched Zenlial’s skirt and then to her small frame.

“It can be worn backwards. Not like you’ve got a lot of breast to show off anyway, I suppose. I can recut the top for dipping down a bit and use leather to lace the back so that it shows your scars easier beneath, if that’s what ya want? Kind of a reverse half-corset?”

“Should fit well for the occasion I think.” There was a slow nod of approval from the big lycan and he gave a smile to his friend.

“Sounds fine. Thank you very much, Eva.”

“”You are very welcome, Zen. Just let me put it around you and measure properly.” She began doing just that, but then looked to her mate, “Devon, just wanted to also remind you, my mate, don’t forget the cuffs and beads in the far chest. It was locked, so I worked on it a bit to open the thing. Didn’t look like it had been opened in years, I suppose a testament to someone’s guilt. But, if you want to share the Alpha title with your father as we discussed – between the two worlds, it just seems proper that he also have a cuff.”  

Going to the corner of the room, Devon looked down into ian ornate wooden chest and pulled forth the two cuffs that had once been worn by his sisters spineless mate. He dropped the one that bore the male’s lineage upon it. Holding the Pack cuff, Devon also plucked the two Alpha beads from the box to place in a small velveteen bag.

“He’ll have to either find his old cuff and continue with it or have a new one made for family. Since he’s newly mated Twilight, my hope is that he’d have a new one made for her and their future pups.” He snapped the lid closed with a little more force than necessary.

“I think sharing the title between worlds is a most wonderful idea,” Zenlial whispered as Eva finished up on her top adjustments.

“Me too,” Eva had already fitted the top, tied it in the back and had a sharp dagger out to cut the upper portion from the neck downward so that one side would flap aside and kind of matched the bottom of Zen’s skirt. The other side of the neckline, Eva simply cut off. There was no need for it at all.

The smile on Zenlial’s face spoke volumes. She had not worn such light and open clothing in years. It felt so good!

“I think it’s time my beauties, are ya’ll ready?” When he turned he had the items clasped in his hands.

“I think we’re ready!” Eva put the dagger back to her waist holster and reached out to pinch Zen’s cheeks a bit. “There. Needed just a bit of color. Now, let’s go!” She turned back to her mate and waited for him.

Departing the room with his mate on his arm, Devon stood proud and tall as he led the way with Zen right behind them. They moved down the stairs and out to where the others we already enjoying themselves. The Packs were mingling and the sound of pleasant chatter could be heard all around.

 

To be continued….

 

~  Rachel Diane Adams and Dawn McClellan © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 2018