The pack didn’t look to happy when we walked out of alpha’s den. The pack members sent us curious glances as they murmured. I saw Naga with a group of females openly talking back and forth as they looked and me with mean glances. My alpha put a possessive hand over my belly soothing some of my inner thoughts. “My new alpha mate,” he called out so that all the wolves in the pack could hear, “will be treated as equal to me alone. To everyone else it will be with the same respect you show your alpha.” Power hung in the air with his words and I felt a nibble of sorrow that this pack had to be forced to accept me. It didn’t matter, it was all worth it to have the alpha. The wolves bowed their heads in submission to their alpha and his decree, only one blonde wolf with yellow eyes didn’t.
Zara’s hand dropped from my belly and I missed it the moment he did. I think I was touch starved, I’d never thought about it before but I really wanted him to touch me all the time, ALL THE TIME. I didn’t want to think of how embarrassing it was for him to force me away from our bed but I’d really really wanted to stay and keep tying with him. Out here in the open I didn’t have the courage to touch him like I had in his den. “I am leaving with some of the others. I will return before night.” He said and pushed his face into my cheek marking me with his scent. Every time he did it I think I was drugged by the amazing smell and his affection.
Rumbling happily I returned the gesture. I wanted to join him out in the woods, would he be ok if I did? Should I ask? Was there a how-to guide on being alpha mate? “Alpha can I come too?” Pretty please with deer meat on top? Zora was quiet his black eyes looking over me with his usual silent intensity. I was starting to wonder what he was thinking as he looked at me. ‘He’s going to get lost. How do I tell him he’s going to get lost’ OR ‘What’s a nice way to tell him he’ll be in the way.’ Can I blame him, I know both of those are highly possible, but I still really wanted him to let me go. I’d prove without a doubt that I was able to be the perfect mate.
“You may come— ” My heart leaps and I lick his jaw in an open display of affection that bursts out of me. “You must not be a hinderance.” He finished, not even phased by my excited kisses.
My ears flattened against my skull. Oh that was probably going to be tough for me, I’m somehow always linked to the saying “something went wrong”. It would be fine, what was the worst that could happen? I would just walk quietly and keep up with the other wolves, no big deal. “I will do my absolute best alpha.” My tail wagged excitedly behind me.
Zora nodded, his face the same usual blank mask, but his hand tracked over my hip in an affectionate touch that made me warm all over. “We will leave soon as the others are ready.” He shifted beside me, his body dropping to its four form in the blink of an eye. He jogged away to the group of wolves already waiting at the tree line up ahead. As I took a step to follow him to the group I groaned loudly when I saw the alpha bitch sitting front and center. Alpha approached her and I watched as she tucked her tail and pushed her nose into his jaw, asking for forgiveness for the night before. That bitter taste filled my mouth as I watched her touch my mate. It was a common practice for wolves to touch each other in such a way, but to me it was so rare that I’d ever been able to do it. Seeing her so close to my mate caused my belly to cramp painfully. I walked closer on all fours, making sure I stayed back far enough to not interfere, but close enough I could hear what was being said.
“Alpha I’m sorry for my behavior last night. I should not have said what I’d said, but I was upset about not being your choice for alpha mate.” Naga explain, her stupid nose still pressing close to my alpha’s jawline.
“You disappoint me with how you treat my mate. You will never approach Ira with aggression again, if you do you will not like how I will retaliate. Do you understand?” Zora growled a deep vicious sound, that was very different than his pleasurable growls from the night before. Naga nodded and took a tentative step away from the alpha, intimidated by his obvious anger.
“I understand. I would like to remain in the den.” She said boldly from her submissive crouch.
“My den is not my own. Ira will want to nest and I will not have him uncomfortable in his mating den. You will sleep among the other unmated wolves.” He dismissed her by walking away without another word, jogging over to Alloy about ten yards away.
There was a gooey happiness inside me sticking inside me. Zora had defended me and my new place in his den. No one, and I mean no one, had defended me in the past. Not even my own birth family had shielded me from the packs ugly comments and conduct. My mate was the only one who’d ever stood up for me. I felt someone staring at me, you know the feeling when you know someone's looking at you? I looked up and say Naga’s razor sharp yellow eyes stuck on me with a hideous blood lust lurking in their depths.
Oh that wasn’t good.
