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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Anton really wanted to believe that it was the drugs in his system, combined with his symptoms of withdrawal, that was allowing him to see Raven’s injuries to the extent of what they were. For once he was hoping it was some twisted hallucination but instead, as he took the binds from her wrist and his fingers grazed against her raw skin, he realised the brutality of Draven’s torture. He shouldn’t have expected anything less. Not only had he witnessed many unfortunate captives fall under Draven’s twisted plans, but he had also been part of it himself. His one pure white eye, scarred though sunlight was a permanent reminder. Though Anton’s one scar which he resented the most was the two piercing marks which lay just in-between the ones Raven created turning him into a Hybrid. It was Draven’s bite - the one that forced a bond which Anton wanted nothing more than to break. To know he was a Blood Brother to that man was the very reason he turned his back on the Coven and the Council more specifically in the first place.
He couldn’t take away what had happened to Raven and he was sure their own ties were pretty much snapped, but he had a debt to pay and he didn’t care about the risks at this point. He had seen what Dustin had to endure and if this was just the beginning for Raven, he wasn’t going to let her have another hour in their hands. Through Raven’s own pain and suffering she was still being the selfless mutt she always was. She could barely lift her head up and she was still thinking about how much Anton had to suffer through even though that time had passed!
[b “Yeah, well I shouldn’t have let this happen to you but shit happens doesn’t it Raven? We’re here now. You got me out alive and now I owe you the favour in return. Just take it easy. Deep breaths.”] Anton knew the struggle well. It was a battle of composure and Driven managed to beat it out of him until the very moment he had Dustin ready to rip him apart in front of the Council! He could see Raven was trying to hold her own, so he gave her the moment she needed to catch her breath. It was her next request that made his eyes harden into a determined stare.
[b “I told them very little about Sirhan. I gave as little away as I could while still holding that trust. I was fucked. Those drugs were strong but I managed to keep sense. She won’t be getting anything out of me and as for asking more questions…they both won’t have the opportunity. The next time they walk in, I’m making my move. She’s not spending a second turning your mind, you hear me? That bitch isn’t laying a finger on you and I won’t say another word against Sirhan.”] At this point he knew it wasn’t much to offer. All he had was two syringes in his arsenal. He could shift into his wolf form but there was no way he could fight and get Raven out. He was also suffering a huge come down from the drugs - Draven and Helena must have made them stronger knowing they were going to Anton, so the effects were hard to battle against. He was surprised he managed to untie the ropes around Raven’s wrists with how much he was shaking! Still, he was the best plan they had and the best chance of survival. He meant every word. He wouldn’t let Helena turn Raven. If that was the last person he took down before Draven finally finished him off, then so be it.
The start to her next sentence had Anton almost ready to jump in on his own defence. There was a quick flicker of pain in his eyes as she repeated Helena’s words, but there was something in her eyes. It wasn’t there a moment ago but did she actually trust him? There was almost a return of that familiar cocky grin on his face when she brought up the fact he did care, but it was quickly replaced with a stubborn scowl as she suggested he escape on his own.
[b “You think I’m abandoning you here? What you have faced alone for a few hours is NOTHING compared to what they are going to do to you, do you understand? They are fucking lunatics! I made a promise to myself years ago that I wouldn’t let that bastard win and if I run away, you know what I will come back to? You and your brother ready to rip me and whoever I bring back for support apart. Fuck that; I’m not risking it. We made a deal Raven. Beside’s I have to take responsibility for my actions and part of that is getting you out of here. I’m a lot of bad things but I keep my word. I’m not leaving.”] His word was final. There was nothing that would convince Anton to abandon Raven on her own while he made his own escape. He knew he could accomplish it with his small plan and Raven was right, in his wolf form he would be quick enough to slip away.
Anton was almost ready for his fellow Hybrid to protest against his decision but as the cell doors creaked, he shot up to his feet. He was quick to lose his balance and needed the wall for support - his own weakness made the world seem like it was tipping from side-to-side and it was hard to sharpen that focus. His hand shot into his pocket, wrapping around the syringe. If this was Helena coming back he wouldn’t waste a second making his move. It could be now or never! Instead his eyes sharpened on a small figure, one of which was one of the only figures in the Coven that made his fangs grit together. He had bumped into Piper a few times during his career and each time he either managed to use her for his own work or managed to distract her to use someone else! She was dangerous to deal with and when he was on the top of his game Blood Dealing, she was also one of the top names to watch out for! He quickly shot Raven a look to try and warn her to watch what she was saying and how she approached this young Vampire. If they offered the wrong kind of deal, Piper could easily have them killed within seconds if she decided to.
[b “Good observation kid. You know you might want to be careful what you say because karma can be a bitch.”] Anton shot back, not allowing too much weakness to come across but also making sure he didn’t push his insults too far. When Piper wanted to play her games it was serious time wasted. Fortunately the deal seemed already set. When Anton saw the blood bags there was almost no hesitation. He quickly picked them both up and ran to Raven’s side, tearing the corner of one with his teeth and holding it close to her lips.
[b “Drink up. You need your strength. I’ll worry about myself in a moment but you need this more than me right now.”] He whispered gently, holding the bag for her so she could rest her arms. She was already in enough pain without trying to find the strength to steady her arms to feed herself. It may have been a small action but that torture would have taken everything out of Raven. The fact she couldn’t even hold her head up was enough to show that!
[b “Well whoever the friend is they certainly know how to get in debt with you, don’t they Piper. What was it they offered, eh? Look, you want me in your debt that is fine and we can make a price but I don’t have much time to barter right now. I need supplies before sunrise. After that you can name your price, deal?”] Anton asked but there didn’t seem to be much room for discussion. This was their chance! The last thing he needed was finding a way to repay Piper before the Blood Moon but he liked those odds better than trying to escape this cell with Raven with the limited armoury he had.
[b “I need two hearts. Raven needs her strength. I also need a blade or a gun, or both; whatever you can get your hands on so I have an extra weapon. I also need you to get some support, someone who can help us with an escape. Finally I need Helena and Draven to believe I have taken drugs…I know that doesn’t take much because of my reputation but can you somehow get someone to spread the word. That way they won’t believe I have the syringes left with me. If you can do all of that before sunrise, your price is as good as any.”] Anton offered but he didn’t stop t look to see if she would name a price or accept the offer. Instead he was just as quick in trying to bandage Raven’s wounds. If he could do anything to try and soothe her pain, he would take it.
[b “We really don’t have much time Piper. I know how you work, the debt is set. Now get going.”]
As Draven leaned in to taunt Anton, Helena stepped over to Raven roughly tugging her hair away from her face to show the full extent of the damage. With a cruel amusement, Helena considered her new project.
[+green “Falling for a Fang? You stupid mutt, didn’t you learn anything from your big brother? Shayd cared about me too. I had that gullible dog convinced that I loved him! But Vampires don’t love anyone Raven. Not me, not Draven, and certainly not Anton. He will turn his back on you just like I turned my back on your brother. And yet you still pine after him… maybe history’s going to repeat itself? What do you say Anton? I’ve got several pets already and Draven’s never shown much interest in trained mutts. Maybe if you’re good, Raven can be your pet?”] Helena teased, enjoying the repulsed look on Raven’s injured face at the thought of being some mindless slave like her brother. Draven’s words from earlier swam through her mind, reminding her of the sick fate that awaited her and Raven started to think that maybe dying in the sunlight would have been the better alternative.
[+green “Don’ you worry Raven, you won’t have to suffer through Draven’s torment any more today. I promised Anton we’d give you two some time to rest and recover. And tomorrow morning, we get to switch! Draven will get some quality time with his Blood Brother, and you’ll start your obedience training. Won’t that be fun?”] Helena cooed. She gave Raven a degrading pat on her bruised cheek before returning to Draven’s side. She didn’t even wait until she was out of earshot before she started sharing her plans with Draven.
[+green “Anton told me that the Sirhan Alpha was still holding out hope for the Runt. Dustin can be our weapon on the inside. All I need to do is get close enough to…”] As the large cell doors closed, Helena’s plans were cut into silence and Raven – too tired and sore to even keep her head up – let her chin drop to her chest. She was still breathing quite heavily from being smothered and she had so many injuries from Draven’s torture it was hard to determine which hurt the worst.
Her sense of smell was distorted by the stench of burning flesh and her ears were still ringing with the echoes of her own screams, so Raven didn’t actually sense Anton approaching until she felt his shaky fingers touch the binds on her wrist. Her instant reaction was to flinch and pull her hand away , but as Anton spoke in a familiar, non-threatening voice, Raven relaxed a little. She didn’t understand why he was still pretending to care after Helena and Draven had exposed his lies, but at the moment, Raven was in too much pain to care. She longed for the comfort of a friend, even if this was all just some act.
As the binds on her wrists were untied, Raven gently rubbed the raw, bloody skin on her wrists to ease the pain. She winced as he wrapped her wound, too tired to try to hide it now. As Anton worked, she watched him numbly, trying to wrap her mind around why he was trying to help her. Was she really that gullible? Draven and Helena made it painfully obvious that Anton was only out for himself, and yet every time they were left alone, Anton had a way of convincing her that his concern was real. Raven didn’t know what to believe anymore.
[b “Draven did this in… in just a couple hours… you… you spent two week… with that Bastard…I should have… never… never let that… happen…”] Raven muttered, still weezing through her words. Realizing that she needed to pull herself together and find some strength if she wanted to live through this, Raven took a few moments to close her eyes and focus on taking slow, deep breaths to calm herself. When she spoke next, she had a little more stability in her voice.
[b “Tell them whatever you want about me, but Anton… don’t tell them about Sirhan… they have nothing to do with this.”] Raven pleaded. If she was destined to this fate at least she could take comfort in knowing that her brother and her pack were safe. It was a lot to ask of Anton lie to Helena, but if Raven had earned any favours from the other Hybrid, she wanted to use them for her Pack’s sake.
Raven kept her eyes down, not really focusing on Anton even as he knelt in front of her. She wasn’t sure she could believe what he was telling her. For Raven who had always been able to trust her instincts, the fact that she couldn’t tell what side Anton was really on was making her insecure. It was only as Anton mentioned her initiate that she finally raised her eyes to his. Raven wasn’t sure what she expected to find behind Anton’s eyes, but the genuine fear and vulnerability was a surprise. It looked like Anton truly mourned what had happened to Dustin. Raven knew Anton hadn’t always been truthful with her but there was no way he could fake a look like that.
[b “Vampires don’t care about anyone but themselves…”] Raven started, repeating the words that Helena and Draven have beat her with since the moment they took her hostage. But when Raven met his eyes, behind the pain and doubt, there was a spark of trust that hadn’t been there in a long time.
[b “I guess it’s a good thing you’re not a vampire anymore. You care about Dustin, I can tell. And maybe you do give a shit about me after all. But Anton… I was wrong. I’m not as strong as I thought I was. I thought they couldn’t break me, but… Your plan to drug Helena and Draven could work. But they’re not the only ones you’ll have to get through. The other Fangs, Helena’s pets, my brother… You might be fast enough in your Wolf form. I know you don’t like the transition yet, but it’ll give you a chance.”] Raven told him, but there was something in her tone that showed she didn’t carry the same hope that she used to. The truth was, Raven was too weak to turn. In her human form, she’d only slow Anton down. If he wanted to get out of here, his best chance was to leave her behind and go get help.
Raven gave another shudder as the cold air passed over her burnt skin. Between the pain, the hunger, and the cold, she wasn’t sure if she’d ever be able to fall asleep, but she was at least grateful for the peace and quiet. At least until she heard the creaking hinges of the door to the cell room. Raven involuntarily shrunk back against the chair, thinking it must be Helena or Draven back for more torture, but instead she saw a young girl roughly the same age as the twins. She had brown hair, mostly tied back with a few loose strands hanging down around her blood-red eyes. Her neck was marked with the familiar bite that every turned Vampire had on their skin, and yet very little was known about the Fang that turned her. In one hand the girl carried a plastic bag with various supplies, while her other rested on the knife that stuck out from her belt. Once she saw Anton a smug grin crossed her face.
[#aaaa00 “So much for untouchable. You got yourself caught twice in a matter of days! Embarrassing.”] The insults came as second nature to the girl who approached the Hybrids; cell with no fear. She slid two blood bags through the bars for Anton to reach knowing he’d recognize her.
The girl’s name was Piper and despite much of her story being unknown, one thing the Coven quickly learned was that this girl was a wildcard. Always out for herself, a pathological liar and excellent schemer, Piper already had a reputation for playing both sides. She would change her loyalties by the hour if needed, and drop her partners and allies the instant a better offer arose. She was tough, fearless, and cunning, but for the right price, she could often be bought. One thing was certain, Piper was not the type to bring gifts.
[#aaaa00 “It’s your lucky day Anton! You’ve got a friend in the next cell room – a friend with influence. He wants you and your pet werewolf to get out of here, so he bought my services. I’ll bring you what you need as long as Helena and Draven don’t see me. Of course, you’re going to owe me when this is over.”] Piper jeered, tossing Anton a roll of bandages as well, so he could better tie Raven’s wounded side.
