Chapter 5: Bloodhound Canyon

With Titus on border patrol and Peter with his mother-in-law picking berries, I was left alone and thoroughly bored. I swung my leg through the water and watched my reflection ripple along the surface. There was nothing to do. Drawing didn't sounded appealing. I could only clean our room so much, before it became a little too obsessive. I could call my mother. Ask her to send me some good books, but calling led to awkward conversation about married life.

With a sigh, I leaned back on my arms. Being a werewolf wasn't as exciting as I thought. If they had a good internet connection up here, I'd settle for spending the day on YouTube.

Voices came from one of the side tunnels. I watched the entrance. The noises stopped, and I couldn't see who was there. A hurt cry sounded through the cave.

I jumped to my feet and jogged over. Making a wide turn, I peered into the tunnel to find two middle ranks standing over the golden wolf. He had his arm up, blocking his face.

"Hey," I snapped. "What the hell are you doing?"

The two bigger werewolves turned to me. The taller one snarled, but the smaller slapped his side and shook his head.

"That's Titus's mate."

With gritted teeth, the taller male kicked the cowering werewolf's leg. "Mind yourself omega. Next time, no one's going to save you."

The two left, muttering back and forth.

I knelt at golden werewolf's feet. "Are you alright?"

River nodded and sat up. The poor boy was shaking.

"Can I get you anything?"

"No," he said quietly. "I'm fine. Thank you." He wiped his muzzle.

I reached out to grab his face. He flinched and closed his eyes when I turned his chin to see the cut on his cheek.

"Did they do that?"

River clasped a hand over the mark. "It's healing. I fell..." He bowed his head.

"Come on." I grabbed his hand.

"No, no." he pulled back. "I can't."

I didn't let go. "You're bleeding."

"It'll heal," he pled. "Please, I'm fine."

I narrowed my eyes at him. "I'm not going to hurt you. I'm not like them. Hell, my rank is lower than yours."

"No, it's not," he said under his breath. "Please."

"Okay." I let go of his wrist. "You know I won't hurt you, right?"

He nodded. "Thanks for your help, but I have to go." River shifted to all fours and darted down the corridor.

I just watched him go. So this is what it meant to be an omega. He was practically scared of his own shadow, but I guess if I was the lower man on the ranking scale in a pack of werewolves, I would be too.

***

Titus returned from taking a shower and started to dry his hair.

I turned around in my chair, where I was sitting at the desk. "How was broader portal?"

"Boring," he sighed. "Nothing happened. We just walked around for hours. Not one single rogue to chase off."

"That's a good thing, right?" I replied sharply. "From what I hear about rogues, they don't sound like the friendliest of werewolves."

"Still," Titus shrugged with a smirk. "It makes border portal more exciting."

"Hmmm..." I tapped my pencil on my sketchbook.

"What about you?" He sat down on the edge of the bed and scrubbed the towel through his hair.

"Relaxed and drew a little." I glanced down at my sketches I had done early of two pups playing outside.

"Sounds like a carefree day."

"Yeah it was. Um, Titus?"

"Hmmm..." He tossed the towel over to the dirty clothes pile.

I rested my chin on the back of the chair. "Today I stopped two middle ranks from hurting an omega."

His eyes slowly moved toward me.

"They hurt him. I tried to help him clean it, but he won't let me. He ran away actually." I laid my head to the side and looked at the picture on the wall. "Do you threaten everyone to stay away from me or something?"

"Aden," he breathed, running his hand down his face. "This is just how ranking works."

"I'm a sub, though. The omega was bigger than me. It's not like I could have hurt him."

"Hurting you is the same as an attack on me."

"Oh," I sucked in my lips. "It makes sense then why he was scared to death. The middle ranks didn't put up much of a fight either when I told them to leave."

Titus held out his hand and waved me over. I went to his side.

My mate put his arm around my shoulder and squeezed me against him. "You have more power in this pack than you think."

"I guess."

"Please don't cause problems, though. I prefer if you told me or Darius if you see something like that again. If it was uncalled for, then we can punish them."

