It happened on the second day after the Mating. No one expected something so horrible to take place. Not to them.
“Adam!” Neil burst into the bedroom where the Alpha pair was already tugging clothes on themselves.
“What happened? We could feel something terrible with Tommy through our bond to the pack,” he adjusted his T-shirt while Tommy jumped into his old sneakers.
“The safe house…” Adam’s brother said with a grim expression. “It was attacked.”
“No!” Tommy gasped, the sudden dread squeezing his insides hard. His niece was there too.
“By whom?! Tell me we are wrong about not feeling a few of the cubs and their parents!” Adam started to panic and Tommy had to grab his arm to keep him grounded.
“I’m afraid…” Neil swallowed hard and shook his head. “Just a few survived,” he said. “We have to go there.”
Adam just nodded, already on his way out of the room, blind anger and worry clouding his vision. Tommy hurried after him with Neil at their heels. He tried to focus on Bridget’s faint presence. It meant she was still alive. “What about the survivors?” he croaked already heading towards the garage while Adam barked orders to some of the pack members.
“They ran into the woods to hide. Scarlett is trying to gather them. She called on a secure line to inform the pack,” he explained and Tommy nodded as he, Adam, Neil, Sutan and Isaac slid into Adam’s black Mustang. Luckily Tommy managed to quickly persuade Adam to let Neil drive so he could sit on the backseat with the upset Alpha. He could feel clearly that Adam tried to hold back his anger and control himself, but it was still pouring off him in thick waves.
“Pull it back, you’re chocking us up, Adam,” Neil said softer than usual, his sarcasm nowhere to be found in this situation.
Adam wanted to say something ugly but controlled himself and took a few deep breaths, feeling a little bit calmer and better when Tommy snuggled himself under his arm and hugged him close. “Sorry. Sutan?” he turned his head towards the passenger seat.
“I’m working on it,” he murmured using his powers to affect Adam and Tommy’s bond enough so they could control the still not fully settled powers in them and feel just how big their loss was.
Tommy dreaded the second they would clearly feel that, but they had to know. Soon enough Adam squeezed his shoulder and they closed their eyes to concentrate and send a calming wave towards the survivors to let them know they were coming. “Oh god…” Tommy breathed.
“What?” Neil asked while checking the rearview mirror. Another car full of pack members was following them and it was the same ahead of them.
“Bridget… she’s alive but so scared… Scarlett is hurt but searching for them… and… the only other cubs we can feel are Josh and Tracy… the rest… fuck!” Tommy opened his eyes and fisted his hand in Adam’s T-shirt, feeling his own anger boil along with his Mate’s. “They slaughtered all the others…”
The shocked gasps and the icy atmosphere that followed was deafening until Neil cursed. “This might be a trap. You know that, right? Alluring you and most of your Betas out to ambush us,” he said. His eyes darted to the mirror, meeting his older brother’s look. Adam was sitting there frozen, freckled lips pressed into a thin line.
“I know. But you know we have to go there.”
Neil just nodded and the rest of the drive was spent in stunned silence – except when Isaac was communicating with the other cars through his cell.
Somehow Tommy expected fire or smoke to welcome them but neither could be seen or smelled. Everything was eerily quiet around the house near the edge of the forest. But there was one distinct smell that was thick in the air: death. It made Tommy grimace. He hated how it clung to the back of his throat. Next he smelled the coppery scent of spilled blood. He swallowed hard walking closer with Adam, the others fanning out to check the perimeter.
The attackers were long gone, but they didn’t take any chances so the pack didn’t drop its guards. Looking at the bloody dead bodies of the cubs and their parents was nearly more than what Tommy could stomach. He knew he’d have nightmares from the pictures.
“We have to find the survivors,” he heard Adam’s grave voice next to him and Tommy could only agree with a nod.
They closed their eyes and concentrated on the faint presence of the wolves around. They quickly found the ones they came with, already guarding the house and the fallen ones, the others moving carefully in the forest. They fought the throat-tightening feeling of loss and pain. They could feel the confusion and anger in the whole pack. When Tommy started to lose concentration because he was searching for his niece too hastily, Adam took his hand and his touch calmed him enough to be able to fully focus on his task again. He closed out his sister’s desperate emotions. She was standing nearby, barely hanging on. Tommy knew she wanted to run into the forest, but they couldn’t risk anyone else to get hurt, so she waited impatiently for them to point out the right direction.
“There!” Adam opened his eyes and waved for Brad, Sutan and Isaac to go towards east. “You’ll find Josh and Tracy that way,” he informed them. Tommy didn’t say anything, just held his Mate’s hand tighter and tilted his head to the side, eyes still pressed shut.
