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"Don't blame yourself. I'm being selfish for this, but I need the freedom. Please, understand."

"Just a different way of saying it's not you it's me." the man chuckled.

Louis himself had laughed painfully, if there was anything he wanted to do for the rest of his life is to be by Harry's side, but unfortunately, that wasn't possible. He might be angry at Harry for not reading him thoroughly but he also knew that Harry's self reprimanding was clouding his evaluating abilities. And, Louis' acting skills were quite spectacular. Spectacular enough, maybe, to pretend he was happy for the rest of his existence without his mate by his side.

"I just want you to be happy." Harry had said with such sadness that it broke Louis' heart. 

He was certain happiness wasn't meant for him. He'll have to satisfy with the scraps of existence people call life.

"I will be. I hope you will too." the younger man rolled the words over his tongue just to stop the tears from rolling down his face. He didn't believe he'll find peace, but Harry might, otherwise, all the effort he's putting into all this would've been for nothing. 

Leaving his mate pierced a hole in his chest and made him bleed the little soul he had for the rest of his life. 

The bond breaking felt like being burnt alive.

But at least Harry was safe.

////

"Nathaniel! Come here." 

The sound of his father's voice wasn't pleasant and the younger Tomlinson wondered what had he done this time. There were so many things he couldn't point at one and say 'ah this is what will make my father tie me to a pillar and beat with a wet rope'. 

"Yes, father?" 

Louis sat on the bed trying to make sense of the numbers on his bills that made his head spin. Where will he find the money to pay the bills and the damage on the car his beloved son made for the third time in six months was beyond him. The only thing that comforted him is that he didn't have more children. He wasn't capable of restraining himself from strangling one.

The boy appeared at the door smiling innocently, a smile that made Louis both sad and angry. His father had had that smile, and it was used mostly when he had done something wrong.

"Why is there a dead animal in front of the door?" Louis rubbed his temples trying not to remember the stench of a rotting animal corpse he had encountered first thing in the morning when all he wanted to drink his first coffee in peace. 

"Oh my! I haven't the faintest idea what could that be about.." Nathaniel faked innocence, just like Louis used to.

"Darling, should I be carrying a gun if an angry father of yet another Omega approaches me because you dishonored them is all that interests me." 

It took Nathaniel more than it should to respond.

"I think not? It wouldn't do you any good anyway. I'll take care of it." 

Louis looked at his son under his glasses trying to understand how can someone so beautiful be so stupid.

"All you'll be taking care of is the dead animal on the porch. I don't care if a thousand lovely Omegas bat their eyelashes at you, you will act like a gentleman and spare my poor human nose the stench of an angry relative's wrath. And a possible injury at the market by an angry mother, wouldn't want that to happen again." 

Louis remembered the time a local girl's mother bitch slapped him while he was minding his business, trying to evaluate how much meat to bake for the evening after his son comes from work, like every desperate housewife with no purpose except their child does. 

Nathaniel's nostrils flared at the memory. No matter how irresponsible he was with his relationships and how many times it made Louis wonder if one day he'll have a pregnant Omega at his doorstep claiming to carry his grandchild, the boy was extremely protective over his father. 

It might or might have not make Louis feel weak, that his 16 year old son was protecting him, but he was aware of the said son's Alpha nature and his own bodily weak human one. 

Different brain chemistry in its entirety.

"Just be careful, I beg of you."

Nate smiled and approached his father at the table, looking at the papers as if their presence offended him on a personal level.

"I'll pay the bills." the boy said, resting his head on Louis' shoulder. 

Louis sighed, patting his son's head, trying not to cry at the realization of his incompetence.

"No need darling, I can take care of it." 

"So can I."

He'll be damned if someone considers him incapable of providing for his son just because of his human nature. It's enough that everyone looks at him sideways for being the only unmated human in a town full of wolves.

///

It was never easy to make an excuse once a month and drive for three hours just so to make another sacrifice to the gods for the sake of his son's safety.

It was an easy choice, Louis would do it a thousand times again, but he was getting tired of the pain each chant made.

"Lukh aman sacre dominum.... hind um bind daam..."  he spoke, feeling the burning pain for god knows which time.

What has to be done, has to be done.

It's for his Alpha. And their son. 

It didn't matter that neither knew of his actions. Louis was never the selfless one, but he knew some things had to be done, and with no one else available, there was only one option. To offer his useless powers in order to stop a part of the prophecy from coming true. 

He's heard of the prophecy when he was only but a child. His family wasn't an orthodox one, many wouldn't even call the little assembly a family, but to him, it was the only family he knew, and the only family that ever made the word have meaning. It consisted from his older brother, William, an Alpha and their cousin Ella, a Seer. Cousin Ella was 35 when Louis' mother died, and by the time he had met Harry she was already nearing fifty, the adolescence for a Seer.

"Cousin, is there really nothing to be done about our destinies?'' Louis had asked once, after he had an unpleasant encounter with a broody Alpha in the park.

