Chapter 3: Mate
Capt. Gary Johnson was the center of attention, but he was blissfully unconscious to the mayhem around him. He hung limply from the chains, his torn body still oozing blood from each of the wounds that had been inflicted on his six foot two frame. He had heard the word “MINE.” Then he was grabbed around the neck and more wounds tore open and the scream wouldn’t come. His body shut down and everything went black, giving him a temporary escape from the torment.
It certainly wasn’t the normal reaction to someone finding their mate. For a werewolf, especially a young one, to find that one person in the world who completes them in every way is a cause for celebration. There were many who went their whole lives without finding that one. If that person is an Alpha or Alpha heir, it is good fortune for the pack and the party would go on for a week! It was a good thing the mated pair wasn’t needed at the party in their honor, as they usually had their own celebration going on. Some ran off into the forest together, some were carried her off to their room and some new mates just tore their clothes off and went at it right there. The unstoppable lust unleashed by the scent of their mate could take weeks to sate. Recognition and lust were first as they were part of the wolf, then the human side of love and trust would develop and strengthen over time.
One thing was certain, Luna didn’t make mistakes when she designated each half. There was no divorce in the pack; there was no need for it. A mating was for life. The depth of the connection and the knowledge that there was only one mate out there for them made the loss of a mate such a devastating event.
Pair bonds were the foundation of Pack health, as only mated pairs could reproduce. This was Luna’s way of preventing inbreeding and keeping a healthy bloodline. A female would only go into heat after her body was triggered by the mating bite. Mates were what every were was seeking from the time they first dreamed of their scent. If it was not in their pack, they would search for that someone elsewhere. Before the war, it was common for young men to travel to other packs to visit relatives and learn new skills, but behind the visit was always the hope that their one would be there. Matings across packs helped to develop alliances and reduce conflict, especially when the wolves involved were high in rank. It was not common for a mate to be found in a human, and that had its own risks. The wolf then had to build love before they could divulge their nature and get permission to turn their mate. If the person did not agree to be turned, the human might be killed to protect the secret of the pack.
At the moment, the Pack was roiling with conflicting emotions.
Joy at one of their Alpha family finding her mate.
Shock that the man they were torturing and killing in revenge for the attacks on their families was that man.
Confusion at what this meant for their Pack.
About a dozen wolves had shifted and surrounded the prisoner, snarling and growling as they advanced. Renee had shifted into a white wolf with black socks and one black ear, and was pacing side to side in front of her mate, her eyes glowing as her wolf came forward to defend what was hers. The rest of the pack had broken into groups, afraid to move as they watched the event unfold.
“STOP.” The Alpha command rolled over the pack, and everyone either froze or sat down. The sudden quiet made the continued growling and pacing of Renee even more obvious. Derek and Amanda walked toward Renee, and the warning glare Derek gave had no effect. Renee faced them both, hackles up and growling. Derek stopped; the next few seconds were key in whether a pack member died today.
Renee was effectively challenging him for the Alpha position by disregarding his command and staring him down. He really didn’t want to kill his younger sister, but if she attacked him he would have no choice. Battles for the Alpha position were almost always to the death, and he outweighed her by a hundred pounds and was a more experienced fighter. He knew this really wasn’t about him, she was confused about her mate and he was in danger, so he waited it out.
He continued to glare at her, hoping that she would come to her senses and back down. Ten, twenty seconds, now a minute, and the standoff continued. Finally, there was a moan from behind her as Gary moved his arm. The sound of her mate in pain broke her trance and she realized suddenly what she was doing. She immediately lowered her eyes, then rolled over and bared her stomach to her older brother. Derek walked over and grasped her throat, reasserting his dominance, then released it. “Change back and talk to me.”
She shifted back to human form and grabbed on to his leg. “I’m so sorry Derek,” she sobbed, “I didn’t know what to do and my wolf wouldn’t listen to me. I’m so scared right now...” Amanda approached and drew her up into her arms to comfort her. “Please, Alpha, please don’t kill my mate!” She broke down in tears again as Amanda hugged her close.
Derek didn’t know what to do, but he knew he had to defuse the situation before the pack tore itself apart. “We cannot continue with the man in this state. Andy, Doug, take him down.” As the two approached, Renee started to panic and her eyes turned golden as her wolf pushed forward. “Renee, CALM! Go to him and I’ll get Doc to help him.” Quickly Renee went behind him and carefully supported him under his arms as the two men unlocked the manacles. She slowly lowered him to the ground as Amanda rolled up a shirt to put under his head. Renee cupped his face and stroked his hair as she sat on her knees at his head. As Doc approached, she shifted to wolf form and started to lick at the wounds to clean them and help them heal. Meanwhile, Doc was giving him a head to toe check.
