“What the flying fuck?!” Tommy burst into Adam’s room without knocking. It was a few hours later after their discussion in Tommy’s room. He was now in his human form, blonde hair unkempt, eyes wild. He was wearing a way too big T-shirt and sweat pants rolled up at the bottom not to trip. Someone brought the clothes to him since he didn’t have his own stuff in Adam’s house yet. Tommy was still shocked and somewhere pissed after what Adam told him. He sent the Alpha out of his room without another word as confusion hit him hard. But his emotions and the anger he tried to hold on to drove him to Adam’s room as the night fell. He could barely feel his injuries from being worked up so much.
“Hello, Tommy. I thought you’d come to me eventually,” Adam looked up from the book he was reading while lying on top of his bedspread in a blue T-shirt and black boxers, clearly ready to turn in for the night. “Glad to see you in your human form again…”
“Cut the crap, Lambert! What do you mean by ‘Mates’?!” he fumed going closer but stopping by the foot of the bed. He clearly saw red.
“What do you think it means? Don’t tell me you have no idea what the Mate bond means…”
“Of course I know what it means even if I haven’t seen it up close before.”
“Oh right, no one was bonded like that in the Burbank pack,” Adam nodded as he dropped the book next to him on the bed. Now he understood why Tommy wasn’t sure about what the scent and feelings he had around him meant.
“We are destined for each other. Or rather our wolves.”
“That can’t be! I can’t be your Mate, for god’s sake!” he shouted, his hands fisted by his sides, nails digging into his palms. He could feel the disapproving growl of his own wolf for shouting at their Alpha, but he ignored it.
“Why not? I felt more than once that your wolf wanted to submit to me even if you were putting up a fight…” Adam frowned sitting up straighter on his bed.
“Do you seriously have to ask? If we are Mates, then why can’t you tell, huh? Apparently you know much more about this kind of bond than me!” he growled, eyes bleeding into golden brown.
“Because I can’t figure you out. In one moment you are like an open book to me then you close everyone out. So why don’t you just tell me instead?” he said forcing himself to keep calm. “I don’t see why you have to act like this. It’s rare that you can find your destined Mate and it’s the most sacred bond to werewolves…”
“Why do I act like this?! Seriously?!” Tommy cut in at the brink of pouncing on Adam. “You’re an asshole, that’s why! You seriously expect me to put up a good face to this and bind my wolf and life to someone who murdered my father, my previous Alpha and took over our pack?! You expect me to forget that just because our wolves happen to be ‘destined’ to each other?! That’s bullshit! I don’t even believe in destiny or god or whatever!” he shouted shaking with anger, not caring about the hurt look that flashed in Adam’s eyes. “You are a selfish bastard, Lambert!”
“Tommy…” he growled warningly, but the blonde seemed to be on a rampage.
“We were fucking fine before you put your foot into our life! We were a close-knit pack, blending into the human world as much as possible, not getting in trouble or drawing attention to our kind. We had a good life, a family. And you stomped into our world and took away my fucking father, for god’s sake! And ruined everything! You forced us to choose you and your pack even before we could come out of the shock of loosing our Alpha!” Tommy spit, his eyes glowing yellow and he didn’t even notice that he was standing as close to Adam as the edge of his bed let him.
“Fuck, we are back here again?” Adam grunted shaking his head. He thought they were over this already. “You know well that your father would’ve killed me the same way in case he was winning…”
“Yes, but no one asked you to come and demand our territory and attack!”
“Are you serious? You are trying to pin this all on me?!” Adam raised his voice too as control was slipping him from the boiling anger and hate radiating from Tommy. It hurt and his wolf wanted to make it stop, make Tommy submit and apologize. It took a lot to hold it back.
“On whom should I pin it then? YOU ruined the life I knew since my early teens!” he pointed at Adam, rage distorting his features.
“You’re not entirely right, you know!” Adam snapped.
“What the fuck are you talking about?!”
“I tried to reason with your father before the fight. I tried to persuade him that it’d be better for both packs to melt into a stronger one, but he refused all my diplomatic attempts and insisted on settling the matter with fighting till the end. I told him that it can kill members of his pack, but he didn’t care! He wanted to fight anyway!” he shouted back into Tommy’s face.
His confession silenced the smaller man for a moment until the rage took over him. “He’d never… LIAR!” he yelled and in the next moment he was on Adam, his fist making contact with the Alpha’s jaw.
For a moment Adam saw stars, but his instincts kicked in and grabbed Tommy’s wrist to stop him landing another punch. His free arm went around Tommy’s middle and quickly turned him around to pin the blonde against the bed. He used all his weight and supernatural strength to keep him down, blue eyes flashing in the eerie glow of his wolf, which’s raspy voice could be heard as he talked. “Don’t ever call me a liar! I’d never lie about something like this!”
