Caged Wolf

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Chapter Twenty-Four: Reaper

Song of the Chapter: Glass Heart by Sam Tinnesz

I sit with Garth and Secora watching the human Joey. He isn’t doing very well, he’s become considerably paler and sweats profusely. I don’t think he’s going to survive the bite, I don’t think he has any intentions of trying. My eyes drift past him to the couch where Noah lays. He’s curled up against the couch his energy spent as he stares absently at the back of the couch. This whole thing has broken him in a way that I have never seen him before. The Noah I know is strong and would fight this, but how do you fight this? The Noah we know is broken and it’s extremely hard to see.

“I think we should give him back to them, he isn’t going to make it,” I say to Secora as I take another look at Joey before inhaling a deep breath, he smells like rot.

“Perry looked worse and he survived.” Noah wheezes from the couch, it’s the first word he’s spoken in hours.

He wouldn’t even talk to Dusk which was disheartening for all of us. Right now they need each other, anyone can see what’s going on with Dusk and I know she needs Noah now than ever right now but he’s shutting down. Dusk needed some space so she went to find her brother leaving us here with Noah and the bag of death.

“Reaper’s right Noah, this kid isn’t cut out for this. He isn’t even trying to hold on.” Garth says gently as he checks on Joey’s not healing wound.

“I did that to him,” Noah replies absently and my heart aches in my chest.

How can one person deal with so much pain? I thought what I had going on was bad but these people, this pack, has been dealt so much unfairness it’s not even polite. Victor stirs from where he was sleeping in the chair, Diana left a bit ago with a group of the soldiers, they went to try and get information from the Colonel about what’s going on. Some of the humans are still divided on his involvement with the chips.

“I did this to myself.” Joey’s weak voice comes out surprising us all as he wets his dry lips.

Secora moves to present him with a glass of water, Joey may not deserve our kindness after everything he’s done to us but we are giving it to him anyway.

“What do you mean Joey?” Victor prods him, maybe the guy is ready to admit his sins being on deaths bed.

“I mean I brought this on myself. I couldn’t get over what you all were and what Hayley did to my family. I couldn’t accept that it wasn’t just a simple act of monstrosity. I was wrong, I was wrong about everything. I was wrong to trust the Colonel, he used me in the same way that he is using you, Noah. I was just a pawn in his game in order to obtain your abilities.” Joey explains a dry laugh crackling from his throat at the notion.

“You should have admitted that before when Hayley might have heard it.” Crane’s voice comes from the entranceway and I see him and Dusk re-entering the room.

Dusk’s eyes are red and puffy showing she has been crying. She shouldn’t have to cry. My heart hurts all over again, I have a special soft spot for my female alpha because of what she did in order to earn my trust. This is my family and to see them breaking kills me. Joey cracks a broken smile at Crane’s words.

“I was so blinded by my jealousy of you and what I thought was love for her that I let myself become the very thing that I thought I was fighting against. I let the very people I was helping be the people I never wanted to help.” Joey sighs before he gulps down more water from Secora, he finishes the glass and she quickly leaves to get him another one.

“It’s not too late to make things right Joey, it’s not too late to accept that if you try to survive and live as one of us you can do better than what you’ve done. Your parents wouldn’t be ashamed of you, they would be proud that you could finally accept Wolves. After all, they accepted what Hayley was, they just didn’t know how to handle it properly.” Crane explains as he moves to crouch before Joey.

This is a beautiful moment that I never would have considered to come in the beginning. My people truly are remarkable, so willing to give redemption to those that never would have dreamed of being presented the option of it.

“You’d help me to survive even after everything I’ve done to you?” Joey rattles out surprised.

“I’ll do my best if you’d let me. You are still my girl's best friend after all.” Crane smiles genuinely.

Tears begin to stream from Joey’s eyes as he nods accepting Crane’s offer of help. I narrow my eyes, unlike my packmates I don’t trust Joey right away. Looking over at Dusk I know she is in the same frame of mind that I am, if it comes down to it she will put him down if he betrays us again.

