Contributed to by Stacy Meyer
Eira pulled her cloak tight around her as she moved slowly through the snow covered forest, shivering with every gust of wind. Snow clung to her and her feet and hands stung and ached with how cold they were. She was lost, she had to admit that to herself. The storm had blown through and she had gotten turned around in all the white. She stopped, her breath puffing out in clouds as she caught her breath. What was she going to do? Her mother was probably terrified.
â€śExcuse me miss?â€ť Her heart leaped and she twisted around, the wind catching her hood and pulling it off, tugging at strands of her red hair. Amber eyes met her green, looking at her curiously. â€śAre you lost?â€ť
â€śWho are you?â€ť
â€śAlarick. What are you doing out here?â€ť
â€śIâ€¦I got turned around in the storm.â€ť
â€śYou could freeze to death.â€ť He stepped closer and she backed up right into a tree, swallowing. â€śItâ€™s okay, I mean you know harm.â€ť He held out his hand and smiled, revealing sharp canines.
â€śWâ€¦wolf.â€ť Her voice squeaked and he tipped his head to the side.
â€śNo need to fear me little fire, I only wish to help you.â€ť
â€śYour hair.â€ť He reached out, gently running his fingers through the ends. â€śLike fire.â€ť She pressed herself further back and he smiled. â€śCome, my uncleâ€™s pack is near, itâ€™s warm there. Please come until the storm blows through.â€ť His hand was still out and she looked at it, at his sharp nails and swallowed again. She had been warned that wolves were dangerous, but if she didnâ€™t go with him, she would freeze.
Another particularly strong gust hit her and she didnâ€™t think for another moment. She was less likely to die if she accepted this wolfâ€™s help so she hesitantly took his hand, hoping he was genuine and that sheâ€™d see her mother again once the storm had passed. She hadnâ€™t expected him to pull her into his arms but next thing she knew she was being cradled as he hurried through the snow. She hadnâ€™t been held since she was a toddler so it felt awkward but she admitted to herself it was nice to have at least the part of her pressed against him safe from the snowfall.
Eira nestled in closer to Alarickâ€™s chest. She could feel his heat beating against her face,and she was grateful for the warmth from the bitter cold and the snow.
Lost in her thoughts Eira drifted off to sleep in Alarickâ€™s arms,suddenly she was awoke when Alarick stopped just outside a cluster of evergreen trees that were covered in white snow that was swirling in the chilled air around them. â€śLittle fire,we are here. There is no need to fear my pack I am your protector and you are safe hereâ€ť Alarick smiled as he gently placed her down on the snow covered ground.
Eira was a little embarrassed she had slept during the journey here but she planned to stay alert now. Until she got to safety it would now be an entire pack she was dealing with. She wanted to trust this wolf but a lifetime of stories from loved ones told her she couldnâ€™t so despite his words sheâ€™d stay vigilant and ready to protect herself to the best of her abilities. It was wild to her how kind his eyes were and how much she actually liked his voice. It took her a second to realize he had asked her something â€śhm?â€ť there it was, that smile again â€śmay I know your name now, you know mineâ€ť
â€śwell, Iâ€™m very happy the world directed me to you Eira, come onâ€ť He said then began walking.
Will your uncle be alright with me intruding?â€ť She asked nervously.
â€śI donâ€™t see why not.â€ť
â€śI see, thatâ€™s good I suppose.â€ť
She clung tightly to him, giving a little yelp when a few people came running up. They looked to be teenagers or younger, all curious as to who Alarick had brought home. â€śEasy guys.â€ť He said as he gave a little growl, surprising Eira. â€śSheâ€™s scared canâ€™t you tell?â€ť
A loud whistle caught everyoneâ€™s attention and they all turned as Alarickâ€™s uncle came walking up. â€śGo back to what you were doing, no need to crowd everyone.â€ť His voice rumbled out of his chest and Eira was surprised by how big the man was, that this imposing figure was her saviourâ€™s uncle, especially since Alarick was so lean in comparison.