“Alpha, he’s been pushed beyond the breaking point. I can stitch him up, but I can’t get him conscious again with the drugs I have available to me.”
Derek nodded. “OK, do what you can to stop the bleeding and keep him alive for now.” Renee’s wolf head snapped up to look at him and she started growling deep in her chest.
Doc shook his head. “We have a bigger problem than that. He was first bitten over an hour ago. He’s going to go through a forced change sometime in the next three hours, and his body is in no shape to do that. He probably won’t survive the change.” Renee started to howl her grief. “IF he does survive, he’s going to come out of that change in a rage. I don’t know how many of us it will take to put him down once the change is on him, or what damage he will do. You know that the more trauma there is when the person is bit, the tougher the change is. I can’t think of anything tougher than what he’s gone through today.”
“Well, Doc, what do you suggest we do?
“Give him a clean death. Now. It will save him more suffering and we don’t risk any of our people with his change.”
Renee had heard enough. She shifted back to human form and leaped over her mate, tackling Doc to the ground. “YOU STAY AWAY FROM HIM!” She started to choke him as he grabbed at her arms, but she was young and strong and her wolf was still very close, and he was an old man. It took four men to pull her off. “I WILL KILL ANYONE WHO TRIES TO HARM MY MATE!”
Derek had enough of his sister’s outbursts. “Take her to the pit and leave her there, keep two of you on guard.” The men lifted her up, each taking a limb as she struggled and cursed, and walked deeper into the cave with her. Near the back they had discovered a cavern which was was twenty feet deep and about forty feet across. The wall had caved in, leaving a pile of rock at the entrance that was still twelve feet short of the main cave above. The men bound her in rope and lowered her down, tossing a knife after her so she could cut herself free. It was a crude but effective jail cell. She tried to climb out but couldn’t get a handhold on the sheer wall. Enraged, she changed to wolf form and leaped against the wall half a dozen times, each time falling painfully to the rock below, before she shifted back and glared at them. Two walked back to the main group while another two took up station in the main cave to watch over her.
Her screams and promises of retribution reverberated through the caves as she railed against them all. She was nothing if not creative in her threats. They weren’t sure some of them were physically possible. Still, no one held her behavior against her, especially those who had been mated. They knew what a wolf would do when their mate was in danger.
Derek had been agonizing over the next step while he listened to his younger sister and heir curse his name. The decision he needed to make would affect the entire pack, so he decided after things calmed down he would put it to a vote.
Doc was still stitching up the prisoner’s wounds, with Ann’s help. He had continued because Derek said to keep his alive for now, and not doing anything was to condemn him to a slow, bleeding death. The Alpha hadn’t taken his advice to end it all quickly, but he understood why. Derek dismissed the rest of the pack to get back to work while he sat and watched Doc work. He needed his own mate to guide him through the minefield he faced, so he guided Amanda back to the anteroom they had made into their bedroom and sat down heavily on the matted grass that served as their bed.
Amanda had been feeling the conflict and anguish through their mate bond ever since Renee’s announcement. Days like today she dreaded the responsibility of their Alpha pairing, there was no ‘good’ decision they could make. She lay naked next to her mate and pulled him gently to her breast while she stroked his hair and he cried gently on her skin. Alphas don’t cry, but mates do, and in the privacy of their den he could be himself. “I can’t do it. I can’t do this to Renee and I can’t change my mind in front of the Pack. I already pronounced his sentence.”
“I know what that man was going to do when we shot him down. I know what his side has done in the war. Your sentence was just, and you gave everyone a chance to get their own personal chance. You could not have known that your sister would find her mate in him, and you can’t change what has already been done.”
“You heard Renee. I know she dreamed of her mate, and I also know that with the war and the destruction of packs in this area that she thought she would never have the chance at being mated and having pups. It hasn’t been easy for her to be growing up in this war, and to see her chance at happiness being pulled away from her is tearing us apart.”
“Derek, if you kill her mate, best case is she hates you forever and leaves the pack. Without the support of the pack, she won’t last a week before she kills herself or is taken out by the enemy. Even though she has not physically mated with him, in her mind she already has. You know that to be true, she would never defy you in front of the Pack if it wasn’t to protect her mate from you.”
