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Bonded

Bonded

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Finally back home after years of training as a gifted healer, Skye is ready to finally be able to help in their family-owned clinic. The omega’s mind was set to treat any one who asks for help and all kinds of wounds and diseases to the best of his ability. What he did not expect was to discover that he was betrothed to the son of the king. ***** Defying royal traditions and his father, Linus walked away from the palace. The alpha prince found a family in people who wield swords for a living. He love the life on the road, and forging his own fate. What he did not expect was his father’s threat coming to life and presenting him an omega for a mate. ***** An alpha who wants nothing but to be free. An omega who’s goal in life was to help. Will they learn what it means to have a mate?

Chapter 1 - Coming Back

Skye wiped at his nose as the wagon he was hitching a ride on entered through the giant city gates.

It had been so long since he had been home that he had forgotten the stink caused by so many people living in such close proximity.

Four years in the countryside and small, poor villages would do that, he supposed. The omega shuddered as they rolled forward through the throngs of people, the wheels clacking on the uneven cobblestone street.

It was busier than he remembered, but then, he was no longer used to so many people in one place.

The rickety wagon came to a stop outside a familiar building and he hopped off, his small satchel in hand, thanking the driver.

The beta farmer waved at him in farewell and his fare having already been paid, left without further ado. No doubt he had better things to do than babysit some unknown omega.

Skye's nose twitched in protest as another wave of unwashed bodies assaulted his senses. Attempting to ignore it, he turned his attention to the building he had been dreaming about ever since he left.

It seemed older, more run down and dilapidated than he remembered, but then his family never spent money on material things. For all the outside appearance, he knew the inside would be perfectly functional and clean.

Healers had a different focus than most and Skye was the same.

A thrill of excitement rushed through him as he walked up the stairs. It had been so long.

Four years felt like a lifetime; he had seen and learnt so much since he set out to become a trained healer.

Pushing the door open, Skye smiled as he looked around.

Everything was so familiar apart from a change here and there. The narrow stairs leading to the bedrooms had finally been repaired and some of the furniture that had been falling apart had been replaced with far sturdier looking pieces.

It seemed like his family had been doing well in his absence.

A cry drew his attention and he grinned as his mother dashed through the door to his left to engulf him in a tight embrace.

“Oh, my baby! You’re home!" she exclaimed.

“Mom!" he said then wheezed out a laugh as she squeezed him tighter.

“Oh Skye, I can't believe it's you! It's been so long!" she grasped his arms and held him out to look him over. “Look how big you are now!"

He took the opportunity to look over his omega mother.

The black hair he inherited from her had lightened and streaked with grey while creases lined her face. Still, the same sparkling silver eyes and kind smile greeted him.

She sighed, eyes misting over, then pulled him forward for another squeeze as though trying to reassure herself that he's still there.

“I was grown when I left," he gently reminded her as they parted again.

“But now you actually look it! No more baby fat on your face and your eyes speak of knowledge. I've been worried that we didn't make the right choice in sending you away, but looking at you now, I can see it was the right decision."

“I've learnt so much," he reassured her. “I can't wait to show you all the things I can do now!"

“I was just sorting out all of our supplies. Why don't you tell me all about it while I do that? Your father won't be long. He's getting fresh meat from the market with your sister for dinner."

She ushered him into the room she came from.

It was one of the rooms that the family used for their clinic. The cupboards lining the walls were full to the brim- something that took him by surprise. The last time he had seen it, it had been woefully bare.

His parents would never turn the sick and needy away, no matter the cost to themselves and it frequently meant their shelves weren't as stocked as they would like. They had often relied on donations from their neighbors to keep the family fed while he was growing up.

Now everything was fresh and good quality.

Skye grinned, proud. “Seems like you've been doing well while I was gone."

His mother paused in her task and tensed.

“Ah, yes," she replied, looking uncomfortable and almost... Guilty?

Before he could ask, she continued and cast a weak smile over her shoulder. “Now, tell me about what you have learned! You must be so well travelled now."

Skye mulled over the odd reaction, perhaps something had happened that caused their fortune that she wasn't entirely comfortable with.

A noble patronage?

Such a thing would cause that reaction in his mother. She was fiercely determined to make do without outside help, something she butted heads with his father about regularly during his childhood.

His father, the more practical of the two, would take the donation for what it was; a gesture of goodwill rather than pity.

“Yes!" he said eagerly, pushing the thoughts away.

He had just returned. There was enough time to worry later.

“The Aldean Healers travel so much to offer their healing to everyone who might need it. We went through so many villages and towns and even farmsteads to help those in need. There's far more work than healers so they can never settle down! Though you probably know that already, seeing as you did the training too..." he trailed off awkwardly.