Though he was still an intimidating being he did soften a little as he welcomed her â€śI am the pack leader, Xanlis. I am also this ones Uncle if he hasnâ€™t mentioned it. I see he has brought you here so you are welcome. Thereâ€™s really no need to be so afraid though I gather youâ€™ve probably been raised with nasty stories of us so I take no offenseâ€ť He seemed so cordial, it was incredibly shocking. â€śUmâ€¦thank youâ€ť she felt all the ums made her sound stupid but she felt even her brain was frozen over and how these wolves appeared was still a shock. â€śshe was about to freeze to death when I found herâ€ť Alarick chimed in â€śthen we should get her warmâ€ť Xanlis said and Alarick took her hand to guide her along. She blushed, first he had held her and now he was just taking her hand as if everyone did that with strangers.
Alarick led Eira down a small hallway to a small room at the end of it. Eira glanced around the room and saw a wooden 4 poster bedmate up with a luxurious warm looking quilt. â€śThis will be your room for your stay,mine is just next door to the left if you require anything.â€ť Alarick gently said walking over to a old looking chest of drawers. She watched him as he pulled out some soft fleece pyjamas and a knitted sweater. â€śThese belonged to my aunt,you look to be about her sizeâ€ť Eira looked at the clothes the wolf had handed her. â€śUm thank you,I hate to bother but where is your aunt? I didnâ€™t see her?â€ť
â€śShe died giving birth to my cousin.â€ť
â€śOh, sorry, that must have been hard for your uncle.â€ť
â€śA wolf losing its mate is one of the most devastating things that can happen to them, but he lived for my cousin and his pack.â€ť
â€śIâ€™m sorry, I shouldnâ€™t have asked.â€ť
Alarick smiled. â€śItâ€™s alright, he wouldnâ€™t mind. Itâ€™s been twenty years so sheâ€™s easier for him to talk about. Now, please change, your clothes look wet from the snow.â€ť
â€śOh, yes, thank you.â€ť
â€śIâ€™ll wait just outside the door.â€ť She nodded and Alarick gave her her privacy. He stood dutifully outside the bedroom door, enjoying what was left of scent on him.
â€śHow is our guest?â€ť Xanlisâ€™s voice startled him and he straightened.
â€śGood I suppose, changing. I let her borrow Chezaâ€™s clothes, I hope that was alright.â€ť
His patted him on the shoulder. Alarick still marveled at how big his uncle really was, almost more bear than wolf. His father was tall too, but he had inherited his motherâ€™s more lean build. â€śOf course. Let her know thereâ€™s warm food ready and waiting for her if sheâ€™s hungry. I just wanted to check that none of the others had sneaked in and were bothering her. The pups are curious.â€ť
â€śI wont let them overwhelm herâ€ť
â€śis sheâ€¦special?â€ť Xanlis asked and Alarick knew what the question meant instantly, it was in the way Xanlis asked it. Alarick nodded and Xanlis seemed pleased but said in a whisper â€śgood luck then.â€ť his Uncle could tell as well as he could wooing her wouldnâ€™t come easy. A human would be able to see plain as day how afraid she was of them. Eira didnâ€™t want to be rude so changed as fast as her aching body would allow. Her muscles were stiff from the snow but just removing her wet clothing seemed to help her feel better. Alarick had been right about the clothes, they fit her pretty nicely. She just hoped seeing them truly wouldnâ€™t bring any pain to Xanlis.
Eira heard a knock at the door sighing from her thoughts she opened it. â€śThere is dinner ready downstairs,I will accompany you when you are readyâ€ť Alarick smiled kindly at her and Eria smiled in return. She felt butterflies but she couldnâ€™t tell if it was from hunger,fear or the strange attraction she felt for this wolf man.
Eira was happy to be warm and she had to admit that the food the wolves had made for her was delicious. â€śDoes it taste alright?â€ť Alarick asked.