“That is another thing I have to deal with publicly, no matter what happens with him.”
“Yes, but not now. Is there really a hurry to do anything at this time? Renee is removed from the rest of the pack and will not be able to interfere with your decision. Only you and I were left to take the turn on his punishment. There was never a time frame on it, in fact you said he had to be conscious and aware of what was going on before the sentence could continue. He’s not recovered enough for our turn yet, so we defer any decision until he is.”
Derek lifted his head and rested it on his hand while he gazed down at his woman. Luna had truly blessed him with a partner who was so wise, who saw things so clearly. Amanda continued, “We know that he will turn soon, and Doc already said he probably won’t survive the change. You couldn’t stop that if you wanted to. So, let it happen. If he dies, then you have kept the sentence you proclaimed and Renee can’t blame you for his death, after all she was the last one to injure him. If he lives, he still has to make it past the rages, and if he can’t then you won’t be blamed for having to put him down. If he lives, then you can decide the best way forward, but you will have time for emotions to settle and to make a deliberate decision.”
Now that she explained it, it was all so obvious to Derek. His eyes expressed his love, respect and more than a hint of lust for his beautiful mate who had so quickly helped him find the way forward. “So we wait, then.” She nodded, her voice caught in her throat as her wolf responded to the predatory gleam in his eyes as he raked her body. “My love, you are amazing. I don’t know how I would do any of this without you by my side.” She reached up to cup his strong jaw while shifting her hips slightly towards him. The smell of her arousal rose up between them; she always wanted him, always knew just what he needed, and right now he needed her. “Allow me, my dear, to express my appreciation properly. I don’t think this body has been worshiped for the wonder that it is for at least a few days. I can’t neglect my responsibilities now, can I?”
Amanda giggled as he started to kiss her from her forehead, down her thin nose until he started to plunder her lips and mouth with his tongue. His hand continued down from her chin and across her shoulder, then gently tickled down the inside of her arm as she started to squirm under his attentions. The kiss deepened as he rolled over her, supporting himself on his elbows and knees as he moved both hands to the sides of her breasts, cupping them and rotating his thumbs around her rapidly stiffening nipples. She groaned in loss as he slid down her body, but that was replaced with a sharp intake of breath as his mouth found her right nipple. She reached up to grasp his growing erection, but he grabbed her right hand and pulled it over her head, where it was soon joined by her left hand. “Interlock your hands and keep them there.” Amanda did as instructed and lay back, knowing that his wolf needed to show its dominance again. Her wolf so loved being dominated by him!
Both of her nipples were now hypersensitive due to the alternating pinching and sucking as he worked from one to the other and back. The smell of her arousal now filled the room, and as his hands moved slowly down to her hips, she rolled them up towards his chest. He didn’t take the hint, instead his hands caressed her stomach and thighs as he kissed the line down her firm stomach and then across her hips. He skillfully avoided the one area she wanted his attention at, ignoring her attempts to move it under his mouth, and it was driving her crazy with desire. She trembled when he finally touched her wet slit with the tip of his tongue, softly running from top to bottom and back up. Her hips were bucking against the forearm he held them down with as the sweet torture continued. Using his thumb to rub her swollen clit, he used a forefinger to plunge into her depths and caress her inner walls. She gasped when he took a moistened finger and started to circle her back door. Amanda was rapidly losing control, and when he bit down on her clit while simultaneously a finger in her ass, she went off like a rocket ship.
He grinned at her as her body locked up and her back arched off the mat. She spasmed and twitched as the orgasm did its work, and when she brought her hands down to push his head away, he just grabbed them and pinned them to her side. He shook his head slowly while telling her with his bond, “I’m not done with you yet.” He started to slowly insert and remove the digit in her ass while using his other hand to spread her lips for his tongue. He allowed his tongue to shift, first licking her clean from the bottom up before plunging it into her and flicking it around against her g-spot. His wolven tongue was far longer, thicker and more talented than his human one, and he put that to good use. Her orgasm came quick and hard on the heels of her first one, and since her arms were pinned she could only squeeze his head and arch backwards as the sensation washed over her. Derek stroked her thighs and eased her back to the mat as the tremors finally subsided.
He was kissing back up her body to continue his sweet torture when Doc’s voice came through the bond. “Alpha, we need you out here. The change is starting.” Derek reluctantly got up, wiped his face and dressed. Amanda was still out of breath, so he told her he would leave the bond open to her while she rested.
