Those two days were pure hell for Corey. He stayed mostly in his wolf form to heal faster and because of closing up towards the world. His wound was healing nicely though, thanks to the delicate care of his family. Sid even stayed with him and slept cuddling the sad wolf. He and Mick were the only thing keeping Corey from giving up. And that motherfucker hope. Maybe all that he sensed and what they shared meant something to Jim and even if he didn't choose a life of a spirit wolf, he won't reject Corey.
It was kind of a stupid and romantic hope but Corey's broken heart had only that to hold onto. He kept seeing the shocked and horrified face of his love and those pictures just made him sink lower into his self-created hatred and isolation.
But the weekend came and everyone was already there, messing around with their instruments. Almost an hour passed since the time they had set as a start and Corey was sure that Jim would not come. He didn’t even want to do anything with him or the others anymore...
The tall man had to do some seriously deep soul-searching sessions during those two days. He kept staring at the lined up objects for hours while drinking and smoking and he was thinking so hard that sometimes he even gave himself a headache. He had to consider a lot of things since this was a life-changing decision to make.
He could've sworn that he could feel Corey's pain through their bond that was getting stronger with each passing hour as Jim continued changing. He could feel it better too. The awakening instincts and amplifying feelings in him. And it was breaking his heart to feel Corey think of himself as an unwanted freak, tossed aside like a used napkin. Robbed from his last hope of being happy with someone again. Jim did that to him and it had to stop. Jim knew that he had to face his fears and the demon wolf who was offering him a completely new way of life.
By the time he had to gather his things and head back to the house, Jim had his decision. Taking a deep sniff from the bloody cloth he refreshed his memory of the hunters' scent just in case. And it seemed he was right to do so, because after a while he could smell and sense them through the rolled down window of his truck. They were following him.
Because of that he had to take a long detour in an attempt to shake them off his tail, but it took him nearly an hour until he deemed it to be safe to safely head towards the old house. The closer he got to his... mate, the stronger he felt how he was giving up hope on Jim showing up.
But then he was standing in the door of the garage where the others were and his slightly glowing eyes darted to Corey's. Jim wasn't wearing the talisman and didn't smell like lavender. He couldn't use that oil once he opened the bottle up and the familiar scent hit his nose. Because it reminded him of Corey and their first kiss in the garden among the lavenders. That was the real turning point for Jim in making his decision.
"Sorry I'm late. Had to shake off some... unwanted company," he said, putting the small velvet bag that held the talisman and the oil down on top of a drawer. The gun was stuck under his belt by the back of his pants, hidden by his T-shirt.
"I see," Mick added with an approving nod and small smile. Sid was grinning from ear to ear and Corey was frozen to his spot.
Jim looked very bad. It was clear he had missed a lot of sleep and the changing was hard on him. His eyes had a golden glow and his facial mimics were more animal-like. Still Corey thought he was so gorgeous and his heart flipped several times over the fact that Jim was a half-changed wolf.
"I'm glad that you could make it. Would you please come with me?" he put the guitar down to go into his room to talk with Jim. "Mick, please lead the practice and tell them about the recording process."
"Yeah, we should talk," Jim nodded then followed the short man to said room. Once there, Jim's eyes drank in the now familiar details before he looked back at Corey. His wound on his upper-arm looked better, but it was still kinda black. That made Jim think of all the other scars he'd seen on Corey's body.
"Mick told me that you used to fight corrupt wolves and hunters. And that you continued doing that on your own too. That's where all your scars are coming from, right?" he asked, not being able not to stroke along the healthy skin close to the freshest one, his golden brown eyes flashing up to meet Corey's searching look and Jim drew encouragement from the normal blue eyes.
"I'm sorry. So sorry. I was an idiot. I just... needed some time to process and accept this all. But I should've stayed. Here, with my mate."
The touch of Jim's fingertips on his skin made Corey bite off a moan. And he moved closer to the beloved body. "No… I am sorry. I lost control over my urges and I wanted to talk about it all. I just couldn't as I felt your shock. So… You made your decision?" the wolf asked looking deep and hopeful into the golden eyes.
Forgetting about the scars, Jim could feel that pull towards Corey too and he took that remaining step towards him, looking down into the beloved face. "You were injured and weakened. I overreacted. We both made mistakes," Jim said, his whole demeanor somehow changed. Calmer and perhaps stronger as he lifted his hand to stroke along Corey's cheek too, drinking in every line and curve of his hopeful face and the glowing in Jim's eyes got stronger.
