Chapter Twenty: Dusk
Crane flees the room as emotions pour from Hayley, I can't blame him as I was the same way when Noah showed mixed emotions towards me. Hayley's round eyes finally meet mine and her lips quiver.
"We all make mistakes Hayley, some have worse consequences than others! We can't change the past and even if we could I wouldn't. We must look forwards and not backwards, the now is more important than the how!" I explain to Hayley and my words may be the wisest I have ever spoken even though I'm fairly sure I just quoted someone.
"I shouldn't judge him, I did try to lead you to your death, I am guilty of my own mistakes." Hayley responds slowly as she hugs herself and let's her eyes wander to the door.
I don't say anything at this point because I think Hayley needs to think to herself, however the worry for Crane is prominent in her eyes.
"Will he be okay?" Hayley finally wonders out loud and her worry makes me feel happy for my brother because he truly has found his mate.
"He just needs to blow off some steam, he'll be okay. Now on to a more pressing matter, what would you like to do with Joey and his betrayal?" I ask the question straightforward hoping that that will earn me a straightforward answer.
"I think I know a solution, we can't kill him, but maybe we can do something else to make sure he doesn't talk. He doesn't understand the wolves because he is human even though he knows the truth about what happened to his family. I think maybe it's time he understands us a little bit better." Hayley says slowly as if she is still thinking her words through and this plan concerns me.
"Hayley, I've never bitten anyone against their will, this life has to be a choice!" I tell her because it is true, as an alphas I never have and wish to never turn anyone against their will.
"Bring him here and let me talk to him than, please!" Hayley pleads and her voice sways me even though I'm not sure what she would like to do with him.
Crane can you fetch Joey and bring him here please? - I send out to Crane hoping that he is listening, I'm pleased to feel him connect to me right away.
Sure, what are you thinking? - Crane responds and than of course he wants to know the plan.
Not sure yet, just bring him here! - I reply and my tone comes off more commanding than I mean for it to but I'm curious as to what Hayley has planned.
I round up the rest of our closest pack-mates and we wait for Crane to arrive. He doesn't take long for him to show with Joey in tow. Joey stinks of terror as he fights against Crane who drags him into the room plopping him down across from us all. I wake Noah for this as it is a matter that concerns us.
"What are you going to do with me?" Joey spits out at us trying to be brace but his stench gives his true cowardice nature away.
"Hayley?" I ask in response letting her know this is all her, her decision.
"Joey you have to know we can't let you go, so I'm going to give you a couple of options. Option number one we kill you, option number two you look past all of this and remain my best friend and help us, option number three we turn you and make you like us so you understand, or option number four we lock you up until this is all over." Hayley states and her voice holds steady as she bends down to give Joey his options, of course they aren't great but maybe she is just trying to scare him.
Joey sits open mouthed looking up at Hayley and considering the options she has presented him with as if they are all insane to him.
"This isn't very humane of you." Joey finally states and that gets me fired up.
"Humane! Humane! You are not one to talk, this place slaughtered all of our elders, all of the adults, my aunt! I just found my family and this place tries to take them away from me, is that really what you call humane? If it is than no we are not humane Joey!" I yell as I move towards him and tears start to pour out of my eyes at the mention of Lora and her death, at the thought of that Sasha and Lily will never see their mother again and so much more.
"She's right Joe, these people are all orphans like you because of what this place has done to them, children no longer have families because of humans. Do you really want to continue to be part of that?" Hayley perks up dwelling on my words and Joey looks up at her with round eyes that start to swell with tears.
"I never thought of it that way, I just wanted to hate wolves for taking my family away from me." Joey says slowly and tears stream down his face.
We stand stiffly watching him, suddenly Noah moves from my side and bends down in front of him so that he is eye level with Joey.
"I was human when wolves killed the one and only person I thought I could ever love Joey. I blamed Dusk for that for a little while but she changed me, so wolves took that person away from me. It wasn't all of their kinds fault, in fact it was no one's fault. Life happens and sometimes it sucks but it always gets better, it did for me." Noah tells him in an edgy voice and his words seem to break through Joey's barriers.
"Your right I've been blaming all wolves for so long when it was just one wolfs mistake, one wolfs fault. It was one wolf that is already dead yet, I've held a grudge and it has made me into a person that I never wanted to be, is there anyway you can forgive me?" Joey asks quietly as he looks up at all of us guilt riddling his face.
"We can forgive you if you promise to help us!" Crane smiles from beside Hayley and Joey looks up at him nodding his head.
