A Wolf’s Tear

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Forty: Scapegoat

Eliza’s death continued to mock Nathaniel. Her cold, dead body lay under a blanket. And while Jacob’s tears had subsided only a minute go, he now looked like was about to faint. He had never heard this kind of silence and how it was so loud. His wolf cried inside of him while he stewed silently.

He puts his arm over Jacob’s shoulders, unwilling to let him go.

“They threatened her. It was she stayed and raise us or her whole family gets hurt. I never even knew mom had a family. She has two brothers. Gordon and Liam. They have to know that she… They need to know.”

He pursed his lips. So many secrets hidden for what? Nathaniel grimaced. They kept secrets to muzzle him. Just like what they did to Winston’s father, paid to keep their silence. To keep their truth from ever reaching the light.

His grandparents made it their mission to eliminate every single side of frailties and that included families.

“We will, Jake. We’ll find them together, okay?” He reassures him. But that did little to nothing as Jacob’s cheeks were once again drenched in tears.

“I just learned the truth and now she’s gone. I never got to apologize for the mean, nasty shit I told her. She did everything for us, for me. Risking her life to have me in this world. She had the chance to reconnect with her family if she agreed to terminate me but she didn’t. I was the reason why she was alone, right? It’s my fault. If I didn’t attack that wolf then-”

“Jacob, listen to me.” Nathaniel lowers his face to him. “You are not at fault at any of this.”

“But I am, Nate. I get away with too much shit so easily. I don’t know what's wrong with me but I hate myself.” Jacob looks at him. “Don’t you hate me? Hate me, please. I killed mom.”

It was painful to watch Jacob hunched over, his body convulsing with every sob.

After failing as a mate, he’d seen what being alone looks like, and for years, Jacob had to go through it. Now he had no intention of failing as a brother. His hand patted Jacob’s hair. At every moment he could take, smothering his brother with affection and brotherly love. He missed the times he bonded with only him. He neglected his duties as Jacob’s brother.

He sighs.

“Brother, how can I hate you? As you said, I let myself forget you and we hardly spoke over the last few years. I did you wrong. And mother… she saved us. She chose to out of her love.”

Jacob shook his head, still staring at his feet.

“You were always the good one, Nate. While I the stupid, incompetent one. I can’t easily forgive myself for this.” He says.

Nathaniel grimaced. Never once had he ever compared himself to Jacob. Though there was more than one occasion that he had been jealous of him. His brother was always so free-spirited. A life so different from what he had. Reserved and for the most part, strait-laced. He just never imagined that that free-spirited facade was a thin layer of plaster. He should have known better and he would have fought for Jacob harder.

All he could do was reassure him. Jacob’s stubbornness always showed whenever he couldn’t look his brother in the eyes. Minutes passed and Nathaniel could only be the observer.

Outside of the clinic and in his pack grounds, the wolves were still at it. The numerous gunshots, continually tempted his wolf. He needed to be out there too. Help and fight. He only hoped his Beta helped assist the defenseless wolves.

Just when everything was starting to be quiet, a loud banging on the door caught his attention.

“Morris, let me in,” Francis spoke loudly.

Nathaniel paced across the room and opened the door.

Francis nodded at him, a pointed scowl on his face.

“Where is Harrick?” Nathaniel asks.

“He is distracted. I’ve managed to deceive him. He’s in the woods now, probably shitting himself looking for me.” He enters the room and looks at Jacob, sighing deeply. “I’m sorry for your loss, Nathaniel.”

“Your cousin is fucked up.” He comments.

Francis raised a brow, glancing at him with an incredulous expression marring his features.

“Don’t worry, Harrick is only half of crazy than the other half.”

Nathaniel cocks his head to the side, waiting for the wolf to elaborate. The other half, did that mean his partner or wives?

“The other half, which means?”

The wolf groans. “His-”

“Brothers, Francis.” Harrick bellowed through the hall. “I know you’re in here. I smell your scents.”

“Fuck.” An exasperated groan left him. “I might have underestimated his mental capacity. He's smarter than I thought.”

Nathaniel glanced at Jacob. His brother was not in the capacity to fight. He needed to make a decision then and there. With Lilian currently busy with the pack’s safety, he found only one person he could entrust Jacob with.

“Look after my brother.” He says, looking at Francis.

He expected the wolf to say no but surprisingly, the wolf nods dutifully.

“Yes, Alpha Morris.”

“That’s it?” Nathaniel asks.

“Talon instructed me to stay behind and make sure you weren’t hiding Selena. Well, that includes doing what I’m told. Of course, I know she’s not here but my mate is here, that should be enough reason.”

The wolf seemed genuine enough. Nathaniel’s reservation towards Francis stems exclusively because of his lineage. But if Talon Highcliff would trust a wolf like him then he would resort to blind faith. Just anything to have not Jacob be alone and no one to watch him if he decides to do something stupid.

Nathaniel looked at him sternly and turned on his heels. He moves to the hallway, his hands opening and closing into fists as he followed where Harrick’s scent emanates. Down the hall, the wolf looked roughed up. He had lost his composure; his superior facade was no more.