"Of course there is, darling. Our destinies are just a.. a guide mark. Your story was beginning to be written when you were nothing but stardust. Stardust on an old, tired giant that hadn't moved for a very long time. That hadn't known it had the ability of creating life. Creating something as beautiful as yourself, darling. One day, it woke up from a nap, and stretched, shaking the ticklish dust, making it fall off, fly and wander around the vast universe until it landed on Earth. The star then fell asleep again, but the little specks flew and fought until they became alive. You're a little fighter that chose to fly across the universe and live. Destiny knows that every speck that lands on Earth will have a life. Doesn't take much to know that, does it, my little star? "

Louis laughed, it was just like cousin Ella to mock everyone, even the Destiny herself.

"If I say, Louis, take care, you will fall if you run too fast, I am not making a prediction, I am merely advising you to slow down or my words will come true. The same can be said for our predictions. Well, they carry much more weight, that is for certain, but the basic formula is the same. It is my gift, and curse, to be able to read the map your very own speck of dust made in the sky, where it began, where it is now, and where it will end based on your current position.

However,

some stories were written even before the stars shook off their heavy coats of dust, some destinies were written for nations even before those great nations were born. And that is the great paradox, the great mystery only Godess herself can understand. "

He supposed that's how the destiny of Harry's pack was written. Just like his cousin used to tell him when he was a child. He might try to understand, explain it even, but he knew some things were bigger than him, big enough not to fight them. He also knew that Harry wasn't like him. It might be his mate, well, ex mate's Alpha nature or just something as simple as human pride, but his Harry thought he could fight anything. He was the maker of his own destiny. The only sacrifices he made were the ones to achieve his goals and make sure his pack was safe.

Harry wasn't a cruel man, or at least never to Louis, but rather saw the world either black or white. 

Maybe that's why the Destiny made Louis his mate. To walk the grey line for his stubborn lover. And Louis did just that.

He heard the prophecy long time before they met, he didn't even think about it until the day he heard Harry say part of the prophecy in a moment of great rage. 

Only one of the rulers of the two packs will stay standing. In the end, someone will be widowed!

Months, it took months to realize he had to make a sacrifice, even if they were winning, Louis wasn't ready to gamble with the life of his Alpha and their pack members.

His cousin helped him, his brother refused. 

William was always by his side, even when he moved into Harry's pack as his Omega, William had bared his teeth at anyone who dared to suggest they part ways and he not stay as Louis' personal guard. Harry didn't have anything against that, he took an immediate like to William's stubborn, defensive nature. They had become close companions, at times it seemed Louis' mate confined more to William than to Louis. But they were together in battle, it made sense to Louis why, after awhile, they knew each other's body language. 

William was killed before Louis' eyes, with his head severed, thumping on the ground as if it were a mischievous apple in a fruit bowl. 

Louis' cousin sacrificed her sight in the process of diverting the prophecy.

The battle had ended with too many casualties, the Alpha of the enemy pack dead, as well as Louis' Omega.

 

Chapter Text

"Dad!" Nate yelled as he stepped out of the car while Louis stood in the kitchen, trying to save the apple pie and control his headache that was threatening to burst his brain.

"Yes, darling?" Louis called out sarcastically, he'd told his son a million times not to yell like a savage so the whole town can hear him.

"Did you hear?" his son ignored the malicious tone stepping in hurriedly. 

"You scaring off the squirrels, why, yes, son, I did."

"No! Elections were to be held next month!" 

Now that was a reason to yell. 

There were never elections in any pack. Until a few years ago when a committee was formed, with a northern Alpha as the head of the committee. Nothing of the sort was ever heard of in the wolf tradition. Wolves were always divided into packs, some were in good relations with others, but there were always those who carried bad blood between one another since the dawn of time. Most enemy packs didn't even know why they despised the other, it was a legacy from previous generations that mostly fought centuries ago, over a spring that ran through both lands and they couldn't agree on who's its going to be. That's why, that particular man took matters into his own hands and decided that the wolf wasn't a whole part of their nature, they were half human after all, and there was no reason to act as if they haven't entered the modern age, alongside humans. 

No matter how different the wolf was from the human, they coexisted in one being, and fighting one or the other was bound to bring confusion to the being. The policy of this new view was that yes, they were different from the humans, some things were definitely easier for them, but their ancestors bred with humans, the key factor in their creation myth were humans, and they shouldn't reject their human side that brought them their rationality and emotional perspective to differ from an unconscious animal with no reason. 

Humans with no special abilities were able to create empires, the fact that said empires were destroyed one way or another after awhile did not matter because it was passing of time and the flow of different people that destroyed those empires, which wasn't to be blamed only on the people and their greed, it was the same for every species. Even wolves operated that way. Packs were formed and destroyed, trees grew and were knocked over by the wind or a forest fire, it was just the nature's order, the celestial recycling.

