Chapter Forty Four
I woke up to the pungent smell of silver, the scent burning my nostrils.
The events of the previous day come back to me all at once.
A trap. It was all a trap, and I barreled right into it.
I should be angry but I’m not, only mildly impressed. In my sober state of mind I would have been able to spot that shit from a mile away, but hearing her scream and the scent of her blood had the beast in me in a craze, furious with anger and fear.
I realize now she was never in any danger, I hadn’t even felt her fear through our bond.
I had it all planned out, down to the last detail. After having the entire pack run around in circles all week, scrambled throughout the territory, I saw that their numbers became fewer. I wondered where they all went, they either went back to their packs, or they were spread out so thin, the heart of town would now be unprotected.
I was going to come for her that night, as she soundly slept. The twelve guards stationed outside her house had turned to eight, then finally four. Four I would handle easily, knocking them out one by one before they could say anything through the pack link. I hoped to take her without too much trouble, but I was prepared to kill Daniel, my dad, and even my uncle if they dared try standing in my way.
The plan was perfect, swiftly take out the few guards, then run into the night with the new van waiting about 30 minutes away.
Looking around, I see that I’m chained, heavily chained, every part of my wolf’s body is encased in some form of chain, rope, cuffs, and silver.
I was still in my wolf form, the size of my huge cell still far too small for my wolf’s body.
Looking around, I recognize my uncle’s prison dungeon, thick steel bars plated with silver, another set of bars outside of those bars, for extra protection. I can sense my uncle’s guards standing right outside the dungeon entrance. Now without the fog of madness clouding my vision, I focus on trying to free myself of these restraints.
Even with my new lethal canines, the chain and metal don’t budge. Grunting in frustration, I close my eyes, focusing all my strength and energy on shifting. For all other wolves, the silver halts any shifting from one form to another, but I am not other wolves.
Clenching my teeth to keep from howling in anguish, I can feel the shifting of bones, one at a time, ligaments and tendons tearing and rearranging, repairing themselves at the slowest rate possible. The pain is almost enough to make me stop but I don’t.
I trudge through the excruciating pain, this is nothing like my first shift, this is far worse.
Almost an hour and a half later and my shift is almost complete. Normal phasing lasts a minute, alphas can phase even faster, a couple milliseconds.
The restraints fall away from my body, now too large to go around me, I slide out of them easily.
I chuckle darkly, all that’s left is to break these bars.
The sound of multiple footsteps approaching, has me freezing.
“Are they ready?” I hear one ask.
“Yes they’re ready to transport him, but I want to talk to him first.” I suppress a snarl as I recognize Daniel’s voice.
“Are you sure that’s a good idea? What did the alpha say?”
“I said it was okay,” Daniel commanded, bringing some of his alpha tenor into his demand, the first time I’ve ever seen him do so.
The guard outside the entrance caves at once.
“Of course alpha,” he says, then I hear the creak of the double doors as it swings open.
I stand only an inch away from the silver bars, despite my nose burning, all I need is for him to get close enough. Close enough to reach his throat through the double layer of bars.
I bellow a loud laugh as I see Daniel walk in, he takes in my naked glory, as well as the discarded chains behind me. If he’s surprised he doesn’t show it, Daniel keeps his expression collected and unreadable.
“This is who they sent to interrogate me?” I bellow another laugh, “you shouldn’t be here Daniel, these are alpha matters.”
“Which you are not, not sure you’re even a runner up, last time I checked you were deranked.”
We stare each other down, not one of us breaking contact, if this was any other wolf, their spine would be crushed with the weight of my dominance. But Daniel comes from a lineage of alphas and therefore we’re “evenly” matched.
No one concedes.
I’m going to tear his stupid smug little face in half, one flap of skin at a time.
“Why did you come here Keenan?”
I let him stew for a second, not answering. Why should I? He’s no one worth answering to.
“Superior alpha training,” I said mockingly.
“Yes, what my father was stupid enough to believe. But your father told me everything, everything. Does my mate have anything to do with this?”
My wolf was furious at his statement, his staking a claim on what was not his. Thief, fraud, an imposter, a liar.
“I’ve come back for what rightfully belongs to me.”
Daniel begins to pace slowly to the left, watching me cautiously the whole time.
“I heard you claim her to be your so-called mate, but I don’t believe that. The truth is, you only want her because she’s mine.” There was something in his voice, something that indicated he was lying, either to me or himself.
Now at this I have to laugh, “you overestimate your own importance Daniel, you take up even less space in my head than you think you do, don’t flatter yourself.”
“I also heard about what you did to her, and why you did it.”
My laughing stops short.
“What I don’t understand is why you’re here now. What do you want with her? What were you planning to do, huh? Did you think you could just waltz after what you’ve done? That she would just accept you? What was the plan?”
As if I would tell him. “She nearly died because of you, did you come here to finish what you started? To break the bond or torture her some more until she’s dead for good?”
I sneered at him, deep breaths, he’s not close enough to the bars yet.
“That’s why I think you’re a lying piece of shit, no real wolf could do that to their mate.”
I say nothing.
“If you’re so concerned with breaking the bond, allow me to bring you some solace, soon I will have my mark on her.”
