Chapter 118: Unravelling the past
I watch my brother across the room, listless, and lost about how to approach him. Colton is pacing
around, hands gesturing in an angry manner as he thrashes out whatever dialogue the two of them are
having and Jasper keeps glaring his way. Arms folded across his chest, face tight, expression grim in
an ‘I’m not interested’ kind of pose and watching as my mate talks about what happens from here on in.
Whether my brother like sit or not, he’s stuck with us and a life in this pack. I should be over there,
contributing, coaxing, but I couldn’t stand it any longer.
Sensing Jasper’s pain and reluctance to start to let go of a decade of ingrained hatred and hurt was
overwhelming me to the point of sheer exhaustion. His head full of vengeance and blind belief that the
only cure to his emptiness is to somehow make the entire Santo pack suffer. To never return to being
Lychan among a pack who would embrace him as family again. He sees only a name and a bloodline,
and the details of the past do not seem to matter. I don’t even know how to begin to get through to him
at all when he’s so far brainwashed into seeing us as only the enemy. He’s forgotten his own roots, his
own needs as a wolf. Nothing I said dented that giant bubble of refusal that he shrouds around him like
an impenetrable fort of darkness. I know it’s a form of self-defense but it’s not good for him.
He’s had years of conditioning, brewing over this pain and fury, with a daily dose of ‘we will seek
revenge’ from his vampire carers. A diet of constant hate and plans of war. He can’t comprehend any
other kind of existence or path. Can’t bring it together in his mind to latch onto the fact that there could
be another way to end his suffering. His own wolf gifts are dampened, and his mind turned dark with
only the goal of his own vendetta in sight. Lychans aren’t built that way and it goes against our very
nature to hold onto something so self-destructive. It’s no wonder he’s so conflicted.
How do you unravel all of that and prove to him that he can live a normal and happy life once again,
among his own kind, if he just tries? That he has a mate willing to come to him and help him through
the worst of the confusion. She’s within his reach. Carmen knows the kind of pain and suffering he is
experiencing too. She’s part of the bigger picture with her own wounds and pain and could be a healing
balm to him if he just lets her. Just like he could be what she finally needs to start to repair her own
He needs a therapist, not Colton issuing orders and his imprinted mate hiding in the shadows for fear of
rejection for a second time. Both are dealing with him in the wrong way.
I’m no better though. A decade apart and he’s not exactly the brother of the past that I loved so much
and looked up to. We have both grown and changed in our own way and I am at as much of a loss as
how to deal with this version of him. The one who was raised by creatures we warred with for twenty
years is merely an image who looks like the Jasper I loved.
Carmen wanders in, drawing my eye, and watches them for a second by the door, for the third time
with that look of unreadable blank all over her face that hints she is burying intense emotion again.
She’s turned inward since Jasper appeared and seems like she keeps running away from any kind of
face on interaction with him. I know this is what she does. Avoids confrontation when it’s painful and
deflects to other things. Her emotions are all over the place and even at this distance I can taste the
heartbreak and indecision about what she should do. She blinks his way, eyes damp with unshed tears
and then turns and walks back outside once more. My heart sinks knowing she is afraid to approach
him but every instinct in her keeps pulling back to him. The agony of imprinting and the fact it only gets
worse the longer you deny it.
I watch Jasper for a moment and see only a subtle tensing of his shoulders as he senses her come and
go. I know he will smell her scent at that distance as he’s so in tune with everything that is her since the
imprint. He can’t deny it’s hurting him too, but he’s stubborn as hell, maybe more so than Colton ever
was, and I think it’s going to take more than Carmen shuffling in to peek to make a dent in his armor.
She needs to get up close and personal and make it impossible for him not to touch her, cling to her,
and want her so badly it turns his head inside out. That’s what broke Colton, and maybe it’s how I
should tackle my brother. Force them into close proximity. Use the bond and it’s sheer overwhelming
urge to bring him out of his own head and chase after the one destined for him.
The subs are clearing up the fallout of a long night of battle so we are pretty empty in this great hall
now. Varro and Darrius are gone, and the hybrids too. Outside is eerily quiet and as a new day dawns,
it feels like last night weas nothing but a flitting dream. The witch has vanished into thin air and that is
still grating on my nerves.
The sun began to rise about an hour ago and just like we expected, turned all the remains of our
enemy to dust as they blew away on a gentle wind as if they were never lain there at all. Leaving only
our own dead to contend with. Leaving the hanging sadness and silence in the area around this
desolate place as we begin the long process of bringing this valley back to something resembling a
home. Taking away the evidence of our battle and leaving only the pain of the fallout. I just need one
thing to go better today so I feel like this all wasn’t so pointless.
“Jasper.” I call out with hesitation and only a half-formed plan in my head, but it’s like grasping at
straws. I just have to take the plunge and go for it. My brother is on top of the to do list, because it’s
one of the problems which is right here in front of me at the moment.
Both Colton and Jasper stop their combative narrative at one another, and turn heads this way with a
look of ‘what?’. So similar in build and pose, booth oozing subtle aggression as they hit head on with
equally stubborn personalities.
