But if I asked you, what would you say?

POSTED: Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:12 am

M A K O T O ∙ R I D L E Y

(+1,099)

Mako.

Have some insightful and depressing Mako.

He wondered many things regarding the War Lord, the now-head of the Stryder family in Casa di Cavalieri, the warrior princess, Teagan Stryder.

He wondered about where he would be at in his life it had not been for her. He wondered, if she had not made that trip to Portland, if he would have still been stuck under the Ragdogs’ thumb. He wondered if he had not accepted her suggestion to join the Cavaliers, where he might be.

He wondered what might have happened if her mother had never died. He wondered if the ex-Sola would have liked him, if she would have given him her blessing as the Lune had when he had asked to court their daughter. He wondered just how much like her mother Teagan was.

He wondered how she felt when her sister and closest confidant had decided to depart for Portland. He wondered if she had been lonely. He wondered if she had been torn between going with her littermate or committing to her duties to the pack. He wondered what it might have been like if Indi had stayed, if the relationship between Teagan and himself would have ever blossomed into what it had.

He wondered if she was burdened at all as she climbed the Brotherhood ranks, if she did it for herself or if she did it for her lost family. He wondered if it stressed her, to live in the shadow of both her mother and her great uncle. He wondered she had chosen the path she had because of them.

He wondered why she had sought out the dangerous confrontations with the Salsolans, a supposedly long-time enemy of Casa di Cavalieri. He wondered why she had put herself at such a risk, to effectively put a target on her back. He wondered if he could truly protect her if something were to ever go awry on one of their ambassador missions.

He wondered about more personal things to Teagan too. He why she was so adamant about training, about honing one’s abilities to their greatest potential. He wondered if she pushed so hard on others because she did so to herself. He wondered how much of her childhood had she really had, simply enjoying life and being a pup. He wondered she had been different in those younger days, if she had been happier, warmer, naïve, innocent, silly, carefree. He wondered if she had been a troublemaker, or if she had been a perfect little soldier all along.

He wondered why she was so adamant about covering her chest scars, but often spoke of scars in general as badges of strength. He wondered if she hid others too, if she hid emotional or mental scars that no one knew about.

He wondered what drove her sword, what garnered her protection, her teeth, her claws, her undying loyalty. He wondered how she remained strong, strong as an ancient oak despite the storms that threatened and tried to uproot and tear it down. He wondered why she hid her pain, her weakness, her sadness, her suffering.

And there were days that he wondered…where he had wondered about that dreadful night [M] during those final weeks of summer.

He wondered if she kept secrets from him…and why.

Mako was not stupid, nor was he blind or oblivious. He had had his misgivings when Teagan had called for her ex-apprentice and had refused to be seen by the pack’s most experienced medic instead. He had been suspicious when when the two women—yes, he knew Teagan had had a part in it—had conveniently had him leave the War Lord’s home on a fetch-quest. He had pretended to be ignorant, and it was easy to let his fear of losing Teagan dictate his thoughts and actions.

There had been blood in a place where she had had no injury though. She had been writhing in pain, gasping, whimpering, crying out, and dry heaving. She had more off than she had been in the previous weeks, ever since they had…ever since they had shared a connection like none that he had ever known or would.

She had broken down like she had on the night of her mother’s funeral. She had broken down, and had tried to push everyone out. He had begged her to let him in, and she had. The memory of her touch, her scent, her everything had been forever ingrained into his brain. What they had done though, they had never spoken of afterwards, had never acknowledged.

It had been a moment of weakness for her, and he had been, regrettably, selfish.

But when he had come to her house that night in those last weeks of summer, when he had smelt the strange stench of herbs upon the furniture of her home, when she had refused to eat, when she later woken up later and nearly scared him to death. He had wondered.

He had never asked her outright. If she had kept it a secret from him, she must have had her reasons. He respected her privacy. But…still…he wondered.

He wondered if she had been with child…with his child.

He wondered if she was ashamed of him. He wondered if she was ashamed of herself. He wondered if she had been scared, afraid. He wondered if her actions had been because of her late mother. He wondered why she had made the decision and why she had done it alone.

Like before, they had pretended that the night had never happened. Stryders seemed to be good at that, he’d noticed, at ignoring or avoiding things that they didn’t want to deal with. She had been warmer to him, more open to his company, to his affections. They had never gone so far as they had once before, Mako had not dared. Holding her, sleeping next to her, just touching her was enough. He hadn’t cared if she only allowed it when they were truly alone. She valued her privacy, and he didn’t care, so long as he was with her.

But there were days that he wondered if he would ever be worthy in her eyes. He wondered if he could ever stand beside her as her equal, her companion, her partner. He wondered if there would ever be a day, or if it was something best saved for a hopeful fantasy.

But, most of all, he wondered if she truly loved him like he did her.

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Teagan Stryder

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