In The Shadows

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Twelve

Today was the day.

At least, that's what I kept telling myself.

Today would be the day I would finally smash Coda into the ground and deliver a killing blow. Today I would make him know how it felt to be crushed to the ground with a searing pain somewhere in your body and hunter venom burning your skin. It wasn't that I wanted to hurt Coda...well okay I did. But only to an extent.

"What's with the face?" Coda asked me as we walked to the training yard which was an open expanse that resembled a sand volleyball court without a net.

"What face?" I asked.

"That face." He answered.

"This is just my normal face." I told him.

"No its not. That's the face you use when you think you can take me down but I always land you flat on your ass."

"That's not true!" I grumped and walked faster to get away from him. "And that's a very specific way to describe my face!"

He laughed. "Maybe if you stop running away, I'll believe you."

"Why can't you just be like the way everyone thinks you are? You should just be silent and cold without a humorous bone in your body. I think I'd actually like you better."

"What's the most musical part of a turkey?" He asked, his long strides easily catching him up to me.

"Are you seriously asking me a joke right now?" I demanded. "Aren't you supposed to be like eighty years old or something?"

"Just answer my question."

I rolled my eyes. "I don't know, nor do I care."

"The drumsticks." He says and I hear a snort from one of the other wolves. Coda grins and points, "See he gets it. And since thanksgiving is close I thought it was appropriate."

"We don't even celebrate thanksgiving, Coda." I sighed.

"And why not? I am all for having a huge meal and making a holiday out of it."

"Are you on drugs, Coda?" I asked, peering into his eyes that were strangely dilated.

"If by on drugs you mean the anesthesia is still wearing off then yes."

"What the hell are you talking about? Why are you taking anesthesia at eight in the morning!" Had he been hurt by some attack that I hadn't known about?

"The medics asked me to be their test subject to see if what they changed made it last longer on our quickly healing bodies. I agreed and it seems that it did. It's been like five hours."

I halted and spun around to face him, pointing a finger in his face. "Well damn you! How am I supposed to fight you fairly if you're drugged?"

He pushed my finger away. "We can fight later just warm up or something."

"Forget it!" I snapped. "I'm going back to bed, come get me when your normal again." I decided that walking the three miles back home wasn't worth it just took a walk instead. I took the route that led me past the lake where my first training lesson with Coda had been. I walked around the lake following the trail and continued up the path that led north, winding through a hillier area.

Having the strange feeling of being watched I looked for any eyes following me. I kept to the trail despite wanting to head off it and see if I could shake whoever it was following me. I looked over my shoulder for the millionth time before looking ahead to see a wolf twice the size of my own standing directly in front of me.

I gasped and felt my heart accelerate as it leapt into my throat. I placed a hand over my chest and took in a breath. The wolf was tawny and white, the tawny color darker along the back and chest, the white on the underside, the middle was patches of tawny and white where the colors intermingled. It's clear, sky blue colored eyes stared at me.

I had never seen this wolf before and I couldn't pinpoint its scent. It wasn't a rogue but it wasn't entirely werewolf either. "You're one of his." I said. The wolf blinked at me but did nothing further. "Get out of here." I told it, "I have two months." When the wolf made no move to leave I grabbed one of my daggers from my belt and threw it at its feet, the dagger sticking up, the point buried in the ground millimeters in front of it. "That was a warning, the next one will find itself buried somewhere inside your body." I brandished another one of my silver daggers. "Get out!" I snarled and readied my arm for the dagger to fly. The wolf cocked its head at me before turning on its heel and trotted down the trail and away from me.

I huffed and slid my dagger back into my belt, collecting the other from off the ground. When I turned around the wolf was back. A little scream escaped my lips as I jumped back. I twisted around to where it had just disappeared from moments ago. "How did you...?" I gestured from behind me to where it was sitting now. "Never mind, just leave." Only then did I notice the wolf had a little slip of paper in its mouth. When it saw where my attention had gone it stood up and took a step towards me. When I said nothing to warn it back it walked towards me before dropping the letter into my outstretched hand to retrieve it. The moment the paper hit my fingers the wolf walked off into the trees.

I looked down at the paper, debating whether I should open it now, then decided there was no time like the present. Unfolding the slip of paper, I smoothed it out and began to read.

When I come for you, there is no place you can hide or far enough you can run. But if you want a chase, I do enjoy a little fun. Tick tock little mate, be ready, my waiting is done.

I was glad I opened the letter when I did because right now I was secluded in the woods where no one would hear my scream of anger and frustration. "Aarghhhhhhhh!" I yelled up to the sky, causing birds to startle and flutter out from the trees. I ripped the piece of paper into the smallest of pieces I could before stomping on them. "I already hate you!" I shouted to the trees.