Francis must have done a good number on him.

He draws his blade and faced him, glaring at the wolf. He remembered the wolf’s gun. Nathaniel’s rate of survival depended on how a good shot Harrick was. Though the hall was certainly wide enough to maneuver through his shots, Nathaniel couldn’t gauge anything until properly examining his enemy.

“Finally,” Harrick sighs. “Enough games, Nathaniel. Give me the child.”

He glowered at him.

“The child is not here, Harrick. Why are you so desperate to find him?”

Sebastian might have been a pup and he was of no use to them. Unless they too planned on corrupting him with their deformed morals.

“Desperate? Well, I can no doubt survive without him but my wolves are at unrest. They are demanding a legitimate heir in the seat.”

Heirs, Nathaniel huffed. They needed an heir to satiate their people.

“But why not just make one instead of displacing someone else?”

Harrick chuckles darkly.

“Children in our family do not come into this world so easily, Nathaniel. By some miracle, I, a male heir though illegitimate was born. Women in our family are rare, only once in a fucking blue moon is born. One generation is lucky to be blessed with more than one child.”

“So, it’s not impossible to father a child then. Instead of traumatizing Sebastian, leave him be. You’re burning down houses, destroying families, and further darkening your name’s reputation. All because of a child that does not want you.”

Pack San Ignacio has fallen. The pack that had centuries of history fallen for efforts so hard and reasons almost nonexistent. But he wasn’t a fool. An attack on this large scale had to mean something more. It had to.

A larger force must be at play in this. Wolves from other countries like Canada often disavowed the prospects of war though that didn’t mean they had no streaks of blood on their paws. And though Nathaniel was oblivious about foreign wolves forming alliances with the Remmingtons, that was the only viable conclusion.

All that remained a mystery to him was why go through such length?

“This is bigger than the young boy. He is but an asset, superficial appeasement to muzzle the wolves with money in my pack. Unlike you, we do not have someone like Andre Bently funding us.”

His uncle's name reverberated in his skin. All wolves feared him, even if he was thousands of miles away in another continent.

“Bigger huh?” Nathaniel gripped his dagger. “You would risk the health of a child for what? Money?”

“Well, the child virtually means nothing to me but wolves with old money and beliefs require to follow tradition. He will be nothing but a puppet until I sire my own son. We want nothing but recognition and that starts with invasion, does it not? Infamy is still attention.”

“Ah, I get it now. You plan to make him as a scapegoat.”

It hit Nathaniel that it was never about Sebastian in the first. As he said, they sought to control and infamy. Money in a world full of wolves was never a problem. It worked as grease to keep things moving only that a lot of wolves wish to attain more of it than what was needed. Pack Remmington was proof of this.

“Hmm, so you are smart. Well, we can’t just go around and attack packs willy-nilly. Someone has to take the fall.”

“At expense of his innocence.” He narrowed his eyes at him.

He looked at Harrick. He never expected to feel this much hate before but at that moment, all he wanted was to bash his face in. Maybe it helped because he looked nothing like his father and that this man was the wolf who murdered dozens of wolves and the one responsible for taking away his mother.

“Yes, a child. He is young therefore whatever his emotions or feelings are, they are invalid.”

“Even if he was here, I’d never give you a chance to see or touch him. This house is a room of safety. You’ve embellished that fact with the blood of my mother, a wolf of our own. And for that, I will not let you leave in one piece.”

“Oh, cheeky. Threats will only let you go so far, do it then.”

Harrick draws his revolver, letting off all the bullets in its chamber. Nathaniel took cover and ran into a corner. As he peeked around the corner, the wolf had disappeared. He chases after him, following the scent of his mother’s murderer.

Nathaniel vaults forward, keeping his dagger close to his chest. The adrenaline rush of hunting Harrick down overrode him. He wanted nothing but to split the wolf’s head open. This thirst for blood was new to him. For a moment, he wondered if this was right. But that thought was quickly glossed over as he could think about was seeing Harrick bleed.

The wolf jumps at him, pushing Nathaniel to the floor. His back hits the wall, causing a loud thud. He grunts as he fought and slashed his blade, cutting the wolf’s clothing.

He could feel his heartbeat pounding against his chest. He saw the desperation in Harrick’s face and seconds later felt his fist hitting his jaw. Nathaniel pushes him away, knocking a table over and the vase on top of it.

“I will not be subjected with humility all because you are not complaisant, brother,” Harrick spoke through gritted teeth.

The wolf grabs his wrist tightly, forcing him to drop his blade. He gathered his might and sent a jab to the wolf’s stomach. Harrick gasped for air and stumbled to the floor.

“You killed my mother.” He says.

“Jacob killed my wife.” Harrick retorts as he stood and leaped from where he stood and struck Nathaniel's face with his fist.

Nathaniel steps back, disoriented but willing to fight more.

“An eye for an eye will make the whole world go blind.”

