For mortals, the Blood Moon is the end of days. A belief they have held in their hearts that when the Blood Moon arrives, Hell Fire will swallow the world. Of course, for many mortals this is mostly superstition.
For non mortals however, the Blood Moon is an event not to be missed.
A sign of strength for vampires and werewolves since the dawn of time, many fight to prepare for the coming Moon. For the rest of time they fight among each other, gaining hierarchy and trying to wipe each other out.
Survival for the Blood Moon is key, but sometimes just living another day for non-mortals is strength in itself.
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Lexi didn’t mind the longing silence. To anyone else it might have appeared strange.... for minutes Lexi had been filling the empty space with her voice, only to receive nothing in return. It might have been a signal to a stranger that Dustin didn’t want them around, or that they were wasting their breath; but Lexi knew better. It might have been years since they shared such a moment, but it reminded her of the early days when Dustin started to go off the rails. Before the days when he used to argue back and have an answer for everything, and before Lexi started to fight her own battles in return. The times she would snap at him, storm to her room, lash out in frustration... it was back when she understood. She didn’t take Dustin’s lack of response as him not caring. If he needed the time to process what she said, she’d be there. If he wanted to just sit in silence, she wouldn’t push him away. The biggest sign that she was welcome was that he relaxed, and leant against her as she leant against him. Even though Baxter was nearby, it felt as if it was just the two of them together.
She had closed her eyes for a short while, listening to the sounds of her brothers breathing and feeling her own stomach knot as she heard his breathing choke, the battle of his own emotions building up inside. Whatever Dustin was going through, whatever he was thinking, it had been anchored inside him for far too long. So when Dustin finally spoke, Lexi let the words sink in for a moment or two, looking at Baxter to confirm her thoughts as she opened her eyes. Her own brother had been harbouring the fact that Lexi was only around because she had an obligation to family. Baxter could see the look in Lexi’s eyes, wishing it wasn’t true and regretting her own actions, but he was here to tell the truth. Baxter gave her a small nod, confirming what she was thinking as her brother looked into the distance.
[+orange “You are my twin brother, and they say you can’t choose your family and you’re right... maybe people in other families feel they have to stick around the people they grew up with. I almost killed you, that might be a reason I’m sitting here now trying to make things right but... well, if I said that was all true I’d be lying.”] Lexi started, looking up at the ceiling as she did, almost forcibly trying to stop her own painful tears from creeping up. It was painful and it just showed to Lexi how much she had let him down over the last few months. Even forgetting the fact of what happened with Helena, there was a lot of deep-rooted actions that happened between the two, that had led to the words that were spoken in this moment.
[+orange “I really care about you, so much I get angry and say stupid things because I just want you to be. I want us to be ok. I want to be here because I’m so fed up of only being around when I’m waiting for you to wake up and survive. We’ve all made a lot of mistakes, more to each other than anything else... and there’s so much to fix. Forget about being a perfect Alpha, forget about how much we’ve risked; just with each other as friends, family... I saw Anton and Raven today and it really hurt to see those two turn their backs on each other.”] Lexi told him, finally looking down as he wiped the tear away from his cheek and gently wrapping her arm around him to pull him closer, in a half hug. He was trying to be brave and for once, Lexi wished he wouldn’t be. He needed to be real with himself, not put on this persona of a leader who could consistently be strong....
[+orange “I can’t say he won’t come back, but how many times have we pulled ourselves away from one another and returned. You are not a screw up Dustin! Why do you put some much pressure on yourself? You’re a new Alpha and I know you think we all expect you to have the answers, but we don’t. You know what we expect? Talk to us. Work with us. You can’t do this on your own but you have a whole team AND a family who want this to work and for you to succeed. I have never seen so many people want to be around the beside of someone before and when you were unconscious, I wish you would have woken up just to see how many people cared.”] Lexi spoke up and there was a confidence in her voice, one that was almost infectious. Even Baxter who was usually hiding in the corner, seemed to straighten up and focus more on her words, nodding along in agreement.
[+orange “The problem with Alpha’s is they try and burden everything. That’s not how Sirhan works. We care about each other too much. Work with us, trust us, let us just be there for you too. What Anton said, he was pushing you away not because he was being truthful, but because he’s scared. You know that deep down.”] She wanted to stay longer and be there for her brother, but there was a mission set out. With her arm wrapped around him, Lexi used her strength to help her twin up onto his feet and rested him back down on the edge of the bed, with his legs hanging from the side.
[+orange “It is dangerous, but part of working together is trusting who we work along side. You see something in Piper, so I will too. Baxter is with us as well, we’ll look out for each other but promise me Dustin: stop burdening yourself. We’re all on your side. Believe that.”] Gently brushing a stray tear from his cheek, Lexi rested her hand on the side of his face and smiled at his final question, unable to stop a small laugh.
[+orange “You know I can’t promise that, but I promise you we’ll look out for each other.”]
[+blue “Lexi, we better go.”] Baxter interrupted, hating the fact he had to intervene but soon the sun would be setting and if they didn’t take their opportunity, Nico would have the place on lockdown to go out and start his crazed hunting plans.
With a deep sign, Lexi ripped herself away from her brother and took a step back to force herself away. If she could, she would have sat with him for hours.
[+orange “Make a start on what I said Dustin. Talk, be honest, be open and please trust me that you have so many people who support you. Tensions are high, it’ll be hard, but we are here for you.”]
With that Lexi shot him one last smile before heading out the room to go and find Piper. It didn’t take long to find her. The girl had done a pretty impressive job of making herself look like she just crawled straight out of a fight, because if Lexi wasn’t aware of the plan even she would have been fooled! Her bite mark looked fresh, she looked tired and distressed and she wasn’t even playing her part yet.
[+orange “The patient is distressed, hurt, hating himself, but he should be ok... are you ready?”]
[+blue “She’ll have to be, we really have to get going. Piper, Lexi, take these radios. Piper if you play your part right, my dad’s lab has a reception desk. The receptionist only calls straight to him, so if you act distressed enough and make your story clear, they’ll guide you through. You’ll have to be clear with me where he takes you, while being subtle enough not to let him catch on so I can guide you through. Once he has you though, I doubt it’ll be easy to separate. You’ll really have to earn his trust.”] Baxter explained, lifting up his rucksack which was already supplied. He handed over the radios, which would be hidden within their ears and discreet.
[+blue “Are you two ready?”]
Trey was visibly torn between running after Raven and trying to calm her down, and standing his ground and accepting that the further she was away, the safer they were. His negotiations were failing, he wasn’t forming any sort of balance and his historic actions had potentially ruined any chance of these packs reforming their alliance.
[+green “They both aren’t safe out there, not with everything that has happened but we have to focus on the mission. You’re right. Can we have two Vampire’s watching, keeping an eye while Raven is close. They aren’t to intervene if she steps out of sight, but if she becomes feral while she’s on borders I would rather know about it.”] Trey instructed his partner, glad he had her around. So much had derailed when Amber was away and now she was back, Trey felt like he could keep his feet on the ground. He could make rationale decisions. Though as she brought up having to talk to Dustin, there was a visible growth in tension in the Alpha’s body language. His hands stressfully lifted to his face, his palms pulling down on his skin, already expecting a losing battle.
[+green “He may not want the same fate, but will he want to work with me?”] He asked but he already knew the answer that would come from Ambers lips. If he didn’t try, he would never find out, and without that alliance they were doomed.
[+green “While I talk to him, try and find out more about this ‘Joker’ and gather as much intel as you can. I want us prepared. If I’m dragging him into this, I want to be ready. He’s already been through enough.”] Trey ordered, feeling the same hesitancy as Amber. Dustin was barely Alpha for a week and he had been put beyond any expectation both physically and mentally. Now Trey was approaching to seal this kids future... if this truce existed, Dustin wouldn’t have time to rest.
Trey stepped into the room, instantly feeling the misery and self loathing from the Alpha. The kid was burdening his guilt and Trey wanted to say something, but he didn’t even know if Dustin would grant him the time of day. The last time they met, Trey had been forced to walk away and the next instance, the Alpha he turned his back on was almost killed.
[+green “I was hoping we could talk. However, we made a decision. I’d understand if...”]
If he wanted him to leave and seal the Pack’s fate? If Dustin and Trey didn’t talk and make something work, all Trey was understanding was a death sentence.
[+green “We know who attacked you. We know who caused all of this and he is dangerous. Alone, we can’t fight him. I know we made our agreement and that Sirhan and the Resistance would be separate, but without this information Dustin, your pack is in more danger, but is is your decision.”]
Anton’s journey was taking much longer. As a Hybrid he already would have been in the city, making his way towards his apartment and getting on with his plans. As an injured human, the journey was taking twice as long. The pain relief was completely gone and his body was limping under the strain. Even with the injuries being on his shoulder, the burning sensation was travelling across all his nerves and his pace was barely anything recognisable! Then came all the other energy fuels the human body needed... he was hungry, he was tired, his emotional state was impacting his mind, his healing and now his immune system was struggling with the open wounds. On top of that came his addiction... if it wasn’t for the goal to get back to his apartment and take that first hit, he probably would have caved already.
He expected his journey to be interrupted, especially with the sun burning down with a clear sky, but the moment he heard that voice he stood still. That voice was unmissable and with it, Anton started to laugh. It started low, building up as he turned to face the witch and he opened his arms out, sarcastically greeting her.
[b “Oh you fucking know how to pick your moments! Crawling out after climbing up the Council’s ass to come and see me. What a fucking pleasure it is.”] Anton called up sarcastically, dropping his arms as the pain crept up. He was alone, weak, unable to run and had no one to call for and yet, there was a look in his eyes much similar to Dustin’s. He just didn’t care anymore.
[b “And yet you’ve come and interrupted this weak little human from getting his high. Why don’t you piss of and go annoy someone who actually matters? I can’t do anything anymore. I’m out of your skin, you won!”] He snarled, seeing this as a huge waste of time and an opportunity purely for the witch to either kill him, or just make a mockery. Of course she wouldn’t miss it and add the final bit of salt to the wound, but all quickly became clear. Anton’s eyes narrowed and he clenched his jaw as she ran her nail against his skin, scratching the surface.
[b “It would just be too easy for you to kill me, wouldn’t it? Not enough pleasure, not fun enough?”] He asked, staying completely still despite their proximity.
[b “I could just rip that damn cloak off and watch you burn... then I’d get the final laugh, or die trying. You know, I don’t give a shit anymore. I really don’t, and I know what you want. You want me to say Raven, because that would be more fun for you wouldn’t it. Crush her father and tell her that her former partner gave her up so he could fuck up his veins and and get that high. I really want to, but you know what... you forgot one thing. I keep a deal. Just because i walked away from her, doesn’t mean I lose it. You take their Beta, you’ve made Sirhan weaker so you know what Helena, fuck you.”] Anton grinned and as if by invitation, he opened his arms up again and took a step closer towards her, closing any gap that existed.
[b “You can have me. You can take me and do whatever you want, but I want that deal amended. You leave Raven alone. You leave her unharmed and you keep your attention right on me. The problem is Helena, when you pick up on someone who has given up, they won’t play to your little games.”]
[#aa0000 “Then we’ll grab as much of the antidote as we can carry. If you say your sister can figure out the recipe, I’m not about to doubt the human lie detector. Look Baxter… I appreciate the offer and whatever advice you can give, but if you don’t want to get any further involved, I won’t hold it against you. Just don’t feel like you have to play the hero.”]”] Piper stated, and although she gave one of his typical smirks, the expression didn’t reach her eyes. She cast a serious look at Baxter, knowing he’d be able to reason the meaning what Lexi wouldn’t be able to pick up on: He was under no obligation to get involved, no one would blame him or think any less of him if he didn’t. This was important for Piper to establish. After all, all of her problems started because that selfless jerk Dustin decided to be her knight in shining armour when he should have been smart enough to turn his back. It was a story she wasn’t ready to share with Lexi, knowing that the truth would turn the girl against her for good. Lexi would defend her brother ‘til the end, and once she found out that Piper was responsible for all of this, there would be hell to pay. Piper wasn’t going to make the same mistake. She wanted Baxter to know he had an out of he wanted to take it.
Piper was pleasantly surprised by how Baxter and Lexi treated her. Back at school those goody-two-shoes wouldn’t have given her the time of day, never mind trusting her opinion on important missions like this. She was nothing but trouble even as a human, so it was a shock that these two would ever be willing to look past all of that and give her the benefit of the doubt. Piper knew Baxter could read all about her secret just in her body language, and yet he said nothing to Lexi to tip her off that Piper was harbouring secrets. She flashed the boy an appreciative look, knowing he’d understand she was thanking for being discrete.
When the commotion rang out in Dustin’s room, Piper was instantly alarmed. She shoved open the door and cursed at what she saw, knowing she was helpless to step in. She couldn’t be anywhere near Dustin because of the mic in her neck, but she knew the look in his eyes. Dustin was on the edge of giving up, feeling like he lost everything, convincing himself that he was worthless and deserved this pain… Piper had seen him like this several times before – after a fight with his family or coming down from a bad trip – and if the scars on Dustin’s wrists were any indication, this could get ugly. Piper let Lexi take charge, reassured as she watched the girl step in quietly and sit by her brother’s side. She knew her friend was in good hands, so Piper went to work setting up her act. She tor her clothes, making sure she looked like she just got out of a fight. She ripped the bandages from her neck and shoulder to show off her burns and stabs, and scratched at her old bite mark so the skin was red and agitated – as if it had just happened. Piper took out her contacts and messed with her hair, wanting to look as though she had just been attacked and turned into a vampire. If she was going to convince Nico to take her in, she’d have to sell the story.
Dustin sat on the floor, his broken arm hanging limply by his side and his good arm curled around his knees, supporting his chin. He hardly even acknowledged the door opening, Piper’s swears or Lexi’s entrance, and stayed silent even as his sister moved closer and sat by his side in the midst of the mess. The only sign that he had even registered Lexi’s arrival was that he tensed anxiously when she leaned against him – something she hadn’t done in years. It took several long minutes, but eventually Dustin relaxed and let himself soak in the comfort of his sister by his side.
At first, it would seem as if Dustin wasn’t even listening to Lexi’s speech. He sat unmoving, staring blankly ahead with those dull eyes, but every so often his breathing would hitch, indicating that he was struggling to keep the pain and sorrow inside. Even after Lexi stopped talking, Dustin was silent for several minutes, long past when most people would have given up and walked out on him. Even Dustin wasn’t sure he was ever going to speak, but after about 10 minutes of silence between them, Dustin’s hesitant words slipped out, sounding more fragile and childish than he had since the twins were little kids.
[#ff6622 “You know you don’t have to be here… right? I mean… If you’re just tolerating me because we’re twins…”] Dustin didn’t finish his thought, but the broken tone was enough to show how deeply these fears ran in his mind. This wasn’t just about Anton’s hateful shouts from earlier, this went far beyond that. The truth was, Dustin had been afraid of hearing this truth for years, ever since he turned to drugs in the first place. In fact, it explained a lot of Dustin’s behaviour recently – the overprotectiveness, seeking out the pack as a new family in case his left him, even giving Lexi the choice to leave Sirhan – all of it was Dusitn’s way of showing his sister that she didn’t have to feel obligated to love him. She didn’t have to tolerate him just because they were siblings. It was both Dustin’s greatest wish and fear for Lexi to realize he wasn’t worth the trouble and leave for good. He didn’t want to be a constant burden that his sister felt forced to bear, and yet, he was terrified to face the truth that Lexi really was fed up with him.
Dustin hastily wiped away a tear that had slipped down his cheek and cleared his throat, trying to force himself to get a grip on his feelings. He hated being this vulnerable in front of anyone, much less his sister, but this just proved how much Anton’s words had confirmed Dustin’s own doubts and fears.
[#ff6622 “Anton won’t come back… not if he doesn’t have anyone he cares about here. He doesn’t trust Raven, he doesn’t respect me, he never really got close to anyone else… He left because of me Lex, he told me so. I’m such a screw up, Talon never should have trusted me with his pack…”] Dustin winced, thinking how much he had let the Sirhan down. Mere hours into his role as Alpha, he ran off to confront a rival pack and got himself nearly killed. He risked the lives of both his Betas to come save him and now they were trapped in a Rival gang’s den awaiting his recovery. Anton left, Raven was distraught, and Dustin didn’t even know how the rest of his pack was doing. Could Talon have chosen a worse replacement?
