To Love

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Chapter 18

“If life can remove someone you never dreamed of losing, it can replace them with someone you never dreamt of having.”

-unknown

I glance at Noah from the side of my eye, catching his throat bob nervously and his eyes flick towards the corridor where Carter is bound to enter into the interview room in front of us. Apprehension laces his every move and I can sense the drift between us, subtle but noticeable when your pay attention. I should’ve told him earlier.

The second I found out I should’ve told him. I guess I thought that he’d be more hurt by it, seeing someone who might want to kill him or Celina… it wasn’t worth the risk. But that wasn’t my choice to be made.

“How long will he be?” Noah blurts, turning his attention to me fully.

“I don’t know, I thought he’d be here by now. Beta Elijah has to go through some things with him before we can enter a room with him alone- it’s standard protocol,” I say and Noah furrows his brow.

“He’s going to be chained to a desk, monitored by an insane amount of guards a room away and yet he still needs to be talked to?” He asks, completely bewildered and slightly annoyed-like it is my choice to put him through this.

“I don’t make the rules, Noah,” I reply and he sighs out of his nose, his frustration clear. I don’t think too deeply into it, despite the slight hurt his attitude causes me because in the end of the day this isn’t something that will be a walk in the park.

Noah opens his mouth again to ask me a question just as the door of the interview room in front of us swings open. His attention becomes trained on the movements of the room through the glassed mirror and he watches intently as Elijah walks through the door first, his hulking frame overpowering every inch of the space.

Elijahs eyes glance around the room and he motions to the door, signalling for the people outside to enter. A guard comes first and then Carter, followed by another guard so that they sandwich his movements. I never came down for the other interviews, I read reports and listened to what Elijah had to say but after seeing his reaction the first time… it was simply too much too handle.

I watch Noah as they restrain Carter to the desk in the centre of the room, attaching his cuffs to the metal on the desk. Carters eyes remain trained on the window, looking straight through at all of us and none of us at the same time. Maybe he is just looking at himself, wondering what type of interrogation will face him this time.

I don’t doubt Elijah warned him that if he failed to fully comply then they’d move to… other measures. Maybe he was preparing himself to receive them, dreading the worst and hoping for the best.

The second he was successfully tied down to the table the three of them left the room, leaving Carter somewhat stunned in the chair by himself. But his reaction didn’t last long and he manages to wash over that calm indifferent look onto his face once more meaning he knows that he is being watched.

The door to the room we are stood in opens up and Elijah walks in, leaving the door to the hall open behind him. “We are ready for you,” he says to Noah and I bristle, turning to Noah who has too many emotions to count running haywire over his face.

“It’ll be fine,” I say to him reassuringly and he gulps, his Adams apple bobbing.

“I didn’t think I’d ever…” he starts but stops himself. He doesn’t have to continue, either. I know exactly what he means because I was there the day he grabbed onto his brother and hugged tightly before the two were separated.

He thought that would be the last time he’d see any of us. And I guess, even after being reunited with me, he still considered his blood bound family gone forever.

“Everything will be okay. If we can get this information, any more information then we will be able to help him better Noah. That’s all I want, to just keep him safe,” I state and he nods, gulping once more. And it’s true, this information may be helpful for the war effort but I wouldn’t press Carter just for that. If this information didn’t help in his case against the King then maybe things would be different.

“Wish me luck,” he mummers as he leaves the room trailing behind Elijah.

My eyes become as keen as a hawks as I observe each tiny movement in the room, my body tensing as Elijah walks and holds the door open.

Carters head snaps towards the door and complete shock washes over his features and his wrists jerk from the table in an effort to move only to be pulled back to the metal bench. His shock, however, quickly turns into anger, anger directed at Elijah of course.

“If you even so much as think about touching a hair on his head-”

“Careful now, we wouldn’t want you threatening a Beta on record again would we? Your mated brother is not here to be used against you, think of this meeting as you will,” Elijah says firmly, shooting Carter a stern look.

When Carter doesn’t make the move to respond Elijah turns and whispers something into the ear of Noah before turning and walking from the room, allowing two armed guards to enter before closing the door.

“Carter,” Noah says, and the pain that was on his face before has only intensified and I wish he didn’t take the seat in front of Carter, concealing his face from my view.

“Long time no see,” Noah says but his attempt at a joke comes out in a hoarse voice, strained with the emotional stress compounding on him.