When her returned to the main chamber, many pack members had not departed but there were still a number of interested parties waiting to see what would happen. Doc looked up from his patient and reported, “He’s stable now but still out. I’ve managed to patch up the major injuries and I’ve given him two pints of blood already. His fever just spiked, I need to know what you want to do with him before the change occurs.”
Derek motioned for four men and sent one back to get some rope and blankets. “Pick him up and follow me.” The men rolled him onto a stretcher before he was lifted up. The Alpha led them back into the cave before stopping at the pit to gaze down on Renee. She had been pacing back and forth and glared back up at him. “Renee, I’ve made a decision.”
She charged the wall again shouting “YOU BASTARD I’LL KILL YOU!”
Derek waited impassively for her to stop before continuing. “His sentence has been suspended. He has been patched up, but the shift will be upon him soon. For the safety of the pack, that change will happen in the same pit you now stand. The only way he leaves the pit is if he can gain balance with his wolf and come to accept what he now is. When you come out, we’ll deal with your insubordination. You can come out now and leave him there, or you can stay there and help him through it.”
She considered for a moment only, she wanted her mate. There was no way she would abandon him during this most dangerous time, and both of them knew it. “Give him to me then.” The men tied the rope around the prisoner and carefully lowered him into Renee’s waiting arms. She carried him to a flat and slightly elevated spot in the corner of the pit and gently laid him down on his back. She then returned to get the blankets and food that was lowered back down. Looking up at Derek, the tears were still in her eyes but the determination showed through. “Thank you, Alpha, for giving him a chance. I apologize for my behavior and will accept the consequences of my actions.”
“Let’s see what happens in the next few days first. The guards will remain up here, if you need anything you may ask them. If you request it, they will pull you out of there but they will not let you back down. May Luna’s grace be upon you both... I love you.” Derek turned back and left the two of them to work it out.
Renee asked for some towels and a bucket of water to clean him up while she waited. She rolled him over on his side and cleaned his back before placing him on a blanket. His fever was way up, and he was sweating profusely despite the cool air in the cave. She gently cleaned away the dried blood and grime, then shifted into her wolf form and started licking his wounds to stimulate the healing. There was very little time left, but she would do anything she could. As the change accelerated, he started to twitch body parts at random. She tore a towel lengthwise and placed the center between his teeth, tying it loosely behind his head. It would stop him from biting his tongue when the pain really started.
She did not have long to wait. It started with some loud pops, then he started to convulse. His eyes shot open, but quickly turned bloodshot and golden. His screams echoed through the chamber as his body started to realign. His chest deepened and narrowed, his hips shrank and his legs started to reshape. Brown fur started to sprout on his skin, and it started to move as the muscles and bones underneath rearranged. His face lengthened and narrowed, as his nose and mouth moved forward and his eyes got closer together. The screams stopped, only because his throat had changed and could no longer make that noise. A deep growl took its place. Blood started to erupt from skin that was stretched beyond limits, soaking the blankets and spraying her body as she caressed his face.
The transformation was over in about a minute, leaving a large brown wolf behind. He tried to roll onto his feet, but soon lay back in exhaustion and closed his eyes.
Renee was thrilled that he survived the trauma of his first transformation, but distressed by all the damage her mate had sustained. She quickly changed to wolf form and started to lick his wounds closed again. She ignored the blood that coated her white fur as she worked. She was happy that she had a mate, and looking over his form she knew he would be a strong mate and protector of their pups. Since he continued to sleep, she shifted back to human form and asked for some more water, blankets and towels. Putting the soiled laundry in the basket, she made a new bed platform and scooted her mate onto it.
He was starting to twitch again, so she shifted back to wolf form and curled up around his head. She figured that the scent of her mate would calm him and help when he woke up. She caught the scent of her Alpha approaching with others, and she rose up to stand protectively over her mate. She relaxed when Derek smiled and said, “Good, Renee, he made it through the shift. I’d like to have Doc come down and see how he is doing.” Renee started to growl, remembering how Doc had advised that he be killed. “You should know Doc worked hard to keep him alive, and now that he is Pack he wants to give him the best chance to make it through this. You should trust him.”
Renee lowered her head and responded using the bond. “I will allow it.”
Doc was lowered into the pit and spent a few minutes checking out the unconscious wolf. “Alpha, I recommend that he be kept heavily sedated for a few days. That will allow him to heal without the rages causing more damage.” Derek looked at Renee and they both nodded. “Next Alpha, please understand that he will be in and out of consciousness during this time, but you need to keep him as calm as possible and keep him from hurting himself. I will come by every eight hours to check on him, but contact the guards or the Alpha if something else comes up.” With that, he gave her mate an injection and walked back over to the rope. “You should get him used to your scent, his wolf will recognize you and that will calm him. He’s a fine looking wolf, Luna has chosen well.”
