When Worlds Collide Ch. 12byJazCullen©
Cedar ran her eyes over the open ground of the evacuation site and tried to pierce the boundaries of the trees in the distance. She was looking for any sign of vampires. Not that she would see them if they were there. They could move so fast they would be on her before she had time to realise it if they chose . But still she looked because there was something so fundamentally arrogant about the bloodsuckers. They wanted you to see them coming. They were so sure of themselves that she wouldn't put it past them to slowly walk out of the trees and stroll casually towards the series of caves she was sitting in front of.
She shifted slightly as Millie came to the cave mouth and stood at her side. "You shouldn't be out here, Millie," she said quietly. "The others are checking out the perimeter just inside the tree line. They'll be back soon."
The Alpha Bitch snorted in annoyance, her hands resting on her stomach, her cobalt eyes staring off into the distance. "I hate this endless waiting, Cedar," she answered softly. "The not knowing. I feel so helpless and I want to be doing something."
The blonde woman swung her head around and smiled gently. "You are doing something, Millie. The others are so much more settled because you're here. They feel safer having their Alpha Bitch around." It was true. Although frightened about their families back at the compound, the elders had rallied considerably having Millie in their midst. The children were smiling a bit more as their Alpha's mate moved among them, spending a quiet moment with each group, admiring their paintings or model constructions that were being used to keep them occupied .
Millie sighed deeply and stroked her stomach lightly, her eyes clouding in worry. She knew what Cedar said was true but she still couldn't help the way she felt. All her family were back at the compound. Jared was back at the compound and she wanted to be with them, just in case the unthinkable was to happen.
"Millie, you do know you can't shift," Cedar suddenly said, her gaze intent on her Alpha's face. Millie's startled expression made her curse out loud. "No one told you?" she groaned out loudly. "Luke or Jared never thought to bloody mention it?"
Millie stared at her perplexed, her hands tightening suddenly on her stomach. "Because I'm pregnant?" she whispered with a horrified expression on her face.
Cedar nodded. "You can't shift in your first trimester. It's exceedingly dangerous to the babies and can accidentally abort them. It's fine once you hit your second trimester. I can't believe neither of them thought to tell you that." Her tone was furious, a deep frown on her face.
Millie laid a hand on her shoulder to soothe her as she digested the news, her initial shock dissipating. "The circumstances haven't really been conducive to lending time to sitting down and discussing more mundane pack matters."
It was Cedar's turn to snort, clearly still angered. "This is hardly mundane, Millie. Luke should have mentioned it even if Jared was too wrapped up with the vampires for it to enter his mind."
Millie smiled slightly and sighed again. "Perhaps they were waiting for my second in command to instruct me in the more female aspects of being a pack member," she said slightly dryly. She tried to soothe the blonde woman even as she shivered inside. If something bad were to happen here she wouldn't be able to help if she couldn't shift.
The sight of three large wolves coming out of the trees brought both of their attention back to their immediate surroundings. The wolves raced over to the waiting women. All three shifted to human form and Cedar noticed immediately her brothers' anxious expressions.
"Vampires," Connor said tersely. "At least three scents. There could be more."
"Millie, get inside," Aaron ordered softly. "Keep Jen inside, no matter what happens." His eyes flickered to the cave briefly where his mate was currently helping to amuse some of the younger children. He wanted her to be safely inside when the vampires came.
Cedar was stripping off her clothes, a deep frown on her face. Her heart pounded in fear as she looked at her brothers. "Three," she echoed. With one vampire maybe they would have stood a chance but three?
"They're playing with us too," Brody growled angrily. "They're letting us know they're there, giving us time to get back and warn everyone else. They're arrogant bastards; sure they're going to be able to take us out easily." Her eldest brother actually looked insulted by the vampires' behaviour. Still, he was just like Aaron, always thinking he was indestructible.
"Cedar, let me lead, " Aaron said urgently. "I know what Rafe said but you know Jared and Rafe are the only two who can best me in a fight."
She stared at her youngest brother and shook her head. "You will stay at the cave, Aaron," she said firmly. "Guard the children, guard Millie and Jen."
