Under the Moon

Soul names.

The most valuable to a werewolf's person. The hidden name that is interlocked with the very being of one's self. It is this very name that sets that one individual aside from the masses. This one name shall come forth when you stand before the one, the one true mate. It bares everything within you and a bond stronger than most forms.

Right before all hell breaks loose, Blake finds his one true mate - just to find out that his true mate rejects his soul name, tries to shatter the very bond to dust and run away. What is a fairy tale for most, is a painful nightmare for Blake. But Blake was never one to give up.

Ember stands once again in a situation where running is the only option left. So, she runs. But the matters of the heart are complicated affaires, and Ember finds out just that, when she meets her fated one, her soul mate.

In the mist of the unknown threat it is not just an unexpected mate that needs attention. The werewolf kind has an enemy ready to destroy.

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2. Chapter II

Broken bond

 


Being Alpha male meant a lot of responsibility and Blake thought that he had done an okay job so far. He had won the few challenges that had been sent his way when he was a new leader back in the days, and with time came respect - or fear. It really all depended on the situation and the state of mind of the one challenging him.

Blake saw himself as a stern, but fair alpha, who listened to his pack. This also meant that at the moment he was more than a little restless because the very depths of his being - his wolf soul was agitated... More than a little, actually He considered whether there was a challenger in the area, but something told him that was not it. But it didn't help his mood. He was ready to snap at the smallest of things and found himself pacing his study more often than not.

It had been going on for the last week and his agitation had only grown. Rubbing his hands over his face in resignation, he let out a long, low sigh. Papers were on his desk, taunting him about all the work time he had wasted on just pacing around. Not only that, it was as if he could hear child-laughter and pup barks everywhere - which was not possible. There were only a few pups in his pack, and none of them within hearing distance.

Okay, it's official - I'm going crazy! he thought rather deflated. Defeated and tired he spread his arms and laid his hands on the desk whilst closing his eyes as his head fell forward. Scarcely a minute later a knock could be heard on his door. Not moving, Blake simply answered in a low voice.

"Come in if you dare..." It was not a threat, but simply a reference to his sour mood, to which his pack already knew about. Most gave him a little space but his betas and guards were not in the position to do so. A chuckle could be heard as the door opened. Blake knew the tone and the scent and did not need to see who walked in.

"I see that your temper hasn't cooled down yet," a melodic voice that was not too deep, but still not as light as a woman's voice, said. Humor was hidden in plain sight within the voice, and it was not wrong to imagine that the speaker laughed more often than not.  

"Playing with fire as always, Jet," Blake simply said.

"It makes life interesting."

"...Sure."

Jet, Blake’s beta, stood a few meters away from the desk, in a respectful distance from his leader. He cleared his throat a little before continuing in a more concerned tone of voice.

"But really, how are you?" This time Blake looked up, meeting Jet’s eyes, and saw only worry. Pushing himself away from the desk Blake straightened his back; showing his impressive height.

"Seriously? I have no idea. I know I'm more than ready to shift and jump out the window and just run - but for the life of me, why? I don't know. I feel suffocated in here..." He let the words sink into the silence that followed. Jet looked thoughtful for a moment, but they had already had a similarly conversation. It was getting repetitive and Blake was more than tired of it.

"And what happens when you shift?" This was a conversation between friends and not alpha and beta Blake turned slightly to look outside the windows behind him.

"Nothing. I just run, sniff, do my thing as alpha, but no matter how far I run, it's just never far enough. I always feel like I should keep running - it's like I'm searching for something specific. Something even I don't have a clue what is." Feeling frustrated again, he ran a hand through his messy dark hair where it rested for a few seconds before falling back at his side.

Jet blinked and tried to connect the dots of information his friend had provided him with. It did sound strange and he knew for a fact that Blake had never exhibited such behavior before.

"Okay, so let's summarize shall we," Jet said while extending a finger for each statement. "One: you feel agitated. Two: it doesn't help running as a wolf. Three: you have no clue as to what this can be... Four: Am I missing something?" he said, looking pointedly at Blake who thought for a moment before replying.

"I hear pups..." It was a weird thing to say, really, and Blake knew it as soon as the words were out. Jet looked baffled for a moment.