“Noah, could you help me with this?” Crane asks Noah gently causing him to roll over on the couch, his empty eyes meeting Cranes.

“You don’t think I’ll just make it worse?” Noah asks dryly.

“I think that if you put your mind to it you can help us. I think if you really put your mind and heart into it than nothing can control you, not even this stupid chip. You are our strong alpha Noah, you can’t just sit down and let this defeat you, not now. Not when we are so close to finding our lives.” Crane claims his voice strong and confident as he moves to Noah before he extends his hand down for Noah to take.

I can see it, the moment Noah takes Crane’s words within him and really grabs a hold of them. The energy and determination pour back into his eyes filling them with colour once more.

“You’re right Crane. I’m not going to beat this by feeling sorry for myself, not when I have this many people around me to help me.” Noah decides and everyone converges on him pulling him into a happy hug.

His eyes meet mine from where I sit and I know he sees my hesitation there but he smiles anyways nodding at me. I know he appreciates my overprotectiveness of his mate and his pack because it means if he can’t beat this I will take care of them for him. Noah and I have an understanding of each other when it comes to if he ever leaves us before his time. I watch as Noah moves from the couch where he was vegetating before he approaches Joey who looks up at him with scared eyes. Noah nods at him before biting into his own wrist and extending it to Joey.

“It will help,” Noah explains as he continues to hold his wrist out while Joey swallows unsure of this idea.

“Trust me it isn’t nearly as gross as you think it is,” Garth suggests trying to reassure Joey who swallows again before taking Noah’s arm.

He hesitates once more right before Noah’s wrist meets his lips than using his courage he takes Noah’s wrist between his lips. His eyes are scrunched up at first in disgust until he takes in a few gulps than he relaxes completely as he takes Noah’s blood. The wound on his chest quickly heals into a faint scar as his skin tone changes from paper-thin to a more normal colour. Smelling the air I no longer smell that rotting scent and I’m amazed at how quickly an alpha’s blood can change things. Noah pulls his wrist from Joey’s lips as Dusk comes to him healing him. Joey licks his lips in wonder his eyes looking up at everyone.

“Your blood doesn’t taste like blood.” He states flabbergasted, not sure what else to say.

“How are you feeling?” Crane asks Joey as he crouches down in front of him again.

“Better, I have something for you, maybe one day it might be useful to you. I want to give it to you as a sign of my gratitude and an honest change of heart.” Joey explains as he rummages around in the shirt he is wearing before producing another syringe full of the Wolfsbane.

Joey looks it over once before handing it over to Crane who takes it standing as he looks at the liquid. I relax a little, Joey handing this over to Crane is a big show of trust. Joey doesn’t plan on trying to harm Crane again and that could mean he really is going to try and use a second chance to do things better. I don’t fully believe it but I would like to, I’d like to still be as trusting as the other’s at this point but I just can’t be. For the sake of Dusk and this pack’s future, I won’t let my guard down. At this point I would do anything for my packmates, I would do whatever is best for us. Even if it’s the hardest thing to do, even if it means doing something I never could have imagined. My eyes meet Noah’s again and fear settles into my heart at the words he sent me earlier today. Words he told only to me after he found out he was one of the chipped ones after he realized that his horrible nightmares were memories. Fear for what he has asked of me if it comes down to it. Noah holds my gaze and I know that Noah truly isn’t feeling any better, he is still terrified. He’s just doing this for the pack’s sake, for Dusk’s sake. An ache settles into me and all I can do is hope that Hayley can truly help us hope that she can find a solution for this. I have to hope for Noah, if I don’t and something happens then we will never be the same. Without Noah Dusk and I will be reverted back to who we were before we all found each other, us three need each other more than anyone ever realizes. I need Noah more than he even realizes because with Noah I have everything, I have a family. Without Noah, my family will crumble. I take a deep breath and try to hold onto my hope.

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