Leave No Stone Unturned, Leave Your Fears Behind
He'd never really minded summer storms, the way that the thunder would roll through dark and foreboding clouds while jagged and hot streaks of lightning would illuminate the heavens in wild flashes. The sound of the wind as it howled, threatening to tear loosened limbs from mighty trees as various debris would be kicked up and made to dance in those strong currents that too many were foolish enough to underestimate, and still the were did not mind as the zephyrs clawed at creaky old support beams of the cheap hotel he was making homage in. And with the wind and the thunder, the rapid patter of rain pelting against the worn wooden shingles and the double pane windows that haven't been cleaned in gods know how long completes the symphony that fills the silence of the room. The were makes no attempt to pull back the curtains so that he could watch as the rain poured and the wind blew, simply content to remain there on the queen-sized bed. He is sitting up with his strong back against the headboard made of some cheap wood composite made to look like polished oak when it was clear by the grain that it was far from real, the man dressed in dark relaxed-fit jeans and white button-up shirt undone and exposed the chiseled muscle underneath. As he lounges there, he is holding in his strong and calloused hands a book. It was one of the few things that he did carry with him, aside from the backpack of a couple pairs of pants and shorts with shirts and briefs to go along with them. Ever since he'd left the comforts of his pride, Roman had always traveled light, carrying with him only the bare essentials that would help the man look more like the average human instead of the were that he truly was. Admittedly, thriving in the form that felt most natural to him was much simpler, but in a world that shunned those who were different or attempted to snuff out things that it did not understand, Roman was careful and cautious when it came to shifting and feeling the freedoms his kind wielded effortlessly. He'd always done his best to keep what he was hidden from the eyes of others, knowing well that the likelihood of their reaction to such a truth about the vagabond being either fear and uncertainty or perhaps even defensive aggression or hatred, Roman moved and lived like he was just another human. He was just some nobody that was there one day and gone the next, hardly staying in one place long before packing the few things he did own and taking to the roads less traveled without any true destination in mind or in heart.
Contented to lounge there on top of the neatly made bed and the drab brown covers that the hotel surely hadn't had to pay much of anything for, hazel eyes caress each and every word of the pages that were a gift given to him by his younger sister, Trinity. In all honesty, the man had lost count of just how many times he'd re-read the book, the pages still as white and clean as they'd been the day he'd torn away the wrapping paper concealing the hard cover that acted as a defense for those beautifully put together words against the elements that would attempt to try and harm them. Even though his mind knew what contents of every chapter, remembers how it all ends, still he revels in every word as though it were the first time he had ever cracked open the book to explore the story within. It was a story about a man that wanders the world alone, looking for the purpose to his own life and searching relentlessly for something to help fill an inexplicable emptiness in his heart that drives him so far away from the ones that he loved. It tells of his trials and tribulations, the moments where he is awestruck with both the beauty and the wickedness of the world beyond the only one he'd known before venturing away from the city of his birth and the moments where he is questioning himself and the decisions that he made, why it was that he had felt so compelled to leave everything behind for a world that would try to embrace him only for the man to push it away. It was hard for the were not to find a smile upon his chiseled and strong features when he would find those places in the story that the protagonist and Roman seemed to have been cut from the same cloth, having known from the very first time hazel eyes had wandered over the words etched into white exactly why it was that his little sister would gift him with such a book. It was almost like his own life, and yet, the ending was always the part that would leave Roman with a sense of longing and an ache in his chest. In this story, the man finds his way back to the family he left years ago. The reunion was a happy one, filled with tears of joy and words of welcome as the family begged the man to tell them of everything that he'd seen and experienced. It always ended with the man realizing where it was that he had always belonged, how there was both regret in the time spent so far from his one true home as well as gratefulness felt the chance that so few were ever given to travel the world in hope to make sense of why it was they existed at all.
For Roman, the ending of that book was always the hardest simply because he was uncertain of whether or not he would ever see his own family again. Yes, he had made the very much conscious decision to leave them in the beginning. He had not been forced into it or taken away from his parents and siblings. It had been a decision he hadn't made lightly, and he had taken his time contemplating if it was what he really and truly wanted for himself, asked himself if he would find whatever it was that he would be looking for. And, if he were ever to be honest with another soul, the were would confess that he wasn't sure if he was searching for anything at all. He wasn't certain if there was a part of himself that he was searching for or not, if he was honestly trying to find the meaning to his life or not. Deep in his heart, Roman knew that his real home would always be with his pride. Perhaps that was simply because of what he was, but the "why" didn't matter. He would always find himself wondering how they were faring, if his Tristan's mate had given birth to the niece of nephew he would likely never get the chance to meet, curious on if there had been anyone to try and tame the wild and fiery spirit of his youngest sister, Trinity. He knew that there was so much he was missing, but in the same moment and when it came right down to the reason he did come to the decision to leave, Roman told himself that going back wasn't an option. Unlike his older brother Tristan or even his younger brother Drake, there was an undeniable reckless tendency in the man that would often have him craving a rush of any kind that he could find. It was never the rush that came with drugs or alcohol, the were never partaking in the first though he could not deny that he did not enjoy the occasional drink or two where money would allow for it. No, it was in the adrenaline as he leapt from thirty feet and into the deep waters below, or the wild thundering of his heart as he hunted or merely raced through the wilds where none could see him. There was a wildness in him that Roman was not always able to control, and it was his spontaneous habit of doing something to have the animal in him roaring through that had been the one reason he'd set out on his own, leaving behind the only ones that knew every part of him. He wouldn't let himself be the reason that they were discovered or the one that unknowingly led those damned dark hunters to the temporary place his family had settled. He'd had to leap to the defense of his pride once before - though it was not his fault surprisingly enough that they'd been found - and every day he worried about needing to again. Tristan and Drake would always be there with his sisters and parents, ever diligent and protective just as Roman had even when his sisters were hardly weak or too meager to defend themselves but knowing that they would likely be better off without him, the one who had always been the wilder of his siblings, it made making that decision only just a little easier.
