I spent the night outside of the Berserkers' appointed dormitory, sitting on the front steps. A few shifters were patrolling the premises regularly, making sure that none of us strayed from the building and wandered around the territory.
At one point, Trai came outside, sat right beside me and just stayed quiet, waiting until I spoke first.
"You guys felt it, didn't you?" I said, picking up a small pebble from the ground and throwing it lightly into the darkness.
"You know we did. We're connected to you after all. It was as strong as when the Council brought you back," he admitted.
The Berserkers aren't really my family, we were not born of the same mother or father, but our blood connection is real. It all comes down to the damn Blood Protocol.
Each one of them was given a sample of my blood, and they only pushed through and survived, because in exchange, I took a drop of their blood. It all happened secretly, before the Council found out.
This is something they were desperately trying to achieve, injecting shifters with my blood, without properly completing the bond. They wanted to re-create the Berserkers, but their chosen subjects were dying, one by one, going insane and attacking everyone around, ending with their own bodies being destroyed. These fools had no knowledge of the need for equal exchange, until...5 years ago.
My next vessel, this body, was in their hands, and they made sure to draw enough blood to inject the whole pack in the western Poland, along with some of the Alphas and Betas from packs around the world, that they sleazily invited to a bogus "emergency meeting", or some other lie.
Everything went to shit when they forcefully awakened my consciousness from its cyclical hibernation. I was unstable and barely remember what was going on. I can only recall blood, rivers of blood streaming down the dark soil and grass, while screams were playing in the distance.
"So what now?" Trai asked, "You know he will crave to be close to you, like all of us did. When you made us, the need to be around you and protect you was impossible to overcome," he said, tension building in his jaw.
"You don't think I realize that? Turning him into one of you was a mistake," I scolded myself. The current of guilt immediately sent me down a spiral of dark thoughts and suspicions. A nauseating feeling in the pit of my stomach was telling me that this was not a coincidence. Alpha Adam recognizing my code, the attack, me turning him into a Berserker. I didn't want to admit it out loud, but I knew it had a stench of the Council's plotting.
I couldn't back out of this mission, no matter if the Council wanted to turn into their little marionette again. I had my reasons, and I was not ready to abandon them.
"You saved his life, he'll learn to live it in a new way," Trai put his hand on my shoulder, trying to bring me some comfort, unsuccessfully though.
"It's not a new life...it will bring him never-ending torture and pain, and it's my fault. Should have let him die," I stood up, clenching my teeth. Then, all I could do is let out a sigh of defeat.
We have to be wary of the Council. Today's incident wasn't just coincidental, and it's gonna come out soon. Tell the others. I spoke through our mind-link.
So you think the "disease" that's plaguing the shifters is-
I'm not certain, but it's not just a disease. We have to be close to find out. Keep your eyes open and senses sharp. The training starts tomorrow, and we have to make sure that they trust us enough to let us go to the front line with them. I declared my order.
Trai nodded his head. He was the most level-headed among the group, the most reasonable. I knew he would keep the rest organized and obedient, for when the time comes.
"Come on, let's go inside and get some rest," he invited, and I complied, following him into the building.
The next morning, we were woken up and called to the training area early, around 6 am. The whole group acted as usual, with Klaus being a little drama queen, Mina and Alistair whining about it being too cold, Quinn being grumpy about how it messes up her beauty sleep, and Trai...being quiet and just doing what was asked.
I forgot how it felt, being reunited again, rekindling the connection between us. That bond was forced on them out of my selfishness and necessity, but for some reason they all decided to accept it. Was it because of the control I had over their will and emotions? They declared their loyalty, and claimed they did not follow me because of the bond...not anymore at least. I do want to believe that what we have is a true companionship, friendship even...but I find it hard to do so, since every day I'm reminded of what I had done to get to where we are now.
Each one of them joined the group during a different life cycle of mine, hence they all have seen another me...in a different body, gender, age, and in a different world. Each time I came back to life, it was about 45 years apart from the previous cycle, generations have died, new ones came into existence, and yet I remained with all memories from my past lives.
"Alright whiners," that deep voice I would recognize anywhere pierced the cold, autumn air. Roman walked towards us and following him was a group of the pack's warriors, who we were to train with today.
"Let me make this clear, the training will be hard, there won't be any easy pass for anyone, and if you can't keep up, then I guess you're not supposed to be here, let alone dream of going on a patrol or participating in any of the pack's missions," he threw us a glance, narrowing his eyes at me. I returned the challenging gesture with the same kind of coldness.
"For starters let's do a stamina training, and see what you're made of. You'll go for a run around the training field, and run until your legs give away. The last one running will get the rest of the day off,"
Well, at least it's a good think I'm wearing comfortable joggers and sneakers, unlike some of the female wolves, who didn't bother being subtle about showing off their figures with tight leggings, shorts and even tighter tees.
Damn, are they this desperate to get laid with guys...or one, particular guy?
I sneakily eyed Roman in his grey joggers, and a black t-shirt that hugged his sculpted torso a little too nicely.
"Think you ladies can keep up?" He directed the question at us.
Quinn snorted and threw him a mocking grin, "One, that's sexist, and two, you better hope your dogs don't lose their tails while trying to keep up with us. Hmph!" She flipped her high ponytail over her shoulder.
I stayed silent, pulling the sleeves of my lose sweatshirt up, revealing my prosthetic forearms. I instantly heard a gasp coming from the wolves, and saw one of them raising his hand, while clearing throat.
"Exscuse me, since there's a...disabled person in the opposing group, shouldn't we give them a head start or somethin'?" He mocked, clearly wanting to humiliate us, or me in particular. Soon an argument broke out between both groups, and Klaus, who was having none of that as usual, retaliated as he does, while the shifters were yapping insults. A minute later, Mina and Quinn joined the argument, while Trai attempted to calm them all down, basically holding Klaus back from getting into a fight first thing in the fucking morning.
"Enough of this," I said annoyed, while maintaining my voice at a moderate volume. The shifters didn't hear me over their raised voices, but the Berserkers immediately stopped and came to my side, causing the pack's members to look at them in confusion.
"What? One word from a disable-" the man who asked the previous question started, but didn't finish his sentence due to a fist that connected with his jaw and sent him tumbling a few meters away.
"Anyone else has some fucking smart-ass comment to add?" Roman roared at them, surprising me with his heated reaction to one mere insult. The silence among all of us confirmed that no one was going to disrupt the training anymore. Greyson instructed everyone to head towards the training field and start running circles, to which everyone complied, walking in the direction. Before I cought up with the rest, a hand on my forearm stopped me.
"Hey, about what they said-" Greyson started, staring into my silver eyes with a hint of emotion I knew all too well. He was sorry for me. I yanked my arm out of his grasp.
"If you feel sorry for me, don't. I don't need sympathy and I care even less about what a bunch of dogs say about me. Now if you'll excuse me, I'd rather not waste time on chitchatting, and just get to the training" I quickly said, turning towards the field.
"Fine," his demeanor changed back to his cold self, "If you're so sure you can outrun wolves, I'd like to see that" he motioned for me to get going.
I smirked cryptically and ran off to the field.
An extra long chapter, thanks for being so patient!