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Saying Goodbye

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Mating Rituals 9 Saying Goodbye
by aiden

Chapter Nine: Saying Goodbye.

Horatio was jerked out of his sleep by the roaring of motorcycles. He opened his eyes slowly and laid there for a moment, thinking back to what Nick and Gil had told him. He still had a hard time accepting what Speed had done, but knew he had no right to judge someone customs no matter how strange they seemed to him.

The commotion outside had him getting out of bed and looking out of the window. He watched Nick and the others greet the other packs that had come to attend the funeral. He spotted Speed, who was flanked by Danny and Ryan, talking to four young men. They seemed to be having a very serious conversation based on their expressions.

A soft knock on his door had him turning around and looking for his pants. When he was dressed, he walked over to the door and opened it. "Yes?"

"Good morning, Lieutenant," Alexx said smiling at him. "I hope you slept well?"

Horatio smiled at her. "Yes, I did. Thank you." He turned back to the window when he heard a yell coming from the outside.

Alexx smiled sadly. "It's always good to see old friends but I wished it was under better circumstances," she sighed. She walked over to the window and also spotted the men talking to Speed. "I heard that Gil is going to call for a blood hunt."

Horatio stood beside her. "The men talking to Speed are enforcers?"

"Yes, the man standing to the right of him is Scotty Valens of the Whelan pack, on the left is Jackson 'Jax' Teller of the Amoux pack and in the middle are Lincoln Burrows and Michael Scofield of the Conall pack," Alexx explained.

"Two enforcers in one pack? That's rare, right?" Horatio asked, looking down.

Alexx nodded, "Yes, it is. But in the Conall pack, Michael is Lincoln's charge. This is a test for his young protégé. And they are also brothers by blood."

Another young man approached the group and Scotty turned around, kissing him fiercely.

Horatio fell a pang of jealousy and turned away from the window, sighing. His thoughts wandering towards his future mate.

"Are you okay?" Alexx asked him.

Horatio looked down, not sure if he could tell her what was bothering him. "I'm…I found…," he started, blushing slightly.

Alexx smiled at him, "You can talk to me, you know."

He looked at her, seeing understanding in her eyes. As, the pack doctor, she probably knew what happened with Speed and his brothers, and had probably seen and heard worse. Taking a deep breath, he said. "Nick and Gil told me about Speed, and why I found him in bed with his brothers" he stated.

"Yes, I know, Speed came to me last night, after your discovery. How do you feel about that?" Alexx walked over to him and guided them both over to sit on the bed.

Horatio shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know. I feel.. uhh… angry and betrayed."

Alexx nodded in understanding, "I know that it's hard for you to accept that your future mate slept with his brothers."

"Do you have a mate?" Horatio asked curiously.

"No, not yet." She paused briefly. "You do know that we can go through our lifetime without ever having found our mate, right?"

"Yeah," Horatio nodded. "How old is Speed?"

"Three hundred years old," Alexx said affectionately, "he's just a cub."

Horatio looked surprised. "He is just a cub? At three hundred years? When are they mature?"

"When they're about a thousand years old." She looked at her watch. "Come on, we have to get ready."

Horatio stood. "Sure."

"Stay close to your mate today. It's possible that he'll need you when it's all over," Alexx softly said.

Horatio looked at her solemnly. "How will I know?"

"You will feel it as much as he will," Alexx walked over to the door and opened it. "You're good for him. I can feel it right here." she touched her heart.

~.~

Over a hundred warriors and clan leaders surrounded the altar, the different clan colors and symbols uniting to send off a warrior lost too soon. As the dawn sun crested over the horizon, they listened sadly to the shaman's prayers.

Horatio let his eyes wander over the people that were gathered at the clearing. The Native American ceremonial garments were amazingly detailed and colourful. He looked at Speed, standing next to Nick, dressed in buckskin pants and a sleeveless buckskin jacket. It was the first time he really noticed the tattoos on both his arms, strange symbols covering most of his right arm and part of his left arm.

The shaman raised his arms and began to speak in a language that Horatio didn't understand, but the sadness in the man's voice and the warriors' faces, hinted that he was talking about the boy. He sighed when he saw the boy's mother burst out in tears again and her husband hold her close.