Raven’s condition was barbaric even for the thick skinned and those with iron stomachs. The guard outside her cell showed signs of disgust whenever he turned to see her. There was a fowl stench in the air from her burning flesh and her high pitched screams still rattled his ears, the echos of her pain still buried into his mind. On the other hand, Draven showed no effect from what he had caused or the condition she was in. From his expression it would have seemed like he just sat down for a nice conversation over a fine meal, rather than pushing a defenceless Hybrid to deaths edge. It had been like this since the moment he brought Raven back to the Council building the first time. He pushed her mental and bodily limits when he turned her into a Hybrid, he continuously played on her emotions and now here she was, once again displaying the efforts of his torture. She could escape time and time again, but he would dedicate his efforts just as much as he did with Anton. He spent his hours planning to take down his Blood Brother. If she cared about him so much, he would dedicate just as much time making her suffer.
[+red “Now, now; you might want to conserve your strength. This was just a little test. Wait till Helena has her hands on you. You know what is worse than being alone Raven? When you are alone you still have a sense of yourself, but when your mind is taken away from you and put in someone else’s hands - well, even I’m not cruel enough to think of that. We might just get you to rip your little lover apart. He doesn’t give a shit about you but I know you’ll never want to be turned back if you kill him. If you don’t watch that mouth of yours, I might just make him suffer everything you have just been through.”] Draven warned against her resistance. He was disappointed her hadn’t broken her spirit but that would all come with time. What he couldn’t achieve he knew Helena would quickly catch up on. For Raven this was just the beginning of her suffering and if she was already breaking from this torture, then the path ahead was going to turn into hot coals and fire. Draven would take pleasure watching that spirit of hers finally crumble.
Anton’s path back towards the cell was breaking his already fragile mind. With every step he took he was bracing himself for what he was going to walk into. He had no idea what Raven would have had to endure but he knew how cruel Draven could be. When he could hear her screams, his muscles tensed and his eyes shot wide. His heightened senses could pick up the smallest of details. The pain she was suffering and the sound of something sizzling - he could even smell the burning flesh. He had already started to show resistance with the drugs wearing off but now he was returning he couldn’t risk acting out. It was taking everything to not to try and slip out of Helena’s grasp but with Shayd next to her, it was too risky. If Raven was suffering was much as she was he would have to keep up his strength if they had any hope of getting out of here.
Walking in and seeing her condition, Anton froze with a mixture of shock and rage. His clenched and shaking hand was threatening to snap the syringe but he couldn’t do anything. He couldn’t even approach to check if she was alive! It was only seeing her lifting her head that he saw the look in her eyes. It was just as painful as seeing the condition she was in. There was a look doubt, confusion but then he saw it as Helena spoke. Betrayal.
Draven’s laughter broke out across the cell upon seeing Anton. Helena had kept to her word in saying it was just going to be a conversation, but to see his Blood Brother looking in perfect condition was the the perfect concoction. He had planted that seed of doubt in Raven’s mind and now here was the person she apparently cared for, without a single scratch on his body, carrying the drugs he cared for more than people. Draven shot Helena a proud look and applauded as Anton stood there for her efforts.
[+red “So he’s still the selfish coward he always has been! You want to know something Anton? She just confessed about how much she cared for you. She actually said that you know? And here is you doing what you always do… putting your need for your pathetic little addiction before anyone else. Did you know that Helena? Our little Raven has a heart for Anton… well, she might not anymore. I think she’s finally realised how much he’s only going to hurt her.”] Draven mused as he took a confident stride up to Anton and leaned in close to his ear.
[+red “She wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you. I want that to haunt you to your grave.”] Draven could see the flicker of hurt in Anton’s eyes, which stayed fixated on Raven. It was amusing to witness. He had never seen the confident Blood Dealer show any sign of emotion other than arrogance and resistance. He wasn’t even sure if Anton had the capability of feeling any emotion when it came to someone else. He was a selfish creature but it seemed he had fallen into his own nightmare. It was everything Anton swore to himself wouldn’t happen - he acted on his own. He only used people if he needed them for his own personal gain. It was how he gained his reputation as a Blood Dealer and how he survived his beginnings as a Vampire. Now everything was changing.
[+red “You are right Helena, we should leave the two of them to…well, I can’t imagine how Anton is going to talk himself out of how much he has just betrayed everything that matters to Raven. Guard, give the two some privacy. Helena, you’ve done me proud. Now let’s finally start on our path to finishing the Sirhan Pack once and for all.”]
As Draven left the cell with Helena, Anton tucked the syringes in his pocket and headed to Raven’s side. He tried to act quickly to untie her hands but with the sweat dripping from his palms and the constant shakes, it took him longer to finally unravel the binds and give her aching wrists the rest she was probably craving for. Every part of her was broken and there was nothing he could do to take away the pain. Sure he was the drugs in his pocket but he swore he wouldn’t subject Raven to that and it would only be a temporary fix. He just had to hope that Helena would keep to her word and bring them blood, otherwise he would sacrifice some of his own.
[b “It’s not what it looks like Raven. I only answered a few questions. The drugs muddled my mind, I fought through it but she knew a lie and a truth. I had to play my cards carefully. Fuck, what did he do to you?”]
Anton didn’t know where to begin. Did he address the elephant in the room and defend himself further? Did he continue to check on Raven’s condition and to see if he could do anything to improve it? There were no resources and covering the burns would only aggravate them more. All he could do was cover the wound on her side to try and slow the loss of blood. So he made his first decision to rip off the sleeve of his shirt and wrap it around. During this he was only asking himself more questions in his mind. Did he ask her why she cared for him? A more desperate question was whether she still did. Anton debated talking about his own feelings but as always with him, he couldn’t conjure the words. Instead he knelt in front of her after he finished wrapping the wounds, getting himself on the same level as her while she was sat on the chair, with his eyes staring down at the ground.
He could do nothing to fix her condition and he knew better than to try and convince her what he did was in hers and the packs best interests. It was a complicated moment and Anton was clearly struggling with the difficulty of the situation. He usually didn’t have to consider anyone else, or even his own feelings. Instead he did the only thing he knew how to do and that was to explain his plan.
[b “I could take these drugs you know? I’d fucking love the high right now but Helena has made a mistake. She thinks I’ll be selfish and I’ll abuse my privilege with these. This is our weapon to get out. Helena and Draven only need a shot of this if they approach us again and they won’t be able to control us. They’ll be too drugged up and then all I have to do is get us out of here. I…”] Anton paused and finally looked up at Raven with hesitation. He opened his mouth to speak, but only silence filled the space of his sentence. It was fear. He was scared what he would say next would seem weak and only cause more tension.
[b “I saw what Dustin was forced to endure…”] He started, his voice not holding the confidence that Anton usually carried with him.
[b “It’s fucked up. That bitch is a control freak and I can’t watch that happen to someone else. I can’t let that happen to you and I promised you that! This is our one chance Raven and I know you’ll see these drugs with hatred and you’ll think I’m a bastard for speaking to Helena - but it is a plan.”]
Anton knew he sounded like a whimpering idiot but what else was he supposed to do? There was no correct angle to this but he needed Raven to stay focused. If she lost hope of ever getting out of here, which he could see in her eyes, then they had no chance of escaping. While he had to lead the action on this if Raven refused, then it was all for nothing.
[b “Remember when you met me in that bar? We hated each others fucking guts. We insulted each other, argued, spat against each other. You carried me to a hospital shortly after acting like a distraught human - afterwards I turned savage for the first time and then you heard all sorts of stories about me. You had every right to walk away then. We never expected our partnership to last this long but we started to care. From the very start though Raven we swore we never give up on a plan. We’d finish it until the end. You can think I’m the lowest piece of shit on Earth but you have to believe I’m not carrying these drugs out of selfishness. If I could have taken your place I would have but she’s playing a game! Let me make this work. You have got to Raven.”]
The evidence of Raven’s torture was written all over her body. Her bloody cheek was sunken from the cracked cheekbone beneath her bruised skin, her lip was widely split, with a trail of blood trailing down her swollen jaw. Her wrists were raw and bloody from her struggle and the wound in her side kept her torn shirt wet with crimson. In addition to the bruises and cuts, Raven was covered in scorches – some fairly minor, while others showed the blisters and blackened skin of a serious third degree burn. Besides the physical pain, there was evidence of sleep deprivation and malnutrition already starting to show. There were dark shadows under Raven’s eyes and her body ached from over exertion. The faded black streaks from her transformation were now just as bold and black as the day she turned, clearly visible through her thin, unnaturally pale skin.
The brief relief that came when the sun was removed was rather short lived. The burns still seared with pain, as did the rest of her injuries, but the contract of the cold cell room compared to the blistering hot sun put Raven’s body into shock. She was shivered violently from the cool air against her burned making it difficult for Raven to keep herself composed. Adding insult to injury, Draven’s words seeped into her mind like a poison, toying with her pre-existing doubts and reinforcing her beliefs that her bond with Anton was unrequited. He didn’t care for her, so why would he risk anything to get her out of this hell? If Anton found the strength to fight back or the chance to escape, why slow himself down with an injured Hybrid? At this point Raven had no more delusions of rescue and freedom. She had accepted her fate: she was going to die here. It was just a matter of if she died before or after Helena twisted her into a mindless pet like her brother. But one thing Draven continued to underestimate was the instinctual loyalty of a Sirhan Wolf. Raven knew Anton didn’t care for her, she knew she was destined to die at the Coven’s hands, but none of that would force her to betray the person she cared about… even if it was one-sided. Nothing Draven said would ever get her to turn on Anton.
[b “You stupid Fangs… you think people need a reason to care? I didn’t need a partner, I needed need anyone to keep me safe, and I sure as hell didn’t want to follow in my brother’s failures! Why are you so damn curious Draven? Is it because you’re jealous? Nobody ever loved you? You want to see someone even lonelier than me, just look in the fucking mirror you disgusting, unredeemable Fang!”] Raven retorted despite her speak being broken and strained by her wheezing gasps. Raven was in no condition to be provoking Draven, but it was the only form of resistance she could show. If she was too week to fight at least she could put her smartass remarks to good use.
Helena watched Anton with an amused smirk, entertained by his attempts to snap back even though he had already lost. It was a token to how much he actually cared about Raven. He was fully willing to be obedient when he thought it would save her life, but as soon as Helena’s threats turned towards that broken Hybrid back in the cells, Anton’s protective side broke through. Helena had never seen this side to Anton before. Sure, she had been there when Anton argued his case for keeping Dustin alive but drugged, but she always thought it was some sort of power pay. Anton knew the twins had power in their blood and maybe sparing the boy was some attempt to latch onto that power once the twins were older and joined the Coven. But Anton had absolutely no reason to fight for Raven now. She was broken, exhausted, imprisoned, banished from her back, and of absolutely no use to Anton. He would be wise to leave her here and try to find his own way out, no doubt someone as clever as Anton was capable of it! So why the hell would he risk so much for a Hybrid?
[+green “Making threats? What the hell did that girl do to get you so twisted around her finger, eh? Honestly Anton, even if you did care about her, it’s not like she’s worth anything to you now anyway! Well, you don’t have to worry, I won’t hurt your Hybris friend too badly. Take a look around Anton, every one of my pets is in prime fighting condition. It’s a waste of time training a damaged soldier. As for Draven… well, maybe we should go have a look at what our Blood Brother has done to your girlfriend while we were gone.”] Helena mused. With a silent signal, Shayd returned to her side and she placed her hand on Anton’s shoulder, guiding him out of her workshop and back down the familiar hallway towards the cells. As they grew closer, they could start to hear the agonizing screams of Raven getting burned in the sun. But as terrifying as those screams were, it was almost worse when they stopped. Had Draven got a little carried away. Had he killed her?
[+green “Sounds like Draven was having a bit too much fun with your Hybrid friend. Don’t worry brother, I keep my promises. A deal is a deal, you were the one who taught me that. If Raven’s alive, you’ll get the rest of the day with her. I’ll even send down some fresh blood – can’t have my new pet dying on us now can we?”] Helena said as she opened the cell doors and pushed Anton inside.
Raven heard the door and raised her weary head, bracing herself to see Anton in the same condition she was. But when he walked in, it looked like Helena hadn’t hurt him at all! He was showing signs of withdrawal, sure, but clenched tightly in his hand was an easy solution to that! What had happened? Helena took him away, kept him unharmed, and gave him more drugs while Raven was tortured mercilessly by Draven? The confusions must have shown in her eyes because Helena’s smile broadened.
[+green “Well, well, you’ve been busy Draven! Look at her… you did all of this in an hour? I guess we’ve both had a productive day. Anton and I had a very informative little chat. He told me everything I wanted to know about the Sirhan Pack and his little girlfriend here… well, almost everything. Isn’t that right Anton?”] Helena stated, smiling at the betrayal that danced across Raven’s weary, pain-filled eyes.
[+green “I have so much to tell you Draven. We’ve got enough to wipe those arrogant Sirhan Wolves out even before the Blood Moon! And while we discuss our plans, we should give these two the rest of the day to themselves. It looks like Raven needs to recover a bit before we start this again tomorrow. And Anton has definitely earned a well deserved break. After all, he told us everything we need to know about bringing down Sirhan!”]
