I woke up to the sound of arguing voices in the hallway outside of the patient room. I recognized one of them as my dad. The other ones were more than likely his friends, Alpha Hunter and Beta Ace. The fourth voice I didn't recognize who it was. They seemed to be talking heatedly amongst themselves. I strained my ears to listen to their barely audible whispers.
"Don't bring your governing bullshit here," my dad growled.
"It's for the better good. You can rest assure that he—" the unknown person's sentence got interrupted.
"You're not getting anywhere near him," Alpha Hunter growled.
"It is not up for debate, Alpha Hunter. I have been instructed to—"
"If you give me that governing bullshit one more time, I swear I'll break your fucking nose," my dad snarled, and I heard a thump like someone was being shoved.
A throat cleared, "Will you two allow me to speak at all?"
"No," my dad and Alpha Hunter said at once.
"You best leave, Quinlan," Beta Ace advised.
"You know, I can't do that. I have been instructed---"
"Oh, for the love of God," my dad groaned.
"We don't know what he is," Quinlan replied calmly.
"He's one of us," Alpha Hunter countered.
"Have you seen him? He's a monster," Quinlan argued.
By now, I knew who they were discussing and if I was right, Quinlan was from the werewolf government. They were going to take my mate away. I was furious with them. No one was going to take Liam away from me.
I tossed back the thin hospital blanket and slowly got out of bed. Wincing a little when the pain in my chest throbbed. I was still healing but at least my ribs feel better. I could breathe better now too.
My bare feet touched the cold hard floor. When I stood up, my hospital gown fell to my calves. I made sure to cover my behind because the gown was wide open in the back. I made my way over to the door slowly. They were still arguing crossly between each other.
When I whipped the door open, my dad was the first one to look at me. Then Alpha Hunter, Beta Ace, and Quinlan turned to look at me. My dad didn't look surprised at all to see me awake. By the looks on their face, they knew I was awake. I set my eyes on Quinlan last.
"He's my mate," I told him with finality.
"That has mutant genes in his body. We don't know who or what he is," Quinlan replied.
I took a step toward him. My dad moved to grab onto my elbow just in case I decided to beat the living crap out of Quinlan who seemed to a very tall and slender man.
"He's my mate and before you go and tell me that he deserves to be put in a lab where you can observe and treat him like he isn't human, I'll tell you right off the bat that if you so much as touch him or look at him, I'll kill you or the next person who tries it. He didn't choose this life. He wanted a normal life but instead, he was tortured as a child and lived a traumatic life. No one was there to save him not even you guys. You call yourself our government. Ruling just and righteousness over our heads but where were you when he was being injected with these drugs. You allowed this to happen and now that he has become something that you can't understand, you're going to put him through hell once again."
With each word, I grew angrier and more protective. My wolf was snarling her approval. We would die before letting another person hurt him again.
"You didn't try hard enough!" I snarled. "He's not a test subject. He's one of us."
"The government has ordered—"
"You can tell those sorry excuse of fuckers that if they want to try and cross me, I'm not afraid to usurp their authorities. I don't give a fuck who they are. They are in their position because we allow it to happen."
"You can't be serious," Quinlan said.
"You heard her," Alpha Hunter said from behind me.
The three men behind me crossed their arms and braced their feet apart. Their intentions were clear. They were backing me up completely. It meant so much to receive their support. Tears were threatening to spill but this wasn't the time to break down and cry like a baby. I needed to be strong.
"I see," Quinlan said in defeat and rubbed his chin.
The government was strong but the allies' connections and treaties we have created from generations from generations was a long line. Usurping the government. As packs, our loyalty lies in the people who died in battles alongside us. If push comes to shove, we wouldn't hesitate to throw war on the table with our government. Quinlan was smart to understand this because he stopped pressuring us to hand over Liam.
Once Quinlan left, I turned to my dad immediately. He must have seen my question written on my face because he nodded his head.
"He is in a cell," my dad said.
"Cell?" I shouted in outrage. How can they do that? Put him in a place that brought traumatic memories to him. I dismissed my father by turning and walking towards the lockdown cells in the medical wing but was stopped by my dad again. He grabbed onto my elbow.
"We didn't want to but he is still unstable, Sage. He didn't recognize us. He attacked us all. No one can calm him down," my dad reasoned with me.
"I need to see him, dad," I said desperately. The last time I've seen him, he had beaten me down and broken several of my ribs.
My dad's eyes swept over my bruised face and down my bruised neck. I can see that he wanted to argue with me further but I was surprised when nodded in defeat.
"If he does anything stupid, I won't hesitate to take you out of that room. No buts, Sage. I won't have him beating you up again even if he isn't aware of it," my dad argued.
There was no point in arguing with him and I didn't want to. I wanted to see Liam. My heart felt heavy because it feels like years since I have seen him. We have spent three days in the camp and during those three days, I don't know what my mate had suffered through.
The lockdown section was across from the patient section. We had to cross the lobby to make it to the other side. In front of the double metal doors was a window with a pack guard activating and de-activating the lock on the double doors.
He looked up and saw us. My dad nodded his way and he reached for the switch below the desk to unlock the door. It automatically opened and we walked inside. The hallway was empty. It was normal though because not a lot of people roam around this section. Most patients would be seen in the section that I came from.
