He kissed her deeply pulling her tight against him and when she shuddered, he tugged her bottom lip with his teeth. “Rough it is,” he whispered, hoarsely against her lips.
“Every man makes mistakes. Every man faces times in their life when they would give anything for a do-over. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way. Once the mistake is made, the only thing left to do is deal with the consequences. That is when the measure of a man is made, when his character is revealed.” ~ Cypher
Vasile sat in his office facing a group of solemn faces. He had called this meeting of his closest men and of Decebel and his top four to discuss the new enemy that had risen, just as Mona had fallen.
“Has anyone ever heard of this man cloaked in smoke with yellow eyes?” Decebel looked over at Wadim.
“I know you might think that I know it all, because I’m the historian, but I got nothing on this one.” He threw his hands up in the air and let them fall to his thighs.
Vasile let out an exasperated breath. He had been wracking his brain, trying to remember where he had seen those yellow eyes. It had been a very long time, but he was sure that he had met the man at one point in his long life.
“Whoever he is, he is deadly,” Costin said, from where he leaned against the wall, his bartending towel tossed casually over his shoulder. He had been at the bar working when Vasile had called and hadn’t bothered to set it down.
“He is deadlier and more dangerous than you can possibly know.” A deep voice rumbled from behind them. They all turned to see Cypher standing in the door. He still looked weak. He was, however, finally walking on his own strength.
“Please, come in Cypher,” Vasile motioned for him to take a seat among them.
“You know him?” Sorin spoke up.
Cypher nodded. “He is Reyaz, my brother.”
Decebel lay next to his mate, watching her sleep. Her face was relaxed and peaceful, no lines of worry, no pain danced in her eyes. He gently rubbed her stomach where their baby was nestled safe and growing. Every day was one day closer to her birth, one day closer to the promise the Fates had made to take her from them. In all the chaos of the past weeks, they had not had much time to think about the impending birth. In the few quiet moments they'd had, they spent them talking of a future that might never come, but they refused to acknowledge that possibility.
Decebel had a made a decision that he knew Jennifer would not like, but he did not know what other options he had. He kissed her gently on the forehead and then quietly rose from their bed.
Once in the quiet garden he closed his eyes and knelt to the ground.
“I request an audience with you Great Luna. It is of great importance and I beg of your help.”
“You need not beg child,” her voice spread warmth into the cool room and Decebel felt a hand urge him to stand. “I have told you that all you need do is ask and I will answer.”
Decebel met her eyes and he clenched his jaw, determined to get the words out without breaking down. “My mate is with child and the Fates have determined that her life is the debt that will be paid for Jennifer’s life being spared.”
He watched as she took his words in. She had known what the Fates had decreed and she had chosen to wait to see how Decebel and Jennifer would respond.
“What is it you ask of me?”
“I want to take her place. She is an innocent, her life is not supposed to end. I have lived a very long time. I have been blessed to have found my true mate and it is only right that I should die before my child.”
The Great Luna’s eyes softened, “And, what would your mate say about this?”
“Jennifer will survive losing me if you will break the bond between us. I do not believe she could survive losing our child.” Decebel told her, honestly.
“Don’t you think it should be her choice?”
“I cannot ask her to choose between me and our child; that isn’t fair. I have always told her I would protect her from anything, even herself.”
“This is truly what you want?” She stepped towards him and placed a hand over his heart.
“Yes, if it is the only way to save her life, it is what I want.”
The Great Luna nodded. “So be it.”
And, then she was gone.
Decebel fell to his knees as he felt his heart tear in two. His body shook with his grief and his wolf cried out for their mate. He kept the bond closed, not wanting to wake her. And, in the quiet of the garden he reached for the darkness that had tormented him for so long, for it was only in the darkness that he would be able to hide his shattered soul. He cried out for his love, for the woman who had saved him and brought meaning to his life once again. He prayed that she would be able to forgive him and that one day they might be united once again. He vowed that until the moment that the Fates sucked the life from his body, he would treasure every second he had with her.
He stood and shook off as much of the pain as he could. And, with final resolve, he turned and went back to his love, enveloped her in his arms and whispered three words in her ear.
“Please forgive me.”
Sally lay contentedly in Costin’s arms hours later. She could hear his heart beating where her head was pressed against his chest and she found comfort in the steady rhythm. After so many dangers they had faced, so many ugly things that had been thrown at them, now she lay in the arms of her mate and it was beautiful.
“You are beautiful,” he whispered.
“Are you listening to my thoughts?” She asked with a grin.
“Always,” Costin squeezed are affectionately. “Are you alright?” His words were soft and she heard the apprehension in his voice.
She pushed herself up on her arm so she could look him in the eyes.
“I’m better than alright, Costin.”
“I love you,” he told her as he reached up his hand and caressed her face.
“Thank you.” Sally’s head tilted to the side as she looked down at him, her eyes narrowed thoughtfully. “Hey, we never said our vows.”
Costin grinned mischievously, he kissed her neck and then looked back up at her.
“Do you remember me whispering in your ear tonight or the words I sent you through our bond?” He asked her.
“You are the air I breathe, the food I eat, the water that quenches my thirst, Sally mine. You are what I have waited for, what I have so desperately needed and what I could never deserve. Every whispered promise, every confession, every longing, hope and dream I have shared with you this night, those are my vows to you my love. All you need know is that I am yours, unequivocally and you are mine.”