Jake's POV

Save her.

Kill him.

I would do it, do both of them. I would get Thea away from him, and I would rip his head off. I would sink my teeth into his neck, I would taste his blood, and I would rip through the flesh. I could see it, I could taste it, I could almost feel myself doing it. My rage had grown to the point where my mind was absolutely clear, the wolf, imprint and I in perfect sync as I ran.

Save her.

Kill him.

She was still moving, but I was catching up. With every push of my legs against the ground I was growing closer, closer. I didn't know where Brady was, and I didn't care; there was only her and him.

Save her.

Kill him.

So close, I was so close. I was quivering with anticipation, completely in control as I sprinted towards the two heartbeats, two sets of breaths, the imprint forcing me towards Thea with an irresistible power.

And with just three more strides, I was on them with a horrifying growl.

Time slowed. I saw, in just a millisecond, everything that was happening. Thea, her blood covered body being held up by Leon. Her face twisted in pain, his hands in her hair and on her arm. His face, contorted with anger; anger that had nothing on the rage that filled my veins.

Thea. Oh god, what had he done? What had he done? There was blood everywhere, everywhere, all down her arms and her back–

No. No no no. He hadn't.

He had.

I let out a tortured howl at the sight of her back, my whole body exploding as I took it in. Her shirt was a torn mess, dark red and hanging off her, showing off the blood smeared skin. The wolf was going crazy, the imprint seizing up in panic, while all I could do was stare in horror.

His name. He had carved his name into her skin. And then there were the other slashes, too many of them to count, red and raw and oh my god I was going to kill him.

He would die for this. He would die for this. Piece by piece, I would destroy him. He would die slowly, painfully, and even when he was dead I wouldn't stop tearing him apart.

Because he had hurt my imprint. And no one, no one, hurt her; not unless they wanted to die.

The rage. The rage was uncontrollable, unsquashable, every inch of it directed to making him pay. I was burning with it, consumed by it. It was driving me, forcing me to leap because I couldn't stand to spend another second away from her.

Time sped up in a rush, my body crashing into Leon's with a snarl as I shoved him away from Thea. Thea, who I saw fall to the ground, the sight drawing a whine from my throat even as I snapped at Leon, only to miss his arm by a hair. That small distraction had been enough for him to dodge my attack, and now he was lurching–


He lunged for her even as I lunged for him, my claws swiping savagely down his back, but it wasn't enough. Because in a movement almost too fast to follow, he was yanking Thea up by the hair, a dagger pressed threateningly against her throat.

I froze, a deadly growl rumbling from my throat as I snapped at him. But he didn't move, his eyes darkening as he gave me a knowing smirk, flexing his grip on the knife.

'You can growl all you want, alpha. But we both know that as long I've got her, you're not going to touch me.' Leon said smugly. I couldn't help but snarl at his words, even though I knew it would give him satisfaction. I didn't respond well to threats, especially not against my imprint. She was mine, and I was the alpha; it was about time he learnt what that meant.

And so, not moving my eyes from the blade at Thea's throat, I phased. It took just an instant to shift to human, the transition leaving me standing tall and naked in front of him as I gave him a murderous look.

'Don't you dare hurt her.' I snarled, my hands shaking as I glared. Thea started at my voice, her previously closed eyes flying open, her breaths fast as her eyes darted frantically around. I could feel her confusion and fear as she shifted against Leon, only to whimper and fall limp as he held her in place. He grinned.

'Can't you tell it's a little too late for that?' Leon bragged, trailing the point of the knife down her arm as he spoke. The flesh was covered with unhealed cuts, and Thea let out a quiet cry at the touch, despite its faintness. The sound sent a shudder through me, and I felt my eyes flash with anger, though it softened as Thea's gaze finally found my own.

For a moment, she just stared, her disbelief clear as she looked at me with parted lips; she didn't seem to believe I was there. But then, in an instant, her surprise and confusion changed into a desperate relief. She threw herself towards me with a soft cry, only to be roughly stopped by Leon, the knife whipping back to press against her neck. Yet another growl rolled from me, Thea's failed attempt to reach me sending me back into a full-blown rage.

'I know what you've done; and you're going to die because of it.' I spat, anger packing my words. Leon's eyes narrowed in response.

