Closing my eyes I took a deep breath, letting the cold air fill my lungs. I tilted my head back and peeled open my eyes. Stars stood content, watching me. The moon, looming over shadow-black buildings, glowing dim with it’s simple beauty. I took another breath, steam clouding around my face.
I always loved the night, and I loved winter even more. Though, I supposed, I was made to love it, inherently. A frigid breeze blew by and I wrapped my scarf closer around myself. The sounds of the crowd rose as individuals reacted to the new cold.
I sighed, this time looking behind me, willing the glass doors to open. It didn’t work. The crowds were starting to get heavier, it was getting late and people were heading home.
She had promised this would be quick. I was cold and tired, I wanted to go home and sleep. I tried, once again, willing the doors to spew her out. It still didn’t work. I sighed again, looking back up at the sky. At least it was a beautiful night.
Someone in the crowd laughed, pretty and lilting, heard even above the clamor of the street. I turned back to see if the laugh matched the woman's face. It took a moment, as the crowd shuffled. But soon I found her and indeed she was pretty. She stood at the edge of the curb, talking to a man, long curls of mahogany hair layered down her back. Her frame was petit and lips full, grey-green eyes laughing along with her smile. Painting her would be interesting. She seemed to embody freedom.
I studied her, trying to decide if I would use raw umber for her hair or just mix brown and red. I tilted my head as she shifted. Was that gold in her hair or just the lighting? She saw me staring and smiled, nodding my way. I smiled back, apologetically, and started to turn away, embarrassed at being caught. But the man she had been talking to, his back to me, turned around to see what she was looking at.
His eyes met mine and... God. He was prettier than her. Prettier, I think, than anyone I had ever seen. His hair, as black as night, curled around his head like a cloud of pure ebony. His skin was a golden tan, oddly contrasted with the winter season. All in all, his features were rather unremarkable; almond shaped eyes, wide cheekbones, long straight nose, but combined they seemed to fit. And the most beautiful part of him, the part I just stared and stared at: his eyes. They seemed silver, rolling mercury, but the color flecked with black and brown and green. I watched his eyes and just saw: Forest. In his eyes there was the hunt, the dark, the trees and creatures, he was the forest. I could dedicate my entire life to painting his eyes and never get it right.
I watched him. Watched him watching me. And that's why I saw when it changed. Saw it about as well as I felt it. The Shift. I couldn’t really describe it any other way. We had been just two strangers, watching each other across the street, but it stopped. I watched it stop, felt it change. We were no longer strangers, we were as known as could be. There was no end to him and me. I was his and he was mine. He was mine.
His face was shocked. His eyes, his beautiful eyes, were bright with the instinct to claim. And I knew my face was his reflection. I felt what he felt, our emotions were the same. We were one. I was his and he was mine. He was mine.
He was mine.
I took a step towards him and he seemed to move with me, but I don’t think he moved at all. The pretty girl with the nice laugh touched his shoulder. My top lip pulled up involuntarily, a growl crawling up my throat. Irrationally hating her existence, but she was too close and he was mine.
He moved away from her sensing my disapproval. I took another step forward, that irrational part of me, the part that hated the nice girl's proximity to him, chanting along with each beat of my heart.
Mine. Mine. Mine.
The world slowly narrowed down to just him. I became the predator and he was mine. He was-
“Hey!” Hands on my shoulders turned me around. His presence at my back radiating like heat from a fire. I blinked, focusing on the tall blonde in front of me. Her eyebrows raise
d and deep brown eyes questioning. I blinked again.
“Sadie?” I whispered. It took such effort to remember her name. Every part of my mind wanted to go to the man. Wanted him in every way. She nodded, concern furrowing her brows.
“You ok?” I nodded stiffly, refusing to look back at him. She pursed her lips.
“You don’t look ok. You look like you’ve just seen a ghost.” I laughed but choked on the sound.
“Something like that.” Her brows raise but I shook my head. “It’s nothing. Let's go.” Her lips pursed harder, concerned, but she nodded and pulled me away. Back down the street, to go home. It was a true test of my willpower that I didn’t look back at him.
And even though I refused to turn my body, all of my senses, natural and supernatural, were focused on him. So I heard when the pretty girl questioned him, the mirror of Sadie's concern.
“Lupin?” She questioned. A sound escaped his throat like a grunt of pain, but I knew what it really was. The longing, the desire, but, most prevalent, the separation. Like our skin had been glued together, so as we split apart our flesh tried to tear from our bodies.
And his response, just a breath of that pain. Voicing the very thing my soul was trying not to believe. But I knew, deep down, that it was true.
“She’s my mate.”
It was late. It was later than late. After Sadie dropped me off at my apartment, she left, but only due to my urging. She was still convinced something was off with me. She wasn’t wrong.
Once she left I went back to where I had seen him. Like a crazy stalker, I walked up and down that street eight times just hoping to see him again. He was, of course, gone. But I was so far out of my mind that I decided to track him, by scent, halfway across town. I got all the way to the Wolf Den, when I regained some semblance of sanity.
The Wolf Den is known to most in the paranormal world. It’s the largest apartment complex in the city, so it’s hard to miss, it also doubles as the home of the Philadelphia werewolf Pack. Of course not every single werewolf lives there but they tend to congregate in the building, keeping to themselves, as all werewolves do. Werewolves just don’t care for outsiders. So it was about then, when I was fully set to walk straight into the Wolf Den, that I regained my little bit of sanity.
Not only was it wholly and utterly stupid to walk into a building full of territoral, quick tempered werewolves, but it would also be vertualy impossible to find one specific person in the maze that was the Wolf Den. So I walked all the way back home, kicking myself for succumbing to my instincts. Once inside my house, I released a long breath, not that it did much. I locked the front door behind me and then fell against it. I just felt… exhausted.