We are all smiling when suddenly Noah lunges forward and sinks his teeth into Joey's arm as he flinches raising it to protect himself. There is no time to react as Noah falls backwards eyes rolled up in his head as he begins to shake. I race to his fallen side and hold him still.
"Noah?" I cry out terror welling up inside of me because I do not know what is happening, Noah has been so off lately that I knew something was up, something so big that I haven't even had the chance to tell him something important.
Crane stoops down beside me and helps me role Noah onto his side as he foams at the mouth and continues to convulse as pure panic begins to take me and I sob. Behind us Hayley has rushed to Joey's side as he holds his bitten arm close to him and lets out a little laugh.
"What's so funny?" Crane snarls as he looks up at Joey with glowing eyes.
"It's begun, the final stage. You were all injected with control chips when you were brought here but only certain ones stuck and I guess Noah is one of those ones. They just made him bite me, I guess they never planned on letting me live and I guess this is the best way for me to go." Joey laughs and his laughter has turned into a hysterical kind as pain eats at him and the wolf toxins swirl into his bloodstream taking him.
Suddenly Noah stops shaking and his eyes roll back to normal in his head.
"Dusk?" He asks me and his voice is so small and scared that it rips into me.
I pull Noah up and into my arms as he hugs me close to him tears slipping down his cheeks while he sobs into my shoulder. I hold him tighter than I've ever held him before as Crane watches us and than looks over us to Hayley who looks our way. I listen to Joey's raspy breaths as pain takes him and now I know we need to make him survive this.
"Joey needs to survive this, maybe there is a cure or a way to remove the devices!" I say hopefully from my embrace with Noah who still holds me tightly.
"There has to be." Noah whispers to me as he pulls back from hugging me and wipes at his eyes while he tries to look strong for us.
Noah than stands moves from us, he picks up Joey setting him down again on our bed. There Noah bites his arm and dribbles his blood onto Joey's paling lips. Joey swallows and takes the blood, Noah than comes back over pulling me to my feet looking at me with so much hope in his eyes.
"We can fix this?" I ask and Noah nods at me as he guides me to the couch sitting me down and allowing me to curl up in his lap as he holds onto me and I hold onto him.
We will not lose each other.
"I promise I'll fight this for us Dusk!" Noah whispers to me right before I fall asleep in his lap as stress exhausts me and I find some much needed peace in my dreams.
I don't know how long I've been out for but a small ache in my head wakes me and I crack my eyes open which allows an onslaught of voices to pour into my mind. All of the voices call my name and in my groggy state I push them away as I close my eyes again.
Dusk, Noah, please you need to see this! - Secora's voice breaks into my sleepy mind.
The urgency in her words irks me and I am suddenly wide awake as I sit bolt up. Noah stirs from where he was asleep on the couch under me while Crane and Hayley stir in the chair they curled up together in. I climb up and move quickly to the bed where Joey sleeps peacefully, his bite on his arm has started to scar over and his chances of survival are looking good. A feeling of dread shakes me to my very core suddenly and I can't place it. Noah sits up and as soon as he feels it he is at my side looking just as confused as I'm feeling. I absently place a hand over my stomach but remove it when Crane sees me do so and raises an eyebrow at me. Getting an urge I go to the door and open it to find Secora sitting on the ground outside. She rises when she sees us and her eyes are red as he face is streaked with tears.
"What's going on?" Hayley's groggy voice calls from Crane's lap.
"Both of you stay here with Joey!" I command but it's not forceful as I shake my head at Secora's look.
Secora leads us away and down the tunnels out into the sunlight. The sun is high outside the cave walls and warm, Secora leads us to a cropping of trees near the cavern wall not far from our home. A huge group of wolves has gathered and they surround something. Noah and I move through the crowd until we come to the center, what I see has me stopping statue still. Noah wraps his arms around me but pure anger radiates from him as I look down at a huddled form mutilated and broken as it lays on the forest floor. Blood is splattered along with internals as the pup's eyes, who I confronted earlier, look up at me lifeless. A screech is frozen on his dead face and I lean into Noah's embrace.
"What happened?" Noah demands and his voice is ripe with emotion.
"The pups were playing alone when they were attacked, the attacker targeted this pup only as the others hid, the attacker than fled." Danny explains cautiously from behind us, he knows how testy we are right now.
"Are the other pups okay?" I ask as I move to stand over the body of the pup.
"Sasha and a group of wolves took them inside to play." Garth steps up beside us and I nod.
"Could it have been a white mask?" Star asks from across the way.
"No, this was a wolf attack!" I growl lout as I role the body and find words carved into the back flesh of the pup.
