The coppery smell of blood is driving me crazy, the sight of deep red is making guilt sting at my heart. I can't remember clearly what happened, it comes in patches of memories. All I know is that a woman with green hair lured Lewis and me into this large space within the cave system, only this time there's cracks and holes in the ceiling.
She had promised us that we'd see our boys which both angered me with the implication that they're here and got my hopes up.
I can smell the ocean, occasionally stray wind flows down and sunlight beams on us. We're stuck in the middle of the open space, arms forced to our sides by long heavy chains connected to the walls. Wrist shackled by seemingly new shiny metals that are hooked to the rusty chains connected to the walls.
We can't touch each other, separated by the space between us. Although we can move a few feet before we're jerked back into place by the chains. The metal shackle irritates my skin, usually pale skin now pink.
After the woman got us in here West and Ethan showed up with a small group of maybe five, three men and two women. West stayed behind the entrance to be out of the way, while followed him and stood next to the green paired woman. There must be some sort of sliding mechanism out there as West had slid a thick see-through door shut.
I remember the group circling us and both Lewis and I growling inhumanly at them, then Ethan started speaking. Mocking my ability to protect my boys and how bad of a dom I am to have allowed Zyon to live on the street. Telling Lewis about how Tommy is feisty and needs someone to teach him to keep his mouth shut.
The more he spoke the more angry we got, my instincts telling me to defend myself and my boys; Tell Ethan he's wrong and maybe throw a punch. But then another instinct is showing me that we're surrounded, no way out, trapped again. I had the urge to fight, to make them flee and get away from us. To make them afraid to come into this area, our area.
Lewis was behind me, back against mine when I felt off. My body felt small and skin tight. I realized I was shifting, turning, into whatever Lewis saw- whatever West created in me. I could feel Lewis doing the same, feel his body get bigger, then I heard the roar he released.
After it's all a blur or missing pieces. At some point, I know West and Ethan left leaving the green-haired woman behind. Sometimes I'll get a flash of sharp claws slashing across someone's chest, blood splattering on the floor. Screams echo in my mind, a woman's pleading to be let out.
No one entered this room since, besides to chain us up when we must have been passed out. Our bodies are still adjusting to the changes and it takes energy to stay in that new form, to stay in it for a period of time. So, no one's come to attempt to clean up the blood or the lone finger next to the door.
I don't know how to feel about the finger, guilt came when I saw it. But then when the flashes came, I also saw those people with weapons and coming at us with them. It was self-defense, I'm pretty sure we warned them beforehand, or at least the growl should have been warning enough.
Our clothes are still torn from our first transformation, shirts ripped and pants missing the fabric below the knees. Luckily they still fit, mostly only stretched out.
Lewis's beard is longer than before as is his hair, the shaved sides and back grew out. Considering we had the same haircut, I know mine is the same and my beard is to my chest now. My skin is dirty and sticky from sweat, hair greasy and I can smell myself and Lewis from lack of showers.
I find it odd that when I smell myself a part of me is pleased by it, satisfied. That part demanding to mark this place with the odor, warn trespassers that this is my territory. I never had that urge, so it must be from whatever West did.
Everything that had happened and these new urges or instincts makes me wonder how we'll be around for our boys. We're, I'm, obviously dangerous, what if they're not safe with us? What if we attack them?
What if Zyon is afraid of me?
Axel just might take him away for their own safety, get as far as possible away from me. I hate that thought, I need them, they're what keeps me fighting. Through all of this, the constant reminder that I have them to get back too is what kept me going. My family back in Ireland too, Mamaí would kill me if I didn't call or visit.
I asked Lewis about my fears, although the questions startled him and unlocked new doubts, he seemed convinced that Tommy wouldn't leave him. That Axel and Zyon wouldn't leave me. That we'd never hurt them.
As much as I'd want to believe that, I can't. Because even if I have no want to harm them there is still that chance of it happening when the shift occurs. I don't understand how to control it or what triggers it. I wouldn't be able to stop or avoid it, what if that beast injures them or even kills them?
Until I know I can be around them without hurting them, I won't be able to relax. When we got here I couldn't wait to get back and hold them, hug on them, now I'm afraid to touch them. I don't want to accidentally hurt them, I don't understand how much my human body changed or if my strength was altered as well.
I just don't want to harm them, make them scared of me.
Lewis is pulling at the chains, a consistent rumbling coming from his throat while he does. He is unquestionably angry about us being chained up, snarling once again when the chains don't give.
"Bràthair, calm down. You're getting worked up." I try to placate him, which simply earns a glare and a sneer in my direction.