"Titus, he was scared to death. I doubt he did anything to them."

"What does the omega look like?"

I wrung my hand in my lap and took a deep breath. "I don't know if I should tell you."

"Aden," he nuzzled my cheek.

"His name's River."

Titus rubbed my arm with his eyebrows raised. "Oh, River." He sighed. "A daydreamer, who gets himself into my trouble than even you."

I scowled at him. "I do not."

"Getting in Chris truck, the party incident, Base Acid," Titus listed.

I turned away from him. "I was young and stupid."

"That was a few months ago," he exclaimed.

"Well, I did a lot of growing up over those months. I'm married now."

He chuckled in my ear and kissed my cheek. "I know you want to help, but sometimes helping makes it worse. If River wrong those werewolves, then they're allowed to punish him. To put him back in his place. That's how our society works."

"Sounds stupid to me," I muttered.

"How else are you going make a pack of werewolves behave? Asking nicely doesn't really work as you've seen with my brother."

"Still," I huffed. "He won't have done anything bad enough to deserve being pushed around by them."

"I'll look into it, but for now," he grabbed both of my upper arms and turned me toward him, "don't get yourself into a middle of a fight," he pled, placing soft kisses around my eyes. "I don't want to have to kill someone. We haven't been married that long, and it'll look bad."

I scoffed at him. "So funny, asshole."

He smiled. "I'm hilarious." He pressed his lips to mine. "But I'm also serious."

Nodding, I kissed him. "Okay. I won't interfere with anymore werewolf power trips."

"That's my beautiful mate." He hugged me tightly and toppled into the bed.

"Knock it off." I pushed on his chest. "You're being overly affectionate."

"I just love you so much." He tightened his hold, and I thought my ribs might crack.

"Alright, alright, I get it," I breathed, cringing.

With a chuckled, he pulled a thin blanket over us. "We're having visitors tomorrow."

"Who?" I brushed a damp strand of hair out of his eyes. "Please not my parents, I haven't recovered from the last time."

"I might have to tell your mother that," he teased.

I glared at him.

"Kidding, Aden. They're the leaders of the pack whose land borders ours, Bloodhound Canyon."

"Hmmm... that's a wonderful name."

"It fits them."

"Still, Northern Ridge is better."

"Glad you think so," he laughed. "Anyways, you're actually going to have to do something tomorrow. No more lazing about."

I pinched his arm, making him lurch back.

"Ow!" he exclaimed shocked. "That really hurt."

"Watch it, or you'll be sleeping in your parents' cave."

"I was joking."

With a pleased smile, I rolled over and pressed back against him. "It shouldn't be bad meeting them, right? The werewolves here were friendly enough."

He kissed my neck. "If you're nervous, I'll be with you the whole time. I'll protect you from the dangerous outsiders."

I elbowed him hard in the ribs. I heard the air rush out of him.

"My god, Aden," he hissed. "You're so violent tonight. We've gone over this, werewolf do bruise, you know."

I could hear the amusement in his voice. His acting skills weren't that great. Turning around, I kissed his cheek. "I'm sorry, but please go to sleep, before I do kick you out."

He smiled at me before kissing me deeply. "Yes, sir," he stated, before rolling on top of me. "After a little taste."

***

I was chewing on my bottom lip as we waited for the visitors to arrive. Titus with talking with his brother and father. They didn't seem too concerned about Bloodhound Canyon coming, but I was nervous. Excited too, I just wanted to see how two packs interacted. I hope it wasn't anything like I've seen on TV when it came to rival animal.

I glanced around at the couple other dominates that were waiting. Rupert was with his dad. Peter was pressed against his mate's side and was holding tightening to his arm. A few others were standing further inside the cave. All were in werewolf form and had the clear size of a dominant, so if there was a fight, I'd think my pack could take them.

Rolling up on my toes, I chewed on my fingernail. It made me feel pathetic being the only one in human form, even Peter looked more intimidating than me, but the fur thing was still too weird.

"Aden," chuckled Titus. "You're making me nervous."