Son of an ugly horse! They walk a lot. I panted as I practically crawled across the forest floor almost twenty yards behind the end of the group. My alpha was at the front with Naga, leading the way on a hunt. They were in peak physical condition, and I had hugely overestimated my ability to keep up. Alloy was the only wolf that stayed close and I had a nagging suspicion it was because my alpha had commanded him to keep an eye on me. Which meant I was being a “hindrance”, the exact thing I said I would do my best not to be. I’d been in Stage 1 of my grief - Denial - for about an hour - I’m not slowing down, I am keeping up, why does that wolf keep speeding up? They are already running fast enough can’t we walk? When hour two and three came ticking along I jumped past anger and went into Stage 3 bargaining - Dear mother if you would be so kind as to kill me before my mate sees how much of a disgrace I am, that would be nice. Or you could make a reason for the other wolves to slow down? That be good too.
“Are you talking to yourself pup?” Alloy asked walking in his four form. He rubbed along my side, feeling my heart breathing like I’d seen other wolves do in the past when they thought another wolf was dying. Great he thinks I’m a walking corpse.
“I was just asking the mother—” A deafening sound filled the forest.
“Ira move!” A hard force pushed me out of the way as a huge tree crashed to the ground where I’d been standing. Well thanks mother for taking the easy route and trying to kill me. Glad to know she was listening.
“Are you alright pup?” Alloy pushed his nose into my side to check if I was actually a corpse as I lay there stunned. I’d almost been crushed by a tree? Really that would have been my death? Squashed like a very big bug...while being a hinderance.
A loud growl broke the silence as my mate came to stand over me. “Ira,” He licked my nose bringing me out of my - not major panic attack nope - small scare. “Are you injured?” He shoved his nose along my neck and shoulders causing a wonderful warm stir in my belly.
“I’m fine, I think,” I wiggled my feet, my tail, my ears, “yeah I’m fine.”
The worry that had bleed into his black eyes was replaced with a hard steel. “You should not have fallen so far behind. If Alloy had not been with you,” a deep rumble broke from his chest as he became more agitated. “You are a hinderance if you cannot keep up with the pack. I cannot look out for your safety and guarantee the others theirs.”
My heart cracked clear in two, I think I actually heard it break. My alpha - my mate - thought I was detrimental to the pack's safety. My ears lay flat to my skull and my tail tucked between my legs as I felt the icy stabs of my heart breaking into jagged pieces. “I’m sorry alpha.” I said lowering my eyes.
“He’d be much better suited digging the dens and helping the expecting females.” Naga butted in from behind the alpha, a knowing smirk in her sticky yellow eyes.
Zora hummed agreeing with the she wolf. “Naga is right. You will be safer among the dens helping while I am gone.”
I held back the sad sound that wanted to escape me. I didn’t want to be among the expecting females of the pack or do the all the chores - by myself - alone. I wanted to be useful to my alpha, to stand by his side and protect him when he needed it. I felt the threat of tears sting my eyes. I would not cry, not in front of Naga and the others. I nodded my agreement with my alpha and kept my head down avoiding direct eye contact.
“Alloy with guide you back to the dens.” Zora pushed his nose under my chin as he rubbed his scent along my throat. “You must be more aware my mate, I do not want you to be hurt.” He nipped affectionately at my throat before stepping back. “I will return before night.” Zora looked at Alloy with his strong no nonsense gaze, “keep Ira safe.”
I watched as he turned and lead the pack the same way they’d been going - without me.
I sat outside the expecting dens, all of the pups played around me as I supervised. They barked and nipped at each other in their four forms. It would be a year or two before any of them would take their second form. I couldn’t deny that I didn’t love the pups, they were afraid of me on some level, but their curiosity tend to get the better of them. Take Kep for example, the little grey pup sat in front of me as he stared at me with wide inspecting eyes. He’d been sitting in front of me for a solid hour...without saying a word. Maybe this pup wasn’t the best example, I don’t think he was all there in the head.
“Alpha mate, are you a wolf?” One of the girls, Sekie, asked as she ambled up towards Kep. She was a blonde wolf and part of Dey’s last litter. I liked the older she wolf, she had been kind to me when many of the other she wolfs hadn’t been. Her questions were— “Can you see the dead? Do you have a spine? How long can you hold your breath? What color fur did your dama have? Do you have littermates? What season were you born in? Do youhave twohearts? What about your………..
Ok, it was a toss up which pup was more broken. I sighed and tried to not let the melancholy make my heart ache anymore than it already did. I’d wanted to show my alpha I was able to be the perfect mate for him, be at his side like Naga was all the time. Instead I was here watching the pups and wishing I wasn’t - sigh - me. What could I possibly do about it? I wasn’t going to sulk forever. I wanted to be the best alpha mate this pack had ever seen! If watching the pups and helping the mothers was what my mate needed me to do I’d be the best pup sitter in the entire world!!! Wait...where is that brown pup? OH HOG BARF! I think i lost one!
OH HOG BARG! lol Ira's gonna be the best pup sitter ever...whoops