Brian and Bella dropped us off and immediately left. Which was fine with us since we were busy. Sam was waiting for us when we arrived and told us everyone had been given nullifying scales. He offered one to Sion who shook his head turning it down. He said he didn’t need one any longer. I didn’t need one either but Demetri and Odell each took theirs.
“I am heading back now. Everything is under control here.” Sam said as a group of men started moving out. He must have mind linked them.
“Thank you for your help.” Sion said, nodding his head respectfully.
“So, you will be coming back shortly to see your mother?” I heard a voice from the side and turned my head to see Adam talking to Gia. He looked a bit sad and reluctant to leave her.
“Yes, my place is by Conner’s side. After things are settled here the two of us will make a trip to the Diamond pack.” Gia said as Conner walked up to her side.
“You and your mate will always be welcome. Anytime you want to visit.” Conner said, reaching his hand out to shake Adam’s. I watched as Adam then pulled his daughter into a full embrace. His eyes closed tight as he squeezed her gently.
“If you ever need anything your mother and I will be there for you.”
I watched as Adam and Sam walked away together. Sam patted Adam’s shoulder and seemed to be giving him the extra nudge he needed. We watched them until they shifted and then disappeared into the woods.
“How is Kai?” Logan asked as he ran up to us. I could see the concern in his eyes.
“Kai is good. There are some changes… he will be returning to our pack but won’t be staying there. He will eventually be moving to the Diamond pack with his new mate.” Sion said and then smiled.
“Mate?! He has a mate?!” Conner asked and I nodded my head.
“The kelpie who saved him was his mate.” I said and listened as Logan began to chuckle.
“He is going to have his hands full with that one.” Logan laughed and then turned his head. “The packs are waiting… and I think Joey is just waiting to talk to you before they leave.” His eyes met with mine and I nodded my head.
I looked in the distance and could see Joey organizing the Sulfur pack. It looks like they have accepted him as the new leader. “I’ll just be a minute.” I turned and started to take a step when Sion’s hand locked onto my arm.
“We will just be a minute.” He said with a faint smile. His eyes looked at me nervously and I could see he was concerned about me. I was okay… or at least I thought I was. That all changed as we walked closer to the Sulfur pack. On a cart were bodies of the fallen and on a separate cart were two others covered by a sheet.
My vision blurred as silent tears cascaded down my face, a physical representation of the anguish and sorrow coursing through my body. My nose burned with each ragged breath that I took, desperate for air. The sight of the covered bodies was too much to bear, and agony sliced through me like a sharpened blade. Gone were Denny and Jude’s hearty laughs and light-hearted jokes, leaving behind nothing but an aching void in their wake. Even though their souls had returned to the life pool, part of me would always feel their loss. There was an emptiness left inside of me that could never be filled.
I felt Sion’s arm wrap around me as my body trembled. It was all still too fresh. I had pushed it back in the depths of my mind. While I was busy fighting, I could ignore this pain… but it was there.
“Clover.” I heard Joey’s gentle voice, and I lifted my gaze up to him. He looked tired but there was also a new aura around him. He was trying to be the strong leader he needed to be now. Yet, I could see the anguish in his eyes. The pain from losing his closest friends and his Alpha. At least he had his mate, Stacey. She would remain close to his side and be his biggest comfort.
I stepped out of Sion’s embrace and stepped into Joey’s. His hand came around my head and my back, pulling me into his chest. He leaned his head down to mine and he let out a shaky breath.
“I don’t know where to start. I don’t know how I will live in the pack house. It will be so empty. I-I-I can’t believe they left without me—”” His voice broke and I felt his wet liquid run down my cheek mixing with my own. I felt his hands shaking as he tried to swallow back his choking sobs. “I’m going to make him proud. I’m going to lead the pack right… but right now…”
“Right now, you need to mourn.” Sion’s voice said, making us look back at him. His sad hazel eyes were looking at me and then back to Joey. “The whole pack needs to mourn. Declare a time of mourning and take a week to have a proper memorial for your fallen pack members. You are not alone, Joey. We will help you rebuild – we’ll help you find new officers and restore your pack’s strength.” Sion’s words dripped with empathy and sincerity, as he continued to address Joey directly. His eyes would flicker at me but then go back to Joey.
“You might find it helpful to remodel the pack house. Have a crew change the upper level where you all stayed so that you don’t continue to live with the ghosts of the past. Denny and Jude are moving on. They will have a new life… and you should too. Keep their memory close and remember their sacrifice but don’t live with their shadows.”
Joey nodded his head, taking in everything Sion had said. His grip on me loosened as he wiped away the tears from his eyes, regaining his composure.
