~ Chapter 1 ~

Author's Note: So... the idea came to me while reading Bloodrose; why is it that Renier has to get the short end of the stick? I love Renier's character so much, and felt such sympathy for him I decided I would make a story that would give him a better love interest than that stupid, silly Calla... ugh... Not a Calla fan. *ahem* Anyway, I hope you enjoy! If so, or even if not, please review! Thanks!

The mid-winter night was black as ebony. The only light was from the numerous, bright stars that scattered through the sky and the full moon. The wind shook the trees in the garden at the Academy as Renier sat still as stone on one of the gray, cement benches beside the shrubs that lined the path. His shoulders were hunched as he leaned over, his forearms resting on his legs. Everyone else was socializing in the dining hall, and Calla was probably somewhere off with Shay. Renier was left to ponder his future alone in the garden. He liked the solitude for the moment, though his packmates gave him purpose in this world. His world had been turned upside down in the last few months, and everything he thought he knew had been broken down into lies. The Keepers were the enemy, not the Searchers. His father, not Emile, but instead a Searcher that had been killed by whom he thought was his pack, his family, his blood. All lies. Calla, his lily; she gained feelings for a human, turned him into one of them. How selfish she was to leave him behind. He truly loved her, he thought he would spend the rest of his life with her by his side. They should have been the Alphas to lead their pack, but now all that was threatened by her newfound love of the Scion. And who was he now? What was his place? She tried to keep him fooled, but he knew by the way she looked at Shay that he had already lost this battle for her affections. He inclined his head toward the moon, his wolf wanting to howl in solace.

"Well, I think now would be the perfect time to introduce a new ally." Anika spoke with a smile as she entered the dining hall. Mason, Nev, Sabine and even Ansel and Bryn were gathered at the long table in the center of the room. Each had been enjoying a night of relaxation in the midst of their packmates. They turned their attention on the Arrow.

"Oh? A new ally?" Mason's curiosity was already peaked. "Who is it now?"

"A fellow Guardian." Silas had made his entrance into the room. "She was the only one we were able to rescue on other attempts to forge alliances with Guardians in the past."

"Another Guardian?" Bryn exchanged a quizzical gaze with Mason.

Anika nodded, "She was one of the Bane pack, but was only an infant when we rescued her."

"She has no recollection of the Keepers, except what she has learned here at the Academy." Silas informed, pushing his mess of hair from his face.

"So she's pretty much a Seeker... almost." Sabine interjected.

"Interesting." Mason commented as he took a bite out of an apple, leaning his chair back to balance on the rear legs.

Adne soon sauntered in with a girl about Calla's and Bryn's age. She had dark brown hair that ended in the middle of her back with natural red highlights that were only apparent in the light. Her round golden eyes had long, black eyelashes that fluttered as she took in the sight of the pack. She was tall, but slender with curves that were accentuated by the knee-high black dress that hugged her hips, but left the cloth around her waist slack. Her long legs were freed from clothing, but she wore leather boots that came up just above her ankles. She brushed her bangs from her eyes, her pale skin held a rosiness in her cheeks. A smile gradually curved across her lips as she freed a hand from behind her back and waved to the Guardian pack.

"Hello." She spoke, one single word to break the silence in the room as they all studied her.

"Well, well..." Nev was the first to speak up. "I wonder how Calla's gonna take the news of a new packmate."

"Ah, Calla's not the jealous type." Bryn gave her Alpha the benefit of the doubt.

Ansel scoffed, knowing his sister better than anyone.

"Welcome," Sabine addressed the girl, knowing quite well how rude it was for everyone to speak of her like she wasn't there. "Please excuse the others, I'm Sabine."

"Nice to meet you, my name is Destiny," The newcomer introduced herself.

"Please everyone, be considerate. She's never been around her own kind before. We thought it would be nice to let all of you settle in before the introduction." Anika spoke. "I do hope you find your place among them." She rested a hand on Destiny's shoulder, a warm smile spreading over her. It seemed as though Anika held a soft spot for the young Guardian.

"Well, this isn't the whole pack, but I'm sure you'll meet Calla, Ren, and Shay soon enough." Ariadne said to Destiny. "I'm sorry to jet off so soon, but Connor needed me to help him with some training. I'll see you guys later!" Adne waved to each of them and walked toward the door.

Destiny watched the petite girl exit and turned back to the pack. She had never even seen another of her kind, and so much excitement rose within her as she took in the sights and scents of them.