"Yes. I'll become your mate. Your wolf. Your protector. I belong to you and you to me. That's how it was supposed to happen from the start. I can see that now. I was scared, but I'm not anymore. I cannot face a life without your spirit and heart, Corey," he whispered sliding his hand to the back of Corey's neck while looking straight into the blue irises. "If you'll still have me as your mate."
"I would. I always felt that you'd be the mate I needed," Corey whispered and caressed Jim's face, sliding a hand to the other's nape to pull him down for that much missed kiss.
It's been only three days now, but that kiss felt like a sip of fresh air for his changing soul and growing spirit. Because it was his mate's kiss. Jim could feel the difference better after the bite. Corey's scent was so damn alluring and the lips sweet and promising. Still, he gently broke the kiss, closing the small man into his arms as they were standing there in the room. Jim couldn't stop himself from rubbing his cheek against Corey's, sniffing his neck both to drink in that intoxicating scent and leave his own on his mate.
Corey couldn't help it and smiled wide and nuzzled back too, making some happy yelping sounds before he pulled back. "Are you sure? You can take… this?" he asked and stepped back. Taking a deep breath he seemed to reach into the dark veins on his skin to pull some kind of shadow over his head, covering him as his form changed under it and a light sand-colored wolf stood before Jim with the same blue eyes looking at him curious.
Corey's happy sounds made Jim smile too and he found the redhead cute as hell then he watched him change. This time he wasn't panicking. This time the change fascinated him instead of making him feel fear. The transformation went with flawless elegance. It was nothing like Jim remembered from movies with lot of pain and bone crackling.
Kneeling down he slowly reached out his hand towards Corey. He trusted him and knew he wouldn't hurt his mate. Not after all they've gone through. After all, for six years Corey's been stalking him, wanting to be with Jim. Now Jim wanted to give him that. He wanted to give everything to his mate. That feeling has been growing in him way before the bite, but now he felt it strongly in him while facing the demon wolf.
"I wonder what kind of color I'll be," Jim said with a warm smile just when his fingers reached the thick fur that felt softer than he expected. "Good enough of an answer to you?" Jim murmured, his golden eyes softening as he caressed the side of the wolf's neck.
The wolf couldn't be happier and nuzzled his head to Jim's face and licked his neck. Jumping up a little like a happy puppy to rub his side too to the man, sending his happiness and love to him through their bond.
He kept asking in Jim's mind if he could hear him… Because he wanted to share his emotions with his mate. Moving his head back again and again to nuzzle against Jim and lick the wound on his shoulder, knowing it would make Jim feel calm and somewhat high. It would also make the change work faster.
Jim was laughing wholeheartedly from the wolf's reaction. It was nothing like one would expect from the "big bad wolf". He sat back on his heels, enjoying the positive and warm feelings coming through from Corey. It was so good to feel him like this instead of the misery. And if he fell in love with his cute wolf boy some more, who could blame him?
"Yes, I can hear you. No need to shout," he chuckled again then moaned softly from the licking on his shoulder. It felt strangely good, making that warmth spread faster in him. His slender fingers got lost in the thick fur as he kept the wolf close. "I love you. Please, forgive me."
Hiding into the caress of his mate Corey made soft whimpering sounds while telling in Jim's mind how much he loved him back and that he was never upset with him anyway. Staying in Jim's arms the wolf raised his head, just like when someone would crack their neck and it seemed as if his form smoked up and covered the wolf body, growing and changing into the naked short man hugging Jim and smiling.
"I think you will be beautiful," he whispered and kissed his mate deeply.
After that sweet kiss, Jim looked down at him warmly and with determination in his eyes. Yes, he wanted this man. He needed Corey more than he thought he could ever need someone. He felt finally whole with him now that he let himself feel it. "I hope so. You are beautiful too, you know. And cute," he smiled, caressing Corey's naked thigh as he was still holding him close on his lap.
"I assume I'm gonna fully change during the next full moon? Will it hurt? You make it look so easy. You'll have to teach me all about the wolf ways, you know that, right?" he ran his fingers along a blue vein close to Corey's bite mark. Jim saw that his own started to look like that too with the spreading lines.
