I jerked awake to something poking me in the ass and I growled, pulling the warm body next to me closer. I looked over my shoulder to see Kate standing over me and I relaxed some, but kept Lydia between me and Kate. I seemed to be hyper aware of everything this morning and I didn't know why. I knew it was early morning because I could just see the knowing smirk on Kate's face in the dim light coming from the entrance of the cave. I looked down at Lydia and she was curled up against me with her head in the crook of my shoulder, the jacket pulled up under her chin. Last night must have really drained her.
"I was wondering when you'd man up," she chuckled softly. I shot her a confused glare and she just smiled back at me. "You claimed her, didn't you?"
"How... how'd you know that?," I whispered, trying not to wake the sleeping woman just yet. Kate snorted and tapped the side of her nose with an index finger.
"You're scents changed, she said, the smile fading from her face and she suddenly stared far away.
"What? What is it?" I was worried that she had heard something that I didn't and that something was wrong. Kate shook her head and looked back down at me, a look of bewilderment on her face.
"I've heard stories of this happening, but I didn't think they were true."
"What stories?," I hissed. Her hesitancy was starting to make my anxiety level skyrocket and I pulled Lydia closer into my chest. She let out a soft whimper, but thankfully, she didn't wake. Kate knelt down beside me and sniffed the air.
"First, I have to ask you, do you know what an Omega is?," Kate whispered, suddenly looking tired.
"Um... I'm not sure. Aren't they like... at the bottom of the pecking order?" I had no idea what that even meant. Not really.
"Technically... yes," Kate sighed. "But most pack's bottom ringers are not Omegas. Omegas are exceedingly rare and prized by Alphas as mates. They bond instantly with their Alphas when claimed and instinctively obey their Alpha's commands. Most "made" packs will never see an Omega."
"Why?" The longer she went on, the more confused I became.
"Because Alphas and Omegas aren't made, Dean, they are born."
"But Lydia called that douchebag, Riley, that was abusing her, Alpha!," I growled under my breath. "He forced her to call him that, actually."
"Unless they were born a werewolf, they are not true Alphas," Kate muttered. "If this Riley were a true Alpha, he would NOT have treated an Omega that way." So, he got off on the power of the word, when he only had the power of brute strength to make her submit. The way she had behaved when I ganked that asshole, made us think that she had a real bond with him. But, now, I think he had her conditioned her to believe that he was really her Alpha.
"Wait... Are you saying Lydia is a pure blood Omega?", I looked down at her, cradled in my arms like I was seeing her for the first time.
"She didn't tell you?," Kate asked, astonished that I didn't know.
"There wasn't... time." I felt guilty that I hadn't asked her to tell me anything about herself before laying claim to her. Neither one of us spoke about our pasts and, until now, I had wanted it to stay that way.
"What about this story?," I asked, trying to change the subject. She glared at me, seeming to know instinctively that I wasn't being completely truthful.
"Well, there are old stories about a human man falling in love with an Omega werewolf and when he claimed her, it not only changed her, but it somehow changed him too."
"What do you mean, it changed him?," I groaned. This didn't sound good.
"It turned him into an Alpha." Kate's eyes bore into me and I could tell she saw something different in mine. I jerked upright, pulling Lydia up with me. She whined as she was violently woken from her blissful slumber. I felt bad, but I didn't seem to be able to let her go.
"OH GREAT!", I blurted, not caring who heard me or who I woke up. "AM I GONNA START WOLFING OUT NOW?!"
"SHHH! Dean! Keep your voice down!," Kate hissed. "I don't know. None of the stories are exactly the same. Some had him going full werewolf. While others say he only developed some strong Alpha traits, like heightened awareness, senses and protectiveness." Well, I had to admit, ever since I woke up, I'd felt all of those traits.
"How... how could this happen?", I growled, trying to control my growing anger. I was vibrating and Lydia whimpered against my side, feeling the tension in my body. I tried to calm down, for her sake. She had been through enough. She didn't need to be afraid of me too.
"I had been thinking about that. If the stories were true, I wondered if maybe the man had an ancestor that was a werewolf and that a recessive wolf gene got passed down the family line." I looked at her skeptically and she chuckled. "It's only a theory, Dean. There's no way to prove it."
"This is just perfect!", I huffed sarcastically. "So, my great, great, great grandma was a werewolf! Lovely!" My nostrils flared and Lydia clutched onto my bare chest tighter.
"Like I said, Dean, it's just a theory." I snorted with not much humor and hugged Lydia protectively. That one simple gesture seemed to calm her down substantially.
"That smell...," I whispered, sniffing the air.
"Smell?," Kate smiled knowingly at me.
"Yeah, it smells like...(sniff) Honeysuckle!" I thought back to the moment that I claimed Lydia and the taste of her blood. It tasted just like the sweetest Honeysuckle nectar! I looked down at the woman in my arms and when she looked up at me the Honeysuckle smell got stronger, like someone had just shoved a handful of the blossoms up my nose. "It... it's her isn't it?", I looked at Kate in astonishment. Kate's smile only got wider.
"Only you can answer that question, Dean." Kate sat down on the moss in front of me. "What does it smell like?"
"You can't smell that?", I asked, bewildered. "It smells like Honeysuckle. Like her blood tasted like Honeysuckle."
"That's not what I smell," Kate said smiling. "You smell like leather and she smells like the ocean." She looked at Lydia and spoke to her softly. "What does Dean smell like?" Lydia stuck her nose up against my chest and inhaled deeply through her nose.
"He smells spicy. Like... cinnamon. But...", she trailed off, with a confused look on her face.
"What is it?," I asked, a little worried.
"Y-you didn't smell like that yesterday," she whined. She became visibly anxious and her scent suddenly changed, becoming a mixture of that sweet Honeysuckle and something smoky, like burning leaves. "Yesterday you smelled human and like freshly mowed grass." I looked at Kate utterly confused again.
Yesterday you smelled like all other humans to me, but with an undertone of leather that is distinctly you," Kate said matter-of-factly. "Today that human scent is gone so I only smell the leather."
"Does... does that mean I'm not human anymore?" Kate was silent for a moment looking out over at the fire that had burned down to glowing embers . I followed her gaze and saw several pairs of eyes staring at me. They included the eyes of my two best friends, Cas and Benny. I looked away quickly, afraid of what I would see in their eyes. I was afraid of what they would think of me. When Kate finally spoke, I was kinda sorry I asked.
"I wish I knew, Dean," she murmured softly. "I wish I knew."