Draven could sense that breaking point and he was so desperate to finally snap everything that was holding Raven together. Every time he had seen this look in her eyes he knew he was seconds away. It wasn’t the pain. He knew Raven was better than that. What made her so weak was the level of doubt that was so easy to toy with inside her mind. Once she had that doubt, he could make her feel pain in ways she had never experienced. There was a desperation in her eyes. He even wondered if she really thought that Anton was going to come rushing back to save her and stop this suffering once and for all. Draven really wanted to know what other dream-like thoughts about his Blood Brother she was having. He’d leave that fun to Helena when the tide turned. For now he just really wanted to make this abomination suffer.
While the suffocation brought him pleasure to watch her squirm beneath his palm, nothing was compared to the beams of sunlights. Even the sight made his own eyes squint in pain as the rays reflected from his gaze. It was a Vampires worst nightmare. Draven had never experienced a hot summers day. Having been born a Vampire, he lived his life in darkness and embraced the shadows in which he lived in. He knew for Raven this would hold more of a personal touch. It was just another reminder of just how much she had lost. With the first few seconds of torture, Draven leaned back against the wall to watch the show. He had left many Vampires tied outside The Council Chambers to burn to death when the sun rose, but he had to say he wished he could watch the spectacle more often.
[+red “All you have to do is tell me how you feel about him Raven. He doesn’t give a shit about you and when he comes back and sees the wreck you have become, emotionally and physically, he’ll be disgusted.”] Draven pointed out as the smell of her burning flesh made its way down the prison corridors. Even the guard standing by had to back away from the scent, wrapping a hand over his mouth to stop himself from gagging.
As she finally started to scream, Draven laughed along with her cries of mercy. It wasn’t the torture that cracked a smile. It was finally seeing those tears fall and finally hearing the words he had been desperate for since the beginning. Pushing himself off the wall with his foot, Driven flicked the switch for the ceiling to close and for the beams of light to finally stop. Stepping over to Raven, he knelt down in front of her so he was on her level, and he ran his hand across her scorched cheek just so he could feel one of her tears.
[+red “If you somehow survive this, you won’t be living. You’ve given your heart to a man who is already crushing it without you realising. You’ll be more alone than you ever thought you could be. I hope he was worth it Raven. Let me tell you this, those tears will be pouring down forever. I wish I could tell you he cares, but you know deep down he doesn’t. That’s why it hurts so much, doesn’t it? It hurts more than the torture.”]
Lifting his hand up to her hair Draven brushed it back to allow the full extent of her torture to be shown. His eyes scanned the newly forming wounds on her face which were still bubbling from the heat of the sunlight. He wanted Anton to see exactly what he had left Raven to endure when he returned. He wanted Anton to see the tears and the scars and most importantly - the broken look in his partners eyes.
[+red “What made you care for him Raven? Was it that you finally had someone you could break the rules with? Was it that he made you feel safe even though he hurt you so many times? Your brother tried to create an alliance with Vampires, didn’t he? Can you now see why he was horribly wrong? The thing with Vampires is that we really don’t care about anyone else. Anton is no different. You are worth absolutely nothing to him, or anyone. You understand? I’ve never met anyone so lonely before in my lifetime and I’ve seen pretty much everything.”]
Anton was realising how important it was to survive this and get out of here. This wasn’t just a matter of survival for him and Raven - if they didn’t get out then the Sirhan Pack, especially Dustin, were in a severe amount of danger! He was sure Talon would be doing everything in his power to make sure the whole Pack was protected, but they didn’t have the force that The Council had behind them, nor did they know the full extent of how manipulating Helena could be. The only one who fully understood was Dustin and with it all being so fresh, he was the one who could be so easily toyed with again. Right now all Anton had was a far fetched plan to escape and he wasn’t liking his odds.
[b “This place is an illusion that Draven is trying to make you believe in. This small little section Helena. The only one who gives you power is Draven. Does anyone else within The Council even have respect for you. I wouldn’t call that a gift Helena. He’ll only use you as long as he needs you. He’s not much different from me.”] Anton continued with his attempt to waver Helena’s trust. He was sure she already spotted his attempts but even if he could put the smallest seed of doubt in her mind, it was better than nothing at all. Any tension between Draven and Helena would buy himself a small moment to make his move and get Raven out of this Hell. Unfortunately, it was the only thing he could do. He was losing his concentration and his ability to keep his senses together. At this stage it was easier to have his body filled with drugs than to be feeling the effects of withdrawal. With the high he knew how to home it in and use it to his advantage. Now it felt like his skull was cracking in half and that his skin was on fire. Putting his hand on his head, he gripped his hair tightly just to try and physically pull himself together. Instead his withdrawals were only causing his anger and real emotions to show.
It was terrifying how much of an loyal army Helena had behind her. When the Wolves barked and growled in her defence, Anton knew how easy it would be to say a simple command which could have him ripped to shreds. At this point however, he just couldn’t hold his tongue.
[b “You don’t know what I’m capable of Helena, if you listen to the stories about me I’ll…”] It was like a bullet to the chest. She knew. She knew a feeling that Anton was struggling to grasp the concept of. It had been one that had messed with his mind and yet left him giving everything from his old life up. He no longer used people for his advantage - instead he worked closely with Raven and trusted anyone who she held close to her. If she was in danger, Anton was always there. He didn’t know why he acted the way he did but the more he heard the word, the more he wanted to understand it more. Yet, knowing Helena knew his feelings was a fact he wasn’t ready to deal with.
[b “You best watch your fucking mouth with what you are saying. You don’t understand a thing about me Helena! I’m the bastard junkie you’ve known for too long and that is all you need to know!”] Anton hissed but his withdrawals had finally gotten the better of him. Collapsing against one of the cages by his side, he almost lost his fingers to a frustrated wolf and only managed to pull himself away, to fall on a pipe behind him. His whole body was shaking and everything he looked at was blurred or distorted. He was vulnerable to Helena’s words and he couldn’t fight back against them anymore. He needed to get back to Raven. He needed a reason to stop shooting up and he needed to make sure she was still alive. If it meant they had some time together, he’d have to confess to something which was still a concept beyond his own understanding.
[b “I…I can’t explain its…let’s just say if you lay one of your fucking fingers on her - if you hurt her, in any way, you won’t know who you have messed with. I’ll hunt you down for the rest of my days and I will make you suffer if you do anything to Raven. I may be heartless, I may be selfish but I will risk everything to get my own back. She’s the only reason I haven’t given up.”] Anton confessed but there was a pain in his eyes. A vulnerability he would never dare show if he was in full control of himself. He cared for someone so deeply yet he couldn’t do it right. His parents always said he wasn’t destined to get anything right. Everyone always called him the selfish Blood Dealer.
[b “I can’t do much, but I promise I’ll get that right Helena. So you best be certain she doesn’t suffer here.”]
He drugged Raven, shouted at her, ran away, hid… it was all from fear. Caring was something he was always told he wasn’t capable of and now he was learning that it was very much inbuilt in him. It was a terrifying prospect and one he was quickly accepting that he couldn’t handle very well.
[b “And if I can’t protect her, I’ll die trying. Is that what you wanted to hear? That’s the best I can explain it Helena. Now let me back to my cell.”]
Raven’s lip curled in repulsion as Draven leaned in closer. The stench of stale blood on his breath seeming so much more potent with her Hybrid senses. Raven wished she could break these bonds and tear that ugly Fang’s face to shreds! But even without being bound to the chair, Raven was too weary to fight. It was taking every ounce of will power to keep from drifting into that savage state. She had lost a lot of blood and Draven had only given her enough to replenish the bare minimum before she woke in her prison. Blood would keep her alive, but it wouldn’t help her recover. Raven needed raw flesh for that. Kidneys, lungs, livers… or the glorious delicacy, the heart. She needed to feed in order to regain her strength, give her body enough energy to knit itself back together. Without food or moonlight, Raven wasn’t even strong enough to shift! The beautiful ebony fur that had always offered her such comfort and protection was now lost to her unless she could get some of her strength back. Until then, she was at Draven’s mercy.
Raven braced herself for another punch, but Draven was far too cruel for that. Instead, she felt the immediate panic of suffocation. Her mouth and nose were tightly covered in cloth, not allowing a sliver of air to enter her lungs. After the initial shock, she tried to hold her composure, reminding herself that Draven wouldn’t actually kill her. He couldn’t take this too far or he’d lose his prize! But with every passing minute, Raven’s lungs burned with desperation. She tried in vain to bring in even a shred of oxygen, but her lungs just heaved under the restricting grasp of the Vampire’s hand. Raven started to struggle, trying desperately to bring her hands up to pry Draven’s fingers away, but her wrists were bound to the arms of the chair. She thrashed, rubbing her wrists raw on the bonds and rocking the chair nearly off its legs, but nothing worked to loosen that unrelenting grasp.
It wasn’t long before Raven’s attempt at resolve failed completely as she started to truly believe she was going to suffocate. Her lips were blue beneath the bloody cloth and her vision began to darken at its edges. Her thrashing grew more desperate and even someone as strong willed as Raven couldn’t stop the treacherous tears that threatened to fall without permission.
When Draven finally pulled the cloth away, Raven greedily gasped for air. Her chest ached from the lack of oxygen and she could feel the intense burning in her lungs. She choked down several deep breaths before her mind was clear enough to recognize what was about to happen.
[b “No!”] Raven yelped mere seconds before the sunlight struck her skin. This was the cruelest part of her Hybrid fate. Raven had always loved the warmth of sunlight on her skin, but ever since that poisonous venom tainted her blood, the very thing she loved so much had become unbearable! The sunlight scorched her skin everywhere it touched! The blood from her broken cheekbone began to sizzle under the extreme heat, and the vile scent of burning flesh curled up in wafts of smoke from her wounds. The light struck the left side of her face, her right arm, her leg, even her injured side were not spared the burning agony of the sunlight. Raven grunted and groaned, clenching her swollen jaw in a valiant effort to keep her pain inside, but the longer the light lingered, the worse it got! Raven could see the tiny beam of light as it struck her arm, first reddening the skin, then slowly start eating deeper into the flesh, leaving blackened scorches in its path. Raven just couldn’t hold it in any longer.
As her first cries broke through the relative silence of the cells, Raven finally admitted to herself that she was not as strong as she thought she was. Maybe Draven was right… maybe she would break…
[b “No! No, make it stop!”] Raven screamed out, unable to fight the agony that burned through her skin! Her mind, still recovering from the lack of oxygen, wasn’t strong enough to withstand the torture, and soon the unwavering composure of the Hybrid was shattered. The tears that had welled in her eyes during the suffocation, finally fell, only to sizzle into steam by the extreme heat of the sun on her vulnerable skin.
[b “No! Don’t hurt Anton! Don’t let Helena… fuck! I care about him! I said it! Just make it stop!”] Raven screamed. She knew she shouldn’t. Anton certainly didn’t care aout her in return. Despite what he said, his actions proved otherwise. Anton had blamed her, condemned her, abandoned her, and drugged her. Draven was a cruel bastard, but he wasn’t wrong about his Blood Brother. And yet Raven couldn’t ignore how she felt about her fellow Hybrid. From the moment she had met him in that pub, Raven had felt drawn to the cynical bloodsucker, and no matter how much he had hurt her over the past few months. Raven knew, if it was a choice between her sitting in this chair or Anton, she’d happily suffer through all of this. But not knowing what torture Helena was putting him through right now just made Raven’s own ordeal so much harder!
Little did she know, Anton was perfectly fine!
Helena had no intention of hurting her Blood Brother. It wasn’t that she particularly cared about his wellbeing, but she wanted to cause as much friction between Anton and Raven as she could, and having him walk back to his cell in perfect health, aside from a handful of drugs that he had earned by betraying Raven and her pack, there would be no repairing that damage!
[+green “Too well protected? Anton, I don’t need to [i get im again] because I never let him go in the first place! The Runt is still mine. You know, anyone can teach a dog to sit, speak, or roll over, but it takes a true artist to train them to play innocent. Dustin still belongs to me, but it’s just too much fun to let Talon, Trey, and Lexi believe otherwise. As soon as I get bored of toying with them, all I have to do is call my pet back to me, and he’ll slip right back into the mindless pup that I trained him to be.”] Helena said smugly. Her expression was hard to read and impossible to tell whether she was lying or telling the truth. If it was true, then Talon, Lexi, and everyone at the Sirhan den was in serious danger, especially with Talon and Lexi trying to convince Dustin he should be Alpha-in-training!
[+green “As for Raven, I’m not too worried. Her older brother was far stronger than she’s ever been and I managed to break him. Isn’t that right my pet?”] Helena asked, casting a side glance at the large, black wolf sitting in the corner of the workshop. On cue, Shayd stood and barked in agreement before returning to his post, silently guarding the door.
