Fit For Fire

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A Trial Without A Crime

I don't know how long I sat there. Then again, I don't know how long I had even been there. The lights never went off, and there were no windows and no clocks. I was about to try to go back to sleep when I heard footsteps coming towards my cell. Did they know I couldn't shift? Was this a symptom of whatever they had drugged me with? Moving back to the edge of the bed I waited. When the footsteps stopped outside my door I looked down at my feet and took a deep breath in. Trying to mentally prepare myself for whatever would happen next.

The same man that had questioned me before entered my small cell. He stared at me for a moment, locking eyes with me, as if trying to determine how big of a threat I was. When he was satisfied that I wasn't going to attack him, he said " I've briefed the beta on our last conversation. So far our patrols haven't picked up anymore rogues, so we are willing to hear you out, for now." I nodded slowly, waiting for the 'but'. "We would like you to stay with us for a while longer until we are satisfied with your story." Of course. "Not like I have much of a choice." I grumbled.

"Get up." He commanded sharply. I jumped up, already regretting I had said anything. "Follow me" he motioned towards the door. "Where?" I dared to ask. "Our beta would like to speak to you." He answered and started walking out. I took a step forward before stopping.

Noticing I wasn't behind him, he turned around and shot me an exasperated look. " What?" He asked studying my face. " I can't meet him." I answered. Groaning he ran his hand through his short sandy hair. "Why?" I looked down at the blanket I was using as a dress and back towards him. He looked confused so I did it again, more aggressively. Catching on to my annoyance he shrugged his shoulders , showing his own anger and confusion.

Rolling my eyes I growled before dryly stating "I'm naked." His eyebrows scrunched together and he stared at my body for a few seconds. A few seconds too long. I cleared my throat loudly before asking "So are you going to do anything about it or are you going to keep staring at me?" Snapping himself out of whatever trance he was in, he scratched his head more aggressively and started grumbling before he said "Wait here." He moved out of the room before I could say anything else. He pulled the door closed behind him. 'Wait here'? Where did this guy think I was going?

It didn't take him long to come back, still grumbling, with a man's over-sized shirt and basketball shorts in hand. Handing them to me, he closed the door. I could tell from my view from the little window that he had his back turned to the door. Dropping the blanket I quickly pulled the shirt over my head. At 5'3 I wasn't exactly a giant, so the shirt fell to my mid thigh. The basketball pants fell a few inches above my ankles and even after tying the draw string as tight as I could I was still concerned they would slide down my hips. Knocking on the door to tell the guard I was done, he pulled the door open, and after giving me a quick once over he motioned for me to follow him down the corridor.

The hallway that stretched out before us was the length of the building. My cell was the last of five. Reaching the end of the hallway, we passed a large wooden desk. Monitors took up the whole right side of it, and looking at the screen I could see security footage for the whole facility. We took a left passed the desk and headed towards a staircase that was in the back corner of the building. We walked passed another hallway identical to mine, that also housed five cells. The whole place was a lot smaller than I originally had thought, and it more closely resembled a high end dog pound then it did anything else. When we made it to the stairs I held onto the waist of the basketball shorts, scared that I would loose them during the climb.

I tried taking in as much as I could, and I was thankful that the layout was so simple. It made memorizing everything much easier. I didn't know what else the 'beta', as my guard had called him would like to discuss. I had pretty much already told the guard everything. Hopefully that would be enough for this guy so they could see I wasn't a rogue and I had no ulterior motives. My only objective was getting home. Once at the top of the staircase, the guard punched a code into a keypad by the door. The door beeped and pulling it open the guard held the door for me. I didn't like the thought of this huge, strange, man behind me, but when he made it clear he wasn't going to move until I did, I made my way through the door.

The hallway I found myself in looked like it belonged in an office building. There were a few file cabinets lining the walls, generic gray and white thin carpet flooring and a fake tree. I jumped at the sound of the door closing behind me. The guard looked like he wanted to laugh before he motioned for me to continue following him down the hall. Taking a right at the end of the hall, we came to a dark cherry wood door. Rapping on the door with his knuckles, we waited until a deep voice bade us to enter.

Once again, the guard held the door open as I walked in. Inside the room was a large metal desk. The desk was made to hold the restraints of inmates if need be. A few metal chairs were placed on either side of the desk, but other than that the room was empty. The man sitting on the far side of the desk was just as big as my guard. He had a tan, clean shaven face, dark brown eyes and short brown hair. His face was annoyingly familiar. He was fiddling with his phone and was dressed in business attire. Looking up at us, he inspected me for a moment before addressing the guard. "Thanks Jeremy. I can take it from here." Jeremy! Was that the name of one of the men in the forest? The guard nodded his head and left, closing the door behind him. The man motioned for me to sit, so taking a chair opposite of him, I sat down, dropping my hands in my lap. I hurriedly tried rummaging through the dilapidated images, the sorry remnants of a moment I was forced to call 'memories'. The fact that they were hazy and incomplete an increasing annoyance in my time of need. I think I knew what role this man had played in my incarceration, but I couldn't be sure. I started toying with the hem of my shirt as the man played with his phone some more.

Looking up, he introduced himself. " I'm Patrick Deloney, and I am the beta of the Moon Ridge pack. Our alpha is too busy to meet with you in person today, so he will be on speaker, and I will be taking your statement." Patrick. His name was ringing some mighty big bells. Nodding my head, I felt my mouth go dry. Alpha? Beta? Pack? Were all these people like me? Was I on trial or something? I felt like I needed a lawyer or someone on my side to protect me. Placing his phone on the table he pushed a few buttons before saying " State your name." No. This was not going to happen like this. I had done nothing wrong. These people abducted me. I was not going to be treated like a criminal for taking a run.