The assigned wolves moved out into the direction Adam pointed out. The blonde could feel them moving further at a quick speed, but they were careful not to run into a trap. That couldn’t be said about Tommy, who in the second he felt her niece and Scarlett roughly in the same direction, let Adam’s hand go and tore his clothes off him. He shifted within seconds and ran behind the house and into the forest. He ignored Adam’s yells but felt his sister run behind him in human form. She was slower like that, but she would catch up soon enough. His first priority was to find his scared niece.
“Shit! Terrance, Oliver, with me!” Adam cursed and started following them with the other two wolves. He was obviously displeased with his Mate’s recklessness, but he didn’t have time to dwell on that.
The forest felt familiar under Tommy’s paws, but this time he didn’t take the time to acknowledge the light breeze blowing through the trees and his fur or the softness of the rich earth underneath him. All of his focus was on that tiny presence in the back of his mind. He could feel Adam and the others following him so he knew he’d be safe. And truth be told, he was angry. So very angry and worried. He wanted to fight, to tear into flesh and rip pieces out of the attackers for doing this. Going after a pack’s cubs was the biggest threat against wolves and the most awful one too. He couldn’t understand how someone could do that. Slaughtering defenseless children and their protectors! It made him see red, but as he neared the location where his niece was, he suppressed that anger, not wanting to scare her more.
The terrain became rocky and uneven. The trees and the bushes were thicker in this part of the forest and for a moment Tommy felt proud of his niece, because she remembered that in case of such danger she was supposed to run and hide in a thick part of the forest.
Tommy slowed and sniffed the ground and the air, his big head moving side to side in search of good hiding places. He knew she was nearby. His senses were on high alert already, but he strained them to find his niece faster. The others were closing in too, just like his sister. Finally his sensitive nose picked up Bridget’s scent and with his head bowed down to the ground he followed the trail to a spiky bush. The little girl was in her wolf cub form cowering by the roots of the bush. Tommy huffed relieved and made a sound to call her out of there. She yipped still clearly scared, but he didn’t give up and calmed himself some more so she couldn’t feel his anger towards the attackers. He lay down on the ground and pushed his muzzle under the bush, talking to her soothingly through their mind-link until she inched closer. Her grayish brown fur was a bit messed up from the run and the bush, but otherwise she seemed unharmed.
When she was finally out of the bush Tommy shifted back and picked her up. She was too young yet to change back to her human form in such short amount of time. He carefully checked her then caressed her smile head. “It’s okay, honey. You are safe now. Mommy’s here in a minute,” he whispered to the small wolf pup and held her close to his chest. Liza arrived in a rush and carefully took over her daughter. Tommy could feel Terrance and Oliver circling them in search of any threat, but they were alone.
When Adam reached them too and Tommy looked up at him, he saw a kind of darkness he’d never seen in his eyes. “I want revenge,” Tommy simply said, their eyes locking. In a moment or two Adam slowly nodded.
“They won’t get away with this… horrible deed,” he promised and offered a hand for Tommy to pull him up from the ground then the blonde let Adam take him in his arms. “They’ll pay for this…”
They stayed like that for a long minute then when a twig snapped to their right they quickly turned their heads, but in a second they knew it was just Brad supporting Scarlett’s weight by draping one of her arms over his shoulders and holding her by her waist. She was limping a bit and had some dirt on her clothes and face. Her tears were still silently falling but she had a blank expression on her face. Adam let Tommy go and walked over to put a warm hand on her baby bump and check on her. He let out a relieved sigh when the cub seemed to be okay.
“I’m sorry, Scarlett…” he whispered hoarsely. “I should’ve sent more wolves to protect you all…” he swallowed hard, clearly already blaming himself for what’d happened.
Tommy instinctively moved closer and put his hand on Adam’s arm. Feeling and seeing his Mate’s swirling emotions made him want to comfort him.
“It wasn’t your fault,” she mumbled, her voice empty. She was still in shock and pain from losing her Mate, Lee. They were all worried for her, especially because she was with child. Such a loss was a strong mental and physical shock on a wolf.
“We already should’ve done something to deal with these attackers,” Adam shook his head and Tommy squeezed his arm.
“We couldn’t see this coming,” he disagreed. “We should take them back to the pack and move everyone into safety.”
“Yeah… yeah, you’re right,” the clearly shocked Alpha nodded and Tommy could feel the anger starting to boil under his skin again. They were all angry, mourning and on edge. But they had things to do now. Safety was first on the list then they had to inform the vampires about this attack. They had a hard and long night ahead.