I'm not surprised that he seems more aggressive and violent toward our situation, the lion parts West implanted in him must be the cause of it. Animals don't like being caged. Besides, it sorta makes sense that he'd be even quicker to irritate with an aggressive predator mixed in him.
I'm actually kinda shock I'm not, I've been relatively calm since the fight. A growl or short snarl escapes when the chain jerks if I roam a bit too far, but overall I've been enjoying the little beam of sunlight that's shining down through the crack above me.
"Seán, they got us chained like animals! Don't tell me to calm down!" Lewis basically roars at me. I don't flinch, he doesn't scare me, never did, never will.
I only stare at him until he seems to realize that he is losing some control, he doesn't raise his voice with me in the way he just did. He never has, confessed he didn't want something he said in anger to cause bad blood between us. Although I do understand this situation isn't ideal or exactly normal, I'll let it slide.
"Lewy, from what we just did and what West did to us...I think we count as animals." Somehow saying that makes everything so much more real, and it stings.
It felt real when I changed into something I shouldn't be, and when I saw the carnage around us. But I never exactly considered that we're essentially part animals now, we have animal features and impulses. We're dangerous, more than when we're fully human, we have untamed, wild animals from the forest or Africa transplanted in us. We're unpredictable to each other for the first time in years.
Of course West chained us up, we're his experiments, his new Ethan's. His animals.
Lewis sighs, head falling back and eyes shutting. "We gotta get out. This is driving me crazy. My whole body is aching to do something, I need out."
Nodding, I agree. The longer I feel the chain on my wrist and the quicker the sunlight moves away, I feel my body gradually aching. When the sun is gone I won't have something to distract me from the shackles, urges to break free and roam around the new large, open territory building.
Minutes, probably even hours go by. The sunbeam only now partially gone from the crack and I'm attempting to keep myself distracted by seeing if I could see clouds. Lewis still occasionally growls lowly after I hear the clanging of the chain against the wall.
Our attention is captured by voices suddenly echoing through the room, our eyes searching the walls and the transparent door for people.
"Are you sure? If this backfires, you have an appointment with Ethan." West's voice earns two vicious growls from us.
"Yes, Sir. I'm positive. They show signs of aggression, I'm optimistic that once they see their..uh..mates, as you say- they'll be more than willing for further testing for the control of the transformations." A woman's voice answers him, sounding less assured and rather anxious.
Lewis and I share a look, that can't be good. From what I know about animals Mates are partners, this means we'll probably see our boys through the computer again. I don't what Zyon or Axel see me like this, chained and looking as if I've been through a tornado.
West and the woman with green hair stop in front of the door. West grinning merrily as he watches both me and Lewis go forward, every thought process demanding his blood, only to be tugged back by the chains. The woman seems shaken, purple eyes wide as she watches us try to break the shackles stopping us from getting to West. The room is filled with roars and growls and snarls, like the big cat exhibit at the zoo.
Both animal and human parts recognize West as a threat and both portions understand we can fight him, kill him. He isn't strong enough to fight off one of us, let alone both. Not by himself at least. Our new instincts instructing to kill before he harms us, he's already proved to be the enemy.
West merely gleams and giggles confidently and smugly, hands behind his back. "Good, wonderful. Have Ethan fetch them, I'm sure they've been waiting patiently if not eagerly."
The woman nods slowly, eyes still on us as she takes a walkie talkie from her pant waist. "All clear. Bring them-"
West interrupts, making a slight noise as he bounces on his toes. "Oh Rose, and tell him not to provoke Mr. Murray's boy- Thomas. I'm sure it wouldn't be appreciated by his dear Master."
The woman, Rose, blinks but nods while her eyes snap to Lewis. My brother has stopped moving for a moment, very much as I had, to think through this scene. They talk as if our boys are here, but that can't be. No, they value their lives too much to risk bringing them here, right?
They can't be here, in these caves, with these people. Who knows what could've happened to them. Zyon must be so scared and Tommy, Axel having to worry about them and everybody around them. Someone could have hurt them.
An unexpected roar escapes my throat at the thought of them touching my boys, the sound purely primal and animalistic. Rose jumps and a yelp is heard echoing in the room, the bulky walkie talkie dropping from her hands. West had taken a step back, shocked but he appears to take pride in my ability to make such a sound while still in my normal form.
Rose yells into the talkie, voice trembling with urgency. "Get them here, Ethan! Now, please!"
After the demand is made Rose backs herself against the wall opposite the door, making sure to be able to see us. West stays put, confident in the chains he put us in, and the wall blocking him from us. Lewis is pulling and tugging the chains with new enthusiasm, his eyes darkening to a deep green as low snarls come from his throat.