[#ff6622 “You said you had a plan to help Anton? And you’re working with Pip? I never imagined the two of you could get along… This mission… it’s dangerous, isn’t it?”] Dustin asked, looking up to meet his sister’s gaze for the first time. He wanted to argue, to demand that she stayed where it was safe, to insist on going with her, anything to keep her out of harms way, but if Dustin had learned anything lately, it was that his sister was a lot stronger than he gave her credit for. If she wanted to do this, he had to trust that she’d take care of herself, and that her team – Baxter and Piper – would have her back.
[#ff6622 “Just promise me you’ll be careful?”]
[b “No, you’re right… I can’t stay here. Dustin’s still hurt and if I lose control and hurt him… I have to go. I’ll send someone from Sirhan over to protect Dustin. As for the alliance… clearly I’m in no state to have that discussion. You’ll have to talk to the Alpha.”] Raven said, trying to keep her voice even and shove down the rest of her emotions. She could still feel the rage and pain in her chest and she knew if she indulged those feelings, she could risk turning Feral. It wasn’t a permanent state, but it still frightened her. In the past, when wolves would turn Feral, they’d lose all sense of humanity and give themselves over to the Wolf within. When they finally regained composure, sometimes they’d find they had attacked their friends, family, and pack without even realizing it! They had no control over their action and no way to fight the wild animal inside them. Raven couldn’t let that happen, especially so close to her inured and vulnerable Alpha.
Without another word, Raven left the den and headed out for some air, swiping one of the vampire’s cloaks on her way out so the sun wouldn’t burn her. Usually, Raven would just turn into a wolf and let her fur shield her from the burning rays, but right now she was afraid that taking that form would only bring her closer to the Feral state!
[#224466 “Give her space, Trey. If she does turn Feral, its better she does it out there, away from her pack. Thank god her fight with Anton didn’t push her over the edge, or she could have killed him! But she does have a point… if you want to form this alliance, you need to go straight to the head of the Pack. Dustin may be weak, but his experience being attacked by the Joker will only give him more motivation to join you. He won’t want any of the rest of his pack to fall to the same fate.”] Amber pointed out, but felt guilty for saying it. It seemed like they were backing Dustin into a corner so soon after his near death experience, but Trey was right about the dangerous of the other Pack. If they didn’t establish some type of truce, neither the Resistance nor Sirhan would survive.
Far outside the Resistance’ borders, a watchful set of eyes had locked on the fleeing human with a mischievous gleam. She waited until she was sure Anton wasn’t paying close enough attention to his surroundings before she spoke out, wanting to startle him simply for the fun of it!
[#ff00ff “Now there’s a racing pulse I haven’t heard in ages! What’s your hurry Anton, don’t you want to catch up with old friends?”] Helena’s voice called out. She was dressed in her familiar Council Cloak to protect her from the sunlight and to show her new position among the Council. It was strange to see the witch without one of her obedient pets by her side, but Helena still hadn’t been able to recover any of them since the Blood Moon. Most were being well guarded by their packs or had fled the city the instant they were free, while other, like Dustin, had died before she could get her hands on them. That said, Helena didn’t look any less intimidating on her own.
[#ff00ff “You hear the most interesting things when eavesdropping on that little brat, Piper. I heard you and Raven were [i cured], but I’ll admit I didn’t think such a thing was even possible! I had to see it with my own eyes, but you are proof enough… you’re human Anton! A vulnerable, fragile, weak-willed, delicious little human, out here with the monsters all on your own!”] Helena cooed, finding the entire situation laughable. Anton had always been one of her biggest rivals and greatest threats, but now he was nothing more than a human!
[#ff00ff “I have to say, I’m fascinated by this cure. I think I’ll try to make one of my own! Of course, I’ll need someone to study – to experiment on, someone who has the cure coursing through their veins; fortunately, I have two to choose from. So, what do you say Anton? Would you like to offer yourself up as a human lab rat? Or, I could let you go free, completely unharmed, and I’ll turn my attention to your partner.”] Helena threatened, stepping towards the human with a gleam in her eyes. She raced a sharpened nail over Anton’s cheek, making the lightest scratch against his skin.
[#ff00ff “Come on now Anton, you’ve never been much of a hero type. And by the looks of things, you’ve already turned your back on that pathetic little wolf pack of yours. So, what do you think? You can go back to your old life right now, I’ll even give you my word that I won’t come after you, all you have to do is say the word Anton! It’s an easy choice – your life or Raven’s?”]
[+blue “We have to get more than one batch of the antidote. The power behind it is incredible. I know my sister might seem like she doesn’t want to help, but I can see it in her eyes. She is terrified. She has never had anyone believe in her talent before. My uncle used to insult her all the time and praise me, it’s why she took the path she did. She’s super smart, intelligent and if she gets a few of those antidotes, she could study it and i know she could get to the point where she could make it herself. Without that, my uncle will have the power to destroy all your kind. Charlotte...I mean er, Candy, whatever, my sister... she wants to help.”] Baxter jumped in as Piper talked about getting the antidote for Anton. There was such much more they could do if they achieved this. They’d be taking the first steps to protect their own kind. He knew his uncle wouldn’t just make one. He was a man of routine when he was in the lab. One would never be good enough. He’d have enough for them to steal, they just had to find it! As Baxter spoke, it was the first time there was confidence in his voice.
Even as Piper promised to protect him, as much as Baxter was taken back, there was a small smile on his face. He always judged the girl but somehow, she understood. He could tell by the look in her eyes that she had a similar story, however he could also tell it was a secret she wanted to take to her grave. He’d respect that. After all if he could have helped it, he would have kept his own story hidden. It was easier to try and forget what he had gone through.
[+blue “Thanks Piper. I’ll help you out as much as I can. I saw some microphones the Resistance must use for covert missions. I’ll get my hands on a few before we go. If it comes to it... I’ll...I’ll come in with you, I guess... but we’ll see.”]
[+purple “No it didn’t Raven and his blood on my hands will haunt me for my life and torture me with a lesson I’ll never forget! I live with that and I’m sorry for what I did and I’m trying to make things right. I can’t bring him back, I can’t wash the blood off but your hatred for me and your resilience is going to see us all get killed. Then you’ll be just as bad as me!”] Trey confronted in return with Raven, losing his own patience with the Beta. He never expected Raven to forgive him, but she was surrendering the lives of every wolf in Sirhan and all the creatures of the Resistance because she couldn’t push past what he had done. His actions had caused this, which he was highly aware of, but the truth was set out in black and white. They either worked together, or they would be slaughtered!
Trey expected a heightened argument, but his eyes widened as he saw Raven’s features turn into what he could only describe as something out of a nightmare! He instinctively turned his posture, preparing to defend himself until Amber came sprinting between the two.
[+purple “Feral!? Amber, wolves haven’t turned feral for decades!”] Trey scoffed, thinking it was just Raven’s emotions from the build up of losing Anton taking over. She was getting emotional, she was taking it out on the person she hated most!
Yet the moment he became defensive, he almost instinctively knew he was wrong and Amber was speaking the truth. As Raven backed away and covered her mouth, Trey equally took a step back and raised his hands to try and defuse the situation.
[+purple “It’s ok... let’s just breathe for a moment... relax.... “] Trey kept his eyes on Raven, making sure there wasn’t going to be sudden change again before listening to the rest of Amber’s explanation.
[+purple “If that is the case, then Raven you need to separate yourself from this pressure. Not for the sake of me, or my Pack, but for yourself and Sirhan. You’ve just witnessed it yourself. I won’t force you to work with me, but for your own sanity and the protection of everyone around you, please go and get yourself together. Amber, we need to talk.”] There was no way Trey was going to further step on Raven’s toes, especially now with the added danger. His pack was at risk, Raven was too much of an emotional wreck to even consider as an ally so he was turning to the only person he knew he could rely on, and who he should have relied on at the beginning.
[+purple “I don’t know how to help her when she only hates me. I’ll be adding fuel to her emotions, so it is best I stay away but we can’t hold back. We know Dustin’s attacker... we need to start making moves against him or at least finding out more, however this is all a mess. Emotions are high, Dustin is fragile, Anton has left. We’re already falling apart. What do you think we should do? Do we keep Sirhan here? I feel we’re becoming weaker collectively, not stronger.”]
Anton had been left with many scars over his lifetime. He had the scars from the small fights he had gotten into as a human. Small cuts from a knife as a deal went wrong, the crease of the skin around his wrists from when handcuffs were tightly pressed down to the bone in his armature days. Of course there were the track marks that dotted around the veins in the crease of his arm, just opposite the elbow. Now he would have the extra scars from the burns from saving Dustin, his torture when he was trapped in a cell with Raven... they were the only selfless scars he carried. The one thing Anton never expected was any emotional scars...
Dustin’s words echoed in his ears and it took every ounce of strength to walk away. The kid was right. It would hit him. He would hate himself. Some people were destined to never deserve or build the relationships that Anton had attempted to build. That was exactly why he couldn’t be pulled back.
Inside Lexi didn’t even watch the dealer leave. She had a lot fo thank Anton for, but as she heard the crashing of the table and the shattered glass, she closed her eyes tightly and bit her lip. The same old Lexi trait. It was her fear of how much this would destroy Dustin’s confidence. Why couldn’t her brother have a break!? He had just woken up from fighting for his life and now he was already facing the downpour of grief and loss of his Beta.
It was why Lexi never trusted Anton. He made her brother an addict. He used his feelings. It seemed the vampire hadn’t changed an inch. For once, she wished her father had been around to witness what he had done.
Lexi was also stuck, despite Piper’s calls, because once again she was terrified she would make the situation worse. She was always by her brothers side, but it seemed she only added more salt to his ever growing wounds. She was almost going to plead for Piper to go in. Beside’s Piper was the first person he called for! If anyone could get him to see sense, it would be her. Yet the reminder of the bullet in her neck was also a reminder that despite Lexi’s feelings, Dustin was her twin. Her brother. He was alive and breathing and despite what had happened, he needed someone by his side.
[+blue “It’ll be ok Lexi. He just needs someone.”] Baxter advised and it seemed to spark an idea in Lexi’s mind. She finally opened her eyes and gently put a hand on Baxter’s shoulder with a thankful smile, before turning her attention to Piper.
[+orange “Forget about what Anton did. I’ll check on the patient and I promise that bullet will be out of you soon. We’ll complete the mission and you can see him too. I’ll let him know Piper. I’ll make sure he understands.”] Lexi hinted, not wanting to reveal too much because of the bullet but she’d make sure that Dustin knew that Piper wanted to be around, and that she cared. For now however she had to help him realise that he wasn’t lost, that people cared, and he wasn’t the failure he was burdening himself to be. As Baxter said, Dustin needed someone.
Stepping into the room Lexi didn’t say a word. In fact she didn’t even stop to observe the situation! She did something she hadn’t done since they were both younger and Dustin started on his rebellious streak. Instead of the questions, the words of advice, or the speech of how much she cared, Lexi simply walked over to her brother and sat down by his side. She gently rested her head against his shoulder , and rested her hand on his arm. She didn’t care about the glass or the blood, or even the fact her injured brother was on the floor. Often she would see Dustin, back in the day, come home barely conscious. He would be covered in dirty, blood, his own vomit... he’d barely understand that she was even there! Yet on the other hand she’d find him in the morning after facing the wrath of his father, the tears of their mother, with the same empty look in his eyes. Either way, Lexi would simply do what she was doing now. She would rest by his side and be close, not speaking a word. She had learned over time that just having someone’s presence nearby was more powerful than words. The words would have to come eventually. They would have to speak to understand, but she loved her brother. She really did care for him and all she had shown him over the weeks was disappointment. She was part of that emptiness in his eyes. It was time that was turned around.
She let the silence soak in for a comfortable period of time, just allowing the sound of their breathing to fill the room and giving her twin the time he needed to think, to speak if he needed, or to even ask her to leave if he wanted. Though as the moment passed, Lexi stayed still where she was, but turned her eyes to look up at her brother.
[+orange “It’s been a rough few months for us. Think... it wasn’t too long ago you were joining this Pack, our lives had changed and we went from being just two school kids to this. I sometimes have to pinch myself, remind myself its not a dream.”] Lexi started softly, not necessarily focusing on him, or what was happening. Just speaking. Being there. If her brother needed to talk, he would talk. Perhaps it was time Lexi stopped demanding so much from him. He was an Alpha, he already had so much pressure and expectation and he hadn’t even been a Leader for a week! Dustin needed his own time, without the weight of everything else on top. Lexi looked up at Baxter, to see if she was heading on the right track but the boy simply nodded. He’d have to hear Dustin first, get the signs of whether he even wanted his sister around.
[+orange “I can see you shook dad away. I can imagine he was fussing over you from start to finish. He’s over me all the time too. Piper wants to be here too. Believe it or not, we’re actually talking to each other. Some might even say we’re starting to become friends. I bet you’d never hear your goodie-two-shoes sister saying that.”] Lexi grinned, but it didn’t last long. She knew eventually she would have to talk and after being there for comfort, it was time to address the actual situation.
[+orange “Are you blaming yourself? For Anton? He had an argument with Raven, it was nasty, about trust. I think she kept secrets from him , something happened with Candy...I don’t know the full picture because I was with Piper but he made his decision. I heard you shouting after him. You’ve done what he has done. I...I don’t want to tell you how to feel, mostly because I know you’re stubborn, determined, a leader who feels for those he cares about, but just because he has walked away doesn’t mean he’s gone. I’ve walked away, you’ve walked away, in fact I’m pretty sure everyone has snapped at one point. We’re working on something for him, for us, for the Pack. Me and Piper have got a plan. We’re working with you Dustin and when someone walks away, we’ll do what we can. We’re going to get that antidote. We won’t give up. I know how important everyone is to you, and you’re my twin, not just this Alpha. You’re my brother, my family. I think it’s time I start seeing the world in your eyes a bit more. You see beyond the bad and you see something in people.”] Lexi spoke gently before pulling her head from his shoulder and looking directly at him, gently resting a hand in his.
[+orange “I’m so, so glad you’re here.You’ve had the whole ‘we almost lost you’ speech. I know you have. But Dustin, I’m really glad you’re awake and you’re alive and I know the first thing you woke up to was Anton leaving, but so many of us are here. I’ll... I’ll stop lecturing. I started by saying I wouldn’t in my head... I just want you to know you haven’t lost your sister. I’m still here to annoy you when I can.”]
Piper ignored the wolves’ exchange focusing on Baxter’s advice instead. It wasn’t exactly the good new she wanted to hear – frankly, the thought of becoming the Hunter’s experiment was terrifying – but she’d take whatever tips she could get. Personally, Piper could care less about Anton’s antidote. Being that Anton was one of the people who wanted her dead, she was far safer and happier with him as a human. But there was on part of her deal that would make all of this worth the risk – if they removed the bullet from her neck, she could talk to Dustin again. She could see for herself that he was going to pull through and maybe even find a way to make up for all she owed him. In the very least, it would mean she didn’t have to watch her words so closely.
[#aa0000 “That shouldn’t be too hard – I do hate Bloodsuckers. No offense Lexi, but even you have to admit, most Fangs are assholes, myself included. As for the experimenting… well, this Antidote better be damn worth it. If Anton turns his nose up at this after all this trouble, I call dibs on breaking his fingers and pouring the damn cure down his throat.”] Piper snipped back in her usual snide fashion. If she was lucky, only Baxter would be able to see her jokes for what they really were – a cover for how scared this while situation made her.
[#aa0000 “That bastard won’t get anywhere near you if I can help it.”] Piper hissed with a personal vendetta lacing her words. As far as Piper was concerned, there was a special spot in hell reserved for bastards that took advantage of kids. Using his nephew as an experiment was despicable. Piper knew from her own experience – her foster father used to send her to the sums to buy his drugs. Sending a kid into that hellish place just to satisfy his own addiction… even with her Vampire strength, Piper wasn’t sure she’d be able to face that bastard again. She respected the hell out of Baxter for offering to help.
[#aa0000 “Yeah, you should probably tell the patient what’s going on, but don’t be surprised if he doesn’t approve. Still, having him pissed off that you’re taking a risk if probably better than him being pissed off you lied to him about taking a risk. I can’t go in…”] Piper said with a hand rubbing the bullet wound in her neck.
[#aa0000 “… but I do wanna make sure he’s ok.”]
