It took me a few steps to understand where I was. I felt the headache slowly sending small electric shots through my entire body, my eyes started to burn, my throat felt numb, and my hands and feet felt frozen. I took some deep breaths to calm myself down, but it was nearly impossible since I felt like I was dying; like my body was gradually leaving my body, thus I could not move.
Then, I remembered everything, every single sin I have ever committed. I know that Amoux is the one who was taking the wheel, but he is part of me, hence I am as equally to blame as he is. I should have had enough strength and determination to stop him.
“Xander?” I heard someone call my name from a distance, a voice so familiar yet so foreign at the same time. It reminded me of home before I became the monster I am today, before I learned how painful life can be, and before I became haunted by myself and my fears.
Slowly, my eyes began to open only to be met with a face I had not seen in years, a face I thought I would never see again. Despite what I had done, he smiled in my face; he was relieved that I was conscious. His expression an exact opposite to mine; he should not care about me as much as he does; he should not care about me at all.
“Take it easy.” The voice said once again. I tried to rub my face with my hands, but I felt a cold sensation touch my warm skin. I abruptly got up and examined my surroundings. A chain. They had chained me to protect themselves and my people.
“I am sorry Xander, but it was the only way to ensure you do not harm anyone else, or yourself.”
“You should have killed me.” I stated harshly with a raspy voice.
“You know very well that I would never do that.” He replied as he handed me a glass of water. Despite the self-hatred I felt, I took it and drank all of it in two large sips.
“How are you feeling?” He took the glass from me while eying me worryingly.
“I am alive, unfortunately.” I whispered the last part to myself, but my friend heard it. Thus, I received a smack on the back of my neck.
“What is wrong with you?”
“What is wrong with me is that I just killed one of my pack doctors. What is wrong with me is that I just scarred my best friend face; your brother’s face Nick! What is wrong with me is that I just lost my one chance at happiness. What is wrong with me is that my past just caught up with me. What is wrong with me is that I am sick and tired of being scared of myself. What is wrong with me is that I deserve everything that has happened to me!” I was fighting to stand up when I finished my yelling.
When I saw the pity in his eyes, I harshly wiped my tears away. He walked up to me and held my shoulders.
“Xander, I cannot pretend to understand how you are feeling. I can however assume that you need someone to tell you this.” He waited until I looked him in the eye.
“You are loved Xander, you should never doubt that.” I could hear the honesty in his voice, but I did not allow myself to believe him.
“I am serious Xander.”
“How can you be?” I yelled once again.
“I just maimed your brother’s face Nick! How can you look at me without yearning to kill me?”
“Because I know you Xander and because I know that Josh forgave you even before you attacked him. We may not share the same blood, but you are our brother. Our bond is unshakable; it cannot be affected by things that we cannot control.”
“But I could have…”
“You could not have done anything Xander, and you have to accept that.” Josh entered the room causing me to immediately look at the floor. I could not bear looking at his face.
“Xander look at me.” At his words I collapsed on the floor and started to cry my soul out. My palms collided with the floor as the sound of my cries echoed in the room.
“Xander, I do not blame you, you should not blame yourself either.” Josh sat on the ground next to me. He tried to catch my eyes, but I was focusing on my cries.
Nick hugged me tight as he allowed me to let all my negative emotions out. All the while, Josh held my right hand assuring me that he did not feel angry towards me.
“I am so sorry. I am sorry. I am sorry.” I kept saying it over and over again for a really long time. I had never felt more powerless and guilty in my entire life. I felt ashamed.
“What is wrong? Is he okay? We heard screaming…” My parents entered the room and stared at me with surprised and pained looks.
My mother tried to walk towards me but the slight shake of my head stopped her. I know it was unfair and selfish, but I blamed her and my father. I chose to keep blaming them because I did not think I was strong enough to handle the truth.
“Son, how are you feeling?” At my mother’s words, my sorrow turned to anger. Thus, I pulled away from Nick, got up, and turned to my parents.
“How am I feeling? Are you fucking kidding me right now? You have been so involved with yourselves to see my tears and to care about my emotions, and now you want to know how I am doing? Now you want to make sure I am okay? You did this!! You, you did this!” I gave both of them an accusing finger.
“Son, if we had known that Shadow is your mate we would not have did what we did. If you had told us that you are mates rather than keeping secrets…”
“So, now I am the one to blame for everything? Is that what you are saying?” I looked at my father with swollen tired eyes.
“I should not be surprised considering it is not the first time you have done something like this.”
“Xander, I understand that you are in pain, but we are your parents. So I expect you to…”
“Parents what parents?” My mother looked at me with teary eyes.
“Just leave me alone.” I said in a weak voice as I sat on the bed.
“Xander…” My mother tried again.
“I said leave.” I looked them dead in the eyes before covering my face with my hands.
When I heard the door open and close, my tears returned.
“Xander you have to calm down so we can break you free from these chains.” Josh said. For a second I forgot about his face and looked up at him.
“It is okay.” He assured me when our eyes met.
“No it is not, so do not lie to me.”
“You are right, it is not.” Josh agreed as he sat next to me on the bed.
“And I will be honest; it will take me a while before I can look in the mirror and not cringe at the reflection. But that does not mean that I hate you Xander, because you are my brother, and I know that you did everything you can to stop Amoux.”
“Besides, you have to stop worrying about him because you have to be strong for Shadow.” Nick added.
“How is she?”
“No, do not do that!” Nick gave me a look as he put his pointer finger in my face.
“I agree.” Josh mimicked his brother’s actions.
“It is not the time for this, guys.” I said as I felt myself drown in thousands of emotions.
“Yes it is. I do not want you to think that you do not deserve her because of what happened to me.”
’What happened to me.’ He did not say ‘because of what you did to me.’ He was treating it as an accident.
“There are thousands of reasons why I do not deserve her.” I mumbled.
“How is she?” I asked again.
“She is stable, for now.” Josh replied.
“What do you mean?”
“Another doctor was brought in after I knocked you out. He managed to purge her lungs and her system from the silver, but the fight is now in her hands. Her lungs are far too weak; her breathing is almost non-existence without the help of the machines she is hooked to.” Nick informed me while also telling me what was it that I felt right before I lost consciousness. My best friend had to knock me out with his magic. Somehow, I felt a little comforted by that; he was able to prevent me from doing any further damage.
“How did you know about what was going on?” I whispered.
“Clay told me.” Was his simple answer.
“I want to see her, but I do not trust myself right now.”
“We trust you.” Josh said as he flicked his wrist freeing me from the chains.
“Wait, but what if I…”
“I will come with you, if anything happens I will be there.” Nick assured me as he helped me off the bed.
Nick walked out of the room expecting me to follow him. Before I did, I gave Josh a hug and whispered a little ‘I am truly sorry’ in his ear.
“Do not worry about it, I will be fine.”
“I love you brother.”
“I love you too brother.”