“I don’t believe you!” Tommy squirmed under him in an attempt to get free, but Adam was holding both his wrists down and pain flared up in his still not completely healed muscles. He flinched but still tried to throw Adam off balance – with little luck.
“You should! You knew your father. Does it sound as if I came up with this?! THINK!” he shouted close to Tommy’s face.
He wanted to shift so badly, but his body couldn’t handle it as it was still too weak. He was stuck in his human form for a while. He cursed inwards and mentally yelled at his wolf to shut the fuck up as it kept whining for angering their Alpha and wanted to bare its throat for the stronger wolf above him. “He wouldn’t… no…” he tried to fight against Adam in vain.
“Tommy… Tommy, listen to me! I didn’t want to kill him. I hate it that I had to. Believe me. Please…” Adam held his gaze to let him see he meant every word.
The Beta’s nose filled with that certain spicy scent and he shook his head, pressing his eyes shut. He didn’t want to believe that his father said and did something like that. He didn’t want to believe that he was ready to sacrifice them all – his own flesh and blood – to keep his territory and title as an Alpha… That can’t be right. He suddenly felt so weak and broken that his attempts to get free slowly died down and he was just laying there exhausted both physically and emotionally. He could sense that Adam was telling the truth, but he didn’t want to believe it. And the smell of home made him want to howl and cry. He pressed his eyes tighter together to keep the tears from falling.
That’s when he felt Adam let one of his wrists go and turn his face back to him. He sensed it before he could actually feel it – soft lips pressed against his own. It was chaste and comforting and made Tommy’s heart bleed even more. He opened his burning eyes when Adam slightly pulled back to look at him. He didn’t say anything, but Tommy could see the understanding and sorry in the blue eyes. Without thinking he reached up to pull Adam back down by his nape and this time the kiss was far from chaste.
The world seemed to melt around them as they both gave into it. The air warmed up around them as the scent of the summer and winter forests mixed. Their tongues danced to a long-forgotten rhythm. Tommy’s skin felt as if it was prickled by thousands of tiny needles. The feeling was interesting and shocking at the same time. He never felt anything like this before. The heat, the scents, the taste of Adam’s tongue and the way their wolves were practically nuzzling each other were overwhelming sensations. It all washed over Tommy and he felt like his being was melting, forming into something Adam and his wolf needed and they were exactly what Tommy needed in that moment.
And it scared him. The fear sobered him up in a moment and he broke the kiss, his eyes popping open as he turned his face away from Adam. The Alpha seemed to be still under the effect of the moment as he growled low and nuzzled his cheek against Tommy’s neck, taking a deep sniff. The blonde pressed his eyes shut, lips curving downwards.
Since his hands were free now Tommy lifted them to press against Adam’s chest. He could clearly feel his erection through their clothes and what pissed him off even more, than he was just as hard. “Motherfucker…” he mumbled under his nose as he pushed Adam enough to roll him on his side. Tommy quickly scooted out of bed and hurried towards the door. He could feel Adam’s eyes burn holes into the back of his head, but he didn’t care. Just like he didn’t give a fuck about his wolf either, which was whining pathetically in his head, wanting to lay back under its Alpha. But Tommy wanted none of that.
Tommy was standing in Howl with his arms folded in front of him. He was looking over the restoration works going on in the pub while Mike was dealing with business issues in the small office in the back. The workers were nearly done. To pub looked as if nothing happened, although Tommy could still smell the faint scent of the explosion under the smell of fresh wood, cement and paint. Once the walls were dry enough, they could ask Viola again to paint the walls like she did before they opened Howl for the first time.
In the last couple of days Tommy has been here and at home, avoiding Adam as much as he could. He knew it wouldn’t solve anything and that they had to sit down and seriously talk about this Mate thing, but Tommy needed some space to think things over. What Adam revealed about his father was something Tommy was still struggling to believe. Especially because when Adam told it to him, Tommy could sense that he was telling the truth – or at least Adam believed what he was saying. He planned to visit his sister a bit later, but first he wanted to go somewhere else too.
His thoughts were interrupted when the boss of the workers came over and told him that after cleaning up they were done. Tommy nodded and told him that Mike was in the office and he was dealing with the paychecks. The guy nodded and shook hands with Tommy, heading to the back of the pub. The blonde went back behind the bar and busied himself with restocking the booze and glasses while his head was full of heavy thoughts.
In an hour or so he told Mike he was off and got into his car to drive to his destination. He stayed in the car in front of the house for a few more minutes to check his phone and text his sister about the meeting. Once done he got out of the car and walked to the door to press the right button on the intercom.
“Yes?” the female voice asked.
“It’s me, Janice,” he simply said.