While the kids talked strategy, Raven knew it was only a matter of time before Trey ambushed her with more alliance talk. It wasn’t an easy topic for her, especially after just losing her partner. Raven’s experience with allies in recent weeks hasn’t been very positive – Trey betrayed Talon, Nico killed his own second in command, Anton just walked out on their partnership, Shayd talked about throwing the Hybrids out of the pack – it seemed even the strongest bonds were coming apart at the seams and now Trey was asking Raven to ally herself with someone she already knew she couldn’t trust!
[b “Funny, you said the same thing about the Blood Moon when you tricked my brother into allying with you. But [i working together] didn’t exactly turn out in his favour!”] Raven growled, feeling that anger building once more. At this point, Raven was having a hard time distinguishing her feelings – betrayal, hurt, distrust, suspicion, anger, pain – all of it was blending together, bubbling just below the surface. It was taking more effort than usual to keep these emptions in control and Raven felt the tempting tug to just let them all spill over and settle this the way Wolves settled everything else – with a fight.
[b “No. I won’t make the same mistake as my brother. I won’t risk my pack by forcing them to work with traitors! I said NO!”] Raven’s last word was more of a snarl or bark than a shout. A mad, animalistic gleam took over her eyes, and even though she was in her human form, Raven’s face twisted into a vicious snarl that was far more akin to a wild animal than she’d ever posed as a wolf! Something was wrong.
[#224466 “Alpha! Raven stop! STOP!”] Amber’s voice cried out as she sprinted towards the two. It really wasn’t her place to intervene, but she knew she had to as soon as she recognized what was going on!
[#224466 “Raven take a breath and calm yourself. You’re turning Feral!”] Amber stated, watching the Beta’s expression turn from fury to confusion. She had heard the term from some of the elders in the pack, but it seemed like a foreign concept to her. There was a time when wolves were far closer to their animal ancestors, where a werewolf would lose grip on their humanity and fall into their wold side. This usually happened on a hunt or in a fight – only in situations with intense adrenaline and heightened emotions. The wolf would take over, supressing the human side, and turning the civil creature into nothing more than a savage beast! But that was impossible! That didn’t happen anymore, especially not with just a petty argument! Raven stepped back and brought her hand up to cover her mouth in shock. She had been angry, sure, but to snap at Trey that viciously was a complete overreaction! Raven had always prided herself in strong control over her emotions, what the hell was going on?!
[b “What…? How?”]
[#224466 “I think… I think it’s the antidote. The cure was supposed to target you Supernatural DNA and turn you back into a human, but you were never human to begin with. Then you took the antidote that’s sole purpose was to enhance your hybrid blood and supress the human side… but there was so little human side left to suppress.”] Amber offered. When it seemed like Raven was calmed down – or at least too shocked to even think about attacking – Amber turned back to her own Alpha to explain herself.
[#224466 “Helena used something similar on her pets. She’d give us these drugs – something to boost adrenaline, heighten our emotions, and supress our ability to think rationally. Then she’s beat us, drown us, shock us, or force us to fight until we snapped. We went Feral, nothing more than animals. It was easier for her to take control that way… animals can be trained.”] Amber said, wincing at the humiliation of her own torture. Being treated as nothing more than a stray dog. Sadly, the same thing was starting to happen to Raven. With her humanity suppressed and the high pressure of Anton leaving, Raven’s human side was giving way to the Feral wolf within. If she didn’t get a grip on her emotions, there wouldn’t be much left of Raven to save!
The atmosphere in the room changed in an instant. The anger and aggression in Anton’s tone made Dustin tense as if expecting an attack – for a boy who was just beaten near to death and thrown into a river, it was hardly a surprise the trauma lingered, but it still made him feel awful for flinching away from his own Beta! But as Anton continued, his words became more and more cruel until Dustin found himself wishing Anton had just thrown a few punches, because that would have been far less painful. These were truths Dustin was afraid to face, yet Anton was here rubbing his face in them! His mother was dead, his sister hated him, all because he was some reckless, screwed up junkie. But while Anton placed the blame on his wn shoulders, Dustin didn’t agree. Anton offered the drugs, but it was Dustin that agreed to take they. He decided to keep feeding his addiction, he stole to buy more to fix his cravings, he lied, cheated, went behind his family’s backs, and at the core of it all Anton was just an enabler. Dustin was the one who ruined his own life. But the one person in this world he thought he could truly trust – the one person who knew what it was like to be caged by your cravings – was now spitting it back in his face.
It wasn’t enough that Anton attacked his family life, he had to lash out at Dustin’s pack life too. Dustin knew he was a bad Alpha, that he was a failure, that he could never live up to Talon’s legacy, but to hear the painful truth that he turned his own Beta away from the pack was just another twisting blade in his chest. Dustin felt the pain as if it was physical, bringing his bandaged hand to his chest and struggling for each breath. Just like how the weight of an Alpha’s orders could force wolves to bow their heads, the pain of an Alpha’s failure was just as real. Dustin was desperate to fix this, to make the pain stop, to prove to Anton that he still had a place within Sirhan, but the effects of the Beta’s words were staggering. Dustin tore the IV from his arm, smearing blood down his bruised skin. He tried to slide off the table, but his broken ribs and injured legs couldn’t hold him. A clatter echoed through the room as Dustin fell into the bedside table, knocking the medic’s tools to the floor and leaving the Alpha clinging to the side of the table with blood and broken glass surrounding him. When it was clear he wouldn’t be able to chase after Anton like he wanted to, the boy settled for the only course of action he still had.
[#ff6622 “You think I don’t know what you’re doing? You think I didn’t do the same thing?! You don’t know what you feel and you don’t know how to deal with it, so you’re pushing everyone else away so they don’t have to watch you fall! You burn the bridges and you force them to hate you, because you think they’re going to hate you anyway, so you’d rather it be on your terms! That maybe it won’t hurt so much if it was your choice! I’ve been there Anton!”] Dustin shouted after him, not bothering to hide the pain and anguish in his voice, both from the physical and emotional turmoil. His eyes glistened with angry tears, but he wouldn’t let Anton lave without hearing this.
[#ff6622 “But one day it’ll hit you. You’re going to hate yourself for this. You’re going to wish you could take it all back, but some words can’t be unsaid, Anton. Some things can’t be forgiven. Sometimes it’s too late… I just want you to know, I forgive you. And I stand by what I said – There’s still a place for you here.”] Dustin’s angry shouts slowly lost their intensity until his final words were hardly more than a whisper. He meant what he said, he wouldn’t hold this against Anton. After all, how could he blame the man for speaking the truth?
As Anton left, Dustin gave up his fight to stay standing. He slid down to the floor, leaning against the table, with the shattered glass surrounding him, speckled red with blood. The entire scene a poetic analogy for what Dustin was feeling – shattered, hurt, alone… his eyes fell to his bare arms, tracing the track marks down to his wrists where old scars of another unhealthy habit lay bare on his skin. The temptation to let his pain flow out of his veins and into the dirt was so strong, he nearly gave in, but he knew that would only make things worse. His sister already hated him, he didn’t need to give her another reason. His pack already thought he was weak, why give them more evidence?
[#aa0000 “That fucking asshole! When I get my hands on him… Lexi, you’re needed here. I… I can’t…”] Piper swore as she opened the door to see the state her best friend was left in. Before Dustin could speak or give away the fact that he was in fact alive, Piper’s hand flew to the scar in her neck, reminding all involved of how dangerous it was for Piper to be anywhere close to Dustin.
[#aa0000 “I’ll try to calm myself down and get ready to go. Lexi just… just take care of him, ok? Make sure he’s ok. Baxter, she’s probably gonna need you’re expertise. He’s not gonna want to talk to her like this.”] Piper pointed out, recognizing that dark look to Dustin’s watery eyes.
[+orange “It’s not that… it’s just if this monster is as bad as you say he is, then we’re in more danger than we thought. We’re already in the thick of it. Dustin doesn’t need his first rival to be some maniac whose only objective is to watch everyone around him suffer and cause chaos. He’s already got enough to deal with and piece together but if this Alpha has already done this, what has he got planned next? We can’t handle another war so soon…”] Lexi was more hesitant about the truth not because it was Piper who was speaking it, but because of the dangers and implications that laid behind the revelation. This ‘Joker’ was just another ounce of pressure on what was already a fragile Pack. They had no plan how to deal with their current enemies, let alone a complete psychopath! At the same time if it was the case, Lexi wanted to act and do everything she could to protect her brother. If he had been a target once, then chances were he would become a target again if they found him alive.
[+orange “A Pack that acts on fear is more dangerous, especially with a leader like that. There has to be some sort of plan… for Dustin, for…”]
[+purple “Lexi, we will handle that. We know more than what we did, that in itself is an advantage. For now, I think you should focus on Raven’s proposal.”] Trey interrupted but the news brought its own light of concerns to himself as Alpha. Another war would crush them all. Not just The Resistance, but Sirhan as well. There was no unity between the packs due to his actions and without a true alliance forming, they would only be feeding into his palm. He knew he would have to convince Raven, but with how this current deal was setting out that was going to be far from easy.
There was a stiff silence that quickly followed as Raven growled her argument of disloyalty. Trey tensed, almost preparing to have to intervene and Lexi’s eyes widened with shock. She had seen Raven bitterly argue back in her own defence, with her stubbornness prevailing in any situation but this was different. It was enough to get Lexi to take a step back in fear and bow her head, a small submissive act to show she wasn’t going to dare question Raven’s defence. Whatever happened between her and Anton must have been severe for her to be so raw about a few words. Raven was a Beta of action! She would act and prove them wrong! It only added to the concerns about this new Alpha who was threatening them. If what he had done had the lasting effects of being able to break up the strongest of partnerships, then what else was he capable of other than physical violence? Lexi almost dread to think what would happen if he combined the two. She thought Helena was bad but this lunatic was already leaving a rippling effect.
[+orange “You have my word. The moment the risk is too high I’ll call. You’re right… Dustin wouldn’t want to lose anyone. Not at this stage. I’ll do what I have to, to be safe. Nothing drastic.”] Lexi started but Baxter instantly raised an eyebrow in question. No one had to look at Baxter to know Lexi was gaining a reputation of not exactly keeping herself safe. Lexi shot him a look in return to not dare saying anything in question… she was already in enough trouble with her Beta.
When Piper turned her questions to Baxter however the boy instantly turned smaller in frame. His shoulders hunched over and his hand nervously stroked up and down his arm, his eyes instantly falling to the floor. He tried to avoid talking about his Uncle. It was the man he once wanted to be like. He would have done anything to be half the chemist Nico was! He had dreams of taking over his lab and finding the next big cure. He knew his Uncle was always working on something and knew something remarkable would happen… he just didn’t expect it to be a cure for the supernatural… or did he expect to be a test subject. Everyone thought he had become a junkie, just like his sister. He heard the rumours in school. People saw the bruises on his arms and thought he was just another fallen victim in the family tree…
Yet no one asked him.
No one actually asked him what was going on.
He had no one to turn to. He was up for hours on end, often falling asleep in class from the pain and torture he endured. Even he couldn’t whisper the secrets anymore…
[+blue “My uncle he’s… he’ll save you if he believes you hate what you are. Maybe even prove for his bigger mission that these monsters exist. It’ll have to be fresh and he’ll want to take you in… experiment…”] Baxter started, his voice barely breaking a whisper as he first spoke. It wouldn’t be easy. Nico just wouldn’t willingly give the drug. He’d want to hear the story. He’d want a win for his glory hunt and tell the world of a creature who wanted to become human again. Baxter couldn’t even guarantee he’d inject her with the cure. His mind was twisted. He was always looking for a fresh subject.
[+blue “I’ll take you both. Show you were the lab is but… he can’t see me. You have to promise me he can’t see me!”]
[+orange “You don’t have to put yourself through that Baxter. We can manage.”]
[+blue “You won’t even get through the first door without me. You need to get in, I’ll sneak inside while he’s with you and if you can connect with me again, I’ll get you to where he manufactures the cures. You’ll need me.”] Baxter insisted but it wasn’t easy. His breathing staggered just as the thought and there was a shining fear coming from his eyes but he knew without being around, their mission would be impossible. After everything his uncle had done, some monsters existed within themselves. Nico was one who needed to be put down.
[+orange “We need to make it look convincing. We’ll go but I don’t want to make Dustin worried. He’ll want to get involved. What do you think Piper? If he’s awake do we go speak to him…I…I hate acting behind his back but he’s so weak…”]
[+blue “He’ll be so angry if you do that, and you know it.”] Baxter pitched in, for what it was worth… the twins relationship was already on rocky ground.
Meanwhile as the kids discussed their plans, Trey had his own plan to work on.
[+purple “I don’t think we have much of a choice anymore Raven. If you didn’t just listen there is a mass maniac relying on the fact we won’t work together. You don’t have to trust me but there is a whole Pack here who despise my actions and want to protect Sirhan despite what I did as an Alpha! If we don’t consider working together, this won’t be a question of having honour left. We both won’t have a pack left because we’ll be ripped to shreds!”] Trey challenged, standing his ground and not daring to step on the delicate wire anymore. There was too much at stake.
[+purple “You don’t have to like me Raven. You don’t even have to respect a word I say but we have to work together. If we don’t find out more about this Pack and take action, we won’t last the week.”]
Hurt like hell was an understatement. Anton felt like his entire body was on fire, even though the burns were one located on his back and climbed up to the side of his neck. Every time he moved his skin stretched, causing him to hiss out. When the breeze broke through the windows, it stung against the burns. It was just a reminder of how fragile he was in this environment. He couldn’t protect them any longer. He wasn’t even trusted anyway… there were just some signs that it was time to leave and everything was leading him in that direction.
Anton tried to keep it civil, but these bonds were ripping him apart. Even looking at the kid and seeing the pain he was in, all Anton wanted to do was to make sure he was ok. To do something to take the pain away. He couldn’t do this anymore. He had to burn his bridges. It was so much easier…
[b “I’m not your fucking family Dustin! I’m the guy who got you hooked on drugs and fucked your family up so much that your lying here now and your mother is dead and your sister can’t stand you! She just fucking puts up with you because she has to deal with your shit all the time. That’s because of me! Don’t call me family ever again.”] Anton snapped, letting each word be laced with venom and for the first time he stared at Dustin with great intent, only adding emphasis to his words. He’d destroy their relationship. He’d make sure Dustin would want to forget him.
[b “You know what kid? Yeah. It is because of you. It’s because of all of you. You’re all the same. I took a chance to make you a strung along little kid who could get me a healthy profit from your addiction. It was easy! I’ve outlived my stay here Dustin. It’s over…”] The boy was looking at him with so much care and sincerity. All Dustin was trying to do was reach out for his friend and Anton was pushing him away. As Anton continued to intently stare, he was fighting not to show the real emotion that was building inside him. His gut instinct was churning at him to take it back. To beg Dustin to help him. To talk about how the addiction was already building and he was terrified of being a human. How he now felt useless around Raven and the hidden truth ripped him apart. That somehow, Anton had feelings to actually express and those feelings had been hurt.
Instead Anton raised to his feet, shaking his head at Dustin’s further questions.
[b “Raven is dead to me. You want to really find out more? Ask her. I don’t have to answer to you. You are not my Alpha, my friend, my brother. You’re just a little kid. That’s it.”] Anton sneered, limping towards the door but just as he went to leave his hand gripped the frame, partly to steady himself but also, there was something pushing him back. He just had to tell Dustin he didn’t mean it. The kid would understand. Instead Anton used his last bit of strength to push himself away and left the Alpha to the care of his Pack. Just as he was about to leave, Candy quickly rushed over to him and shoved a bag into his hand.
[+green “It’ll keep you going for a little while. If you want it.”]
[b “Anything extra in there?”]
[+green “Screw you.”] Candy hissed, not staying longer around the bastard than she had to.
[b “Lexi, he’s awake.”] Anton called, throwing the bag over his injured shoulder and not even bothering to speak loudly to make her aware. With a final glance at Raven, Anton opened the door and took his first steps away from Sirhan, and the first steps back towards his mortal life…
[#aa0000 “So you trust me enough to leave the chains off, but not enough to take my word for it? Lying to you now won’t do me any favours. Besides, Dustin was my friend and I want nothing more than to watch a vengeful pack of wolves sink their teeth into the bastards that killed him. Just don’t underestimate this guy. He’s already messed with three other packs in this city and has the entire north side snapping at each other’s throats. If he keeps this up, the Blood Moon is going to look like a peace rally compared to the war he’ll bring down on this city.”] Piper explained, not really surprised at Lexi’s lack of trust or her hesitation. This wasn’t exactly good news, but it was the truth. Sirhan and the Resistance would be smart to put aside their differences and join forces against these bastards, but from what Piper saw, Raven and the others were merely tolerating Trey and his pack until their Alpha was healed.