“For Moon’s sake! I knew you were a boring man. I didn’t expect you to go full-blown grandpa on me.”

He pushes through the pain and resumes the fight. Harrick threw good hits while he made his best to evade every attack. Nathaniel managed to take him down, hitting his knees with one powerful kick.

“Argh!” Harrick groans. “You have mean kicks.”

“You’re an idiot.” He hisses.

Nathaniel stood over him and bent down, grabbing the wolf’s collar and pounding his fist on his face until he started to spew out blood. He only stopped when Harrick’s nose had broken. The crack was too jarring to continue. Maybe because he saw the same fear his father had the moment Nathaniel protected Jacob junior. When he had broken his father’s leg and held a knife to his throat.

He couldn’t do it. Though he tried to send the finishing blow, it ended with him hitting the ground next to Harrick’s head. Fully knowing this man was his brother, made ending his life hard despite it being so quick and easy.

“Do it, Nathaniel. My life’s always been fucked up because of you, perfect little trophy son.”

He kissed his teeth.

“I never asked for this life.”

“But you sure still loved it!”

Harrick exclaimed.

Nathaniel gulps, his hand on Harrick’s neck tightening.

“If I had known you…”

Nathaniel stopped himself from speaking further. What would he have done? He would no doubt smother them with everything he had. But to allow a Remmington that kindness, was he even able to?

He wanted to be heartless and just get it over it. Though he just couldn’t do so. Justice was better off in the hands of other people. What Harrick needed was to be presented in front of many wolves. They would be the ones much more suitable to decide and not him. Not when he was plagued with conflicted thoughts. He gripped Harrick’s neck, trembling as Harrick tried to fight back and breathe. But he needed to endure a few more seconds before Harrick would succumb to sleep from lack of air.

“You’re too kind to strangle me.” Harrick’s voice rasped, struggling to speak. “My wolves will not have this kind of mercy once they are through with the rest of your family… even the pup.”

Nathaniel weakened and stared blankly at him. That was all the time Harrick needed to pull a grenade from his pocket, taking out its pin and holding it firmly against his chest. Nathaniel didn’t hesitate to stand, taking the grenade from Harrick and hurling it outside the window. The grenade exploded in midair, causing a shock wave that shattered every glass window in the hall. Nathaniel pressed himself against the wall to avoid shards of glass piercing his skin. In the wake of the moment, Harrick escaped and was nowhere to be found.

He searched for him but the wolf had successfully hidden his scent and now he was gone.

He was left to stand in the hall, wondering if it was all for the better that Harrick escaped or he might have just made the second biggest mistake of his life.

That wolf knew who Winston was and quite possibly where. It felt like a void formed in his stomach. That dull pain it brought made him finally break. He was seeing red and it only dawned upon him now that the sickness of the Remmingtons was uncontrollable.

Their threats weren’t veiled. They were serious and he should have known better. Now they planned on involving Winston and his family, Lively and Leticia.

His ears picked up three pairs of feet coming in his direction. Their smells were easily distinguishable.

“Lilian.” He barks.

His Beta jolted, afraid of the volume of his voice. He had never been one to scream or raise his voice when giving out orders.

“Sir.” She answers, tremble as she marched to his side.

“Get me a driver and a car.” He demanded.

“But Nathaniel, you’re hurt.” She says.

“I don’t remember asking for your input.”

“Just slow down. Our pack needs you to facilitate the situation.”

He turns to her and glanced at the two other wolves there. It was Francis and Jacob, both of them having the same expression as Lilian had, the fear of the unknown.

With blazing anger, he narrows his gaze at her.

“Are you saying you want to overrule my decision as Alpha?”

She was suddenly petrified by his question.

“Apologies, Alpha Morris. Your will be done.”

“You are to take over my duties while I am gone, is that understood?”

Lilian nodded.

“I’ll drive you, Morris.” Francis volunteered.

“Good, drive fast. It’s an hour drive away.”

Francis nodded his head. “I can probably cut that in half.”

“Nate…” It was Jacob that spoke softly.

Nathaniel stared at his brother. At times, he wished he was harder and not so easy to speak with. Ultimately, it was all on him for being too lenient.

“You are to stay and obey what your Beta tells you, you hear me?”

Jacob flattened his lips and stared at his feet. “Yes, sir.”

Nathaniel’s heart broke. Though it was always common to refer to him as that word given that he was Alpha Morris, being called ‘sir’ by his brother made him bite his tongue. He was not his father but for now, he had to be. He needed to be forceful and concise with his words.

“I’ll go get my axes, be ready when I return.”

As Nathaniel turned on his heels, he could not get rid of Jacob’s sullen expression and how it feels like he was abandoning his brother once again.

~•°•~

Hello everyone! Dropping another update here.

I know, Nathaniel's getting pitted into continue ruination.

But what do you think? Should he have just killed Harrick or no? Obviously it's going to be a yes lmao. I'd like to hear your responses.

If you liked the chapter, consider leaving a vote or comment!

Love,

Jino ✨
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