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Chapter 10

The Alpha sat on his throne with shoulders thrown back, his spine stiff, and his teeth bared menacingly. All of his most important subordinates were quivering before him, their sobriety snapping back into place after the previous nights' merriment. Fenrir gained some measure of pleasure from the sight and consoled himself with the fact that perhaps his pack did still fear him. And if they did, then there were some very foolish werewolves among them if they knew his cruelty and thought that it would not apply to them. Behind his back, where the others could not see, Fenrir hid his badly shaking hands and bit back the fear in his voice, instead saturating it with the uncontrollable anger he felt.

His packmates, they had said to him, "Perhaps he returned to the palace of his own accord? Perhaps he was cold, or hungry, and did not wish to wake you?" But Fenrir could see that they themselves did not believe this. His mate would have been ecstatic to find his own mate, Fenrir. Why would he have left without the one he had searched so long for? It was preposterous! Someone was to blame here, and he was going to weed them out, then crush them.

He stamped his foot to emphasise his words. "If any of you know what is going on here, you must tell me! If I have to I will throw all of your families into the streets! Someone knows something!" He hardly ever raised his voice, he usually found saying little and saying it quietly was the best way to get people to listen to you. So when he shouted like this, people were terrified and shocked. Indeed, many of his seasoned soldiers jumped. He let his harsh words sink in and swept the room with his gaze, searching their faces for their reactions and a weakness. He found none.

He felt like screaming and crying and kicking his legs like a child in the throes of a tantrum. This wasn't how it was supposed to go! He had waited so long… and now his mate could be anywhere! He could be hurt, dying… His heart ached. What he yearned to do was to send out every single last werewolf in his private bodyguard to look for him, but he knew that he could not. If the kidnapper was alerted to a search then they would feel trapped, and people did the most terrible things when they felt trapped.

All he could do for now was intimidate the hell out of them all and hope someone cracked. He would take any he thought suspicious to the torture chamber as soon as he had doubts about them. It would be completely different if this had happened after the Mating Ceremony; the sweet boy would have been recognised as the Lakta and therefore the whole community would have banded together to do something about it. As it was, he was just another submissive and he couldn't expend anymore resources on searching for him than he would any other submissive, or else his own position may be challenged.

It was so frustrating! He sighed loudly and massaged the bridge of his nose wearily. His subordinates watched him, surprised, and despite their Alpha's current displeasure with them, they felt a little sorry for him and hoped that the submissive was found.

Harry allowed himself to be guided through the halls of the labyrinthine palace by a solid hand upon his small shoulder. He thought of mentioning to Caspian that his fingers were digging quite piercingly into his collarbone and would he stop it, but decided against it when he glanced up into his brother's tense face. As they walked by, people they passed stared rather searchingly into every submissive's face, looking for the one, and it was putting every chaperone on edge. Caspian growled rather loudly at a stout dominant not particularly taller then Harry who had actually stopped in his tracks to have a good peer, deciding that he had crossed the line.

Harry placed a cool, soothing hand upon Caspian's, wrapped it around a long, thick finger. He gave it a comforting squeeze. Caspian looked down sharply in surprise and pleasure and smiled beatifically and, forgetting his anger, they continued to the dining hall for their breakfast, leaving behind them a severely shaken dominant. Caspian addressed Richard cheerily, "Aren't we lucky to have such a thoughtful baby brother?" Richard smiled in a strained manner; he had not settled yet after the confrontation, and had not said very much at all. Harry got the feeling that he wished to go to Marylla, and he wondered if they were mates. If they were, Richard would tell them eventually.

They soon arrived at their destination: the dining hall. Everyone ate at separate times for breakfast and lunch so the hall was only ever a quarter full, unlike at dinner time when it was packed with hungry bodies. You had to check when your time was on a huge board on display in the entrance hall.

Caspian steered Harry into the hall and sat them down. Harry immediately felt eyes on him, and the strange lurching feeling in his gut from the previous night when he had run with the friendly dominant returned. Harry kept his eyes down and didn't reply when Richard asked what he would like to eat from the buffet. Richard shrugged and went off to the other end of the table where all the food was to collect some for them. Caspian shared a concerned glance with Paul, before seating himself next to Harry. He poured him some water from one of the many jugs littering the table and draped his corded arm protectively over his little brother's shoulder.

"What's up, Harry?"

