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“We long for fairytales in a world full of nightmares”
“We’ve lost all audio, Alpha,” A woman confirmed as the static buzz continued to fill the bunker. Roman let out a rippling growl and ran his hands though his hair, looking at the large screen in front of the rows of computers and people, thankful he could still at least see what was happening.
He felt something was wrong, deep in his chest he knew that whatever she was hearing it wasn’t good. It made him furious, it made his veins run rife with fear and agony that they’d even proposed for her to hand herself in. And it made him even more livid that she’d taken their audio out straight after.
“Keep all eyes on visuals and have the safety squad ready on standby alerted immediately. The second that vicinity with the amulet is breached push in,” he commands, his Alpha tone coming off him in strong waves- not that anyone would dare question him regardless.
He stared at the screen just as the camera turned onto her brother, bruised and battered. That in and of itself filled him with a rage like no other, the fact that his mate had to see a sibling in such as state at the hands of hunters just as he had.
“Tell them to begin advancing, I want them ready to strike within a second. Aim for the father,” he added but truthfully, he didn’t care in the moment if a bullet had to go through Carter. He’d shoot it himself if it meant getting his mate back into his arms.
Thoughts pillaged through his mind, her limp body in his arms, the look of pure horror on her face, fear at what the hunters threatened. He never should’ve done this, he should have her back, safe and sound in his hold away from all of it.
It wasn’t fair on her to deal with this all alone out there without him by her side. Hell without anyone by her side.
He gripped the railing above the main screen, right behind the platform she was supposed to return on and focused his gaze on the two men moving in pixels. One wrong move, one wrong look and he was ready to make that call.
My entire body tensed and my heart stopped dead cold in my chest. Arthur Hunt. The first hunter to ever exist, the man capable of killing a werewolf King.
From the look of horror that passed over my face, Arthur’s smile faltered slightly and he narrowed his eyes. He knew that I knew. I knew who he was and what he’d done.
“So they’ve been giving you history lessons,” he muses, clicking his tongue, “How valuable.”
My words are still lost in the stream of thoughts that run through my head. Thoughts centring around Oliver. A regular solider that followed orders and did what he was told is a tale that is becoming harder to accept as the seconds tick by.
“It does save us quite a lot of time, though I am sure the history lessons you’ll receive back at the base might offer a differing perspective,” he continues and my focus snaps back, narrowing in on him.
My brows furrow and I feel my spirit recoil into my chest, the willingness to help, to negotiate and find peace sucked back into my body like a vacuum. My walls shot up in a matter of seconds, everything becoming a guarded game of poker, the cards I had left cradled to my chest.
But my words continued to fail me, I was stunned. It felt like an electric shock had ripped through my system and modified everything I thought I knew. A software update from hell.
He clicked back the gun, his gaze becoming more serious as my apprehension was revealed.
“Don’t!” I blurt, breaking from my haze.
“It’s a simple solution girl, hand yourself over and he will remain alive. Neither of us want to hurt him, I really don’t want to have to do this,” he says and my brows scrunch even further. So it’d be my fault.
He is making it out as though my hand is over the trigger, giving me an ultimatum. I hold all the power and yet have none at the same time.
“There is a way around this. A better deal,” I start. I didn’t realise my hands were positioned cautiously in front of me, like Arthur was a rabid beast until his gaze glanced at them and a somewhat pleased look crossed his face.
He liked the endearment to his strength, then.
I kept my hands as they were.
“The council, made up of all Alpha and Luna Superiors could be extended. Hand over Carter and the seat is yours to fill. Chose any human from your bases to act as a delegate, a voice of equal power to the other leaders of the world,” I reason but his blank expression doesn’t give me any hope.
“But not any hunter?” He comments, the slight amusement in his tone masked heavily with disdain. Again, I don’t have an answer-or rather I do but it isn’t the one he wants.
“So one human delegate can have a spot at the table,” he reiterates, no hint of anything in his voice this time, just pure normality. I nod. “One human delegate against how many wolves? Ten? Twelve? More?”