"Pups?" he asked dubiously. Blake nodded sharply, knowing how it sounded. Abruptly Jet's face changed, and a lopsided smile took form. It made Blake wary for whatever crazy thought had graced Jet's mind.

"When did you last get some?" the beta asked, this time with a grin. A growl rumbled in Blake's throat as he frowned at Jet. With hands raised in surrender Jet simply smiled and said, sounding not at all sorry.

"Just saying".

"Right," Blake grumbled before he took three pieces of paper from his desk to try to look them over. Jet regarded him with a small grin. It seemed like his alpha was finally ready to settle down and start a family. Though… he had yet to figure it out for himself. Everything in its own time, Jet surmised.

"Was there something specific that you wanted or was annoying me just on your daily agenda?" Just as Blake asked another knock sounded. Holding in a breath, Blake looked as the door opened to reveal his litter brother; his second beta and the man who was second in command in the pack, with Jet as third in the chain. The two brothers were so close to Jet that he might as well could have been in their litter.

"Cailean," acknowledged Blake in a tense voice. Because matters were getting on his nerves. He was sick and tired of being inside and something was definitely urging him to get out there and do something, much more than the last couple of days - as if today would be the day. Of what, he was not certain.

Cailean stayed by the door, not looking like one to stay for long. Blake and Cailean resembled each other in a lot of ways. They both had dark hair, but where Blake had golden eyes, Cailean had gotten their mother's grey color, and they only differed in height by two centimeters that Blake had grown in his last juvenile years. Something they only knew because the young boys had been quite competitive with each other about who would be tallest. It had been a glorious day for the young Blake, who had been the one lagging behind, when he outgrew his little brother.

"I just got a call from Leon," Cailean said, but didn’t elaborate. Blake contemplated whether his pack just tried to get on his nerves on purpose. They certainly seemed to get a kick out of it. He lifted a brow in a silent inquire.

"A stray has stepped into your territory." It was simple, straightforward, and Blake felt, with all the build-up of restlessness, how he began to burn on the inside as his wolf soul began to snarl in his depths. If his eyes could turn red, they would have done so. Nothing of his was to be disrespected, and certainly not by some lone wolf. Before he could begin to make battle plans his brother continued and suddenly the tone of his voice changed.

"It is a female wolf, Blake, a lone female wolf, and you know that as an unmated alpha you have first claim." It was a funny thing how the word female could change everything in him He really must be horny if just hearing the word female, and puff, things were alright in his restlessness he thought, disgusted. Giving himself an inarticulate reminder to get his head out of the gutter, he concentrated on the information he was given.

"Do we know where she is headed?" he asked.

"I made Leon keep an eye on her, the last news I got was that she was headed towards the south of the city limit."

"Alright, let's go. Jet?" Never one to miss a party Jet nodded and followed Blake and Cailean out the door. Just as they reached the car Blake addressed Cailean in a serious tone.

"I'm not looking for a mate, and you know it, so don't spout such nonsense as first claim again." He only got a funny look from his brother and a short "aye, aye" while Jet kept his grin to himself.

It was in the car that they got two more calls; one from one of the juveniles who had seen her at the local photo-shop, and another from the tracker, Leon, who told where she was headed; Manson's motel.

A cheap rundown place that against all odds was still up and running. They knew the shortcuts around the city, so it didn't take them long before they saw the motel with its queer colors and faulty sign. The tracker had seen the female wolf go into room twenty-three. Not that they needed to know the number. For as soon as they exited the Land Rover, they could smell her in the air, and something turned inside Blake.

Everything stilled in him before he became so agitated that Blake could barely hold his instincts to turn wolf back from taking over A pull stronger than ever had a hold of him and with tunnel vision he marched straight towards the door of twenty-three. He was almost banging the door off its hinges with the first knock, much to the glee of Jet.

"Easy there, tiger," the beta snickered, but with a warning glance from Blake he quickly understood and closed his mouth. On the third knock Blake's wolf soul was whining and growling like an echo in his being. Being no longer able to control the burst of overwhelming pressure from the unknown sources within, he kicked the door open.