Aaron growled furiously at her. "I have more experience," he argued.
"You have your orders," Millie said firmly. "Both from Rafe and also from Cedar. No one doubts you, Aaron. You're just needed in a different capacity today."
He growled again and lowered his head to hide his fury from the Alpha Bitch. He knew he had to do what they said but it infuriated him not being in the first line of defence. If anything happened to Cedar or his brothers he would never be able to forgive himself that he hadn't helped them as he should have. It was on the tip of his tongue to start arguing again but then Jen came out of the cave.
"What's happening?" she asked worriedly seeing their tense faces. Aaron took one look at his mate's frightened face and strode over to her, wrapping his arms around her tightly.
"The vampires are coming," he said quietly, feeling her shiver in his arms. "Go inside with Millie. Stay there, Jen. I will be right here at the cave mouth. No one will get past me, sweetheart."
She clung onto him for a moment, fear coursing through her body and then she straightened and looked into his face. "Don't get hurt again, Aaron," she whispered softly.
He leaned down and kissed her gently, stroking his fingers in her hair. "I'll try not to," he sighed. "Now inside." He shooed his mate back into the cave and turned to Millie. "You too, Millie." He watched them go back inside and then turned to watch the tree line, waiting for the vampires to break through.
"Love you," Cedar said quietly, not looking at her brothers. She couldn't look at them, too afraid to see the worry on their faces. She wanted to remember them as she was used to, laughing blue eyes, shaggy blond hair, play fighting with each other like overgrown kids. Those were the memories of her brothers she would always hold dear.
Aaron's arm slid around her shoulder and he kissed her on the top of her head. "Love you too," he said quietly, Brody and Connor echoing him with their own quiet declarations. The three vampires broke the trees and began to slowly walk towards them.
"Shift," Cedar whispered as she watched death approach and prayed that someone would come to save the children, to save Millie and Jen. The siblings shifted and headed towards the approaching enemy.
Alexei raced through the trees, surprised to find the scent of Graves' crew so fresh. They should have been at the evacuation site well ahead of him. He wondered who Graves' had sent. If he was lucky it would be Aben. He always liked to toy with his prey and had a flair for the dramatic. Alexei could be in time to stop the slaughter if Aben was running the show.
He entered the clearing just as the wolves were almost on top of the three vampires. He blurred, circling Graves' crew and coming to stop in front of the approaching wolves who snarled viciously at him. "Oh, give me a break," he said drolly turning his back on the wolves and looking at the three vampires.
Aben, as he'd hoped and two younglings. There were only four wolves of fighting ability at the site. They would be slaughtered. He pinned the two younglings with a cold, hard gaze, seeing them flinch. He smiled slowly. They were barely a couple of decades old. Easy to influence for an elder of his standing.
"Go," he said quietly. "I grant you another chance at life. You have three seconds to decide."
Aben hissed loudly, his hand coming up in a halting gesture. "Hold!" he barked furiously. "If you listen to him I will kill you myself once I have taken care of this traitor."
The two younglings appeared torn, looking at each other and then back at both elder vampires. It was as if they couldn't decide which one to listen to. They watched the blond vampire carefully as he began to laugh softly as he met Aben's icy glare with more than a hint of amusement in his eyes.
"You always did think above your station, Aben," Alexei laughed softly. "I've been wanting to kill you for a long time but didn't want to answer to the Council for it. Now I don't have to." He turned back to the two younglings and smiled softly.
"I was one of three who took out Janick's coven," he said silkily. "I'm sure you will have heard the tale despite being so young. I give you this one last opportunity to leave. It is your judgement call who is the most lethal out of myself or Aben. Choose wisely."
One of the younglings broke, turning and flying back towards the trees. Aben reacted just as Alexei had expected him to, he turned to deal with the fleeing youngling leaving just the other youngling before him and the snarling wolves.
Alexei shook his head as he kept the youngling's gaze pinned with his. Even for one so young he could still kill the wolves. And he had given the other youngling his word, that she would have the chance of life if she left. He never broke his word, ever. He had a split second to make a decision. Allow Aben to kill the youngling and save the pack or find some other compromise.
