Ira gaped at the dead body in front of him and swallowed hard. The guard's throat had been ripped out. As soon as Josef had gone in and the scream sounded several gun shots went off. When Ira saw the blood seeping out he had closed his eyes and when he opened them again the blood was soaking into his shoes. He gasped at the same time as the door opened and the guard's body fell out with his head half hanging off, his throat had been slashed almost to the spine and his dead eyes looked at Ira like he wanted to give him a last message.
He stumbled back expecting the find the guard cushioning his fall but the man had surged forward to help Josef and Ira fell in the guard's blood instead hitting the floor hard and soaking his shirt and pants. He lifted his bloody hands watching the red drip from them and blinked. He didn't even have time to cry out before the guards brought out Hall hanging between their arms. He had three bullets holes in his stomach and chest and he looked half dead and half changed. His ears were pointed, he had sprouted a down coat of fur and his mouth and jaw were both longer. It was if he started a change, attacked and then was shot. The change was painful so it didn't make a lot of sense that you could start one and focus but Hall was different in many ways.
"Get him in the dungeon, hopefully he'll die overnight," Josef growled. The man walked out seconds later looking pristine with not a scratch on him. He glanced down at Ira snapping his fingers. A guard lifted him from the pool of blood and shoved him towards Josef dripping. Josef ordered someone to clean up the guard and the hallway and then ordered Ira to follow. He looked back in time to see them dragging the guard down the corridor leaving a trail of blood. The gore was making his skin wet and Ira shuttered resisting the urge to strip off his clothes right then and there.
He walked into Josef's office and stopped just short of the door. He didn't dare get any blood on the carpets or on the antique floor. He skirted the edges of the room instead watching the Sorcerer who seemed on his guard and very annoyed. He made more phone calls and ordered more people around. Ira stood silently trying to figure out what had just happened. It was awful. It was terrible. Why couldn't he summon any feelings about it? Was he that much a monster that he couldn't make himself care about human or supernatural life?
"Change!" Josef barked still speaking into his phone. Ira didn't realize that Josef was barking ordered at him until he had to order it the second time. Ira stumbled with the buttons on his dress shirt. His finger trembled as he worked them off with his good arm. His broken arm was still in a cast but he could move it now and use it without much pain. This wasn't normal, Ira knew this wasn't normal, but none of this was. Hall had said it was the drugs in his system. It would accelerate his healing abilities first, an easier part of being a werewolf and then work its way down a list systematically targeting everything else.
He got the shirt off and over his head and then pushed the pants down. Last he kicked the shoes off and stood there waiting. A guard handed him a towel and a big dress shirt, maybe on of Josef's. He wiped himself off the best he could and then put on the shirt buttoning the buttons with slow hands. The shirt went to his knees and was too billowy to be warm in the cold building. Ira crossed his arms tightly and wrapped the shirt around himself. No one was paying attention now. He preferred that.
The guards positioned themselves around the room; two more joined them and were watching Josef with weary eyes. They were probably trying to figure out who of them would be killed next. Ira was on high alert and kept watchful. He saw every bead of sweat on the guard's skin, every small movement of either them or Josef, heard every sound down to the tapping of the smart phone buttons and sounds in the hallway where a commotion was taking place.
Josef looked up demanding information and gesturing for Ira to go to him. He did hesitatingly. As soon as he was beside Josef a guard, who had been checking with someone else, informed them that a man named Sean Nast was in the building and headed this way.
Ira looked up at Josef seeing annoyance flash in his eyes to be replaced by anticipation. Immediately he grabbed Ira's arm and walked him to the closest book shelf. He reached around the back of the shelf and clicked something which made the shelf pop open and took the back of Ira's shirt shoving him inside with an order to stay quiet. He closed the shelf before Ira could make a sound. There was only darkness.
He tried not to let the darkness scare him. It was only dark his mum would say. Nothing that wasn't there in the light would suddenly appear in the dark. The problem was he hadn't seen this place in the light. He seemed to be within the walls. He should explore, get rid of the irrational fear and figure out where he was while Josef was distracted.
Whenever he was in complete darkness he remembered the times the farm house had lost power in a storm in the night. He would lie shivering in bed terrified that something would get him or find him while his mum and the other adults were busy trying to get the generator to work and quiet the little kids.
Ira took a deep breath and moved sideways. The space wasn't huge. It seemed to be an emergency space for them to hide during an attack. Outside the wall a loud voice demanded something of Josef and Josef laughed. Ira inched sideways trailing his hands on the wood. After forty feet he got to a curve and turned with it walking another twenty until the space ended. He contemplated this as he walked back the way he had come. The wall ended beside the bookcase again. He hadn't found any escape routes along the way.