The pack was still shaken by the time everyone got back to the main house in LA. There weren’t other attacks and luck seemed to side with them this time. Or at least a little bit. One of the attackers was injured and Isaac managed to discover the blood trail he or she had left among the trees before they got into a car and fled. It didn’t matter that they were using the same herbs to distract their wolf senses. The blood’s scent was strong and distinct enough for Isaac to follow it. They could also collect a sample of that blood and because someone at the police owed Adam a favor, Longineu took the sample and gave it to that policeman. Maybe they would be able to do more with it in the lab and if they were truly lucky, they would get a hit on the identity of the assassin. Tommy and Adam didn’t really think something would come up, but hope died last, right? It was worth a try.
Scarlett and the three surviving cubs were safe and well now. Of course the she-wolf was in deep emotional pain, which the whole pack could feel. Losing a Mate was one of the worst pains a wolf could ever experience – if they survived at all. Tommy suspected that Scarlett was hanging on only because of the baby growing in her belly. Either Danielle or Brooke stayed with her to make sure she had everything she might need and just be there to support her if needed. Earlier she’d told them that the enemy came out of nowhere and used smoke bombs and silver bullets on them. They found the empty smoke bomb cans and the bullets were examined by the pack’s weapon expert, Jeremy, the wolf that just recovered after the bombing in Howl.
It was Tommy’s duty to call Ashley once they got back safe and took care of the survivors. The phone call was brief and full of suppressed emotions – and not just from Tommy’s side. Finishing it up, he went to search for Adam. He felt him outside in his favorite corner of the garden.
“They had an attack today too,” he started while sitting down next to Adam on the grass.
That made Adam tenser than he already was. “What happened?” he looked at Tommy and pulled him closer to him with an arm around his waist. Since Scarlett lost her Mate, Adam always tried to stay around Tommy and vice versa.
“They attacked one of their safe houses too. It was in the city during daylight. They let the sun in and burned five of Ashley’s vampires to dust.”
“It seems it’s really not them but a common enemy.”
“Yes. I just hope we can figure this out soon. I don’t want to lose anyone else. It hurts.”
“It hurts me too. God, those innocent cubs and the others…” he pressed his eyes shut and put his forehead in his free hand. “Such unnecessary bloodshed…”
“I know. Burying them was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and I haven’t known all of them for as long as you,” he leaned against Adam with his shoulder. The mourning and painful emotions his Alpha was feeling was there in the bond between them. He knew that Adam felt the void left behind by the murdered pack members stronger, but Tommy could feel that too. It was like some black holes left in the supernatural fabric of the pack’s magic. It would heal enough with time, but now the holes were there, constantly reminding them of their loss. Not to mention that they could feel the whole pack mourning. This strike was especially painful and Tommy was sure it was also a mental attack on the whole pack. And it was working, because now everyone was angry or numb, not really able to think clearly. Probably that was the goal here. He and Adam had to keep their heads clear. Of course, they could’ve asked for help from the Council, but that would make them seem weak and they couldn’t afford other packs coming to challenge Adam for pack territory. Not now when they had more than enough on their plate.
Adam just sighed and leaned his head on top of Tommy’s, their wolves snuggling too for comfort. “What else did Ashley tell you?”
“That they are investigating too, but the killers didn’t leave much. Just a burned stake.”
“Which means that they knew how to kill vampires. I’m starting to believe that we are having problems with a group of hunters.”
“I’ve had the same feeling for a while now too. I told Ashley as well. She seemed to agree. Hunters don’t care which supernatural species they kill. So they could attack both us and the vamps at the same time. If their group is big enough.”
“True. And they are clearly professionals, not beginners. That trick with the herbs? Not many know how to mix them to be effective on us.”
“Yeah. It makes sense. But what do they want?”
“You think they need to have a reason besides ‘trying to protect the human race’ with killing all supernaturals?”
“I don’t know. My gut tells me that something is off with this shit.”
“I don’t know yet, but I believe that attacking us and the vamps at the same time means something. They have to have a reason why they are doing this,” he rubbed his forehead then put his hand on Adam’s thigh. The warmth of his body had a calming effect on Tommy as it seeped into his cool fingers.
“I guess we’ll find out sooner or later. I’d prefer sooner.”
“Agreed,” Tommy sighed then they just sat there for a while, sensing the guards moving around their house, trying to keep them safe. But were they safe? They thought the cubs were safe too… and now most of them are dead.
“Come on, let’s get inside. It’s late and it was a fucking long day,” he nudged Tommy’s shoulder with his own.
They stood then walked back into the house hand in hand. They both felt that the pack needed their presence now more than ever.