They read, 'You messed with the wrong alpha, bitch'.
"The rogues?" Secora asks in shock as she sees me reading the words.
"They would go so far as to kill a pup?" A group of voices gasp out.
"I'm sorry. We should have protected you, your safe now my little up!" I whisper as I put one hand absently on my stomach again as I use the other to close the dead pups eyes for the last time.
I share a look with Noah and we shift taking off without any other words. Anger fuels my blood while rage consumes my every fiber, they killed a pup for revenge, an innocent pup. We will make them pay for their actions. Noah and I lead the group as wolves fall in behind us and we end up running as one huge pack, word has traveled to the other alphas because they fall in step just behind us following our lead as we trace the scent of the pups blood. The scent of the blood only fuels my rage and I know Noah is feeling it too, we run until we come to the darker section of the forest where the dark caves are found. This place reeks of death and decay.
Afraid you can't best us alone? It should be me and you one on one again without your powers, mark my words Fire Devil I will walk away from your bloody, broken body this time! - Kiki's voice echoes in my mind and I growl drawing Noah's eye.
Give me your best omega! You will only be meet with my full strength, I will not hold back this time! - I send back and a series of growls echo from inside the caves.
Two wolves step out of the shadows but they are not who we are here for, they are smaller wolves, perhaps betas who were once omegas. These two wolves would be nothing but energy killers for Noah and I, chew toys even. I notice fear wafts off of them in great amounts and I almost feel pity, almost. These are not ours to deal with as an alpha pair behind us steps up as we informed that the two wolves in front of us are deserters from their pack. We step back allowing these two to do what must be done and they fight snarls ringing out and hackles raised. The others end it swiftly and I frown disappointed.
Your grunts are dead, what'y your move now? - I send out and this time I connect my mind to the packs so they know what's going as I can sense frustration coming from the cave.
Two more wolves step forward and my blood boils as I recognize Kiki and note that they walk confidently forward. The notion of them being confident has me smiling a wolf smile. I really want to toy with them a little, I want to put fear into these wolves that the pup felt, I want to kill them.
Perry? - Noah's thoughts ring out to everyone and I take a moment to really notice the male wolf, his scent suggests he is Perry after all.
Surprised to see me Noah? I finally found someone willing to help me kill you and take Dusk who is rightfully mine! - Perry's voice comes through into Noah's mind and he shares it with the rest of us as Carl pushes his way through the pack and comes to stand close to us.
It doesn't have to be like this Perry, don't you remember what it was like before when we were the three amigos? Don't you miss those days? - Carl tries his best to get through to Perry but it doesn't matter, the old Perry is gone and never coming back. The old days don't matter Carl! What does matter is this bastard dies under our claws. Once I kill him I can rule this valley! - Perry spits out and it is obvious how this is going to go down, there is no point waiting any longer.
Out of patience I move to Noah and I duck my head to cower beneath his head as my neck fur touches his throat fur. Kiki and Perry grin wolfish grins taking my move as a sign of weakness, idiots. Perry move first and as soon as he pounces I lunge low and swipe his paws out from underneath of him, he comes crashing to the ground at Noah's paws. Blood spurts into the air as Noah slashes his claws through Perry's ears and takes chunks of flesh off. Kiki moves to help Perry but I cut her off and bowl her over.
You can watch him die! - I bend and basically whisper in her ear as I pin her to the ground and grab her neck scruff in my teeth holding her still as I make her watch the show.
Noah plays with Perry for a long time making sure that Perry knows what he choose and regrets it but also displaying his own strength and dominance as he slowly kills Perry. Eventually Perry is blind, deaf, and Noah is drenched in blood as he watches Perry claw out desperately at nothing. With a nod of consent from Carl, Noah makes his move as he snaps Perry's neck and Kiki squirms beneath me whining showing that Perry truly was her mate. Out of pity I set her free to run to Perry's lifeless body as Noah steps away. We give her time to grief him as though they did wrong no fight is fair against a broken heart. Finally she turns to us and growls showing her bloody teeth.
One on one Dusk, you and me! I'll kill you, I'll rip your bloody heart out for your mate to see, for all to see! - Kiki demands as she turns to face me and pure rage mixed with grief fuel her mind.
I step forward growling as we circle each other like we would in the arena. I'm a much bigger and badder wolf than she is any day and we all know it. Still I will not underestimate her as she is fueled by her grief and that is the most desperate kind of wolf. She makes a move at me and I bat her away with a single paw swipe. I ache to end her, rip her apart and feed on her lifeless corpse as I allow a haze to settle over me and I lose myself to my needs.