"I don't mean to intrude." She said cautiously. "I am curious to learn more about everyone though."

"If it wasn't so late at night, I would have a little more energy. Unfortunately, I was just about to hit the hay." Nev said with a yawn and looked to Mason who nodded in agreement.

"Well, I was only stopping in to get a glass of water, then be on my way to bed as well. Sorry, Destiny." Bryn told her, reluctant to welcome the strange Guardian without Calla being in the loop. The rest of the pack seemed to feel the same way as they rose from their seats.

Destiny couldn't help feeling shunned as they all made their excuses to leave the dining hall. It was late though, and she felt a tinge of regret wash over her that she hadn't gotten to meet any of the Alphas. She didn't have any idea how pack life worked, but her instincts told her she should have met the Alphas first, to let them know she was of no threat to them. She had heard so much about each of them from Connor, Ethan, Ariadne, Anika, and even Monroe when he was still around. When she heard of Monroe's death, she had cried. Monroe and Anika, as well as Lydia, Isaac, Tess... all of them were like her family, like her own pack. She craved that essence of a pack to complete her. She felt utterly lost without it, even though she had never had it to begin with.

Her heart sank like a rock as she looked around the empty dining hall and decided to take a stroll in the garden instead. She had been holed up in her room ever since the new Guardians had come to stay in the Academy. Anika was set on protecting her from the others until they had gained her full trust. But now, she felt like an intruder in the only home she had ever known. Finally, she would be able to go into her secret place, the garden that offered her comfort. Walking through the entryway into the flower-covered area, the strong scent hit her; Bonfires, autumn nights, sandalwood... A scent so beautiful she sucked in every breath with relish as she progressed further down the path.

There he was, the origin of the scent and a beautiful image of a man. He looked to be having a moment to himself, so deep in thought he didn't stir when she had approached. She stayed about ten yards away from him, allowing him his privacy until he noticed her. His head turned, taking in the vision of the girl with the long, dark hair. Her golden eyes gleamed in the moonlight as she watched him.

He sniffed the air, and when the wind blew, he could smell the mixture of cinnamon and vanilla, along with pine. Her scent intrigued him as he slowly stood from the bench. They stayed frozen in the night, studying each other for a moment before she approached him. A feeling she had never experienced came over her, a warmth and a pull like gravity.

Suddenly, Renier was jerked from his trance as he showed his sharpened canines. "Who are you?" He asked, taking a defensive pose.

She stopped her advance and flashed a smile that disarmed him. "My name is Destiny. Anika introduced me to your packmates, but you were missing from the group." She cocked her head to the side, "And you would be?"

His eyes held confusion as his brow furrowed into a questionable expression. "Renier. Laroche." He responded. "You're a Guardian?" He asked, but already knew the answer.

She nodded, that sweet smile still gracing her red lips. "I am. As are you. I've never met one of my kind before tonight." She tucked a strand of her brown hair behind her ears, revealing glimmering opal earrings. "It's a pleasure to meet you Renier."

Her voice was smooth and sweet as honey and Renier felt his pulse increase. For the first time since this whole mess had started, he was finding himself attracted to another female, and a Guardian at that. Never had he exhibited feelings for any other Guardian but Calla. Though he had his human companions in the past, they never held any importance other than his amusement. But this girl, she was unlike any he had ever met. Something about her called to him and the wolf inside him.

"Your packmates seemed.. weary of me. I was hoping to persuade them to run with me, but they made their leave before I could even suggest it." Destiny said, a hint of sadness to her voice.

Ren smirked, and crossed his arms. "Well, they aren't the most welcoming bunch at the moment. I on the other hand, probably need a nice run to clear my mind."

Destiny laughed softly, "Ah, one of those nights huh?"

"One of those nights."

Destiny shifted, and her full winter coat was a brilliant white, subtle speckles of black mixed in on her neck, flank, and her tail. Renier shifted to his charcoal form and his eyes watched hers. Destiny's tongue lolled out as she nipped playfully at his shoulder then took off in a sprint through the garden. He chased after her with a short bark.

So this is the first time you've ran with a fellow Guardian? Renier's voice rang in her mind. It seemed to startle her just a little.

It is. It's also the first time I've been able to communicate like this... I can hear you! She ran and swivelled her body around to face Ren, tucking the front of her body low into a bow like a pup. Her tail wagged as she faced Renier.

