Part 3

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When I come to, I'm lying in a white cot in a white room, with blue curtains on either side of me. I've never been in one but it looks similar to hospitals I've seen on TV so I'm assuming I'm in some type of medical facility. Where, though? I have no idea. The searing pain in my head has lessened and I felt floaty for some reason. My left arm has an IV running into it, something I have also only seen on TV before.

How did I get here? A nurse walks into the room holding a clipboard and notices I'm awake. "How are you feeling, honey?" She asks, coming over to check something on the screen beside me.

"I'm fine. W-where am I?" I ask. I also want to know where that alpha from before went, but I don't ask.

"You're in the local hospital of the Shadow Pack. Daemon found you out in the forest and brought you here,"

So Daemon is his name. Honestly, I think it fits him. All serious like he is. And he'd...saved me?

The nurse has a nervous look on her face, chewing her lip as she glances at him. "Listen, the head Alpha Lucien is going to be here soon...I had to tell him about the pack mark on your back."

My heart drops. She's talking about the tattoo at the top of my spine, the small dark circle with a sliver of a crescent, a symbol that shows that I belong to the Dark Moon Pack. My cover, which wasn't much of one in the first place, has been completely blown.

The door swings open then as a tall alpha steps through, a commanding aura around him. He's clearly an older man, probably in his late forties by the salt and pepper hair and beard he sports. And accompanied by him is no other than Daemon. Dread pools in my stomach as they enter the room, nearing my cot.

I will never forget the shiver that runs through me at the hateful stare Daemon gives me. His jaw ticks in irritation as he looks down at me and I scramble to sit up in the cot. He definitely knows I lied to him by now, evident by how he looks at me like I'm the dirt on the bottom of his shoe.

"Hello, omega. I can't say it's a pleasure to have you here, as this severely complicates things for me," the older man says, who I'm assuming is the 'head alpha Lucien' that the nurse mentioned. "What are his stats, doc?" he asks the nurse who blushes at the incorrect title, fumbling for her clipboard.

"Alpha Lucien, h-he's suffered a grade 3 concussion in addition to being severely dehydrated and malnourished. That's why I plugged him with the IV."

"And why are we wasting valuable medical supplies on some Dark Moon trash?" Daemon interjects, venom in his tone.

I wince at the aggression in his voice, looking down so I can avoid the glare the alpha is giving me. The nurse seems scared too, but manages to speak out. "I-I...he's just a boy. And from the looks of it he's been wandering out alone in the forest for many days,"

Well, it's more like one night that I was out there but I glance at the nurse's clipboard and she's written stuff in bullet points like "-underweight, -starvation?" like she's planning to make a whole research report about what might have happened to me. In her defense that is very much what it looks like. But I've been starving for a long time and it's not because I was lost in the forest.

"And-And he got hurt out there," she looks like she's going to say more but Alpha Lucien holds up a hand to indicate silence.

"Don't mind my son, Vaela. You did your job and you're dismissed," he says and she nods vigorously, all too eager to obey his words as she rushes out of the room. I want to call for her to come back, to keep me company. I don't want to be alone with these two scary-looking alphas!

Lucien sits at the edge of his bed, gazing thoughtfully at me as I fidget under his stare. "Now tell me the truth. What's your name?" Lucien questions.

I don't want to tell him but I know lying for the second time to this alpha isn't the brightest idea. "Ash Willow,"

"Ash Willow," Lucien repeats, as if testing how it sounds in his own voice. "Did Dark Moon send you here?"

My eyes widen at the question. "No." I shake my head, an answer that really seems to piss Daemon off.

"That's bullshit." he snarls, "You lied to me and said that you were a rogue! You're obviously some spy Dark Moon sent..!"

"T-that's really not it! I swear!" I put my hands up, desperately trying to defend myself from the accusations.

"Then what is it?" Lucien asks, his demeanor still relatively calm in comparison to his hot-headed son.

"Uh," I wring my hands together, reluctant to share the full story of why I'd left Dark Moon. "I...ran away. I just wanted to leave that place. I really didn't mean to come here, I w-was planning to go somewhere else but then I fell and hit my head so I got all confused and just ended up here! It really was an accident!" The torrent of words leaves my mouth flusteredly and I just want to crawl in a hole and die. They're looking at me like they don't buy what I'm saying and I probably wouldn't either if I was them because I'm terrible at lying!

"Do you understand that now that you're here, we can't let you leave so easily? This is a major breach of our pack security and we can't risk letting you go on the chance you'll return to Dark Moon,"

The thought of going back to that horrible place makes me clench my fists so hard I stamp bloody crescents into my palms. "But I'm not gonna go back," I reply, trying to make them see that their suspicions are truly unfounded. No one would ever hire me as a spy even if I was the only option.

Lucien strokes his beard contemplatively. "I see. So you would stay here?" he questions.

It's evident that Daemon is not happy with the suggestion by the way his nostrils flare, shooting me a warning look. I take the memo, quickly shaking my head. "W-well, n-no, I didn't mean that. You can just um, dump me somewhere. Far away from Dark Moon, if you're worried I'll go back,"

"Let me rephrase this, omega: You will stay here. It's in my best interests to keep you under surveillance."

Shit. I'm definitely in deep shit. "D-do you mean I'll stay here as a hostage?"

Lucien sighs, pinching his brow like he's getting tired of explaining something to a little kid. "No. What kind of alpha would I be if I locked up an omega who doesn't even look like he's had his first heat?"

I flush at that. It's true that I haven't had my first heat yet. The first heat usually comes anytime between the ages 16 and 17, but I still haven't gotten it and I'm nearly 18. I wonder when it's finally going to come but I'm kind of glad I haven't had it yet. It woul be one more thing that Alpha Ferix would throw in my face and use to punish me for. He hates everything 'omega' about me so him discovering my heat would have been bad news.

"So then..." I say, not sure what comes next. I look anxiously at myself in the reflection of the metal panel on the wall, my opal-green eyes staring right back at me.

"You'll exist here like any other citizen. I'm gonna put you in school and you'll live with me,"

That's definitely the last thing I was expecting on offer from my enemy pack's leader. And Daemon doesn't like it, not at all. His last thread of patience seems to snap and he shoots me a glare.

"You know what? Fuck this." he storms out, slamming the door with earth-shattering rage on his way.

I flinch at the force of it, putting my hands up to shield my face as an automatic response, the fear of being hit ever-present. It happens any time I encounter violence.

"Forgive Daemon," Alpha Lucien says to me as he looks at the door his son just slammed. "He hates Dark Moon, and for good reason. I just wish he'd learn to control that temper of his..." 

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