"Also, there were hunters following me. That's why I was late. I'll become your weak spot. Like your ex was. Are you ready for that? They might try to hurt you through me and vice versa."
"It doesn't hurt. Not even the first time. Being a wolf is a gift of the spirits. It's not like in those modern movies like.... as if there was a wolf inside me and it has feelings I feel separately from mine and all. I am a wolf and I am in my human body too. No double personality disorder or anything," Corey laughed kissing Jim's bite mark. "I will take you to the shamans and you'll become a member of the community as well. Me and my ex… we dedicated ourselves to keep this area safe. I know Mick told you about those who use the bite and skills to become criminals. A wolf lives much longer than a human, is much stronger and barely can get killed. Plus no human DNA left behind on the crime scenes. You will also live for hundreds of years and can benefit from the sharper senses and power. We are connected, so that's a plus too. Like a pack. One family. The danger is also in that. But if you take that chance I can promise I will never let anyone hurt you," Corey's voice was low and determined. He meant every word he said dead serious. He wanted this man and wanted to share the happiness and love their lives could offer as spirit wolves. "Did you see the way I changed?"
"I had the feeling it's different than in those movies..." Jim murmured, closing his eyes as a warm tingling feeling ran through him when Corey kissed the mark in human form too. "You know actual shamans? That's so cool. Though the fighting criminal wolves thing kinda sounds scary to me. A few days ago I was a simple guitarist. I'm afraid I lack the training, but... but I'm willing to learn. I want to be able to protect you and myself and our family. I don't want to become a burden to you or the guys," he confessed.
"Also, hundreds of years… it’s a very long time and anything can happen. Let's say you'll try not to let me get hurt and I'll try not to let anyone hurt you either, okay?" Jim ran his thumb along Corey's jaw then stole another soft kiss. "Yes, I saw. What about the change?"
"Yes. Shamans help to also protect this land. They treat us sacred for carrying the spirits. Also… you will become much stronger physically in your human body too. And you will learn fast. Don't worry. Mick is a great help and some of his friends too," he said kissing back Jim. "About the change. It's like… like I reach into the spirit… No, more like reaching inside me for the spirit and pull it over my human body to let the wolf spirit cover me. The veins and the bite mark helps to make it easier and more visual to us when we start. Just think about it. It will help you in practice if you sort of understand it first in your head. And also… you will have to bite my old mark too," he added with a blush looking into Jim's eyes. "Your teeth are growing... You have to make me yours too with your mark over the old one."
"That's where all the wolf tokens are coming from," Jim nodded. "Now I understand. Though comprehending that I'm gonna live so long and getting stronger are things I'll have to digest, I guess," he hummed, running his hand down on Corey's side to caress his thick thigh again. "I'll appreciate all the help I'll get, though," Jim continued, starting to actually get excited about this all, especially when Corey was talking about how the change happens. It was nice to know it won't be painful, though by then Jim was at the point that even that would be worth the sacrifice to be with his soul mate.
"Oh I can clearly feel the need to mark you as mine too..." the tall man flashed a wide smile at Corey with his pointier teeth. He would have to learn how to control those changes, because both the teeth and his unusually glowing eyes could give him easily away. "I'm gonna give you my bite while fucking you. Does that sound good to you?" he lowered his voice, its tone turning dirty and promising as his nails dug into said thigh and Jim licked across Corey's lips teasingly. "Practice and the others can wait, don't you think?" And with that he finally sealed their lips together in a passionate and needy kiss, his long arms wrapping tighter around him.
Corey practically purred from the more dominant animal he saw inside Jim, just waiting to make the small man his own in every way. He melted into the kiss and moved to straddle his mate. His hand got lost in the long hair and the slight changes started to show on him too. Glowing eyes, pointy teeth and sharper nails digging into the long back.
Jim growled approvingly from Corey's reaction and nails, their tongues battling with passion while they soon got rid of the gun and all the clothes Jim had on. That left them on the floor naked. Or to be more precise, Jim was sitting on the floor while Corey stayed straddled on his lap. While they were either kissing or the redhead licking and gently biting on Jim's claim mark, the tall man was preparing that tight hole he's been missing dearly too. From there it didn't take long for Corey to take a passionate ride on Jim's hard cock, making their instincts surface some more.
