It didn’t take me long to find Jeremy. Like all cowards, he hid behind his warriors, or in his case the creatures he had created, and once these were eliminated, he hid away.
I found him in his office, furiously tidying up the evidence that pointed to him having done this. I stood in the doorway, my eyebrow raised. What was the point at this stage? Everyone knew the part he had played in this, and thanks to the woman earlier, I was fairly confident that the pack would stand against him one he was defeated and tell the true side of the story.
I cleared my throat, making him jump. He slowly raised his head to look up at me, his eyes giving him away as they displayed his fear.
“Knock, knock,” I grinned, rapping my knuckles against the door.
“Khaos,” he said pleasantly. “To what do I owe this pleasure? Have you come to congratulate me on my recent mating?” I schooled my face into a neutral expression.
“Congratulations,” I muttered dryly. “When do I get to meet the lucky lady who didn’t care enough to mark you back?”
He scowled at me, “oh, she will. She’s a typical female, playing hard to get, but rest assured, my mark is right there on her neck where it belongs. Speaking of marks, how’s that one on your stomach doing? Nasty business that silver - what a shame you wolves have such a weakness.”
I lifted up the shirt I had stolen on my search for the man in front of me and noticed in satisfaction how he grimaced. I knew it wasn’t pleasant. “Some wolves have that weakness. You were a fool to think that anything would keep me from coming after my daughter.”
“Ahh, Antheia, beautiful girl, isn’t she? It’s almost a shame she’s not of age, I would have enjoyed mating with her. That young, supple body...” he licked his lips. “Well, you know how it is. You live with her.”
Don’t react, Khaos, I warned myself, knowing he was baiting me into doing something stupid. It hadn’t escaped my notice that he was keeping his hand under the desk. He was hiding something under there. If I reacted to his disgusting comments, he wouldn’t hesitate to use whatever weapon he was hiding away.
“Khaos,” I heard over the mind link and I had to forcibly stop myself from showing the shock on my face. That had come over the family bond. Sophia was safe. “Khaos, he has a knife. It’s covered in wolfsbane as well as silver. He will kill you. I can feel your wolf over the bond, and I know he’s hurting. Even if you won’t admit it. If Jeremy stabs you with that knife, you will lose your wolf forever.”
“Where are you, Sophia?” I demanded, keeping my eyes on Jeremey as he flicked his wrist under the table
“I’m outside. I have a special surprise for him. I need you to lead him to the door. Circle around him, get him to come this way. I promise you, this won’t fail.”
I stepped into the room, placing my trust in her even though it went against my better judgement. I had to trust that she still had enough love left for my son that she would have my best interests.
Jeremy moved away from me, circling his desk until we were both standing at either side. “You’re free to leave, you know. Surely you know how wolves are, we love the chase. If you want to run out of the door, I won’t stop you. In fact, I’ll even give you a generous ten seconds head start,” I offered, grinning at him as he began to sweat.
He looked at me in suspicion before he took off, running full speed at the door.
The moment his foot stepped on to the carpet on the other side, I saw Sophia’s arm shoot out as she attached something to his neck.
Jeremy fell to the floor, flashing from his panther form to his human form as Sophia fell to her knees with him, keeping the taser attached as she shocked him over and over.
He was helpless to defend himself; the electricity bouncing around his body making it impossible for him to hold one form. He was a flash of black and white as he writhed around, feeling the strain in his bones as he shifted continuously.
“Taser huh?” I said to Sophia. She got up, looking at me in shame before she threw herself at me, just as Eros had only a few hours earlier.
“Shh...” I soothed her, stroking her hair as her tears soaked my chest. It took me a moment, but her scent finally registered in my mind and I realised what we had felt earlier. The pain hadn’t been wrong. We had lost a pack member, after all. I pushed her back slightly, looking at her in shock. “You killed your panther?”
She sniffed as she nodded her confirmation. “I did it to save Antheia. I made a promise with my panther than I would mate with Jeremy if she would allow me to heal and survive the attack. When I realised what he had planned, I threatened to kill my panther, but he didn’t seem to care. I thought it would weaken him enough to stop him from doing it, but he fought the bond breaking and injected her, anyway. I’m so sorry, Khaos, I’m so, so sorry. I tried; I really did I...” I silenced her rushed words, pulling her back into another tight hug.
“It’s not your fault, Sophia, don’t ever blame yourself for that. No one should have to live with that sort of guilt. Eros has taken Antheia home where hopefully our healer will be able to help her, but don’t shoulder that burden yourself. You are not responsible for the actions of others. You were incredibly brave to kill off one of your animals like that, I can’t imagine the profound grief you are suffering with right now.”
She began to cry harder and so I remained quiet and simply held her as she let go of all the suppressed emotions. Nothing I could say would ever make this better for her, and she would have to live with the knowledge that she had killed her panther for the rest of her life. She had been punished enough. We could live without our animals, but there was no point pretending it was easy.
“Listen to me, Sophia,” I said, holding her at arm’s length and smiling at her softly. “You are a beautiful, brave, incredible woman, and my son is lucky to have found you. You made a mistake, but you were just doing what you thought was best. I can smell him on you, I can see the marks on your face and so I have a pretty good idea of what went on here tonight and I am so sorry you went through that. But take it from me, you can get passed this. I have been where you are right now, I know the anger and the shame you’re feeling. Eros will not hold this against you. Go home to him, live the life you were supposed to have. Promise me that you’ll leave this place and never look back. Spend your life with my son, raise your children together as the new Alpha and Luna of the Blood Moon pack. I would be honoured to have you as a daughter-in-law and even more honoured to watch you as you become the mother to my first grandchildren.”
She looked down at Jeremy and I shook my head, “I know you want your revenge, sweetheart, but it’s not worth it. Don’t let his poison infect you. I will take care of him and I will see that he suffers for his crimes. I cannot apologise enough to you for my treatment of you and I can assure you it will never happen again. My pack is your pack, please return there and stay safe.” I placed my forehead against hers and allowed our wolves to bond as the pack bond began to strengthen. “Go, Sophia. Go and don’t look back. Eros will be there waiting for you, talk to him, don’t make my mistakes and shut him out.”
She nodded, withdrawing from my arms, and walked away, looking back only for a moment to cast a disdainful glare down at Jeremy.
I followed her gaze, noting that though it wasn’t happening as often, he had begun to slow down his sifting and was managing to hold forms for longer. There had been enough bloodshed here tonight. I had something entirely different planned for him.