“Come on up, handsome,” she purred and buzzed Tommy in.
“So what is it this time, Tommy?” Lisa asked once Bridget was asleep on his uncle’s lap as they were sitting on a blanket in the back garden of her house. For at least two hours Tommy tried to tire out his energy bomb niece to be able to talk to her sister. But when the time came, he suddenly went very silent and tense. His sister picked up on that of course and without a word pushed a bottle of beer in his hand as she sat down. “Spill it, my dear bro.”
Tommy first took a big swig of his beer then sighed looking down at his sleeping niece. “It’s Adam.”
“Why am I not surprised?” she gently bumped her shoulder against his with a small smile. “Lately everything’s about him.”
“Yeah… well…” he looked into his sister’s eyes, seeing the slight worry behind that smile. Tommy was grateful that she cared about him no matter what he did. And he did some stupid things in the past and since they became a part of this new pack too. But she always had his back and she was the only person who could kick his ass and speak her mind when Tommy was wrong about something. He was told that after getting hurt she was very worried for her brother while Tommy was unconscious and healing. She waited patiently until Tommy was ready to talk and the blonde wolf was glad that this time she didn’t push him. She could probably feel the weight of what he was about to say. “…after I came around I had a little talk with Adam about something that I’ve noticed when I was around him and it turned out that… it seems… we are Mates,” he sighed heavily.
Lisa stayed silent for a long minute just looking back at his brother then lightly frowned. “Why do I have the feeling that you are not happy about this at all?” she asked, thinking that usually Mates were happy about the fact that they find their other half.
“Because… it’s Adam. Sis, he killed our father… and he told me some disturbing stuff about dad…” he admitted quietly.
“What stuff?” she asked, her frown deepening.
“That dad refused to negotiate about joining the LA pack and he insisted on fighting for our territory even if it meant sacrificing all of us,” he sighed heavily. “First I refused to believe him, but I could smell that he wasn’t lying,” he shook his head still in disbelief and a long heavy silence descended upon them, which was broken only by Bridget’s soft breathing, the distant noises of the city and the sounds of nature around them.
“This is really some heavy shit,” she finally said. “I don’t want to believe it either, but…”
“…you know how hard-headed dad could get… And lately he… kinda changed,” she said picking at the edge of the label on her beer bottle.
“You think dad really meant it? And changed how? I haven’t noticed much on him. Yes, he was more on edge and gave me more pack stuff to deal with…” he thought back.
“Tommy… promise me you won’t get mad at me for what I’m about to say…” she said softly, her eyes pleading.
Tommy pressed his mouth into a thin line then asked on a carefully calm voice. “What did you two keep from me? I won’t get mad, I promise.”
“A few weeks before Adam and his pack came into the picture, we were talking with dad. He… confessed that he felt like his time as an Alpha was up. He… well, he didn’t really wanted to lead the pack anymore. I’m sure that was part of the reason he might’ve acted as Adam told you,” she said softly, hoping that his brother wouldn’t get too mad at her for keeping this from him.
Some hurt and betrayal were clear in Tommy’s brown eyes. “Why haven’t you told me any of this?”
“I… he swore me not to. He was just… tired of it all. He wanted to give up and maybe he didn’t want to go to the afterlife alone,” she shook her head and pulled her legs up to hug them. “I’m sorry I haven’t told you before. I was hurt and mourning too. This was a big change in our lives… and hearing what Adam told you… it’s a lot to take in. But you have to believe me that I had no idea about any of the negotiation attempts. You remember how he went to meet up with Adam on his own, keeping us all away. It was strange, because he should’ve taken at least you, his Beta, but you remember how he refused that, saying that he’d be okay… Now… now I understand why he did that. Or at least this can be an explanation to his actions…”
“But why haven’t he just asked me to just take over and lead the pack?”
“He didn’t want to put that burden on you. He knew that you were never too fond of werewolf politics.”
“I could have taken over for him if he asked…” Tommy shook his head, the edges of his mouth curling down. “He thought I wasn’t strong enough.”
“No, I don’t think that was his reason. He knew you got through a lot already. Maybe he just thought you weren’t ready yet. And he didn’t want to fight you.”
Tommy pressed his lips together again and stared at the flowerbed by the fence. “You know I could’ve led the pack without fighting him. But after all he’d done for us since I was bitten he still would’ve rather sacrificed us all? What the hell?” Tommy shook his head, bitterness already edged into his features. He gently stroked Bridget’s soft brown curls. “Thinking that he… he would’ve risked the lives of his own children and granddaughter… I want to refuse believing that… but what you told… it puts Adam’s words into a different light…” he went silent for a long moment before continuing barely audible. “I… I can’t hate him for the wrong reasons…”
“What do you mean, Tommy?”