â€śYes, thank you.â€ť
He suddenly turned and looked over his shoulder, letting out a little growl that startled Eira. Alarick heard her heart thumping in her chest and he turned back to her, an apologetic look on his face. â€śSorry, the pups want to see you, but I donâ€™t want you crowded.â€ť
â€śPups?â€ť She looked over her shoulder and she could see a bunch of little heads peeking over the window sill from outside. â€śOh, they can come in, if they want.â€ť
â€śEat first then if youâ€™re sure, they can meet you. I donâ€™t want you frightened any more than you already are.â€ť
She looked again and even had to admit to herself they were kind of cute. Eira finished eating then assured Alarick it was okay if they wanted to meet her so he let them come in, giving them a warning look that he knew they would understand. They all said hi at practically the same time, causing Eira to smile which surprised even her. She supposed children, no matter the species were hard to fear. All children started innocent, it was the world that corrupted them slowly over time. â€śHeyâ€ť
â€śdo you feel better?â€ť
â€śyour nameâ€™s Eira?â€ť Two had questions at the same time and Alarick spoke â€śOne question at a time.â€ť he tried to keep the annoyance out of his voice for Eira but he wished theyâ€™d calm down before she went running off. â€śI do feel much better and yes it isâ€ť
â€śare you going to stay?â€ť
â€śUntil the storm calms enough itâ€™s safe to go homeâ€ť
Eira smiled watching Alarick try and control the pups as a couple of them climbed up on her lap,almost knocking the dinner plate over. Sensing Eriaâ€™s warm reaction to the pups he said â€śOkay! I think our guest has had enough excitement,perhaps before she departs tomorrow you can come see her off.â€ť This was followed by a round of â€ścan we stay?â€ť And â€śaweâ€ť replies from the pups.
The pups in Eiraâ€™s lap threw their arms around her and scurried down to the join the group with shouts of good byes and waves along with smiling faces as the pups filed out of the room.
â€śThey can be quite rambunctious.â€ť
â€śI can see that, theyâ€™re really sweet.â€ť She had actually described wolves as sweet, but they really were, even Alarick.
â€śI take it you werenâ€™t expecting that?â€ť
She blushed as she shook her head. â€śNo, Iâ€™m sorry. Itâ€™s justâ€¦â€ť
â€śPlease donâ€™t apologize, youâ€™ve been raised hating my fatherâ€™s kind.â€ť
â€śYour fatherâ€™s kind?â€ť
He gave her a gentle smile. â€śI am only half werewolf, my mother is a vampire.â€ť
Eira swallowed, her hand coming protectively to her throat. â€śOh.â€ť
â€śIâ€™m not going to hurt you, Eira, I should have said something before, but you were already terrified of me. I wonâ€™t be angry if you start avoiding me.â€ť He hated the thought, his wolf even whined at the idea, but he wouldnâ€™t force his presence on her.
Eira dropped her hand, knowing she was acting foolish. He hadnâ€™t given her any reason to be afraid. â€śIâ€™m okay, itâ€™s just surprising.â€ť
â€śI promise, youâ€™re safe with me.â€ť
She was actually starting to believe that â€śsoâ€¦you really think this snow storm will be over by tomorrow?â€ť
â€śwe can hope, I donâ€™t want you worried about you family or to keep you from whatever it is you do with your lifeâ€ť it sounded as if he wanted to know more about her so she said â€śwell, I donâ€™t do anything important really besides helping out my mother. I am working on this pretty amazing knitting project though. Iâ€™m excited to finish itâ€ť Another smile flashed across his face, warm and kind as he sits back down next to her â€śyou knit, if this storm keeps up I know two women here who knit. Maybe they can let you borrow some things to keep you entertained. Iâ€™d enjoy hearing about what youâ€™re making at home if youâ€™d like to tell meâ€ť
â€śI would love that!â€ť Eira was starting to feel more at home and began talking at a rapid pace. â€śAt home I have made some socks,sweaters and mittens for friends and their children. In fact the mittens I was wearing I made those as well. My mother and I were going to work on a blanket for my uncles birthday which is coming up. I could knit something for you Alarick if you would like?â€ť
â€śYou donâ€™t have to do that, I donâ€™t need payment or anything.â€ť
â€śNot as payment, because I want to. Itâ€™s so cold, you might need a scarf or something.â€ť
Alarickâ€™s heart stuttered and his wolf let out a little whine, a sound he managed to keep from rising in his throat. â€śThatâ€™s very kind of you, thank you, Eira.â€ť
Eira actually smiled at how sincere he sounded. She hadnâ€™t expected it from a creature such as him. â€śDo you have any specific colors you like?â€ť
He let his eyes move over and found himself reaching out, his fingers brushing through the ends of her hair. “Perhaps red or maybe a dark orange? Like your hair.”She felt her cheeks heat and he looked surprised at himself as he pulled away. â€śSorry, I shouldnâ€™t just touch you.â€ť
â€śItâ€¦itâ€™s fine, you just surprised me is all.â€ť
â€śStill, youâ€™ve been through quite a bit today, the cold, being saved by me, and now youâ€™re sitting in the middle of a wolf pack.â€ť
â€śYou said I was safe though and Iâ€¦I trust you, soâ€¦â€ť
â€śYou do?â€ť He perked up, his wolf barking at him to get closer to her.