His gut reaction was to leave the wolves to their fate. He could stop the worst of the death when he came back but something was teasing his nostrils, some unknown spicy scent getting under his skin. He turned his head slightly, looking at the golden coloured wolf whose eyes were fixed on the youngling. Lemon grass, sweet and spicy and very appealing. He shook his head again and growled softly, his eyes once more going to the youngling.
"Go for the chest cavity and the limbs, it will disable him enough to put you on an equal footing," Alexei said softly before he took off after the other two vampires.
The wolves sprang instantly, ripping into the vampire and then spinning away from his grasping talons. Brody attacked again, hooking his claws deep into the youngling's chest and ripping down as Connor caught his left arm in his strong jaw and pulled fiercely. Cedar circled behind the vampire, raking her claws down his back as he fought to escape her brothers' assault from the front. The youngling shrieked and fell to his knees, thrashing wildly at them but managing to miss with each frantic movement.
The blond vampire had told them how to defeat a vampire! Cedar was stunned even as she sprang back at the youngling and ripped her teeth into the back of his neck. Connor's powerful jaws wrapped around the front of the vampire's neck almost colliding with Cedar's.
The vampire was frantic, jaws snapping wildly as he tried to sink his teeth into Connor's fur but Brody jumped and gripped his hair yanking his head back, leaving him completely exposed to the other two wolves.
A long guttural cry of agony ripped from the youngling's mouth as Cedar and Connor's jaws tightened into powerful clamps around his neck. Brody yelped in surprise when he realised his siblings had severed the vampire's head and he was holding it in his mouth by the hair. He tossed it away with a loud growl and threw his head back and howled in victory.
Cedar shifted immediately, running back towards the cave. "Aaron, have Millie try and get through to the compound," she yelled. "Try Annie or Lacey's cell phones. Let the pack know how to take down the vampires!" She was still stunned that they had taken out the vampire with no injuries at all. Why had the blond one told them how to do it? It didn't make sense. For centuries the vampires had had the upper hand against the packs. Now they would be more evenly balanced with their natural enemy.
Alexei caught up with Aben and the youngling just as he was about to sever the girl's head. He was on the dark haired elder before he could do so, sinking his fangs into his neck and digging his talon's into his throat. The two elders crashed into the trees as Aben flew backwards, trying to dislodge Alexei, but the blond wasn't the Council's best enforcer for nothing.
"Did you really think you stood a chance against me, Aben?" Alexei growled softly, ripping an arm almost causally from the other man who screamed in agony and fell to the forest floor. "I don't even need to break a sweat to kill you," he continued walking around him, grasping his head in his powerful hands.
Aben glared balefully up at his executioner his lips curling in a sneer. "I didn't think I'd see the day when you of all people would kill your own kind to protect dogs, Alexei. How much thought did you put into your decision to turn traitor to our people?"
Alexei smiled softly, his brown eyes twinkling with amusement as he ripped Aben's head from his body in one sharp movement. "None at all, Aben," he answered the severed head before he tossed it away with a disgusted sigh and turned to look at the youngling. The girl was healing, her eyes bewildered as she stared up at him.
God she was so young, possibly just past her teens when she was changed to this life. Her green eyes were frightened, her shoulder length brown hair wild around her face as she waited to see what he would do. Alexei sighed again and crouched down beside her running his eyes quickly over her injuries. He held his wrist out to her. "Drink," he commanded quietly. He watched shock cross her face for an instant and then she sank her fangs into his wrist and pulled at his blood. He let her feed for a minute or so and then pulled his wrist back.
"Why?" the girl whispered, lying back and letting his older, more potent blood rush through her system, healing her quicker.
"You had the sense to leave," he answered sitting down beside her and resting his back against a tree. "You obviously are not just another mindless drone kicked out by Graves and his cronies. Plus, there is only one thing about me that anyone can truly count on in this life. If I give my word, then I keep it. It is a wise lesson to learn, youngling. If you give your word, no matter what it is, you stick by it always."