“To start with,” I counter. “And it wouldn’t be just one, I’d be there too,” I proclaim and he lets out a dry laugh.
“At this point, my dear, I don’t think you really count,” he answers, completely blunt.
“Why did you agree to this meeting if you weren’t going to reason?” I quip, becoming more and more frustrated with his antics. “Clearly I can’t agree on your terms and I’m not sure negotiating is even a possibility considering you won’t be satisfied until all the wolves on this Earth are dead. So why come?” I press and he shrugs.
“Perhaps I had high expectations of you. And my negotiation was coming here but the terms, however, remain the same. So what will it be Luna?” There was no endearment in the honorific, just that mocking edge he’d maintained throughout the meeting.
“You or the aid?” He asks again, this time though, his gun is held firmer in his grip and a steely look crosses over his face.
My heart stammers, like its tripping over its own beat trying to figure someway out of this. I could lie, I could promise them aid and then just not give it to them but that could entail so many more problems. No doubt the second I take up that offer he’ll alter the rules, save Carter until the aid arrives.
Any lying never got anyone anywhere.
“There has to be another way,” I press again, leaning forward with my hands out again.
His stony expression remains, those emerald eyes turning ice cold.
“Fine.” He pulls the trigger and a loud bang echoes through the clearing. A scream tears through my lips and my body pushes forward, towards Carter who hits the floor with a thump.
Arthur grins at my choice, a knowing smile and dread pulsates through my body with a vengeance. I wait for something to come, to happen but as quickly as it appears, Arthurs grin vanishes and a shimmer of fear takes over his expression before it turns enraged.
A shot pierces through the clearing, missing him by an inch and he looks to his son moving to him in a swift movement. His hand reaches down and another bullet whirls through the air, making him retract with a face of twisted anger.
He turns to me, nothing but rage meeting my vision and I shudder at the sight. “You’ll regret this,” he says and he doesn’t leave any room for debate as he vanishes into thin air, leaving no trace of him in sight aside from Carter who groans from the floor.
I hesitate for a split second before running over to him in a complete sprint, closing the gap between us in record time. The sight of blood pooled around him onto the floor makes a sob escape my lips and my hands start to tremble. I don’t waste a second and reach my palm onto his exposed skin, pressing the amulet on my chest and feeling that same rush of energy as I am transported back to the base with my dying brother in my arms.
My fingers have been bitten down to the cuticles and the notebook next to me on the hospital chair remains just as empty as it was when we first arrived. I don’t remember much after arriving back in the confines of the concrete walls that encased the underground base. Everything happened so fast it become a blur, a series of events crammed into each other in a montage too hard to follow.
I may have blacked out and come back, I don’t know. It didn’t matter, anyway. When I finally came around, the only person who I could notice was Roman, his hovering concern incessant.
He’d taken me straight to the hospital when we arrived back in the pack, to the waiting room near the surgical ward where Carter was being operated on. From the look in his eyes, I didn’t think I’d ever be let out of his sight again, and I wasn’t for hours.
The only thing that pulled him from me was the King’s arrival and when that came around his reluctance was made extremely clear. I’d pulled a move on him when I took out my earpiece and I knew when I did it that it would come with repercussions. Not punishment, exactly, but an overload of smothering mate perhaps. Which was a different type of punishment, really.
But he’d left me with a notebook and told me to write down everything that I could remember past the point of taking out my device, leaving no detail unentered. I didn’t, of course.
I didn’t need to write down what happened to remember it. What had been said I’ll remember for the rest of my damn life. Every time I flutter out of consciousness it plays over in my dreams, each way more frightening than the last.
How could I ever forget what I saw? What I know? I wish that I could forget the truth. Arthur Hunt. The first ever hunter to walk the earth, the man who runs the operation that brutally murdered my mates sister in front of his eyes, who murdered the damn King’s father was Olivers dad.
When his brothers would come to stay on long visits with us in the city or arrive sporadically to stay with solemn faces I guessed along the lines of why but I didn’t probe into it. I thought maybe they were hurt but I didn’t see any signs of abuse, I figured maybe there were more reasons behind Oliver deciding not to tell me and that with time, he’d open up. But of course one of their trips turned into years and the conversation became a pile of dust under the rug of the new world. Discarded and no longer the most relevant thing.