[#aa0000 “As for his following, I’m guessing the pack is too damn scared NOT to. The first thing this bastard did when he took over was kill all his wounded and anyone still loyal to Mitch. He made it quite clear he’d slaughter his whole pack without a second thought if they didn’t do what he told them. Plus, he’s giving them what they all want – revenge against the packs that killed their former alpha.”] Piper offered. She’d first caught wind of these wolves when she was scouting the way home with Eli, in order to give Dustin the cure. Once she learned how dangerous this new Alpha was, she following him, watched from the shadows and sae the chaos first hand. She tried to intervene when she heard the order to kill Dustin, but almost didn’t get there in time to save him!
Of course, saving an Alpha’s life didn’t come with all the perks she thought it would. Ravenw as still more than willing to put her life on the line for Anton, even though it was clear from the tension in the room that the two Betas had a fight. Raven was fine when her anger was directed solely at Piper, but when Lexi stepped in to defend the young Fang, Raven’s glare snapped back to her Alpha’s twin, once again feeling her emotions build. Lexi wouldn’t understand the significance, but Trey surely caught the implied accusation against her. Lexi first questioned why Raven wouldn’t act herself – calling her honour and courage into question, and finally, she pointed out that Raven’s orders were going starkly against the interests of her own alpha – disloyalty at its core. Raven felt a chill run down her spine as she was practically called a traitor for the second time in under an hour. Was that really what was happening? Was she losing her morals? Her loyalty? Her honour? These insults and accusations might not have meant much to the humans and vampires in the room, but they were certainly having an impact on the Beta. As the words sunk in, she could feel the doubts in her mind growing stronger.
[b “I am NOT disloyal!”] Raven growled fiercely in what would seem like an overreaction to most in the room, especially since Lexi hadn’t said the word ‘loyalty’ at all. But Raven’s retort only emphasized her internal turmoil. She didn’t agree with trusting Piper, nor did she believe her Alpha would want her putting his twin sister into harm’s way, but her decision was seen as disloyalty by the others in the room… Baxter was right, Raven had no choice!
[b “Fine. IF you agree to this, Lexi, then I’ll allow it. But the second you sense the Hunters are on to you – the INSTANT you sense any danger – you call me and I will bring Sirhan to get you out of there. Maybe Dustin would have wanted piper protected, but surely not at the cost of his own sister’s life.”] Raven stated firmly, knowing Dustin would never survive this mess if he lost his sister. This was dangerous and if Lexi agreed to go with Piper, she’d be placing herself directly into the line of fire. Sure, the cure won’t be fatal to someone like Lexi and Piper, but Nico had already proven he wasn’t above killing other humans if it suited him. And if he knew how important Lexi was to the Sirhan pack, he’d probably take great pleasure in ending her life.
[b “Whatever you decide, you better do it quickly. Anton’s running out of time before that cure is permanent. We need the antidote by nightfall unless Candy can buy us more time.”]
[#aa0000 “I’ll do it. Just make sure my conditions are met. Oh, and Baxter? That hunter is your uncle, right? I need to make him feel sorry for me, and want to ‘save’ me. Got any tips on how to do that?”] Piper asked, her tone far less harsh when talking to Baxter than it was speaking to Raven. Piper even managed a brief apologetic glance at her former classmate as if she was sorry for even asking him to get involved. Piper didn’t know Baxter well, but there were certain things a resourceful street kid like herself would pick up just by looking at him: in school he was top of his class, a success, proud of his family’s standing. Something big must have happened for that boy to turn into the self-conscious, shell of a teen she saw before her, and judging by the track marks in his arm, she could guess what it was. Piper doubted it was a coincidence that Baxter’s uncle went mad and started inventing highly potent, supernatural antidotes around the same time Baxter fell off his pedestal. Plus, there was that look in his eyes… Piper was very familiar with abuse and neglect, and she could easily recognize it in others. Baxter had been hurt badly by someone he trusted and Piper would bet money on the fact that it was his uncle. If that was true, the last thing she wanted to do to the boy was force him to get involved, but Baxter was their best lead at getting close to Nico. For this to work, Piper would need to convince Nico that she was worth saving and not just killing as soon as he recognized what she was! Maybe Baxter’s inside knowledge could help with that?
While the teens discussed their strategy and prepared to leave, Raven turned her attention to Trey and his latest offer to find out more about this dangerous new gang.
[b “I thought I made myself clear, Trey – there is no ‘we’. Not anymore. I’m willing to be civil until my Alpha is healed enough to return home, but as far as I’m concerned, nothing you’ve done in the past few hours has erased what you did during the Blood Moon. The Resistance and Sirhan are not allies; you and I are not friends. My loyalty is already being questioned… if I forgive the wolf who betrayed my own brother, I won’t have any honour left.”] Raven stated. She tried to keep her voice even, but her tone betrayed her, wavering just slightly when she mentioned how her loyalty was doubted. The fact that both Anton and Lexi had accused her of disloyalty was clearly affecting the Beta.
Dustin winced as he pulled himself up to a half-sitting position so he could see Anton better. His broken ribs and injured shoulder screamed at him with every movement, but by now Dustin was getting used to the pain. At least it didn’t hurt as bad as the Vampire venom. The boy gave a small chuckle as Anton echoed with nearly the same sentiment.
[#ff6622 “So have I, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt like hell.”] Dustin replied, knowing Anton was probably in a lot of pain himself. Unfortunately for the Beta, without his hybrid resilience, the pain was probably amplified in his human state. Dustin didn’t miss the way Anton’s hand fell over the old marks in his arms and once again the smug grin twisted into a frown. He was worried about Anton, especially as he mentioned he needed to leave.
[#ff6622 “You’re my Beta Anton, you’re family too. You… You’re just going to leave?”] Dustin asked, before dropping his eyes to his blanket covered legs. He wasn’t trying to guilt Anton into staying and Dustin knew he shouldn’t have said it like that, but the childish, selfish part of Dustin’s mind was pleading with him to say anything it took to get Anton to stay! Dustin had nearly died, he just lost his Alpha, he still didn’t know if his relationship with his sister could be fixed, one of his former mentors had betrayed the other, and now his Beta was leaving?
[#ff6622 “Is this… is it because of me? Because I didn’t listen to you when you told me not to meet Trey alone? I promise I won’t make that mistake again! I trust you Anton; I know you’ve always got my back, no matter what! You always have. Even before you knew me, you still took a chance and spared my life… You don’t have to go Anton. Hybrid, Vampire, Human – it doesn’t matter what you are, you still have a place in Sirhan.”] Dustin told him sincerely. But something else was nagging on the boy’s mind. It wasn’t like Anton to run out on the pack, especially Raven! Those two were partners, they had been through everything together! Dustin didn’t know what happened to Raven – only that she wasn’t around when Anton, Piper, and Lexi rescued him. But for Anton to want to go off on his own, leaving the pack and his partner behind, Dustin knew something must have happened between them.
[#ff6622 “Did something happen with Raven? Look Anton… if you really want to go, I won’t stop you. I’d be a hypocrite if I told you not to run off on your own when things got rough. But if you are going to go and you’re forbidding me from coming after you, at least tell me why you want to leave. Is it Raven? Did you two have a fight?”]
While Trey made sure he was on guard next to Lexi, he had a direct focus on Raven as well. He might only have been out the room for a matter of minutes, but there was a tension in the room that could be sniffed out by any experienced wolf. Senses were a remarkable thing and he could hear Anton’s thumping heart in the distance and his increased blood flow. Whatever had happened, it wasn’t a situation that ended pretty. There was already enough emotions, tension, and lack of trust floating around between the Pack’s. He had many questions of his own but this was Raven’s territory at this present time. Whatever answers she wanted from Piper, they would get them. He gave a quick look towards Baxter to make sure it was safe for all to continue and the boy gave a subtle nod as Raven began to speak.
Lexi didn’t seem too impressed with how this was being handles either. When Raven started her interrogation, she glared at the Beta. She knew what she was asking was a fair question, and Lexi wanted the answers just as much as everyone else! However she had been around Raven long enough and knew that this was just the start of something she had planned…
[+orange “Are you sure Piper? I mean… if this guy likes chaos then why hasn’t he shown his face already? I don’t want to doubt you, I know you want to help but what you saw must have been traumatic. Is he really that crazy that he would want to start an all out war? And how come they are so quick to follow a lunatic?”] Lexi asked but there was more fear laced in her voice than she wanted to let slip. If they had done that to Dustin once and he was aware he was Alpha, what would they do to him if they found out he was alive? If Dustin woke up and healed, he wouldn’t exactly keep himself hidden and no doubt this crazed maniac would want to do something worse!
[+orange “Whoa hold on! You’re not dealing Piper’s life for something you want Raven. Why don’t you go do it yourself!?”]
[+purple “Lexi that’s enough! She’s still a prisoner!”]
[+orange “Yeah and if it wasn’t for her my brother and Raven’s Alpha would be…”] Lexi snapped in Piper’s defence the moment Raven proposed the deal. She didn’t finish the last word, but the look in her eyes said everything.
[i “My brother would be dead.”]
It seemed it didn’t take long for the stand off to take place and Trey started to wonder who was going to break first. Would it be Raven with her fists? Lexi crying out? Piper attempting to make an escape? While the others seemed so focused on one another, Trey continuously kept looking at Baxter who seemed the most composed. While there was back and forth, Baxter was confident that this was just the start of a negotiation. He had watched enough deals to know how these turned out.
[+blue “I don’t think you have a choice Raven. Piper’s set her terms and Lexi… well, she picked her side before the deal even began.”] Baxter chipped in, his hands hugging tightly across his body in fear he might get in trouble for breaking up Raven’s plan. However Lexi only proved him right.
[+orange “You let Piper go alone in the condition you guys put her in and she gets attacked, she’ll be dead and you won’t get anything. Also if your Alpha was here to hear this Raven, he’d be furious you let her go on her own. Just because you’re standing Beta, it doesn’t mean you don’t fall under the authority of the Alpha. Isn’t that right?”] Lexi asked, turning to Trey with a stubborn look. It wasn’t even a question in her mind! Dustin wouldn’t want Piper put in anymore danger and if Lexi just let Piper go on her own, then she was potentially walking into a death trap!
[+purple “It’s the way The Resistance runs yes… and most Packs… but each pack…”]
[+blue “He’s trying to say that if the Alpha isn’t here the orders go to the Beta, but we all know…”] Baxter looked in the direction of Dustin’s room, saying that the Sirhan’s Alpha was still alive.
[+orange “You’re not hurting her Raven. We’ll go together. We’ll get you what you want.”]
[+purple “Perhaps she is right Raven. We trust the girls and in the meantime, maybe we can find out more about this notorious new Alpha who killed Dustin.”]
Anton’s body was still shaking with a mixture of pain and anger as he sat down next to Dustin. He rested his chin in his hand, his fingers covering his mouth to try and hide the still fixated snarl on his lips from his argument with Raven. Even his eyes were narrowed, burning with a smouldering emotional pain that seemed to only have been made worse with Raven’s final words. They had clashed before but this was far different than any other confrontation they had experienced. As Anton watched Eli with his son and wondered how many times this scene had happened in Dustin’s human life. Perhaps at the hands of the drugs Anton had given him. It was quite resonating really… Anton had nearly killed him as a human, and saved him in his final moments of a Hybrid. Now he was turning back and Anton just couldn’t bare the thought of staying around any longer. Dustin had his support network, he had who he needed and Anton wouldn’t be able to get close enough to his life to destroy it again. The attachment lasted too long and today was the day Anton intended to break it once and for all.
The idea however seemed easier than acting on it. Hearing Eli speak up about how the kid was going to survive, the tension that was clearly built up on Anton’s shoulders seemed to release like a pressure valve. All the built up anger, while he still felt it, was not a visibly stiff across his body. With the thanks from the father, Anton simply nodded in return, keeping his hand over his mouth until his the kids weak yet teasing voice cut through the concern. He really was going to make it. It didn’t seem to matter how much you threw Dustin in front of deaths door, he always had a way of crawling back out.
[b “Heh… welcome back kid.”] Anton smirked behind his hand, finally pulling it away but his hand instinctively went straight to the veins on his arms, itching at the point where the pain relief had been injected into him just mere hours before.
[b “It’s alright Eli… I’ll let you know.”] Anton assured, watching the father-son scene finalise before the conversation shifted. The smirk that had grown from relief quickly faded and Anton’s eyes seemed to change in any direction apart from looking at Dustin. He thought it would be easy to tell him he was leaving and never returning. It would have been simple but he had to grow and care for the damn kid!
[b “The burns are nothing…I’ve had worse… I got hurt doing what I had to Dustin. Just like you did… I um… yeah… I’ll be fine…”] Anton spoke but his voice seemed empty… lost.
He was never good at speaking his emotions unless he had the fuel in the fire to force them out, just like what happened with Raven.
[b “Listen I didn’t want to be in here too long you’ve got your family and err, fuck… look kid things are… I need to go for awhile.”]
[i Forever] Was what Anton was meant to say. He wasn’t coming back. Sirhan had taught him far too much about connection and relationships. He created bonds with people and those bonds had him thinking day-in-day-out. Where they ok? Where they going to survive on that mission? How could he protect them? That person looks down, has anyone checked in? They were all the basics really. The solid foundation to any friendship or partnership and for the first time in Anton’s life he had learned them with Sirhan. Now he had learned it was his greatest weakness… he relied too much on those around him and what was the fucking point? For people to turn on each other anyway? To watch brothers and sisters fight like Lexi and Dustin? To watch a father desperately try and cling onto his children? To watch his own partner lie in front of him and keep secrets…
[b “So you won’t be my Alpha anymore. I… I just fucking…I… look, I just needed to see you’d be alive, alright kid? I’m going to be better away and I just… listen, if there is one fucking thing I do right before I walk out that door I need you to swear you won’t come looking for me alright? You saw me as a human. I have needs as a human that will destroy this place and… I dunno Dustin I’m just… I’m lost.”] Anton admitted to himself mostly, his eyes fixated on the wall ahead but not looking at it, it was as if he was looking through it. Dustin would know. It was that level of addiction. It was human greed and lust for a substance that could carry him away. His fingers were clawing so deep into his veins he almost forgot about the pain of his shoulders as his nails cut into his skin.
[b “I just need a fresh start away from here. Things happened Dustin while you were out of it. I don’t want you trying to fight for me back but I owe you this. Just don’t come looking for me. And er, yeah… I’m sorry kid.”]
[b “Oh course I respect you Anton! Of course I care about you! That’s why I didn’t want you to feel pressured into making a choice that could affect the rest of your life! I didn’t want you to feel obligated to give up the cure just to save me, especially when it was my own damn, impulsive screw ups that got me into this situation in the first place! But maybe it wouldn’t have made any difference at all. Maybe you wouldn’t have felt any pressure if you knew the truth, because as you just said, who fucking cares if I had to give my life?”] Raven snapped back. She could feel the emotions building and her composure crumbling. The swell of feeling in her chest that made her blood boil and her muscles tense, almost as if she were preparing for a fight. If Raven weren’t so distracted by the nature of her argument, she might have been concerned at how quickly she was losing control of her emotions. She might have even been able to tear herself away and leave the discussion before any lines were crossed. Unfortunately, any chance of salvaging this partnership ended the moment Anton brought Raven’s honour as a wolf into question.
Raven didn’t argue back or counter Anton’s accusations like she normally would. Her eyes narrowed into a glare and she stood in silence, soaking in every painful world like salt leaching into an open wound. To most, Raven would have simply looked pissed off and enraged at the accusations, but there was a far deeper hurt behind the Beta’s eyes, only readable to those who cared to look for it. She was fortunate, really – as a fellow Beta, Anton had every right to banish Raven from the Sirhan pack if he truly doubted her loyalty. He hadn’t threatened to do so yet, meaning he either didn’t care or he didn’t know he had that type of power. Either way, it seemed Anton would rather leave the pack himself than kick her out… at least for now.
[b “I don’t care about your fucking morals Anton. I just don’t want the kid to be disappointed he didn’t get a chance to say goodbye. I’ll get the antidote and leave it at your old safe house. Take it, don’t take it, I don’t give a shit anymore.”] Raven stated, her voice lacking the usual fighting spirit. Instead, she just sounded dead and apathetic. Raven turned her back to Anton and waited for Trey to return with Piper, not bothering to see whether Anton would take her advice or not. Lying and taking away his choice might have been the last straw for Anton, but accusing her of being disloyal, untrustworthy, and uncaring was the end of the line for Raven. Maybe Candy was right after all – Anton wasn’t the person she thought he was. This partnership was doomed from the start.
