In the Night

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ELEVEN

All I could do was look at Hakota. All I could do was blearily stare up at his face that drained of all color, as his jaw went slack. I saw his throat bob, once and then twice as he looked to his daughter. My pack was silent, waiting for the alphas to speak, waiting for Winter's parents to figure out what the hell was going on.

Hakota's eyes darted over to a frozen Jeko who was blinking at Winter in disbelief. "...what?" Hakota looked towards his daughter once more, the words scratching out of his throat.

"You're pregnant?" Cleo breathed. There was an undertone of excitement and joy in her voice, as to be expected from the alpha female learning about a new arrival to her pack, and her grandchild no less.

My mate instinctively place a hand on her abdomen, "Yes Mom, and Sitka is the father."

Hakota's tortured eyes looked down at me. I willed him to see past my delirium and see the pleading, wanted him to see the truth no matter how dangerous it was. I just wanted him to believe it so I could stop hiding and lying to him.

My hopes shattered when he shook his head, "I know that you and Jeko have been having issues, Winter," his next words snapped like a whip, "but never lie about something like this."

"Dad, I'm not lying! Sitka is really my mate. He is my lycan mate!"

My alpha's electric blue eyes hardened, "Winter, enough! What you are doing is childish and wrong. You mated Jeko, I will not let you use Sitka's unstable state to your advantage to worm your way out of a mating. If you have problems then fix them."

"Use Sitka?" Winter gave her father an extremely confused look, "what are you talking about? Dad I–"

"For Lune's sake Winter!" Hakota shouted, his furious voice echoing off the walls and causing everyone to cringe as his words weighed down on them. "I have never been so disappointed in you before. Sitka is going Wild, Wild!"

I struggled to lift my hand and intervene but Malik's damn drug kept me immobile. I mentally cursed Malik for drugging me so that I was incapable of helping my mate through this interrogation.

"My friend's suffering is not something for you to take advantage of. You will not make false claims about being his mate, do you hear me? You will not take Sitka's sorrow and weave it into a lie to escape your shambled mating!"

Winter flinched back, squeezing my hand in a death grip as she looked at the ground, her lip wobbling in an effort to hold back tears.

Cleo tried to calm he mate, placing a gentle hand on his arm, "Hakota, please. If she's telling the truth–"

"Truth? Of course it's not true! For one Sitka is unable to refute her claim like this," he gestured down to my pathetic state, "secondly he wouldn't be going Wild if Winter was truly his mate, and he would have told me if it was true." At that Cleo gave her mate a pitying look. Hakota snapped at her, "He would have told me! He's been tortured over his mate for so long he would have told me if he'd found her! He would have trusted me. He would have, no matter what."

I closed my eyes, drowning myself in self loathing for betraying this male. He had all the faith in the world in me but I doubted him. I was a horrible beta and a worthless friend. He was upset that his daughter was using my last moments to worm her way out of her own bad situation but I didn't deserve him to be defending me. Especially when he was wrong about me.

Needing to set things right was enough for me to force my arm up to seize his collar. The action was sudden enough that I managed to yank his head down and force him really look into my eyes. I still couldn't speak so he'd have to see the truth for himself.

I said a thousand things to him in that single look. I gave him a hundred apologies and a hundred excuses and I gave him the truth.

Such pain crossed through his eyes that it weakened me and my grip loosened and my arm fell back to the ground. "It's not possible," Hakota whispered, "lycans can't have two mates."

"It's not impossible," Roshan stepped forward and placed a hand on Cleo's shoulder. "You forget that your children are half Hunter. It would not be unreasonable to deduce that Fate has played a hand in selecting their mates alongside Lune."

Innoko gasped, "Did you know?"

The Seer bowed his head, "It was too late by then. Sitka was long gone and Lune told me to not speak of it until this moment."

"Then if Sitka's not going Wild," Cleo looked down at me, "why is he like this?"

In reply Terrin pushed his son forward, crossing his arms, "Go on, explain yourself."

From the back Kieran coughed under his breath, "Of course."

Obviously having heard the young alpha, the teenager rolled his eyes. "I drugged him," he admitted bluntly and without a shred of remorse.

"And?" Terrin prompted snippily.

Malik sighed in annoyance, "And they weren't going to tell anyone unless I forced them too."