But all that dust… it was piling up.
Oliver was the first born son, unless there was another brother that I wasn’t told of- which wouldn’t honestly surprise me at this point. The man I married isn’t the person presented to me now, they are two completely different people.
The only two people who know of his origins are Carter and me, the former currently comatose and even then-I wonder if he knows who is father truly is. He was faking the entire time so he could very well be a part of the whole scheme. But there is a chance still that he isn’t, the fact he told me, told me not to trust them is enough to make his position less one sided but still-my trust isn’t fully there.
I let out a frustrated sigh. No one else can know, not yet at least. The King for a start… he’d spent a large portion of his life trying to track down and kill the man I met today, that type of information is extremely valuable.
But so is the fact that his son is currently being operated on in this very pack, and his other son was married to me, a Luna. Until Carter wakes up and I can talk to him- alone-I’m not saying a word of it. Roman and everyone in that bunker knows that the man I talked to was Carters father, connecting those dots once the name Arthur Hunt comes out isn’t going to be difficult.
A set of double doors open and a girl walks out in a white coat holding a clipboard, her brown hair tied in a bun on the top of her head. I sit up straighter in my seat, fully standing when I realise she is approaching me directly.
“Good evening, Luna, my name is Doctor Lynn,” she says, nodding her head politely to me. She looks young, around my age maybe with a soft smile on her perfect face.
“Is everything alright?” I rush out, too concerned to return the polite greeting.
“We have just finished surgery and he is in a stable position. He won’t be ready to interact for a little while longer, perhaps days at this point but he has made it through,” she says and I bite my lip to stop it shaking.
“Thank you,” I whisper and she smiles softly.
I should be happy. Carter is back, recovering from surgery and nothing was lost in the process aside from my mental stability, something so deteriorated I’m not even sure the pieces left are worth salvaging but there is still a bitter taste in my mouth. A worry that everything is going to turn on its head in a split second.
“It is my honour, Luna,” she replies and I nod before furrowing my brows.
“Where is Doctor Matthews?” I ask, Roman told me that he would be overseeing the surgery and I doubt the man would pass up an opportunity to annoy me.
“He is out on holiday, I am his fill in until he returns,” she says and I nod, surprised that someone as young as her was able to take up the position of head doctor in the New Moon pack’s central hospital. I admired it. “Which brings me to my next point actually, I meant to send a message out sometime this week but since you’re here Doctor Matthew’s left me some things to go through with you. Whenever you are ready to talk just come down and ask for me and we can talk,” she says softly and I nod before looking at the clock.
“How long will it take?” I ask, looking at the clock once more. “I may as well come while I wait, keep my mind off it all,” I suggest and she nods eagerly, surprised at my willingness. No doubt Doctor Matthews has given her a report of how reluctant I am to medical attention. My first experience here was being hooked up to wires with the overbearing son of a bitch nagging me to do as he said and the impression lasted.
“Yes, of course. We can go into my office if you’d like for more privacy and you are more than welcome to stay in there while you wait rather than out here. It is much more comfortable and a closer distance to the patients room anyway,” she rambles, her nerves shining through.
“That’d be lovely, thank you,” I say, pulling the mask of composed Luna over intensely worried sister that trembles on the inside. I do appreciate the offer though, truly. Being able to have the walls of an office to hide my dilemma from passing nurses and pack members will be helpful and I might even be able to get some work done while I wait for Carter to get better.
“Awesome, if you just follow me,” she says and I keep that close lipped smile on my face to avoid any questions. I can see why it might seem like I should be happy to her, she’s just saved my family members life and I am grateful for that, I am, I’m just still dealing with a mountain of other problems at the same time.
“It truly is great to finally meet you, Luna. I didn’t think I’d get the chance when I was offered the job but I am pleasantly surprised,” she comments, the smile still stretched onto her face.
“Where are you from?” I asked and she waved a hand.