[+green “Anton, you should know better than that! You were one of the best Dealers in this city! You should know that wording is everything! I said if you complied, she would stay alive. I never said anything about her being unharmed.”] Helena mused. As Anton persisted, trying to shake her loyalties with Draven, the witch’s lips drew up in an amused smile. Maybe if the drugs weren’t clouding his mind, Anton might have been able to find what he was looking for. Despite her assurances, things weren’t exactly seemless between her and Draven. The fact that he was so quick to blame her for Anton’s last escape and the constant threats to have her killed or at least removed from power were not sitting well with the young woman. However, with the drugs slowing his thoughts, Helena was easily able to see the mission behind the words, and she was not about to let her Blood Brother find that sliver of doubt.
[+green “Succeeded in nothing? Anton look around you! This place is my kingdom! I have my own army of obedient little slaves, my own workshop to use however I wish, and the freedom to do whatever I please! All of this was a gift from Draven! And as long as I have my army of pets, I have nothing to fear! No one is stupid enough to try to hurt me and if they dared to try…”] Helena didn’t need to finish her threat, because the moment the notion of someone hurting her came out of her mouth, each and every one of the caged Wolves started growling and snapping at the air, enraged by the very thought of their Master in harm’s way!
Once the Wolves settled down, Helena continued her little game, giving Anton a syringe every time he answered her questions, until finally they reached a line Anton refused to cross. He wouldn’t tell her what Raven’s fear was. He obviously knew the answer, or else he wouldn’t have been so bold. Anton could have simply said that he didn’t know Raven’s fears, but the fact that he grew so defensive, casting away every shred of humble obedience that he had before, proved he purposely withholding that very valuable piece of information.
[+green “Oh my, so much for cooperation! Hit a sore spot, did I? Honestly Anton, I don’t know why you insist on defending that filthy, worthless little mutt! You don’t care for her Anton. You’re not capable of it! I mean, I can understand you playing the part when she’s around – you bravely come to her rescue, trick her into believing you give a damn about her, so that when the time comes, she’ll lay her life on the line to protect yours. But look around you Anton! She’s not here! So what’s the point in pretending? Unless…] Helena trailed off, watching Anton intently for a few moments. Her gaze shifted from one of confusion to one of surprise.
[+green “You actually believe that you care about her, don’t you? Oh, this is priceless! Cold, heartless, self-centered Anton thinks he’s capable of having a friend! You clueless idiot! Raven could be head over heels in love with you and you’d still trade her life for another hit from that syringe! And yet you think you care for her?”] Helena laughed, finding the entire situation comical. Most vampires were selfish, it was just in their nature, but Antonw as one of the worst Helena had met! He didn’t care about the Coven, his clients, his Blood Brother, not even the other Fangs he used to hang around with years before. But not that Hybrid had tricked him into thinking he actually gave a shit about her?!
[+green “Alright then Anton, I’ll make you a deal. You answer one last question for me and I’ll take you back to your new best friend! I’ll even convince Draven to let you two have the rest of the day to yourselves. But first, I want to know: What exactly does Raven mean to you? I want to know EXACTLY how much you think you care for her.”] Helena asked, making her demands. If Anton told her what she wanted to know, she’d stay true to her words. She’d being him back to Raven, knowing that Draven had spent the past couple hours torturing her mercilessly! It would crush Anton to see his partner in that condition, especially if Helena had just forced him to admit how much Raven meant to him!
Vulnerability was what Draven thrived upon to keep his dominance and power. He had watched Raven go through many phases. He had watched her cry out in pain, begging for the torture to stop. The pain in her eyes was an image he would never let go. If he could recreate that suffering and hear those merciful cries, he knew he was close to that breaking point. When he transformed her into a Hybrid, he saw the moment in her eyes when death would have been a fate she begged for. She had displayed fear for her Pack’s safety, fear for Anton’s and even the vulnerability that shown through in her fighting. It was that desperation to do whatever it took to risk herself to protect those she cared for. Now she had no one who cared for her and it was a weakness that Draven couldn’t resist to continue to weaken. A very small crack was growing even larger and beyond repair and he could see it within Raven’s eyes.
In fact he almost regretted punching her. While he had the momentary satisfaction it took away from the agony she wasn’t vocalising. Raven was battling with her inner doubt and it was one that would surely crush hers and Anton’s friendship altogether. Instead she reacted exactly how he expected. As the blood hit his cheek, Draven laughed lowly while he pulled out a small handkerchief and dabbed his face. Looking down at the white cloth, now marked with the same blood, he kneeled in front of Raven and held it in front of her face.
[+red “I hope you are this disgusted with Anton when you realise the truth. I have a feeling you already have.”]
Reaching forward he wrapped the cloth around her mouth and nose, pressing so tightly the air circulation was cut out. Draven’s eyes fixated on the white cloth which slowly, through each droplet leaving Raven’s lip, turned into a dark crimson.
[+red “You didn’t have to say it, you care for him. If I brought him in here right now to kill him, even after how much he has hurt you, you’d still be reckless and try and save him. You’d say it was Pack loyalty but you care far too deeply for that junkie. I’d even go as far to say as you are addicted to him.”] Pressing harder with the cloth he nodded to the guard who pulled a lever outside the cell. The ceiling opened up, revealing small holes which let in beams of natural sunlight. They were just out of Raven’s way but with the look in Draven’s eyes, she wouldn’t be for long.
[+red “I can torture you all day but I don’t want you to die. Helena would never forgive me. She’s probably working with Anton right now on how to make it as easy as possible on how to turn you into her new pet. Still, I never promised Helena that I would leave you in perfect condition.”]
After a good couple of agonising minutes Draven finally pulled the cloth away from Raven’s mouth. Grabbing the back of the chair, he dragged her until her body was in position under the natural sunlight that beamed that. It was only small dots that broke through the pinholes in the ceiling, creating direct lines of light. With Raven now being half-Vampire however, that light would burn her skin and put her through excruciating agony.
[+red “I want to hear it from you Raven! Tell me if you care about him, or whether you never want to him from him again! I will keep this going for as long as you resist. It’s up to you how much you want to be tortured for that bastard. I can watch you die alone! I might have said I didn’t want you to die, but if I screw up I’m sure we can make Anton into her new pet. Would you prefer that Raven? Would you like us to turn Anton instead so you can walk free? You should do! No one gives a damn about you anyway! You’re alone here!”]
Anton kept his eyes focused on Dustin’s old cell. Helena could control him just with that look in his eyes and if he wasn’t carefully he could fall into more of her traps. He knew the poor kid would have suffered under her torture but he didn’t expect to see what he saw. The blood was still thick and damp on the floor which just showed how much she tortured him. He was trapped in a small box thinking his only family member hated him and that no one was coming to his rescue. If it was Anton he wasn’t sure he could carry the same strength the kid did. It was a surprise he lasted as long as he did against her tricks but he also knew how quick Helena was to spot weakness. She was already using his addiction against him. He hoped Dustin wasn’t forced to go back through what Anton forced him to endure in the past.
The dripping played to the irritation Anton was feeling as she told her story. His heightened senses combined with his drug use amplified the sound. It was something so trivial yet he wanted to rip his own ears off. With each drop it was like a hammer banging against his skull and he didn’t know what to bite his lip at for. The story he didn’t want to hear, or the sound which was playing on his nerves. Little did he know the small irritant was what tipped Dustin over the edge.
[b “Kid should have offered to rip my throat out the moment he realised I was the one who forced him to be an addict for the majority of his youth. You are not going to get him again Helena. He is too well protected. What are you trying to say? Saying I’ll be up there if I don’t play along…oh…oh Raven, of course. Well, if you think a bit of water is going to scare her you’ll be wrong. She’s stronger than that and you know it.”] Anton deflected the situation, managing to keep his composure however she would have spotted the sharp glare in his eyes and the tense jaw. It was a battle to not snap back. It was taking everything in him not to shove the syringe in his veins to control his thoughts and to stop his own anger.
As the syringe was placed in his hand he curled his fingers around it. He looked it up and down, almost with a level of seduction. Helena was right. He wasn’t just a Vampire anymore. He didn’t have to be delicate with his doses. He could use this for himself. He could test the limits even further and if it all went wrong then…
[b “No! Fuck you Helena I know what you are trying to do!”]
He couldn’t. He swore to Raven he would get her out. He made a promise to use his past addiction to battle against this one and come up with a plan. If he abused it he would be damning Raven to the same fate as her older brother.
[b “I’m not pushing my limits but I…I still want my drugs if I answer the God damn questions. And don’t you lay a finger on Raven. I comply then she stays safe that was our deal!”]
Instantly he felt that pang of regret again in his chest. This was all a game and if he didn’t play his cards right, Helena would have her way. There would be no more deals or moments to plan. She would let Draven have his glory and have him killed while Raven was taken away to lose herself to the Witches mind games. He almost wanted to instantly apologise just to show he was still willing to listen to Helena’s orders but instead he simply bowed his head in respect, showing her she was still in control.
With his own posed question he was hoping to raise some doubt or at least a question in Helena’s mind. Unfortunately it wasn’t the case. She had her morals and Driven had her wrapped around his ideals and beliefs. She would do anything for him. She truly believed she was grateful for the eternal life speech he gave. It was nothing but manipulation.
[b “If you don’t mind me speaking out of place… eternal life isn’t worth anything if he keeps getting in your way of success, is it Helena? So far you’ve succeeded with nothing through his support.”]
Anton was clawing for something to tear their relationship apart, but he doubted it would work. He just needed to get through these next few questions so he could get back to Raven. He had a plan but now he was feeling that itch for another shot stronger than before. The sweat on his forehead was beading against his skin and the desperate need to scratch at his arm was starting to come up. It was clear symptoms of his withdrawal - something which would only get stronger the most he resisted, but would get worse again next time if he took another shot so soon.
[b “Talon still cares. He’s a Sirhan and Sirhan have far more care for their Pack than they like to admit. I’m sure he’ll do everything he can to stop you. Can I have the next syringe now please? Fucking… I just need the shot.”] He begged and reached out in his hand in desperation - until he heard the next question. His shaking hand seemed to freeze in shock at what he was being asked. What she really demanding that answer? He already took away Raven’s control and he couldn’t watch someone else do it. Looking up with his bloodshot eye he stayed still, as if testing to see if Helena would ask another question but instead the silence filled the room. He couldn’t answer that question. If he did it gave Helena everything she needed and he swore to Raven he wouldn’t let her live through that fate.
[b “I think our little brotherly-sister chat is over, ‘sis’. And you can go fuck yourself with that question.”]
Alone… the word resonated in Raven’s mind, sending an involuntary chill down her spine. She had never been alone: from a pup, growing up with two loving parents, a supportive pack,a dn three older brothers, she was always surrounded by people who cared about her. Even after the loss of her parents and brothers, she still had Talon and the Sirhan to protect her. Eventually, as Beta, she took on the role of protecting and guiding them, but even when she craved adventure, thirsted for the rush of adrenaline that came with recklessly diving into danger on her own, she was still never completely alone. She always had friends watching her pack and a family to go home to. Anton had filled that role in recent months, being her partner and fighting at her side when her pack was no longer there for her. But never, in Raven’s entire life, had she been truly alone…until now. It was the fate she feared the most.
[i Not alone… not alone… Anton’s still with me… He’ll get us out of here… He won’t leave me alone…] Raven thought, repeating the mantra over and over in her mind in a feeble attempt to block out Draven’s monologue, but it was no good. Draven’s poisonous tone was starting to seep through the cracks in her armour, shaking her confidence in Anton. His tone was so lulling that Raven didn’t even realise she had dropped her guard until that fist collided with her face, nearly dislocating her jaw, and splitting a wide tear in her lip in the process. The blood dribbled down her chin as the skin on her jaw darkened into an ugly, blackened bruise. The blow whipped Raven’s head to the side and forced a gasp of pain from her lips.
Raven hardly had time to consider Draven’s words before the second strike. Pain blossomed in at the force of the punch, fracturing her cheek bone and tearing the skin like paper right beneath her eye. This time Raven managed to stop herself from making any more than a grunt of pain. As her bruised skin throbbed from the violent contact, the question Draven posed took its own heavy toll. If Raven were to be honest, then yes, Anton meant more to her than just a partner. She didn’t just trust him or rely on him, she cared for him. Normally the curses and insults of her pack would slip by practically unnoticed and unheeded, but Anton’s words cut her deeper than any blade. He was important to her in ways she didn’t even fully understand yet, and that gave him the power to hurt her worse than anyone else. It scared her.
Raven wasn’t willing to explore her feelings for Anton any further, afraid to admit it even to herself. One thing most people didn’t realize about Wolves was that they mate for life. When they find that special connection, everything changes. Even lpoyalty to the Pack comes second to the bond they share with each other. Was that what this was? No, Raven didn’t want to think about that. Because if it was true for Raven, it certainly wasn’t true for Anton. He might think he cares for her as a partner, but never as a friend, and certainly never as anything more.
These thoughts were nearly as painful and troublesome as Draven’s beatings, and each time Draven demanded answers, Raven found it harder and harder to hold her tongue. She raised her eyes to Draven, looking as if she were about to speak. Instead, Raven gathered the blood from her slip lip and spat a mouthful of crimson at Draven’s face.
