Chapter 24 - Devin

This is torture.  Pure, agonizing, prolonged, and exquisite tortue.  Xander and I are seated next to each other at the high table, in the place of honor on the left of the Alpha.  The meal before us is sumptuous and unending.  We are offered the choicest selections, after the alpha and luna, by gracious omegas.  Both men and women shoot us seductive and flirtatious glances and smiles as they place plate upon plate in front of us.  They know that Xander and I are unmated and they are hoping that they will fit the bill or at least be able to warm our beds for a time.

 Meanwhile, my mate is right beside me.  He speaks amicably with Charlie’s father, whose position he will be taking tonight.  Though Xander was not trained to become a Delta, he is a fierce and skilled warrior.  He will make an excellent Delta.  Charlie’s father will help to train him on the finer points of being a Delta for a few months, but it won’t be arduous.  This will undoubtedly help ease Charlie and my burdens, as we won’t be doing a job and a half each.

 Xander appears not to notice the appraising glances of the she-wolves or the outright lascivious leers of the males directed towards him.  But I notice every single one.  I am holding my wolf at bay by a fraying thread.  He wants to claim Xander in front of all of them so that those who would try to turn Xander’s head will BACK THE FUCK OFF!

 A growl rumbles through my chest as one persistent male omega “accidentally” drops a few biscuits into Xander’s lap.  He picks them up, running his hand too high on Xander’s thigh for my liking.

 At the sound, the omega looks up at my face.  Whatever he sees makes his face pale significantly.  He mutters an apology and rushes away from the table.

 Zak tries to cover a laugh with a cough from my right side.  I look at him sharply, about to make a smart-ass comment when I feel Xander’s hand grab my thigh.  Immediately, my hand goes to his under the table.  The rush of sparks is euphoric and I feel myself instantly calm.  

 Xander leans over and whispers in my ear, “I like that you are so possessive of me, but you can’t go around threatening every member of the pack.

 “He touched you,” I whisper back through gritted teeth.  “You are MINE!

 “And you are mine, but you don’t see me freaking out because an omega gave you extra roast or brushed up against you as she walked by, do you?” he says sweetly.

 “If it happened, you would have every right,” I say, looking into his eyes.

 “Then I’ll go take care of the omegas that served the second course,” he says, acting as if to get up.

 “Wait, what?” I’m so confused.  What the hell is he talking about?

 “Both of those things happened during this meal. Not to mention the times that they have happened since I got here a few days ago.

 My face is filled with utter shock.

 Xander leans in again, cupping my face, though acting as if he is wiping something from under my eye.  “You see, my love.  Just as you don’t notice, neither do I.  I only have eyes for you.

 Not caring who sees, I quickly turn my head and kiss his palm before he pulls away.  His face flushes in happiness, but he says, “Now, now.  None of that...yet.”  Xander smiles at me before turning back to his meal.

 After what feels like hours, the meal is finally over and it is time for the ceremony.  At this point, the moon had long since risen and nearing the highest point of her nightly climb into the sky.  The moon is nearly full and would be by Brandon’s birthday for his ceremony.  Through the large skylights in the ceiling of the dining hall, the Silver Lady’s light shone onto the dias as Zak, Charlie, Beta Carl, my father, Xander, and I stand around the pedestal.  Lucille stands at the bottom of the steps to the dias, facing the rest of the pack.

 Spreading her hands wide, Lucille begins the ceremony.  An ethereal glow halos her, the moonlight filtering through her white hair.  It is like the Goddess is inside of her again.  At least, that’s what it looks like from the back.  I’m sure that if her eyes were completely black again, the pack would be shitting themselves now.  Regardless, the Silver Lady’s presence is with us.  I could feel the warmth spread through me again, just like it did from her kiss.

 “My dearly beloved pack, today we are here to usher in the dawning of a new era in our pack: the ascendance of a new Gamma and the start of a new Delta bloodline.

 The pack breaks into cheers.  Loud wolf whistles, howls, and stomping feet fill the air.  

 Once they have quieted down, Lucille continues.  “Since the dawn of our kind, our benevolent Goddess has deemed that a pack would be led by a set of mates, born and bred to be excellent leaders.  They would be chosen not only for each other, but also for the pack.  Three months ago, our Alpha, Zakary Loup, ascended to his position with his Luna, Charlotte…”

 At the use of her real name, Charlie groans.