The room smelled of her. And what a scent, it was almost enchanting. The need to find this female was pressing in on him with a hand of steel. He had expected her to stand in the room, probably nervous and ready to bolt, from what he could detect from her smell. But the room was empty, much to his lamentation. The two others were barely in his mind as they walked inside and looked around. Jet was the first to approach the window, and it didn't take long to put two and two together.

Having been together for so many years, Blake didn't need to give out a command to Jet about what the beta needed to do. Being bigger than most females Jet had quite the trouble getting out, but by breaking the frame of the window, he managed it. Soon, a breeze came in through the broken window. It gave Blake a good portion of the fresh smell of the female. A certain sweetness and promise saturated the smell, with a strong potion of wildness. Something which awoke slumbering needs. She could have turned wolf and run through the thin foliage behind the motel, but no clothes lay scattered and he would have been able to see her from here Something wasn't right.

A single exchanged look with Cailean told him the same. As the gears turned in his head, he knew. Dammit he knew. Before Cailean could ask, Blake was already running out the door… and there! He saw her - a female with red hair and firm legs moving in a sprint.

Everything happened very fast after that.

It was when he finally stood face to face with the intruder of his territory that he understood why he had been so restless lately and more so this day. Her deep blue eyes drew him in and he soon found himself speechless.

The sensation was something that he had never felt before. His whole being warmed from within and suddenly he knew that he had never taken a proper breath before now. His lungs filled with air so light and fresh that whatever he had breathed before must have been smoke. Nothing was impossible; he would be able to run for miles and miles without being exhausted. His muscles were ever so ready, never tiring and never had they been stronger. A thought that was more like a wind in his mind, filling and spreading, told him why it was like this: so he could protect this very precious being before him.

His mate.

His one true mate.

It was a shock, to say the least that the unfamiliar wolf that had roamed into his territory happened to be his mate, his wolf-soul rejoiced in the discovery. Howling in joy and growling in delight. He could as good as taste her soul name forming on his tongue, and he knew that nothing would sound just as right or promising.

But a broken promise it was, for no sooner had he realized who she was, an intense pain and desolation penetrated his whole being. What had been, vanished and all strength left him as he saw into the blue eyes before him and understood...

She was trying to break free from this blessed meeting.

Fright and rejection stood crystal clear in her eyes. It was heartrending. The warm threads that had been trying to join them together was close to severed and the promise of her soul name, unfulfilled, left a bitter taste on tongue

So close to letting a whine escape from his lips, Blake clenched his teeth hard. He felt weak, so pathetically weak that just trying to prevent her retreat by gripping her arms was almost enough to make him fall to his knees. He felt the threads break and he did a sharp intake of breath when he felt the cold harsh truth.

His mate was rejecting him, and he felt absolutely helpless as it happened.

It was in that moment he felt her slip away, leaving his arms, leaving him, and it woke his instincts from the torpor of disheartenment. Never being one to chase after females, he nonetheless threw caution to the wind and ran with everything he had, closing his ears to the calls of his betas.

This was his mate, and he was not giving up without a fight. He caught up to her in less than five strides and she was back to where she belonged; in his arms. If he had been guided by his thoughts of his more human side and not his wilder instincts that desperately demanded his mate, he would have thought himself a brute and vulgar in the way he held her captured. His wild side thought it only fair. She fought hard and breathless against him, probably already knowing it was pointless.

She screamed, kicked and tried everything in the book of dirty tricks, but he held her firmly. Instinct took over, and without much thought he sought out her lips. Why, he had no clue, a touch of insanity perhaps, but it helped... a little. She froze as she realized what was happening, but only for a moment before she with brute force got control of her arms and held both of her hands against his mouth.

"What the hell do you think you are doing?" she snarled at him while locking eyes with him. If she had been in her wolf form, her hackles would surely have been raised and teeth showing. She had spirit and it pleased him to no end, though in the present situation it would probably had been better if she did not have quite as much, he had to admit. Jerking her hands away from his mouth he took ahold of her upper arms and steadied her.

"Why? Why do you fight against what is a joyous situation?" he could not help but ask. He felt the bond yet again try to reach out to her, it connected but it was a fight to gain a hold, as she still tried to close herself off from him.

"I don't want a mate!" she all but screamed at him. She could just as well have struck him across the face.