â€śYou saved me, you could have done worse, but you didnâ€™t. Iâ€™ll try not to be so nervous.â€ť
“Iâ€™m sure once youâ€™ve had some rest in a proper bed youâ€™ll feel more at ease. Itâ€™s late enough, why donâ€™t I show you back to your room so you can rest. The blankets in there are incredibly warm but if you arenâ€™t comfortable feel free to tell me. I can get you more blankets or anything else you might need. â€śThat does sound nice, I know sleep will find me easy. I fell asleep embarrassingly fast in your armsâ€ť He smiled warmly and soon they were back at her room â€śPlease tell me if you need something. Anybody here would be willing to help you themselves or come get me if Iâ€™m not nearâ€ť
â€śThank you so muchâ€ť He didnâ€™t want to leave when she shut the door but if she opened it later he knew how creepy it would be for him to be there so he decided to go talk to his Uncle. He couldnâ€™t sleep, not when he had just met his mate and his Uncle would probably have good advice on how to handle things with her. He didnâ€™t want to mess this up and end up spending his life without the woman his wolf told him he would be most happy with.
Alarick walked down the hallway and stopped to knock on the door to his uncles office. He knew he shouldnâ€™t disturb his uncle this late at night but he really didnâ€™t want to lose this chance with Eira.
â€śCome in Alarickâ€ť his uncle hollered in a grumbly voice and Alarick turned the knob and opened the door to see his uncle sitting at his desk with a stack of papers in front of him. â€śUncle I am sorry to bother you at this time of the night but I am looking on some adviceâ€ť Alarick sat down in the chair opposite his uncle. â€śI think I found my mate in the girl that I brought back here with me tonight,I was hoping you would be able to help me convince her to stay or at the very least give me permission to go on her journey with her?â€ť
Alarick, youâ€™re an adult, you donâ€™t have to ask for my permission.â€ť He chuckled. â€śYouâ€™re so much like your father.â€ť He smiled, letting out a little sigh. â€śAll I ask is that you stay safe. You know how humans can be when it comes to not only our kind, but your motherâ€™s kind as well.â€ť
â€śI will, I just want to get her home. If I let her go alone, she might get lost again.â€ť
â€śAnd you donâ€™t want to lose your chance.â€ť
Alarick could tell his uncle was thinking about his wife. â€śYeah, I know Iâ€™d regret it.â€ť
â€śJust promise youâ€™ll come back when you have the time.â€ť
â€śIt also might be awhile before you can leave. It sounds like the snow storm is growing worse rather than settling. Itâ€™s good you found her when you did.â€ť
â€śweâ€™re a lucky race, the world seems to like to guide us to our matesâ€ť
â€śhow is she right now?â€ť
â€śshe isnâ€™t as afraid as when I brought her inâ€ť
â€śwell, Iâ€™m going to try and rest while she is.â€ť
â€śgoodnight Alarickâ€ť Alarick left his Uncles office, walking down the halls until he found his room.
Alarick sat on his bed with his mind racing. He was having all these thoughts about Eira. â€śCould she really be my mate?â€ť He wondered to himself,scrunching the silky edge of duvet cover up into a ball in his hand. â€śHow could a human accept a werewolf as her mate? How could I make her love me?â€ť Alarick spoke to himself as he heard a soft knock on his door.