There is a silence for a moment, like neither one of them knows what to say and that silence cuts deeper than a thousand heartfelt words. They both likely have a million thoughts running through their minds, thousands upon thousands of questions, stories to tell but sometimes having so much to choose from makes choosing that much harder.

Carter clears his throat first. “How are you?” He asks, unable to remain in the silence a moment longer. Out of all the options he had, his choice held its impact. Three simple words wrapped in a simple question yet there was nothing simple about it at all. Not with the way it was asked.

“I’m fine, Carter. I’m okay. Maeve and I… we both aren’t hurt,” he replies and to a point he is correct. Physically, we are not, but there are plenty of ways to be hurt in this world. “Mae said you were shot,” Noah blurts and Carter attempts to smile, the corner of his mouth twitching upwards.

“A graze,” he clarifies and Noahs body loosens slightly, his body bouncing with an amused huff.

“I’d poke fun at you but you have to be pretty skilled to get shot at by dad and still be alive to tell the tale,” he says and once the words escape his mouth they both stiffen, Carter much more so.

“They told you?” He asks, slightly betrayed almost.

“Mae told me everything, admittedly most of it I’ve only just found out but yeah… I know.”

It is so like Noah, this conversation between them, as tense and as awkward as it is it reminds me, in a small way, of how they once were with each other. Noah was never one to leave an elephant un-addressed when it was blatantly sitting in the room.

“So you know about who dad is too now, I guess,” he huffs in response, the admission almost humorous to him. “I always thought he was a bit of a prick but I didn’t expect this. When did you find out?” He asks and Noah doesn’t respond with a laugh.

“The part about him being a complete prick or the fact that he is the leader of those damn people?” He asks and Carter looks at him grimly.

“Both I guess,” he mumbles and Noah lets out a heavy breath.

“The hunter part Mae told me today, along with my knowledge on you. The prick part,” he says but his voice closes up slightly at the end, like his thoughts are too hard to speak. “In between when he visited me and called my unborn child a demon spawn and when he literally tried to end her life.”

I can almost hear Carters heart drop to the bottom of his chest with a loud thud, and if that wasn’t enough, his face, wiped of every emotion it just held and turning ghostly white is.

“You have a kid?” He whispers, the words coming out tight with disbelief. “A daughter?”

Noah nods. “Congrats uncle Carter,” he replies but his brother just maintains his look of shock.

“When?” He shoots, his brows furrowed completely. “How?”

Noah stiffens. “My mate, Jenna, she isn’t like the others-in fact there are many wolves out there who aren’t who we think they are. That lie that father told us, the one that our species could never coexist was a lie.”

“Dad tried to kill her? Your daughter?” He asks and Noah nods.

“I always tried to push away the view of him as the enemy but you can’t come back from that. He’s tried to kill Maeve, he’s tried to kill Celina and he has tired to kill you,” Noah says. “If that isn’t an indication as too whose side we should be on then I don’t know what is.”

Conflict rages in Carters eyes for a moment before they soften. “Her name’s Celina?” He asks and I can tell he is trying to imagine her. I wonder if he sees the cute little button nose and the wide blue eyes that look straight into your soul with pure innocence.

“She’s beautiful,” Noah whispers so softly I’m surprised the microphones pick it up, his head looking down to the table. He looks up at Carter. “I wish you could meet her,” he says and my gut coils, knowing exactly where this is going.

I know Noah, the kind of person that he truly is inside, the kind of father he is. I know he won’t let this war happens if it means a further threat on her life-no matter what.

“I still could,” Carter says. “Mae said she’d get me out of here,” he says, a glimmer of hope in his tone that diminishes when Noah shakes his head slowly.

“You know they won’t, not unless you tell them what they want to hear, give them the answers they want. I’ve been in a position like yours before, not as drastic but Carter-brother-listen to me whatever your withholding you are doing it to protect the wrong people,” he says and Carter flinches.

“They aren’t all dad.” Is his only response, sounded out in a croak layered with conviction, like he had already weighed the options in his mind.

“What?” Noah asks and Carter brings his averted gaze back to his brother.

“The people at the warehouse I went to, they are innocent- people, humans, that I love are there. I tell the wolves and they’ll kill them,” he says and for a moment his announcements startles me but I really should’ve known the reason behind him keeping his cards so close to his chest.

It wouldn’t surprise me if the very base he knows of holds Alani or others as a contingency plan. They’d hold the life of Noah’s child over his head, they almost definitely have her over his.