“Go help Carmen scout outside and take in how much damage has been done to the perimeter fences
and overall buildings now it’s light. She knows this place well and was part of the permanent patrol. Get
her to pick out immediate repairs needing taken care of.” I try not to give away any kind of expression
and look deadly serious, seeing Colton narrow his eyes at my absurd command. He already sent
Meadow out to scout and report on damages that need fixed first. And with our Vampire war now
hanging to a peace treaty, it’s not like we are in any imminent danger that requires the fences anymore.
“I’m sure it doesn’t take two, she can probably do it alone.” Jasper digs his heels in, bristling up with
attitude, eyes narrowing at me, but it only serves to push the stubborn little sister out of her hiding
“Like it or not, now you’re in this pack and by my side to command. I am your Luna, and you were told
to protect me. Do I have to make my mate alpha tone you to fall in line? I’m tired and hungry and I want
to go home, so help out and we can do that before sun’s fully up. Do your part!” I grit my teeth, knowing
this isn’t likely to win him over. He never responded well to bossy and commanding in the past, but he
always did have a soft spot for me and wrapping him around my little finger used to be my forte.
“Whatever.” He ‘pfffts’ under his breath, throws his arms down to his side and marches off towards the
main door, sulking visibly and with a glare that could melt steel. It seems despite his standing against
my mate, I do have some more sway at times. There’s hope for him if I can play his heartstrings a little
more. He obviously still cares enough about me.
I link Carmen quickly and tell her to meet her patrol partner outside the front door pronto. If I tell her
who it is, she’ll run. It’s better to let them thrash it out face to face. She will find out soon enough and I
know she won’t disobey me, even if she doesn’t want to be around him.
“You really think that’s going to work?” Colton is by my side in a flash, his own fatigue waving my way.
Catching my hand and yanking mt to him with that edge of possessiveness because we haven’t had
physical contact enough lately.
“No, but it’s a start. We just have to keep throwing them together, so it breaks down his defenses. Much
like what happened to you. Weakened by your love of me when up and in your face.” I turn and jab him
in the abdomen with my pointer finger, smiling naughtily at his ‘oooft’ response. Smug with my
“Hey, that was completely different. I wasn’t against you being my mate, in fact I more than wanted it.”
He rubs his stomach and bops my nose with his thumb in a cute boy gesture. His dimples come out to
play as he smiles softly at me.
“Tomatoe, Tomato…… He needs to keep being affected by the bond, so he stops acting like a
schmuck. This is the only way to get them side by side.”
“My mates a devious one, isn’t she?” Colton slides behind me and wraps his arms around my waist,
nuzzling his chin into the crook of my neck and settles himself comfortably around me before eliciting a
heavy sigh. The familiar safe haven, and it makes my skin goosebump all over from his touch. Never
will I ever not have a full body reaction to my gorgeous other half. He’s part of my soul. “I can’t believe
it’s over. It doesn’t seem real yet. I feel like we’re dreaming and I’m yet to wake up.” He sighs again,
somewhat bereft. His body deflating slowly, his energy waning and I am more of a pillar to prop against
than just a hug. I can feel his very essence fading away and a sign that my warrior needs time to rest
and recharge. He carries so much on his plate and a night of crazy battles and self-healing while being
weakened by a weapon have taken their toll.
“Except when we wake up, we still have funeral rites to carry out in the droves. A valley to begin to
rebuild and a pack split across two homes. It’s not really the end, but just the beginning.” Mt heart
bleeds at that thought. That the worst is over in terms of danger, but the emotional battle is still ahead
of us and may be worse than what last night was.
“It’s going to take time, and patience. So many of the valley wolves no longer believe or trust in me as
Alpha, or us as a pack. The grief, the pain of everything that has happened has left it’s mark and we
have so much work to do to bring Santo back to what it once was.”
“No…. we won’t be bringing it back to what it was! We’re starting over and building a new pack, with
new ideals, and a new structure. A new moral code and transparency. We’ll build a real family pack this
time with no more secrets or lies or unfair hierarchy. Where hybrids won’t have to hide in shame or be
outcast for anything.” I lay my head back on his chest and close my eyes to shut out the ruin around us
and excel in his safe and warm embrace instead. Trying to visualize the valley of old, when my mother
still walked these paths, before I knew anything of suffering and heartbreak and the power struggle of
adults. A time when I was happier and nature around us seemed fuller, more vibrant, and life had less
problems. I want to create that childhood feeling in our pack again, that sense of peace and tranquility.
“You really have grown into the Luna I hoped you would be.” Colton lifts his chin and kisses me lightly
on my jaw under my ear. Igniting a new wave of tingles and my body starts to react to his and I have to
push it away. Squeezing me for a moment before relaxing back to where he was.
“I never thought I would ever think or feel like a Luna, yet here we are. The pack is always at the
forefront of my thoughts now. All that’s left is to build, repair, heal….. and welcome our children into this
“Hmmmm” he answers softly, agreeing and sounding as tired as me with the thought of what’s to come
“Colton, Alora…. Go back to the manor and rest. We can watch over here and take care of things.”
