Wild Claim

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29

LIAM

Werewolves going rogue were normal happenings in the werewolf world. Many werewolves break out for many different reasons but most of them are criminal outcasts that no one wants to initiate back into a pack because of the trust. To see several of them banned together wasn't a surprise too. Even if they were outcasts, they were still werewolves. They still craved companionship and pack life.

For them to attack openly like this was not typical. Although rogues were criminal outcasts, most of them sought for a redemption lifestyle. It wasn't to say that the rogue pack couldn't turn bad because I remember living in one.

Watching Sage being wheeled away was another reminder at how I had failed to protect her. I couldn't begin to understand the emotional turmoil that was brewing inside my head. I was angry at everything. My beast recognized this emotion and was fighting to the forefront of my mind. Sensing an unforeseeable threat but failing to understand that we were the culprit. The threat to this pack. To our mate.

I released a frustrated snarl before pacing the floor of the waiting room. After a few minutes, everyone arrived. They all looked worried. Judah marched over to me and slammed me up against the wall. His eyes were filled with rage.

"Give me a reason not to kill you right now, Liam. My daughter loves you but within a few months of meeting you, it has caused her more harm than good. Tell me why I shouldn't kill you," he roared angrily.

Beta Ace and Hunter grabbed Judah by his shoulders and tried to move his hold on me.

"I didn't mean for her to get her. I didn't think she would run after me. I only wanted to keep her safe." I heard myself saying.

Judah applied more pressure to his hold on my chest.

"That is not a good enough reason," he growled and slammed his fist into the wall. "I had protected her for years. Not a single broken bone. Not a single injury that involved more than necessary. Yet within a month in a half of meeting you, she has received more injuries than I can count."

"Judah, please," Katya begged from behind everyone.

"I'm sure Liam didn't mean any real harm, Judah," Beta Male Scott added.

"Lose the grip, Jude. Don't make me command you," Hunter warned.

"She's my daughter!" Judah roared.

"We understand that but hurting Liam would do your daughter no good. She loves him. I understand your every instinct is to protect her but doing what you are doing is no benefit to anyone," Sage's grandmother said from behind him.

Judah closed his eyes and I watched him try to control his own anger.

"I love her. I would die to protect her. I apologize for getting her hurt but you have to know that I would never hurt her," I told him.

"You said you would protect her," Judah said angrily. His eyes opening back up to look at me.

"Judah," Rosemary said from the end of the hallway where Sage had gone down. Judah pulled away from me then. He walked over to his mate. Everyone rushed after him.

"How is she?" Judah asked.

"She's fine. Just a mild concussion. She would just need a few days to rest," Rosemary told him. "She had a laceration on her right arm. We had to stitch that up, but it would heal within a day or two. We placed her arm into a sling to keep it in place. We also gave her some anti-inflammatory medication. It should help with all the swelling."

I slid down the wall and onto the floor. Bringing my hands to my hair and my knees up. I felt like I was drowning in so much pain and failure.

Judah was right. I failed to protect her. Self-hatred filled me to the brim. If Judah demands blood, I was willing to spill. If demands me to leave her---I couldn't. I promised her I would stay by her side.

I felt someone move closer to me. I heard a frustrated sigh.

"I came off harsh. Rose always says I have a short temper," Judah speaking above me snapped me from my stupor. I looked up to see him looking down at me. He put a hand out for me. Familiar olive eyes looked down at me, not accusingly, but filled with compassionate understanding. "She is my only pup but I know you love her."

I glanced at his hand. For a second, I hesitated because I didn't know if I deserve it.

Rosemary moved to crouch down in front of me. Her strawberry blonde hair swept into a bun with her dark-rimmed glasses sliding down her throat. Sage inherited some of Rosemary's soft features. She placed a hand on my knee.

"The guilt you are feeling---the fear and the self-hatred are expected, Liam. She is your mate and you love her. You protected her. She is at home. She is safe. You've brought her back. Sage has always been a wild child. She is carefree and independent. When she sets her mind on something, there is no way in changing it. You did everything you can. Life isn't perfect. Injuries and pain are inevitable. All this you are feeling, they make you human. It makes you perfect for her," Rosemary whispered gently.

I nodded my head and looked back at Judah's outstretched hand. I took hold of it and he pulled me back up to stand on my feet.

"I apologize for pushing you against the wall," Judah said, obviously the man had a hard time saying the sentence. He looked extremely uncomfortable.

"I deserved it," I told him.

He shook his head. "I know my daughter. She left the pack territory because she wanted to."