My dad stopped in front of the heavy built door. A loud alarm bell sounded before the door unlatched and slowly slid open. I had expected to see Liam be reclusive from reality but I was wrong. He had broken several lighting fixtures already. One hovered above him and flickered on and off in protest.
As the light swayed back and forth, I noticed a pair of wolf eyes staring back at me. They were golden irises rimmed with black rings—eyes of a predator. The black rings we're something new on him. They were sharp and suspicious of our presence.
The bed in the cell was overturned. The chains that were supposed to hold him down were dangling from his wrists by now. The light swayed back towards him. He had half-shifted. Werewolves can half shift but they can't maintain that state for long. The fury inside of them was what drives them to hold that state. His nose and mouth, half transformed into the muzzle of a wolf. His upper body was beefier than before. He looked like he grew doubled his original size and he was already big before.
I heard his heavy panting. It sounded like he just got done running a marathon. Yet his eyes never stopped focusing on me. I heard the low rumble of untamed growls and snarls coming from him. He blinked and the black dot in the middle of his eyes grew and then transformed into thin snake eyes lines that touched the top of his irises and the bottom.
Abruptly, he roared and attacked. Running towards me with an inhumane speed that even with my superhuman visions, I almost couldn't catch. Out from the corner of my eyes, I caught my dad moving to block and jump in to protect me but I shook my head.
"No." I stopped my dad in his track.
Liam's speed didn't slow down. He was in front of me in seconds and had me back up against the wall in surprise. He boxed me in with his arms.
"I'm fine," I said to my dad without looking.
"He looks like he's going to eat you alive," my dad mentioned from near the door.
"I'll be fine. Close the door. I don't want him running out," I ordered.
"Like hell," my dad growled.
"Do it. I'll be fine. You have to trust me," I told him.
Liam seemed unaware of my dad's presence. It was like he knew my dad wasn't any kind of threat or competition to him---like he could kill my father easily. My dad growled unhappily. He shoved a hand through his dark tresses before doing as I had asked.
The door slide closed, leaving Liam and me alone. My eyes never wavered from his but my heart was beating so hard in my chest from fear. He growled and bared his canines. They were longer and sharper. Fangs that are similar to snakes.
He leaned down and I felt his snout sniff my neck and then moved up the crook and underneath my jaw. Each time he exhaled, his breath would fan my sensitive skin. I waited for him to decide if I was a threat and deserve to be killed or I wasn't a threat and deserved to spare. Our mate bond flexed between us. I felt the sparks fly from the touch of his snout against my skin. Gulping hard, I closed my eyes and focused on calming my nerves.
I counted in my head and listed all the reasons why I shouldn't be afraid. It got me completely distracted and off track that I didn't realize that Liam had stopped growling. I opened my eyes to see what was going on.
I found him staring at me already. He had stopped smelling me. So, it must mean he has decided not to kill me yet. Slowly, I lifted my right hand up into the air. I showed him my palm before I moved it to his face.
When my palm was inches from his cheek, the vibration of growls began again. It was like he was warning me not to do anything stupid. I placed my palm onto his cheek and his warning growls ceased.
"Liam, it's me. I'm here. You're not alone," I whispered softly.
He blinked once, twice, and then he whimpered like a little puppy. I felt him shake his head and take a step back. He grabbed his head and tugged at his long black hair. It was a mess like he had been doing this for a while now.
"Hey," I said and followed after him. Grabbing onto his hands that were fisted in his hair, I slowly encouraged him to release.
"Sage," he whispered.
He remembers. My heart skipped a beat. His snout disappeared and revealed the handsome details of his nose and perfectly shaped lips.
Suddenly, he snarled and growled.
"No," he whispered. "I can't."
He wasn't looking at me. He kept shaking his head and looking down at the floor.
"It's okay," I said once more.
"No. Sage. I can't. I can't," he lashed out angrily before pushing me away and zipping to the other side of the room. The light shined on his tattooed back. "I hurt you."
"You did," I told him honestly.
"I'm bad, Sage. I'm no good for you. Leave me here," he said hoarsely. "Run away when you can."
"No," I said affirmatively and walked towards him. I placed a palm on his back where the wings on his back connected to his spine. His back grew taunt as soon as he felt me touch him but he didn't push me away.
"I'm never leaving you."
"You have to!" The words came out harsh and vibrated with barely controlled anger.
"I can't leave you, Liam."
Taking a leap of faith that he won't tear me apart, I took a step closer to him. My hands moved to wrap around his waist and I pressed my cheek against his exposed back. Days we were apart and the second we were together; our bond grew stronger than before. The tingles that danced across our skin was rejuvenating.
"Let me decide when enough is enough. I know what I am doing," I reminded him.
He didn't respond to me. Instead, I listened to his uneven, ragged breathing. A few minutes later, I felt his hands clasped over my hands. He tugged and pulled one of them to the middle of his chest while he lifted the other to kiss.
Hope bloomed inside of my chest. My love for this man had no bounds. It seemed to grow the more I was under his presence and even with the distance that we had. It never stopped. He may be broken beyond repair but I wasn't looking to change him. It wasn't what he needed. Liam needed acceptance. I was only looking to give him a bit of solace in his darkest days. I want to be there when he needs someone because I know that was what he needed most.
My big, terrifying mate.
"Kitten," he whispered hoarsely and I felt wetness on his cheek when the back of my hand brushed against his cheek. "I love you so much."