Out of the Light

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Twenty Six | Cleo

A surprise awaited me when I reached Hakota's camp. If his scent wasn't enough to identify his presence, the extreme tension was more than enough to alert me something was amiss.

But unlike I my assumptions, the first person I was intercepted by on the long list of annoying males to deal with was not Coda, but Sitka.

He grabbed me by the arm and spun me around, dragging me behind him as he marched us right back out of the camp.

I followed behind him willingly because I would rather deal with them one at a time then have them all come at me at once.

The werewolves guarding at the different border points averted their eyes as we passed, only to stare at our backs as we walked away, heading further and further from the war camp.

Once we were a fair distance away from the camp and any eavesdropping ears, Sitka let go of my arm and stepped back. "How is it," he snapped, "that you cause more trouble by being away than if you were present?"

I gave him a wry smile, "Is Coda stepping on your toes, Sitka?"

The lycan snorted, "The werewolf he brought with him is more of the issue."

I couldn't even find it in me to be surprised. Sebastian was the only werewolf that Coda could have with him though I would like to learn the reason as to why. Sebastian would be yet another name to add to my list. "Is he still alive, or has Hakota kept to his patterns?" Although my tone was void of any emotion, I was anxious to know if I had sentenced yet another good male to death simply for being with me and acting as a possible threat to my mate bond.

The lycan pinned me with his bright blue eyes. "He's alive."

A breath of relief squeezed out of my lungs, "What a surprise."

"More like what a pain in the ass. I'm supposed to be fighting a war but instead I'm playing hide and seek with Hakota and the werewolf making sure they stay on opposite sides of the camp at all times. And when I'm not dealing with them I'm dealing with Terrin or Coda. I'm running a war camp not a damn daycare."

I didn't even try to hide the grin that spread across my face. Sitka and I had never really talked but when we did it was usually two or three words that involved a threat in some way. But now here he was basically throwing a tantrum, amusing me greatly.

"What are you smiling at?" He growled.

I shrugged and didn't answer his question, instead saying, "Well then you'll be glad to know I have come to clean up my mess. I called the twins back," I said.

"You what?" He hissed, no doubt about to tell me that I had no authority to make such a call.

If he thought that was overstepping then I'd better just unload the rest on him. "I moved Roshan, Syn, Sani and Frayah back to the castle which is where I also sent the twins. I'll send Innoko and Terrin that way too."

Sitka snarled out in protest, "We need them here! I'm fighting a war--"

I cut him off, not done telling him of my plans. "I'm also sending some of the front line forces with Innoko and Terrin. Keeping the babies safe if my top priority. And from what I've heard we all have some pack bonding that needs to happen so I'm giving us that."

"Then what forces am I supposed to use to fight off the Lunars?"

I dismissed his concern with a shrug and told him exactly what I'd told Syn, "I'm putting Hakota's campaign on hold."

"You can't do that!" Sitka bellowed.

I glowered at him, annoyed of having this same conversation a second time. "I'm the alpha female, I can do what I want. Besides you were just complaining about dealing with them all so I'm taking them off your shoulders."

"And half of my goddamn army," he grumbled.

Rolling my eyes, I crossed my arms, "You won't be needing them because for the time being all you have to do is hold down fort until I get back."

"Look Cleo, even if I agreed to this plan, there is no way that Hakota--"

"Oh you don't need to worry about him. He's coming with me."

Sitka was already shaking his head, opening his mouth to tell me I was wrong before he realized what it was I had said. "You're," he blinked, "you're taking him with you?"

"Yup," I replied, popping the p. "The camp will be all yours. I have full faith in you to handle this yourself."

"And what will you be doing?"

"I'll be at the castle with the others mostly. Hakota has more people he owes an apology to other than me.

The blond lycan ran a hand down his face, "You're crazy."

I beamed at him, "I know."

"And what about Coda and the werewolf?"

"I'll be sending Coda back to the hunter pack as for Sebastian..." my grin turned feral, "well he'll be coming with Hakota and I of course."

Sitka glared at me, "Pushing Hakota like that will end very badly, Cleo. Besides, you know better than to use Sebastian as a means of punishment to get back at him. Although I do not care for the werewolf, he does not deserve to be used as a pawn in your games with Hakota."

"Who's playing games?" I bit out. "I care for Sebastian, I'll have you know. And although he's not my lycan mate he is a potential mate and he has treated me better than Hakota ever has. I will not just cast Sebastian aside for a male who has only ever hurt me. Besides, Hakota has demonstrated multiple times that he'd rather not have me as a mate so he can deal with Sebastian."

"Don't be petty, Cleo," was his reply, "you don't understand."

I rolled my eyes for what seemed like the hundredth time, "You don't understand." I mimicked him making air quotes. "You're right I don't understand. I see it the way I see it and until Hakota shows me otherwise you and the rest of your pack can stop defending him to me. Last I checked, it was my throat he ripped out so I can be as petty as I damn well please."

"And you cut his throat, but he's not bringing in others and parading them around just to rub it in your face."

"For the love of Lune," I muttered under my breath and squeezed the bridge of my nose in frustration. "Why don't you let Hakota fight his own battles? This is between him and I and you and everyone else can keep your noses out of our business."

"He's my alpha," Sitka defended himself, "that makes his problems, my problems. And even if he wasn't my alpha, he's my friend and I will not let you hurt him."

"And I won't let him hurt me anymore," I easily returned and stuffed my hands into my loose sweatshirt pockets. "Look Sitka, I'm not trying to hurt him, I want to help him. This pack needs attention and he cannot keep ignoring what's happening by finishing this war."

"Why?" The lycan demanded. "Why do you want to help us after everything that happened?"

"Because you guys are my pack as every bit as much as you are Hakota's. Even if he and I are at odds, that doesn't mean I'm going to give up on my pack--"

"We are not your pack," Sitka snarled getting up close and personal, glaring down his nose at me. "You have a pack and you turned your back on them." I clenched my jaw mentally cursing Coda for telling that little tidbit to Sitka. "Coda told me that you are their true alpha and yet here you are meddling in our pack trying to get a place that you already have in the hunter pack. Why don't you just focus on them and leave us be?"

Balling my hands into fists to keep myself from giving the male in front of me a much needed broken nose I exhaled a breath and through gritted teeth answered, "Because they have never been a family for me. Not in all the years I was with them and not when I took the alpha position from my father. Coda is the only friend there I have, Grey abandoned me after I killed my father. He took a good chunk of the hunters with him and Coda is the one keeping the rest of the pack together. If I took over they would fall apart and I'd be alpha of a nonexistent pack. In this pack though," I stabbed the lycan in the chest with my pointer finger, digging my claw into him, "I have the most people I care about. Even if Roshan, Frayah, and Syn are all I have I will damn well do everything I can to make them happy and that means fixing this mess that has been collecting for two years."

Hard blue orbs scowled at me, "That's not your job."

"Bite me," I snapped and pulled my finger away, pricking his skin in the process. I moved to walked around him and head back to the camp when his hand shot out and gripped my forearm.

He simply held me in place, shoulder to shoulder with me, staring at the ground as I stared ahead. "He's at his breaking point," Sitka said lowly. "If you push him the wrong way he'll be lost forever. The Wild may very well consume him again and this time he won't come out of it."

"I know," I replied quietly, "and I promise you Sitka that I do not intend to harm him. He'll be stronger one way or the other when I bring him back to this camp so he can finish this war and stand on top of the world again."

The fingers released me and I turned then but Sitka only flicked his head, "Go."

Without another word I left Sitka and walked back to camp.

One annoying male dealt with.

Four more to go.

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