“You don’t know that,” Noah replies. “But what are the hunters planning to do with their stocks of weapons, Carter? Hunt. Hunt my mate, my child, me. The wolves don’t want a war, they want what’s right, Maeve is the damned Luna, Carter-we can trust her,” he says and Carter shakes his head, the action making my heart tighten with pain.

“Can we?” He asks. “She is willingly with the man who put us through that, put all humans through that.”

“That’s not fair. We both know it’s not willing, we know that full well. She is making the most out of a situation that’s out of her control.”

I don’t know if Noah is still talking purely to eliminate the threat on his child but part of me seriously wishes he isn’t. His assumption is broad, and the correct answer is really too complicated to even think about but it shows his support at least, a slither or trust I thought was lost and irreplaceable.

“You can’t put me in that position, Noah,” Carter says, pleading almost.

“Do you think Mae likes to be in her position either? To have to make decisions like that everyday either?” Noah rebuts and Carter doesn’t respond, unable to form words.

“Look, despite all of it Carter if you don’t tell them there is a high chance you’ll die and not even Mae will be able to defend you until her dying breath then,” Noah confesses and Carter scrunches his brows together.

“They’ll torture me, they’ve said as much but they won’t just kill me for not telling them, not when I have information they need,” he says and Noah shakes his head, his body tense with frustration.

“The King is coming back to this pack and knowledge or not he’ll kill you. If you can’t have proven to be an ally against the hunters then he will kill you simply for the fact that you are the son of his arch enemy. Don’t you get it?” Noah asks and Carter stills. “And when he finds whoever it is you are trying to protect, he’ll probably refrain from mercy then too considering it will be on a battlefield.”

I can tell the idea of Alani dying at the King crosses Carters mind purely at the pain and fear that flashes across his face. A man who just said he’d take being tortured without any reservations.

My brows furrow as a thought enters my mind and I turn to Elijah stood next to me, ignoring the continuing conversation in the interview room. “What if we made a deal?” I suggest to him and he looks to me, surprised at my announcement.

His arms tighten in their fold across his chest. “That didn’t work out so well the last time,” he replies and I shake my head.

“Not like that. A deal where we hold the cards but it benefits everyone,” I say and he gives me a hesitant look, giving me the room to elaborate. “He wants to protect Alani and others at the base, right? That’s what he’s saying. But if he gives us the location of the base surely we can storm and secure it safely, with the most minimal deaths possible,” I say and Elijah thinks over it in his head.

“It’d be a feat, and it’d take some planning,” he says but the fact that it isn’t a flat out no bubbles up that dangerous feeling of hope within me.

“If he gives us the location and it is hidden enough it’s gotta be remote. If we can hit them when they least expect it this might work,” I say and the corner of Elijah’s lip raises in a smile.

“I should watch out, you might just replace me in my job next,” he jokes but my face remains entirely serious.

“Keep him in there and give Noah five more minutes before you bring him out too. Give him some water or food or whatever. I need to go and speak to the Alpha.”

-

I walk down a section of the pack that I have never been in, not once in all my time here. It makes me realise for a moment just how much of the place I still have to discover. And as I walk with a determined pace, I pass people who I have never seen before and they all give me the same look. The look they’d give their leader.

I walk out a set of doors and it takes me a good ten minute walk to move down to a section of the training grounds, a large field set up with obstacles and people all undertaking different exercises. My eyes scan the masses and it takes me a second to find Roman, stood in his shirtless glory in a large ring of dirt, sparring with what looks like about ten soldiers. I watch mesmerised as he takes them on, all at once each of them moving to disable him in hand to hand combat.

His body becomes a weapon and he takes each of them out whilst defending others in what looks to be entirely effortless. It’s like a dance of death except he doesn’t kill a single person attacking him, he just disarms them, in a way I know could only be possible through years of training and skill.

I’ve never seen him like this. So in his primal element it honestly sends chills of fear down my spine. But this is what he is built for, this is what Alphas have been to their packs since the dawn of time. He is a genetic killer in a way unlike the hunters, a way meant to protect.

I make my way down to the ring, observing the other warriors that spar next to me along the way, most of them notarising the opportunity to glance at me as I pass for fear they will be beat by their opponent. The second I make my way and stand in front of the encircled area Roman is in he lifts takes down the last opponent still able to attack him, swiftly manoeuvring him into a head lock and releasing him when he finally taps out smiling and shaking his hand when is over.

“You know where you went wrong don’t you?” His voice booms as he smiles, a hand resting on the younger soldiers shoulders.

