Wild Claim

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18

SAGE

"I know that Liam was the one that hurt you and judging by how badly injured you are. You must have seen---" she paused, "a different side of him."

I swallowed the lump in my throat. Obviously, Liam's sister would know about Liam's beast. I looked down at my feet. Luna Katya took a step forward to gain my attention again. She looked upset and I didn't want to worry about her further.

"I'm alright, Luna Katya," I replied.

"I know you are not alright. After Liam rushed you to the medical wing, he flipped out. He rushed to me and in an erratic and incoherent manner explained what he could before he made a dash for the woods. He feels terrible, Sage. I am his sister and I know him so well. He doesn't speak about it but he is very afraid," Luna Katya continued. "I am not going to excuse his behavior. He shouldn't have hurt you but at the same time, I want you to give him a chance. You might be the only thing that can give him hope. As an older sister to Liam, I am begging you to at least listen to what I have to say."

I felt sympathy towards Luna Katya and so I nodded for her to continue. She moved us to sit down on the edge of the bed. She took hold of one of my hands into hers.

"Liam had a rough childhood. I don't know if your father ever told you about our past," she said, looking at me to seek answers.

I shook my head. Luna Katya nodded in understanding before turning her attention to look out the window.

"When Liam was a few months old, the pack that we were living in was attacked. So many people were slaughtered and many were taken captive. Our father tried protecting us but was killed by a rebellious Alpha rogue. He wanted followers and to gain them he forced many of our pack members to work for him. He used coercion and threatened the lives of their family members. Little children and babies were all taken captive," Luna Katya explained.

Luna Katya's eyes were distant as if she was reliving a nightmare. In a complete trance, she didn't stop talking but her hands gripped mine tighter.

"He captured our mother, Liam and me. We were locked in a cellblock for many years. During that time, many pack members died. Children, babies, mothers, and fathers. Nobody was spared. Many died due to the brutality of the followers that worked under the Alpha rogue. Others died from scientifically modified drugs. Most children and babies were used as test subjects because they were most adaptable. They haven't reached maturity yet but unfortunately, many died because of the test. They would either come back with heavy fevers or stop breathing in a few hours."

I knew what she was saying. Liam was a baby. My heart beat faster against my rib cage and I welcomed the tightening grip of her hands against mine. I gulped down my emotions and lifted my eyes to look at her. Her eyes never strayed from the window. She looked at the moon and her lips quivered.

"One night a guard came into our cellblock and took Liam away from my mother. She cried and pounded so hard against the door that her hands were bloodied afterward. By the time Liam returned, he was quiet and lethargic. Within hours he broke into an intense fever. We both thought he would die that night but the fever broke but he remained in a comatose state for a few days.

Then the Alpha rogue came and took Liam away again. My mother tried attacking him but instead caught the Alpha rogue's wicked attention. He took her away and she returned bloodied between her legs and beaten."

I can't sit. This was too much. Rage boiled inside of me. I shot up from my seat on the edge of the bed and began pacing.

"You have to understand his past to understand him," Luna Katya urged from her seat on the edge of the bed.

"Go on," I whispered hoarsely.

"Liam returned a few days later awake but quiet. He stopped talking for months and months turned into years. My mother feared he would never speak but one day he had a nightmare and woke up. His eyes were glowing yellow and he looked hollow inside. It was like staring at a monster and not her child. She grabbed him and shook him. He injured her badly but our mother soothed him with her lullabies while wrapping her arms around his body. When he finally stopped fighting, his eyes returned to normal," Luna Katya's voice cracked and she covered her mouth for a second before removing it and lifting her eyes to meet mine. "He didn't remember attacking my mother but then he spoke for the first time."

"It was the drug," I said.

She nodded her head and two tears slipped down her cheeks. "The drugs modified his DNA. I don't know what they did but the Alpha Rogue has always been interested in Liam. He tested Liam endlessly for years and every time, Liam would come back and be silent for a few days before talking again. He suffered through traumatic things that no child should ever have to encounter. I couldn't even stop him."

"Did you receive the drug too?" I questioned.

She shook her head, "The Alpha rogue wasn't interested in girls. For some reason, he tested mostly on boys."

Liam wasn't a normal werewolf because of this. My heart was breaking visualizing what he had to go through. I recalled my dad telling me about the rescue mission for Luna Katya. I never paid much attention to it but now it all made sense.

"Why didn't he captured Liam when you were kidnapped?" I asked.