When Trey returned with Lexi, Baxter, and Piper in tow, Raven pushed all her thoughts of Anton aside. She needed to focus. Whether Anton wanted the cure or not, she swore she’d do whatever it took to get it for him. Raven wasn’t going to let him sacrifice his choice for her own selfish gain. But convincing Piper to help wasn’t going to be easy, especially with how dangerous this favour would be. She was going to ask Piper to go under cover with the Hunters, to get close to Nico, steal his antidotes, and return the drugs to Anton before it was too late to reverse the effects of the cure. Even as Piper was brought in and roughly shoved to the chair, she already seemed to know Raven was going to ask something she wouldn’t like. Piper crossed her arms and glared at the Hybrid in defiance. Raven decided to start with something easy before moving on to the dangerous favour that was surely going to cost her.
[b “First, I need to make sure you’ll hold up your end of a deal. You promised Anton you’d give him answers if he gave you the hearts, so talk: who attached Dustin?”] Raven demanded, her voice stern and unwavering, expecting nothing but rebellion from the young girl. Piper was silent for a view minutes before shifting her gaze to both Baxter and Lexi. Something in their faces seemed to make up Piper’s mind and to everyone’s surprise, she gave her answers without a fight.
[#aa0000 “A deal’s a deal. I’ll tell you who killed Dustin, but be warned – they’re dangerous. If you run off and get yourselves killed fighting them, it’s not my problem. Dustin was attached by the pack that used to follow Mitch. They took a new Alpha. His name’s Jeremy, but he likes to call himself the Joker. I think the guy read too many comic books as a kid, because he seems obsessed with the Batman villain. Even adapted the lunatic’s MO – Chaos for the sake of chaos. He didn’t kill Dustin for any reason other than to create a war between the Resistance and Sirhan. All he wants is blood and hee doesn’t care who’s he spills. But I’m guessing you didn’t just being me up here for that?”] Piper explained, being refreshingly candid. But her honesty and cooperation wasn’t going to last long. Raven seemed somewhat satisfied with that answer and now moved on to her main goal.
[b “I want to make you a new deal. You go undercover with the Hunters and bring me one of Nico’s antidotes. In return, you can leave here with your life.”] Raven growled, making it clear what the girl’s fate would be if she refused. Piper, however, didn’t look phased by the obvious threat.
[#aa0000 “You’ll trade my life for a favour? Sorry,R aven, but you’ll have to up your game. AS you might have noticed, my life doesn’t mean a whole lot around here. You might not kill me, but there’s nothing to stop Trey, Amber, Eli, Anton, or any of the other bastards with a grudge against me from sinking their teeth in. So if you want my help, you’re gonna have to sweeten the deal.”] Piper bartered, meeting Raven’s furious snarl with a smug grin. She half expected the Hybrid to slit her throat right then and there, but Piper suddenly felt a movement behind her, reminding her of Lexi’s presence. It was stupid to feel like she owed the girl – after all, Lexi had only been nice to her these past few hours because she saved Dustin’s life, it didn’t mean she owed Lexi anything more in return. But something about Lexi’s previous words made her pause. Lexi said she was seeing Piper in a different light… Dustin had said something very similar back in detention when he agreed to help her out of a bad situation. [i “People don’t give you a chance because all they see is a trouble maker… I guess I see something different.”]. The words resonated in Piper’s mind and for some strange reason, she wanted them to be true. Piper wasn’t a good person, but maybe if she did a few good acts, Lexi and Dustin might still see her as one?
[#aa0000 “Here’s my counter offer – I’ll go undercover, suck up to the hunters, and get Anton that Antidote, but I have a few conditions: 1) this wipes my slate clean. You, Trey, Anton, Eli – whoever else I’ve pissed off over the years – you all forget your grudges and let me walk away from this unharmed. I want a full fresh start! 2) If I’m successful, then you’re going to find your best medics and order them to remove this damn bullet in my neck. I want it gone. 3) Finally, if I’m going under cover, I need a handler – someone I can report back to while I’m there. I want that person to be Lexi.”]
[b “The first two condition are fine, but you’re not dragging Lexi into danger again. You’ve cause enough trouble for the twins, I won’t let you put her life at risk any further.”] Raven growled back, furious that Piper would even suggest it. What if the Hunters caught her talking to Lexi? What if they found out Piper was a spy and tried to hunt down Lexi before their secrets were told? Raven wasn’t going to let Piper paint a target on Lexi’s back, especially with Dustin still on his deathbed!
[#aa0000 “Well then, we’ve got a problem Raven, because I’m not going in there without Lexi as my handler. I don’t trust any of you to have my back, but at least I know Lexi is less likely to sell me out to the Hunters over an old grudge. Either Lexi is my support, or you can get the damn antidote yourself.”] Piper stated clearly, not willing to renegotiate. Baxter would be able to tell she wasn’t willing to budge on this point, but there was more than one reason for it. First, just as Piper said, she trusted Lexi more than the others, second, Lexi could give her updates on Dustin’s condition while she was away, and third, she was going to need a vampire on her side for this. Piper did her best to make herself look human – her white hair was died back to its natural brunette colour, her bite mark was well hidden by her long hair, and she often wore contacts in public to hide the reddish tinge to her eyes. The last time the Hunters saw her, Piper was easily able to pass as a human, but she knew if she went undercover, they’d realize that was no longer the case. But if Piper could pass herself off as an unwilling victim – someone Nico could [i save] from the fate of a monster, maybe they’d welcome her in? She’d just need Lexi to reopen the bite on her neck to make it look like this transition was fresh. Her current injuries would add to her story and with a few fake tears, Piper could easily sell the lie that she was attacked and turned by a Fang with a grudge.
Eli sat by his son’s bedside, having barely moved since his daughter left. All Eli ever wanted was to keep his children safe, but this was now the second time in a matter of days that he had sat at his son’s deathbed hoping for a miracle. Even Lexi was pushing the limits! When the twins were younger, Eli never had to worry about Lexi causing trouble or getting herself into a risky situation, but recently, it seemed his daughter was just as impulsive and reckless as his son!
[+green “What am I going to do with you two?”] Eli muttered softly as he reaching his hand forward to brush the blond strands of hair out of Dustin’s closed eyes. As he did, he felt the boy stir, growing closer to consciousness every minute. So focused on his son’s face, Eli hardly heard the approaching footsteps until Anton entered the room. Eli pried his attention away from Dustin for a moment to see the strain on the human’s face. Anton had clearly just come from some kind of confrontation as the anger and tension was rolling off him in waves. Not wanting to upset the human more Eli didn’t bother asking Anton what was wrong. He simply leaned back and let the human take a seat beside the injured boy, granting him at least a brief update on Dustin’s condition.
[+green “He’s stable. The medics say he’s going to survive this, thanks to you. I admit, it’s not easy for me to forgive you for dragging my son into his addiction years ago, but it’s quite clear he would not be alive today if it weren’t for you. Thank you for saving Dustin.”] Eli offered, for once swallowing his pride and showing his gratitude to someone he had only ever fought with in the past. He was prepared to let Anton have a few moments with the unconscious boy, but just as Anton was excusing himself, A strained, pain-filled voice cut through the tension in the room, surprising them all!
[#ff6622 “C-come on A-anton… it’s l-like you d-don’t even know m-me!”] Dustin teased lightly, prying his eyes open and turning to his Beta with one of Dustin’s classic smirks. He still felt like crap, but the blood transfusion Lexi had given him was finally starting to kick in, giving him a little more strength. Just as Dustin predicted, as soon as he proved he was awake, his father was at his side fussing over him. Dustin had to raise his good arm to wave away the concerned hands so he could have a chance to talk!
[#ff6622 “’m ok Dad... really. I’m g-gonna be fine…”] Dustin insisted, giving the obvious hint that he didn’t need the extra attention. Eli – not wanting to make his already strained relationship with his son even worse – decided to respect Dustin’s wishes and give him a moment to talk to his Pack.
[+green “I’ll go let your sister know you’re awake. Anton, please come find me before you leave. I don’t want Dustin left alone.”] Eli asked before leaning in and giving his son a relieved kiss on his forehead before stepping out of the room. Dustin gave a half-smile as his father left, still not sure how to feel about the attention, since he had never been on such good terms with his dad. But once Eli left and Dustin’s tired eyes fell on Anton, his smile fell into a concerned frown.
[#ff6622 “Your hair? And your heartbeat… are you human? And those burns… Anton, I’m so sorry. You got hurt trying to protect me. An Alpha is s-supposed to p-protect their pack… Are you g-gonna be ok?”]
[b “I’ll accuse you of what I want. After all we couldn’t speak the truth before could we, so we might as well get it out in the open now! If you cared, you would have talked to me. If you give a shit, you wouldn’t have kept me in the dark for so long. It’s not about who took my choice Raven, it’s about the fact I had no idea a choice even existed! You kept the truth! Who cares if you would have given your life? We did it for each other when we didn’t have an ounce of respect or a shit for each other! Seems like you still don’t!”] Anton hissed, showing no mercy or consolidation in his voice. He thought their loyalty, partnership, hell : their friendship… he thought it was different. Yet what was different to his history? He was surrounded with lies, selfishness, each looking out for their own. As stared into Raven’s eyes with a look that was beyond pain. Betrayal? Anger? There was no words for how he was feeling. Only the acceptance that he made a mistake. He got too close and now he was suffering the consequences of something he promised he never would allow himself to do.
[b “Trust, loyalty, partnership…that wasn’t what you fucking decided to show. Last time I could forgive you. I was dying, you had to make a decision. It’s not the fact you had the cure Raven, it’s the fact you didn’t trust me enough to tell me the truth. You weren’t loyal enough to speak to me about it and as for partnership… how does that even exist when the only way I found out was when it was too fucking late. You have wolf blood in you and you turned against everything you said I’ve lost. So yeah, fuck you Raven.”] He couldn’t believe he had let himself slip so far. He was stronger when he worked on his own. He was the best drug dealer in the city! From his own foolishness he almost lost his life, but from there he became the best blood dealer. Things only got worse when he decided to partner with Raven and the signs were there from the start. Somehow, deep down he hoped his life would turn around. He would find meaning, purpose and mostly importantly: he almost had someone. Someone who actually gave a shit. Anton couldn’t be further from the truth.
Anton was already limping towards the door and as he grabbed the handle and opened it just a crack, a small thin strip of sunlight touched his skin. Hours ago it would have been lethal but now, it was just further evidence of how close his immortal existence was almost over. There was no instant reaction of pain, no blistering skin or burns… Anton could even feel the heat of the sun. He closed his eyes, partly taking in the moment while at the same time, scowling at Raven’s determination to find the antidote. Yet as she mentioned Dustin, his knuckles turned white as he gripped so tightly on the door handle.
[b “I did what I had to for the kid. I owe him nothing now. You want to play your little game hunting an antidote, go for it. Don’t try and pressure me Raven to do something morally good.”] Though as Anton tried to take another step out of the door, he felt his body freeze. He wanted to storm away, slam the door and never look back. He knew he could end up back in his old life. It would be easy to pick up again. All he had to do was leave.
[i “Don’t fucking listen to her and get yourself out.”]
Anton’s mind screamed at him, but his body betrayed him. His hand slowly pushed the door closed, shutting away the beam of light and showing that somehow, Raven’s words had gotten to him.
Not looking at Raven he limped past his former partner and towards Dustin’s room. The sooner he got this over with, the better. With little patience, he didn’t knock on the door. Instead he just let himself straight in and looked between Dustin and his father. The kid looked a mess. It was a miracle he was even alive this long and Anton wondered if there was any point coming to visit. He might not even wake up anytime soon! If he didn’t, maybe it would be easier.
[b “How’s he holding up?”] Anton asked Eli before feeling himself become weaker. There was also an itching in his arm, his pupils dilating and a thin sweat growing on his brow. Not only was his pain increasing from the morphine wearing down, but signs of addiction which were increasing in his human state was showing its signs. Grabbing a nearby chair, Anton pulled it to the side of Dustin’s bed and allowed his own body to rest.
[b “I won’t be around for long. Just wanted to check on him then I’ll err… I’ll go… can’t imagine he’ll be up anytime soon anyway.”]
Lexi could sense the confusion from Piper and how could she blame her? All Lexi had done from the beginning was judge the girl. Even back in school, all Lexi heard about Piper was how much trouble she had caused. The students in Lexi’s class would laugh with the teachers about how Piper wouldn’t get anywhere, and how she always tried to disrupt their work. Back then Lexi only saw her as a potential threat. She hated that her brother hung around with her and partially blamed his downfall on her influence! Ever since then Lexi only expected the worse. Only so much had changed in a matter-of-hours. Piper wasn’t a girl seeking trouble, at least, not all of the time. There was something that Lexi couldn’t put her finger on but she was hating herself for letting her bias get in the way. Maybe if they trusted Piper sooner, they could have invited her to Sirhan. She would have been safe. Dustin would have had more support and would have had even more of a reason to fight… he already had so many people who cared about him and who wanted to be around his bed side and make sure he was safe. Piper was another. He cared about her. Maybe it was time Lexi started to trust her brothers beliefs and see Piper in a different way as well.
[+orange “You can keep arguing with me all you want, but if you were Dustin’s friend you would have learned that I don’t stop worrying because someone tells me too. I’m also incredibly stubborn, so don’t expect me to just walk away… you might not be suicidal, but what you did…Piper, it was too risky on yourself.”] Lexi partially lectured but her voice was delicate, calm, and understanding. When Piper thanked her, there was a small flicker of surprise in her eyes for a split second, but she gave a half smile in return. She wouldn’t make it a big deal, she could tell already that Piper was hating herself for those words but she wanted to show a little bit that she was grateful.
[+orange “Of course I know the risks, but trust me a little bit. We’ll figure this out.”] Lexi assured but as Trey and Baxter arrived, even Lexi was cautious about what was going to happen. Trey still wasn’t to be trusted and even though Baxter was in her class, if she had learned anything from Piper, it was never to judge a book by its cover. So far Baxter had been shy, reserved, intimidated… it was completely different to the boy she met in school. He was often the first to put his hand up in class, was happy to have his face posted all over the school boards for recognition. He wanted to make his Uncle proud and talked about how he wanted to be a chemist just like him when he grew up. Sure he got bullied, but he was never afraid to be proud of himself. Now he was half of that… he was just a shell of the boy he used to be.
[+blue “Lexi, they aren’t happy upstairs… a lot of bad stuff has happened. They’ll listen to you just um, stay by Piper’s side.”] Baxter whispered between the two girls, having heard the beginning of Raven and Anton’s argument and knowing the tension they were approaching. He too had heard a lot about Piper and had seen her in the drug dens his sister had forced him to squat in, but he was a reader… he already knew there was more to the girl than she would admit and he could tell there was a secret she had about Lexi. However he couldn’t put his finger on what.
Once they reached upstairs, Trey tightened his grip on Piper and threw her down on a chair in the centre of the room. Baxter stood in front of her, in a perfect position to read her emotions if he was instructed too and Lexi stayed right by Piper’s side. With Baxter’s warning, she wasn’t going to let Raven or Trey get too close if she could help it.
[+purple “Raven, she’s here… I think it is time we get the answers we need.”]
[+orange “In reason. She’s hurt and you’re not laying a finger on her. We do this properly, alright?”]
[+purple “Raven will do what she needs to, to get the answers we need. Baxter, you tell us if she’s lying…”]
[+orange “Don’t you even think about it Baxter! How about we just actually listen to her first. Raven, she wanted to help Dustin too. She really did…”] Lexi spoke up but she stared at Raven with intent, a subtle reminder not to mention Dustin’s survival in front of Piper.
The fact that Raven didn’t banter back at Anton was probably more concerning than her trembling appearance. The Beta was a fighter through and through; never one to give up her argument or surrender the last word. But as Anton berated her for keeping secrets, Raven didn’t have the energy to snap back. Amidst Anton’s angry shouts, she could hear his desperation to overcome his helplessness. He wanted… no, he [i needed] that cure. He needed the strength to fight, the ability to protect his friends, the security of his place in the pack! Raven knew at that point that this was no longer up for debate. Anton needed the antidote and she would willingly give it. There was still a small chance that Piper could find another dose and if not… Raven would take her last breath knowing she gave Anton his sense of purpose back. Maybe it was better this way. If Anton was this angry with her and had lost this much respect for her, maybe it would soften the blow once he learned that there was only one antidote. Maybe it wouldn’t hurt as much to lose her if he already lost his trust in her. After all, they had only been partners for a few months. Anton would recover from that so long as he got his strength back, right?
