Even as Eric goes slack I don't release him right away. I don't trust him.
Stepping away I watch as he falls to the ground, panting. Blood soaks into his red fur, crimson and dark. My body's taut, itching for the fight to continue. Keeping my head low I bare my teeth. Eric's trying to get up.
'Cameron tell him to let me through.' Kat says. Not Kat. Her wolf. I ignore her. She has no place in this mess. 'Cameron.' She continues to speak into my head and I try my best to ignore her. But it's hard when she's literally IN my head.
'You're a fool.' Eric says over her. 'A stupid childish fool.' I roll my eyes all while trying to ignore the pounding headache. Eric stands on all fours before me but he's injured, shaking. From anger or pain I'm not sure. Probably both. 'Grab him.' The moment he says those words I back up. I expect the wolves to charge at me but no one comes. And it takes only a moment for Eric to lose that smug look on his face. 'Daryl, Conner.' In the group that watches from the other side of the clearing, nearest the house, there's a commotion. Daryl and Conner, the two gray wolves in the pack try to push through, but are cut off by the others. They growl, low and menacing.
The pack won't interfere. They know what's happening. 'They've been waiting for you to step up for some time.' Nick says into my head. 'They don't know Eric and his band of misfits killed their families. But they know you're supposed to be Alpha.' And I realize in the moment, that I'm not the only one that's been bullied by Eric. They were all forced to follow him and because no one stepped up and fought, Eric always won.
'I don't want the pack.' I tell Nick.
'You're all idiots!' Eric says spinning on them.
'A wolf without a pack.' I say to him. He bares his teeth. 'You don't own me, Eric. I'm not your pet. I'm not your Servant.' Kat manages to get around Nick and Louis. She's behind me and I only know of her movement because she pushes herself into my side.
I can smell her. That intoxicating scent of honey and I try my best to ignore her. It. Heat. 'I need you to leave.' I tell Kat, my eyes trained on Eric and the pack beyond him.
'No.' She says. This wolf is a distraction I cannot afford. I know this and yet I look down at her. It's that split second that Eric decides to lunge.
And Kat's the one to block him. As he dives for my throat, she dives for his, sinking her teeth right where mine had been a moment earlier.
'Kat!' I yell at her. Either she doesn't hear me or doesn't care. She continues to fight Eric. I look between the two and thinking quickly I dive at the back of her neck, grabbing her scruff and pulling her back. 'Stop!'
I throw myself between the two of them and growl so viciously at Eric that I scare myself. If there's one scratch on Kat...
'You do not touch her!' Something snaps in me. She can handle herself. I know enough to know that. But seeing her put herself in harms way for me... I promised to keep her safe. So far I'd done a piss poor job. Eric's eyes meet my own. This isn't a game he's going to win. And he knows he made a fatal mistake.
It's like a blindfold is removed. I'm in my wolf form standing behind my mate, smelling of blood. Before me, I can see the roof of Cameron's house and a few hundred feet before that, is Eric's pack, watching with a look of disbelief.
My wolf had taken over, and I have no clue of the damage she's caused. 'You do not touch her!' He doesn't mean to broadcast his words but he's angry, so angry, and it's partly my wolf's fault. Eric growls at him but it's feeble. He's cowering slightly. 'You destroyed the pack my family built. You're no Alpha. Just a coward.' I choose not to interfere again, trying instead to clear the fogginess that is my head.
'Kat damnit get back here.' Louis says to me. I ignore him, my paws planted firmly in the damp ground. I'm staying near my mate.
'This is over. Katalina's my mate. I'm leaving with her and I'm never coming back.' The two males are staring at each other. They're fighting for dominance and I can tell by Cameron's higher stance that he's going to win.
I'm right. Eric looks away first, limping as he turns to face his pack. Every one of them is tense, their attention not on their Alpha but on me and Cameron.
They're all staring at me and as I make eye contact with each individual male, he adverts his gaze. Submitting. I don't want to be their Alpha. All I've ever had interest in was freedom.
'They need you to step up Cameron.' Nick says. 'Say something.' I glance back at Kat. She's standing watching the pack. Her anger's gone and the one I see looking back at me is the real Kat. Slowly she pads back up to me, pushing herself into my side, and placing her head under mine. I rest my own head between her ears.
'Will your father accept them?' I ask her, as slowly the men start walking towards me, arcing widely around Eric. The only ones that stop with him are Daryl and Conner. Alaric hesitates, stopping briefly before continuing forward.
'If you do, yes.' She answers.
Kat's wolf broke down her front door to get to me. When we get back she's immediately reprimanded. She doesn't argue with her parents, only lowers her head. She knows she's in the wrong. She knows she has to own up to it. Louis is pretty scratched up. He'd fought hard with Kat before she broke out.
Kat's father is more than welcoming to Eric's, my, pack. They'd be staying back at Eric's place until things can be arranged. According to them, Eric's small band is gone, having run off the second we left. He's never been one to take defeat lightly.
My mate's busy cleaning up her mess in the house and so I spend the evening watching the setting sun outside. I've never been a leader. Never had any clue how to deal with confrontation. Talking to the boys had nearly been impossible. Nick stepped up to the plate, helping me the best he could. After Eric had run off, he'd explained the truth of the fire and how he'd been forced to keep his mouth shut for so many years. Easily said they didn't take it well.
"I think we'll be able to see the stars tonight." Nick says, closing the sliding glass door as he steps onto the patio. I don't respond, instead I take a deep breath and turn to him. He's smiling. It seems a weights been lifted off of him. But something hasn't sat right since the moment he'd followed me early this morning. He notices my frown.
"Who are you?" I ask quickly, before he can back away. Nick loses his smile and sighs. He looks as if he plans to skirt around the subject but instead he wrings his hands.
"I was your sister's mate." He says shrugging defeatedly. I have no words.