“Hunter, wake up,” a soft voice said, lips brushing against my ear as they smiled. Their hand smoothed up my side, fingers gliding down to rest on my hip. Their body was warm behind me, embrace welcoming as I turned to bury my head in their chest. They chuckled, other hand coming to tangle in my hair. Their touch felt so familiar, so good that I could get lost in it.
“Hunter, open your eyes,” the voice sang, hand moving to cup my cheek as they moved my head away from their chest. Slowly, I opened my eyes, smiling shyly as the blur around them began to focus in.
“There they are, so beautiful.” Ice seeped into my veins as Damian smirked down at me, leaning forward to peck my lips playfully. Anger burned clearly in his silver eyes, his mind slipping into my own as he gripped my jaw.
“Baby, you should be happy! I came all this way just to see your sorry ass.”
My heart was pounding hard in my chest, a war drum in my ears with the rush of blood in the background. Damian pushed me onto my back, legs either side of his knees as he went to lean over me, caging me between him and the mattress.
“You’ve been naughty and need to be punished,” he growled, hand slipping something cold and sharp against my side, digging into my ribs. “How could you leave me? I’ve been suffering without your body to satisfy me, to hear your screams and pleas.”
“I-I had no choice, they grabbed me!” I cried, trying to jerk away from the knife’s blade but the action only made him angrier. His smile turned to a sneer as he jabbed the blade harshly into my side, a warning shot.
“You could have stayed with me but now, no one can have you.”
As the blade was shoved into my side, I bolted up in my bed, skin covered in a cold sweat. My breathing was rapid, borderline panic attack gasping as tears ran down my cheeks. Subconsciously, I tugged my shirt up to see that my side was untouched, no puncture or blood.
“Bad dream?” Glancing up, I saw Tango with his hands in his pockets. Nodding, I pushed myself back against the wall, savouring the cold shivers down my spine. Damian’s presence in my head was still fresh like he really had been lying next to me.
“Do you get them a lot?” Tango asked, stepping into my area and observing the second bed placed next to mine.
“No. This is the first one since leaving Damian,” I answered, crossing my legs. “There was no time to have nightmares when you are both physically and mentally exhausted.”
“And Echo, does he have an effect on how you sleep?”
“If you are trying to be my psychologist, I don’t need one.”
“Straight to the point. May I?” Tango nodded to the edge of Echo’s bed. Shrugging, I gazed down into my lap. “I’m not here to be your psychologist, just wanted to find out how you were fitting in. Echo informed me about the redevelopment of your ferrokinesis and how it took a toll on your body. Has this happened before?”
Sighing, I rolled my eyes, accepting that he would dig until he was answered or had his fill on the information. He had read my file, most likely wanting to put a deeper meaning to the words written on the paper and what the people who wrote them meant.
“When my pyrokinesis was developing, I could not really keep any food down and I kept going in and out of consciousness. Damian managed to block off the power before the day I didn’t wake up came. After that, I was under his eye even more.” Looking up, I studied him. Up close, I could see the bags under his eyes and the swirl of gold around his pupils. “You’re one of us, aren’t you?”
“Smart. What about me says that I am a Gifted?”
“Your eyes. Whatever you have must be like Rooi’s, constantly on.”
Tango smirked, clasping his hands in front of him as he leaned forward. He was studying me the same way Victor had, trying to dissect me without using a knife.
“I’m bulletproof,” He stated. At my confused gaze, he chuckled softly. “We were out on patrol when a group of enemies surrounded us, pushing us back into a small building. They kept us under fire until we ran out of ammo. I got the stupid idea of running out from cover to our Humvee but two bullets hit me square in the chest. I fell back but for all I knew, was not bleeding. I acted as a human shield for my team. The doctors don’t understand and it gives them a headache but the only factor supporting my ability is that I was present when the Pulse went through Bridgefield.”
“What about the girl with telekinesis, why has she not been training with us?”
“Desert Cat is prohibited from sitting with the others. She’s the commander’s daughter, special treatment.”
Nodding, I could not stop an unimpressed expression show on my face. So, the non-related Gifted had to be made into soldiers but the daughter got to sit around doing nothing? The thought made me laugh.
“Where’s Echo?” I finally asked, wanting to get a move on, to have a shower and explore the rest of the building. Tango sighed, picking up on the cue that he should leave.
“He should be finishing up on his personal training about now.” He set his jaw as he stood, patting out the creases in his pants. “I have other business to attend to, see you around and take it easy Alpha.”
Bristling at the nickname, I stood and walked him out the dorm before gathering my stuff and going to the showers. Even though I was unsteady on my feet, I managed to take a long shower filled with scrubbing and massaging my sore muscles. When I was done, I dried myself off and changed into a fresh set of slacks.
The wind coming through the open windows had a chilly nip to it, giving me the thought of taking the thin camo jacket in case. Leaving the dorm, I kept my head low, my guard up and mind open. If Echo needed me, he could find me.
The building as a maze of dorms, gyms and offices. Burly soldiers were constantly moving down the halls like ants. Many who needed to go through the hallway I walked through would skirt around me but the rest made sure I was the one moving out of their way. It didn’t faze me; they were here first and were most likely older than me. There was no point causing a commotion when there was no need.
When I eventually stopped to look out the large window and gaze around me, I knew I had gotten myself lost with a hallway of dorms on my left and offices on my right with a gym at the very end. Sighing, I was kicking myself for not turning back when I had the chance.
“Is the poor cub lost?” A deep voice growled behind me, hand coming to spin me around by my shoulder. He looked familiar, his eyes burning with amused anger as he took a step forward and I took one back against the wall. Bad move.
“By chance, you’re not going to help me back to the mess hall, are you?” My voice cracked as a smug smirk showed itself on his face. Smiling sheepishly in return, I tried to shuffle away from him, hoping for a gap to open up for me to run. With a shake of his head, his arms came at my shoulders, grabbing me and shoving me to the tiled ground. His boot pressed down on my chest, pushing me into an awkward position.
“Why would I help someone who stabbed my team leader?” He spat out, placing more weight onto his foot on my chest. When I went to grab his leg, he pulled it back fast, crouching down to grab my jaw and bring our faces close to each other. Wincing from both his breath and nails digging into my skin, I tried to concentrate on the flame burning in my chest, trying to draw it out and scare him away.
“How could Tango choose you to have the codename Alpha when you’re trembling like a cub in my hands? Pathetic.” The man sneered, shoving me back against the wall, severing my hold on my flame as my head bounced off the wall. He stood up then, bringing his boot down hard onto my hand. Shouting out, I could feel my knuckles being crushed. He stood back, preparing to kick me when he was sent to the floor. Staring through one eye, I saw Echo scramble off the man and come running to me, skidding onto one knee to stop just in front of me. It took one glance at my hand for him to grab my knee and teleport us to the dorm.
My day...or rather my night was just beginning to get even more eventful.