'She brought this on herself.' He said with a snarl. 'If she had just given me what I wanted, she'd have long since been dead and spared the pain. But she wouldn't; wouldn't talk, wouldn't stop fighting.' My anger spiked even higher at that; how dare he try to blame Thea for this, for hurt he inflicted.

'So that justifies it? Torturing her, carving her up countless times with the knife, breaking her arm?!' I couldn't hold in a growl. 'No. This was all you, you bastard–'

'You're defending her? She's a vampire.' He hissed the word with pure venom. 'She deserves all of it, and more. You think she's innocent? She stabbed me, broke my wrist; and so I broke her arm in return. And as soon I get rid of you, I'm going to do a whole lot more!' Without meaning to, I found myself stepping forward at his words, my gaze deadly.

'If you so much as scratch her, you're going to wish that all I'd done was kill you.' I warned, the alpha double tone slipping subconsciously into my hard words. But again, the bastard just smiled at the threat.

'Maybe. But if you try anything, I'll slit her throat before you even get a chance to touch me.' He retorted, our gazes locking as we each tried to stare the other down. The silence between us was pressing, the tension making the air thick; until it was broken by Thea's soft voice.

'No, you won't.' She said quietly, her face set and her eyes determined. Leon tightened his grip on her, the blade of the knife slicing lightly through her skin. The sight of the thin line of blood made my stomach turn, but Thea barely even blinked.

'You won't kill me.' She croaked, struggling faintly against his grasp, but his hold was immovable. 'You need me.' Leon's face twisted with anger at her cold words.

'No, I don't. You are nothing to me; I could kill you right now if wanted to.' He snarled. I stiffened at the words, wondering why the hell Thea was baiting him; if she wasn't careful, he'd snap and kill her. And that, that could not happen. But she must have felt my worry, because she gave me a meaningful look; she had a plan.

'Really? So that question you asked me, and spent the last day torturing me about, trying to get an answer; that means nothing? I doubt it.' She almost smiled as she spoke the words, and I noticed for the first time the glint of hatred in her gaze. Hatred that went deep, deep down within her, hatred that was fuelling her. But she wasn't angry; her careful, harsh words were completely controlled. She was beyond anger; she was calm. Too calm. The calm before the storm, people called it; the calm before the explosion. A calm which told me that the moment she got the chance, she was going to kill the man who had her prisoner.

Which didn't bother me at all, except for the fact that I, too, wanted to kill him. I had immediately latched onto one all-important word in her sentence; torture. And it sent my already sky high fury rocketing. I couldn't even wonder why he had been torturing her, what information he had been so desperate to learn; I was too busy planning exactly how I was going to kill him.

'Stop it!' Leon snapped, his eyes wild, but Thea kept talking.

'Or what? What are you going to do to me?' She spat, once again struggling in his grip, weakly fighting against his hold. Leon let out a frustrated growl, before, in a movement too fast to follow, he brought the dagger down and sliced it across her side. Thea cried out, falling limp as I roared, lurching for her even as Leon quickly retreated, pulling her out of my grasp.

'I can hurt you.' He hissed angrily, his eyes murderous, his whole body shaking. 'I will hurt you, believe me. And I will make sure you're awake for every second of it.' He growled, the words almost drowned out by my angry snarl. I was quivering, the wolf seconds from bursting out of me as it strained to get Thea away from this maniac. I couldn't take my eyes of the blood that was spilling from the slit in her side, the sight horrifying and almost sending me over the edge.

I kept it together though, despite the scared look Thea couldn't hide from me; because in my peripheral vision I caught sight of an ash-brown wolf. It was Brady, moving silently through the trees at Leon's back, creeping closer with every step.

And I saw then how everything would happen.

I saw how Leon was distracted, anger stopping him from thinking clearly. I saw how I could use that; could keep him focused on me and me alone. Despite Thea's belief he wouldn't kill her, I wasn't willing to bet on it; I wouldn't risk her being hurt, not again. And with him focused on me, and not on her, I would keep distracting him; I would keep backing him up. And all the while, Brady would sneak closer and closer; close enough to tear Leon away, to finally get Thea back in my hold instead of his.

And then I would kill him. As soon as I had Thea back, I would do it.

I. Would. Kill. Him.

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