He knew who it was â€ścome inâ€ť he said and watched the door open. Eira stepped inside the room. â€śI hope I didnâ€™t wake you I just couldnâ€™t sleep.â€ť She looked at him and he smiled in reply â€śno I wasnâ€™t asleep I just got back from speaking with my uncle. The storm doesnâ€™t appear to be shifting the way we hoped for so you might be here a while longer then plannedâ€ť
â€śOh, thatâ€™s alright.â€ť She stood there, clutching the blanket wrapped around her.
He patted his bed. â€śWould you like to sit?â€ť
â€śYes, thank you.â€ť She walked over and dropped down next to him, his wolf giving a little whine as her scent washed over him.
â€śWould you like something to drink, like tea or water?â€ť
â€śIâ€™m fine, really.â€ť She fidgeted a little.
â€śWould you like to stay in here? Nothing weird of course, maybe I could tell you a story.â€ť
â€śDo you have any about your parents?â€ť
â€śI have plenty about them.â€ť He stood up and pulled his covers back. â€śWhy donâ€™t you lay down and Iâ€™ll start.â€ť
â€śBut where will you sleep?â€ť
â€śThe floor or maybe at your feet. Shifting is one of my gifts.â€ť
â€śyouâ€™d be comfortable sleeping as a wolf?â€ť
â€śthenâ€¦if you shift you can stay in the bed after I fall asleepâ€¦Iâ€™d hate to make you sleep on the floorâ€ť He gave her another soft smile, trying to push down his wolfs excitement theyâ€™d be sharing the room together. â€śWhy donâ€™t you lay down and get comfortable. Iâ€™ll just talk about different moments in my parents lives worth telling until youâ€™re sleepingâ€ť
â€śYouâ€™re no trouble at all Eiraâ€ť Her heart stuttered. There was just something about the way he was talking to her. She laid down and he waited for her to finish adjusting the blanket before he settled beside her, leaning against the headboard. He started with how they met and how his father won his mother over. When he finished that story she still hadnâ€™t fallen asleep but he could tell she was close by how softly she asked â€śso wolves really just know when they find who they are meant to be withâ€ť
â€śI had heard that but I didnâ€™t know it was true until nowâ€ť He was tempted to stroke her hair again but refrained â€śits probably one of the only true things youâ€™ve been told about usâ€ť She fell asleep and he couldnâ€™t help but give her a gentle kiss on the head â€śGoodnight Eiraâ€ť Alarick stood up then took his clothes off before shifting and getting back into bed with her. Her steady breathing and the warmth of her trusting him enough to sleep in here lulled Alarick to sleep quickly and they both rested without interruption until morning.
Alarickâ€™s fur tickling Eiraâ€™s nose woke her the next morning and she let out a little sigh as she wrapped her arms around him and scooted closer. Alarick lay as still as possible, not wanting to embarrass her. â€śAlarick, are you awake?â€ť She asked softly and he moved his head a little to indicate he was. â€śIt doesnâ€™t sound like itâ€™s storming anymore.â€ť He let a little whine slip out. He didnâ€™t want her to go, not when he had just found her. â€śWhatâ€™s wrong?â€ť She asked as she stroked his fur.
He shifted back, hoping she wouldnâ€™t be offended and wrapped his arms around her, feeling her body heat. â€śIâ€™ve just enjoyed my time with you and now youâ€™ll have to leave.â€ť
Eiraâ€™s heart was beating hard in her chest and she was relieved they were pressed so close together. â€śBut youâ€™ll be coming with me and I have nod idea how far I wandered off the path.â€ť
He buried his nose in her hair, soaking up her scent. â€śI know, but then I wonâ€™t be able to see you anymore. Your family, your people, they wonâ€™t like me, theyâ€™ll be scared of me and itâ€™ll be hard for you.â€ť
He wanted to tell her, but didnâ€™t want to scare her. Then again, what if he never saw her again? â€śEira, do youâ€¦do you think maybe you could stay a little longer? I mean the storm might have stopped for now, but it could blow in again. I think it would be safe to wait another day.â€ť He wanted to say please, but he already knew he sounded like he was begging.