It is when the sounds of the storm fade that Roman looks away from those words written, calm hazel eyes looking to the thin curtains that hung over soaked glass. The storm had passed. Only now does he close that book after marking his place with a bookmark made of a thin piece of willow bark that had been shaped with care, stained, and then polished by his eldest brother. It was another gift that Roman valued above a else, his fingers so often trailing along the smooth surface almost absentmindedly when he would be reading that book for the umpteenth time. He moves from his place on the bed, setting the book carefully back into his worn backpack that contained everything the were had to his name, and makes his way to the window. Pulling back the curtains, he can see the skies have stopped their crying and the winds have calmed, hazel depths dropping to the streets now wet with the rain that had drenched the city. He lingers there as he watches the cars drive by, as the seemingly endless sea of faces venture along the sidewalk in either direction, many of them carrying umbrellas or wearing raincoats to protect them from the weather that could just as easily change again. Finally, he decides that he should at least see if he could find some more work, knowing all too well that his funds from the last batch of odd jobs were yet again starting to deplete. And so, he reaches for his own leather jacket, slipping strong arms into the sleeves and shrugging it onto those broad and powerful shoulders before shoving his feet into surprisingly well cared for white tennis shoes. Running fingers through dark golden hair, he tucks his hotel key, phone, and wallet into the pockets of his jeans before exiting the room and locking the door behind him. Slipping strong hands into the pockets of his jacket, he slips effortlessly into the tide of unknown faces, his senses assaulted by the various perfumes and colognes of the beings around him. By now, he'd long since gotten used to so overwhelming scents, sights, and sounds like the very king of beasts trapped behind glass walls in the captivity of human kind. He moves with the crowd, his larger stature earning him the ability to convince others to move around him, though there is hardly an aggressive expression painted across his features. He catches the eyes of several with his own, giving a curt nod of wordless greeting, some returning that gesture while others merely averted their gaze, not that the man minded either. He wanders those city streets, pausing out of the way every now and again to take note of any help wanted signs interested in part-time positions, the thought brushing against him mind and having him consider if perhaps he should apply. After all, this is the longest that he'd lingered in any one place, having called that cheap hotel room his temporary residence for the last few months. Maybe things would be different here, but still he does not move into any of those establishments with signs suggesting open positions. He needed to be certain, and in the end, old habits were simply hard to break. He walks leisurely through the city, eventually making his way to the northern district of Sacrosanct, thinking perhaps it might be here that he could find some sort of odd job like mowing or landscaping. Something that would be easy to leave if history repeats itself and he finds himself wandering away from these city limits.
Following the signs that would eventually lead him to Acosta Heights, he passes by the name brand department stores, extravagant bars, and lavish restaurant fronts without so much as a single glance through spotless windows meant to be warm and inviting. There was nothing here that Roman could afford. Far from it, really. There is little that catches his interest, hardly sparing a look at the pretty woman that nearly brushes against his shoulder by accident, her gaze entirely too focused on the screen of her smartphone to be notice him. However, what does catch his attention is a small figure running wildly through the crowd only to dart quickly into the alleyway ahead. Something about that didn't seem right, and he couldn't help but feel a guarded part of himself being pulled to see if everything was alright. The were was the last one to get involved in affairs that were not his own, but when it came to children, especially a child running through the streets of this big city alone, he couldn't help but step in. Just as he is about to make his way towards the alleyway, he can hear voices behind him. Turning around, he can see a man in uniform stopping people on the sidewalk."Have you seen a little girl run by?", the officer asked a couple who had paused to look at an outfit on display in one of the shops. The woman nods and pointed further down the street, to which the officer thanked her and began making his way briskly through the people and towards the alleyway. There is something in the were then that stops a small distance from the alleyway where the girl had disappeared, he appears to be looking across the street when, as expected, the officer calls out to him."Sir, have you seen a little girl run by here?", he'd asked. Roman meets the officer's gaze then, and while he was hardly the type to lie, something about the girl has him leery of this man in front of him. Nodding, he gestures further down the street."She turned right at the street up there I think", Roman says easily, the officer nodding a thanks before hurrying through the moving people. Only when the officer turns around the corner does Roman move into the alleyway after the child. It wasn't hard for him to find her scent amidst the dampness and trash, sensitive ears hearing the faintest sound of a small being breathing from the efforts of her run. Keeping his hands within the confines of his jacket pocket, he walks slowly down the alley, glancing behind various empty boxes and trashcans. It is when he comes onto a dumpster outside a bar that he can scent her heavily now. He moves closer, peaking around the rusty green container to see the girl huddled tightly into herself.
His hazel eyes are soft now, sensing the wild fear that wafts off the small creature with lavender eyes."It's okay, little one. The officer is gone", he ushers gently to the little girl as he slowly crouching there a small distance from the girl."I won't hurt you. My name is Roman", he adds quietly, elbows now resting on his bent knees as he notes the bagginess of her clothes. There were few reason for a child to be running from law enforcement, and though he can take a guess at why she was hiding, he decides to let her tell him only what she wants to, if anything at all. He waits patiently in silence now, making no move to come closer to her as he offers a small yet warm grin. The last thing he wanted was to scare her more than she always seemed to be.