Harry looked up briefly and attempted to smile. "I... I j-j-just feel... a b-b-b..." He ceased his attempts to articulate what the queasy, but not entirely unpleasant, sensation he was experiencing felt like, the one that made the hair on his arms stand on end and caused him to perch on the edge of his seat. It was so humiliating when he couldn't even finish a word. That was why he very often did not try to speak at all.

Richard joined them at the table and seated himself to Harry's left, setting a plate-full of generous helpings before Harry as he did so. Harry nervously murmured, "Thank you," and proceeded to pick at a wholemeal roll in an unconvincing display of normality.

Caspian was growing more and more alarmed. Harry seemed to be glancing at something sporadically and fervently. They passed the next ten or fifteen minutes in silence, all the while Harry's head was twitching up and down ever so slightly. Caspian attempted to spy what it was that had captured his baby brother's attention, but was unable to follow his shielded gaze.

Caspian suddenly had a weird prickling sensation all over his arms and legs; it felt like someone was watching him. He looked up to find the Alpha—the Alpha!—glaring daggers at him. The glowing-eyed Alpha was of giant stature, and, Caspian was ready to admit with no shame, was not really the sort of guy one felt comfortable being in the vicinity of. Especially when he seemed to be attempting to melt your face off with his gaze.

He whispered under his breath to Paul, who was on his right, "What is his problem? Why's he staring at me?"

Paul remained steadfastly focused upon the tablecloth as he muttered, "I think it's more Harry he's interested in than you. Take your arm off of him, for goodness sake, and avoid eye-contact."

Caspian frowned, very confused. Nonetheless, he slipped his arm from around Harry's hunched shoulders and instead poured himself some water and took a sip. Harry seemed to be shaking, and Caspian wondered if he had noticed the Alpha staring too and was frightened. The thought made Caspian mad, but then, perhaps it was best that Harry feared such a man; for his own safety at least. The Alpha was notorious for violence.

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It was the first time that he had seen their leader and he admitted in the security of his own mind that he was very attractive. He had a beautiful head of silver hair that fell in dusky waves to his broad shoulders, and his icy eyes seemed to shine out of his face. Strong, clear features were sculpted upon his visage and he had red lips the colour of blood. Harry stopped himself before he could contemplate the man's magnificent body, as he could feel the heat of arousal rise within him like a coil of smoke.

He had tried not to watch the Alpha too closely, as it was not appropriate that he should be attracted to a figure of such importance. Anyway, if the Alpha caught him looking and perceived his feelings, then, well, he would undoubtedly laugh in his face and most probably humiliate him. So, he stole only glances from under his eyelashes and his bangs, feeling quite secure behind their dark cape. He couldn't help fidgeting and could sense that he was upsetting the others whilst he squirmed in his seat and the odd feeling spreading throughout his body intensified.

That was when he was caught.

At first people did not notice, but eventually, conversations that had been in full-flow and full of laughter died one after another in an eerie domino effect. Very soon silence pervaded the room.

Harry gulped in fear. Oh no oh no oh no oh no oh no! Alpha Greyback was staring at him—no, glaring at him. Without trying to conceal it. His face was thunder and his eyes lightning. His lips were a thin line and his eyebrows came together in a furious scar upon his face. Harry wanted to crawl under the table and hide or run from the room in embarrassment. Why had he drawn such attention to himself? It was so rude to stare! Such an idiot idiot IDIOT!!!

This was not a man to mess with. What was going to happen…?

Slowly the Alpha rose. His hands were shaking with rage and his slow movements seemed forced. The gentle arcs of his artful body swept through the air like a blade. He made his way around the table and headed over to the group of terrified Potters, each tread of his foot upon the plush carpet obscenely loud in the still room.

All too soon the huge figure was looming above Harry. He had a terrible sense of déjà vu; this was all too reminiscent of countless encounters with his angry father. At this thought, he went beyond terrified and froze, unfeeling in his seat. A man with muscles such as Alpha Greyback's could do damage that he couldn't even imagine.

A heavy, heavy hand landed on his shoulder, and, despite its gentleness, Harry jumped visibly and his face crumpled in distress behind his swathes of hair.

"Come." A bass growl caressed his ear and was accompanied by hot breath. Harry did not think, but reacted. He stood up, his legs shaking and refused to look up. He didn't want Caspian to see him crying. The hand on his shoulder nudged him in the direction of the door and Harry, once again, allowed himself to be directed by a strong hand.