“Until now I hated Adam for killing dad and not giving us a real chance to avoid the bloodshed and taking over our pack. Well, I’m sure he’d have taken over either way… But he told me he gave a way out to our father… So I can’t hate him for this anymore… Sure I can hate him for after all killing dad…”
“…but he was just following the werewolf laws passed down on us by the Alphas for centuries.”
“Yeah. Exactly. He even told me he had no choice but to kill our Alpha not to risk him trying to do the same to him and that he hated it,” he closed his eyes.
They stayed quiet for a couple of minutes, both lost in their own thoughts and processing the new information.
“If you really are Mates then you know you’ll eventually have to talk to him about it…” Lisa broke the silence.
“I know,” Tommy nodded and took a sip from his bottle.
“And while doing so I think smelling like pussy won’t be a good idea. Sophie said that Adam can get pretty possessive, like a true Alpha. Not just about his territory or pack, of course.”
“Oh yeah?” Tommy asked absently.
“Yes. She told me a few of his relationships ended because of that possessiveness. But I’m sure that was just one of the reasons.”
“I’m not planning on becoming his Mate for real. We don’t have to do the Mating Ritual if I don’t want to. He won’t force me, will he?” he glimpsed up with an unreadable expression.
Lisa shook her head. “No, I don’t think so. He doesn’t seem like the violent type of Alpha when it’s not about fighting. But… I thought you always hoped to find your Mate one day…” she trailed off, remembering a drunken discussion they had a few years back when Lisa was in a dark place after losing her Mate, the father of her child on a foreign wolf territory.
“One day, yeah. But I always thought it’d be a fierce little wolf girl with whom I could have fun and later maybe a family too. Not a big black male Alpha who, after all, killed our father…” he sighed bitterly and avoided her look.
“Bro, fate has its ways. I’m sure one day you’ll see the reason why it had to happen like this…”
“But we still barely know him. I won’t bare my belly just because we seem to be Mates…” he shook his head in denial again.
“I know. But if you won’t let him closer to you and forgive him for following the laws, as painful as it was to us, you’ll never know what it could be like with him. Besides, I know that him being a man doesn’t really put you off,” she shrugged and drank from her beer.
“Nah, that’s kinda okay.”
“Plus, if you eventually choose to be with him as his Mate, you can still have a family if we don’t count the pack.”
Tommy didn’t say anything to this just shrugged, thinking if he decided to do so, he’d probably have to stop chasing skirts too – if the rumors were true about Adam’s possessiveness. But Tommy was quite sure that he’d read somewhere that Mates don’t want to look at anyone else after their Mating Ritual anyways… When he realized that he was already considering the option of becoming Adam’s Mate for real, it suddenly pissed him off.
“Don’t work yourself up too much about this, Tommy. I can feel you’re angry. You are nearly always angry since Adam stepped in our lives. I can barely recognize you…” she tilted her head to the side as she watched her brother.
He looked at her sister again and sighed before glimpsing at the clear blue sky above. He knew she was right. He had to admit that beside the grief, Adam had turned his life upside down and he felt off balance ever since. His normal laid back self got lost somewhere along the way. He didn’t particularly liked his new self either so he hoped that talking to Adam with a clear head would help him find his old self and inner peace again.
“I know, sis…” he whispered and pressed the cool side of his bottle against his forehead.
“What?” she asked, knowing that there was something else on Tommy’s mind.
“We had a fight and then he kissed me.”
“Oh… about what?”
“About dad and what he told me about him.”
“I see,” she said softly before a little smile appeared on her face. “So… how was the kiss?”
Tommy snorted on the teasing tone she had in her voice. “It was… good. Different.”
“Different like how?”
“Like he wasn’t lying about the Mate thing.”
“But you enjoyed it…”
“And?” she pressed.
“That bothers me too.”
“Why? If he’s your Mate, you shouldn’t be bothered by his kisses and touches.”
“To be honest… my own reaction scared me. It was… very intense. I… my wolf…”
“You both wanted to submit, right?”
“Yeah…” Tommy sighed rolling the bottle against his forehead a few times before he put it back down next to him and looked at her. “I’m afraid I’d lose myself too much and forgive him too easily if we did.”
“You’re an idiot, Tommy. A total idiot.”
“Hey!” he hissed, not wanting to wake up his niece.
“You are. Just go and talk to him and see what’ll happen. You are just torturing yourself like this.”
“Shut up. Just go. Talk. I don’t want to see you until you did,” she said already gently pulling her daughter out of Tommy’s lap. “But take a shower before you go to see him. Janice’s scent is still all over you.”
Tommy just snorted and held up his hands in defeat. “Alright, alright, I’m going,” he rolled his eyes and left his beer behind too after saying goodbye. His sister could be a pushy little bitch at times, but he knew she was right.