Hunter

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32. How to Actually Have a Plan



From the ground, Rebecca stared up at me, her mouth agape.

I wasn't paying much attention to her at the moment. I was preoccupied with peering down at my hands in utter bewilderment, the place where a burst of air just exploded from. Like a fucking Airbender from one of my favorite childhood shows.

No. I had surely been imagining things. There way no way I just summoned magic. Only witches and warlocks can do such a thing, and if I knew anything, it was that there was no chance that I was supernatural. It wasn't possible.

Right?

Right. The wind didn't come from me. It was just a cold, windy day. It was perfectly normal late-December weather. It was just a coincidence that a particularly strong gust arrived just at the moment I had practically erupted from stress and frustration. The fact the my hands automatically snapped outward instinctively was completely unrelated to the weather. People make random, sporadic movements all the time. Maybe my muscles grew too cold and spasmed. It was unlikely, but it could happen.

A few feet away, Evangeline and Simon had stopped their training and were gaping at me with evident shock. The urge to say the classic phrase this isn't what it looks like rose up within me, but first I had to figure out what the hell was going on. Was the universe trying to mess with my head?

Rebecca, apparently, had come to her own conclusion as a victorious laugh emanated from her.

"I knew it!" she exclaimed. "Now do you believe me, Reese?"

I couldn't respond. I didn't know how to respond.

"What the fuck was that?" Evangeline growled. It was then that I noticed her nails had curled into claws. Obviously, I'd startled her to the point where she'd begun to transition.

"She's a witch!" Rebecca grinned with glee, green eyes sparkling. "An air witch it seems. It's not really what I was expecting, but it's still cool!"

"An air witch?" Simon strode over to Rebecca's side, extending a hand to pull her to her feet. "That's fucking fantastic!"

"Language, Simon," Rebecca warned. The kid frowned in response, but didn't protest.

"She's a witch?" Evangeline shot a wary glare at me, then rounded on Rebecca. "How did you know that? Clearly, the Hunter herself had no clue!" She nodded to where my fists were clenched, my nails digging into my palms, though the rest of me was filled with an eerie calm. Was in shock? Maybe. Maybe not.

"I connected the pieces," Rebecca said. "I probably would have made a decent detective." She shrugged. "Anyways, I though she was a fire witch - due to her temper and fiery personality - but now the temperature fluctuations and gusts of wind make perfect sense now."

Evangeline snorted. "If magic was connected to personality, then the Hunter's witch would be stronger with water, not - "

"Enough," I snapped, finally regaining control over my vocal cords. "This is all just one big coincidence. I'm human, all right? Completely and utterly human. There's nothing remotely supernatural about me!"

My statement would have been a lot more believable if I hadn't been doubting my own lineage at that moment. Witches and warlocks were the most difficult of the supernatural beings to identify. Unlike werewolves and vampires, they looked completely human. They only telltale way to spot a magic-wielder was to catch them in the act of performing magic. Some of the less practiced ones left traces of magical residue that hung around them in the air like an aura, but the ones who've mastered control were nearly untraceable.

So it was entirely possible that one of my parents was a magic-wielder in hiding. Not to mention the fact the I had an abundance of traumatizing memories that would have been more than enough to cause a magical block. And then there were the anomaly's that Rebecca had been talking about. The changes in temperature that rose and fell depending on my mood - hadn't the air been growing hotter as I grew more frustrated? And the wind, too, had picked up when I'd been thinking about it. Not to mention the sizzling of electricity I'd felt right before I turned into freaking Aang.

Trying to figure out what the hell was going on was a migraine-inducing task. Perhaps I could use my newfound "magic" to get rid of it.

Wait... hadn't most of my injuries healed themselves to near-completion overnight? My mangled shoulder, broken knuckles, the wounds I'd gotten from Rebecca - there was no way those could have healed so quickly without magical assistance. There was the possibility that Opal's magic was still in my system, but it was unlikely. Opal didn't have strong healing magic - meaning it wouldn't have still been healing me that long after I was exposed to it. Which meant...

I had healed myself. Subconsciously. Using this - shudder - magic I'd somehow unblocked.

Well, fuck, looks like I'm a half-witch after all.

"Now do you get it?" Rebecca must have seen the realization dawn on me as my shoulders slumped down in defeat. "Honestly, Reese, you have got to be the most stubborn person I've ever met. And that includes my brother."

"Being stubborn is the only reason I'm still alive," I muttered, steering the conversation away from my magical epiphany. I didn't want to talk about it right this second - in fact, I didn't want to ever talk about it. And with Simon and Evangeline standing only a few feet away, listening to my every word, I felt like this wasn't the right time and place for this anyways.

Rebecca, of course, would have none of that. "Now that you know about your magic, you need to be careful about using it. Unless you want Elijah to find out?"

"The Alpha doesn't know?" Evangeline narrowed her eyes. "You didn't tell him?"

"No, and I don't think either of you should tell him, either," Rebecca narrowed her eyes as her gaze darted between Evangeline and Simon. "I know you don't particularly like Reese, Evan, but think about it. If we had Reese's magic on our side... wouldn't that help us out a lot?"