I knew, of course, that it was possible to mate with other species but…
If I was being honest, I just never thought I’d have a Bond.
I sighed again and kicked off my shoes. In the supernatural world inter-species breeding is rather normal. Especially for my kind, genetically we are essentially human. And humans are extremely prone to interbreeding in the supernatural world, don’t ask me why. But there are more half-breeds than there are purebreds, of any race. Even werewolves are known to mate with humans.
But that is the difference. Mating and genetic compatibility for breeding has not been proven to correspond. Though most believe that it does factor in. But mating between different species is a different story entirely. It's possible, obviously. But extremely rare.
I sighed again, at least I’m consistent. I sink to the floor and stare up at my suddenly very interesting white popcorn ceiling.
Magic can be a wonderful thing. Typically it’s not, but it can be. The mating Bond is the strongest magic known to the world. Nothing can break the Bond, save death.
The two people who receive the Bond don’t have it except. However, refusing it is more rare than the Bond itself.
I sighed again, deep and long. And even if we refused to acknowledge each other as mates we would still always be connected. Body and soul, heart and mind. No matter what we do, what I do, Magic urges us to be together.
I groaned, rubbing my temples. Everything in me said I had to see him again. But was that just the magic talking or my own thoughts? I groaned again, banging my head against the door. I hate not having control.
I knew what I had to do. I checked the time, three in the morning. She wouldn’t really care. I sighed and grabbed my purse, digging through it until pulling out my phone. The line clicked almost instantly.
“Fable?” My mothers voice was whispered and worried, still half asleep.
“Hey, mom. Can we talk?” The rustling of sheets echoed over the phone as she, probably, got out of bed.
“Sure, honey. Give me a moment so your dad can sleep.” I heard the clicking of their door and her footsteps as she made her way to the kitchen.
“Ok. What's wrong, dear?” I smiled, my mother had an odd habit of overusing endearments when concerned. I sighed, the smile fading slightly.
“I…” The words failed me. How do you even explain this? She waited patiently. My mother gave the best advice and she was good at listening. I started again. “I found my mate?” It wasn’t supposed to be a question but it sounded like it. A long moment of silence passed until she casually said.
“What's his name?” I laughed, almost choking.
“Lupin.” I managed. “He’s a werewolf.” She chuckled.
“Well, you were never one for the ordinary.” I rolled my eyes.
“Mom.” I chastised and she chuckled again, easier.
“Do you like him, Fable?” I groaned, closing my eyes.
“I barely know him, mom. The only reason I know his name is because some girl said it.” My voice growled as I remembered her closeness to him.
“Fable Walker.” My mother draws out. “Now, I know your mating bond is chafing, child, but that's no excuse to growl at your mother.” I sighed, calming down.
“Yes, sorry.” She huffed her acceptance.
“Now, what did you call me for?”
“Right.” I sat up straighter pulling my knees to my chest. “How much of this is my own intentions?” My mother heaved a long sigh, full of love and patience.
“All of it is your choice, Fable. If you want to never see him again, then you don’t have to. The Bond, before you accept it, is like a shadow. It’s there and it’s hard to ignore, but it doesn’t interfere. The instincts you feel right now, Fable, are muddled. Your desire to protect, defend, and claim your mate, right now, pales in comparison to what it would feel like if you accepted. Believe me, you wouldn’t be able to be without him for more than a few hours. Nor would you have been able to leave if some girl, as you called her, was too close.” I tried to swallow my growl but this time she laughed.
“Mom.” I sighed and her laughter gradually quieted. “Mom, I just tracked him halfway across the city on scent alone. It’s the middle of the night and the temperature is below freezing. I only gave up the pursuit when I realized the insanity of going floor to floor through the Wolf Den trying to find his scent again.” A beat of silence passed.
“Call your brother, Fable, he’s been needing a weekend away.”
“Salem?” I could hear her shaking her head.
“No. He and Adelaide are busy being crazy first time parents. Izze just caught the flu for the first time and they’ve decided to document the whole experience.” I chuckled at my mothers exasperation. This was typical behavior of my older brother and sister-in-law. In the first few months of Isabel's existence I had gotten continuous photos of the baby waking up, sleeping, blinking, and something similar to smiling. We had all figured that at some point the baby fever would lessen. It only seemed to get worse.
“So, Arrow?” I asked. “Isn’t he busy with-”
“No.” She cuts me off. “Lani is proving to be even more stubborn than you, something I didn’t think possible.” I smiled. “Three years and no change. I swear to you that girl is head over heels in love with your brother, she just refuses to admit it.” I chuckled again. My mother wasn’t wrong, she seldom was. But at this point it was more my mother courting Lani then it was my brother.
“I like her.” I defended and my mother tsked.
“Of course you do. Call your brother, Fable.” I sighed.
“I don’t need a babysitter, mom.”
“I know, dear, but your wolf might.” I smiled, shaking my head.
“He’s not my wolf, mom.” She sighed softly.
“The wolves mate differently than us, honey. They abide by it more fiercely. I don’t know the specifics, none of us have ever mated with a wolf. But the fact that he walked away at all means that he probably mistook you for a human.” She paused while I thought about that. “He didn’t want to force you into this world of monsters. In my opinion, that means he’s probably a decent guy. My suggestion is to go easy on him.” I grinned.
“You know I can’t do that.” I swear I heard her smile.
“Yes, I know.” I sunk lower against the door.
“After all.” I breathed. “We’re not wolves.” My mother giggled.
“No, dear. We’re banshees.” I scoffed.
“Goodnight, sweetie. Call your brother.” I closed my eyes.
“Of course.” And the line dropped.
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