Ren's tail wagged as he shifted to the side, then to the other. Of course you can hear me. It's part of being a Guardian. He was surprised by her reaction to everything, but despite his recent tribulations, he was having fun with the strange girl. He faked to the left, then ran to the right and pounced her, their muzzles clashing as he shoved her backwards into the snow.

With a yelp, she fell back and lay with her belly to him. He hovered over her, his forearms on either side of her, then sat beside her. She sat up, shaking her head and looked to him. She nudged his muzzle with her own. What's wrong? You look just the way you did when I first saw you.

Ren's eyes held her even as he shifted back to his human form. His long frame sat with his knees bent, his arms wrapped aorund his legs. Destiny shifted too, her legs pulled back to the side as she sat against the trunk of a large tree.

"You know, up until now, I've never understood what I was missing out on. I knew a part of me was lonely, but I didn't know why. I've thought of Anika, Monroe, Adne, Connor, and the others as my family... but I need a pack. I need to be a part of something more." Destiny talked to Ren like she was talking to a dear friend. "My heart feels like it might explode from happiness right now." Her smile formed into a grin as she tried to hide her face from him.

The grin was contagious as Ren laughed. "I'm glad I was able to help you." He watched her from the corner of his eyes, taking in her beauty and her scent. "But... how are you here? I don't recognize you. So where did you come from?"

Destiny glanced back at him. "I was rescued by the Searchers when I was only an infant. My mother and father were from the Bane pack. Unfortunately, I heard many were lost in the revolt, but they managed to save me and the Searchers raised me as their own. I wanted to meet you all sooner, but Anika was unsure how stable the alliance was between the Searchers and the Guardians. Seems you have her full trust now though." She paused, biting her lower lip. Her thin top lip curved in a smile still. "I've heard of you."

Ren's eyes widened for only a second before he composed himself again. A light flush skimming his cheeks. "Heard of me?"

Destiny nodded. "You're Monroe's son.. He used to speak of you. He said he had wished he could save you. Adne told me how she and Calla went back to Vail to retrieve you. I've wanted to meet you for some time."

Ren's smile subsided as he thought of his father's sacrifice. He regretted not knowing his true father. Then thoughts of when he and Calla were in Vail entered his mind, sending pains coursing through his heart.

"You love her, don't you?" Destiny asked, her tone losing the energy it once held.

Ren's eyes met hers again. Her gaze was questioning, curious. "It doesn't matter, does it?"

"It does." Destiny answered. "I just don't understand how.." Her voice trailed off and Ren almost didn't want to know what she was about to say.

Ren stood up slowly and brushed the leaves and debris from his pants.

"Help me up?" Destiny asked, extending her hand to Ren. He reached down and grasped her hand and with a force she wasn't ready for, lifted her to her feet. The action caused her to lose her balance, sending her directly into Renier's open arms. The moment their bodies collided, Destiny felt a jolt of electricity shoot through her. His scent filled her nostrils and the heat from his skin was magnetic. She didn't want to move as she lifted her chin, her nose only inches from his.

Their gaze met and desire began to spread through the Alpha male as her eyes pierced him. He closed his arms around her waist and bent his neck down to her. Just as his lips would have met hers, she turned her head.

"I'm sorry," She spoke softly, "But I won't give you my first kiss... knowing you have feelings for someone else."

Her words cut into him, surprising him. The only other girl to resist him had been Calla, and only for the laws that were enforced by the Keepers, then for her love of Shay. Somehow, this girl's resistance made Ren want her even more. And, did she really just say he would have been her first kiss? She had never been close to anyone else?

She put her hands on his chest, feeling his muscles beneath his shirt and pushed away gently. "Thank you for the run. I really enjoyed this time with you, Renier." She kept her eyes low, not meeting his gaze as she began walking back down the path back to the Academy.

Something stirred in her that she didn't recognize. What was this feeling? Her heart was pounding, and she shivered from the warmth that coursed through her. She was drawn to that boy, but she couldn't allow him to be affectionate to her when she knew he had feelings for another. She couldn't allow herself to be infatuated with someone who wasn't available. And even still, she had never been intimate with anyone before, not even knowing what it was like to kiss someone else.

Ren watched her hair sway with each step at mid-back, her slender, curvy frame left him with desire. He smirked and sighed to himself, "Well, interesting encounter."