But that choice was taken from both Anton and Raven the moment Candy plunged that syringe into her chest. As her breaths and pulse faded into nothing, so did Raven’s sense of resolve. She had come to terms with her sacrifice and to have that ripped away from her was devastating. Now, she’d be forced to watch Anton suffer this utter hopelessness when all of this was Raven’s fault!
[b “I don’t care what Anton has shown you! You’ve seen nothing but respect and trust from me, even after you’ve shown me little of either in return! I asked you to let Anton chose for himself, and now you’ve taken that choice away from him AND me! So tell me Candy, was I wrong to trust you?”] Raven demanded. She understood that there was history, but this woman just handed Anton a life sentence as a drug addicted human, defying a direct order and throwing Raven’s trust back in her face!
[b “Do what you can to buy him some time. After that, if you never want to deal with Anton again – fine.”] Raven said, watching Candy storm out with a hateful hiss at the former Hybrid. When it was just Raven and Anton left, she braced herself for the difficult conversation that lie ahead. But no matter how much she tried to prepare, Raven could never be ready for the spiteful words Anton was tossing back at her.
[b “I won’t deny my part in this Anton, but don’t you dare accuse me of not caring! I knew how important this choice was to you! Why do you think I was ready to give you the cure, even after I found out it was the only one? Candy took away your choice, not me. Yes, I kept secrets, but only because I didn’t want you to feel forced into a decision! I didn’t want my condition to make you feel obligated to give you what you really wanted! I would have given my life for you, Anton, and I still will if that’s what it takes to get you that antidote.”] Raven insisted firmly. She was willing to take the blame for a lot of things – leaving Anton to face the Doc, letting him get burned, putting them in this position in the first place… - but she could not be accused of not caring.
Still the poison flowed through his words, burning Raven’s heart like the gas had burned her skin. He didn’t trust her. He didn’t see her as a true friend. He didn’t want her pack or her partnership and didn’t respect her values. Anton was ready to walk away from all of this. Raven felt the pit in her stomach and heard the nagging echoes in the back of her mind. She had been warned about this, but Raven didn’t want to believe it. She thought her bond with Anton was stronger than this. Maybe it was just as one-sided as she feared. She cared for Anton, but if he was ready to so easily turn his back on her… did he care about her at all?
[b “So it’s true then? Trust, loyalty, partnership… that wasn’t really you, was it? The Wolf blood… when I turned you into a Hybrid, you took on all the strengths and weaknesses of a wolf, including our values and instincts. Our partnership grew stronger after that and I was stupid enough to believe it was because you were starting to care. But it was just the wolf’s blood… Now that you don’t have that in your system, there’s nothing tying you here.”] Raven’s head was bowed, her eyes were downcast at the floor, and her tone was soft, almost mournful. The realization hit her harder than Raven wanted to admit. She remembered a time months ago when she and Anton were first starting their partnership: she had told him that it was nice to have someone like her for who she was for a change. Everyone else cared because their instincts and pack mentality forced them too. For the first time in her life, Raven had someone that cared for her of their own free will. But that sentiment was violently ripped away from her as the truth settled in her mind. Anton didn’t actually care. He was fooled by the same instincts as the rest of her Pack, and as soon as that influence was gone, he was ready to walk away.
Raven forced the heartache out of her expression when she finally raised her eyes back to her partner. Talon was right – friendship wasn’t real, people didn’t change, and emotions were far too much of a liability. Raven forced her own feelings back into the dark recesses of her mind, letting the dull, lifeless expression take over her features.
[b “As I said, I’ll do what I can to get you that antidote. Take it, don’t take it, that’s your decision. But if you’re leaving Sirhan, don’t you dare walk out that door without seeing Dustin first. You can blame me and my pack all you want, but that kid has stood up for you every step of the way. You owe it to him.”] Raven insisted. She knew if Dustin woke up without Anton there, he’d blame himself. That boy always took too much of the blame on his own shoulders and was really the only innocent party in this whole mess! In the very least, Anton owed the kid a proper goodbye. Dustin would be waking up soon and he’d need the support of his Betas, even if one of them was planning to leave.
Piper narrowed her eyes, peering at the other young vampire with a skeptical glance, but whatever deceit or mockery she was expecting to see just wasn’t there. In fact, Lexi seemed genuinely apologetic for her situation and seemed sincere in her promise to enlighten the guards. Once again, it seemed Piper didn’t give Lexi enough credit. Over the years, she had developed an image of Lexi from Dustin’s stories. He always spoke highly of his sister, saying how she was so forgiving and patient, always understanding, never judgemental like his father… but Piper had always assumed Dustin was blinded by his love for his sister. Surely Lexi couldn’t be the perfect sister Dustin had always described her as. Piper pieced together what she knew of Lexi and created her own picture of the girl – smart, stuck up, condescending, a perfect student, perfect sister, perfect daughter, too good for the lowly delinquents like Dustin and Piper. But from what she’d seen these past few hours, Piper was starting to wonder if she had it all wrong. Maybe she was looking for faults in the girl that weren’t really there?
Piper knew that part of her bias came from her own family life. She had been abandoned as a child and grew up in the system, being shuffled between different foster homes over the past several years. No one wanted a young teenager with anger issues, so Piper didn’t always find herself in the best foster situations. In fact, the only home she was ever placed in that had real potential, she was kicked out after only a few months! Piper had accidently pissed off her foster brother and he framed her for stealing money from her foster parents. No one believed the young girl with the troubled past, so she was moved once again. Ever since then, Piper had learned never to trust anyone – not even her supposed siblings. That was why she was so reluctant to believe Dustin’s sister was as good as he claimed, but with Lexi seeming to genuinely care about Piper’s safety, she had to wonder if she was wrong.
[#aa0000 “Don’t waste your time worrying about me Lexi. I guarantee no one else gives a shit what happens to me. But just so you know, I’m not suicidal. I’ll outlive all of you if for no other reason than to piss people off! I just… I can’t listen to them ask me about Dustin. I… thank you.”] Piper trailed off, almost embarrassed by having to give her thanks. She did owe it to the girl – were it not for Lexi, those idiot guards would have let slip that Dustin was alive and send the whole wrath of the Council after him! Still, it wasn’t easy for Piper to swallow her pride and thank the girl. Her appreciation only grew, however, when Lexi offered an update on Dustin’s condition. Although Piper had been hoping for more positive news, she was grateful for any word on her best friend. It was terrifying seeing Dustin so close to death for the second time in a matter of days and Piper wasn’t sure her nerves could take any more bad news.
[#aa0000 “Safe or not, I can’t stay here. You know the risks, if someone says the wrong thing in front of me… besides, why would I stay? To be chained up like some prisoner for the rest of my life? Face it Lexi, even with you vouching for me, none of these mutts are going to trust me enough to let me go.”] Piper pointed out.
The young vampire tensed as soon as she heard someone new approaching. Her eyes met Trey’s, trying to read the Alpha’s intentions. Was this it? Were they going to kill her? Interrogate her? Punish her? Lexi might have found a way to forgive Piper, but she highly doubted she’d be shown that same curtesy by Trey. She fully expected the Alpha to chain her up like a monster, even despite Lexi’s protests, but she found herself spared by an unexpected party.
Piper new Baxter… or rather, she knew [i of] Baxter. He was in her grade along with Lexi and Dustin, but was not in any of her classes. She just assumed he was one of those smart kids like Lexi, who were in a separate group than the delinquents like her and Dustin. She had heard the rumours though, more from her time on the street than in the school. Supposedly, the kid was messed up by some freakish experiments his uncle was running, and soon turned into a junkie like the rest of the lowlifes in the slums. Piper used to make runs into the bad parts of town – buying drugs for her foster father. She’d seen Baxter out there a few times, but never spoke to him. She was a little surprised he’d stick up for her now.
When her binds were released, Piper gently rubbed the raw skin on her wrists to ease the pain. She was tempted to make a break for it, but Trey’s warning that the consequences might fall to Lexi kept her in place.
[#aa0000 “Let’s get this over with.”] Piper grumbled, following Trey, Baxter, and Lexi back to meet with Raven.
[+purple “I’m in no position to judge, but I am in a position to protect my pack and those who I have welcomed into my territory. You may not trust me Raven, I don’t expect you to, but I do have to be cautious. My recklessness is what caused your brothers death. I won’t sugarcoat it, and I won’t make the same mistake again.”] Trey justified his reasoning, not wanting to create further conflict but at least get Raven to a point of mutual understanding. He knew his chances were slim but he had a Pack to protect. Even The Resistance lost respect for their Alpha for the decisions he had made and now he was rebuilding those relationships, along-side his trust with Sirhan. Right now it seemed an impossibility. Sirhan’s Alpha was clinging onto life, one Beta was dying and the other Beta was losing the strength to survive in this world. Trey was open to all creatures but even he had his concerns about Anton turning human. He would accept it of course, but there was still a lot of questions about how they would make it work. So long as he could ensure they all survived the night and no further attack happened, then at least he was taking the right steps forward.
That all seemed easy until Anton burst into the room. Trey had witnessed Anton’s anger before, but even this was setting the Alpha on edge. He could see the fear in her eyes and he instantly raised a gentle hand, giving her a quick reassuring look to tell her she had nothing to fear from her Alpha. With Anton’s rage, it was no wonder she didn’t have time to react but it was a learning curve. Perhaps causing him slightly further injuries would have benefited more than the current explosion. However he didn’t have time to keep his attention on Amber and quickly moved in on Anton to keep him under control. While Anton was turning more human, his eyes carried the rage of a Vampire going savage!
[b “Yeah we made a god damn deal but what about after? I might not have been able to be there to stop the dart but we could have talked Raven! We could have sorted this sooner. We’re fucking partners and you told everyone else before me? How long was the secret going to last for? Whenever shit happens, I’m the bottom of your list, is that it?”] Anton spat, feeling a lack of respect from his ‘friend’.
[b “I almost died as a human. Look at me! At least as a Hybrid there was a quick fix for this but as a human? Burns can take weeks to heal. What if we’re attacked again? What use am I? I might hate being a Hybrid but at least I was worth something. I made a difference! This isn’t out of guilt Raven. I made a fucking difference!”]
As the explosive argument erupted between Anton and Candy, Trey did everything he could to hold the human back. Anton’s burns were being torn at but his anger was so extreme the adrenaline was hiding the pain. Then, as Candy slammed the cure into Raven’s chest, it was the first sense of ease he held. He froze in Trey’s arms, and even the Alpha seemed to match the frozen state - only for a completely different reason. While Anton thought there would be another cure waiting for him in the counter and he had done enough to trigger a reaction from Candy, Trey watched Raven’s reversal from death with horror. That single action was going to cause a world of hell for the pair, one he now couldn’t fix.
[b “What do you mean what has she done? The bitch did what she was meant to!”]
[+purple “Enough! Anton! Enough…”] Trey growled, allowing the tense silence in the room to fill the air as Raven healed back to her Hybrid state.
Candy was stood still next to the Hybrid, her eyes low to the ground with the empty syringe in her hand. Her body was silently shaking and she tried to tilt her head away, hiding away the frustrated tears that were falling down her cheek. Throughout Ravens transformation, apart from her choking gasps, not a single sound broke out throughout the room. Everyone was frozen and transfixed: some from horror and shock, others from anger and disgust. It was only as Raven finally broke the silence and addressed her orders, that anything seemed to happen.
[+green “You also told me that I would be trusted and respected. Your little partner in crime has shown me none of that. Maybe he’ll learn respect now he’s back to reality and on the same level as the rest of the world.”] Candy hissed, throwing the empty syringe towards Anton.
[+green “You’re a monster Anton Knight.”] Without another word she left the room and Baxter was just about to run after his sister until Raven gave her orders. He instantly looked conflicted, wanting nothing more than to make sure she was alright. He knew his sister better than anyone and it was a part of her past she had abandoned. Instead of being able to challenge it, Trey put a sharp hand on the boys shoulder and nodded to Raven’s orders in respect.
[+purple “We’ll head down and get Piper personally. Amber, secure the room, make sure these two have privacy and no one interrupts. Raven, we won’t be long.”] Trey complied, taking Baxter down towards the cells with him.
As Raven stood up, the adrenaline that had taken over Anton was slowly leaving and the pain was taking over. Having been restrained by Trey, his burns had been irritated and the pain was starting to spike up. Once the medics were sure Raven was on her feet, they quickly swapped her over with the turning-human, resting Anton down on the edge of the bed before leaving them to their privacy.
The signs of Anton’s transformation were becoming more evident as much as Raven’s returns to Hybrids. With the pain he was in, he was gasping for deeper breaths of air. His chest was expanding and contracting at a more visible rate and his skin colour was becoming more alive. He stared at Raven with his blue human eyes with confusion. Why was everyone just leaving? Why weren’t they preparing the same for him?
Then came the truth. Confusion turned to anger, just for a split second, before Anton stared up at the ceiling as if every shred of hope had been ripped from him. He didn’t immediately speak. Even after Raven explained her plans and how they were going to find a cure and break into Nico’s workshop, he didn’t utter a word. He didn’t even look at her like he usually would. It was chilling how still he was… at least rage was the usual reaction. It meant something. He cared. Now however, he didn’t even acknowledge the Hybrid next to him.
[b “You should have talked to me first. Not Baxter. You claim I’m your partner, your friend… heh… it’s fucking funny y’know I um… I actually thought I meant something to someone.”] Anton laughed, forcing himself up from the edge of the bed.
[b “I made a mistake getting close to this Pack. The thing is Raven, you say I shouldn’t have to suffer, but yet here I am. I didn’t have a choice when Draven turned me, I didn’t have a choice when you turned me, and now I’ve lost my choice again… two of those have been because of secrets, and lies, and no real…trust. I mean what should I expect, right? I’m a fucking junkie! Now I’m back to being that crazy fucking junkie of a human!”] Anton laughed as he pushed himself off the edge of the bed, almost falling to his knees but managing to keep himself up right by grabbing a nearby IV stand.
[b “I think I’ve learned something from this. You know what I’ve learned? You never really have a true friend and I should have stuck to my original values. Don’t trust anyone. If I’m turning back Raven, I don’t want to turn anywhere near this Pack. I’m done. Your values? They mean nothing.”]
Lexi was expecting to see Piper in a bad way from what the guard had explained, but little prepared her for what she saw in the cell. Piper wasn’t even being treated like a person who had just saved an Alpha’s life, as well as a Beta’s since Anton was almost killed. Instead she was chained down like an animal! If Dustin saw her like this, he would lose his mind! She expected better from The Resistance and wanted to throw her own words in, but knew it might only cause more conflict. She was trying to prove that Piper could be trusted. Approaching the girl, Lexi knelt down by the chair and instantly looked at the restraints only to see they each had locks on. It appeared The Resistance were taking no chances with this one. She shot Piper another apologetic look before the girl spoke.
[+orange “Don’t worry, they won’t disrespect Dustin’s life like that anymore. It was hard enough losing him, I’ve told them not to talk about it so soon. They understand now and you don’t have to fear that anymore but Piper, you can’t end up another casualty because of their ignorance. I know it seems like not many people trust you right now but you have to keep fighting with me for him. It’s what he would have wanted. You understand?”] Lexi asked, giving her own cryptic message in return. She needed Piper to stay focused and for them both to start working on their next steps. Dustin was still a long way to getting on his feet and he needed Piper as much as he needed Lexi and his father! She knew why Piper acted the way she did. With a compromise to Dustin’s safety, Lexi couldn’t argue and say she wouldn’t have done the same but Piper was more important alive than she realised.
[+orange “I’m not saying this because you helped me Piper. Believe it or not, maybe I’m just seeing you with a different perspective. The patient is… it’s a long road ahead. He hasn’t really made much of a difference. We just have to hope he can last until moonlight.”] Lexi explained, wishing she had more news. She wanted Dustin to be awake. She would do anything to hear his sarcastic comments or even bark an order at her - something more than the state he was in now. Unfortunately it was a waiting game.
[+orange “It’s also not safe for you just to be running out of here. Not in your condition. You have to trust me that I’m working on something and…”]
[+purple “Lexi, that’s enough. She’s coming upstairs.”] Trey chipped in with Baxter tight by his side.