Many wolves didn't want to live under a similar system the despicable humans actually thought of, which had to be respected, even if it was an ethical dilemma, the portion of the were community that thought of themselves superior to humans wasn't to be ignored. That's why the wolves made a system of their own that was bound to satisfy the majority and stop the useless wars that brought nothing but destruction and death. 

Louis didn't know what to think of it. While he was a wolf, he dreamed of a world where he could transform and run the woods without having the fear of being attacked making his spine tingle. But he never thought it would be possible to unite the whole were world, it seemed like a dream. 

Now, when he was nothing but a human, he was afraid.

"What do you make of it then?" Louis turned off the oven and sat next to his son at the kitchen isle. 

Nate chew an apple and looked as if he was thinking. Or was trying to chew thoroughly as Louis had taught him.

"I don't know. The new wave hadn't reached us until now. I don't even know if I'm allowed to vote by the new law." 

Nathaniel looked like he was actually thinking about it and it made Louis feel... uncertain about his role as a parent. They had talked serious before, Louis really wanted not to have a simple child, he was after all a human in a pack of wolves and there weren't many people he could talk to. It might seem wrong to want to find a companion in his own child, but he put his son's mind reasoning before his loneliness. He wanted Nate to think with his head, and not his wolf. The basics of his child upbringing might find a core in the new politics, let the wolf and the human coexist, make the best of the weakly human you have inside of you.

It only dawned to Louis how little did he know about the human in him when he lost the wolf. 

"Well, if the law is anything like the pack laws, you should be able to, you're nearing seventeen." 

The land they lived on was 'no man's land', not so randomly chosen by a lost Louis almost seventeen years ago who needed shelter on a neutral territory close enough to his family home where every full moon his cousin awaited him for the needed renewal of the sacrifice. 

He was too young and too stupid and too not ready for the turn of events life threw at him. He doesn't think he would've done better if he had the current life experience, he was still the same person, and the years and the ageing and maturing he was supposed to live through really didn't feel like it came. He didn't know what would he do if he had the elections to think about when he was Nate's age. Apparently, destiny has spared him of certain things and looking now, he was grateful. 

He's had many things to make him mature faster than he should've. Maybe this is Nathaniel's beginning. 

"Yeah, dad, but we've had no information on the candidates. It seems a little unfair if you ask me, for the voting to be obligatory and not to give us more time to see who the candidates are. It all smells foully of a political set up for the big head that came up with the idea that wolves can live under the same laws as humans. I mean, we had our own laws, what was wrong with them?"

Nate's tone was resentful, and wrongly directed, which made Louis feel like he should've beaten him when he was a child.

"Darling, you sound like a bot. Do you even know the old laws?"

"How could I know, you've never told me anything about them."

Holding his child for the first time when he was born was a magical experience for Louis, albeit painful since he had to give birth to the little rascal the human way because he had rejected his wolf before that, but beautiful nevertheless. It seemed in that moment that he found his cure for the crushing sadness that made him want to sleep a little longer, stay in the shower for a few minutes more or not look both ways while crossing the street.

It was moments like these that he questioned himself, could've he said or done something else, more, to do more for his son. 

"It never really came up, darling. You've never asked."

"I am asking now!"

"Will it help to know? Maybe it will, you know how things are standing at the moment, and apparently you do not like it, you think there is plenty space for setting up, nepotism and corruption. Do you think there was no room for that in the old system?"

"At least it was known that the Alpha in charge was truly an Alpha worthy of leading the people!"

Louis couldn't control his laughter. 

"What are you laughing at, dad? Am I wrong?" Nate's eyebrows furrowed in irritation, Louis could see the uncertainty under the shield of anger that someone was laughing at him, an Alpha. It might be wrong, but laughing at pretentious Alphas was always Louis' favorite sport, no matter if it was his son he was laughing at now.

"If you were right I wouldn't be laughing at you, darling." 

His son was young, very young, and full of pride. It reminded Louis of Nate's father when he was Nate's age and his eyes started burning with tears that weren't shed for more than a decade. 

"You sound so much like your father when he was your age. It's the righteous Alpha in you that thinks every Alpha is the same as you. Not every Alpha is the definition of an Alpha, Nate."

His son looked taken aback. This was a rare moment in which Louis spoke of Nathaniel's father and the boys' big green eyes were filled with wonder that made Louis' heart ache. He knew Nate needed another parent, an Alpha to guide him, something Louis wasn't. But there was only so much Louis could give him.

"There was a way of breaking the rules even back in the old days. Those laws were made when Alphas were the definition of a dominant leader, Omegas were breeding machines and Betas were at the sidelines. The Alpha status was too heavy to carry for Alphas that weren't the definition of what the law said. Alphas killed each other in order to take one another's land, they breeded with multiple Omegas, even Betas in order to have an Alpha heir, just to pass on the legacy. It wasn't a pretty picture of order. Trust me."

Nate looked uncertain.

"Do... Do you think this new Alpha, this.. Harry Styles will make it right?" 

"What?" Louis' ears were ringing with the name. Harry Styles. This Harry Styles.