“You’re right. We need to move forward and honor their memory.” Joey said, his voice still hoarse but determined. “Thank you, Sion. It means a lot.” He would need to stay strong for his remaining pack members and lead them through this difficult time. And we would all be there to support him.
Stacey stepped forward and wrapped her arms around Joey to offer him her support. I felt Sion’s hand land on my shoulder, pulling me back into his chest.
“Are you okay?” He murmured into my hair.
I took a deep breath and slowly nodded my head. “I am… or I will be. It’s just… hard… it’s raw.”
“I know.” He cooed gently, “I’m here…and I’m going to help you.” I looked up at Sion, grateful for his unwavering presence and support.
“I’m here too. We can help each other…” Joey said and I nodded my head. I am sure there will be times he will need to talk with someone who understands his pain.
“What happened with Taylor?” Sion asked and my eyes darted around. I didn’t see her anywhere.
“Andrea stepped down as the Luna and as her last duty she killed Taylor. Her judgment was death, and it was fitting that she got to deliver it. Andrea has chosen to leave the Sulfur pack. She has already left. She is returning to the city to live with distant family. Her mother was also a traitor and Andrea needs… time. I don’t think she will ever return to pack life.” Joey sighed and then looked over the Sulfur pack. “We have a long journey ahead of us, but I couldn’t leave without seeing you.” His eyes met with mine. “We’re going to be okay, huh?” He said, giving me a weak smile. I nodded my head wiping the tears from my eyes.
“Of course, we are. Denny and Jude would kick our butts if they saw us falling apart over them.” I said with a weak laugh.
“That they would.” Joey’s eyes softened as he looked at me.
“Come and visit soon. Oh, I forgot to tell you, I’m pregnant!” I said and watched a genuine smile reach his eyes and lips.
“Now that is some wonderful news. You are going to be a great momma, Clover.” I felt my eyes start to burn as I fought off the tears from falling again. He just had to say the one thing that would get me choked up.
“Thank you, Joey.”
Joey backed away from us, wiping the tears from his eyes. “Well… I need to go. I have a lot of work to do. Thank you both.”
“We will be seeing you soon. And remember, let us know what you need. We are here to help. That isn’t an empty promise.” Sion said and Joey gave him an appreciative smile.
I watched as he turned, taking Stacey’s hand in his. As he walked back towards the pack his posture straightened as he took on the role of a leader. Denny had made the right choice. Joey was going to be a great leader for the Sulfur pack. I watched them as the Sulfur pack moved out and continued to, until they disappeared from my view. I felt Sion’s arms tighten around me, pulling me in closer to his warm embrace. His lips brushed against my forehead, and I closed my eyes, relishing in the comfort that his touch brought me.
“I’m going to miss them. It’s going to be hard on Joey, but he will do it. Won’t he?” I asked, leaning my head back to look at Sion.
“One day at a time, Clover. We will honor their memory by living fully. Joey will be just fine… and so will you.”
I nodded and exhaled quietly. Joey had Stacey to lean on just like I had Sion. He was my biggest comfort and strength. I leaned into his embrace and whispered, “I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
“You’ll never have to find out,” he replied, his hand rubbing soothing circles on my back. “I’ll always be here for you.”
I smiled and nodded my head before looking up at his hazel eyes. “Time to go be leaders.”
I felt Sion’s lips brush against my forehead before he pulled me into his side. “Let’s go unite our packs.” His voice was tender and soft as his hand gripped against my side.
We walked back towards the Chance pack house. Conner and Logan had gathered the two packs there where they were waiting for us. The warm sunlight filtered through the trees, casting dappled shadows on the ground. The forest was quiet, as if it was also mourning the loss of those who had fallen.
We stepped inside of the pack gates and listened as the packs quieted down at the sight of us. Demetri, Odell, Conner and Logan were all standing up on an elevated podium. Sion was leading us in the direction of it, where we would address our packs. I could see that the mood had shifted. There was sadness and grief, but there was also determination and excitement. The packs seemed to be excited about what was going to happen.
I felt a bit nervous as Sion led us up the stairs and to the center of the podium. Sion was a natural leader, and he had a commanding presence that naturally drew people to him.
“It’s good to be back.” Sion said with a warm smile as he looked over the masses. “I want to first calm the Chance pack members. I will not hold what happened against any of you so please do not worry about that.” I heard relieved sighs in the crowd. I didn’t even think about them feeling anxious about what had happened.