He stopped breathing for a moment as voices echoed louder around the space. Josef's voice and another one, someone growled and it sounded like a wolf growl. Ira froze wondering. Hall had said the pack wasn't coming after him and that his dad didn't care. Was there another werewolf in Josef's employ? He almost thought he recognized the voice but then he dismissed the thought. No one would help him here. He only had himself.
Ira explored the space again as they spoke looking more carefully for an escape route. He felt along the rough edges with his sensitive fingers looking for catches, cracks or something that felt a bit different. He was walking slowly along the book case wall about to turn the corner when a crash and a loud boom resounded. Someone shouted something and someone cried out in pain. More things hit the walls and it sounded as if things fell outside.
Ira pressed his body against the opposite wall waiting for more. It sounded like an all-out fight in the office. Who could have attacked Josef though? Maybe people who were jealous of his new position and wanted a werewolf asset for themselves. The search for an escape intensified now. Ira examined the back wall carefully trying not to go too fast though fear and adrenalin pumped through his body. Nothing. There was nothing here. This was just a hiding place maybe.
Ira cursed as he slumped against the wall staring through the dusty boards in front of him that was a mess of wood and nails, unfinished. He blinked realizing his eyes had adjusted to the small bit of light that must be coming from somewhere. The fighting seemed to have intensified outside. Eventually Ira heard the gunshot he was expecting and he covered his ears as someone screamed. Maybe Josef would finally get what was coming to him.
Ira had closed his eyes tightly but now he opened them and let them adjust to the darkness. Things were becoming easier to see but he still almost missed the black cord handing down discreetly from one of the wooden pillars, hidden unless you knew where to look. Ira automatically reached for it and gave it a pull. He waited and yanked harder sure this was something that would help. It was only when he gave one final frustrated pull that a small door popped open right in front of him.
He stared at it for a moment before moving to his hands and knees and crawling through. It was dark but he had to be brave. The only thing that waited for him in the office was Josef or death or possibly another kidnapping. He pushed his muscles to move forward inch by inch spitting out the cobwebs he ran into and wiping them off his face hastily. When he got to the end of the tunnel, bumping into it face first, he put both hands against the door and felt around but it seemed solid. Again Ira cursed and instinctively banged both hands on the floor beneath him which moved. Ira screamed unwillingly as he dropped hearing his voice echo off the walls and inside the tunnel.
He panted hard laying his head on his paws and whining for a moment. He had tried to force the change quicker than normal and had made it hurt more. There was no way to force a change to be quicker. You can force it to come on quicker but the change itself will always take a large amount of time. Beside him Kim laid a hand in his sweaty fur to let him know she was there.
He acclimated quickly to the wolf flicking his ears and stretching his body and all four legs. He listened to the others around him changing and resting or getting used to their new bodies. He sniffed immediately sneezing and pawing his nose when the smells of the building and their activities hit his nose full force. He tried to get beyond that to the human scents and smell his son but he smelled no one familiar.
His ear twitched back and forth listening to the building and the voices of Kim and Aaron. His wolf mind turned with thoughts of the animal but he had a lot of practice controlling those thought. He never let the animal take control unless they were safe on their property. Now he had to remain human and save his son who had no ability to fight back. As much as he wanted to explore these news smells or jump on Kim and lick her face he had to focus.
They split up going floor to floor looking for Josef and Ira or traces of them. Sean would take care of Josef once they found him. To Reese's annoyance he could not interfere but as Kim pointed out Josef didn't matter, Ira mattered. He had to get to his son and make sure he knew they were there for him. He was in wolf form so Kim would speak for him.
They had debated whether to tell Sean and the council their actual business here but there didn't seem a way to either lie to omit the truth that would be plausible. They had to know they were looking for a little boy or they would miss him or might think he was a Nast child. They could also not just help attack a cabal with no reason. That would be an immediate war despite the fact that Sean needed to talk Josef down immediately. They had told them the truth. Sometimes secrets served them and sometimes they did not.
As they bounded down the gleaming too bright hallway they saw no one, doors on all sides and an elevator at the end like most office buildings. Sean's associates working for Josef, ones who were promised employment with them for their help, had sent out an office memo and spread the word that workers were getting sick from contaminate water and were being sent home early. This would clear out at least half the building, the lower workers and people not as important. It would give them more room to look, hide and less people to kill.
Kim consulted her radio, asking whether to go up or down before pressing the button. Reese paced while Morgan sat down on his haunches and licked his paw. He was so filled with restless energy, so anxious to see his son safe and praying, just praying he was not dead. The idea filled him with dread but he had been promised vengeance from both Sean and Elena and he would make it long, very long.