[b “Go to hell, Fang!”] She growled, trying to keep up her brave act. If she could just hold out a little longer…. What? Would Anton really come back to save her? Or was Draven right? Was she really and truly alone?
Helena was perceptive – catching facial cues and the slightest breaks of expressions was immensely helpful when trying to manipulate someone – so she saw the way Anton’s gaze lingered on the pup’s empty cage. Anton was making this far too easy on her. Step one – confuse the victim. Make them question whether their friends are really their friends at all, whether to feel sorry for their pain, or relieved about their punishments. Take the people they care about the most, and make them feel afraid to face them. This part was so easy with Dustin. Lexi did most of the work for her, already setting up that delicious hatred, seeping with blame and accusation. It would be harder with Anton who had always been alone, but fortunately, the man had made a few curtail bonds that would be fun to mess with: Raven and Dustin were once the crutches that held him up, but soon they’d been the hammer than knocks him down.
[+green “I see you found your little friend’s former home. Don’t worry, he’ll be back in his place soon enough. The Runt was amusing, I’ll give you that. So fragile in ways yet so determined in others. I told him I was going to order him to kill you, and that brave, stupid pup growled at me every time and told me it would never happen.”] Helena mused, stepping around Anton and walking to one of the far walls where there was a deep basin and a leaky tap, steadily dripping in a painfully annoying rhythm. Helena ran her hand along the side of the basin, her delicate fingers tracing over the deep and desperate scratches along the inside of the tub. Her gaze turned upward, calling attention to the noose-like chain that hung front the rafters, directly above the pool.
[+green “That was until I started punishing him for it. Every time the pup would try to defend you, I’d string him up by his hind legs and dangle him over the tub, listening to his cries and yelps and desperate whimpers until the water slowly, drop by drop, covered his head. I’d watch the bubbles slowly fade as the air left his lungs, and a few minutes after the bubbles stopped, I’d pull him up for a breath… then I’d dunk him back in and watch the Runt squirm. Turns out the pup wasn’t as loyal as he thought he was. Once the drownings started, it only took a few hours before he agreed to tear out your throat.”] Helena reminisced, wanting to torture Anton with the merciless fate of his young friend while also reaffirm how easy it was to convince him to betray Anton. With a devilish smile, Helena returned to Anton’s side and whispered in his ear.
[+green “I wonder how long it will take for Raven? I can’t wait to string her up just like the little Runt.”] Helena cooed. She watched and waited as Anton considered her little game. The hateful cringe when she mentioned his Hybrid state was an exciting treat, bringing a sparkle to the witch’s eye as she thought of how she could use that later. But for now, her weak-willed junkie had taken her deal and it was time to see how far she could push him.
[+green “Yes, brother, but that was when you were a vampire. Now, you’re a Hybrid. Are you sure you even can overdose still? A little moonlight in your cell and those Wolfie genes will heal you right up! It does pose an interesting question though: how much can a Hybrid take before their bodies give out? Maybe we’ll get to test that theory, eh?”] Helena asked with an amused smirk.
When Anton answered her first question, she made a show out of collecting a box from the top shelf, opening it to reveal several shining syringes, and selecting just one to place in Anton’s shaky hand. She was clearly having fun with her little game, although Anton’s next request took her a little by surprise. Prioritizing information over drugs? Maybe Anton’s conscience was a little stronger than anticipated?
[+green “Well now, that is a loaded question, isn’t it? Like it or not Anton, you just raised the stakes. My questions are going to get a lot harder if I’m going to keep up with that.”] She told him, although the glimmer in her eyes and the upward twist of her lips was enough to show she wasn’t intimidated by his question.
[+green “Betray is such a strong word, Anton. Draven raised me to be the best that I could be… although, that may not always align with what he wants. Still, I owe him my eternal life Anton, just like you do. The difference is that I honour that bond. I show respect where it’s earned. I won’t betray Draven if I don’t have to… and If I ever do find myself turning my back on him, it will only be to better myself. Draven is well aware of that. In fact, he’s the one that taught me that little trick to success.”] Helena admitted. She leaned back against the wall, silently considering Anton for a few moments as she decided on her next couple of questions.
[+green “Does Talon still care about the Runt? Will he try to save him from my control?”] Helena asked, trying to judge how best to play her hand with Dustin and the Sirhan Pack. If Talon had a soft spot for the boy, maybe it was best to let the Runt believe he was free. Let them lull themselves into a sense of false security, and when Talon trusted his young Initiate, when he finally let his guard down, then he’d order the Runt to kill his so-called Alpha.
[+green “And now for the really juicy questions… what is Raven most afraid of?”]
Draven had taken a lot of pride in his work, especially when it came to torturing those who worked against him or didn’t belong in The Coven. With Raven and Anton as his prisoners he took an extra level of satisfaction. He watched them escape on multiple occasions and with each time brought him shame amongst his fellow Council members. Draven didn’t doubt however that each time the pair of them escaped, they were weaker than the time before. Not just physically. He had no doubt about the physical suffering he and Helena had put them through. Both Anton and Raven had barely left alive the last time they were captives and he was sure they were both recovering from their own individual orders. What Draven was ready to play with was their sense of loyalty to one another. There was only so much a partnership could withstand failures and he could sense that betrayal between them. He saw it back near Anton’s home when he appeared on the scene, and the look in Raven’s eyes told the story he was hungry to prey on. She may have been good at hiding it now, but he was certain it wouldn’t take long to break her. It just took the correct amount of doubt and a mixture of untold truths.
[+red “I may not scare you Raven but trust me, I will break you and I’m sure after a little chat, you’ll realise how partnerships can break you too.”] Draven taunted over her attack. For once he wasn’t worried about her going savage - at least not now. If she did her first target would be Shayd and if she killed her own brother without continuing to fight to save him, she would never forgive herself! Draven did need her alive though and with each attack that passed he was losing time with his own interrogations. When Shayd backed away and his finger was twisting in Raven’s wound, it took everything in Draven to keep control of his anger. This was the creature who did bring him shame. She was the reason they had failed on so many occasions. It would be so easy to snap her neck and end it once and for all… Only Helena deserved her fun…
[+red “Torture is just for fun Raven. I like seeing you squirm and I love seeing the pain behind those eyes. There was two monsters here Raven. A Hybrid and a very pissed off Vampire. Helena’s right, this is a challenge. You’ve escaped every time I have caught you, but I have almost killed you in every fight. The only way you are getting out of here Raven is if someone gives a shit about you and by the looks of it…you are all alone.”] Draven pointed to Anton as he was pulled away, as if furthering his point. Reaching for her hair, Draven picked her up and forced her down on a chair that was dragged in the middle of the cell by one of the guards. Tying her hands down to the arms of the chair, Draven grabbed another seat and put it directly in front of her. He didn’t rush. He gently slipped his black coat off and folder it on the floor next to him, before taking a seat and staring at her intently. He didn’t speak for a few moments, as if planning where to torture her first but instead, he simply smiled.
[+red “Did you know I’m approaching 155 years of age? The longest living person is 122 years old and 164 days. I was born a Vampire, I wasn’t turned. So I’ve seen a lot. I’ve seen many Wars. In fact I served in many Wars. I saw a lot of people killing each other for this and that. Mortals are the worst. They kill each other without even knowing why they are killing each other! Only because they are told too. Vampires and Werewolves and even… well, even creatures like you kill each other. Why? We usually have a reason. It might be Pack loyalty or betrayal or greed… I’ve seen a lot of death but you know what I’ve only seen recently in my 155 years of living? I’ve seen one man blinding leading people on for his own advantage and we keep falling into his trap Raven, we really do.”] Draven’s voice was surprisingly calm and even…warm. Unlike his usual words of mockery or malice, which was usually carried by a chilling tone, he was looking into Raven’s eyes with genuine interest.
[+red “I don’t keep telling you this to fool you Raven. Anton is using everyone he meets. He has only ever cared about himself. When he was a human, I watched him for months on end. His addiction brought criminals to his parents home who demanded money. I watched his father get beaten so badly he ended up in a wheelchair. Poor fool couldn’t even breathe on his own, let alone eat. His mother ended up an alcoholic and ran away. Did Anton try and save them? No. He just watched. I felt sorry for him then. Felt he needed help. So I thought I could change him. He ended up betraying me. I had Blood Dealers breaking into The Council demanding his head on a plate. It brought shame on me. Then he met you… how long are you going to keep believing he is going to be good for you Raven? It is all a game. His parents got him out of debt. They almost died saving him. I saved his life and in return he almost had me killed. Now he seems to be playing the same trick on you. All he cares about is his addiction. He never cared about you. What is even worse Raven is he hasn’t just formed an alliance with you, has he? I have a feeling he’s hit feelings you didn’t even think you had.”]
Standing up, Draven approached Raven as he pulled a lighter out of his pocket. Flicking the metal, a small spark ignited a flame and without a seconds hesitation he brought it to her open wounds and started to seal them. He didn’t rush with his healing. Instead he made sure to keep the flame pressed against her skin for as long as he could, just to prolong the torture.
[+red “Now you are here. He was alone so through you her made an ally he could work with. Since you destroyed his life by turning him into a Hybrid, he is now making sure you suffer. You now have no Pack, you have no friends and pretty soon you won’t have him. He’ll leave you Raven. One way or another you are going to be here suffering alone. Tell me, how much did he get you to care about him? I’ll be honest, theres a reason we are called Blood Brothers and Sisters. There is a strong bond between anyone who is transformed and who transformed them. Anton crushed me the day he betrayed me. I can see the same pain in your eyes.”] Finishing with the final wound, Draven pulled the lighter away. Just as it looked like he was about to turn around back to his chair, he swung his body back and brought a punch straight towards her jaw.
[+red “I’m not going to stop you suffering Raven. I am going to increase the intensity until you either see how much Anton is betraying you and until you tell me how you actually feel about him. He’s scum Raven. You have no one and it is thanks to him. Tell me how he makes you feel.”] He followed through with a second punch. It was all part of his plan. He would make Raven lose her trust in Anton and make her realise how alone she was. He would make her admit how much she cared for him, before destroying everything their relationship held together. Slowly he would break her.
Anton didn’t resist Helena. Feeling her hand on his arm he was at too much of a loss in his mind to know what was truly going on. During the journey he was trying desperately to grip his overacting senses. He could smell blood, sweat, fur and with his new senses he was certain he could even go as far to say he could sense the pain in the room they were approaching. While the drugs in his muddled mind were hard to retain his focus, his new senses and experience were combining together. The first shot of what he took hit him hard. With his partnership with Raven he had cut his drug use for weeks on end, only giving into temptation on occasion. Now this was his second hit in only a few hours, while Helena walked him he closed his eyes and took a few moments to collect his thoughts. He certainly wouldn’t have the clarity to fight back but he could at least play this with some smarts. It was a battle, for each time he gained focus he lost it again moments later.
Arriving in the room Anton stared at the empty cage in the corner. It was the first one that caught his eye. He could see every single detail of the sandy fur inside and the scent of Dustin was still strong in the room when he focused on it. His attention however couldn’t last long. Soon Helena was in front of him, tilting his head around and even parting his lips. The mention of the word Hybrid hit him harder than what he wanted to admit. It would have been a moment of weakness Helena would have caught - the very hatred of what he had become. It was something Anton would usually be able to hide but this wasn’t the same Anton. He was drugged up and very much in Helena’s control and now she had another weapon against him…his addiction.
[b “You know giving a junkie too many syringes is a risky move? Draven’s watched me overdose once. As much as I am sure he’d love that again, would you really want to let me go so easily? I… it…it depends on the question.”]
At first he was confident, but he could already feel the height of his high coming on. It wouldn’t last long and he knew every time he put more in his system, the harder it would be to kick his habit. Only that need for the drug was beating him down. There was an itch in his arm, begging him just for a taste of more.
With shame Anton lowered his gaze from the Witch in front of him, and swallowed back his pride.
[b “The Alpha of the Sirhan Pack is Talon.”]
It was too easy to answer and he hated himself. He was balancing on a fine line. He was dealing with his own high, trying to survive and also making sure he didn’t cross the line with Helena! If he did she could easily order Raven’s execution. But maybe…maybe this wasn’t all as bad as it seemed. If he could gather enough syringes he could use it to his advantage. He’d have an easy weapon to use and he could just buy himself and Raven enough time to escape. That was if Helena kept to her deal.
[b “I want my syringe first before I answer the next question.”] He demanded, reaching out his hand which shook violently. It looked like it wouldn’t be able to even hold the syringe!
[b “You already know the answer to the second question. Lexi has a lot of hope. More hope than she even believes she has. She’ll also know that you’ll want to come back for her brother. Instead of a syringe for that one, I want you to answer me a question.”]
Taking a deep breath and closing his eyes, Anton gave himself a few seconds. Just a brief moment to clear his mind and use that small moment of focus to his advantage.
[b “Are you really working with Draven, or will you betray him one day just like I did?”]
