Catch Me, Alpha

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Chapter 5

“Elijah,” I said right before he walked into the room. I frowned at him and walked down the stairs. There were dark circles under his eyes and his eyes themselves looked so damn dull. It broke my heart. “I’m sorry that I didn’t ask you before, but… are you okay?”

Jermey’s death was terror the first time around, but experiencing it for a second time… seeing the one man who he was fated to love for eternity after thinking he was dead for over a decade and then, in the same moment, watching him die again… that pain had to be so much worse than what I was experiencing.

He pressed his lips together, trying to be so strong, but then his chin quivered. “I’m fine.”

“No, you’re not.”

“I really am, Roar,” he said, frowning at me. “It’s just hard sometimes. Really hard.”

I squeezed his shoulder. “If you ever need to talk to someone, we can always get smoothies at Pink Moon Tavern, tell stories of Jeremy, celebrate his life.”

He paused for a moment, then nodded. “I would like that. Every Sunday like we used to.”

The door opened, and Ares stared at us--his jaw clenched hard and his golden eyes fixed on my hand on Elijah’s shoulder. I ushered Elijah into the room and followed after him, plopping down in the seat across from Ares.

For someone who didn’t want to fuck me… he sure was tense lately.

“Nobody else?” Ares asked through the mindlink.

“No,” I said, the word so utterly heartbreaking as I thought it. I knew the reason the other alphas didn’t come. I understood it. But this was so much bigger than them, so much bigger than Ares, yet… I didn’t blame them for not coming. If I was an alpha and Ares invited me over to chat about rogues, I would decline too.

He sighed through his nose, and I listened to all the terrible thoughts running through his mind. Some were from Ares, thinking about how stupid they were for not showing up, but others were from Mars, telling Ares how stupid he was for losing control on every pack they had fought.

I sat in the chair and rocked back, hurting because he was. But Ares went on anyway like the alpha he was, not showing an ounce of pain and explaining what had happened at the cave.

“And what about the stone?” Alpha Vulcan asked, tapping his finger on the table, seeming to not even listen to a word Ares said.

Elijah and I tensed. Though I knew Ares wouldn’t allow anything to happen to me, telling other people that we had the stone was beyond dangerous. Who knew if they would sell us out to the Hounds or try to take the stone from me or Charolette?

“You’ve found it, I suppose,” Vulcan continued. “Or you would still be out there trying to rip each pack piece to piece.”

The words didn’t seem to even phase Ares, and it was the first time I really saw him doing alpha business. Not tearing apart packs. Not being the violent man everyone thought he was. A calmer, more collective, still not-giving-a-single-fuck Ares.

“Yes. We have it,” Ares said. And, then, he went on as if he didn’t say anything about the stone, as if the entire room didn’t tense when he admitted to hoarding it somewhere. “We have bigger problems than the stone. We have undead Hounds who are--”

“How do we know you have the stone?” Alpha Minerva asked. “How do we know that we can trust you?” She continued to push Ares’s buttons, trying to rile him up. “How are we supposed to trust a man who can’t control his temper in war?”

Ares slammed his palms down on the table and growled. “We are not talking about me.”

From the way his eyes were glowing so intensely to the slight twitch in his jaw, I could feel the frustration radiation off of him. He was about to break, about to show them that they should be afraid of him and that they shouldn’t trust him so blindly.

I stood up from my seat and brushed my fingers across his shoulder. It was dangerous to say and dangerous to do, but if I wanted everyone to trust what Ares was saying, I had to tell them everything. “I have the stone,” I said.

Everyone in the entire room gasped, the alphas’ eyes glazing over to talk to their betas through their own personal mindlinks. Elijah’s eyes widened, and he shook his head, telling me to be quiet.

But I couldn’t.

This needed to be done to save the entire fucking world from these monsters.

“I have the stone and I have patience,” I said, trying hard to get them to trust me. “I will not let Ares blindly fight like he had. I am only interested in destroying the Hounds with it. Now…” I gazed around the room. “If you don’t like that, you can leave and have your entire pack slaughtered by Hounds like mine was or you can stay and we’ll talk about what we’re going to do to defeat them.”

My gaze shifted to each alpha and beta in the room, and I waited for them to respond. After a couple moments, they nodded their heads at me, and I sat back down, giving my attention to my mate.

The room stayed quiet for a long time, then Alpha Vulcan spoke up again. “You said that they were raising wolves from the dead?” When Ares nodded, Vulcan continued. “There are some necromancers that I’m aware of about five hundred miles south.”

My eyes widened, and I glanced at Ares in utter disbelief. Hell, I didn’t even think necromancy was real, but I couldn’t unsee what I had seen in that cave. It was more than real. If we found a necromancer who didn’t even know what was going on, but could help us… we would be one step closer to stopping them from destroying everything.

“We have one in the prison,” Ares said to Elijah. Elijah perked up, his eyes actually glowing for the first time since he saw Jeremy alive. Ares tilted his head toward him slightly. “Take it back to your pack and study it.”

Elijah quickly nodded, and I knew that this would be good for him. Though he was an alpha, he and his pack specialized in the sciences. And he was the biggest dork for anything medical-related. He obsessed--hardcore obsessed--over the stone and begged me to let him into the room during my surgery.

The alphas fell back into a discussion about what exactly they would do when we fought them. Vulcan thought we could defeat them with everyone here, some of the other alphas agreed, some didn’t. The conversation went in circles for hours upon hours, and while many solutions were tossed around, nobody could agree on one.

But one thing was clear… We made some progress but it wasn’t enough. We needed to work faster before the Hounds slowly started attacking all the packs in the area and not just ours.

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