" Statement? I went for a run." The man shot me a look of irritation. Before he could say anything a loud voice erupted from across the table. " Patrick? I'm connected." " I'm here alpha, I have just started the interrogation." Patrick answered. Interrogation? What happened to taking my statement? "Name." Patrick asked again. " I'm being 'interrogated' for taking a run?" I answered his question with one of my own. Patrick's face remained hard as he replied " No. You're being interrogated for being a rogue on our land." Now I was the one who was irritated. " Why do you people keep calling me that?" I knew that pushing these men wasn't wise, but I needed answers of my own. "You are not a part of our pack and as far as I can tell you aren't a part of any pack. You have no alpha. You are a rogue." I pulled my eyebrows together and stared at the table in front of me before slowly saying " So you're- you all, are werewolves." Patrick watched me, with a little more interest as he replied "Yes, save for a few human mates." I let myself digest this before asking "Are packs big?" "Packs range in size depending on the area. The biggest pack I have seen had around 800 people." My mouth fell open and I leaned back in my chair. 800? I knew there would be others but I always thought that they would be few and far between. I would have guessed that there were maybe 800 in the whole world, but in one pack? I was speechless. " Name?" Patrick pressed gently. " Adeline Harris." I answered quietly, still in a state of shock.

" Well Adeline, can you tell us what you were doing on our pack grounds?" Looking up from the hole I had been burning in the desk I replied " I've already told you and your guard. Running. I felt like going for a run, and the woods seemed like the perfect place to do it." " It's a pretty big coincidence that you just so happened to decide to run on our pack grounds." Before I could speak the alpha interjected " It's also hard to believe that you could go your whole life without knowing pack culture and without meeting other wolves." So it speaks. " How is that?" Patrick asked, seeming to finish the alphas thought.

" My mother died while having me, so I grew up in the foster care system." I answered. " What of your father?" Patrick asked. " I don't know. There is no record of him." I explained simply. I had thought of my father many times. Was he dead, or was I the result of some one night tryst with a stranger? Maybe he couldn't be bothered to stick around. Did he even know I existed? Did he know my mother was dead? I had asked these questions my whole life. I knew they would never be answered but still I had lost countless hours of sleep over them.

" It's odd that you ended up in the system, and even stranger still that you don't know anything." Patrick stated. " Why?" I asked. " It's not like there was some werewolf information center I could go to after I first changed. I couldn't exactly Google ' I just found out I'm a werewolf, now what?' " The alpha laughed at this. Furrowing his brow Patrick explained " In the event that a child in the pack is orphaned, and has no living relatives to care for them, someone in the pack takes the child in. So it's either your pack is gone, they don't know of your existence, or you were born to a rogue."

My mind reeled from all the information I was getting. I was learning more about my past now then I had in years. Patrick's voice cut through my thoughts. " What do you think alpha?" " Everything checks out. I've got her file right here." My eyes snapped to the phone. " My file? You have my personal information?" I felt violated on a whole other level. " Of course." He replied coolly.

" What was the point in asking me all of this if you already knew?" I asked, angry that he thought he could invade my privacy whenever he liked. How was he even able to look up my information? " To see if you would tell us the truth." I could have picked up the phone and threw it. " What should we do with her?" Patrick asked eyeing me. I stared right back, my eyes on fire. " We will keep her here for a couple of days in observation. Then we can make a better decision."

My heart dropped to the floor. Keep me here? No. I was going home. " No." The word left my lips before I could think about it. "No?" Patrick asked. " No." I repeated. "I have done nothing wrong. You can't keep me here. I am going home." Patrick's eyes grew wide. He was shocked that I had spoken out. " You are on pack lands and you attacked our wolves. You are under our jurisdiction." Standing up I placed both hands on the table, before pointing a finger in his face. "Your wolves were hunting me, and they attacked first. I was scared. Did you think I would just lay down and let a pack of wolves have their way with me? You are not the law. I am sure people with real jurisdiction would love to hear about how I was drugged, abducted, and locked in a cell. I am not staying here, your laws don't apply to me. Let me leave." I growled out the last sentence. My wolf was as furious as I was.

" You're going to tell the authorities that you were abducted by werewolves?" Patrick countered. " Of course not. I don't have to say anything about that. What I do have to say though, is enough to get you thrown in jail for a long time." I was grasping at straws here but I was not staying. "Besides, I told my friend I was going to be hiking in these woods, if I don't show up soon people will start looking for me." I threw in, hoping the prospect of a missing persons report and a man hunt would scare them.

" We have connections with the local police force, and no one is looking for you Adeline." The alpha informed me. Shit. " Not yet. When I don't show up for work my boss will wonder, my friends will wonder, people will start asking questions. My boyfriend will look for me." I countered. " What's your boyfriend name?" Patrick asked. " You think I would tell you? Who knows what you would do to him? Look it up in my file." I spat hoping they wouldn't call my bluff. In truth, the alpha was right. No one was looking for me. " Listen I have a life. A job, friends, bills. I can't stay and you can't make me. I have done nothing wrong." Silence filled the room as I stared at Patrick, my eyes willing him to say what I wanted to hear. Instead, when he opened his mouth he called for Jeremy to walk me back to my cell.

***

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