Renee laid her wolf down beside him, curling around the areas that weren’t wounded and observing the healing that had already started in the others. She thought about the long life they could have together and the many pups he would give her. She couldn’t wait to take him out to the woods and show him the joy of running with the pack. Burying her nose in his neck, she drank in his smell and quickly fell into a contented sleep.
For the next three days, Derek and other pack members would come by to observe how things were going. Most of the time Gary was out of it, but there was an hour or two before the next shot during which he would be able to listen to what was going on around him. During these times, Renee would cradle her wolf’s head in her lap while she fed him bits of meat. She would stroke his fur as she explained what was happening. She told him that the bites during his punishment had turned him into a werewolf. She told him about how they believed there were two parts to every human, the rational side and the animal side. Both were always there, but in humans the animal side is repressed and ignored. The bite of the werewolf releases the animal side and brings it forward to share consciousness with the human side. She slowly explained that the wolf in him was not an invader, and that it was always part of him and wanted to help him. She talked of how the two sides would communicate in his mind, and how one or the other would always have precedence in his mind. With the wolf in control of his mind, his body would follow, and that is why he changed to wolf form.
She taught him that within his own mind, he could look and see him and his wolf and the balance they had. When one came forward, the other receded. She reassured him that he would heal up, that his wounds were not life threatening and were quickly healing, since were healing rates were much faster than human. She talked to him about the mating pull- how each wolf had one person who was made to complete them, and how they recognized each other by smell. She told him about how sorry she was to have hurt him, and how she would never hurt him again now that she knew who he was.
She told him about how much she looked forward to completing the mating, and how it would happen. She confessed to being a little scared about it, since they had to bite each other on the neck while making love in human form, and she was still a virgin. She told him to rest and recover so they could mate, and that once they had mated they would be linked together in their minds. Renee couldn’t wait until she could share her thoughts, emotions and desires with him directly. When he started to move around, Doc was notified and he would come down and give him another shot, after which he would lapse back into a deep sleep.
Every few hours she gently move his limbs and roll him from one side to keep him from getting too sore. Then she would shift back to wolf form and lick his wounds before settling around him, sleeping nose to tail with her love.
Three days later, Doc said it was time to let him wake up. “His wounds are nearly healed. He’s had some time to get past the initial shock, but he still could come out in a rage. We won’t know until he’s fully awake. I’d keep everyone else away.” He told Renee she should leave as well but she refused, since Derek had told her before that he would not let her back if she came out. In any case, she wasn’t going to leave her mate to face this alone. Torches were lit to make it easier to see what was going on, and to be handy in case they needed to drive him back. Fire was one of the few things even a feral wolf was afraid of.
It took an hour, but Gary started to wake up. He had gotten used to the scents in the pit, and his wolf vision clearly showed him what was around him. He looked down at his paws and his fur, moving each of his limbs and noting with satisfaction that he could move without much pain. Rolling onto his stomach, he pushed himself shakily up to his knees. A white wolf with black socks crawled towards him on her belly; he recognized her scent from the past few days. She licked at his muzzle and rubbed up against him as he swayed on his paws.
Renee was beyond happy, it was going so well! She looked up at her mate with pride beaming in her eyes.
The Alpha was able to use his bond to speak to his newest pack member. “Now I want you to try and shift back. Close your eyes, and think of yourself in human form. Imagine the feel of the rock beneath your feet, and let your wolf recede while you come forward.”
It took a while, but with some pops and pain he began to change. Renee changed with him.Gary looked down and saw his hands and feet again. He felt like he was finally free, his human side had been repressed by the wolf for so long he didn’t think he thought it might be lost. It was then he looked up and his human side recognized the woman at his side. She was the one who had tortured him! Immediately his right fist shot out and broke her jaw, knocking her to the ground. She reached for her cheek and looked up in shock. He leaped on top of her, his strong hands at her throat as he squeezed the life out of her. “Die, bitch! I hope you burn in hell!”
Her eyes went from fear to resignation as she struggled to breathe but the anger in his eyes never changed. She wouldn’t fight her mate, she couldn’t ever hurt him. She was still looking up, silently pleading for him to stop, when he lifted then slammed her head down on the rock floor, and it all went dark.