"He had what he wanted from Liam but he was obsessed with our genetic DNA. He impregnated my mother to use the baby as a test subject but my mother died giving birth. So, he wanted to use me," Luna Katya's body shook so hard. I moved instantly to her side and wrapped an arm around her.

"You are safe," I reminded her.

Her hands were fisted so hard at her side, I can see the whites of her knuckles. I placed one hand over her hands. She took a deep breath.

"Liam is afraid of water. When he was little, the Alpha rogue would drown him to get him to listen. He used Liam to threaten my mother. Liam would be tied and thrown into the water until my mother would agree to his terms. He is fiercely afraid of deep ends," Luna Katya explained. "When we escaped from the camp, it took Liam forever to take baths in the streams. He would fight me constantly. I would have to use a wet cloth to wipe him down."

This was why he was reacting that way in the water. He was afraid. I was too drunk to realize or even understand the signs of his fear.

"He ran away because he is ashamed of who he is. No one knows this except for Alpha Hunter. I suspect your parents now know too but they won't speak a word of it unless given permission by the Alpha," Luna Katya said.

I nodded and feeling numb for all the information she had given me. Searching inside of me, it seemed I still feared Liam but understanding him triumphed that fear.

"I did see his beast. He is terrifying, twice the size of Alpha Hunter. He could kill me instantly," I told her honestly. Fighting back the goosebumps that touched my skin.

She sighed. "His beast is uncontrollable, almost completely primitive. It only knows to kill. He doesn't understand human relationships or human emotions. I have only seen him a handful of times but they were only briefly."

"D-did he ever hurt you?" I asked.

She shook her head. "Liam is careful. When he feels his beast threatening to be free, he would run away. Sometimes he would be gone for days but he always returns."

I remained silent, deciphering my own thoughts and emotions. My heart goes out to Liam. He was an infant that didn't deserve the fate that has been handed down to him. I recalled how he had approached my dad and asked for punishment. He was taking this hard. I realized he didn't mean to inflict pain on me. If he had a choice, he would have stopped it from happening but because he couldn't control his own fear and demons.

"Everyone has a bad side. Liam just happens to be his beast. I don't know what he is fully capable of. It's wild and untamed but Liam—your feelings for each other should mean something. Search deep inside of you, Sage. Do you care for him even though he had hurt you?" Luna Katya asked.

I do care for him. I am even afraid I have fallen in love with him. I don't know when or how, just that my heart and mind are filled with him. Seeing his beast was terrifying. My thoughts were cluttered and messy but I know without a doubt that my feelings for him haven't changed.

I squeezed her hands in silent reassurance. "My mom once told me that regardless of our past, mates are destined to be together for a reason. If I give up on him so easily, do I really deserve him as a mate?"

Luna Katya smiled and I returned it.

"Thank you, Sage," she replied.

She pulled me into a tight hug before getting up from the bed. She yawned and stretched her body before we said our goodnights and we separated. Instead of heading back into bed with Ellie. I threw on my old clothes and jacket before slipping on my shoes and walking out of the packhouse.

It was around two to three in the morning. Late into the night and everyone was sound asleep. So, my little footsteps echoed down the hallways, steps, and down the foyer and out the front door. With all the information that was given to me, I still felt restless and needed some air. How could I go to sleep when I have just revealed the horrors of my mate's past?

Sighing, I walked down the black asphalt driveway enjoying the cool night breeze billowing in my hair. My eyes were focused on the ground while I walked.

I thought back to the night where Liam shifted. He did look terrifying. Luna Katya had mentioned that his beast only understood how to kill. He was cold towards any human relationships and emotions but the night at the lake, he heard me. It took several tries but he did hear me and eventually calmed down.

I realized I had reached the end of the driveway and made a left turn down the side of the road. I ran a hand through my messy hair and looked up. My eyes caught sight of him immediately. He was also walking up the road. His hands shoved into his jean pocket and he was dressed in only a white v-neck t-shirt. We both stopped walking. There were at least twenty yards between us.

His eyes swept me from head to toe as if I was some ghost that appeared in front of him. His face voided of emotions and his lips were thinly pressed. Had he had trouble sleeping too? Unable to hold his intense gaze, I looked down at the ground.

"Sage," he whispered my name and as if on command I looked back up at him.

My body began moving on its own. At first, I took the first step towards him but then I burst into a run and threw myself into his arms. It was warm and comforting. His scent wrapped around me like a protective blanket. I buried my face into his chest.

"I'm sorry, Kitten," he whispered hoarsely.

"You have nothing to be sorry about," I replied and hugged him tighter.

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