“All over the place-well, I mean originally I am from a southern pack, my parents are on the Gamma committee but I moved around to study before everything and that’s taken me all over the place,” she explains and I am happy she has no trouble carrying the conversation, it alleviates a lot of pressure from my shoulders.
She turns to me again, a twinkle of appreciation in her eyes. “But truly, it is an honour to meet you,” she says again and it makes my insides knot up in discomfort. I’m not used to praise, nor do I like it in the bucket load.
“You don’t have to butter me up,” I joke, slightly serious in my aim however. Her face turns a shade serious.
“I do though,” she says and I furrow my brows. Is this another weird wolf law? As if sensing my misguided conclusion she shakes her head. “It’s just… where I’m from you did a lot, more than anything I could ever do and I’m truly grateful for it,” she explains.
“How do you mean?” I ask as we round another corner.
“The new laws, the projects and the beginnings of peace. Before everything happened I never foresaw what was going to become of it, the divide and hate, the prejudice against humans…” she lets out a sigh, looking to me with a tinge of shame. “You probably already know what I mean. I’m just thankful that I don’t have to turn away another person from help because of their genes. I was so close to being caught the times I did try and help that I knew something had to change, and you did it.”
A sense of pride develops in me and I look at her with more fondness than I did before.
“You helped humans?” I ask, curious. “You weren’t angry about everything else…” I trail off, unable how to out into words the situation with the hunters and our old government.
“Not at all, I mean growing up-sure, I felt a certain way, we all did. But I went to human colleges to study and I made friends with humans, it wasn’t hard to figure out that most of them didn’t have a clue we even existed. I can’t be mad at someone for that,” she says truthfully just as we arrive in front of Dr Matthews office.
“That’s a very progressive view,” I comment and she smiles, opening the door into the room and guiding the two of us in.
“Which is much more accepted thanks to you,” she replies, taking a seat behind her desk. She fumbles around in her draw and pulls out a file and a bottle of pills.
“Now, this was left for you by Doctor Matthews. He says it’s a modification of your previous medication, an improved version. For headaches, it says,” she says, looking up to me and I nod, wiping the slightly confused look off my face.
“Yes, headaches,” I confirm and she smiles.
“He has put here that they are to be taken once daily and twice if the amount of headaches you get exceed the regular amount. Apparently the last dosage you were given gave you a lot of pain but he has written here that there is a very low chance it will occur with this new round,” she says and I smile, snatching up the bottle of pills and placing it in my pocket, away from view.
“Thank you,” I say and she furrows her brows.
“There are a number of natural options you could also take to alleviate the pain, I can email the details of some to your office if you’d like,” she offers and I nod, smiling again.
“That’d be great,” I reply and she opens her mouth to say something else just as the door opens to reveal Roman.
I notice the way her back stiffens and her eyes widen with awe, this clearly the first time she has met her Alpha Superior, the man she revered far longer than me. I rise out of my seat, standing to meet him just as he approaches in front of me.
“You’re up,” he says, looking at me with a pained expression. “I suppose you heard the news,” he says and I nod.
“He’s alright,” I say, more to myself than him.
“We have some men positioned outside his room, warriors of the highest rank,” he informs me and I’m not sure if it is for his protection or for our protection against him. He is still the son of a hunter and I’m sure too Roman, that means he is a threat.
“And what about when he wakes up?” I ask, “will they be there then too?”
From the way his gaze hardens I know he is understanding what I mean. “We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,” he says before lifting his gaze to Dr Lynn who stands behind her desk awkwardly.
“This is Matthews replacement,” I comment and he nods in her direction.
“Thank you for your service in helping my mate’s family,” he says and she smiles in the soft way that she does.
“It is my pleasure,” she replies and Roman turns back to me, taking my hand in his.
“Have you remembered anything else?” He asks softly and I look to the ground, shaking my head.
“Nothing more than what I told you,” I say and he nods, understanding.
“Maybe after some rest you might remember more,” he suggests and I wince. “It is getting late, Mae,” he says again, more strongly this time.