Jim could feel his face changing a bit more and his teeth grew sharper as well. His longer nails kept scratching and digging into his mate's sensitive skin while their bodies continued rocking together, souls getting into that perfect sync again until there was nothing left for Jim than to give in to that basic, animalistic urge to claim Corey in every way possible.
Sinking his sharp teeth into that old mark felt strange and good at the same time. Strange since Jim wasn't used to doing this, but good because it meant Corey would truly belong to him. Without erasing his previous claim. Although his ex wasn't around them anymore (in physical form at least), Jim would never try to erase his memory. But it didn't feel like that anyway. He felt honored to be able to take Corey as his mate for the rest of their long lives and in his mind he thanked them both.
The rest of the day was spent with sweet cuddling and more lovemaking. Corey spent the night in his mate's arms and woke up in the morning with a light head and a big smile, moving back a bit to nuzzle to the warm body behind him.
The way Jim bit him and the mark spread inside him with the new bond felt incredible. It was being bitten all over again and the warmth spreading from the mark made his eyes tear up thinking about the first time.
Gently sneaking out from the hold of Jim, Corey went to the kitchen. Making coffee and breakfast but bringing two mugs with the life-saving dark drink back to his room. Inside his pair was still sleeping on his side, looking more beautiful than ever in the fair wolf's eyes. And now they fully belonged to each other. In every meaning sharing a long, long life of love and care as one bonded soul. Placing the mugs down, the small man stepped to the cut off wolf tail and caressed the fur with tenderness and love. His bond probably will show his feelings to his new mate but he didn't want to hide anything from him. Not anymore.
Taking off the grey bushy tail from the wall, he nuzzled it and whispered to it. "I'm sorry for keeping you here. I will let you rest now."
His new mate woke from the smell of coffee and it took only a moment or two to pick up on Corey's feelings. Looking around he saw him nuzzling the tail then talking to it. To his ex. Now Jim knew it with certainty that it belonged to the redhead's first mate who had changed him with that old bite.
Jim acted on instinct when he slid out of bed naked and nearly noiselessly padded to Corey, embracing him from behind to offer him love, understanding and consolation. He didn't say a word, just kissed the shaved side of Corey's head, giving him the opportunity to speak or stay in silence.
"They slaughtered him like he was some kind of a pest," Corey whispered leaning back against the bigger body. "If you're in your wolf body and they cut some part of you off, you cannot change back. I was sent this tail by the hunters."
Jim tightened his embrace around Corey, the tail's soft fur brushing along his tattooed forearm, sending a strange but good feeling up on his skin. "What did they want? And how did they manage to capture him?"
"Us. They wanted us. As a trophy to show to the wolf gang we used to fight against. I stayed on sacred ground. They left the bloody tail at the border of that. He was an old and strong wolf spirit. For a long time they wanted him out of the way. But they knew I would carry on whit his work," Corey continued, hiding more into Jim's protective body. "They used me and Sid to lure him into a trap. I couldn't help him..."
"Sacred ground? What do you mean by that?" Jim asked a bit confused, his voice soft and quiet, feeling that Corey needed to talk this out of himself to be able to finally move on. With Jim. "I'm guessing for not getting you too, they finished what they’d started. I'm so sorry, baby."
"The shaman's protected land. They protect it with totems and tokens. These are keeping this house safe as well. No hunter can enter. Only Mick to whom we gave from our blood," Corey explained turning around to face Jim, still holding the wolf tail. "They shot me with several arrows. I was weak from the wounds and my ex pair ordered Mick to keep me at the shaman's. A week after the tail, they dropped the skin at the border runes as well, so yeah..."
"That's horrible!" Jim growled, anger rising quickly in him for doing this to his mate and his ex. He wanted to personally rip everyone into bloody pieces who took a part in this. Taking a few deep breaths he tried to calm down and be there for his mate instead. He couldn't change the past, but at least he could be there for Corey. "It's understandable that you needed all those years to kinda process this. I'm sorry, love. Come, let's drink our coffee before it gets cold. Meanwhile you could maybe tell me how you two got to know each other. Only if it's not too painful, of course," he led Corey back to the bed to sit down.
Corey nodded and followed Jim, smiling a bit at his mate and moved close to him when Jim brought their coffees and sat next to him. "You gonna laugh. He picked me out and got me to join his school of native culture," he laughed then drank from the mug. "I was just turning twenty when he bit me. He was so wise and smart and all that shit. Later as times changed, we started to travel and play music."