I'm trying just as hard, not attempting to calm myself because I wholeheartedly agree with this new urge to kill. He turned us into monsters then had the audacity to bring our boys here, in the middle of the new danger he created. Lewis's wrath only feeds into mine, his hatred mixing with my own.
I don't know how long it was but soon West is turning his head and smiling even wider as Ethan steps up next to him, followed by three men.
We see Tommy first, the boy immediately burst into tears when he sees Lewis. Eyes wide and hands-on his face while he takes in his boyfriends' condition, sobbing when Lewis starts to bleed from the shackles he's pulling at. Lewis focuses in on Tommy right when the boy appears, his growling slowly dies down into tortured whimpers and whine. His tugging gets harder, wanting to touch Tom.
"No! Lewy! Lewy stop! You're hurting yourself!" The demand is backed by another wail.
Lewis can merely drop to his knees, not disturbed by his bleeding wrist, and keeps his watered eyes on Tommy. The boy is pressed against the transparent wall, eyes only for Lewis.
I see Axel next and his hand is held tightly by Zyon, Axel glances at Lewis then closes in on me. His blue eyes also widen as he takes in my appearance, and he hugs Zyon when the boy nearly plummets to the ground crying. I cut any noise I was making off beside any whines as I try to go forward, momentarily forgetting about the chains before I'm yanked back.
A snarl appears when I glance down at the shackles, the clinging annoying me as I pull some more. Wanting to go and comfort my boys, stop any more tears. My breathing is heavy as I stare back at them, Zyon is staring at me pressed against the door getting tears on it. Axel is openly crying, cheek red, and wet like his eyes.
"Seàny!" My body and heart aches at the wail Zyon released, his small hands banging on the door.
"Boys.." My voice is hoarse and quivering, unable to handle being so close and wanting to hold them yet also being afraid of hurting them.
"We're here, Seàn! It's okay, we're together. We'll get through this, get you out!" Axel calls out and that uncertain hint in his eyes and the reassurance make me stumble into the wall. I needed any kind of reassurance and hearing it come from one of my boys, fills a small missing piece.
"Lewy, you hear that?! We'll get you out! I promise! You'll never be in there again!! Only with me!!" Tom watches as his words make Lewis attempt to smile, it comes out as a wince and strained.
"Only with you, baby." He promises.
Zyon sniffs and Axel's eyes light up like he remembered something and he pets Zyons hair before looking up at me. "Seàn, Zyon has something to tell you! Don't you, honey?"
Zyon appears confused, then a wide smile lights up his face. "Seàny is awe-awesome dominant!"
He stuttered on awesome and mispronounced dominant slightly but it's the most words he's spoken, and they mean the most. My eyes are quick are release tears, pride, and happiness filling my body and I grin the best I can at him. "Thank you! I'm so proud of you! Good boy, buachaill leanbh!!"
Ethan rolls his eyes behind them and Rose is staring at her feet, West merely watches closely. It bothers me they're still here, although I can't do anything about it.
Zyon positively beams like I made his whole month by accepting his words. Axel grins heartily even though I still see the distress of the situation in his eyes. "My lads are alright, aye? No one hurting?"
Axel nods, "There was a bit of a fight when they barged in and took us, but we're alright."
I hear myself growl at that and from the sound of it, Lewis didn't like it either. He addresses Tommy with a small grunt when he accidentally presses the shackles on his open wound, "You hurt, Mo Peata?"
Tommy shrugs, sniffing, "I have a bruise from where someone kicked me."
Lewis is quick to stand up, growing lowly and the action pulls me up along with it, my own little noise escaping because they hurt my boy and Tommy. Lewis demands, voice as firm and rough as before all this happened, "Show me."
Tommy, ignorant to what we become and what we're now capable of, lifts his filthy shirt up. A large purple and yellow bruise paint his midsection, from the top of his ribs to his waist. Lewis glares at it and a whole new struggle to break free ensues.
Turning my gaze to Axel, I can see he already knows what I'll demand and lifts his shirt and turns slightly to the side. Smaller but darker bruises litter his side and go around his back. I growl and follow Lewis's lead in trying to break our leashes.
My body feels smaller, skin tight and I feel the aches in my head and my lower back. Another wild snarl leaves me, hating one of my boys was wounded and that Tommy was injured. The boys are yelling to stop before we harm ourselves, begging to calm down, and that they are okay.
Lewis's vengeful rage is fueling mine and it only takes a few more sharp tugs of the chains before, weak from the other times we tried, the connection embedded into the wall snaps off.
We're breathing heavily, deep huffs that have growls in them as his glance back at the wall, the chains now limp on the ground. Then to each other, hearing West and Rose yell out orders to prepare.