gladdecease: (*a bit nervous about this stuff)
gladdecease ([personal profile] gladdecease) wrote2016-01-03 10:23 pm

thing the forty-second [wip amnesty 2015 part 3]

Next up: an ancient TWoof OC POV thing! I think this one was supposed to have a clever "aha! you think you know who these characters are but you don't" reveal, wherein the alpha mentioned is Scott, not Derek? I don't know, it's been forever since I thought about this one.

Have you ever had a single day fundamentally change your life? A day that took everything you thought to be true and turned it on its head?

I never really understood the phrase “the heavens opened above us” before I had one of those days, when between one minute and the next rain started pouring down like it was trying to drown us. The ground was bone dry and refused to suck up any of the water beating down on it, which left me wading through puddles the length of a car, my alpha leaning heavily on my shoulder. I could carry his weight easily enough on a normal day, but the sluice of water coating everything made it hard to keep upright.

“You're sure it's around here?” I shouted to be heard over the deluge. We'd been walking – well, I'd been walking, he was more limping along with my assistance – for the better part of an hour at this point, and I'd yet to see any sign of this clinic he insisted on patronizing.

“Just another half mile,” he panted in my ear. His pulse thrummed steadily in my ear, and his voice was strong as ever, but his good leg was trembling under his weight, and I knew we didn't have much time before his body gave out entirely. I wasn't sure if I could carry him all by myself in this weather. For a moment, I allowed myself to wish that Isaac was here, or my father. They had strength and experience I was utterly lacking in; they wouldn't have let our alpha get hurt saving them, and they would have known where to go. They grew up in this town.

But neither of them were here, for good reason – they were in hiding, protecting the other young ones from the hunters that had been chasing us relentlessly for weeks. They'd been so persistent and so numerous that the older betas had talked in private with the alpha and decided to split up. One or two young to an elder, with those most in need of protection matched with those most capable of providing it.

What did it say about me, then, that I was paired with the alpha?

We were supposed to meet up with the others here, in this town that once belonged to our pack. The alpha said it would be safe, that the hunters wouldn't be able to catch us in the woods he'd grown up in.

He was wrong.

And now, rather than go to the abandoned house where the others (should be?) waiting, he insisted we go to this clinic. Why a clinic was alright when he abhorred hospitals, I didn't know.

Struggling through the continuing onslaught eventually led me to a paved road through the woods. The (tarmac?) was a relief to my mud-slicked feet, and I found the going far easier. I sighted a light in the distance, and the hope it filled me with hastened my footsteps, even as my alpha's weight rested more and more fully on my shoulder.

I nearly laughed when I grew close enough to read the sign and realized the clinic was a veterinary's practice. This kind of thing would do nothing to stifle the dog jokes my human sister liked to make. But the alpha's heart rate had calmed the second it came into sight, so I knew it couldn't be a mistake. This was the clinic we were seeking. I stepped gratefully under the overhang of the clinic’s roof, gently shifting my alpha's weight back on his own feet so I could knock on the door, hoping the darkened windows didn't mean the clinic was closed for the night. He sagged and slumped against the wall with a complete lack of reluctance that shocked me; for once, it seemed, he didn't care how vulnerable he might look in front of non-pack.

Either he was worse off than I'd thought, or whoever we were here to see had known my alpha before such pretenses were necessary. Hearing his heartbeat waver, I feared it was the former and knocked again, a harsh, repetitive rap of knuckles against wood sure to be heard above the crack and boom of thunder.

A man threw open the door just as I was about to start knocking again. “The closed sign means we're cloooh holy god,” he said, catching sight of my alpha half-conscious against the wall, ichor still leaking sluggishly from his side. The man, who I could only presume was the clinic's vet, looked me over and jerked his head towards the door, saying, “Fine. Come on, Boyd Junior.” Stunned into silence, I hefted the alpha over my shoulder again, and let the man direct me to one of the back rooms of the clinic, sterilized for surgery.

