“The Alpha conference has already started, you know.” Tyson’s voice held the slightest edge of panic. For someone who was usually so laid back, his younger brother took his duties as Beta very seriously.
“They can’t start until all Alphas are present.” Valen reminded him. Tyson rolled his eyes.
“Right, the queen is never late. The Alpha, however…” He trailed off and Valen shook his head, deigning not to comment. They continued in silence for a few seconds before the buzz of Tyson’s phone sounded. He glanced at the display. “Ellie and Evie just arrived at the police station.” Valen exhaled marginally.
“Thank Siri.” Tyson nodded and began typing. They arrived at their destination a few seconds later. The conference room in the East wing of the Pack House, where video and audio systems were standing by to connect him with the other Alphas of the region.
“Valen?” His brother’s tone of voice stopped him. He sounded vulnerable. “I know it’s a long shot, but if those kids need a place to go, you know Siri and I will be more than willing to take them in.”
Valen nodded, placing a hand on his brother’s shoulder. In that moment, he wasn’t looking at his Beta, he was looking at his baby brother, who was hurting in a way very few could understand.
“I wouldn’t say anything, because I know how many strings you’d have to pull. It’s just, after Jamie…” The shadow that settled across Tyson’s face as he trailed off was one Valen was all too familiar with. In the three years since Siri and Tyson had lost their infant son in utero, they’d been trying, and failing, to conceive another child of their own. Several miscarriages at various stages later, both were starting to give up.
No one had any answers. Infertility wasn’t common in their kind to the point of being almost unheard of. Even the Healers couldn’t help them and medical doctors weren’t an option because it was too difficult to hide what they were.
“I’ll do all I can.” He promised sincerely. Tyson nodded.
* * *
Valen rubbed his temples, feeling a headache forming. “If the other packs would want to send delegates to assist us, we could deal with the rogue much quicker.”
“The packs do not get involved in each other’s minor scuffles. It is our way and has been since you were barely a pup.” It was what he’d been hearing since he’d become Alpha. Despite his seventy-five years as a wolf, he was still considered young. His status as Alpha hadn’t changed that. The fact that Alpha Ramsey led the pack closest in proximity to his own didn’t help matters either, as he’d delt with Valen’s father first and was apparently, despite three years, unwilling to grant Valen the same respect.
“With all due respect, Alpha Ramsey, this stopped being a minor scuffle when the twenty-four-hour mark passed and the rogue had yet to self-destruct.”
“Are you quite sure this request has nothing to do with the rogue’s obvious connection to your Lalina?” This from Alpha Domin, who’s pack held the place at the bottom of the ranks and who should have been showing Valen the respect he deserved as an Alpha of a much healthier pack. Valen’s wolf snarled and he ground his teeth to keep the sound from escaping.
“My mate’s connection, or lack thereof, is not why the rogue’s condition failed to end him on its own.” He managed. Beside him, off camera, Tyson cleared his throat.
Calm, Alpha. His voice sounded in Valen’s head and he nodded minimally.
“Regardless, Alpha Adamas, we are currently dealing with another matter that requires our full attention.”
“What matter is this and why am I just now being informed of something big enough to require the attention of every other pack in the council?” His wolf’s rage was starting to leak through and he took several measured breaths to calm himself before his eyes began to show it.
“The Cedar Falls pack leaders have requested a meeting, one that you not be a part of. Given your history-.”
“If you mean them murdering my father, a member of your council-.”
“Your temper is precisely why you were not informed!” The other Alphas shifted uncomfortably. Both Valen and Alpha Ramsey had risen and were bearing down on their monitors, as if they could rip each other apart through the screens. Valen glanced at Tyson to see his rage mirrored in the latter’s eyes. They’d annihilated Cedar Falls three years ago. They’d made sure of it. Leaving no wolf alive who could possibly reform the ranks and continue their reign of terror. Their father’s murder had been the final straw in a very long line of brutality perpetrated by Cedar Falls. This very council had okayed the attack.
Valen took another deep breath and forced himself to regain his seat. He leaned back in his chair, folding his hands on the desk in front of him; the epitome of calm.
“I trust I will be informed of any developments that would put any other members of my family, or my pack, at risk. I shall do the same regarding the rogue.” With that, he nodded at Tyson without waiting for a reply, cutting the video feed and ending the meeting. He exhaled forcefully, standing in the same motion and beginning to pace the room.
“Well, that was productive.” Tyson murmured. Valen glanced at him to see his brother had regained his usual calm.
“Why do I always feel like I need a drink after these meetings?”
“The same reason dad did, because the Alphas are morons. Really, you should all just let us Betas conduct these meetings in peace.” Valen glanced at his brother again and noticed for the first time that he was typing furiously on his phone.
“Have you been texting this whole time?” He asked incredulously. Tyson nodded.
“The other Betas and I are in a group chat. I started it after your first meeting as Alpha and the idea kind of caught on.” Valen shook his head but Tyson continued. “If it helps, Alpha Ramsey is as flustered with you as you are with him.” Valen smirked.
“Actually-.” Ellie’s fear slammed through him via their mate bond, taking his breath. Seconds later it was followed by her rage as her wolf snarled in his head. His mate needed him and she needed him now. With one look, Tyson understood and then began making preparations for their immediate departure.
Valen! He heard her voice seconds before the mate bond exploded, bringing him to his knees.