Horatio kept an eye on Speed and saw the silent tears fall down his mate's cheeks. Ryan laid a hand on Speed's shoulder, keeping him grounded. He wondered if he would ever have an opportunity to do this for his mate. After they had brought the boy back to the mansion, he had looked for Ryan, but he was no where to be found. When he had asked Nick where the young man was, the alpha had said that Ryan needed to rest after his task of grounding Speed. Horatio wasn't sure if he'd ever have the strength to take over from the young wolf.

The shaman bowed his head and began a prayer in English:

"Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints in the snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain,
I am the stars that shine at night.
When you awaken in
the mornings hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there
I did not die."

Tears trickled down his own cheeks as Horatio looked at the young boy on the altar. As he felt the anger racing through his body, Horatio wondered how his mate must be feeling right now.

"He's going to be okay."

Horatio looked at the young man standing next to him, and remembered Alexx calling him Jackson. "You're like Speed, right?"

"Ah, you know about us?" he smiled. "Yeah, I am an enforcer, and after the cremation, we will also be joining the blood hunt."

Horatio focused his attention back on the funeral and saw when the torch was lit. The young boy's father grabbed the torch in his hand, and walked to stand across from Speed. Solemnly, the father handed the torch to the enforcer.

The redhead could tell that Speed was having a hard time keeping his emotions under control. Bowing his head, he took the torch from the father and stepped towards the altar. Closing his eyes, he chanted something softly, his own personal promise and farewell. Without warning, he lowered the torch to the wood that was spread around the young boy's body, lightening it. In short order, the whole altar was ablaze, the heat and blinding light a stark reminder of the finality of their loss.

When Speed turned around, Horatio saw agony and pain etched in every line of Speed's face. He handed the torch to Danny and walked away, followed closely by Ryan.

"Go after him," Jackson hissed.

"I don't know," Horatio hesitated, "should I?"

Jackson rolled his eyes. "You're his mate, right? He needs Ryan but he needs you more, believe me." At that moment, an older man walked up to them and took Jackson in his arms.

"Hi, I'm Elliot," the man introduced himself to Horatio. "And you're Speed's mate, right?"

"Does everyone knows who I am?" Horatio asked.

Eliot nodded, "Yeah, pretty much. Go find your mate."

Horatio nodded respectfully at the enforcer and his mate, and walked after Speed.

Nick saw it and went to follow them, but was stopped by a hand on his arm.

"He'll be okay," Alexx said gently. "Stop worrying so much. That's my job."

Sighing, Nick smiled at her. "You're right. Speed needs his mate now."

The redhead found both men in the garden, sitting on a bench. Ryan looked up when he approached and stood, gesturing at Horatio to take his place next to Speed.

"How are you holding up?" Horatio asked Speed.

"I don't know." Speed gazed at his mate. "I've had better days though."

Looking away, Speed started to cry again, and angrily he wiped away the tears. "I'm tired of all this. He was just a kid, an innocent. They killed him because he was one of us. I'm tired of the people I love getting hurt or killed. We just want to live in peace. Is that so much to ask?"

"No, it isn't," Horatio sighed, and opened his arms. "Come here."

Speed hesitated for a moment but then snuggled into his mate's arms, sobbing as he let down his guard.

"I've got you," Horatio whispered as he rubbed the back of Speed's head soothingly. "I'm never going to let you go," Horatio promised.

They had been sitting like that for a while when suddenly, Speed pulled back, "Gil is calling for the blood hunt. I have got to go." He stood and held out his hand. "You're with me?"

Horatio looked up and saw the fierce determination in Speed's eyes. "You think I'm ready?"

"I don't know. Only you know in your heart if you are ready. If you're not, I will understand, and I won't push you to take that responsibility yet. But understand this, when we bond, the responsibility will be yours whether you like it or not." With those final words, Speed turned around and walked back to the clearing, not looking back.

Horatio sighed, looking at his retreating mate.

"You will know in your heart if you're ready," Ryan said as he walked up to Horatio.

The older man looked at Ryan and felt something stir in his heart. "I'm ready."

"Good. Let's go. He's going to need you." Ryan walked off, to be followed by Horatio.

When Alexx watched Horatio walk up to his mate, she smiled at Nick. "He will be good for Speed."

"Yes." Nick nodded. "He will."

Hidden, Don stayed sitting by the tree, shocked and saddened at the pain and anguish in the wolf's voice. His heart ached as he remembered the death of his own family, how he had felt, how his own world had fallen apart. Maybe they weren't the monsters he believed them to be. Could he have been so wrong about them?

 

end part 9