Breaking my resolve I lunge for him, slamming into the thick bars. “Don’t you fucking dare touch her! I’ll kill you! You beta male inbreed! I’ll fucking kill you! Why don’t you come in here and face me like a real alpha!”
“You want to know something? I told her about us, about our kind. I even shifted in front of her.”
“And you know what? She accepted me, she wasn’t even scared. She’s the one. This was supposed to happen, you were supposed to be a fuckup, and your fuck up lead her to me. Call it fate, destiny, or chance, but I won’t make the same mistake you did and let her go. She’s my second chance and I plan to make her mine completely.”
“SHE IS MY MATE, MINE!!!!”
“She was your mate, but you did everything to make sure she wasn’t.”
I slam my full weight into the bars over and over again but they won’t give. I am too enraged to feel pain right now.
“Why her?! Of all the she-wolves and humans you could have chosen to wet your dick with, why her?!”
“I love her, I chose her, I’ll always choose her. I don’t get you Keenan, you had your chance, you didn’t want her. You could’ve gone back to the way things were.”
No I couldn’t.
“You could have left us alone, what? Does it piss you off to see her happy? See us happy? Because we both know I make her happy.” Danial said, self satisfied.
Smug little shit.
“I’m better for her and you know it. You think she could ever accept someone like you? A monster?”
My jaw aches from how hard my teeth are clenched.
“So why the sudden change 0f heart?”
It was a good question, one I spent some time trying to figure out myself.
When did it all change for me?
Why did it all change for me?
When was the flip?
I know the answer now.
It started with her death.
It was deeper than suddenly mourning the loss of a future I’d never known, it was deeper than just the bond forcing itself on me.
It was not that her death suddenly made me realize I was madly in love with her. We were still strangers at that point, as we are now technically.
In that horrific moment, as she turned blue and fell to her knees, in that moment when my whole world stopped.
I realized that despite all my shit talking, despicable actions, and arrogant wishful thinking... I did not actually want her to die.
I did not actually want to be rid of the bond.
As my chest tightened and my throat constricted, filled with an emotion I struggled to put a name onto for so many months… it was guilt. I’d never felt guilt before, for anything, for anyone.
I have done so many things others would deem egregiously evil, immoral, or psychopathic. I could kill, lie, slaughter, and manipulate without a second’s hesitation, without an inkling of remorse after, but somehow my subconscious knew I would never be able to come back from this.
She didn’t deserve this, she didn’t deserve what I put her through. She didn’t deserve this onslaught of severe harassment and bullying I inflicted on her. The logical little voice in my head reminding me that she had as much choice in the matter as I did. She was a good person, a far better one than me, innocent.
And still, I made her my scapegoat, the sole person to blame, the recipient of my wrath. Rejecting her was my fuck you to the moon.
Remembering the loss I felt that night, the hollowness in my chest, the hole in my blackened heart. I never felt such fear, desperation, or loss.
I was vulnerable, for the first time in my life, I felt vulnerability.
She made me feel more emotion in just a few short weeks than I have ever felt in my entire life. In those shit months after she left I clang onto her little flutters of life, brief moments of her strongest emotions leaking through the weak bond.
Which I now realize, bitterly, that it was probably Daniel making her so happy and content.
I remember the pure elation and relief I felt after learning that she was alive.
The primal urge to find her, lay her down underneath me, and stand over her like some savage guard, snapping and snarling at anything that could harm her, that could try to take her from me.
Whether it be The Council, Daniel, my father, or the goddess herself, nothing will take her from me again.
This isn’t over, far from it, but they believe it to be…
And so I’ll let them.
Daniel stays staring at me lost in thought, waiting for a response that will never come.
Instead I chuckle darkly, clutching onto the silver bars tightly. The smell of singed flesh filling the air.
“Oh you think you have it all figured out don’t you? Remember this Daniel, I am her mate, me, not you. I could take her from you, and it would be so easy. We both know it doesn’t matter how far you get into claiming her. I am her soulmate, the mark of a true mate trumps the mark of a fraud everytime, irreversible. You don’t stand a chance, you never did.” The underlying message of the last statement isn’t missed, “It won’t be long before she abandons you too.”
Finally, a flicker of real emotion, insecurity mixed with uncertainty, he masks it quickly.
But it’s too late, I planted the seed of doubt, and it’s only a matter of time before it festers and rots.
“When I come back to take my mate, I’ll take everything else from you as well, your pack, your packmates, and then your life. Just as the moon intended, I mean… she already took your mate.”
I smile as Daniel clenches his teeth, I knew his dead mate was a touchy subject, but low blows are not beneath me.
“Except you’re never coming back, you’re not returning home Keenan. The Elder Council has agreed to hold you in their max security prison for who knows how long. You’re done for.”
“Over my dead corpse.”
“That could be arranged.” Daniel said, before stepping back. “You can come in now, we’re done talking.”
The doors open to reveal two wolves with tranquilizers in their hands.
Cowards, they could never handle me awake so they’re knocking me out, pathetic.
“I’m gonna kill you Daniel, that I can promise you.”
Daniel’s already out the double doors, but I know he heard me.