She considered his words silently before she nodded her head as she pushed herself back up to a sitting position. She looked at Aben's dead body. "That is what he didn't understand," she remarked softly. "He called you traitor but you were simply keeping your word, given to someone else."
Alexei arched an eyebrow at her, a genuine smile crossing his lips as he gave her an approving look. "You learn fast, little one," he sighed. "I gave my word to protect the pack. It doesn't matter how distasteful I find the task. I do as I promised I would."
The girl was silent again for a long time and then she sighed softly and frowned. "He Sired me," she nodded at the dead vampire. "What do I do now?" She looked expectantly at Alexei who also frowned deeply at her words.
"Don't look at me," he growled in irritation as he saw a hopeful look in her eyes. "I do not have the time or the inclination to mentor a youngling to maturity. You may stay with me for now if you can give me your word to not harm the pack, but after that you must find another to mentor you. My brother Andrei has a club which our kind frequent. I am sure he can find someone who is willing to take to you on."
"Thank you, elder," she answered with a bright smile crossing her face. "I give my word to help you protect the pack until your assignment is concluded here, then I will speak with your brother about helping me find a new mentor."
Alexei watched her for any sign of deception and found none. She really was fiercely intelligent for a youngling, not only intelligent but keen to be moulded and shaped into a decent vampire. She would go far among their kind if he or Andrei could situate her with the right mentor.
He snorted suddenly and rolled his eyes. Why the fuck was he even getting involved with her at all? She was a bloody youngling. He usually ignored them with a vengeance but somehow being around Caleb's youngling so much was messing with his usual thought processes. It was hard to view younglings as non entities when both Caleb and Demetri fussed over the little redhead so much and treated her like she was something truly precious. Demetri was also ready to Sire his human which would mean another youngling being raised and treated as an equal. It was unnatural and irritating as hell and it was starting to rub off on him, much to his annoyance.
"Come, we need to go back to the pack. Make sure they are okay." He stood abruptly, holding out his hand to the girl and watching her intently as she accepted it slightly nervously but rose to her feet. "What is your name?" he asked her as he let go and turned to head back to the evacuation site.
"Emily," she answered trailing behind him. She watched his powerful back intently as he moved with such grace and beauty. He really was a huge, intimidating elder and she knew she was lucky to be alive. Most probably she would be dead now if any other vampire had arrived to protect the dogs. She owed him and she wouldn't let him down.
She wasn't so old that she had lost all of her humanity yet, no matter how much Aben and Graves had tried to beat it out of her. She could look at the dogs and see them as people with thoughts and feelings. It was easy to promise to protect them because it was fundamentally against her nature to hurt anyone, especially when she was still human. "I don't know your name," she finally said.
"Alexei," he growled softly as they broke the tree line back into the open ground. His keen gaze quickly took in the dead youngling and the wolves standing before the cave entrance. They all appeared to be accounted for and he stifled down a sigh of relief. He had saved them as he had been tasked to do so. But he had told them how to kill his kind. He had no illusions that the information had been transmitted back to the compound already. If the Council found out what he had done he would lose his head instantly.
Brody and Connor growled loudly when the two vampires reappeared in the distance. They were still in wolf form, though Aaron and Cedar had reverted to human form and dressed again. Millie and Jen had come once more to the cave entrance and they all stared at the vampires with distrustful gazes.
Cedar pursed her lips and rolled her shoulders. "Stay here," she said to her brothers as she took a step forward.
"What do you think you're doing?" Aaron growled grabbing her arm and pulling her backwards.
She turned slightly annoyed eyes to him and pulled her arm away. "We can either stand here and stare at each other or one of us can go over there and talk to them," she said coolly. She looked to the Alpha Bitch for backup and saw her frown deeply. "Millie, you can't go. It's too dangerous for the babies. I think a woman better go because these lot have too much testosterone at the moment. I don't think Aaron wants Jen heading out there so that leaves me. Plus, Jared put me in charge of all of your safety so it's my call."
Aaron growled loudly at the mention of his mate going even as Jen stepped forward squaring her shoulders. "I've stood toe to toe with Graves before," she said in a strong voice. "I'm not afraid to stand toe to toe with another vampire." Her expression was fierce.