Jim sipped from his coffee too and put an arm around Corey protectively. "So he mesmerized you like you did me," Jim smiled. "How long were you together? I suspect that we are talking about decades, huh?" he nosed the side of Corey's head before drinking more from his mug.
"Yeah. But you mesmerized me so much when I first saw you that I backed off for years," Corey laughed. "Many decades... Fifty-three years to be correct. But don't worry. You won't age much either from now on…"
"You chicken," Jim smiled and pressed a kiss to Corey's cheek. "But then again if you approached me sooner, maybe I'd have backed off for years too. I was nearly not ready now, imagine what I'd have done earlier," he chuckled a bit on himself then finished off his coffee, putting the mug on the nightstand and moved to sit behind Corey so he could lean against Jim. "Damn, you are old, grandpa," he joked then slid his hand onto Corey's which was resting on the tail. "What do you want to do with the tail? Keep it on the wall or take it to the basement? I'm fine with either one. I have the feeling that your first mate approves of us."
"I'm no chicken! You didn't see yourself playing up there with your long hair and long thighs being like some fucking living guitar god!" Corey chuckled. "You were way too perfect for a weird wolf like me," he said leaning back against Jim and enjoying his hold as he giggled on his joke. "I'm not old. I’ve been alive just for a long time. And yes, I think he approves of us too. He wanted me to carry on, but I was holding onto him and didn't let him rest. Maybe… I was thinking of taking the skin and the tail to the shamans to connect them to each other again and maybe I’ll keep him in the safe room with a blanket worked around him. I had that in mind a lot of times, just haven't had the... motivation to do so and close that all, you know?" Corey turned to kiss Jim's face. "I arrange it all and the shamans can get to know you too. They will have rituals for the new wolf."
It wasn't a surprise that Jim flushed bright red under his short beard and goatie from Corey's description of him. "Shut up, I'm no guitar god," he giggled kissing the fresh bite mark on his mate's healing shoulder. "But I'm glad my little stalker finally approached me after all those years. And now we have tons of time together to look forward to," Jim kissed up on the fragrant neck with feather-light kisses, a hand caressing Corey's stomach.
"I think it's a good idea to make him whole again," Jim continued, nuzzling the side of his mate's head, inhaling Corey's scent deeply. Damn, it was so good to be around him like this. It would take some time to get used to it, but it was something Jim didn't mind at all in his new life. "Arrange that meeting. I'll bring some food in and we can have breakfast in bed. If the others left anything. And if I can let you out of my arms," Jim playfully and gently bit Corey's jaw-line.
"I would gladly stay in your arms," Corey replied planting sweet kisses onto Jim's face and upper arm, rubbing his face to Jim and caressing him where he could. It took a good few minutes until they could finally break apart.
While Corey messaged the shamans and spoke to Mick about what's up now, Sid made some more food for them to have.
"We go in the afternoon. All of us actually, and the shamans will do a welcoming ritual for the new spirit wolf,” the small man said after his return, sitting back on the bed to eat.
Jim was driving his truck with Corey on his side and Mick and Sid sitting behind them. Following his mate's instructions, the tall man was getting more and more excited about their destination. As the swirling roads took them deeper into the forest, Jim kept glimpsing at his mate. Jim has never been to a reservation before and he didn't know what kind of rituals they wanted to do to him, but since Corey told him they were respected for carrying the animal spirits, Jim wasn't worried.
Soon they entered the Native American territory and parked near a log house. But before they would exit the car, Jim put his hand on Corey's that was resting on the folded gray wolf skin and the tail on his lap. Leaning over he pressed his lips against his mate's to reassure and encourage him. "Come on, I'm excited to meet them all," he whispered onto his lips.
Corey smiled back and looked around, still sitting and holding the wolf skin a little bit tighter. This was a closure and a new beginning for him. All he wanted for many years was this. And still, letting go of the pain and mourning that was his life for so long was hard for him.
"I'm coming. Sorry. Just... needed a minute," he said with a take of a deep breath and smiled reassuringly at Jim and the others.
Knowing his new mate can feel everything that goes through his being, he pecked the tall man's lips. "I'm ready. We will enter that cave over there," he pointed at some bushes. Behind them was the half-hidden entrance of the low cave. "You will be meeting the shamans who will introduce you to the spirits. As my mate for life," he smiled warmly with love again, maybe even blushed a little.