[+purple “Guard, keep the IV attached but chain her hands and feet. At least until we know something more.”]
[+orange “She’s not an animal!”] Lexi argued and as the guard approached, she stood defensively in front of Piper.
[+orange “Do you not understand? She saved us back there! Trey you made your mistakes. Should we chain you up to!?”] Lexi hissed, staring at the Alpha as if to dare challenge her.
[+blue “I think you can trust her…”] Baxter’s quiet voice added, though with how worried he was for his sister, it didn’t sound too convincing.
Trey stayed silent for a few moments, contemplating his decision before passing the key over to Lexi.
[+purple “If she does anything, it’s on you Lexi.”] He warned and Lexi didn’t hesitate to undo the binds around Piper and offer a helping hand.
[+orange “What is going on?”]
[+purple “You’ll find out soon enough. Come with us.”]
[b “Piper is a manipulative, self-centered brat, but in all the times she’s betrayed me, none of them resulted in me losing someone I loved. You’re in no position to judge her Trey. As far as I’m concerned, I can’t trust any of you.”] Raven said just as coldly as before, and it was clear in her posture and wary glances that it was true. Raven was still expecting him to last out and take advantage of her injuries to kill her here and now! But as much as Raven saw Trey as the villain in this scenario, she knew she wasn’t entirely innocent herself. There was a secret guilt that weighed on Raven’s heart, adding to her insistence that the cure be Anton’s choice not hers. She wasn’t the good person they made her out to be, and at Trey’s admiring words, Raven shook her head, refusing the compliment. Sure, she hoped this was going to work out for both of them too, but she knew the chances of that were slim. Raven wasn’t going to let Anton suffer for her mistake. If it came down to a choice, she’d fully accept the consequences of her actions. Of course, that choice may not be hers to make, as Anton burst through the door furious at the sight of her.
[#224466 “Alpha, I’m sorry. He grew suspicious when the boy started asking questions and he… I couldn’t stop him without using force, and I didn’t want to hurt him further.”] Amber admitted, keeping her eyes low as she felt the irrational wave of fear strike her. Disobeying her Alpha’s order, failing her task, and hearing his raised voice – Amber tried to suppress the shudder and convince herself that Trey wouldn’t punish her the way Helena did. She stood ready, waiting on further orders. If Trey wanted Anton removed, Amber would do it. If he wanted her to go hunt down the bastard that caused all this, she’d happily do that too. Whatever it took to make this right.
Raven ignored Amber’s internal struggle, having eyes only for her partner. She saw past his rage and panic, searching for the truth in his words. So he did want to be a Hybrid again, but was it only so he could protect the pack? Was it that he wanted or what he felt he had to do?
[b “What w-would you have done differently Anton? Even if you were a h-hybrid, would you have abandoned the k-kids? Would you have left them with t-that fang just to c-come help me? You m-made the deal, r-remember? The twins c-came first. And you were able to s-save them even as a human. You n-need to understand this Anton: If you w-want to be a H-hybrid again, that’s your choice. But d-don’t do it out of g-guilt, because none of this was on you.”] Raven insisted, forcing a little more strength into her voice to show she was serious. Anton didn’t seem to be pacified; in fact, he only grew more enraged when Candy tried to explain why she couldn’t treat them both.
As Anton’s temper grew so did the tension in the room, as if everyone was holding their breaths in anticipation. The secrets that slipped from Anton’s lips were clearly enough to push Candy to the edge, but before anyone could step in and stop him, the cook took the situation into her own hands.
Raven felt a prick in her chest following by an intense burning. While the cure that Nico gave her had slowly seeped through her body, eating away at the vampire venom first, this drug completely reversed the affects. It neutralized the cure and replenished the vampire venom and Wolf DNA that had begun to deteriorate. The burning in Raven’s veins told her that the venom had begun to spread once again, reawakening the Vampire side of her. The glow returned to her eyes, the black streaks began sprouting from her original bite mark and Raven gave a violent gasp and clutched her chest as she felt her lungs constricting. The irony of her condition was that she literally had to die in order to save her life! She choked on a couple sputtering breaths before her lungs finally died and her heart gave its last painful, feeble beats before it too fell lifeless. It hurt. It hurt more than Raven remembered, but of course the last time she had transformed, the pain of dying was muted by the bubbling of Vampire venom in her blood. This time, as the symptoms returned, Raven found herself clinging to the last few moments of life, before she once again returned to the undead. Her skin began to chill and the colour very slowly started draining from her face. Her injuries, though still not healing without the moonlight, were far less severe to a hybrid than they were to her ailing wolf-self. Raven knew almost immediately that she was going to survive this… but as her glowing eyes peered back at her partner, the heavy dread set in – she was going to survive this, but would Anton?
[b “Candy… what have you done?] Raven asked in shock, glancing back at the human in horror. She had taken away Anton’s choice! She took away his only chance to be a hybrid again and the man didn’t even know it!
[b “Trey, get your guards to being Piper in here, now! We need to make that deal as soon as possible. Candy… I told you before, not knowing how to do something is not a crime… but defying a direct order is! If you want to stay in this pack, you better do everything in your power to delay this and buy Anton as much time as possible, understood?”] Raven demanded sharply. She didn’t know Candy’s back story, but Anton’s slip about her child gave the hybrid enough to know it was a sensitive topic. She wouldn’t ask for details, and she had to assume whatever their history was, it was enough to justify Candy’s impulsive action. But whatever reasons Candy may have, her decision could have far more consequences than she realized.
[b “Baxter, I want you in the room when we talk to Piper. Make sure she can be trusted, and Anton… Anton, we need to talk… alone!”] Raven insisted, giving each of them a sharp look to go on with their tasks and to give Anton and Raven a moment of privacy. She slid her legs off the table and tried to stand, still a little shaky on her legs. While some effects from the cure were rapid, others would take time. It would be a few hours before the cure finished working and even then, Raven had holes in her back and shoulder from the hooks that wouldn’t be healed until nightfall. Still, Anton looked like he was hardly able to stand at the moment and Raven wanted him seated if she was going to tell him the truth. As tempting as it was to keep the truth from him until they were sure they could get another antidote from Nico, Raven didn’t want to lie to Anton any more than she had to. Obviously, as Candy predicted, it didn’t work out well for her last time.
[b “Candy shouldn’t have done that… It wasn’t her choice to make, Anton, it was yours. That’s why I sent Baxter to talk to you first. I needed to know if you wanted the cure for yourself before you knew about me because… because there was only one cure. Candy didn’t create it, her uncle did. She can’t make more… at least, not before you fully turn human.”] Raven explained, keeping her voice calm and even to let the information sink in. The fact that Candy couldn’t make more antidote had two very crucial implications: 1) Unless they found another solution, by the end of the day Anton would be a human, 2) if Candy hadn’t done what she did, by the end of the day Raven would have been dead.
[b “I’m sending Piper in to steal another cure from Nico. If that doesn’t work, I’ll storm his workshop myself and kill whoever stands in my way. I never meant to take away your choice in this Anton. This is my fault, my mistake, and you shouldn’t have to suffer for it.”]
When Lexi entered the cell, she’d see that her own forgiveness and concern for Piper was certainly not shared among the Resistance. Piper was being kept like a high security prisoner. She was bound to a chair in the cell with her ankles, torso, and wrists tied down to keep her immobile. A tattered, bloody bandage was secured around her neck to patch the self-inflicted wound and an IV was feeding a supply of blood through Piper’s arm: enough to ensure she didn’t go savage, but certainly not enough to help replenish her strength. Piper’s other wounds – the slice to her neck and the cauterized stab to her shoulder, were left untreated and it was clear by the slight tremor through her body that the girl was in a lot of pain. Fortunately, it appeared both Amber and Trey kept their word as Piper didn’t have any new injuries aside from some hand-shaped bruising on her arms from when the guards had to wrestle the blade from her hand. Piper wasn’t being harmed, but she sure wasn’t being treated well.
As Lexi hurried into the cell, the girl raised her sharp eyes, expecting another round of questioning from the guards, but instead, her defiance morphed into surprise when she saw the girl she’d asked for. She doubted the guards would actually consider her request to talk to Lexi and even more shocked that the girl would agree to come down here now that her brother was safe and sound. Piper knew Lexi was too much of a goodie-goodie to abandon her back at the clinic, but she hadn’t expected the girl to give her the time of day now that they were out of there – never mind giving her that apologetic look as if she were actually concerned for her wellbeing.
[#aa0000 “I know the Resistance and Sirhan don’t trust me, and for good reason. But Dustin was my friend. He was the only friend I ever had and now he’s dead. I warned those bastards that if they didn’t stop talking about my dead friend, then I’d take a fucking knife and stab it through my neck. And they had the nerve to ask me why I didn’t bring him back home… as if I’d drag my friend’s dead body across Council territory just to return him to the pack that would kill me on site! They might have me tied down now, but I swear Lexi, if they ask me one more damn thing about Dustin, I’ll find some other way to end it!”] Piper hissed, her voice a little hoarse from the injuries to her throat. As she spoke she kept her weary eyes fixed on Lexi’s, trying to convey the hidden message behind her words: [i They asked me about Dustin, they were going to give away that he was alive! If they didn’t stop, I was going to carve out the mic in my neck or die trying. Don’t let them put Dustin in any more danger!]
[#aa0000 “Am I ok? Seriously? Look, Lexi, just because I tried to help you back there, doesn’t mean you suddenly have to start caring. I didn’t call you down here for your sympathy, I just wanted to know… the patient… is he gonna be ok?”] Piper asked, trying to keep her tough tone, but the concern was seeping into her voice. She was worried about Dustin. The Doc said he would pull through, but could she really trust the word of some Council doctor? And what about the stress of the rescue, what if it made Dustin’s condition worse?! Piper wouldn’t forgive herself if her decision to bring Dustin to the Doc ended up costing him his life. Not only was Dustin her only friend, but she was forever in his debt in a way she could never explain to Lexi. If she even tried to tell the girl why protecting Dustin meant so much to her… Lexi would probably drop all this concern and sympathy and order the guards to kill her! After all, Piper was responsible for destroying both twins’ lives, Lexi just didn’t know it yet.
[#aa0000 “You need to get me out of here Lexi. These guys have no idea who they’re messing with. It’s not safe for me to be here and I really don’t need anymore blood on my conscience.”]
[+green “Whatever. Your call but you can deal with him when he finds out.”] Candy rolled her eyes at the dying Hybrid, already knowing the fire she was lighting for herself. Candy had worked with Anton before and with their own history, she knew how destructive secrets could be. It took a lot for Anton to build relationships and to gain trust with anyone around him, so if there was tested at any point it was like someone flicked a switch! His loyalty would cross into rage. The sheer thought of it made Candy rub the back of his neck and wince in pain at a small reminder of her history with Anton. He wasn’t controlled with his anger and she had her fair few crossings. Still, it wasn’t her problem anymore. She was here to help Sirhan and if Raven wanted to be the next Miss. Unfortunate then that was her call. She knew the gamble she was taking with her partner and if the stupid bitch wanted that to be her last dying action, who was Candy to argue? Her goal now was just to obey the wishes of everyone around her and buy her brothers safety. Once that was done she could get herself out and go back to her own lifestyle. As Raven tried to conjure up some sort of plan to buy herself more time, that was exactly what Candy was focusing on. Her eyes looked at the clock, predicting just how much time both Anton and Raven had left. Anton’s human transformation would be done before the moon made its appearance and Raven…well without something, her time was fading quicker than she probably knew.
[+green “I’m a chemist, not a biologist sugar… um, I guess, it could work. I just need enough Vampire venom to mix with some other medicines and it might work. No promises but…”]
[+purple “Then it is settled. Doctor, send one of the medics down to extract Vampire venom from some of our strongest. We need the best dose possible. Do it quickly.”] Trey jumped in, ordering his medics to get to work. He might not have known much about how to make a difference for Raven and Anton, but if he could buy them time then he would use all his resources to support. At least, until Piper was brought into question…
[+purple “And what price would she want this time? That girl seems to be pushing her boundaries.”] Trey noted but his face fell as Raven snapped back. For Trey it was hard for him to understand. To him it shouldn’t matter what someone became. Every race has a world of possibilities and the Resistance was a prime example of that. Vampires, Wolves, Humans, Hybrids… each one made something work. He had seen it in Raven and Anton! Yet Raven’s argument was far more personal. He knew about the transformations they had been forced to endure and now she didn’t even have her brother to help her through it. Her own partner was going through his own trauma….
[+purple “You’re one hell of a woman Raven to put your life for someone else’s choice. I just hope something can work out, for the both of you…”]
In other conditions Anton may have listened… if he had seen Raven before he was pulled away and at least had a small drop of knowledge about how she was doing. Knowledge given to him by her. He despised being kept in the dark and his entire body was shaking with from being kept away from the news. If it was something serious, then he would have been told, surely? They had passed the days of secrets and keeping things behind each others backs. They didn’t look at each other in disgust for being two different species. He wasn’t the bloodsucking leech and she wasn’t the filthy mongrel. They faced dangers together beyond what would normally be survivable. They had gone past their grudges. They built something and became stronger. She taught him how to hold compassion and friendship and trust…
Or so he thought until Baxter gave it away.
The medics bandages were still half-hanging from his body, his skin still peeling around the burns and the cannulas they used to inject painkillers were barely placed into his hands and arms as he made his exit. Ambers words didn’t even register as he slammed the door open, his eyes instantly fixing on Raven. He knew instantly something was wrong. Her eyes, her veins… he worked with her everyday and he could see the smallest of details. When approaching danger so much, he knew how to quickly check over Raven’s condition.
[b “Calm down? Fucking calm down? Don’t insult me! Don’t you fucking dare insult me after everything… you… are you kidding me?”]
[+purple “Amber! Why is he out of his room!?”] Trey shouted, jumping in a defensive position and ready to intervene if he had to.
[b “This is between me and Raven! What did you say? Worse than it looks? I’m not blind! I can see I can… don’t tell me it happened to you…”] Anton’s voice was laced with his own pain as it echoed across the room, but it was nothing compared to the fear of finding out the truth. His hands were clenched into tight fists, his now blunt and human teeth grinding together and his jaw tight with the tension.
As Raven revealed the truth it was like a punch to the gut. Now his skin was turning more human, the evidence of his feelings were much more visible. While his cheeks flushed red with rage and his eyes watered, the rest of his skin flushed to a pale white with shock. Each breath was short and shaken. His veins bulged against his skin and around his head.
[b “Why haven’t we got that bastard…”]
[+purple “He escaped… I tackled him and…”]
[b “It’s not fucking good enough!”] Anton barked and his aggression was getting so intense his legs gave way underneath him from the pressure he was putting onto himself. Two medics quickly ran to his side but Anton shoved them away, using a nearby chair to keep himself straight.
[b “I’m… I’m fine it’s just… I’ve had worse. I look more human and you look less alive. Why didn’t you tell me you stupid, stupid son-of-a-bitch. I could have helped! I could have… look at me Raven!? How can I protect you, the Pack, or anything as a human!? How can I? I’m useless! I could have done something if I was a Hybrid but now? Look at you all, you’re all looking at me like I’m weak. Damn it why do we even care. Candy just give her the medicine , and then I’ll be next.”]
[+green “I can’t…it’s…”] Candy went to interrupt but as she did, it flipped Anton over the edge. The chair he was leaning on was suddenly flipped over and Anton went to charge at the chemist, this time being held back by Trey who was forced to grip his burnt shoulder. Anton cried out in pain, but his furious glare didn’t leave Candy.
[b “Don’t fucking test me you fucking bitch! You ruined me! You fucking ruin everything I have and why? You can just stop this. Why haven’t you stopped this? You are a pathetic fucking excuse of a human being!”] Anton yelled, trying to rag himself away from Trey.
[+purple “Anton if you do not calm down we will force you away!”]
[b “So you can keep more secrets!? EH!? Candy can’t look after a single thing in her life. You’re playing a game. Give her the god damn cure and save something rather than destroying it for once! You let your Uncle go mad, let your little brother become an experiment, killed hundreds with your drugs, killed our own fucking kid! You vile, piece-of…”]
It happened in slow motion. Through Anton’s rage, the triggering piece of history was enough for Candy to react. While each guard was around Anton trying to help Trey keep him in control, Candy grabbed the cure tightly in her fist and slammed it straight towards Ravens chest.