Raven’s only reaction to Draven’s taught was to narrow her glare. She didn’t want him to know that his words were affecting her, but Raven couldn’t deny the truth behind them. Anton had betrayed her when he stuck her with that needle. Despite his intentions, he did the one thing she was most afraid of: he took away her control, he left her utterly vulnerable. What if he made the same mistakes in the future? Anton promised he’s do whatever it took to keep her alive, what if he sacrificed her freedom and her autonomy just to keep her breathing? If anyone should know that there were worse fates than death, it was Anton, but he had proven to Raven on more than one occasion that he could be a real hypocrite. Maybe putting her faith in the Hybrid was the wrong call? Either way, Raven hid her doubts behind a mask just as she had always done as Beta. There were times when the pack’s needs came before her own fears, and right now Anton needed to believe she had fight in him if he was ever going to have faith in himself.
[b “You seem awfully confident for a man who has already failed to kill us numerous times. You couldn’t keep your Blood Brother in line, you embarrassed yourself in front of the Council, you couldn’t even take out those two little kids that threatened your power. I can’t wait to see you grovelling on your knees, kissing the dirt at Lexi’s feet when she takes her place leading the Council. You don’t scare me Draven and you’ll never break me.”] Raven growled, until she felt the tearing of teeth and claws, ripping into her barely healed wounds. Raven forced her eyes open to meet Shayd’s in a desperate hope that something would trigger some sort of recognition behind those familiar amber eyes, but all she saw was empty, soulless pits. She could hardly even hear Anton’s pleas over the vicious, feral snarling in her ear.
[+green “Aw, Anton, you ruin all my fun.”] Helena pouted, glancing over her shoulder at the Wolf ripping into the defenceless Hybrid. Even as Anton took the syringe and pointed out their deal, Helena was hesitant to call off her attack dog until she heard the order from her Superior. She watched as Draven knelt beside the injured woman, adding his own torturous twist until the Beta’s composure started to crack. Satisfied to hear a poorly contained cry of pain, Helena obeyed Draven’s nod and whistled for her pet. Shayd instantly retreated, obediently returning to his Master’s side leaving a smear of bloody pawprints in his wake.
[b “You arrogant son of a bitch!”] Raven growled out as her painful cries faded into angry groans of pain. She pushed herself back into a sitting position, turning her injured side against the wall out of instinct to shield her vulnerabilities. Raven took a few deep breaths to try to force her vouce back under control, but the pain still laced every word.
[b “You think torture is going to break me? I’m a Blood Born, an heir to the Sirhan Pack, and a Hyrbid! I’m not weak like Helena’s other pets! I will never submit to a monster like you.”] Raven insisted, willing as much conviction into her voice as she could muster.
[+green “Sounds like a challenge to me! Draven, I see you two need to have a little chat. Maybe you can break that annoying bit of hope she’s still clinging on to. In the meantime, Anton and I have some catching up to do. Come on Brother, let’s take a little walk down to my workshop.”] Helena cooed, not at all worried about Anton fighting back while ender the drug. He looked unfocused and malleable; perfectly primed for manipulation. She just needed to warp his mind a little more and before long, he’d be the one with his hands covered in Raven’s blood.
Helena didn’t worry about restraints. She simply put her hand on Anton’s arm to lead him out of the cells. With Shayd at her side, she wasn’t afraid of Anton fighting back, and it was a delicious jab to force Raven to watch as Anton ‘willingly’ went along with his Blood Sister.
[+green “I’ll bring him back in a couple of hours Draven. I’m sure you can keep ourferal friend entertained until then?”] Helena said with a wink before leading Anton down the hall anf into her workshop.
The walls were lined with cages far too small for their captive occupants, but none of the wolves dared to complain. In fact, they all sat, curled up in tight quarters, silently awaiting their next command. It was a sad sight, especially knowing that each of these wolves was once a proud and fierce creature just like Raven and Talon. The smallest cage on the end was left empty, but traces of blood and light sandy-coloured fur were left inside, the same colour as Dustin’s. Helena led Anton to the front of the workshop and ordered for Shayd to sit and wait by the door until he was needed. When they were alone, Helena took a close look at Anton, turning his head back and forth, looking into his eyes, even raising his lip to look at the newly developed Canine teeth in his mouth. The way she was action, it was as if Anton was some show animal at a fair instead of a fellow Vampire.
[+green “Fascinating… Hybrids are rare, you know? From what I’ve heard, there’s only three ways to create a Hybrid. 1) for a Blood Born Wolf to survive vampire toxin… your friend was incredibly lucky by the way. The last three Blood Borns I’ve bitten still died a slow, horrible death. 2) for a Vampire to survive being bitten by a hybrid… or course you need a hybrid to make that happen, so again, very rare. Finally, 3) reproduction: the offspring of a hybrid has a chance at being born a hybrid. I’ve been trying to get my hands on a Hybrid for years, and now, thanks to you, I have two!”] Helena cooed, now tracing the black veins on Anton’s arm. She looked as excited as a child with a new toy, yet nowhere near as innocent.
[+green “Draven said I should go easy on you just because you’re my Blood Brother, but I can’t help having a little soft spot for you. Besides, I don’t think all that nasty torture is necessary, do you? How about a little game, Anton? I’ll ask you a few questions and for ever answer you give, I’ll give you another syringe to take back with you. You could build yourself a nice little stash, so you’ll never have to lose that high! What do you say, Brother?”] She offered, but this was all in Helena’s plan. If she could get what she wanted from Anton without using torture, it would only drive him and Raven further apart! Imagine how betrayed she would feel if Anton was brought back to the cell with a handful of drugs and not a single scratch on him! This was all about manipulation, and for this to work Raven had to truly believe that Anton had turned his back on her.
[+green “We’ll start with an easy one. Who is the Alpha of the Sirhan Pack?”] the Witch asked, already knowing the Answer. She wanted to see whether Anton would be honest with her and if he was willing to give information on Raven’s loved ones. After all, the more he betrayed her pack, the more he betrayed Raven! Of course, she also wanted a few answers for herself.
[+green “Tell me Anton, does Lexi Kane still believe she can save her twin brother?”]
[b “You want to know something? It’s not even the disbelief of saving us or that I’m even capable. I’ve been escaping Draven for years, the bastard is predictable. I’m not saying I can get us out, hell, we’re so screwed right now I don’t even know where to start with a plan. What scares me Raven, more than anything, is that I’ll fuck up again tomorrow. I always have. It is something I have done throughout my life. I’ve proven that to you. I’ll fight for what is right, but it doesn’t take much for me to forget that either… still, we have a life long deal don’t we Raven? I can’t let you die. If I do screw up, one thing is for certain - my selfish desire to fulfil a deal is there.”]
Anton knew that everything Raven said was true. The words he told Dustin were just as meaningful to him as they were to anyone else he gave them too. The reason the advice was to hard for Anton to take was because he almost took it too well. His addiction started from taking that responsibility. He accepted he was becoming an addict, he knew he was responsible every time he injected himself with something new - yet Anton never learnt how to fix it. He could fix everyone else’s problems and yet he hadn’t figured out how to fix his own. He didn’t have anyone to fix them for. No one cared about him, so why did he have to worry about the consequences of what he was doing to himself? Now he was being hit with a reason to try and fix all those consequences. His addiction was the first problem. He was so used to getting high with no morale obligation to stop, while it would have an advantage to play in this situation, it was only going to cause him more problems down the line. That control was more vital and this was no longer just about feeding his addiction. This was about their survival.
His second consequence was Draven. His own actions had caused him to get hunted down and now Raven was part of Draven’s crazed plans. Anton also had to deal with his own anger and frustrations about turning into a Hybrid, and accept this was his new life. Finally…he had to accept he wasn’t as alone as what he once was and it was no longer just about his feelings.
With Raven’s explanation about why she couldn’t fully trust Anton, he simply nodded in agreement but there was a painful frustration in his eyes. His jaw tensed and locked and there was a stiffness to his body that showed a frustration he didn’t want to speak out. He understood about her her lack of trust with what happened with her brother. After how Raven explained about caring for someone, and seeing how close a family could get, Anton could see why losing a family member wold be so painful. Especially with how Raven was having to see her older brother in someone else control! However knowing his own actions had caused a rift which may never be fixed, left a feeling of guilt he didn’t want to confess too. His own drug use had destroyed his own life and taken control and he had forced that on Raven for a split moment in time. It would have been easy for Anton to try and defend himself but with this short time in a cell with Raven, he knew there was just some moments where he had to accept he had done wrong.
[b “Give me some time Raven, I’ll get us out of here somehow.”]
As Draven arrived on the scene, Anton didn’t bother to shift his position like Raven did. He remembered his offer to his Blood Brother and Sister. He told them he would be willing to do whatever they asked, in order to spare both himself and Raven suffering. He knew it wouldn’t come without its catches and he was sure they would both endure some sort of pain, whether that be mentally or physically. Yet Anton had to play the game. If it would buy them both some time and allow him to construct a strategy to escape, he would follow their little rules.
[+red “Yes I did torture you and yes I did turn you into a Hybrid, but allow me to correct you on one thing: Anton drugged you. Sure we gave him the syringe and we planted that seed, bit he still made the decision to drug you. I’m guessing you have spent some quality time discussing this and his little pathetic look for forgiveness has almost swayed you. I’m not asking you to take my word Raven, I’m asking you to reflect on actions. If you are really relying on Anton to get you out of here, that’s fine; but you’ll only end up disappointed.”] Draven laughed, not letting the subject matter go. If the two of them had been working together, he had to toy with their trust. They had escaped too many times on the basis of their partnership - if they lost that, they would lose hope. Without hope there was no risk of these two escaping. Why would they? They would both rather end up dead. Plus it was just as fun to toy with their relationship. Judging by the distance between them both, whatever trust they had seemed to be fragile and if one of them did something to hurt the other, it would cause more pain than any amount of torture!
[+red “Don’t worry Raven, you will be joining your big brother Shayd soon. Look at him; he’s a real wolf. Dog’s should follow orders and you’ll be doing the exact same. It’ll be exciting to watch you kill the people you once cared about.”] Draven took a step back, allowing Helena to take over the scene. They had come up with their plans but her art of manipulation was the key to their success. Draven was powerful and would lead the Council to success if he could beat these two, however he needed Helena to toy with their enemies.
Anton didn’t move when Helena placed her hand on his cheek. Instead his eyes just stayed fixed on hers, listening to her speak with great focus. She was playing on the doubt that was already on his mind and the confidence Raven had attempted to build up in a short amount of time was his only defence. Everything Helena was saying was true. He never saw himself as a hero, he was selfish and he wasn’t the good person that Raven believed he was. At least, that is what Anton still thought. He could handle the words but as soon as she pulled that syringe from her cloak, Anton tensed at the sight. It was a reaction he instantly hated himself for. All the signs of his addiction and greed for the drug was already coming to light. His hand was twitching, his fingers almost instinctively trying to reach forward for the syringe in her hand. The beads of sweat around his forehead started to drip down his face and he had to bite his lip to stop himself from crying out in desperation for it. Now he was a Hybrid, it wasn’t like any normal high. All of his senses came alive in a way he had never felt before, not even as a human! That meant his craving was more intense and when Helena wrapped the syringe in his shaking hands, it took all of his willpower not to go straight for it.
[b “Don’t hurt her! Helena, you are right. Everyone thinks I’ve changed and everyone seems to know something about me. One thing you definitely know is that I like a deal. You said if I followed your orders you wouldn’t kill her! So you best make sure Shayd doesn’t let her bleed to death; he has already reopened her wound! You were also right about another…I’m selfish.”] Anton hissed as he watched Raven get tackled to the floor. He made the mistake last time of letting Raven lose control, he wouldn’t do the same thing twice. He knew Raven wouldn’t approve of his actions, but he could learn to control his drug use in Hybrid form if he could do it as a Vampire and a Human. Straightening his arm in front of Helena, he lifted up the syringe and without even looking , he stuck the syringe into his vein and pushed the substance into his bloodstream. Within moments his tense body slumped against the wall, his eyes glazing over. It even took the strength from him to be able to pull the syringe out of his arm. It just laid dangling from his skin, with a small stream of blood dripping down his forearm. The black streaks that marked his veins seemed to bulge more with the drugs in his system, showing his Hybrid transformation more against his pale skin.
[b “I…I did what you asked…let her go…”]
[+red “Oh don’t you worry Anton, I’m not going to let her die. We’re just going to have a friendly chat for the next few hours, aren’t we Raven?”] Stepping forward into the cell, Draven knelt by Raven’s side while Shayd was still pinning her down. Looking down towards the open wound, with a cruel smirk, he reached forward and wrapped his fingers inside and tugged on her split skin. He knew he’d have to be careful. It was a fine balance between torture, death and even worse; Raven turning Savage - but that didn’t mean he couldn’t cause her some pain and distress.
[+red “We are going to get our priorities straight by the end of this Raven and get you really thinking about who you should care about and listen to. Anton isn’t going to help you. Helena’s just proved he is more interested in his addiction than giving a shit about you. So you’re on your own. Who knows, maybe when you see each other again after this, you might actually want him dead rather than in a cell with you.”] Pulling his fingers out, Draven wiped his hand on her clothes before standing up and nodding at Helena to get Shayd to release her. As much as he would love to watch the wolf rip her to shreds, he didn’t want to take away Helena’s fun.