“I want to be here when he wakes up,” I reply and his eyes soften.
“He should remain unconscious for the next few days, most definitely the night,” Dr Lynn announces behind me and Roman squeezes my hand gently.
“See?” He says, looking at me with concern, “You need some rest, a good nights sleep.”
He’s right, I did need sleep, but I wasn’t sure that it’d come easy. And I knew that he needed it to, craved being safe with me in his arms at night after everything that had transpired.
“And I’ll come straight back in the morning?” I ask and he nods.
I let out a sigh and turn to Doctor Lynn. “Thank you for everything,” I say.
“It’s truly fine, I hope the medication helps with your headaches,” she replies with a genuine smile and I feel Roman tense beside me for a split second. I give her a tight lipped smile and Roman and I exit the room, our hands still connected.
Once we are two steps away from the room he leans in closer to me. “I didn’t know you were having headaches,” he says, a clear message in his words. He knows that I am not and wants to know what the deal is.
“Its a new medication, a safe one,” I reply and his hand subconsciously grips mine tighter.
“Oh,” he responds.
“How was the King? Is everyone from the attack okay?” I ask, a blunt diversion but a needed one nonetheless.
Roman loosed a breath. “He’s agitated but everything is sorted over there. I think that a war is going to come, especially after today and the King is doing everything in his power to prevent it. It’s tough,” he replies as we exit the ward that connects straight into our quarters, walking from marble onto rich red carpet.
“Trust me, I know. He was right though, it was naive of me to think that they’d negotiate after everything. They want a war,” I say and he nods.
“Hopefully we can find another way. I know the King will continue to try, as will I,” he says and we fall into a comfortable silence as we walk to our room.
The second we enter he takes his hand from mine. “I had the maids run you a bath, I figured you’d want one after everything,” he said walking towards the bed. “And I brought you some books from the library too, in case you were planning on staying longer at the hospital,” he says, pointing to the neat stack next to the bed.
“Thank you,” I say, moving closer to him and the bathroom. A steaming bath does sound good right about now. “And I’ll probably just bring my work with me tomorrow.”
“I can have that brought to you,” he replies as I move past him into the bathroom. “Would you like me to get you some pyjamas? How about something to eat, you have eaten haven’t you?” He asks, that overbearing concern taking over his mind once more.
“I’m fine, Roman,” I respond, moving closer to the baths edge. I look back as he leans on the edge of the door frame, that slight worry in his eyes still.
“I can get some food, it isn’t any trouble,” he says and I resist the urge to roll my eyes.
“Don’t worry,” I look back at the bath, at the bubbles and rose petals scattered over steaming water. “I’m fine,” I huff out, looking back at the water.
It is so silent in this room, there is no echo of nurses and patients hovering about, no beep of machinery or tick of a clock, just pure serene silence. And it makes my stomach turn. The thought of being left alone to simmer in my own thoughts… dread eats away at me and I turn to Roman who is about to close the door.
“Can you join me?” I blurt and his blue eyes snap up, meeting mine through his tousled black hair. I watch as they darken and drift to the capsule of pills that protrude from my jumper pocket. “A boxer bath,” I clarify, shifting from one foot to the other.
“Or just…” I let out a frustrated sigh. “Can you just stay in here? I don’t want to be alone,” I conclude and his eyes soften, the flash of lust completely erased.
He nods his head softly and takes off his suit jacket, folding it over his forearm. “I’ll let you undress and come back in a moment,” he says and he does, leaving the door open the entire time I submerge my naked body into the blanket of warmth provided by the water.
He returns and takes a seat at the baths edge, his curious eyes boring holes into me. “Yesterday…” he starts and I shake my head.
“I don’t want to talk about that,” I rush out and he is silent immediately again. “Just tell me a story, a happy story with a nice ending,” I command and so he does, until the water runs cold and my finger tips become crinkled he sits and recites unending tales that all end happily. The mates grow old together, the moon shines in the sky once more, the goddesses celebrate a feast harmoniously after fighting.
And the lonely girl sits in the bath wishing that she had one of those endings for herself.
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