"Do you even know what you are saying?" His rapid breathing burned his throat, just as much as he felt his eyes burn into hers - which were steadily filling with anger and pain. For pain followed the broken pieces of the bond. She knew what she was saying though, he could see it in her blue depths and it almost made him let go of her - until he felt it click.

Whatever she had done to hold him at bay vanished as the bond took hold, and he felt warmth yet again, alongside emotions from her. Almost overwhelming for a second. Disbelief and panic marked her and it saddened him. He knew the bond was still very fragile because of the fight and needed time to join properly. This time no soul name was at the tip of his tongue.

The fight left her completely, and he felt it only proper to let her go. She stood still, not really looking at him. His wolfish instincts were perplexed about what he had gone through. He had gotten his mate but at what price? Blake didn't know if he should apologize or not. Half of his awareness was upon the two arrivals that was Cailean and Jet. He had completely forgotten about them in the midst of this mess.

He could feel, if not smell, their unease. Well, he was right along with them. On one hand he was grateful that they had his back but on the other hand he wanted them as far away from his new mate as possible. Their bond was not completed, and neither was the mating, this was just phase one, and that made their bond vulnerable still.

"At least tell me your name," he asked, since he didn't yet know, which kind of made the whole situation more ridiculous. Finding one's mate and bonding not even knowing each other's names, well, that was a sight for the Godshe thought. Her eyes for a moment glared at him sharply, like she had had the very same thought.

"Ember," she answered in a dead voice. And she definitely felt the whole situation as a big fat joke. She began to rub her arms, finally feeling the chill in the air winter possessed. She could not believe what had just happened. She had fought with tooth and nail to get away, yet something told her even if he had not run after her, the bond would have been made anyway. And that just pissed her more off.

He looked pleased though when she told him her name, as though he had been afraid she would not even grace him with that. Well, she had pretty much turned down sharing her soul name with him, and somehow that made her feel hollow in a way she did not want to think about. The other two werewolves had joined them, but cautiously. No wonder, with what they had just witnessed and with an alpha male getting a mate, he was bound to be protective and hostile towards other males. Especially when the mating was this new and not yet consummated.

What a mess. A big fat mess that she could not see a happy ending to. Then and there she promised herself that she was going to find a solution to this. She was no mate. That she was certain of.  

She looked him over once again. It wasn't that he wasn't pleasing to look at, because he was, no doubt. But that was never a good enough reason to mate with someone. He could have a horrible personality and she would be stuck with him for the rest of her life. She had almost ended up in the whole mated situation before, and she was not pleased that that might be her fate now.

Being in her own mind was abruptly interrupted when she felt something being wrapped around her. She turned her eyes up and found that the guy, her apparent mate, had given her his jacket. Well, that was nice, she had to admit. He had a small, unsure smile on his face. Being alpha, he was probably not used to not knowing what leg to stand on, and now his little new mate had pulled the rug right from underneath him.

"So, I gave you mine, what is yours?" she asked. He looked confused for a moment.

"Your name, stud." He seemed a bit surprised by the nickname.

"Blake, my name is Blake Macbay, and this is my brother Cailean, my beta and this is Jet, my second beta." He turned half around and pointed to each of them. They nodded and smiled back a little uncertain. She only nodded at each introduction and thought it was kind of peculiar that he had two betas, but she wasn't going to comment.

He turned to her again, took a step closer; making her tense up a bit, not knowing what he had in mind, but having a little bit of a connection to him by their bond, she knew she was not in danger. Nevertheless, he was still a stranger and their situation were weird all over. He took hold of both of her hands and, seeking her eyes, he spoke in a soft voice.

"I know that you would probably rather be free, but I would like to take you back to my pack, and we will figure things out there, is that alright?" She could have torn her hands free, snapped at him, anything to make him leave her alone, but the warmth that came from his touch was calming and she was tired. So very tired from being on edge the whole day, which turned out to be pointless, since she ended up in the very situation she didn't want to - but who would have thought that her true mate would be here? She looked at their hands and a small thought of how her hands in his looked just right swirled around in her subconscious. Not that she was going to pay it any heed, mind you.

He gave her a small squeeze when she didn't react. The blue eyes looked up and found his golden ones, and she found herself nodding. Not having anything more to give, she gave in. His smile was beaming, and she thought she was in trouble. Big trouble.