“We want to address both packs now,” Sion continued, pulling me close to his side. “Both the Nova pack and the Chance pack are to merge together. And what better way to unite the packs than by a new life.” There was a quiet excited murmur among the crowds as Sion beamed happily. “That is right, we are expecting a pup… my little Alpha has already made it through his first war. We have a bright future. We will merge our packs as one and make it a home. We will build a brighter future for our children while never forgetting the past and those we have lost.” Sion smiled at me and then continued. “There are two heads in our pack. The Alpha and the Luna are equals. Neither one has authority higher than the other. This is the way it is meant to be and how we will continue to lead going forward.” He turned and looked at me. I could see in his eyes he was wanting me to say something now. I knew just the thing, I quickly checked with him through our mind link to make sure we both agreed. I watched as his lips twitched upwards and he nodded his head. Perfect.
“Of course, with two packs joining it would be unfair to keep either name of the packs. We are not just the Chance pack, and we are not just the Nova pack. We are a new pack and need a new name. We have been given new life and with it a new fitting name. We will now be known as the Ankh pack.” A shocking eruption of cheers came from the pack, and I couldn’t help but smile at the sight of everyone. A unified reaction for their new name. “We have a lot of work to do, but we will do it together. We are not just a pack; we are a family. And family always sticks together, through the good times and the bad.” The crowd erupted into cheers again, and I felt a sense of relief wash over me. This was it. This was what we had been fighting for. A new beginning for all of us.
The crowd roared, their voices clashing together in a deafening harmony. Sion and I were caught in the moment, our hearts pounding against each other as we embraced in solidarity. It was a new beginning for us all, a chance to start anew with a stronger bond than ever before. As I held onto him, I felt both an immense gratitude and love for my mate; he had been my rock, my confidant and my equal all along. His embrace encapsulated me – it was the symbol of our undying affection, a testament to the family we’d created together.
His warm hazel eyes were fixated on mine as he pulled my waist flush against him. His eyes wandered over my face as his lips twitched up in a smile. I looked into his eyes and knew that from this moment forward, we’d be together as one—my family, my partner, my mate. His head moved to mine and our lips met in a passionate embrace.
As we kissed, I felt a sense of completion. It was as if all the pieces of my life had finally fallen into place, and I was exactly where I was meant to be. I wrapped my arms around Sion’s neck, deepening the kiss, lost in the moment of pure bliss. Our tongues danced together as we explored the depths of each other’s mouths, our bodies pressed together as if we were one.
The sound of cheering and howling from our packs slowly filtered into our awareness, breaking us out of our trance. We pulled apart, grinning at each other, as we looked out at the crowd. Our packs were now one, united under the name of the Ankh pack.
As the cheering subsided, Sion cleared his throat, his eyes twinkling with mirth. “Now that we’ve made our little announcement, let’s celebrate!” he shouted to the crowd, eliciting cheers and whistles. He then lifted me up and slowly placed me back on my feet. I giggled as he stared down at me with a smirk growing on his face.
“We have a lot of planning to do, my Luna,” he said, his voice husky with desire. “But first, we have a party to attend. And I plan on celebrating our victory in the best way possible.”
I nodded, my heart fluttering as we walked down to greet our pack. The celebration was wild and boisterous, with food, drink, and music filling the air. We laughed and danced, free of any worries, everything forgotten for the moment. It was as if we were all children again, living in the moment and enjoying each other’s company.
As the night wore on, Sion scooped me in his arms and carried me to the pack house. “It’s time to celebrate our victory in my favorite way,” he whispered in a husky voice. I could feel his excitement and anticipation for what was to come.
As we entered our bedroom, Sion placed me down on the bed, his hands gripping my waist tightly. “I don’t think I’ve ever been happier than I am right now,” he said, his voice laced with emotion. “We’ve gone through so much, Clover, and now we have everything we could ever want.”
I smiled up at him, my fingers running through the hair at the nape of his neck. “I love you, Sion,” I whispered, before capturing his lips with mine once again.
The room was filled with passion and heat as we explored each other’s bodies. Sion’s touch was electric, igniting a fire within me that only he could create. Our bodies moved together in a dance of pure pleasure, our moans filling the air as we lost ourselves in each other.
As we lay there, our bodies entwined, I couldn’t help but think about the future. The Ankh pack was our home now, and we had a responsibility to lead them towards a brighter future. But for now, all I wanted was to be lost in the moment, with Sion by my side.
“I love you, Clover.”
“I love you, too.”
He began to move against me again, making up for the time we lost. The sound of our pack’s celebration echoed softly in the background, masking the sound of our passionate moans. The future was uncertain, but one thing was for sure – we would face it together, as a pack, as a family, and as mates. I was exactly where I was meant to be… in the arms of my mate.
Finally… I was home.