Jim's expression turned a bit more serious as he realized why this was hard on his mate. Pushing his own excitement into the background as much as his heightened emotions allowed, he nodded with an understanding smile and he even squeezed Corey's shoulder before looking over to the cave he pointed out.
"Okay. Sounds good so far," Jim took a deep breath too before looking back at his blushing mate. Yes, he found it cute, but instead of voicing it he just caressed his face shortly then it was time to get out of his truck and head that way.
Aside from his mate's and his own swirling emotions, Jim could feel something else. It was in the ground and the air too. Nice vibes. Magic and maybe spirits even. All around them already. He wasn't sure he was right, but he wouldn't be surprised if he was since his transformation continued on. That's why he was wearing his black sunglasses to hide his unnatural golden eyes and tried not to smile that wide with his sharper teeth while being out in public.
Walking next to Corey and the other two flagging them, they soon reached the cave and he let Corey lead the way.
Entering the shaman's cave was always an honor. Corey himself has been there many times, but still the way the air felt different and all the other spirits of life and elements connected to his wolf soul made him feel... somewhat like he belonged and somewhat mesmerized by it all.
The cave started as like any usual one in nature. But after a sharp left turn a tall great hall appeared before their eyes. The walls were lit by torches and decorated with ancient wall paintings of hundreds and thousands year old masters. Episodes of the native life within nature and their connection to the spirits.
"This place is sealed by magic. Only those who are close to the spirits can enter. Sid and Mick had from our blood, they are family even if they hadn’t changed into spirit carriers," the small wolf explained to Jim as they got deeper into the cave. Across the hall a narrow path led them to another hall, which’s lights greeted them from afar. Magical spirit lights like the Northern Lights were shining from the place where the shamans awaited them.
A shiver ran down Jim's spine as he was following Corey. He tried to look under his feet too, but both the feel of the cave and the countless wall paints kept distracting the tall man who meanwhile took off his sunglasses. Here Jim knew he didn't have to hide what he was becoming.
"Fascinating," he whispered to the explanation. It felt right, respectful to whisper in such a sacred place, Jim could feel it in his bones. There were moments when he though something brushed against his arms or legs and he even thought he heard whispering voices he couldn't make out. He wanted to ask Corey if those were the spirits, but that's when they reached the other hall and Jim's jaw dropped.
Seeing something like the Aurora Lights inside a cave was something Jim didn't expect at all. He quickly closed his mouth as he spotted four shamans watching and sizing them up. Suddenly Jim felt a bit nervous feeling their knowing gaze on him too, but since he had no idea about the customs here or what he was supposed to do, he stayed standing a step behind his mate, glowing eyes sizing them up too.
Corey walked in front of the sitting natives. All dressed symbolizing the world they protected. Water, middle, sky and spirit. There was a fire before them and the 4 shamans were sitting around it in a half-circle. Behind each of them there was a totem pole with the beings of their worlds and one huge one in the middle next to the fire. That one was more like the well-known one. All three worlds present, water as a turtle, middle as a bear and sky as an eagle. The earthly union.
The wolf looked back at Jim and reached out his hand for him to join and sit down before the shamans.
Drinking in all the details of the shamans and the totems behind them, Jim nearly missed Corey's offered hand. He was very, very fascinated, but he tried to rein in his emotions as much as he could. It hasn't been easy since the bite because of the heightened senses and emotions he often felt as if everything was jumbled up in him, waiting to be rewired. Still, he more or less understood the symbolism he was seeing then he finally took Corey's hand and sat as was expected. He fidgeted a bit in his nervousness then willed himself to sit still.
After an assuring smile at his mate Corey turned to the shamans. "Great ones! This male is my mate for life now. He welcomed the demon wolf spirit and allows it to become him. Please look into us and connect us with the spirits," he said on a low respectful voice.
The shamans raised their hands toward the fire and its flames grew taller in the colors of the lights that got also brighter and more of the spirits shined up as small floating gems in it. Corey felt it again, his being, his own spirit leaving his body and a shiny cloud shaped as a wolf sort of joined the flow of the light, and soon from Jim also. It was strange suddenly seeing all from above and also being aware of the physical body too. The light was warm and felt like home. Peace and harmony with the universe spread through them as the shamans started chanting. He felt everything at once and could share it with Jim now. All the emotions and understanding of the beings of the worlds. The feeling that they were are all one, their souls connecting in the river of light and life.