[+red “Helena, don’t go too easy on him. Just because he’s our Blood Brother doesn’t mean we have to treat him like family.”]
Raven wasn’t one to encourage Anton’s drug use, in fact, she wished she could see him kick the habit all together. However, if his past history helped him build up a tolerance to the drugs that would allow them to escape, she wasn’t one to argue. Raven didn’t realize her faith in Anton would be taken as such a surprise. She thought that up until recently, she had shown him how supportive he was, but maybe this was the consequence of never knowing real care in his live – he probably didn’t have anyone who believed in him much growing up. Raven was saddened at the thought. They really had lived very different lives until now: Anton had never really known friends or family, while Raven had never really been on her own before. Now both were thrown into a new and frightening situation with Anton realizing he cared about someone and Raven having to face the world without her pack or her brother to back her up. She realized she couldn’t be too unforgiving… at this point, she needed Anton as much as he needed her, maybe even more! This was no time to hold a grudge. If Anton was her only chance to get out of here, she needed to build his confidence as much as possible.
[b “What did you tell Dustin when he fought with his sister? It doesn’t matter how much you screwed up as long as you’re willing to take responsibility and fix it. I know you can beat then Anton, I’ve known it since the first day we met, and that belief only grew stronger as I got to know how damn stubborn… well, determined you were. But what I believe doesn’t matter Anton. If you keep doubting yourself and punishing your past, then both of us are going to die here.”] Raven told him. Despite what had happened between then, Raven knew what Anton was capable of. He wasn’t perfect, none of them were, but Raven had seen Anton face down an entire pack without a trace f fear in his eyes. She had watched him fight back from the brink of death and throw himself into the hands of his enemies just to protect his partner. She had no doubt he could outwit Helena and Draven if he put his mind to it. Of course, her believes and her words might not be enough, especially when her actions said otherwise. Raven was still curled up against the far wall, her arms clutching protectively over her injured side and her eyes darting cautiously around the cell. Her body language alone showed she wasn’t fully ready to trust him and Raven knew Anton would pick up on that. Her fears were confirmed when he called her out on that fact.
Raven knew it was the truth, but to heard Anton say it out loud made her feel a little ashamed. She wanted to carry on her brother’s legacy, keep his dreams alive by following in his footsteps. That’s why, when Talon turned his back on all Fangs, Rave sought them out! She went looking for Anton in the pub that night because she wanted to prove that Shayd was right: Vampires and Werewolves could work together as partners. In some small way, Raven thought that by proving her brother right she would be making him proud… even if he was lost to them forever, living out the consequences of his own poor judgement. But all of that changed when Anton turned on her. When he shouted at her, blamed her for his misery, wished her dead, and ran away from her without a second glance, Raven was afraid that she had made the same mistake as her brother. She was lucky Anton had let her live for now, but could she really ever trust him again?
[b “My brother put his faith in the wrong person, and he lost everything because of that. I want to trust you Anton, but… you drugged me, took away my self-control, left me vulnerable in the hands of the same person that captured and brainwashed my brother. I want to trust you, but I’m scared that if I do, I’ll share the same fate as my brother.”] Raven admitted. She wished she was stronger than that. Anton’s recent action had been cause for some concern, but these past few months had also proven he could be trusted. After all, the only reason Anton was even captured in the first place was because he surrendered so that Vampire would kill Raven!
For now, all she could do was trust his word. These next few days would be critical: the Blood Moon was fast approaching and both Draven and Helena had already expressed how they wanted to manipulate their new [i pets] before the Blood Moon. Draven even boasted about having Raven turn on her own pack! Now, more than ever, she and Anton needed to stick together, watch out for one another, and help each other resist the witch’s spells. Raven was too injured and weak to do it alone; she needed to trust Anton, otherwise they were both as good as dead.
The dark, ominous voice that echoed through the cells only confirmed Raven’s fears. Hearing Draven approach, the Hybrid did her best to appear stronger than she felt. She pushed herself off the wall – not quite able to get to her feet yet, but she didn’t want it to look like she couldn’t support herself. Raven dropped her arms from her side, not wanting to call attention to her wound, and when Draven turned his malicious eyes on her, she met them with a bold, fearless stare.
[b “And what, I’m supposed to trust you instead? You tortured me, turned me into a Hybrid! You nearly killed my partner and corrupted my initiate, you let your Witch capture and brainwash my fellow Wolves! Now, after you stabbed me, drugged me, and locked me in a cell, you think I’ll take your word over Anton’s?”] Raven growled, deflecting the topic to Draven instead of having to admit her own distrust for Anton. When Draven brought up the topic of Nana, however, Raven fell silent. She knew she should be defending him, arguing back, announcing his innocence, but she couldn’t. Even if she did believe Anton had nothing to do with Nana’s death, she couldn’t prove anything. She’d rather hold her tongue now than to find out later she was wrong.
[+green “Of course Draven, I think they’ve had enough quality time together. Now, lets see if you two have learned anything…”] Helena entered the cell, followed by her favourite black wolf. Helena didn’t miss the way that Raven tensed with her enslaved, mindless brother so close yet completely unreachable.
[+green “Ah yes, you know my pet, don’t you Raven? He is quite an impressive tool, I have to say.”] Helena taunted, running her delicate fingers through the thick, black fur on the large Wolf’s back while he stood obediently at her side, not even slightly fazed by the fact that his baby sister was cowering in the corner a few feet in front of him. In fact, the brainwashed Wolf didn’t even look like he recognized the young woman!
[+green “He was the first Wolf I ever got to play with. I wasn’t nearly as well practiced back then. I was still experimenting, you see. So it took far longer to break him. This big brute put up a fight for almost two years before his spirit finally shattered and he fell under my control. Much more impressive than the mere two weeks it too to break your little initiate. I wonder how long it will take to break you?”] Helena delighted in the horror that flashed behind Raven’s eyes as she realized that her brother had been holding on, desperate for rescue for almost two whole years before she broke him. He was clinging onto the hope that someone, anyone would rescue him… an no one did. Now it was too late.
Changing her target for a moment to let her taunts seep into Raven’s mind, Helena turned her merciless eyes on Anton. She crouched in front of him, putting a soft hand on his cheek in a mockery of a loving caress.
[+green And what do you think of my plans for Raven, hm?”] She asked, speaking with that enticing tone that she used to lull others into her spell.
[+green “Everyone seems to think you’ve changed Anton. That you’ve grown a conscience. But I know you better than that. You might think you care for the Hybrid, you might even want to protect her, but you’re not selfless Anton. You’re no hero. And no matter how you try to fight it, that selfish, arrogant, needy Blood Brother I know so well will break through the surface. You will always chose yourself over her, because you’re just not a good person Anton. And I can prove that.”] She whispered alluringly before taking her hand off his cheek and reaching into her cloak for a syringe.
[+green “I’ll let you decide Anton. You could keep this for yourself… I see how you hunger for it. That desperation, that need is burning in your eyes. You know what this will do – take away the pain, take away the guilt. Leave you in that empty, vacant bliss…Or you can give it to your friend. Can you imagine the kind of pain she’s in right now? She tried to hide it, but you can still see it can’t you? The pain? The fear? Wasn’t it so much easier when she was drugged the last time? When you saw her sleeping peacefully, unaware of this nightmare she eventually woke up in? It’s your choice Anton: take it yourself or give it to her.”] Helena told him, once again wrapping his shaky fingers around the syringe.
[b “You’re sick! Don’t listen to her Anton! You’re stronger than this! Throw it away! Break it!”]
[+green “Silence!”] Helena ordered and with a flick of her wrist, she ordered her [i pet] to intervene. Shayd lunged at his little sister, knocking her away from the wall and pinning her down on the cold floor. His bared teeth glistened inches away from her face and his fierce, heavy paw ripped into her injured side, feeling the blood beneath his claws as he reopened what had been singed closed.
[+green “I’m being nice enough to let you chose Anton. I suggest you accept my kindness, or we might have t get a little more forceful. So, take the drug yourself or give it to Raven: Dull your pain or take away hers. But no matter what you decide, you’ll spend the next three hours with me while your Hybrid friend spends some quality time with Draven. And if you both behave, we may even be gracious enough to let you see her again once we’re done with you.”]
Anton didn’t know what was making him shake more; the copious amount of drugs in his system or the fact he was speaking about his feelings. Anton could get easily fired up and out of their whole partnership, those times of anger was probably the most emotional connection Raven got out of him! He hid behind his own dark sarcasm, masking behind threats and cheap jabs towards his enemies and brushing off his true feelings to his friends. He was never known as weak and not many people really knew what hid behind Anton’s walls. Anton had tried everything throughout his life to keep his emotions at bay; loneliness, drug abuse, only using people when he needed them…now as he spoke there was a self-hared in his eyes. It was like he genuinely let himself down by opening up! He clearly wasn’t comfortable and the more he spoke, the lower and the weaker his voice got. The fact remained however that in the first time in their partnership, Anton was showing a real part of himself that he never would have given away so easily before.
Hearing Raven growl at his own willingness to die in this cell, Anton didn’t respond. She was right, she had risked so much to keep him alive and he had done the same for her. Only they were trapped in a vicious circle. They saved one another to watch themselves almost get killed again. Though he had to admit, her sacrifices outweighed his own. In fact Anton probably gained more from the risks he took with Raven! While Raven lost so much, Anton lost his drug abuse, his criminal life style and almost gained a Pack, a friend and a sense of belonging. He threw it away, but it showed how different the risks were between Raven and Anton - only he was too blind to see it.
As Raven questioned his understanding of caring, Anton shrugged in confusion. It would have looked like she was explaining the concept to a child! Yet she was right. He didn’t have anyone to care for, and didn’t get the opportunity to even learn from experience growing up as a human. Anton had always been a loner, with a selfish desire to gain power. It was all he knew. So these emotions were new to him, confusing and while he was still grasping with understanding it was only frustrating him.
[b “I’ve never seen care Raven. I’m not going to bore you with my upbringing but let’s say for example the hours before Draven turned me. I was a drug dealer, I didn’t care for anyone and my friends watched me overdose and instead of calling for help, they ran away because they were scared of the cops arresting them. They were happy to watch me die that night. Everyone I met and worked with in partnership I always knew they had something selfish behind them. Hey, let’s not kid ourselves here, you had the exact same selfishness when you met me in that bar. It was for the Pack, not for me. You didn’t approach me because you really wanted to make friends with me, did you? I’m not saying that to piss you off, or to say you were wrong because you weren’t. Fuck, I was using you in return when I first met you! So…yeah, it’s all hit me at once.”]
As much as Anton was on the come down from the drugs and wanted nothing more than to lay down and feel the cold against his skin, or just take something to make the feeling go away, he could equally see Raven was attempting to hide the pain. She was trying to hide it, as she always did, though he could still sense the distrust between them. This wasn’t the time to approach, or question her on her actions, but he knew if Draven or Helena saw her weakness they would definitely play on it. No doubt they would make Anton make it worse somehow if they drugged him again and got him under their control. It was something he would have to be aware of if he could somehow get them out of it.
[b “You know what I used to be able to do? I used to be able to take so much. As a Vampire I didn’t have to worry about the drugs killing me because hey, guess what, fucking eternal life until some bastard chops my head off, makes me bleed to death or stabs me in my non-beating heart. So I remember the feeling of being in control. I can’t promise it will happen straight away Raven. They’ll use me for as long as they can and I’m not going to be at that level again, but I’ll get there. Come on, I’ve got to use my habit for some good, right? You actually believe I can do this? After how much I fucked up? You continue to surprise me Raven.”] Anton still had a shadow of disbelief in his eyes, but Raven was planting that seed for him to work on. It wasn’t a skill he should have been proud of, but if anything was going to counter against Helena it was his ability to stay under control, no matter what she put into his bloodstream. If he could gain control at some point, he could play along until the time he could make a counter strike. It was a long shot, one perhaps he was hoping on too much but what else could they do? He either got in control or he’d watch Raven lose her control forever!
When Raven began her story, Anton stayed quiet through the whole telling. He could see how uncomfortable she was, as he didn’t let his own bloodshot eyes leave her - even if she was looking everywhere but him. Her story explained a lot. Ever since Helena arrived on the scene, there had been a lot of tension and buried upset amongst the Pack. This Shayd, while Anton had never met him he knew one thing; the loss of their older brother would have had a greater impact than Talon or Raven would ever confess too. Wolves had that instinct of care, something Anton was still learning about. No doubt every time they saw their brother, that instinct turned to pain. He didn’t have any family he could rely on, so it was hard to relate to the story, but he could hear the ache in her voice. This was more than just about losing control to a witch like Helena. However there was one important factor that was starting to make more sense to Anton.
[b “That’s why you don’t know you can trust me, isn’t it?”] He asked, only with no accusation or hatred. Just understanding.
[b “I can’t save your brother Renae. I’m not even sure if I can save you but you have my word on one thing - I will not let you suffer that fate. I may have done a lot to hurt you, but I won’t fuck up this promise.”] He assured, looking her right back in the eyes when she looked into his. He had nothing to lose, not at this point, but he had everything to gain.