[+green “Then let’s see if you can be a better human.”] She hissed, aiming to take away Anton’s only chance and giving Raven her second chance. Anton still didn’t know that single acton had sealed his fate and that his own words forced Candy to react and take away his choice…
Lexi had been as silent as her father for the time her brother had been resting. They didn’t need to speak. The atmosphere in the room was enough to say a thousand words. It was probably the strongest symbol of unity the family had for weeks. While Eli was holding his sons hand, Lexi was gently brushing his hair out of his eyes and staying as close as she could. All the chaos that was happening outside the room seemed like it was from another world, it didn’t register. All her focus was on her twin. She had seen him like this far too often recently. She wished it was different… she wished they could all be sat together, sharing the same silence even, but awake, alive, and safe. She barely heard the knock until the voice broke the quiet. Forcing her eyes away, she turned to face the guard and as soon as he spoke about the detainment cells, she knew exactly who he was talking about.
[+orange “You what? No… did you say his name? Did you say my brothers name?”] Lexi quickly asked, not in anger but with concern. It was the only thing that pushed her from her chair and over to the guard in question.
[+orange “You have to spread the news to the other guards not to say his name in her presence, do you understand? Do not mention him, talk about him - in fact around her, he doesn’t exist. He… we need to keep him safe.”] Lexi whispered, turning to look at her brother and her father as she spoke. She hated that she had to leave but she had to make sure he was going to be safe but she also owed Piper! She promised she would get the girl out and she still couldn’t shake that if it wasn’t for Piper, then they would be sat around her brother in mourning right now!
[+orange “I’ll go and speak to her. You promise me she’s ok? Can you increase security around my brothers room. I’ll head straight down.”] Turning to her dad, Lexi mouthed an apology before quickly slipping out the room. She knew he wouldn’t approve but at this point, approval wasn’t something Lexi was seeking. Rushing straight down to the cells, Lexi could see small splatters of blood on the ground which directly led to Pipers cell.
[+orange “Can you open the door please? I’d like to go in and speak with her.”] Lexi asked the guards in the cells, looking at Piper with an apologetic look. She should have warned them sooner about what they could and couldn’t talk about around her. She should have come down sooner!
[+orange “They said you wanted to talk to me? Piper… I know why you did it but you can’t risk what you did! I’ve explained to them, they won’t make the same mistake but, listen, I’m working on it. I’m convincing the others but you need to be careful. We’ve got time. Somethings happening upstairs, a lot of commotion. I don’t know what but we’ve got time. Are you ok?”] Lexi asked, stepping into the cell and for the first time she wasn’t look at Piper as an enemy. She actually looked at the girl with sympathy and concern! All Lexi wanted to do was help.
[b “Anton doesn’t t-take bad news well as a h-hybrid… If he’s w-worse as a h-human, than it’s even m-more reason for me t-to keep this from him… at least until I h-have a plan…”] Raven pointed out as Baxter and Candy tried to talk her out of the secrets. She knew Anton was going to be pissed once he found out, but it would be a lot shorter lived if she could give him some sort of answers. The last time she took a choice away from Anton, he threw it back in her face. Anton had hated her, stopped talking to her, and – even though he said it wasn’t true – Raven couldn’t help but feel that part of the reason he was so willing to drug her and drag her back to Helena and Draven’s clutches was because he resented her for talking away his choice. She couldn’t do that to him again. If Anton truly wanted to be human, then she’d talk the drug and support his choice. But if he wanted to be a Hybrid, she couldn’t force him to give up his only chance. Especially when Candy said how dangerous it would be for Anton to go through another transformation. If turning into a Wolf or a Vampire was likely to kill him for the next few years, it may even be too dangerous for him to stay with the pack! Sirhan would accept him as a human, just like they accepted Candy and Baxter, but living among Vampires, Wolves, and Hybrids, the chances of him getting bit were far too high. As far as Raven was concerned, this was as much about life or death for Anton as it was for her.
[b “T-the cure… it affected my vampire genes f-first… before it a-affected my wolf genes… maybe if I get m-myself bit by another f-fang, it’ll give the cure s-something to feed on and b-buy me some more t-time? The venom h-hurts like a b-bitch, but if it works…”] Raven suggested, trying to think of a way to delay the inevitable. If Candy can work her magic and buy her a few hours, maybe that, combined with a steady influx of Vamp venom might be enough to keep her alive for an extra day.
[b “I n-never said I’d t-trust Piper… she may be a t-traitor, but she… she keeps her end of a deal as l-long as the p-price is worth it.”] Raven pointed out. She’d seen Piper risk life and limb to keep her end of a deal. As long as they could make it worth her while, trust won’t be a factor.
[b “T-this isn’t about r-race, Trey!”] Raven growled when he asked why she couldn’t live with Anton being human. Trey made the assumption that Talon was intolerant of other species and that misjudgement cost Talon his life. This wasn’t about accepting a human into their ranks. This wasn’t about Anton being a human, or wolf, or vampire, or hybrid! This was about choice.
[b “You’re a B-bloodborn Trey… you n-never had to c-choose what you wanted to b-be… I was forced into b-being a Hybrid, against my w-will! Just like Anton! And if I c-could choose, I w-would go back to b-being a wolf in a heartbeat! I m-miss the sound of my own h-heartbeat… I m-miss the warmth of m-my skin… I miss being a-alive… T-that choice was t-taken from me… I w-won’t take that from A-anton again…”] Raven insisted.
Amber didn’t understand Anton’s change of heart. How could he go from wanting to kill the traitor one minute to wanting to give her a second chance the next? Sure, she saved Dustin, but did that really make up for everything else? How do they know she didn’t set Dustin up in the first place?! He seemed to think it was worth a try since the twins both sided with Piper, but was that really a good predictor? It’s not like Lexi and Dustin were fabulous judges of character.
Amber was hopeful when she heard the frustrated growl, knowing that although he wasn’t happy about it, it seemed Anton was going to follow her advice and let Raven have time to heal. She didn’t know the extent of Raven’s condition, but Trey had given the orders to give Raven some space and the last thing Amber wanted was to disobey him. It if came to force, she new she could keep Anton away – he was a frail human after all – but she really didn’t want it to come to that. Amber didn’t have much of a reputation with Anton yet and she really wanted to avoid earning herself a bad one simply because she enforced a rule he didn’t want to obey.
When Baxter soon joined them, Amber didn’t realize the hidden threat nor did she understand the implication of his words. By the time she caught on, Anton was already shoving the medics aside and pushing his way through to Raven’s room.
[#224466 “No, wait! Anton, don’t go in there! Dammit Anton, she doesn’t want you in there!”] Amber called after him. She shared a worried glance with Baxter before following after the former Hybrid to see what chaos he was about to spark.
[b “Shit. Calm d-down Anton. This is exactly why I d-didn’t want you t-to see me yet. It looks worse t-than it is.”] Raven stated, trying to sit up a little straighter so as to hide the severity of her condition. Unfortunately, there were aspects she couldn’t hide. The colour of her eyes had returned to the Amber of a wolf, the web-like black veins were gone, the distinct sound of a heartbeat pounded in her chest as it rose and fell with each breath. There was no point in lying now, Anton could clearly see what happened.
[b “The son of a b-bitch shot me with one of those d-darts right after putting a b-bullet into his friend’s s-s-skull. I thought we w-were supposed to be the m-monsters, but that bastard is c-cold.”] Raven explained. She stood by her previous decision to find out Anton’s thoughts about the cure before taking the drug for herself. It would have been a lot easier if he’d just answered Baxter like she wanted, but there were ways around that. Anton didn’t know that Candy couldn’t produce another antidote, so for him, the choice to take the drug or not was still unburdened. She just hoped he’d be honest with her – despite how hypocritical it was.
[b “D-dammit Anton, you l-look like shit. Those b-burns... and you’re even m-more human now than when I l-left. Your t-time to decide is running out. Y-you need to make up your m-mind. Do you want to stay human? Or do you w-want to be a Hybrid? C-candy said you c-can’t wait. If you d-don’t take the cure now, you w-won’t be able to t-turn for years. S-so? What’s it g-gonna be?”] Raven asked, not letting on how his choice would affect her. He needed to make this decision for himself.
[i “Lexi? Sorry to interrupt, I know you want to be with your brother but… we’ve got a situation in the detainment cells.”] One of the Resistance vampires said after knocking lightly on the door to Dustin’s recovery room. The young Alpha was unconscious again and not healing near as quickly due to the lack of moonlight, but the steady rise and fall of his chest was reassurance enough. Eli sat by his bedside, watching his son’s expression contort with the occasional wince of pain. The entire time, Eli held his son’s hand, his thumb pressed against the boy’s wrist as a reassurance that Dustin’s heart was still beating. Eli was silent and angry at the world for nearly taking both his children from him, and each time someone interrupted his thoughts, he’d glare at them with eyes cold enough to drive them from the room. The last thing he wanted was for some Fang to steal his daughter away from her twin brother’s side, but the Vampire pointedly ignored his glares and focused solely on Lexi.
[i “It’s the prisoner, Piper. We haven’t harmed her, just like we promised, but we have been asking her questions. She was stubbornly silent as always, but when we asked about your brother, Piper… well… she swiped one of our blades and dug it into the side of her neck.”] The Vampire reported, looking rather disturbed by the scene.
[i “She’s alive – we disarmed her, patched her up, and gave her a blood transfusion to keep her stable, but she almost drove herself savage. She’s refusing to say anything more unless she’s allowed to speak to you. She said that you would understand?”] Unsurprisingly, the request came coupled with a disapproving snarl from Eli, but he had learned that his daughter would do whatever she wanted despite his warnings. It was better not to fight whatever decision she made.
[i “I know that Trey and Raven are wanting to speak with Piper, but at this rate, I doubt she’ll be very cooperative. I hate to drag you away from your brother Lexi, but would you mind helping us? Maybe you’ll have better luck getting Piper to cooperate?”]
[+purple “You’re right Raven and I apologise for passing my thoughts. However, we all make observations and you know Anton better than anyone. You’re keeping this a secret because as much as my thoughts should be kept to myself, you are thinking them too.”] Trey spoke up and he knew he was probably treading on a thin line with her patience and their trust, but he couldn’t just fall silent as much as his gut instinct was telling him to. It would have been easier to build trust with Sirhan again if they just nodded and agreed with everything they said, but with Trey’s experience and also taking lessons from Amber, it would never build a strong relationship. They were far from that but as an Alpha he had to echo his thoughts in another best interests - even if it was the Beta of the Pack he almost helped destroy…
[+purple “We’ll do whatever needs to be done to support you Raven. You give me your orders when you are ready.”]
Candy had never expected this mess to happen. She knew her Uncle was ruthless and blood thirsty, but for both Beta’s to be attacked so soon? Candy thought she would have enough time to study the drug to perhaps start playing around with its properties and prove herself! With time she was hoping the small white lie would protect her little brother. She still didn’t know if she could trust Sirhan, especially with her relationship with Anton. The fool would have been turned back to a Hybrid if they avoided her Uncle just for a few days longer! Instead her small white lie ended up causing more havoc with very little options on how to fix the situation. Candy might not have had the perfect understanding of Nico’s drug, but she did understand some of the properties and the symptoms they caused. Anton and Raven only had a matter of hours left if they were lucky. The main difference: Anton would take his first full lungful of air, and Raven would breathe her last.
[+green “I haven’t had many people I could trust in my life Raven. The expectation isn’t around you creatures, it’s about everyone I have been around. You don’t get something for nothing. I lied because that’s the only tool I have had in the past to buy myself and my brother time. Also don’t talk to me about lying sweetheart when your piece of trash partner is the last person who is going to find out. I’m excited for when that happens he’ll…”] Candy started to rant but a quick elbow from Baxter quickly reminded her this wasn’t the time of the place. None of them were getting any closer to a solution and Candy looked up at the clock to try and predict how long Raven had left. With the way her symptoms were progressing, she wouldn’t see the sunset…
[+green “Good luck making a plan… I told you, there’s only one. It has to be a decision, and quickly.”]
[+blue “Candy you know more than you want to admit. I’ll go speak to him for you Raven but I could see him before… I’m worried he’s um… Should I say it?”] Baxter asked, looking at his sister for confirmation. Candy just rolled her eyes and shrugged.
[+blue “His human-self is self-destructive. I knew him before he was a Vampire and he doesn’t take secrets or bad news well. Just a warning. Don’t leave it for too long Raven. I can see in your eyes too that you’ve had a bad experience from keeping secrets from him. You and my sister aren’t too different…”] Baxter spoke up before rushing to the other medical room to complete his task.
[+green “I might be able to buy you both an extra couple of hours but I can’t promise anything. I’d really need more time to study the drug, maybe get my Uncles plans… then I’d have a greater understanding of how to counteract this thing with an antidote but for you guys, if you want to send someone I’d need another full dose. Baxter told me if he isn’t plotting with the hunters he works with an elite team of chemists. Hand-chosen in his old lab. I haven’t been back since but it is where he used to experiment on Baxter…”] Candy explained, wishing she had more to offer in hope for Raven and Anton but time was against them. With a few tweaks she might just push their limit to the night, but she didn’t even know if the antidote would work at that point or if her Uncle even made any more!
[+purple “I’m sorry to chip in Raven but are you sure we can trust Piper? We’d need someone to go with her, make sure the mission was completed but also what about that bullet in her neck? My medics have explained it to me. If she’s caught, or if the Council hear Nico is producing this, they might run to him. I don’t want to steal away your chances Raven, but this is dangerous. As I said, this is your call and I’ll make it happen, but there are risks. Are you sure you can trust her? Is it really worth the risk? Could you really not live with the decision of letting Anton stay human? I have to ask… you’ve been through a lot together and got through it. It’s your call…”] Trey added and prepared his team to go and grab Piper. If Raven wanted to go ahead with this, he would’t argue against her.
[b “I’m not vouching for the bitch I’m just saying what I saw. She does play both sides, she’s fucked me over more times than I can count but she’s also saved my life more often than not. I don’t know what to make of her. I was ready to slit her throat only a couple of hours ago… I just think we need to test her, give her a chance. For some reason the twins are determined she’s a good kid.”] Anton shared his knowledge though it was clear he wasn’t happy with what had happened. It was always so easy to blame Piper. When something went wrong, or when someone crossed him, he was sure Piper had something to do with it. She was consistently working against everyone and it was now catching up to her. In his old life Anton would have laughed at how she deserved it and probably would have enjoyed watching whatever fate came crashing down on her. After seeing Lexi plead Piper’s case and seeing the look in Dustin’s eyes however, he wasn’t too sure.
As Amber ordered him to keep still for Raven’s sake, he grunted in frustration and let the medics continue, though lingered on the edge. The burns on his back, shoulder, and neck would scar him for life in his human form. A constant reminder of just how delicate a mortal life was. With the powers of the supernatural he was easy prey and easily killable. As the dressings were put on top, he hissed out and gripped the fabric of the bed tightly, turning his knuckles white. Another sign of his mortality creeping up on him and his blood flowing. Even his fangs which appeared as he hissed in pain were starting to retract and become blunt.
[b “We always fuck up when we separate. Get ourselves in more danger than its worth. We made a deal and we stuck to it. We did what we said we should. If Raven is carrying just the chemical and the hooks, she’ll pull through. She’s tough, resilient. Heh… I’m glad she got a few of the bastards. Wish I could have seen it myself. She’s only hell of a partner.”] Anton spoke in her praise and as he did, the door opened with Baxter popping his head through.
[+blue “How are you feeling?”]
[b “Shit. What are you doing here with your bitch of a sister?”]
[+blue “We’ve got something. You don’t look too good.”]
[b “Yeah well the sooner your sister puts that antidote in me, the sooner I can make sure everyones safe.”]
[+blue “So you don’t want to be a human?”] Baxter asked, which only triggered a long silence from the former Hybrid. Anton stared at the kid, his expression hardly giving anything away until suddenly, he slapped one of the medics away and pushed himself from his bed.
[b “Why did you ask that?”] Anton asked, taking an aggressive step forward towards the kid.
[+blue “I’m just curious I…”]
[b “Bullshit. Why do you care if I want to be human or not? You don’t ask that sort of shit without a reason.”]
[+blue “We just have to make sure you really want the antidote!”]
[b “Where’s Raven?”] Anton asked, turning to Amber and shooting her the same suspicious look. Before he could be stopped, he grabbed the kid and used him to push through the door and threw Baxter on the ground just as he saw Candy, Raven, and Trey.
[b “What the fuck is going on!? Raven? Are you… what the… you…Amber said… she said you were struggling but… What did he do? What did that son-of-a-bitch do!?”]
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