 “Loup,” Lucille chuckles as she speaks.  “Though we have the best Alpha and Luna we could for our pack, our Mother knew that the burden was too much for just two wolves to handle.  Because of that, she created three advisors for the Alpha pair: the Beta, to help shoulder the burden of running the pack, the Gamma, to help with enforcement of pack law, and the Delta, to defend and train the pack.  Today, Gamma Richard relinquishes his title after years of admirable and diligent servitude to their pack.

 Again, the pack breaks into applause.  There are shouts of “Here, here!” and whoops and cheers.

 Lucille walks to the pedestal.  Taking the knife in one hand, she holds out the other to Gamma Richard.  He places his hand in hers.  Bringing the knife to his palm, Lucille says, “The Goddess has blessed you as part of our pack and has blessed us in return.  Thank you, Gamma Richard, for all that you have done for us.”  Lucille slices Former-Gamma Richard’s palm.  He closes his hand into a fist and allows three drops of blood to fall into the chalice on the pedestal.

 “Your service is ended.” Lucille says.  Former-Gamma Richard bows and returns to his seat to more loud applause from the pack.

 Lucille turns to Zak and Charlie, holding out her hand.  Zak places his hand in hers.  “Alpha, Luna, you have lost two of your core.  One has finished his service and is ready for rest.  The other was our own Luna who has been sharing the load of two jobs with our Former Gamma.  Though she has held both positions with grace, it is not something that she was destined to do.  Those two roles will be filled tonight.  We will welcome them into your core and our leadership with our hearts, our wolves, and your blood.”  Lucille slices Zak’s palm, then Charlie’s.  Together, they fist their hands and allow three drops of blood to drip into the chalice.  They step back.

 Lucille turns to Beta Carl, holding out her hand.  He places his hand in hers and she places the blade to his palm.  “Beta, your brothers have left.  Their service is done.  You have two new brothers to join you in your service to the pack.  We will welcome them into your brotherhood and our leadership with our hearts, our wolves, and your blood.”  She slices Beta Carl’s hand and he allows three drops of blood to fall into the chalice.

 Lucille holds her hand out to Xander and he places his hand in hers.  “Xander Hawthorne, you are a new and wonderful addition to our pack.  We are truly blessed by the Goddess to have you among us.  Your talents and Goddess given gifts have been recognized by our Alpha and Luna as worthy of part of this brotherhood.  Do you accept the responsibility, honor, and role of Delta of the Artemis Pack?

“I do,” Xander says, his voice ringing out clear in the hall.

“We accept you as our Delta, our protector and trainer, given to us by the Goddess Selene,” Lucille says.

“We accept you as our Delta,” the pack responds.

Lucille slices Xander’s palm and he drips three drops of blood into the chalice.

She holds her hand out to me.  I step forward and give her my palm.  “Devin Laoch, you were born into this pack and bred to this position.  We are truly blessed by the Goddess to have you among us.  Your talents and Goddess given gifts have been recognized by our Alpha and Luna as a worthy of part of this brotherhood.  Do you accept the responsibility, honor, and role of Gamma of the Artemis Pack?

“I do,” I say.

“We accept you as our Gamma, our enforcer and champion, given to us by the Goddess Selene,” Lucille says.

“We accept you as our Gamma,” the pack responds.

Lucille slices my palm and I allow three drops of blood to flow into the chalice.

Taking the chalice into her hands, Lucille swirls the blood within.  Turning to Zak, she says, “Through the intermingling of the old guard and the new, the Alpha, Luna, Beta, Gamma, and Delta, our pack will be strengthened.  Take from this chalice the blood of your core, your brotherhood.  Know that they will make and keep you strong.

Zak takes a sip from the chalice and passes it to Charlie.  The chalice goes from Charlie, to Carl, to Xander, and then to me, each of us taking a sip of its contents.

Instantly, I feel a rush of power sear through my body.  I feel a deep and instantaneous connection to all four of the people who drank from the cup with me.  We are bonded, deeper than mere friends, packmates, or even family.  The only bond deeper is that of a mate or a parent and child.  We five are connected, a bond which will only be broken through death, even after we have given over our titles.

Lucille turns around to the pack.  “I give you Gamma Devin Laoch and Delta Xander Hawthorne.

The pack erupts in applause, the pack all standing and cheering.

It is among all of this noise that I pull Xander to me.  “MATE!” I yell.  I pull his shirt collar aside and mark him as mine.

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