The number of trainees running was dwindling every hour, with some shifters quitting way earlier than I expected them to. The Berserkers, on the contrary, had better results on average, with the blue-haired kid tapping out after a couple hours, but the rest pushing forward. I have to say, it was disappointing to see the pack's young warriors giving up so easily, albeit I was impressed with the other group's determination.
My eyes kept going back to Raegan's running form. He seemed small and fragile compared to the shifter he was now competing against. It has been over ten hours of them running without a break already, and it stunned me that the kid's slender body unexpectedly kept it up for this long.
I was currently overlooking the training in my wolf form, sitting at the edge of the forest surrounding the field.
"What's up Terminator? Feeling like tapping out yet?" My wolf hearing picked up what Dean, the shifter who was running next to the kid, said, and I swear I've never felt like ripping into someone's throat so much. I'll fucking make his training a living hell after this, he should learn some damn respect.
This fool couldn't last long, carving the ground with his ugly face the minute their jog hit the eleventh hour. His pathetic tumble made me smirk and I was secretly glad, even proud, that the Berserker kid came out victorious. I could feel my tail wiggling uncontrollably, like an idiot.
The fuck, what am I getting so happy about?!
I caught the stupid tail with my huge paw and pinned it down to stop the silly motion, a growl of irritation and embarrassment escaping my throat. A few shifter passersby eyed me curiously, but knew better not to piss me off.
Pull your shit together!
Was this some weird identity crisis I'm going through? Am I having a crush on this kid and questioning my sexuality? I have absolutely nothing against homosexual people, but I was pretty sure I'm a straight guy. And yet here I am, pining after a kid that might as well be the Council's spy.
Rather than your sexuality, you should get your goddamn priorities straight!
A scolding thought crept up in my head. I had to take my mind off of this kid.
'Hey Nyra,' I mind-linked the pack's Gamma, our third-in-command, 'Do you mind looking after the rookies for me? I'm gonna do a short patrol of the territory and check on our Alpha.'
'No problem, Beta Roman, I'll be there in a second,' she replied, and I strolled away from the field, away from the pair of silver eyes hunting me.
Doing my rounds relieved me from unruly thoughts regarding one particular individual. Dark clouds, threatening to bring a storm, effectively pulled my mind from the spiral of work and dragged it right back to the silver-eyed Berserker.
I wondered if he was resting at their dormitory or perhaps they all were heading from the training field to the pack house. Wouldn't blame Nyra for cutting the rest of the training short, since thunderstorms in Washington can be insane.
Approaching the field, already shifted back into my human form, dressed back up, for a moment I thought I saw some motion within the rainy landscape.
The thought had to be dismissed on the grounds that no one in their right mind would persist on continuing training in this goddess forsaken weather. I'm normally insanely hard on the trainees, but even I wouldn't make them do laps when the ground was gradually turning into wet, gooey quicksand.
Low and behold, my eyesight wasn't doing tricks, there, indeed, was a person running around the field. And the closer I got and the more my eyes strained to make the blurry, moving figure sharp again, a realization dropped on my confused mind
It was the kid.
Why in the world was he still here? More importantly, why would he keep running after he clearly won the challenge?
Even though my mind was still in the middle of processing the whole event, my legs had a mind of their own and took off towards where Raegan was.
"What the hell are you doing?" I blurted out, approaching his side and levelling our paces.
He didn't respond, instead keeping his focus ahead, releasing heavy breaths now and then, but keeping his body steady despite all the mud and rain.
"You won, kid, now get back inside, the storm is gonna get ugly," I tried to reason with him, and that wasn't an exaggeration, the thunderstorm was building up in power, so I wanted this kid safe and sound inside, where I could see him.
What the fuck is going on with me?
I shook my head back to reality and still didn't register a coherent response from Raegan.
"Hey I'm talking to you," my voice came out louder than I intended, but right now, I couldn't care less. Simultaneously, my hand stretched out to grab on the kid's prosthetic arm, aiming to halt him and possibly drag him back to my roo-
Fuck, I seriously need some help. I sound like a goddamn creep.
Raegan skipped to the side and away from my grasp.
"Why are you do stubborn?" I practically barked at him. The question is, why did I care if he runs himself to death or not?
"You said...until my...legs...give away," a mutter in between breaths escaped his lips and barely reached my ears through the merciless downpour.
"I'm not...done," he threw right after, picking up the pace a little to put a small void of distance between us.
That stopped me in my tracks, letting the kid abandon me in the hollow field.
He couldn't be serious.
I stood there like an idiot for a few minutes, not knowing what to do of the kid being fixated on running till he drops.
The day, muffled by the dark clouds, was slowly balancing on the edge of darkness, welcoming the night, his eternal opponent.
I couldn't bring myself to just leave Raegan be, jogging his way through the mud and storm, and I couldn't make him stop, so the only logical solution was to withdraw myself into the night, shift into my wolf and hide in the treeline, waiting for the guy to finish. That way, I could be close enough to help him get back to the dormitory, after all that physical strain on his body. My estimate was maybe another hour, maybe two, and the kid would be done for.
Boy was I utterly wrong.
Even though he did slow down and his movements weren't as fluid and energized, he pressed forward for what felt like eternity. I didn't even notice when the rain stopped and the night was breaking it's shell to reveal the morning sky.