Kim pressed the down button and they waited. She crouched and petted his neck as he whined and butted her chest with his head. Kim shushed him and then stood when the doors dinged open. Immediately the smell of human or non-werewolf supernaturals drifting out like fog and hit them. Reese growled and pounced at the same time as Morgan hitting two of the suited and surprised men square in the chest and ripping into their throats. Kim advanced on the third one jumping up and kicking him in the side of the head and stunning him so she could snap his neck.
When they were done they dragged the bodies to the nearest office looking inside seeing it was empty, and dropped the bodies there before moving on. The first level was more office where they encountered more people. Unfortunately anyone who saw them could not be allowed to live. It was a decision the Alpha had made both as a warning and because the employees here had had a choice, stay with Josef and work for as the soul sucking evil corporation everyone thought they were or go with Sean and do it the right way. Most of the men who worked here embodied the cabal stereotype.
Once they were finished Kim radioed their position and hit the down button on the elevator. Before they had left the latest man in the office they had taken his I.D. to get around the building, his security pass card, and severed his hand. Past the first level going too far up or down they had noticed they need the extra security. Sean had warned them of this as well.
Reese sat on his haunches in the elevator and watched Kim press the key card to the scanner waiting for it to beep. Morgan paced now not liking the feeling of the moving metal contraption under his paws and whining because of it. When it did beep she pressed the man's hand to the scanner and waited. If the skin was not warm enough they would need to find another. After a few moments of mounting anxiety the machine accepted the severed hand and Kim breathed a sigh of relief letting go of some of her tension. She dropped the hand on the floor and Reese sniffed it and then picked it up gingerly in his mouth cocking his head at Kim who sighed and swatted his head demanding he drop it.
Reese did so licking his lips fighting to get his human mind back under control. Kim kicked the hand to the corner of the elevator and Reese whined and settled down waiting. Kim crouched beside him setting a hand on his back and he leaned into her closing his eyes for a moment. The ride took much longer than he thought and he wondered how far underground they had trapped his son. Was he cold? Was he hungry? Was he hurt? Reese didn't know and he couldn't control it. Nothing had driven him so crazy since he accepted Jeremy and then Elena as his Alpha. All the decisions and consequences were on them but when it came to his son he was the one to blame.
"He'll be ok," Kim whispered slowly making sure he understood. Reese tried to nod but ended up chuffing instead just as the door opened and what looked like twenty cabal men in suits turned to face them. Reese's hair stood on end and he growled his version of "fuck".
He hit hard and rolled smashing his knee into wood and his shoulder into concrete. He sucked in a breath closing his eyes hard as the pain rang out through his small body like rings in a pond when a stone was thrown. It was a few moments before he got his bearings and limped to his feet using the wall for leverage to look around. He blinked and squinted seeing a row of dark bars going down a long corridor. A moan sounded and a yell and then silence.
Ira cocked his head looking for light but only a small bit shafted through small silted windows and glanced off the metal bars. The prison cells underground. As soon as he knew this he felt the damp evade the air all around and sink into his clothes and skin. His feet were frozen even on the wood and he shuffled back and forth in the thin dress shirt. He crossed his arms trying to warm them and limped forward. There had to be a way out. He just needed to find it.
Obviously this was an escape route for the cabal employees, more certainty the Nast family, and there would be no way they would trap themselves down here. He saw no one in the cages he passed, they were silent and most were covered with cobwebs and dust like they were forgotten relics of a bygone age. He drew one hand along the bars as he walked leaving a small trail. Soon the wood floor turned to concrete again and the moaning started up. He was closed to the inhabitants. When he looked back he couldn't even see where he had landed.
He focused his attention ahead on the pinging of water as it hit the floor over and over and not on the human noises which were becoming overwhelming. He covered his ears walking a bit faster but a voice rang out and stopped him making him jump and almost fall into the cage bars again. He looked at the cage closest to him and saw a man with a long beard and hair and such thin limbs that Ira was sure he hadn't eaten a proper meal in years. The man tried to weakly grab for him but Ira darted away and covered his ears again running now.
He forgot the pain and let the fear take him on a wave running from imaginary foes and make-believe demons. His feet pounded the bare floor catching glass and sharp objects that made him stumble but he ignored them. He could have been running on needles for all he noticed or cared. All he knew was that he had to get away, had to outrun this anxiety.
"I…Ira," he heard a raspy voice call. Ira skidded to a stop almost missing the voice altogether. He looked around wide eyed at the dim cells seeing no more cobwebs but more dark forms in the various chambers. The voice sounded again a bit stronger this time and to his left. He turned his head as a man's hands appeared gripping the bars. His face came into view next and Ira gasped.