As soon as it ebbed down and the chanting stopped the new wolf mates could return to their human bodies too. The four shamans smiled and offered Jim a long pipe.
"You are under our protection, and we are under yours. We belong together now. Your soul is pure, the demon wolf spirit found a good carrier. We welcome you with gifts of tokens," the spirit world's shaman said giving a small handmade bag to Jim.
Saying "hi" would've been wrong, Jim knew, so he just returned Corey's smile and nodded to his words with respect, letting him speak instead of Jim too.
Then Jim's eyes widened a bit from what he saw and experienced next. Seeing the small balls of light, the spirits was unusual for him already, but then that out of body experience was even more shocking. Still, somehow he didn't start to panic, because he saw their spirit wolves and felt Corey on his side as they were pulsing together with the energy and the universe. Suddenly everything made sense as his spirit and eyes were opened up to something much bigger than them. Jim could feel him becoming part of that and it felt good. It felt like coming home. Especially when his soul entwined more with Corey's.
It was beautiful, breathtaking and overwhelming and made Jim's eyes well up from the deep spiritual experience, but he didn't mind. He tried to describe what he was feeling, but he couldn't. There weren't really words that could express how this all felt. At the same time he was open and vulnerable to the core and stronger than ever.
“Flow of Essence” by AledaneF (used with permission)
Afterwards it took Jim a moment to regain control over his physical body and accept the pipe and make sense of what the shamans were saying. Taking a drag from said pipe he passed it over to Corey, seeing the exhaled smoke swirling around him, calming yet keeping his mind open as he took the small bag with a thankful look.
Corey smiled at his mate. He knew exactly how it felt his spirit being opened up and connected to everything around them for the first time. From this Jim will think and look differently at many things. Knowing and thinking more about the motivations behind actions and think more far ahead with consequences for his own actions. Thinking about more of the balance's importance and how to keep it within himself and around them using the forces and energies surrounding them all. From now on Jim will be more aware of all that. Their life together has just begun.
After the pipe was passed around, the meeting got more earthly-like. The shamans stood up and led them to another smaller hall. It was decorated like any interior of a native home and food was packed on plates. Fruits and roasted meat from the forest. As Corey said earlier, a celebration awaited the new wolf.
"You'll get your weapon too," he whispered to the still shaken up man standing next to him in front of everything. Then Corey took his hand and pulled them onto the bear skins to sit down and eat.
To say that Jim was awed was the understatement of the century. As he was still processing what he'd just lived through and was trying to find his voice, he followed the shamans, the small bag with the tokens in his hand as he let Corey take the other and they finally sat down in a room that was more regular than the mysterious cave they have just left.
Once seated, his mind still kinda floating, he tried to focus and say something that wouldn't ridicule him. Saying something like "wow" was out of the question. Clearing his throat he nodded to Corey's comment about the weapon. Weapon? He had no idea he'd get one. But he didn't dwell on that too much just accepted the fact and decided to go with the flow like he did in the spirit realm he could visit for the very first time only minutes ago.
Turning to the shamans he lifted his golden eyes. They seemed to glow stronger after the previous spiritual experience and Jim just felt... so much. Gratitude one of the strongest emotions among them. "My name is Jim Root and I am honored by your kindness and the chance to carry the wolf spirit in me. I'll try my best to carry it with respect and to be a good mate to Corey and protect him and you all as much as I can," he bowed his head with respect, feeling that these words had to be said before they could start the feast. It was a bit mind-blowing to him that said feast was thrown in his honor.
"Yes, we know Jim," the shaman lady of the lower worlds smiled at him. "We are carriers too, only special ones, because of the way we can open the channels and connect the worlds. We are modern people otherwise, keeping the old habits," she told him while handing them plates with goods. "You will change, become one with the wolf. You will be a wolf, Jim. And from now on you will sense the danger and safe people of our kind all around you."
Corey thanked the food and smiled at Jim too while everyone got their meals. "I've told him about these. And will tell more from our ways. The full change is getting closer and we go on tour, so have to be careful," he said to the other shamans.