They collected her things and Jet was made to drive her car. Ember sat in the back seat of Blake's Land Rover while he drove - Cailean sat beside him. Turning to the window, lying her forehead against the glass, she looked as the surroundings pass by in a blur. Her eyes were half lidded as sleep was sneaking upon her. She bent her head a little and gazed at her now supposed mate and his beta.

Definitely brothers, she absentminded noticed. They looked very alike. Cailean had something to his eyes that made him seem like a rock in a stormy ocean; you always knew where you had him, but not meaning that there wasn't a fire underneath. You just had to take a look at his brother, Blake, to know that. The alpha’s golden eyes were almost burning when he saw her.

Her mind began to play with his name, as if it couldn't let it go.

Blake huh, hmm, not bad. Blake, cake, heartache, remake, wedding cake. Rhymes huh, well what do you know, Blake Macbay...

If it could, it was probably her wolf soul growling peacefully in a steady rhythm that vibrated in her chest. Calm wrapped around her like a blanket. She hadn't tried that before. Her eyes glanced one last time at Blake. No matter what he said she knew she wanted to be free from such position. And she was not going to acknowledge the reason why. Especially not to herself.

It didn't surprise Ember that the den of the pack was located outside of the city, and near the forest. But she now knew how they could have been that fast in reaching her motel, since the motel lay closer to the forest and they probably knew all the shortcuts. Kind of unfair that was.

She followed the trees with her eyes as they drove past and slowly but surely the greenery began to grow denser. She knew soon she would meet his pack and then her fate would be decided. It sent a shiver down her back. She certainly didn't feel ready to meet a whole unknown pack. A pack was a closed unit and she, as a stranger, was not necessarily welcomed by the others - even if she was their alpha's true mate.

The land Rover was shaking along the road no longer of asphalt - it made Ember remove her head from the glass but not her glance. That was until she felt like somebody was looking rather intensely at her. Searching for the source she found Blake's gaze on her through the rearview mirror. She held it for a time before he needed to focus on the road again. Just in time. Holding the alpha’s gaze was never easy - especially when so intense. It may not have been in hostility, but nevertheless. The power behind was strong. Something she reacted to on a spiritually level. Wherever she liked it or not.  

It didn't take long before they arrived in a valley. Cottages graced the area, and the further they went into the valley, the closer the cottages stood to each other, but still with a lot of space for gardens and what seemed like a common playground. There were no fences around the grounds; werewolves knew when their territory stopped, and another started. Of course, the whole region had one single owner and that was the alpha, but the more human part of them needed something that they could call theirs. The same with the more opinionated males, so this was one way to do it and keep everyone from each other's throats and not get daily challengers.

A few snowmen stood by the side of the small road and waved to whoever came past So Ember knew that this pack was graced by pups. She also noticed that those who were out and about stopped with whatever they were doing and waved hello or gave respectful nods when they saw Blake. Their actions spoke louder than words. Blake was well loved, that she could see. While she was not happy about the situation she was in, she could appreciate the peace filling this den. Some saw Ember and their eyes went big. Talk would soon be all over this little community, that she didn't doubt.

As they got closer and closer to what seemed to be a big hill in the middle of the valley she saw what was undoubtedly the alpha's den. It was that much bigger and placed on the hill, able to overlook the whole area. She knew it was big because it had to be able to hold the whole pack at meetings and other gatherings. That was the way she was used to anyway.

The cars barely parked before somebody was already out the front door of the main house and meeting them. An older woman, by the looks of it. Her hair was neat and in a braid. Her dark hair had greying streaks, the flowed almost like veins in marble. Her expression was stern and her eyes light grey. Ember had hardly left the car and already it reeked of alphas. The lady before her was definitely an alpha. But for her to have greying streaks and the touch of age, she had to be quite old, since the lifespan of a werewolf could easily be trice that of the average human being - and longer still. It just rarely happened in the old time where violence was often a way to settle disputes and the fights for the scarce females were everlasting, and so on.

Females were still far inbetween. Making the search itself for one’s true mate not very coveted. If a male indeed did come about an unmated female he would most likely use his time trying to gain her favor. Such was the times now. Taking and (perhaps) asked later was now frowned upon.   

