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~Meara

I rest my hands on Sire's shoulders, trying to ground him.

Today is what all of this has been about. Although it doesn't feel like it for him, it's been centuries since Sire has been in power, and no one here knows of what he is capable of.

It's why Sire didn't sleep last night, spending most of it pacing back and forth down the hallway.

We both know words aren't going to be enough to convince the people that he can be trusted. They have no idea who he is, and he killed their Alpha. They will learn, though, that there hasn't been such a powerful Alpha since him, and there will never be another one again.

Sire looks up the stairs of the raised stage, hearing the murmurings of those who await news on their Alpha. We are in the busiest part of the Pack, and everyone has been alerted that an important announcement awaits them.

"Don't be nervous," I soothe. Despite my urging for his calm, my own tone is tight and strained.

I have faith in him, but I'm also nervous. What if the people expect? What if they do, and he isn't the Alpha I hope he will be? What if Alpha Carran is right, that we should be scared of his power? Sire shakes his head. "I don't get nervous."

If he's going to make such a claim, he should probably do a better job at hiding his nerves. He's looking about erratically and shifting from foot to foot.

I jab a finger at his chest. "I see straight through you, Alpha."

"I can't believe I'm finally getting that title back," he breathes, shaking a hand through his hair.

He looks like I always imagined an Alpha to look like. He's confident, striking and dangerous. It's obvious upon looking at him that no one will actually believe he belongs here as anyone else other than this Pack's leader.

"You deserve it," I assure him. "Your speech is going to go great, and everyone is going to love you."

They will fear him at first, naturally, and may be angry about him killing their previous Alpha, but if he acts how I'm hoping he will, they will warm to him quick enough.

He starts off up the stairs but quickly pauses, looking back down at me.

"Do you think many of the people read those books you and Hazel had published?"

I nod. Over the past week Hazel and I have been working to get out as much information to correct the records. We've used old books from his era that have been passed down Hazel's family that seem mostly unbiased. Those old witches never used to belong to a Pack, but would live on the outskirts, taking no side.

I haven't entirely healed from Carran's attack on me, but I'm good enough to walk around, albeit stiffly.

"We think so, but it's hard to estimate a true number," I tell him, rubbing the back of my neck. "Don't think about it. Just go on stage and assure them that you're going to be the Alpha they deserve."

"You should be coming on with me. You're going to be Luna," he reminds me gently.

My throat immediately dries at the thought. Being presented in front of all those people when I have no idea what a Luna should be is terrifying. I don't feel capable of leading these people. I barely feel capable of being with Sire.

"I can't...not right now," I stutter. People need to concentrate on Sire right now, because he's going to be the most difficult pill to swallow.

"I understand." He pauses again. "I'm worried about you."

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