I planted my feet and gave him a sheepish smile. Folding my arms, I tried to stop fidgeting. "Sorry." Tapping my foot, I watched the trees.

Titus slid up behind me and wrapped his arm around my chest. He squeezed me tightly to him. "You seem a little uptight."

"I'm not," I muttered, grinding my toes into the dirt. "I'm just anxious, I guess. There's not going to be a fight right."

He laughed and kissed the side of my head. "The internet has rotten your brain. We are capable of being civil."

"How am I supposed to know that?" I hissed. "This is still new to me."

Voices came from the trees.

"If you're that worried, then just stay by me." He put his arm around my waist and prepared to greet the newcomers.

A werewolf with rusty dark brown fur led the group. My mouth fell open at the sight of them. I think we might need more dominants, just in case. I moved closer to Titus as my eyes landed on a tall black werewolf. There was something about this pack that put me on edge.

"Oscar." Xavier extended his hand to the leader.

He nodded and scanned the group. His dark eyes landed on me. I looked everywhere but at him.

His head fell to the side, and he looked me over. "You must be the new addition."

Titus stepped forward, bring me along with him. "This is my mate, Aden."

He smiled at me, showing sharp fangs.

My stomach tightened as this weird sense of panic filled me.

"You were human born, right?"

I nodded. "Yes, sir," I whispered.

He held out his hand and moved closer. "I'm Oscar, alpha of Bloodhound."

I felt the color drain from my face and something took over. I shifted to all fours in a matter of seconds and bolted for the cave. I ran through the main hall, down a side tunnel to the hot pools. But I didn't stop there, I maneuvered across the waterfall and went straight to the small cave Titus and I had escaped to when my parents first visited the cave.

Breathing heavily, I heard my joints pop as I settled into my werewolf form. My heart was still pounding. I pressed my hand to my chest. That was the first time I had taken wolf form, but I guess that was the fastest way to run when a demon alpha comes to visit.

Leaning back against the wall, I closed my eyes and cursed under my breath. "This is so damn embarrassing," I muttered, pressing my palms to my eyes. Trying to give off the impression I wasn't a weakling and I ran, because the man wanted to shake my hand. "I'm such an idiot."

"Aden," called Titus. "Aden, are you here!"

Sucking my lips, I remained quiet. I was never going to live this down. Darius had even saw. I pewed curse words and hurled a rock at the wall. I really hated my brother-in-law.

"Aden!" The ground shifted outside the small tunnel. Titus squeezed through, barely able to fit in werewolf form.

I kept my eyes pointed at my feet.

"Would you like to talk about it?" He folded his arms and rest against the wall.

"I just made a fool of myself." I rubbed my forehead.

With a sigh, Titus sat down. "Aden, you're being a little hard on yourself."

"He just wanted to shake my hand, and I ran. Like a coward." Sucking in my cheek, I took a deep breath.

"The man is an alpha from a visit pack."

"So?" I scratched my arm.

He laughed and clasped my shoulder. "It's called instincts, Aden. Get used to them, they might save your life."

I glanced over at him. "What do you mean?"

"You're new to this, and at that moment, your instincts were telling you to run. Sometimes the wolf side just take over. There's nothing you can do about it. You're not the first sub to run from an alpha. Happens to my dad all the time when he visit packs."

"It's still embarrassing. Darius even saw."

"Well, hiding isn't going to make it better." Titus offered me his hand. "He'll just tease you more about it."

I took it and stood. Undoing the button to my shorts, I slipped them off and fixed my tail fur.

Titus pulled my shirt over my head. "You're really cute in this form. Still so tiny."

Glaring at him, I punched him in the side. "Asshole, take it back!"

He hunched over, trying not to laugh. "The red marking make more sense every day."

"What is that supposed to me?" My ears flicked back as I growled at him.

"Just saying you and Darius are more alike than you think."

I clenched my jaw and puffed out my chest. "I will hit you again."

He smiled and kissed the top of my head. "I know, but I think that side of you is cute too."