The car door was opened for her and Ember could not help but feel a bit peeved by it. Not by the gesture itself, but what it might suggest.  

She didn't say anything though, but simply jumped out of the car. The intense stare from the woman was instant - as Ember knew it would be. Still, Ember kept her peace and stood with an air of indifference. No matter how short a time she stayed, she needed to show that she was not a pushover. She needed to establish her claim of right and rank, and the battle had already begun the moment she got into that car.

Jet had parked besides Blake and he took a position next to Ember. She didn't know if it was because he tried to give her some sort of support or to keep her from running, but either way, Ember didn't think too much about it. In one hand he had her backpack and she eyed it up. Deciding that she would much rather carry her own stuff, she asked for it by holding out her hand and indicated towards her things. But he just smiled and kept holding onto them. And if it wasn't because it would seem weird to break into whistling, he would probably have done so.

Jerk.

"Mother." Blake's voice broke through Ember's annoyance. She eyed the little family greet each other with warmth.

"My boys," their mother said with in an approving voice as she opened her arms to take each of them in a hug. It kind of contradicted her appearance - being so warm that was. She smiled at her boys and then simply and elegantly ignored Ember completely and looked at Jet. If it wasn't because Ember was not one lose her composure often she would probably have dropped her jaw in surprised.

"Mrs. Macbay," Jet greeted the approaching woman, who embraced him. Her otherwise warm features turned stern.

"How many times must I tell you to just call me by my given name?" He simply shrugged with a sheepish smile. It didn't quite fit his person, Ember thought. Then it was Ember's turn. Ember felt how her back automatically got straighter as Mrs. Macbay locked her eyes on her.

"And who, pray tell, are you?" It wasn't that her tone had gone cold per say, but it certainly wasn't a warm and welcoming voice. Ember was just about to answer when Blake stepped in. Ember's glare was not to be mistaken when he introduced her.

"Mother, this is Ember. She is my mate." A gasp sounded briefly from the older woman.

"I am not your mate!" Ember interrupted before anymore could be said. Mrs. Macbay turned to her son.

"What does that mean?" she asked rather perplexed, in a certain scary tone that Ember really did not want directed at her. Blake send an admonishing glare at Ember, before trying to calm his mother down.

"She is, mother, she is my true mate." That was a truthful statement that Ember could not deny. His mother’s sudden radiation of surprise but also delight, kind of alarmed Ember. Her slender hands pressed against Ember’s cheeks and Ember got the impression of being a little girl. But she did not scream or jump in joy. She kept her dignity. Ember felt she completely lost the upper hand in the situation.

"Excuse me, but I am not your son's mate. Blake, I am not your mate and I told you this when we met!" She tried going for a polite but firm tone of voice but felt how panic spread through her. This was not going her way, at all.

"I don't understand," his mother said, while looking between the two in question, before resting her gaze on Ember. "You should both know that you are mates if you have experienced the recognition. I mean, knowing each other soul names is not something that happens without you knowing it!"

Feeling very much in the spot Ember tried to say something but found herself opening and closing her mouth like a fish out of water. Without thinking she locked eyes with Blake, but in the next instant she wished she hadn't.

The broken and dimmed light in his eyes almost made her legs give in. Breathless by the pain in him, which she could feel in vague waves inside her, through their connection, she began to try and make a safe route of the deep water she had placed herself in. The atmosphere was tense and crackling around them and Ember found herself for once completely lost for words.

"Please, somebody explain to me what has happened," the old female said while alternating looks between the two of them.

"I will talk to you later, mother. Ember, follow me, let me show you where you are going to stay," Blake simply said, in a tone very much close to dead. His mother looked shaken by the tone. Blake didn't wait though and began to walk towards the front door, leaving his mother and betas behind. Ember excused herself in a very small voice and followed.

"By the name of Fenris, what has happened!" Mrs. Macbay asked the two betas who stood on each side of her and watched the departing mates that had yet to happen, in distress. They knew their alpha hurt - and there was nothing they could do about it.

"It's going to be okay, mother," Cailean tried to reassure his mother, though it was hard when he himself didn't know if it really would.

 

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*Edited 2018-6/3

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