|Somehow We'll Survive
Author: Thorne Lockehart PM
After the loss of her mate, werepanther Raven thought she would never love again. When she meets the man who was never supposed to be changed, can he change her mind?Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Hurt/Comfort - Chapters: 2 - Words: 3,224 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 10-15-12 - Published: 09-25-12 - id: 3061008
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Summary: After the loss of her mate, werepanther Raven thought she would never love again. When she meets the man who was never supposed to be changed, can he change her mind?
I do not own the music in this story
Sometimes I don't wanna feel and forget that pain is real
Put my head in the clouds, start to run and then I fall
Thinking I can get it all without my feet on the ground
There's always a seed before there's a rose
The more that it rains, the more I will grow
I gotta have roots before branches
To know who I am before I know who I wanna be
And faith to take chances, to live like I see, a place in this world for me
Whatever comes, I know how to make it
Learn to be strong, I won't have to fake, oh, you're understanding
Oh, but when you come and do what's best
There ain't nothing stopping east to west, but I'll still be standing, I'm standing
Room For Two — Roots Before Branches
Raven Sullivan stared at the glossy granite headstone before her, the sight blurred with tears. It wasn't fair. Finn had such a bright future ahead of him, one spent with her. They'd been married only a month before the Sabreth patrol had taken his life. Raven felt a hand on her shoulder and she looked up at her master. Garrett had turned her two hundred years ago and Raven thought she could never love another as deeply as she loved his son, Finn. Finn's loss was mourned among the entire race.
"His death will get avenged, dear one," he murmured soothingly. His thumb caressed the bone of her shoulder and he let it fall.
"I can't help but think it's my fault," she whispered, using a slender hand to wipe the tears dribbling down her cheeks. "If I'd gotten to him sooner..."
"There's nothing you could have done," he interrupted. Raven sniffled and turned her gaze back on the inscription on the granite. The only inscription was Finn's name.
Finn Sullivan, beloved husband, brother, and son.
Her slim fingers gripped the warm steel identification tags and she toyed with them. They were all she had left of Finn. Her head lowered and the sobs wracked her body.
That was three years ago. Now Raven was the Headmistress of the Panthren guard. Finn's death was one that weighed heavily on her to this day, but she channeled her rage into sparring and perfecting her strategies. She flipped an unlucky young apprentice over her shoulder and pinned him down under her foot. Her chest rose and fell in pants and she glared down at him with narrowed blue eyes.
"You hesitated," she stated, standing upright and extending a hand. The young male's evergreen eyes were wide, his dark hair in disarray. He accepted her hand and pulled himself to his feet.
"No, you're just fast like a freak," he commented. A smirk flickered on her lips and she smoothed out the front of her black tank top. She tightened her long pony-tail and circled him, studying the lanky Panthren.
"Panthrens are known for their swiftness, Sebastian. You might be a bairn, but you still have a lot to learn," she responded. She heard the door to the sparring room open and her Headmaster stepped into the room. Patrick was a harsh-looking man with long dark hair and nearly black eyes. "I'm going to have Avian work on your speed, Sebastian." Finn was Sebastian's original mentor, now the aptly named Avian had taken it over.
"If he's not fast enough in battle, a Sabreth will take a bite out of him," Patrick said. He looked over to the mirrored walls surrounding the massive room. They were all windows to various observation rooms, rubber mats scattered around on the floors. "Really, Raven, you need to focus on Cinder and not Sebastian. She's the one whose assessment is approaching, not Sebastian's."
"Avian's tending to business in Waterford, Patrick. He's asked me to oversee Sebastian's training," she explained patiently. She stretched her lithe body, rolling out the kinks in her spine. "And Cinder's gone on patrol with a few of the other students."
Patrick looked coolly from Headmistress to student. "Seems to me like you've taken a special interest in young Sebastian," he remarked. "See to it that Finn's former student doesn't receive isolated treatment from you."
The name of her former mate made Raven bristle and she clenched her fists. While she would admit she'd shirked her duty temporarily as a tutor to young Cinder Brennan, it was unfair for Patrick to throw it back in her face. She'd been grieving her mate's loss.
"Like Cinder does from you?" she shot back before she could stop herself. While she'd received the sought-after title of Headmistress of the Guard, Patrick was still her superior. Speaking to him in such a way was enough to get her reprimanded. Cinder was Patrick's daughter with Finn's sister, Lark. "I apologize, Patrick. That was out of line."
Patrick's jaw set and he glared down at her. "Yes, it was. Garrett's sent me to fetch you. He wants you to the Gathering Room immediately," he informed her. His dark gaze raked down her frame and Raven forced herself to meet it. "I'd change into something elegant, if I were you."
The flowing skirt of the dark green baby-doll style dress swished around Raven's legs as she made her way toward the Gathering Room. When Garrett Sullivan wanted one of his pack, said member was to do his bidding immediately. Her dark hair was down and loose over her pale shoulders, ending at her waist.
"You wished to see me, my lord?" she asked as she lingered in the doorway. Garrett's stiff back was turned to her as he faced out the window. He gestured to one of the large wing-back leather armchairs surrounding the lengthy cherry table. Raven pulled out the closest one to him and sat down, resting her small hands on the smooth, cool surface.
"Branna," he spoke for the first time, referring to her with her given name instead of her English name. This was important. "You know as well as I that our numbers are dwindling."
Her head bowed in respect for those that died in the recent Sabreth ambush.
"The Sabreth have grown more and more treacherous," she agreed, her mouth setting in a grim line. The ancient weretigers known as the Sabreth had set their sights on Southern Ireland, which was Panthren territory. They'd enslaved the easily swayed Lynxen with their insatiable blood-lust. "I'm so sorry for Lark's death."
Garrett was losing his offspring one by one. First with Finn, then with Teagan. Now his eldest daughter was dead.
"It couldn't be helped by our Healer. Therefore, it was meant to be," he stated sadly. "I've called you to discuss the possibility of turning new Panthren."
Raven gaped at him in shock. "But, my lord, we haven't turned another Panthren since I was turned over two hundred years ago," she said.
"And we're suffering because of it. I stopped turning humans after you because I took your free will. Avian and Conner are out in Dublin and Waterford to collect the dead from morgues. They're both cities suffering from a recent plague. We're giving people a second chance at life and simultaneously building our army against the Sabreth. They're trying to get us down to the bare minimum so they can take our territory," he replied.
"How many?" she inquired in a low voice. She looked up at him, her heart thudding unevenly in her chest. "How many people's lives are being tainted forever by this?"
"Only what's needed. The healthy people of those cities will continue to walk freely," he assured her. The door to the Gathering Room opened and Garrett straightened to his full height. "Leave us."
"The parties have returned, my lord," Cinder told him. Her jet-black hair was pinned up in a high pony-tail, her dark brown eyes meeting Garrett's greens. She nodded to her tutor. "My lady."
"How many, Cinder?" Raven asked, standing up from her seat, towering over her student. Cinder was a pretty young woman, the affection of a few apprentices, Sebastian among them. She was smart, with a keen eye for battle.
"Four each, my lady," Cinder responded. She gestured with a slender arm to the doorway. "Come and meet them, lord and lady. I will show you."