"So you think she could be an asset?" Simon joined the conversation, which had turned rather confusing. Well, for me, anyways. From the looks on everybody else's faces, they knew exactly what was going on. "A secret weapon, of sorts?"

"For what?" I interjected. "If you want to have a covert conversation, please remember that I'm right here and am intently listening to everything you say. Not that I know what the fuck you're talking about."

"Our efforts to secretly help the humans," Rebecca said, almost absent-mindedly as she batted a hand in my direction in a random gesture. "It's no secret that the world is a terrible place for them right now, and Elijah is insistent on it remaining that way as long as he's in charge."

"Then get rid of him," I said. "I'll gladly help. None of you happen to have a silver dagger on you that I can use, right?"

Rebecca sent me an odd, knowing look, which was mirrored by Evangeline. I frowned, exchanging a confounded glance with Simon. What was that about? Did they think I wasn't strong enough to kill the Alpha? That I wouldn't be able to?

"Nobody's killing my brother," Rebecca said. "That... that's what happens if all else fails."

"Good to have a backup plan," I said, nodding with approval. "So, what's your actual plan?"

"Good question," Evangeline's voice turned cold, though I was pretty sure it wasn't all directed at me. "Rebecca thinks that we'll be able to convince him to loosen his hold over the humans and give them more protection if we can convince enough of the pack to join our side. But I keep trying to tell her that the only reason we're going behind his back is because we're high-ranking enough that his power doesn't affect us as greatly."

"Except for me, but I'm not completely under his power until I turn eighteen," Simon added. "There's a two-year window before I follow his every word without question."

"There's another way," Rebecca's lips curled downward into a miniscule pout. "We could find somebody who'd have heavy influence over him. Like his mate."

"The Alpha hasn't found his mate yet, genius." Evangeline rolled her eyes. "And he hasn't looked for them in years. How the hell could we find somebody that even Elijah can't find?"

I almost said something about my near-escape two months ago. Since I apparently had no scent, none of the werewolves could track me, with the exception of Elijah himself, who had told me that he could smell my extremely faint scent, which probably would have sounded very weird out of context. Even so, I would have gotten out of the city had he not tracked my call after I very stupidly answered my phone. But I held my tongue, since that tale wasn't really one of success.

Rebecca was staring at me again. I met her eyes, wondering what about my face was so interesting. Did I have a leaf stuck to my hair from the wind I summoned? Was there a mini tornado circling above my head?

"Besides," Evangeline continued. "What if he doesn't listen to his mate? You said it yourself, Rebecca; the only person more stubborn than him is Reese, and, as we all know, he hates her. She killed your brother. My cousin."

"Oh quiet," Rebecca broke eye contact with me to wave her away. "You hated Nic. As did I. And as much as he pretends otherwise, Elijah wasn't very fond of him either. In fact, I think the only person who did like Nic was Ryker, whom Reese very graciously killed for us too."

"That got very optimistically dark," I said. "You're welcome."

"Now, we need to think about - " Rebecca broke off as a shudder ripped through her. She swore, glancing to where the sun had sunk behind the skyscrapers of the surrounding city. The full moon stood out more prominently as the shadows began to gather in the growing darkness.

"Rebecca."

Luca's quiet voice sounded from behind us; the four of us spun around to meet the Beta, who strode toward us with Laurie at his side. She offered us a small smile in greeting, of which only Simon returned.

"I'm fine," Rebecca said, shaking out her hands. "It's not bad yet. I still have time before I'm forced to transition."

Luca gave her a nod, then turned to Simon. "You need to leave soon. Keith will meet out front."

Simon sighed, then nodded. At my quizzical look, he said. "I'm sixteen. I'm able to find my mate now, even though I think that's way too young to become bound to one person for the rest of your life." He cast a significant look at Luca, who ignored it.

"What are you blathering on about?" Evangeline growled. "I met my mate when I was sixteen."

Surprise rushed through me. "You have a mate?"

"Don't sound so surprised," she sneered. I guess that weird period where she wasn't being a bitch was over. "She's the liaison to Ottawa's pack. She's not usually in Toronto."

I held up my hands. "Sorry I asked." I turned to Rebecca. "What about you?"

She shook her head. "No mate for me. Not now, not ever. Lycanthropes can't have mates."

Luca cut in before I could respond. "Reese, you're actually the reason I'm out here. The Alpha's looking for you."

I blinked. "What? Why?"

"He didn't say," Laurie spoke for the first time. "Though it sounded urgent."

Under no circumstances did I want to see Elijah Randon. The last time I saw him, I didn't exactly leave him feeling... pleased. Well, I left in a spectacular mood. He seemed like he wanted nothing more than to toss me into Lake Ontario and let the fish eat me.

"Interesting," I said. "Well, you can tell him that I will not be summoned like a dog and that if he wants to see me, he can come to me himself. Simon, good luck. Rebecca, don't eat anybody. The rest of you, good night."

I turned on my heel and stalked back inside with no intention of going to see Elijah.
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