“Lay him down there,” he instructed me, digging around in a shelf full of bottles with labels that meant nothing to me. He pulled out two and a large syringe before turning to face me. “Tell me what happened to him,” he said, drawing a clear fluid from one of the bottles up into the syringe, and I did.

We had made good time; when last we'd heard from the others, just as we were passing a “Welcome to California” billboard, they'd still been in Idaho. The alpha hadn't been worried. On the contrary, he seemed pleased that there was so much distance between us and the rest of the pack. If the hunters continued to be as focused on finding the alpha as they had before, the distance would keep the rest of the pack safe. Except for me, but the alpha seemed confident that he could protect me if it came down to it.

Maybe ten miles into California, it came down to it.

I wasn't sure at the time how it happened – maybe the hunters had beaten us here, maybe they'd called ahead, asking another group of hunters to cut us off – but however it happened, we were cornered. A dozen men my size or larger, armed with guns that stank of wolfsbane, versus the two of us. Me, a young beta with a hair-trigger handle on my powers, my size misleadingly identifying me as a threat, at my alpha. A born werewolf who'd grown up with born werewolves, for whom control was barely a second thought, who could kill a man with a flick of his wrist... but who chose not to kill whenever possible. Not even hunters.

If he hadn't been so gentle, it could have been a fair fight. Instead, we were totally overwhelmed, a tree trunk our last line of defense. One too many bullets hit their target, and I snapped, leaping out and attacking with everything I had.

It was exactly what they had been waiting for.

If my alpha had been a second slower in getting to me, in shoving me out of the way, the wolfsbane-laced shrapnel bomb would have torn open my chest, killing me instantly. Instead, it ripped a chunk out of my alpha's side, shattering his femur and several ribs. The bomb had one good point, though – the smoke it gave off camouflaged us long enough for me to drag him out of sight and start running.

Following his directions, I managed to secrete us through the woods separating us from the pack's old town, if at a slower pace than we'd kept before. But a the days passed he didn't heal, and our pace kept slowing. We heard that the others had made it to the house, and abruptly he made me switch direction, no longer heading for the house but for this clinic.

“He didn't say why,” I concluded, “but I think he doesn't want them to see him like this.”

The vet snorted quietly, extracting a particularly jagged piece of shrapnel from my alpha's side. “Yeah, that sounds like something this guy would do.”

“Did you know him?” I asked. The vet looked up for a moment, his eyes searching my fave for something I hadn't said, I didn't know what. “You talk like you do, and you knew my name.”

His eyes widened at that. “You're really Boyd's kid?” When I nodded, he pulled away from the alpha's body, his hands suddenly unsteady, fluttering from one position to another with hardly a moment's pause. “Guess I should've realized – you're practically identical to him at sixteen – but I was just... joking. Teasing, really. I do that, when I'm nervous, which your alpha does. Make me nervous, that is. Which is a really roundabout way of saying yes, I know him. Or knew him, at least, twenty years ago.”

He sighed shakily, picked up his tools with steadier hands, and returned to his work. “I always thought I'd be over it by now, but I guess not.”

“Be over what?” I wondered, curious. This was the most the vet had said since we arrived, and I was grateful for the distraction he brought from my darker thoughts. He looked up at me again, an unamused scowl on his face, and said, “None of your business, kid.”

Though I knew my alpha was easily capable of bringing out negative emotions in any number of humans, I somehow hadn't expected this man to be one of them. When he'd seen my alpha leaning against the wall, he'd seemed shocked, maybe worried, but not angry. Still, I knew better than to press a stranger on an issue that brought on such a sharp spike of adrenaline in his scent, and backed off.

He returned to his efficient working silence, leaving me to my thoughts. The same one kept coming back to me, quietly persistent in its repetition. It's your fault, it whispered as I stared at my alpha's gaunt face. If Jason had been here instead, or Kealoha, he would be fine. They would have known better than to lash out, they would have realized it was a trap.

But they weren't here, I reminded myself. They were with my mother and the twins, helping to protect them. I had been given no one to protect, only the alpha with me. To protect me, which I supposed he had succeeded at, for all that I sat here wishing he hadn't.