The vibe changed to family-like, close people sitting and eating. The shamans and humans and wolves in one room in union.
"Sorry, this is still a bit new to me and I'm trying to take in and process all," Jim giggled a bit, more relaxed now as he could sense the change in the room’s atmosphere. "Thank you," he said as he got his own plate then looked at Corey with a warm look only mates had for each other.
"The beginning was a bit bumpy, but I'm dedicated now. I want to give my all not just to be with Corey, but to fulfill my duties and learn more about this new world as much as possible. I'm excited and curious about the change and the future too, even with the dangers it holds for us," he said on a much calmer and balanced voice, like someone who was discovering a kind of deep inner peace. Like when the puzzle pieces fall into place, giving out the bigger picture he couldn't understand until now. Yes, coming here was definitely eye-opening.
When he realized that, he reached out to stroke along Corey's forearm and gave him a warm smile before he turned back to his plate and started eating. "So... what kind of weapon did my mate talk about?" he asked curious in between two bites.
"A pebble," a younger looking man said with a mischievous smile while eating.
"Yes, practically that," an older man, the shaman of the spirit world nodded sitting next to Jim and handing him a round pebble with carved symbols on both sides. "With this you can get to the border of the spirit world. Call the powers to make you see the hidden enemy, even magic protected ones. And in need the spirits can hold up your enemies with a blocking fog. Each is different. You have to learn to use it and learn what spirits come and with what skills they can help you. It can be a great weapon. Corey knows that," the man smiled assuring into Jim's golden eyes. "Also he can teach you to hide your changes," he added patting Jim’s arm in a friendly manner.
Jim couldn't stop himself from raising a curious brow hearing that it's going to be a "pebble". But of course it wasn't so simple, just like he suspected. He watched the spirit shaman sit down onto his left and listened closely to what he was saying about said "pebble". Jim took it with care and lifted it closer to his eyes to examine the symbols on one side before flipping it to do the same on the other too.
Closing his fingers around the stone, Jim looked up at the shaman, a lot of questions flooding his mind, but he knew some of those could be answered later by Corey. "I guess Corey can explain it to me a bit more how to use the stone?" he asked and got a nod from the shaman. "And that'd be good since it's starting to be a bit difficult to hide these visible changes," Jim hummed then took a deep breath. "Okay... so what's Corey's weapon then?" he looked from the man to his mate curiously.
Corey just winked at the spirit shaman and pulled the small wolf statue out of his pocket. "This is mine. I can connect to the animals in the middle world, the earthly ones to be correct, and they help me look around and send messages and stuff like that," he said giving the small token to Jim to examine.
"By the way, I’d like to ask for a favor," he placed the folded wolf skin and tail in front of him. "Can you connect the parts and make a blanket around his skin, please?"
"Wow," Jim mumbled, unable to keep his amazement in any longer as he took the wolf token in his hand. Its surface was shiny from use and sent some prickling energy up on Jim's long fingers as he looked at it from close too. "It's really cool," he smiled then lowered his hand, giving the small statue back to Corey once the skin was placed on the ground with respect and love.
Jim stayed silent, feeling the sudden change in his mate's emotions. The tall man placed a supporting hand on Corey's thigh in an attempt to make this easier for him.
The woman from before nodded and stood with graceful movements to come and pick up the skin with the cut off tail on top of it with respect. "It'll be our honor. And it was time for it too," she gave Corey a kind and compassionate smile before moving to a drawer at the back, placing the skin of Corey's first mate on top of it.
Next she pulled out the top drawer and got out a folded handmade blanket and brought it over, placing it in front of Jim, who looked up at her a bit surprised and questioningly.
"This is yours. We and our community are grateful to you for letting the spirit inside you. We give what we can, blankets and warm clothes to support your life," the woman smiled and bowed before Jim, and so did the other shamans too.
Jim felt his throat close up a bit since the words and respect they all showed moved him. "Thank you for everything. You're most kind. It's beautiful," he stroked a big yet slender hand across the blanket, looking at the different spirit wolves and symbols on it.
Turning his head to Corey when he felt his mate watching him, Jim smiled happily at him and leaned in to peck his cheek, knowing that he'd feel how moved he was by all this. Jim used to have so little during his life because he chose music above everything else. Now he chose Corey and this life too and he just started to understand how many new things that would entail, making his life richer and himself complete.