"It wasn't your secret to tell!" Terrin snarled.

The boy crossed his arms, his white eyes narrowing defiantly, "Well I didn't tell anyone did I?" The teenager sassed back. "Besides, you're just mad that I knew and you didn't."

"Oh so you want to play innocent and pretend you just happened to find it out? That you didn't go poking your nose in places it doesn't belong and digging around people's personal lives that don't involve you?"

"Lives that don't involve me?" Malik stepped up to his dad that he was almost as tall as, just a little shy of eye level. "What, lives like yours?"

"Malik," Terrin growled out warningly.

Syn nervously took a step between the two increasingly agitated males. "Terrin, now is not the time. There are other things at hand." He then looked at his son, "And you, just apologize, alright?"

"Why do I have to say sorry?" The boy hissed, slapping away his father's hand and turning his anger back on Terrin, "So what Dad? So what if I snooped around a little? Lune knows you'd never tell me things unless I find out about it myself first and then confront you. So now you're going to yell at me for seeing what you were all to blind to notice? It's not my damn fault that you ignore me all the time so that you can never catch on sooner."

In the midst of their argument another one was occurring between my mate and Jeko.

"So you're actually pregnant? This isn't just your stupid plan to get revenge on me? To make me feel guilty and jealous?"

Winter looked to the Forester, "I'm sorry, Jeko, not because of this, but for wasting all of this time with our hopeless bond. I only agreed to our mating bond because I thought you were what Sitka is to me. I mistook Fate's bond for Lune's. I thought we would grow to love each other but you made it impossible."

Jeko took a step back, wagging a finger at her, "Oh no, don't you blame this one me. You cheated on me! You cheated on your mate and have the audacity to say it's my fault?" He scoffed, shaking his head.

"I wasn't going to toss away a real chance at love in hopes that our three year relationship that was going nowhere might spark. You only mated me because your father told you to, so don't try and play the cheated lover here because there was never any love between us. You're only in this to become a lycan and as leverage for your father to use against us."

"It takes two to form a mating bond sweetheart," Jeko retorted.

Winter laughed bitterly, "Don't pretend you had noble intentions. If you did then this never would have become a problem."

"Oh I'm sorry, am I making things difficult for you? Are you angry that you can't just kill me without incurring consequences?"

"You're ruining everything!" My mate exploded. "It's all because of you that Sitka and I had to lie to everyone and keep our bond secret! It's your fault that Sitka and I can't just be together like normal mates! You're ruining my life just because you’re a spineless prick who doesn't have the courage to stand up to his father!"

"Oh your life is the one that's ruined is it? You think that I'm–"

"Enough!" Hakota bellowed, "Enough already!" He twisted from the arguing couple to the arguing father and son. He rubbed at his temples, "Lune, this is a fucking mess." With a tired sigh he looked around the room. "Does anyone else have something to add? Anyone else lying or keeping secrets?"

"Dad–" Winter weakly protested but fell silent when her mother subtly shook her head.

All of the faces were solemn, looking at the ground or the wall, anywhere but the alpha.

"No?" Hakota asked, "So just my daughter and beta then." The alpha closed his eyes and shook his head, mumbling, "My fucking beta." After a moment he opened his eyes. "Right, well then." He looked around the room, his eyes finally finding his daughter, "So you are pregnant," he looked down at me for only a second before clicking his tongue and looking to Jeko with a clenched jaw, "And you're not the father but you are Winter's mate." Then he grumbled, "And apparently so is Sitka." The alpha's lips pressed into a flat line. "So where does that leave us? We all know you aren't just going to walk away." Hakota's eyes bored holes into the Forester.

The male glared at the alphas then Winter before spinning on his heel and storming from the room. It was silent as his quick steps lead him from thee room, the doors slamming shut behind him.

Cleo exhaled a breath, "Lune help us, Winter." She said when Hakota didn't say anything else, seemingly too furious to say anything further. "Do you understand what a delicate threat we are resting on? We have enough problems with the Forest Kingdom and this has just created a thousand more. How are we supposed to fix this now?"

Winter shot her parents a stricken look, her eyes filled with guilt.

But me, my eyes were focused only on Malik, on the boy who sent me a wink that sent shivers down my spine.

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