[+red “You can’t surely believe this pathetic excuse for an addict, can you Raven? He just drugged you and now he’s in danger he’s suddenly on your side? I know his tricks and I’m sure you have the doubt in your head too. He will not help you Raven. Once he knows your out of the picture, or he doesn’t have to deal with him anymore, you’ll be worth nothing more than a discarded syringe to him. He’s proven once before, he’ll prove it once again.”] Draven’s voice broke out through the prisons corridor as he made his way to their cell.
[+red “Just remember one thing Raven; you wouldn’t be in this cell if it wasn’t for Anton. He’s only ever going to hurt you. There’s no point in relying on him. Didn’t he kill your precious Nana? No doubt he covered up that too, didn’t you Anton? Always telling the excuses and the stories but never any evidence behind his words.”] Draven mocked towards Anton, but there was a completely different tone with Raven. He wanted to mess with her mind - keep her on the rollercoaster of not knowing who and what to trust. It wouldn’t matter. Once Helena arrived at the scene, that was the only person Raven had to bow down to for now. If Helena got her in control, then Anton was more than disposable.
[+red “In a moment Helena is going to come. Anton, you best keep your word to us. Our law means more to you than Raven, because it means you’ll survive another day without her. You wanted her to die, well now you are going to get better. She’s going to be eternally trapped as a creature you despise, and now what you will be forced to live as. Hybrids…filth…. You were already the dirt on my shoe and yet you somehow managed to sink lower. Helena! It’s time!”]
Raven wanted to snap back, shove Anton’s words back in his face, and fight for the last word. It was that reckless, impulsive, competitive side of her that couldn’t stand to let someone else win an argument. Usually, Raven would find herself growling her last words at the back of Talon’s head as he stormed away, and yet, despite getting the last point, she never truly felt that she won anything. This was no different. Every time she bantered back, Anton just got more defensive. So for the first time in Raven’s life she let Anton win. She didn’t defend against his accusations, or did she try to further her point. She didn’t say anther word until she heard Anton’s mumblings about how they cared for one another. Either he was incredibly dedicated to his lies or there was a sliver of truth to what he was saying. Maybe she shouldn’t be so quick to assume – if anything, these past few hours had taught her that Anton wasn’t as predictable as she thought.
As Anton posed his questions, diminishing himself in the same breath as he called her out on her concerns, Raven had little intention of answering him. She wasn’t sure it was wise to reinforce just how much she did care for her fellow Hybrid, but there were some things Raven just couldn’t hide. When Anton suggested that he should be the one to die here, Raven’s lip curled in an involuntary growl. She cursed the very thought of Anton throwing his life away when she had done everything she could to save him.
[b “You can start by opening your damn eyes and realizing that I don’t want you dead, Anton. I gave up your trust, my Pack, even my own freedom to keep you breathing, so believe me, there is no greater insult than to hear you so willing to throw all of that away for nothing!”] Raven growled, not able to put up with his self-depreciating speeches any longer. The first time he told her he’d rather die than be a Hyrbid with her, it felt like he’d stabbed a blade straight into her chest, and every time he threw around the thought of getting himself killed, that knife twisted deeper and deeper. At this point, Raven wasn’t sure what hurt more: Anton’s words or Draven’s dagger!
[b “Why keep caring? You really don’t understand this at all, do you?”] Raven snapped, bitterly at first but her voice lost its edge as she realize how sad that realization really was. Had Anton really never cared for anyone in his life before? How was all of this so new and confusing to him?
[b “Caring about someone isn’t rational, Anton, it’s instinct. There aren’t any reasons for why I care… or maybe there’s too many, I don’t know. It’s just… it’s a feeling. I guess that’s one of the differences between Vamps and Wolves: you Bloodsuckers need a reason behind everything, you’re too damn logical. Wolves let their instincts guide them, they don’t need an explanation, they just do what feels right. Bringing you food, making sure you were safe, protecting you… it feels right.”] Raven admitted, finally letting her guard drop. She leaned her head back against the cold stone wall and tried to push the pain out of her mind. She hadn’t felt like this since the toxin spread through her veins turning her into a Hybrid! All Raven wanted to do was curl up in a ball and scream from the tearing in her abdomen, but letting that degree of weakness show – to Anton or to any of the Coven who may be watching them – was a bad idea. Instead, she bit back the pain and tried to focus on Anton’s words, letting him distract her from her injuries.
At first her anger, pain, and betrayal towards Anton consumed her mind, not letting her see anything other than how he’d hurt her. But as her mind and body grew weary and Raven let go off all that aggression, she started to see the honesty behind Anton’s words. Maybe he wasn’t as heartless as she thought. He was even talking about how he didn’t want to fight back if it meant getting Raven killed. If he truly didn’t care about the Hybrid, why would he risk his freedom and his pride just to keep her alive?
[b “It’s only worse when you’re a Hybrid because of your heightened senses… you can’t block them out when you’re high, like you do when you’re sober. Dustin had the same problem when he first turned. He said the world was too loud, too bright, too potent with his Wolf senses, so he tried to supress it all… it took him months before he let it all in. If you can adapt to it, make it so those senses aren’t so overwhelmed when you’re drugged, you could get that control back.”] Raven told him, seeming to have more faith in Anton than he currently had in himself. Out of the two of them, Anton’s experience with drugs would have given him a far greater tolerance to them. Now, if only he could fit several months of Wolf training into the next few short days, maybe they actually stood a chance? The first step would be to boost Anton’s confidence back up and convince him that he could do this on his own. From what Raven heard, it didn’t sound like Anton had ever had someone counting on him so much like this before. If he didn’t believe he could beat Helena, if he didn’t think that fighting was worth the risk, then they were both doomed to die in here. Maybe Raven needed to show him a little bit of trust?
Raven was never one to show her vulnerabilities. She had been hiding her own weaknesses from Anton since the day they met, and had hardly ever let her mask break. These past few hours he had seen her pain and seen her sadness, but now she was actually considering showing him something far more guarded: her fear. As Anton swore he’d never let her become Helena’s puppet, Raven gave an involuntary shutter and her eyes flashed with the same fear they held when Anton held that syringe to her skin.
[b “You wanna know why I freaked out when you drugged me? Why I’m so afraid of what Helena could do? I know I’m not strong enough to resist her.”] Raven started. It was clear from the way Raven was now avoiding Anton’s eyes that this wasn’t easy for her to say.
[b “You know that black Wolf she’s always with? The big one with the white markings? His name is Shayd… he’s my oldest brother. Our last Alpha-in-training. Shayd was being groomed to take over the pack since he was born – he was strong, loyal, clever, a natural leader, even more so than Talon. Shayd would do anything to protect the Sirhan Pack, so when he heard that the Vampires were willing to go to war with the Wolves, he tried to make peace with them. He befriended a Vampire, worked with her, became partners… like you and I did. He trusted her.”] Raven began, finding it difficult to get the words out. She hadn’t ever told this story aloud. She was only a little girl back then, merely ten years old, but she had idolized Shayd. She admired his work with the Bloodsuckers and part of her never gave up on his dream to unite the two species, if not as friends and allies, then at least under a common understanding. But while Shayd work with the Vampire fostered Raven’s interest in the Fangs, it also fostered Talon’s hatred for them.
[b “Shayd thought he could reach the Vampires through partnership, a mutual trust. Mitch knew that the Fang wasn’t looking for friendship, she was looking for power. And he made her a deal in order to get it. The Leech poisoned my father with Vampire venom so he would lose his fight against Mitch. Mitch slaughtered my mother, by brother, and my father and tried to cease control of the Pack, and in return for her help, he gave her what she wanted most… a [i pet]. She took Shayd, twisted his mind, corrupted his will. We didn’t see him again for almost 10 years. Now she parades him around like some sort of trophy, just to taunt us. To show us that there’s no point in resisting. If she could corrupt Shayd – the strongest among us – then the rest of us don’t stand a chance.”] Raven admitted. It was partially why she and Talon were so desperate to save Dustin. They needed to get him home and safe before that witch could get her claws in too deep. Still, it was almost too late to save Dustin after a mere two weeks! It was utterly hopeless breaking Helena’s hold over a Wolf that had been at her side for 11 years! Raven and Talon had long since given up hope of saving their brother, but that fear still remained. Raven wasn’t half as strong as her older brother. If he could be enslaved by that witch for over a decade, she didn’t have a hope of breaking free.
[b “I’ll fight for as long as I can. But Anton, if you really do care about me… you won’t let me suffer the same fate as my brother.”] Raven told him, finally bringing her eyes up to meet his. She wasn’t saying that she was giving up, in fact she would fight to her last dying breath! But if Helena won, if Raven fell under her spells, and there was no chance of bringing her back, she wanted Anton to put an end to it. She would rather die by her partner’s hands than be a slave to the witch that controlled her brother.
[b “And maybe theres a reason I tell everyone to take responsibility of their own damn actions and it’s because I fucking lose that ability all the time! I know what I could have had Raven! I know what I sacrificed it for! It’s what I always do so go on, rub it in my fucking face because you’re doing what everyone else who sees me as a screw up does!”]
Just as Raven was expecting, Anton retaliated but it was with the same anger that breed inside him whenever he knew he was in the wrong. He held no pride in himself and the disappointment in Raven’s eyes as more painful than any of the words she could throw at him. He had never been close enough to anyone to have a single look cause him so much guilt. Anton bowed his head, unable to deal with such a bombardment on himself. It hadn’t even been twenty four hours since he left the Sirhan Pack and his friendship with Raven behind, and he was proving just how much he could do wrong.
Away from Raven, before all this happened, Anton was powerful. It was a power that came with greed and selfishness and one that saw him rise through the streets as a Blood Dealer. Back then the only way he could get through his days was through abusing his own creations. He was hoping to slip back easily into that life but now he was alone in a cell with Raven, he wondered if it would have been so easy. He was constantly thinking about her and the Pack, wondering if they would survive the Blood Moon and planning a way to try and support. If he told Raven all of this, she probably would have thought it was a lie.
[b “Helena had one thing right…we care for each other so much we’ll probably be the death of one another.”] Anton spoke up, his voice not nearly as harsh as it was before. In fact it almost seemed as distant as the look in his eyes.
[b “I did say all those things. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I say a lot of shit. I lost control…an apology won’t fix this Raven so what exactly do you want? You couldn’t have just dropped off those organs because of loyalty. There’s more to this so tell me? What can I do because I’m trying to fix this! I’m the selfish piece-of-shit junkie and you’ve finally seen that! I’m the screw up! I’m the one who should die here but hey, you were warned about me by everyone, even our enemies. So why Raven? Why keep protecting me? Why keep caring?”] Anton challenged, but there was no aggression - it was more just a question of desperation. He didn’t understand and all these feelings were overwhelming. Anton had never experienced a family, or a friend, or anything close to decent before. Everyone he had met was either our to destroy him, knew he would fail or only wanted to use him for their own gain. It was all a bit too much.
Anton listened to how alone they would be. This wasn’t a matter of surviving until help arrived, it was how long they could hold out for until they could formulate a plan to escape. When the mention of the battle of freedom or drugs came forward, Anton winced at the question. He couldn’t bare to look at her for the answer! Desperation was running through him, begging him just to scream out for another take of something to numb the thoughts and feelings coursing through his mind. It was an addiction he had forgotten about. With Raven they were always too busy scavenging for organs or protecting the pack, or even saving each other for him to think about it! Now it was biting back harder and he wasn’t sure he had the will. Though by the looks of it, it wasn’t just their survival that was on the cards with this question - it was a matter of friendship.
[b “I won’t have a choice about the drugs. She’ll keep me high. She’ll play with my addiction and if I fight against it, she’ll kill you. Then I won’t be picking between our freedom or drugs at all. When I take them Raven, she has control over my mind. It’s…it’s harder as a Hybrid. As a Vampire I got used to the high and could control myself but as a Hybrid my senses take it all in a lot more. She feeds into my mind. That’s why I injected you! She controlled my thoughts. I don’t want this addiction but I also have to balance your survival with my compliance.”] Anton explained, looking out the bars to see if there was anyone nearby listening to their conversation. Knowing the Coven there was eyes and ears behind every wall, but if they didn’t think of something then there would be no hope for either of them.
[b “I will keep my focus for as long as I can but it’s not going to happen easily. If I lose myself I need you to stop seeing me for the monster I was back when you turned me. I’m not that guy…think about everything else. I’m shit at a lot of things but I keep my word. You also need to hold your own if she controls my mind. You understand?”]
[b “Helena said something back there…something that hit hard. I just never want to be happy. I hate the self-pitying shit people do but I don’t know what happiness is and, fuck, Raven you trusted me! I’ve never had that in my life. When you turned me it was like my life was going to fall apart again. I was scared and I don’t like to admit that. I was terrified and it came out on you. I don’t expect you to understand, but you said we could talk and it’s something I’m also awful at. I’ll try and get us out of this. If that’s the last thing I can do right, I’ll do it. I’m not going to let you be her puppet.”]
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