It wasn't fully bright outside yet, but you could recognize the time when the sun was chasing towards the horizon, threatening to leap from behind it.
Momentarily distracted, a quiet thud and splash brought my attention back from the skies.
Fucking hell. He was down. Reagan dropped face first onto the muddy soil, not daring to reveal even the slightest motion anymore.
I howled and shot out of the woods, galloping towards his small figure, concealed with drenched clothes and mud.
A familiar voice, screaming the kid's name, caught my attention instantly, followed by a sight of the pack's Alpha, running like an absolute madman in the same direction I was heading for.
He seemed to have been closer to the field than where I positioned myself, as he reached the target sooner.
Shit, it's bad. He tried to kill the Berserker once, now he's got a perfect opportunity, since the kid's unconscious and vulnerable.
I didn't stop running, on the contrary, my huge paws accelerated their motion and ushered me closer to the scene, while a growl ripped out of my chest, directed at my Alpha as a warning.
What happened next went beyond his comprehension.
Adam grabbed on the kid's body with extreme care and caution, as if he wanted to prevent the fragile Berserker from breaking. Hearing my growl from a shirt distance, the Alpha rised his head and threw me a warning glance, released his own growl.
"Stay away from her!" He roared through the coldness of air, piercing my ears with news I couldn't quite assemble together just yet. My enormous, dark wolf looked at our leader, perplexed by the order, as if the Alpha threw an extremely complicated riddle for me to solve within seconds.
'Adam, what are you talking about? Has your fever increased suddenly?' I spoke through our mind-link, but heard nothing in return. Did he ignore me? I tried again.
'Its the Berserker guy, the one you attacked the other night, remember?' my message was sent into oblivion, he didn't react, keeping his eyes on the unconscious little fighter.
Was he blocking me, or was our mind-link gone? I was sure he would at least react in some way to the connection, but that's the thing...I didn't feel the connection.
I decided to shift back to my human form, even if it meant I was gonna dangle my nakedness in front of the world first thing in the morning.
"Adam, let me handle it. You should be resti-" I started closing in on our distance.
"I said stay away from her!" He yelled this time, pulling the kid's limp body to his chest, then picking him up and taking a step away from me to recreate the original space between us.
"She's in my care from now on, and as your Alpha, I expect you to respect my decision and your new Luna." He dropped the bomb with lightning speed, and all I could hear was 'she', 'her' and 'your new Luna' coming out of his mouth.
Everything made sense now, but at the same time made no sense at all.
"He's a...she," I mumbled and it poured down on my mind and body like the storm that just ended.
"Mate," was the next word that my throat released, while my body took two steps towards the bundle held tightly in the Alpha's arms.
He growled at me yet again, moving away my mate.
"My female," he barked back, caging Raegan even more in his grasp.
"What the fuck? She's my mate Adam!" This was the part I didn't get. Was he serious right now? He wanted to kill Raegan the moment she stepped on this pack's territory, and now he's suddenly doing a 180, claiming her as his own?
"Then we have a problem, cause she's my mate too," the words didn't have time to settle, as Adam started walking towards the pack's hospital. I didn't waste any more time and followed.
When we got to the hospital wing, the Alpha called for doctor Nenov, who immediately placed Raegan in one of the vacant rooms to treat her and provide the much needed rest.
Before I could even think of stepping into the room, Adam blocked my way and closed the door, covering the only access to my mate with his muscular body.
"I swear to Goddess, Adam, If you don't let me in this fucking room, I'll rip your head off, Alpha or not!" I yelled with my baritone at him, not caring about any hierarchy right now.
"You're not getting anywhere near her! You've done enough," Adam replied furiously, not giving in
"She's my mate! All this time, she was right in front of me! Why the hell are you keeping me away from her?"
"Because she's my female, I think I fucking told you, she's under my care and protection, and you, as my Beta will respect it!" He roared again, causing me to grab his collar, my fists seconds away from connecting with his face.
"Alpha Adam, may I speak to you for a moment? It's about the patient," doctor Nenov stepped out of the room, inviting the Alpha to come in with him, while I was left to dwell on this madness on my own.
How the fuck would we both have the same mate?!
"Oh shit, here we go again," I heard from the end of the corridor, and my eyes travelled to identify the source of the statement. I was met with the whole Berserker squad, approaching the hospital room with their leader inside.
"What do you mean?" I questioned with hardness in my voice. I needed answers, and I needed them right now.
The tall, dark skinned guy, Trai, I think was his name, spoke first with a very vague explanation.
"Raegan is not your Alpha's mate, but he currently thinks that she is. It happened to all of us, although it wasn't as intense, because none of us was a pureblood shifter."
"Can you be more clear?" I was not the most patient person right now.
"It's her blood," offered the skinnier guy, Klaus, "She gave her blood to the Alpha and drank some of his, creating the bond. It's not a mates bond, but until the blood that saved him dissolves in his system, it will be a puppy love state. When he calms down and learns to control it, he'll realize that we all are pretty much sentenced to eternal service, in exchange for eternal fucking life."
Sorry for the chapter being a bit late! Life happens, but as a compensation you've got an extra long part!
Blood Protocol updates every Saturday.
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