“Everyone learns different things," the omega replied, gently prompting him to continue as she cataloged her dried herbs. “And everyone has different abilities. Now I want to hear about your adventures! And what my bright boy can do with his Diyari now that he's learnt from the best."

Skye stretched his arms out and held his hands up in front of his face, fingers splayed.

Soft silver light emanated from his fingers as he reached out to his power as he had been taught. In his mind's eye, he could see the delicate bones of his hands lined with tiny veins, sinew, and muscles.

“I can see everything now. I remember when I left, I could feel when people were hurt but I couldn't use my power to heal even a scratch without exhausting myself. Now I can see the wound or infection in my mind and control my power to heal it. And I know all the herbs and tonics to promote healing so I don't wear myself out when I have lots of patients. I passed my exam with full marks too."

“That's wonderful, baby! Far better than I did!" she laughed, turning back to him to give him another hug.

It was with obvious reluctance that she pulled away, pride lighting up her face.

“I'll let you in on a little secret; I barely passed," she laughed, eyes lit up with teasing amusement. “My teacher despaired of me ever learning anything but she was right when she said that practice makes perfect. Then I met your father, and he made up for my weaknesses."

Giggling like a young girl, she picked up a small sprig of dried lavender and tucked it behind his ear. Her eyes were far away as she looked him over once more.

Whatever she saw in him seemed to make her sad after a moment and she sighed as she ran her hand through his hair.

“Oh Skye, I remember when you were just a baby. You could barely walk and yet, you were already trying to help us in the clinic."

“And now look where we are, I'm back home all trained and ready to really, actually help this time."

Her face fell at his words and Skye reached out to takes his mother's hands, alarmed.

“What's wrong? Mom?"

“Later," she replied, summoning up a strained smile for him but he saw right through it.

There was something awfully fishy going on. This was not how he had envisioned his return home. There was a quiet, static of tension in the air and right now, he doesn’t know what to think of it.

The slam of the door announced the return of the rest of his family.

His sister, looking far more like a young lady than when he had last seen her, poked her head in to the room and gasped.

Like Skye, Snow had inherited their mother's black hair although she had their father's black  eyes. Growing up, she had everyone captivated by her youthful beauty and it seemed to have only grown in his absence.

His father had been at his wit’s ends having three omegas in the house before he had left for his training and her beauty had seen no end of suitors even from a young age.

“Brother!" she yelled as she bolted into the room.

She scooped him up in a tight hug with strength belied by her tiny frame.

“Ah," his father moved to stand in the doorway looking conflicted. “Welcome home, Skye."

“Dad!" his warm greeting encouraged a smile from the old alpha's face and his father relaxed before coming to claim his own welcome hug after shooing Snow out of the way.

“It's good to see you looking well, my son," Heather replied, looking him over.

“If only I could say the same to you," Skye joked.

His father had never been the most statuesque alpha but his hair was now entirely grey and dark circles lined his eyes along with deep crow's lines. He seemed smaller than he remembered somehow, almost stooped as though all the years leaning over a patient's bed frame had finally taken its toll.

A soft smile met his words and his father seemed sad as well.

Glancing over at his mate, his father spoke quietly. “We must tell him now that he's back."

“Later," his mother begged. “It's been four years."

“Tomorrow," his father replied after a silent battle of wills with his mate. He turned to look at Skye, placing a reassuring hand on his shoulder. “We'll talk about it later tonight, once we've all caught up. First, you have to tell us all about your travels and what you have learned."

*****

Skye walked into the kitchen to see his sister organizing dinner while their parents were both busy.

Their mother was visiting a patient for a check up while their father completed his ledgers.

Snow looked up at his approach and smiled. She handed him a knife and pointed at the pile of potatoes sitting next to her.

They stood in silence while they worked, easily falling into the same routine from their youth.

He had spent the entire afternoon regaling them with stories of his life over the time he was away in Aldea learning to be a healer.

The comfortable silence was more reassuring than his mother's sad eyes and his father's gruff refusals to explain what on earth had happened while he was away.

“They sold you to an Alpha," Snow said suddenly and the knife slipped from Skye's nerveless fingers.

Chapter 2 - Breaking News

The half- peeled potato rolled across the room unnoticed.

“What?" Skye whispered, uncomprehending.

“That's where all the money came from. It must have been a lot because they don't seem worried about money at all. Mom was furious when she found out. I think Dad agreed without saying anything to her. I'm not sure of the details. They won't say anything when they know I'm around."

She lapsed into silence and Skye stayed frozen in place, trying to process the information.

It made a horrible kind of sense.

The way his mother acted, the way she flinched over the extra supplies, the sad looks she cast at him.

She knew he had returned only to be given away to some alpha. She was a huge believer in love too, an arranged bonding must have shocked her.

“So, all the repairs and the stocked cupboards..." he trailed off, unsure how to feel.

It was too much, too fast, and he couldn't wrap his head

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