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You're Hopeless

"That witch is stirring up trouble," her alpha mutters.

"Yeah, she's becoming annoying. I've had to repair my wards once a week for the last month," Dahlia growls irritably.

"I've already reported them for a violation of the truce. I don't know that there's much more I can do."

"I could always kill her," she offers seriously.

"That would spark war," Ryder warns. He barely spoke with her these days. Ever since she dismissed his feelings, he'd been hiding away and pouting. He avoided her every chance he got.

"What pack goes to war without a witch? If they wanted to go that route it would be over pretty quick."

"You sound confident," Cain looked pleased.

"Of course I'm confident. I'm also serious about killing her. If she keeps trying me I'm going to take her out. I've got better things to worry about than some dime store wanna be witch."

"I wonder why she keeps testing our border, do you think they really want war?" Chase worries.

"She's probably upset I insulted her and her family. She's essentially a child with a grudge right now. I poked her so now she's trying to prod me back. She's young, and doesn't know the rules yet, but she's going to find out the hard way if she keeps up," Dahlia promises.

"Maybe just send her a message?" Her pack mate suggests.

"You know Chase, that's a wonderful idea," she sighs dreamily.

"No bodily harm," Cain mutters.

"Alpha, to insinuate that I would-" she gives up at his knowing look. "Yeah okay. No bodily harm. I'll just scare her a bit."

She nods her goodbyes and takes her leave. She'd promised to grab Nonali for training yesterday, and it was about time she kept her word. She'd already informed her alpha of her cousin's presence on their land, so she didn't have to worry about pack interfering with them.

She popped into her grandmother's house, snatching Nonali up with a smug grin as Ezra glared at her, popping back into her own apartment before he could get a word in. She watched her cousin's eyes drift over her meager belongings and couldn't bring herself to be embarrassed.

"Your apartment is nice," Nonali offers generously.

"Yeah, perks of being with a pack is that they have to provide food and shelter for their resident witch. Courtesy of the Accords."

"I still don't know why you're bothering. Isn't it awful to have no freedom?"

"I have all the freedom in the world. A roof over my head, food in my stomach, and an entire pack of hostages forced to be my friend if they want me to keep other packs from annihilating them."

"Hostages?" She balked at her word choice.

"A joke. What I mean is that these people rely on me for protection. We have each other's backs. I haven't wanted much in life, but this type camaraderie? It's something I've looked forward to since I was taught about the Accords as a kid," Dahlia says seriously, hoping the other girl would understand.

"I guess I've just never looked at it that way," Nonali ponders.

"It's okay. So let's get down to business. What can you do so far?"

"I can hover off the ground for short periods of time, I know basic potion work and incantations, and, um, I can control fire."

"That's it? You've had this long to study, and that's it."

Dahlia groaned and massaged her temples. She already knew it was going to be a long day, but she had honestly expected more from her cousin after the eager way she'd plied for information about witchcraft. Incantations and potionry. Of course her grandmother hadn't taught her anything with substance. Weak.

"Incantations are useless if your jaw is broken. Potions can't help you unless you have the ingredients on hand. Hovering isn't completely useless if you can do it for more than an hour. At least you've got fire going for you," Dahlia huffs.

"I'm sorry Dahl, I just did what I was told."

"Perk up pumpkin, let your little cousin show you how to play. We're gonna work on teleportation today. Think of it as tag." With that, she grabbed Nonali and brought her into the forest behind the alpha's home. It was lunch time, so the usual crowds were gathered out front eating.

"You going to train?" Zachary calls. He'd warmed up to her significantly over the time she'd actually spent with the pack.

"Turns out Nonali here is completely incompetent," she teased, the woman in question blushing with embarrassment.

"I know some stuff!" She insisted.

"But it doesn't matter if all of it's useless," Dahlia argues.

"Can I watch? I've always wondered what all you were capable of," Annabel pleads.

"Me too?" Zachary begs.

"Sure sure, just don't get in the way."

The two of them turned into a larger group, having drawn the curiosity of several others. Before Dahlia knew it, half the pack was sitting on the ground, watching her instruct the woman in front of her.

"Now. I want you to imagine yourself moving through the air. Picture yourself anywhere in this clearing, and then really focus on being there. It may take a few tries. If it helps, try to remember how it felt when we travelled together."

She watched Nonali steady her breathing, watched her solid form start to waver. The wolves around them seemed to hold their breath in anticipation. A few minutes passed and nothing happened, save for the sharpening of her features snapping back into place.

"I can't do it."

"Of course you can't with that attitude," Dahl huffs. "Try again. Focus."

Her form begins to waver again, seeming to disappear, before it snaps back into shape once more.

"What's got you distracted?"

"I don't know," Nonali admits.

"It's as simple as breathing. All you have to do is want to be there. Don't try to call on magic. Don't try to stress too much. Just imagine being there, and focus."

"If you tell me to focus one more time," she warns.

"What are you going to do? You can't catch me if you can't teleport, maybe you need to work on your focus instead of magic," Dahlia teases with an absolutely wicked grin.

"Oh you're so dead."

Nonali tried her best to catch Dahlia, but it was useless. Dahl knew she would never be able to keep up if she couldn't keep her mind on one thing. The only purpose this exercise served was entertaining her pack mates. They were currently sprawled out on the ground, stomachs aching from laughter.

"You're not a good teacher," Ezra comments. "She learns better with positive reinforcement," he adds. From the blush blooming across her cousin's face, Dahlia could only assume he was referring to some naughty something she didn't want to imagine.

"Ezra!" Nonali barks.

"Perhaps you require further assistance?" Sin questions, hopping from one of the trees nearby.

"I doubt she requires anything from you," Ezra snorts.

Sin's predatory gaze drifted over Ezra lazily, settling on an unimpressed expression. "I was only offering my help. I happen to be fantastic at giving instructions."

"He's right, he's a great teacher. I learned almost everything I know about magic from him," Dahlia admits.

"A compliment?" He feigns surprise, but she could see his pleasure in the sly grin tugging the corner of his lips.

"I'm not sure I trust him to teach me," Nonali mutters softly.

She chuckles and pats her cousin on the shoulder, shaking her head. It was normal for someone not to trust Sin, hell, half of the time she didn't trust the guy. "We'll pick this up tomorrow, practice with your man."

"Hey, can I talk to you for a minute?" Ezra's gruff voice drifted over the dispersing crowd. Her eyes darted to Nonali and back to Ezra, who nodded his head to a thicker cluster of trees. She followed.

"Hey, you don't seriously believe that guy do you?"

"What are you talking about?" She raised a brow and crossed her arms defensively.

"That guy isn't a demon, or an angel, or even a creature from folklore. He's the embodiment of sin. He doesn't have a soul, so he can't have a bond like he's pretending to," he says seriously.

"What? He doesn't have a soul?" she gasped, hand clapping over her mouth.

"He's not a person, he's not capable of human emotion. Nonali cares about you, so I'm just telling you not to be tricked by him so that she doesn't get hurt when he inevitably turns on you."

When she can't hold back anymore, she starts to giggle behind her hands. At Ezra's look of astonishment, her full on laughter had her doubled over, hands on her knees to hold herself up.

"I don't understand what part of that was funny," he growls.

"I'm sorry," she wipes her eyes, "I just think it's really hilarious, you know? That you think I don't know everything there is to know about that man." She stands straight up to look the fallen angel in the eyes.

"I've known he's devoid of a soul from the day we met. He's not unable to convey human emotion though. If he's the embodiment of sin, wouldn't that make him capable of only human emotions?" With that, she leaves him standing there.

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