"Hall?" he asked. The man nodded. Hall looked like he had been through a war. The three bullet holes through his stomach and chest stood out starkly against his light blue shirt and he was as pale as a corpse. Ira could tell he was also beaten up more than when he had seen him last. He could just picture the guards taking him down here and kicking him around for fun.
"Ira…the pack…," he gasped and bent his head sliding down the bars a bit and holding his stomach.
"They aren't coming…,"
"No, here…find…," he said before he went even paler and closed his eyes. He slid down the bars slowly still hanging on but when he let go he hit the floor hard and didn't move again. Ira stood immobile for a moment before he walked over and knelt down reaching through the bars and poking Hall. The werewolf didn't move at all.
He stood there for a few moments more before a loud noise and multiple voices startled him out of his reverie. He spun seeing nowhere to hide. His only option was back down the hallway or in the cells if he could fit. With only a second to make the decision he reached for the bars in Hall's cell and sucked in a painful breath to squeeze himself through. He was small enough that he could do it if he worked at it but big enough that it wasn't accomplished easily.
He wiggled and moved gritting his teeth until he popped through and was able to take a breath again. Once he had his bearings he ran to the furthest and darkest part of the cage hunkering down and making himself as small as he could. He tried to best to ignore the wetness on the floor and the smell of what he was sure was not Mr. Clean and focus on the voice reverberating around the cells. Maybe if he kept himself this small he would disappear and no one would ever find him again.
Reese sprang into action as soon as his brain stopped pinging a warning. He hit the first man with a snarl and ripping into his throat so fast that blood sprayed the walls and his fur making a painting on the walls and ceiling that Jeremy would have appreciated. He was on the next man seconds before he raised his hands to cast a spell. On his left he glimpsed Morgan out of the corner of his eye bearing down on a similar looking man, all their shapes and features blurred together into a mess of human beings who all looked like clones, with lips pulled back and sharp white teeth displayed. He snapped down onto the man's jaw in one quick bite getting hit in the face and muzzle with dark red blood before lowering his head to bite again.
Reese growled a warning at him and Morgan looked up annoyance creasing his forest green eyes but he backed off. Give into the temptation to bite again and he would be doing much more that was forbidden to the man, he would have to answer to the Alpha. She did not look kindly on these lapses. Morgan gave a last growl before he leapt off the choking bulgy eyed pre corpse and used the wall to angle himself at the next victim.
Warning Morgan took a split second of his time but in that second a sorcerer had managed to raise his hands and start a quick spell. Reese narrowed his eyes and pounced catching the man in the chest just as he finished. Both went flying but Reese went further crashing into a wall hard and landing on the marble floor. The man had only flown back and hit his co-worker, a half demon, and they had both gone down. Reese shook himself and started towards the two as a shot went off like a loud firecracker to his left. The sorcerer dropped blood gushing from the third eye in his forehead. The half demon rushed ahead with a scowl and eyes quickly darkening. In his hand was a slowly rotating fireball which he launched at Kim. She squeezed off another shot and hit the man in the shoulder ducking just in time for him to throw the fire.
Reese watched as the fireball hit the wall and extinguished and then raced forward biting the man's leg hard and snapping his ankle in his powerful jaws. The half demon screamed as Kim raised the gun again and shot cutting the screaming off abruptly. Reese darted out of the way as the burly man fell.
"Wouldn't have wanted him to turn into a werewolf or anything," Kim smiled sarcastically. Reese chuffed and snorted his appreciation. He took a moment to look at her and make sure the area around her was cleared before he flew into the fray again losing count of how much blood was spilt, how many men died at their paws but he knew exactly how many he had killed. Many werewolves didn't care for how many they killed and quickly lost count after the first few but Reese always knew, always kept their faces in his mind. It reminded him that he was not just a ruthless killer. There was a purpose to this and he would teach his son and his children the same thing.
By the time they had cleared out the hallway his muscles were tight with soreness. His jaw was throbbing with the amount of times he had snapped bone, muscle and sinew and his mouth tasted like iron. The second the last man's grunt of death settled in the air a tense quiet fell. They waited for more enemies to show themselves or to surprise them. Finally Reese relaxed and whined turning. Kim was backed against a wall with sharp eyes flicking in every corner, Morgan was licking blood slicked fur and Aaron was out of sight.
Reese turned just as Kim let out a gasp and screamed his name. He spun in time to see a dark object descending and smash him in the side of the head hard. He didn't feel himself hit the floor or hear Aaron snap the neck of the man who attacked him. When he opened his eyes and blinked, what felt like seconds later, there was a new dead man to his left and both Kim and Aaron were over him hovering and checking for vital signs.