After we finished talking, we walked to her room together. She was awake and bickering with the doctor that had taken her to get a CT. Her gaze swept the large group, but it returned to me. The cut on her forehead has been stitched up. She was now in a hospital gown. Her messy burnt umber hair cascading over her shoulder and back.

"I'm fine," she said to everyone but kept her eyes on me.

Everyone took turns talking to her and making sure she was okay. Even Ellie video called in to see how she was doing. We discussed the accident and what happened. Hunter sent out an order for the site to be examined by a few trackers and by Beta Ace as well as Judah before handing the evidence over to the werewolf authorities. We all thought it was peculiar that a group of rogues decided to attack us out of nowhere. There must be a reason behind.

Hours later though, Katya's sleepy yawn caught Hunter's attention. He announced to everyone that he would be taking his mate back to bed and that they all should leave Sage alone so that she can rest too. I waited for everyone to leave before moving away from the wall that I was leaning on and walking up to her.

Slowly, I grabbed a hold of her hand slid my fingers through hers.

"Are you okay?" she asked.

I moved to sit on the edge of the bed and brought her hand up to my lips. Brushing them over her bruised knuckles lightly. I know she was fine. She has been talking nonstop with everybody. Her eyes were alert and there wasn't any sign of pain but the experience of almost losing her in the car crash---hearing her scream was something I don't know I could experience again.

"My broken rib has healed," I told her, lifting my eyes to look at her.

We were both quick to realize that I still had my torn t-shirt on. I removed my hand from hers to pull the shirt off from my body. Her eyes traveled over my tattooed chest. The redness was completely gone. She watched my breathing for a minute before her eyes lifted to mine.

"You heal so quickly," she whispered in awe.

"A few years ago, I found a pack doctor who had a thing for DNA, genotyping, and epidemiology. He took one of my blood samples to review. A few days later, he told me he had never seen anything like it. Cell regeneration was the fastest he has ever seen. The way it attacks any kind of virus or bacteria was calculated and lethal," I responded. "He said, 'it was like looking at cells that had its own predatory traits. It smothered the virus and bacteria in seconds."

"Do you know what was in those injections? The drugs that they gave you?" I questioned slowly.

I shifted on the edge of her bed. Feeling anxiety rising inside of me. My skin was tingling again. My shoulders were tense as memories flooded through my mind.

"I---" my voice dropped off. I wondered if I would ever get over this and if Sage would be patient enough to stick with me. I lifted my eyes to look at her. She must have seen how upset I was because she immediately told me it was alright not to say anymore after.

"If you don't want to talk about it. It is ok. I'll wait till you are ready," she said in understanding.

I shook my head. "I was little. I don't know what they did to the fluid that they injected into me, but I recall seeing different kinds of animals sitting in cages. There were snakes, lions, tigers, wolves, anything you can think of. Any animal that was proven a predator found their way into the laboratory."

"They were mutating change in animal genes and chromosomes," she concluded.

The Rogue Alpha was obsessed with immortality and power. His obsession with powers didn't just fall in the werewolf world. He wanted to rule the world completely. Hold control of all kinds of living species and organisms. There was nothing he loved more than power.

"I'm messed up, Sage," I told her.

She shrugged her shoulders, "Aren't we all a little messed up?"

"Not like me," I growled in frustration, feeling like she hasn't fully understood what she was agreeing to.

"Doesn't make it that you deserve to live a life in misery—"

I stood up and walked toward the window. Looking out, I saw that the sun had already passed over the horizon. Soon, everyone would be awake. I heard her throw off her blanket and the soft padding of her feet. Slowly, her hands touched my side and slid their way up my stomach to my chest. She pressed her body against my back and her cheek on my shoulder. The warm electric mate bond spread against our skin, offering comfort.

"You said you wouldn't leave me," she said.

I didn't want to hear how vulnerable she was. Ever since my return, I have seen her pride and strength but to see her like this, was like a vice to my heart.

"I did say I'll stay as long as you want me," I assured her and placed my hands over hers.

"I do," she confirmed. Her breath fanned my back. She turned and pressed a soft kiss on my left shoulder blade.

"Then I am not going anywhere," I told her.

"Through good and bad. I'll help you. I'm here for you. I am made for you," she said.

Those words both pained and delighted me. She was here for me. She wasn't going to leave me. This was Sage. Strong and determined.

Together, she and I looked outside until the sun was over the horizon before I encouraged her to go back to bed. She fell asleep almost instantly in my arms. I held her close while I looked up at the white ceiling. Listening to heartbeat like it was a soft melody.

My thoughts flew back to the incident. From the looks of the rogues that attacked us, they didn't want to hurt me. They didn't even pay attention to Sage who was unconscious in the vehicle which meant they wanted me and me only.

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