â€śI probably should. I really donâ€™t want to be caught in something like that again, especially since Iâ€™m not sure how to get homeâ€ť she nervously fidgeted a bit before saying â€śit was really comforting sleeping with you in here last night. Thank youâ€¦and no matter what my village says youâ€™ll be a part of my life. You saved me and youâ€™ve been so kind since I came here. I wont turn my back on youâ€¦what kind of monster would that make me Alarickâ€ť it was a relief to hear, especially since he could tell she meant those words â€śwell, lets see about breakfast and getting you another change of clothesâ€ť
Alarick quickly dressed and guided her back to where she could change into new clothes â€śIâ€™ll meet you in the kitchen alrightâ€ť
â€śGood morning.â€ť Xanlis said when Alarick entered the kitchen, startling him. The older man chuckled. â€śWell, you must be incredibly distracted if you didnâ€™t smell or hear me.â€ť He was already cooking breakfast.
â€śI am.â€ť He let out a sigh. â€śI donâ€™t know how to tell her.â€ť
â€śYou just tell her.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s not that easy.â€ť He swallowed. â€śUm, how did you tell my aunt?â€ť
â€śI think we both realized it the moment we saw each other. I approached her immediately and told her, youâ€™re my mate. She just smiled and laughed and told me if I wanted her then I would have to catch her.â€ť
â€śWhat if she had said no?â€ť
â€śThen I would have worked even harder to make her see me, to show her how much I needed her.â€ť
â€śSo just be honest then?â€ť
â€śItâ€™s better to be honest than to regret never saying anything at all. There are so many things I wanted to tell your aunt before she died, but I didnâ€™t. So tell her, even if it hurts.â€ť
â€śwell, Iâ€™ve convinced her to stay another day so I have a little time. I know I need to find my nerve before I walk her home. If I try to wait until then I might lose my chanceâ€ť
â€śeven if she says she wont be with you at first in time you can win her over Alarick.â€ť
â€śwell we should stop talking about it for now. I told her to meet me in the kitchen once she is changedâ€¦do you want something for breakfast too?â€ť
â€śI already ate with a few of the othersâ€ť Xanlis walked away, giving Alarick space to think. He was startled again out of his thoughts when Eira finally came into the kitchen â€ścan I help?â€ť she asked and he said â€śitâ€™s okayâ€ť They hung around inside until after they had lunch â€śWould you like to walk around some more to take in where I live? I mean, I know weâ€™re going to stay friends but Iâ€™m sure you wont be back this way for awhileâ€ť
â€śsureâ€ť He began guiding her around, trying not to stare at her too much. His wolf was worried and wanted him to take her in as much as possible incase the villagers re intstilled her old fear and she decided not to talk to him again. His wolf was nudging him hard when they went outside, she looked so beautiful with the snow as a back drop. The words started coming out unbidden â€śEiraâ€ť as she turned to look at him he continued â€śI love youâ€ť
He could tell she was surprised, just the look on her face â€śwhat?â€ť
â€śIâ€™m sorryâ€¦itâ€™s justâ€¦I donâ€™t know I didnâ€™t even mean to say that out loud but I doâ€ť
â€śYou,Iâ€™m your mate?â€ť He nodded and it was hard to tell what she was feeling, she was feeling so much. â€śHave you known the entire time?â€ť
â€śYeah but you were so scaredâ€ť she looked him over and he patiently waited for her to say something. â€śYou are really sweet Alarick. I mean, if Iâ€™m really your mateâ€¦umâ€¦we could go on dates if you wantâ€ť His heart trembled â€śyouâ€™d really be willing to try?â€ť
â€śYouâ€™re probably the nicest man Iâ€™ve ever met. Iâ€¦I like you more than any of the boys in my villageâ€ť
â€śCould I kiss you?â€ť she blushed â€śyeahâ€ť he moved in slowly, gently pressing his lips against hers and that was when they realized some of the other wolves were looking at them. Eira pushed her face into his chest with embarrassment and he chuckled, lifting her up to take her inside. He knew he still had to take her home but as he walked her inside he couldnâ€™t be happier.
~ The End