The large banquet hall was quite full, considering majority of the coven had been either slaughtered by William or by Faith, Raoul, and Janielle. Many of Tara's pack had to stand against the wall in order to accommodate others.
All the vampires where dressed in the usual black leather and it was clash to all the shapeshifters around. They were all in comfortable jeans and t-shirts, perhaps just in case they had to change quickly for a fight they wouldn't ruin their good clothes.
I pulled my head back in from my peak and poked it back out again to search frantically for Raoul. He should have been here by now. If he messes this up I'm going to kill him.
"Willow are you ready?" A voice called from behind me.
I turned to face Fusion, our Master of Ceremonies. He was tall, dark and handsome in the old fashion sense. He had brown, wavy hair that would never lay down and dark chocolate eyes. Best of all he was human We only allow humans around for certain situations, such as this one. He got to live and we had legal, binding occasions.
"As ready as I'll ever be, I guess." I said exhaling.
"Good, because we are going to begin." He held out his arm and I interloped mine around his. He escorted me in complete silence out from the waiting room down the isle.
Tara stood by at the end, in all black as well, smiling brightly at me. She looked radiant with her hair all done up and her makeup applied with elegant taste. The long walk finally ended and Fusion winked at me then took his place in-between of us.
"Take her hand in yours." Fusion said to me. I blushed slightly and reached out towards my blonde lover. She slipped her fingers into mine and it was like we where touching for the first time again. How graceful she stood before me, and how her breathing passed her lips so quietly. The way the corners of her lips quirked when she smiled, everything that was Tara was what I loved most.
I had seen a joining ceremony so many times that I had all the old sayings memorized, but actually standing up in front of everyone and saying the commitment vows myself, took away all known territory.
"Do you Willow Rosenberg, know the terms of commitment and are willing to abide by them. Never to waver your devotion and your understanding of the potential mate presented to you?"
"I know them." I answered, compressing a smile.
"Drappa Tarashitia, have you any objections or formalities at this time that need brought to the coven's or wolf packs attention?" He asked Tara.
"Only that I want Willow and everyone present to know I will l-love her with all of my heart from now until forever. " Tara said blushing and ducking her head behind her hair.
I held back the tears and mouthed 'I love you.' She nodded and looked back at our hands.
"Well will now hold the exchange." Fusion held up his hands and stepped back. This was when the mates would give the other a gift that was of some meaningful value. It didn't have to be big, or expensive, it just had to be something that would hold significance in the future.
Tara let go of my hands and hid her growing smile. She turned out towards the rows of others watching. "Could my pack members please stand."
One by one all of the werewolves stood, rigid at an attention and allowing all of us to get a good look at them. Tara smiled and dipped her head back and let out a long, harmony graced howl. The others took up the note and stopped when Tara did.
"My present to my mate is the gift of the hunt. On the next full moon she will accompany me and my own on the monthly kill. She will then be allowed to stalk, trap and kill the prize. It is considered a great honor among us and it will incite her into our pack. I will be there and together we shall share the bounty." An uproar of shouts and clapping broke out among the shapeshifters, the vampires looked around nervously for a moment then took up to celebrating as well.
Tara beamed at me and I could do nothing but return her happiness. I had never been on a hunt before and from the sounds this was not something to be taken lightly. I felt something stir in my body, the feeling of restlessness. I wanted to hunt now, to connect with the balance of mother nature this very moment. Then I realized that must be how Tara is feeling. I looked at her with new awe, I could feel what she was feeling and it was wonderful.
The cheers finally came to a halt and everyone sat down. It was now my turn but I had nothing to present. "My gift isn't-"
"Here!" Raoul shouted, rushing though the open doors. He held something bundled in his coat as he quickly made his way up to us. His face was flustered but he pulled back his jacket to Tara and reviled a small, brown wolf cub.
My body sagged with relief as he lifted the pup out and held him towards me. I scooped the tiny form in my arms and Raoul turned and raced to his seat next to Janielle.
"This is my gift to my mate." I said lifting up the cub to place it in Tara's arms. She hesitated, looking at the babe with such tenderness, then she let the animal fall gently into her grasp.
"Oh Willow he's precious." Tara breathed. The small cub tried to hide his tiny muzzle into her chest and there was a soft chuckle among the audience.
"He's ours now and we will raise him as if he where our own flesh and blood." I said stepping towards the two and hugging them both to my chest.
"It is the power bestowed upon me to announce this joining ceremony complete. Please welcome your new mates and let them live happily among you." Fusion shouted.
Everyone stood up and cheered loudly. Tara and I where oblivious to all the commotion. She looked at me as I did her, the world was gone and all we had was each other. Without even thinking we stepped into each other and kissed gently, squishing the pup between us. Only when he wiggled and whined a bit did we finally part.
We walked out of the celebration hand and hand and were greeted by slaps on the back and rough handshakes from members of both sides.
Raoul came leaping up to me and shook my hand vigorously. "She's one hot girl, I hope she shows you how she works that beautiful body of hers."
He's lucky I was drug out of the room, or else I'd be pounding him in the ground about now. He smiled and waved at me, putting one arm around Janielle's shoulders. What a bastard, but I couldn't help but hope he was right.
Tara was careful not to let our new friend get hit or ruffled and finally we both said our good nights and headed up the stairs back to our main room.
Shutting the door behind me I let out an exasperated breath. "I think they are more excited than we were."
"Oh don't be too sure about that." Tara answered setting our wolf cub down on the floor. His little body immediately went exploring, bumping into things, until he bumped his nose too hard on the bed post and let out a high, tiny wail. Tara patted him on the head and he relaxed enough to go off again.
I swelled with pride as I watched the little guy run around the room. Tara and I both sat on the bed just watching our cheap entertainment until I felt her hand grasp mine.
"I want you to know that whatever happens tonight, I meant what I said, I do truly love you."
"What do you mean? I'm so ready to make love to you." I answered trying to remain calm. I really was ready to do this, to show Tara how she made me feel all over, from my head to my heart and then some.
"It's not just that, you've never made love to anyone let alone a werewolf. We kind of work differently. Lovemaking can turn very savage, but still quite pleasurable."
I shivered. "Are you tempting me with a good time?"
She laughed. "Guess I have nothing to worry about?"
I leaned over and whispered in her ear. "Just worry what I might do to that sexy body of yours instead."
Her body stopped all motion, no breathing, no thinking, she just waited for me to make the first move. This night was about taking that final step, me losing my virginity and giving myself over to one person. Right now was that moment and I was more than ready.