This note sealed my fate. Hakota would be coming for me, today I had to prove to everyone, myself included that I could do this. My pack was depending on me to take him down. I had made a promise to my father to avenge Irene. I had to try. I took off sprinting back down the trail to find Coda. We had a fight that was long overdue.

I found him about to take off on a border walk, but I caught him in time. "There's nothing on the east side." I informed him having just been there. "Accept for one of the lycans, but he finished what he came here to do."

"A lycan, was here? In our territory?" Coda snarled whipping around as if he could somehow catch up to the lycan that was long gone. "What did he want? Did he threaten you, hurt you?"

"No. He delivered a letter. It was just a warning that Hakota is coming soon."

"I'll run the borders and see if I catch a scent of any others." Before I could object Coda was barking orders at the patrol telling them to be on the look out for a lycan. Their faces all drained white at the mention of the powerful creatures. "Don't look so frightened you pansies. We are bred to take them down, suck it up and get moving. We didn't make you warriors so you could act like pups!"

I sighed as Coda slipped into psycho commander beta mode. "No, Coda. He's gone, trust me." I tried to grab his shoulder but he pushed me back.

"Stay here, Cleo. Your father isn't going to be happy to know you were approached by one of them."

"I'm not staying here!" I protested.

Coda growled, his eyes turning black as he tried to use his wolf to dominate mine. "Follow orders, you insubordinate brat." He bit out.

I raised my chin and took a step towards him. He was a foot and a half taller than me, and although I had to look up at him, I gave him the most intimidating look I could muster. "Don't try and pull this dominance crap on me, Coda. It stopped working years ago."

"Cleo." His voice was edged with a warning.

"Coda." I returned evenly.

"Don't make me break your legs, pup, you know I will."

"Go for it. I'll get the fight I want. You won't hold back this time."

"You don't want to fight me full force, Cleo. I am not afraid to hurt you."

"That makes two of us." I replied and let my claws slide through my fingers. The beta cocked his head in a final warning. "I will not back down from this." I told him and let my wolf infuse her growing temper with mine. I lunged at the beta who was trying to turn me submissive. Coda snarled and let his own claws punch through his fingers. He tried to grab me mid air and shove me to the ground but I twisted out of his grasp and raked my claws down his chest. Coda hissed at the immediate sting and jumped away from me.

His eyes had gone black as had mine as we let our wolves take over our human skins. Our wolves were ourselves at our most base instincts. We wouldn't stop until one of us yielded and I was determined to make it him for the first time. We fought, circling and lunging, biting and clawing.

I already had several claw and teeth marks marring my body. My vision had long since abandoned me and I was forced to use my other senses. I wasn't too worried as I had gotten Coda a few times as well and his own vision would be lacking. I used my hearing to detect his position, needing to stall him until I regained my vision. A current of air hit my left and I spun, avoiding his massive body that was about to slam into me.

I rolled the the ground and kicked out my leg, catching his shin and made him stumble which was enough for me to then hit out the back of his knee causing him to go down on one knee. My vision was slowly clearing and I was able to see his form enough to jump on his back and dig my teeth into his shoulder.

He roared in pain at my venom infused bite and pulled me over his head and to the ground before him. I shifted into my wolf, my form changing and giving me the chance to slip out of his hands before he pinned me to the ground. My wolf snarled at him, my lips peeling back from my teeth. I sprang at him. Before my teeth could close around his neck his hands grabbed the top and bottom of my mouth and kept my jaw pried open. I tried to snap and bite but he pushed me back, getting to his feet.

His left arm had been shredded into ribbons from my claws and blood was covering his arm and dripping to the ground from his fingers. I circled him steadily and readied myself for the attack. He lunged for my neck and I met him head on. Only his hand didn't close around my neck like I had expected, he grabbed at my leg and pulled it harshly. I hit the ground hard and he snapped my leg, breaking it. "Yield Cleo." He commanded me.

My wolf growled and snapped at his hand. I caught his hand and bit down, snapping the bones. Coda howled in pain and pried my jaw open with his other hand. Once his hand was free I pushed off my back and slammed paws into his chest sending him down to the ground on his own back and sank my claws into his shoulder, my teeth snapping in his face as a warning. Coda knew he was beat but we still had a battle of wills before my teeth lightly bit into his neck forcing him into submission.

"Alright, fine! I yield! You can come!" He finally gave in. My wolf stepped off of him proudly and licked at his injured neck when he sat up. He pushed me away. "Yeah, yeah, you finally won." My wolf barked in excitement and twisted in circles doing a happy dance.

The other wolves that had watched out fight were staring at me in astonishment, some in human and wolf form. I growled at their brazenness for looking straight into my eyes. They immediately ducked their heads and took a step back. As I led them into the forest for the border patrol I never felt so much like an alpha, and I reveled in it.

I was ready to take down my mate.

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