I stand by the glass doors, looking out toward the dark pack houses, my head resting on the clear material and my arms crossed over my chest. Dried blood covers the left side of my face, and down my neck, causing my shirt to stick to my skin. It's about 7:00am, the sun's just peaking through the trees.
My head's throbbing. It hurts so bad I can barely hear Alaric and Eric yelling at each other. It's not like I care. Whatever they're arguing about isn't going to help me. They're just trying to save their own skin. Alaric understands that Katalina's my mate. Eric chooses to be in denial. He calls her my girlfriend, which technically at this moment she is, but she's more than that.
I have no clue how long I stand staring out the window, but it's long enough for the sun to rise, and for me to see the lights slowly switch on within the pack houses. They'd be expecting breakfast soon and the house, specifically the kitchen, is a mess. The blood from my face, dried, covers a section of the granite counter top and there's a lot more on the tile floor.
I wince as I pull my head from the glass door, the dried blood making a suction like noise. A round bloody imprint sticks to the glass. Eric and Alaric are too busy snapping at each other to notice me slip outside, or if they notice they don't care.
I'd woken up rather quickly after passing out earlier. Both Alaric and Eric had been staring down at me. Only Alaric had seemed concerned. It fit his personality.
I wander along the side of the house, aimlessly at first, just focused on getting away from the yelling men. I don't plan on shifting. But I find myself peeling off my shirt as I walk through the woods. It isn't until I've past the property line, that I feel the wet dirt on my paws. I found myself on autopilot, for once taking a back seat and allowing my wolf to go where it wants to.
"Cameron!" Nick's words shoot through the mind link. As I slow, I take in my surroundings. Tall trees surround us from either side. None are familiar. I must be miles from the pack line.
Behind me, a branch snaps and I turn to spot Nick as he slows from a jog to walk. His red fur shimmers in the sunlight, showing evidence of a recent shower. I look away from him, turning my head into the cool morning breeze. A familiar scent fills my snout. Kats pack, primarily the smell of my mate, covers me. It's no wonder my wolf took us here.
'How long have you been following me?' I ask absently.
'Probably ten miles... You aren't supposed to be in your wolf form.' I resist the urge to roll my eyes.
'Eric's orders were to inform him, not follow me.' Nick steps out of the stream of sunlight, and moves closer to me.
'Eric can kiss my furry ass.' I would laugh if his words didn't seem so out of character.
'Still an asshole.' He nudges me with his shoulder. 'You don't look well, Cameron. You came back from this other pack looking better than you have in years... You've only been back a few weeks and you look worse than when you left.' I glance at him.
'Since when have you cared about my wellbeing?' Nick's silent. He starts to pace.
'I've always cared, Cam.'
'You have a funny way of showing it.' Nick suddenly growls but not directly at me. The breeze heads back towards our pack, which is why all I can smell is Kat. It had given Bogey and Conner a chance to sneak up behind us. One of two gray wolves in the pack, Conner's smaller than the rest of us, but fast. It's why he spent most of his time on patrols and hunting.
'Of course you two would be together.' Conner sneers.
'I was just bringing him back, Conner.' Nick tells him, though he looks about ready for a fight. His back is haunched, his paws placed strategically for a fight.
'Not what it looked like to me.'
'What did it look like Robert?' Bogey bares his teeth to the use of his real name. He's circling, preparing to corner us. Nick glances at me. There's a sinking feeling in my chest. Without warning, and fully surprising me, Nick hunkers down and growls before launching himself at Conner. I'm too stunned to move.
My wolf decides to wake me up early. I lay on top of my covers, my arms wrapped around my knees at my chest. The clock on my nightstand reads seven. Inside of me, my wolf paces. On unsteady feet I lunge across the bedroom and hurl yesterday's rabbit into the toilet. It doesn't help my stomach one bit.
Still in my pajamas I jog down the steps and out into cool morning air. Most of the pack's still asleep. I spot Louis near the clearing of trees on his side, his paws twitching slightly as he dreams. Normally I'd stop and record it, but I'm not all here at the moment.
The cold air doesn't help to clear my mind. My wolf isn't trying to take over as I'd recognize that feeling immediately. But I'm unsteady and painfully aware of my heart beating in my chest. I rest a palm on the outside table, where Cameron and I had sat once before, and try to focus my breathing. My chest feels heavy and I'm uncomfortable.
I don't undress. Right there at the table, I let myself shift.
And I run.
I have no idea how long I run for, but I watch as the fog clears making way for the morning sun. My white paws quickly have grown dark with mud. I've probably done ten or maybe even twenty laps around the property line when Louis cuts me off, nearly causing a collision.
'Are you serious?' I yell at him through the mind link.
'Me?' Louis snaps back. His fur is dirty from a nights sleep outdoors. 'Kat you've been running for two hours now. I told your parents I'd get you back inside.' Being inside... Being in my human form... The thought of it makes me feel confined and I find myself backing away from Louis. I shake my head. 'I don't feel right. I-I'm dizzy, lightheaded. I just need to run.'
'Let me get Maryanne.' The pack doctor. Again, I shake my head. I prepare to tell him no, but then the wind shifts. My fur bristles, as an all too familiar scent hits my nose. From the way Louis looks at me, he smells it too. 'Kat, wait-' Too late, I'm crossing over the property line. I follow the scent around the trees, and through the bushes.
Louis is behind me, but he doesn't try and stop my movements.
'Cameron!' I call out haphazardly.
'Kat!' Louis catches up, running in synch with me.
'Do you smell him?' I ask.
'I do, but I don't think-' Louis's words are drowned out, as Cameron speaks over him.
'Kat?' Cameron answers as I turn a bend at the start of a mountain. What I come to see, I'm not prepared for. Cameron's red wolf, larger than the one next to him, growls at the two facing him. I survey the fight, only until I notice Cameron's bleeding paw. I see red.
'Don't' Louis says nudging me. I push him back and run forward.