"Sorry, I should have seen him," Aaron apologized when Reese grunted and rolled to his feet shaking his pounding head. Kim stayed silent but he could tell she was worried. She stayed sitting on her haunches watching him until he lifted his head and licked her face quickly. Kim laughed and then pushed him away with a roll of her eyes telling Aaron he was fine even if he had obviously lost a few brain cells. Reese nodded jerkily to this and pushed the hand Kim was raising towards the door at the end of the hallway. Kim nodded. Time to go.
He listened to footsteps hurrying fast and silent down the jail corridor. Their feet splashed through standing water accumulated through various cracks in the ceiling or to the outside world. Two sets of footsteps were heavier and Ira pictured humans, one smaller and one bigger, the smaller one was probably a woman. He also heard multiple softer thwacking noises on the concrete that he couldn't identify. He could only guess at what they were. He held his breath hoping they passed and left him alone so he could escape but they halted abruptly right when they got to the cell he was hiding in.
He squeezed his eyes shut tightly and then opened them again seeing spikes of colour and odd shapes. When someone whispered "Hall" Ira really looked at them and almost gasped. Kim and a muscular blonde man he wasn't familiar with were leaning down outside the bars. Kim had two fingers pressed into his neck to see if he was alive.
Behind them two large shapes paced. This time Ira did gasp. Two wolves, one large and blonde with his eyes, Ira's blue eyes, his dad and the other a little smaller with reddish brown fur and brilliant green eyes, lighter than Noah's, whipped their heads up to look at the back of the cage. His father whined and walked to the bars scratching. Kim stood and put a hand on his head squinting into the cage and trying to catch some light to see. Ira was too cold to move. He felt the chill spread all over his limbs, relief and terror.
He saw Kim sniffing. She looked unsure and then sniffed again speaking slowly so his dad could understand; his father already saw him and knew where he was. "Ira, baby, where are you?" Ira stayed in his tight little ball not willing to give himself away yet. "Please, sweetie, I want to help," she pleaded. Ira sighed and unwound himself hissing at the pain all over his body. Slowly he stood. Kim smiled and held out a hand asking him to go to her.
Ira's eyes landed on his father who had his head cocked studying Ira intently. Deliberately he limped forward stopping when his father growled. Kim shook her head and shushed him telling Ira it was ok. The other man with them stood behind Kim a bit watching but not moving or smiling. He was being very cautious. Ira knew he probably looked like a scared mess, bloody and bruised and wide eyed with distrust and wariness.
"Your dad's just worried, Ira, its ok," Kim said still holding out her hand. Ira slid slowly forward not caring what he stepped on. He kept his eyes on his father's until Kim took his shoulder and pulled him close to the bars asking a succession of questions. Did they lock you in here? Are you ok? Where is Josef? Ira sucked in a breath overwhelmed and looked at Hall.
"I was hiding," he whispered ignoring her other questions altogether. She nodded and turned to the blonde man asking if he could bust the lock. He nodded and winked at Ira who shook his head and walked to the bars squeezing and forcing his body through. With a final thrust he shoved himself out and almost fell to the floor but the blonde man caught him.
Ira was too tired and in too much pain to let the touch bother him but he was soon in Kim's arms anyway looking at her face as she lifted him and he straddled her stomach. He felt the bulge there bigger now and felt the baby kick his leg. She hugged him without a word squeezing him tightly. He let her for a second before pushing himself down and backing up to the bars.
His father whined walking forward slowly until he was in front of Ira and their eyes were perfectly level. They stared into one another's eyes, the same cerulean deep thinking blue, for a moment before Reese licked Ira's face with his long slippery tongue. Ira made a face and pushed the wolf away. Reese backed off with a twist of his head and looked at Kim who was relaxing now. She must have been a bit nervous with the wolf so close to him, even if it was his dad.
Tentatively he reached for the wolf again feeling the soft fur behind his dad's ears and petting him. His father chuffed and nodded his head up a down a bit as Ira moved forward and explored the wolf. His father barely moved except to look at him. Ira almost forgot about the world around him he was so fascinated by the wolf, how powerful he looked and how scary.
"Good job, sweetie, you did a good job." Ira nodded knowing this.
"We need to get going," the blonde man said. Ira lifted his head to look at him. Kim agreed. Plans were made in seconds and Kim picked him up again transferring him to the blonde man, Aaron's, back but not before he put a hand through the fur around his dad's ears again and got a lick. Aaron hefted him up and Ira clung to his waist and neck eager to be out of this place.