“Yes, Alpha. I lost sight of your footing at the start of the fight, focused too much on upper body,” he replies stoically and Roman smiles.

“Good. But you have improved, you should be proud,” he says and a gust of wind ripples through the air, making his head snap to me.

He takes his hand off the shoulder and excuses himself, walking to me with a concerned look in his eyes. When he reaches me his hands reach to my face and he pulls me in, kissing me gently on the lips before pulling back, leaving sparks flying through my body.

“I didn’t expect you here,” he says, pulling away, the muscles of his chest glistening with sweat. “How did the interview go?”

“I need to talk to you about that,” I say and he becomes more serious.

“Should we go to my office?” He asks and I shake my head.

“There isn’t enough time, I’ll tell you on the way there,” I say and he furrows his brows.

“Is everything alright?” He asks as we begin to walk.

“Noah has tried convincing him but he won’t tell us the location. He wants to protect the innocents that are there, he doesn’t want them dead,” I say and Roman nods. “I want to make a deal with him, if he gives us the location then we won’t harm any of the people there-not if we can avoid it. We find the base, and force their surrender.”

I assess the calculating look in his eyes as he thinks over my proposition.

“And what of the people surrendering? Maeve there is an extremely high chance hunters will be there who won’t surrender and if they do, there is always the risk of them turning against their word and attacking our soldiers. I don’t want to put our men through unnecessary risk.”

“Then sedate them, I’m sure you have access to darts with medication that can disable hunters. Shoot first ask questions later, right? Just don’t shoot to kill is all I’m saying,” I propose and he thinks even more.

“It could be useful to get more information from those we take. Of course we’d need numbers from Carter, numbers and much more information than a location if we are to do this safely. He’ll need to be prepared to give us everything he knows so that we can prepare to uphold our end of the deal,” he says and I suck in a harsh breath.

“So you’ll do it?” I rush out and he tilts his head to the side as we continue our walk through the palace.

“We need to talk it through logistically with our military leaders and see their position. If they can unanimously agree on the proposal to make a deal within the next ten hours then we will bring the decision to Carter,” he says and I feel pressure lift from my shoulders.

“When is the King scheduled to arrive?” I ask and he cocks his head to the side.

“I’d say realistically he’ll be here in the next forty-eight hours. He’s said three days but we need to account for an early arrival,” he says and I swear under my breath.

“So we need to do this as fast as we can then?” I ask and he nods.

“We can get the verdict to Carter within the next ten hours but what happens after that is entirely up to him. I want him gone and transferred to the prison outside of our pack grounds before the King’s plane lands though, that much can’t be changed,” he outlines and I nod as we enter the military section of the pack complex, the place above where people are kept in cells.

I am about to comment on something else just as Noah appears in front of us. “How did it go?” I ask hopefully and he shakes his head.

“He wouldn’t tell me, no matter what I said he wants to help those people, I’m sorry Mae,” he says and I shake my head.

“Don’t be, you’ve helped up out regardless. Thank you,” I say and he smiles.

“If you need me to stay any longer I don’t mind,” he says and I look at Roman before turning back to him.

“You can go home, we are going to need to take Carter some place safer soon anyway for when the King arrives. If you can help out in any way after that we’ll let you know,” I say and he pulls me in for a hug.

“Fill me in on anything,” he says, his voice raw with emotion and I hug him back tighter.

“I will,” I reply. “Say hi to everyone for me,” I say as I pull back and he nods. Looking towards Roman and inclining his head in acknowledgement.

“If you speak to the people in the pack office they’ll be able to put you on a flight straight home,” Roman tells him and Noah nods before saying goodbye to the both of us once more and walking away.

I turn to Roman, taking his hand in mine and let out a huff. “Time to go get some information.”

authors note

Hey guys so I’ve got a few things to fill u in on, starting with the condolences in regards to the late update-it seems my motivation has died lmao. rip. On another note, I have disabled my buy me a coffee account temporarily just because I’m having trouble with the payment processing and stuff and I am a literal fool when it comes to technology.

Other than that, I don’t wanna be that bitch but im just gonna be anyways bc screw it, pls comment or vote or share or follow; literally one or any they take no time and make me feel super happy (granted they’re nice lol). I’ve just noticed lately there haven’t been many on updates and maybe people just don’t like it or they don’t want to I dunno. I mean- if u do like it pls help your girl out <3 I’d really appreciate it :)

Khalesi

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