Meadow pulls us out of our intimate bubble and we both turn to see her walking in, followed by Radar
and Sierra who have linked hands and are looking incredibly cozy together. No doubt desperate for
some alone time to mark and finish their own bond.
I squeal as the memory of their imprint hits me with fervor. Throwing Colton’s arms off of me as the
excitement I had to dampen down on a blood strewn battlefield rises to the surface again and I run at
my Rema. Unleashed joy in the form of an over excited Luna.
“Eeeeeeeeh, I am so happy, happy.” I throw myself at her, wrapping my arms around her neck so she’s
knocked sideways, and Radar has to grab at us to support us from falling over. Bouncing like a child as
she gets caught up in my excitement.
“What the …” Sierra gasps in confusion and then laughs as my hanging onto her becomes a proper
embrace, sliding her arms around me too. I spin us and then shake her and somehow manage to end
up right back to where we started.
“I have a dad in law!” I turn, letting go of her and poke Radar in the ribs so forcefully he flinches and
then slaps my hand away moodily. He sighs, rolls his eyes, and then turns sheepishly as he sees
Colton approaching us. My mate isn’t oozing the same overly hyper good mood as I am now it’s sunk in
that his mother has a new mate. Radar clears his throat and loses all confidence. I guess mating to
your alpha best friend’s mother, is a bit weird between brother wolves.
“Please don’t call him that.” Colton grinds it out, mumbling and then walks to his sub and lands a strong
hand on his shoulder. A squeeze with obvious intent as Radar inhales sharply, wincing and ducking
down on that side to try and escape the grip.
“Alpha.” Radar lowers his head, instant submission coming over him and only gains another stab in the
ribs from me. Pushing him to snap up and glare at me instead. I am so not going to let him fall back into
being just another sub wolf.
“Stop that. You’re the Rema’s mate. That makes you the Galma. Grandad wolf… So no more
formalities.” I start laughing stupidly at that, even though it’s technically correct and hit the giggling fits
at Radar’s unamused expression. He no longer should be bowing or lowering his eyes for either Colton
or I, as he’s now our senior. He holds the same role as Rema in being a wise mentor to his Stepson.
“I mean, she’s not wrong… grandad.” Sierra joins in, poking fun at her new mate and Colton’s face
becomes more serious and stoic than before which only makes us both laugh louder and harder. His
whole aura cooling to icy tones and his eyes glow a slight hint of amber. I choke on my fast inhalation
of amusement and almost bend double trying not to die while having a coughing fit brought on by snort
“I swear to god….” Colton’s snarls at me and Radar’s face becomes ashen. It’s obvious Colton isn’t all
too adjusted to this new development and Sierra stifles her laugh by covering her mouth and tries to
return to mature mother figure when faced with a tantrummy man child.
“You will still always be my number one boy. Mummy loves you the mostest.” Sierra gets the words out
only just, before snorting at her own ‘coooeee’ tone and patting her son on the head in mock affection.
She’s enjoying this as much as I am.
“Don’t even think about making me call you dad.” Colton snaps at Radar and turns on his heel in a
dramatic, sulky fashion before storming off. Colton behaving like a child because he knows he can’t do
a damned thing about a situation he actually wanted to happen. Radar hesitates , eyes going back and
forth from son to mother before going off after him in an attempt to unruffle his alpha’s fetahers.
“Leave them to figure it out between them. They have a strong bond, I’m sure they will find their new
level quickly. Colton just wants everyone he loves to be happy but he will find it weird replacing his
father so soon after we …….” Meadow chimes in and yet trails off, moving in between us now that our
little dramatic scene is over, and slings an arm around my shoulder in that casual affectionate way of
hers. Her words bringing the somber mood back and I feel a little guilty knowing that maybe this is all
equally painful and confusing to Colton. Even as an adult. His father left his mark in his heart and now
Radar is meant to take his place after a lifetime of being like his brother.
“He’s not against it. I think deep down he’s pleased, but you know Colton…. Has to seem like a cool
and bossy alpha and won’t let Radar get any preferential treatment in case he thinks’ he’s gone soft.”
Sierra sighs and hooks her arm in Meadow’s other one, so all three are connected and we stand for a
moment watching them disappear out the far door.
I don’t know how my mates feeling, but I know it won’t last. He’s the type to figure it out fast and put it
to bed so it doesn’t disrupt his relationship with Radar, or how he oversees the pack.
“Let’s go home. There’s enough sub wolves and Cesar is overseeing what needs to be done here. My
Luna needs fed and put to bed.” Meadow squeezes me, sensing my need for time alone to process
everything that’s happened, and bumps her temple against mine. “I had the twins go fetch a car so I
can take you tow back to the stead. We need to update all those we left at home. It’s going to be a
hectic week.” Meadow is tired too. I can hear it in her voice and know last night she would have given
her all to battle against those creatures. She may be strong and fearless but even Meadow needs
mental space after killing to be able to look at herself in the mirror. Lychans were never borne to be
those kinds of beasts.
“Yeah…. The work starts now. Let’s all go home.”