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I... I don't think I'm gonna get out of this alive...
I was so alone... And I haven't heard or felt a word of my pack since I got here.
I REALLY missed my family... I miss the way my mom would curl around me at night. I miss racing with my dad. I miss the way Zack and Xigbar would always laugh at the funny things I said even though no one else did. I miss playing with Sora and Kairi and Hayner. I even miss the looks Riku gave me when I would bite his tail... And I miss the secure feeling I would always have with Xemnas silently watching.
I felt my heart sink when I realized that I would probably never feel that again. My ears twitched when I heard the front door open and the feet of my tormentor approach this room.
When the door opened I made no move to howl or cry; I didn't even bother to move. If I did that, I shivered at the thought.
I shied away from the approaching feet and waited for something to happen.
"Alright kid, my patience is wearing thin. You will change in front of that camera within the week or I'll dispose of you and go for another one of the pups. I'm sure the little girl will break much easier..." the man cackled.
I felt my anger rise and I growled lowly at him. I didn't care what happened to me, but I would never allow this monster to hurt my pack. He had done enough already.
"Still got some fight in you, huh? We'll fix that problem quickly." I yowled when ye suddenly rammed the electric rod into my side.
The man laughed again before moving to the table for his next tool for torture.
I woke with a dull burn in my chest. I looked up to see Squall dropping food in front of me.
Eat. He said.
I nodded and ate the food presented to me. When I was done I looked to my mate. 'Are we going to search the lower end for Zell?' I asked.
My mate grunted in affirmation. I stood and shook myself off. I felt much better after my complete breakdown.
I want to look with you too. Zack said with a determined look on his face. I gave him a small smile.
'Thanks Zack.' I said before switching to my human form and putting on my clothes before heading out of the clearing.
As we walked down the streets of the lower end of the city, I growled softly.
It was very hard to look for specific kinds of suspicious activity when suspicious activity was all around you. I noticed two people in the alleyway making some sort of transaction and I frowned.
"What are ya lookin' at?" One of the men called angrily.
I flashed them a glare and I was almost surprised when they backed down and turned from me.
Oo, the measly humans can sense the angry beast inside! Zack said with a short laugh.
I sent Zack another small smile. 'I love you, brother.' I thought softly to him.
I love you too, Cloud. Man, it smells so bad around here! Zack said and covered his nose.
I frowned when I heard Squall growl shortly. This isn't working... He thought and I felt a flash of fury in my chest.
I pressed myself against him for comfort and sighed. I knew the wall that he built to rein in his anger was slowly beginning to crack. I wasn't going to let him break; I could be strong for him too.
I sent him a feeling of determination and he pulled me closer to him.
'We won't be able to find him until the calls for us. I can't even smell myself in this place... I say we stay at the edge of south side and wait for Zell to call for us. As much as I don't want this to be true, he's probably too weak to sense us anymore.' I thought to everyone, including the others watching the kids in the clearing.
When I received affirmative grunts from everyone. We moved to where we would remain relatively unnoticed and waited.
My mother was sending me to my Dad's. Evidently, he got a new apartment and my mother wanted me to make sure he was settled in and that everything was fine.
"If you're so concerned why don't you just check on him..." I grumbled. I understood why my parents separated, but I also knew that they didn't actually want to separate.
My mom still loves my dad.
My dad still loves my mom.
But like my mother, I didn't want to live with a poacher as a dad. Ever since my uncle's suicide, he's been obsessed with killing Loup Garou.
I didn't think it made much since. We all used to be so happy, you know? I remember my parents telling me stories about all different kinds of animals, especially Loup Garou... I remember the smiles and the adventures we took in discovering more about those amazing creatures.
My uncle was a poacher and in a poaching accident, he lost his arm. Sure, we were all very upset when we heard the news... But I think my mother and I and even my uncle understood something that my father couldn't: there were many dangers involved in poaching and my uncle took that risk and suffered the consequences. He knew there was a chance something like that could happen. And even though he didn't expect it to affect him so much, he never blamed the Loup Garou.
My dad never realized that and is still trying to exterminate the Loup Garou. Luckily, I don't really think there are any here. My dad hasn't caught and killed any.
I don't think I'd be able to live with him if he did that. My mom doesn't want anything to do with him until he's thrown out this stupid notion of revenge.
I sure hope he does soon... I miss our family being our family...
"John, you need to go now. Take your bike and don't forget that stun gun I bought you... I really don't like that area he's in... It's way too sketchy." my mom said and I growled after finishing my sandwich and standing.
I walked to the garage, grabbed my bike, and made my way over to the south end of the city. When I got to my Dad's crappy apartment building, I pulled out the piece of paper that had his apartment number. I locked my bike up and walked up the stairs.
On the way up I bumped into someone and their books fell to the ground.
"Ah! Sorry man, let me help you." I said and moved back down the stairs to pick up his books.
"It's fine, you seemed a little out of it." The tall blond said.
"Yeah... I guess you could say I was. Here are your books." I said and handed them to him.
"Thanks man, are you the new guy who just moved in?" The blond asked.
"Actually my dad just moved in. I'm visiting him." I said.
"Well, I'm your Dad's new neighbor then... I'm Tidus." He said and I smiled.
"I'm John." I said, happy to know that there were some decent people in this part of the city.
"Do you know about his new dog? He makes so much noise sometimes... I keep wanting to tell your pops that he needs to let the little guy out from time to time... He just cries and cries and I wonder sometimes if your dad knows what he's doing." Tidus said and I frowned.
"I didn't know about his new dog, I'll check and as what's going on..." I said with a dreadful feeling.
"Good, thanks and see you later!" Tidus said and I continued my way up the stairs.
I walked up to my Dad's door and knocked. When the door opened I stormed into the room and looked around. "Where is it?" I asked.
"Where is what, exactly?" my father asked.
"Where's the Loup Garou you captured? I know you wouldn't get a dog! You never liked the idea of pets." I said with an expectant look.
"I don't know what you're talking about..." My dad said and I walked over the first door I saw and opened it.
It was a bathroom.
I looked and moved to the next door.
I moved to the last door and tried the door. It was locked.
"What's behind this door, dad?" I asked.
"That's none of your concern, son." My dad answered and tried to pull me from the door.
"Open the door..." I said and I was ignored.
"Open the goddamned door, Auron!" I yelled and looked my father straight in the eyes.
My father sighed and pushed me from the door. "No." He replied.
I glared at him. "If you kill that Loup Garou, Dad, I'll never talk to you again and neither will mom. You've got to stop this... Or you'll lose everything. I'm leaving..." I said and moved towards the front door.
I wouldn't have anything to do with this.
When my son closed the door I growled lowly.
Why couldn't anyone see the justice in my actions? Those Loup Garou monsters deserved to die after what they did to my brother... What they did to my family.
I felt a wave of rage crash over me and I opened the back room and stormed inside before slamming the door shut. I looked to the cage and saw the little white pup curled in the corner. I kicked the cage and the little monster yelped.
"YOU ARE GOING TO FUCKING CHANGE RIGHT NOW! IT'S YOUR FAULT MY SON HATES ME!" I screamed and the creature didn't make a sound. He didn't even look at me.
He was mocking me, laughing at me silently. He was saying: I don't give a shit about your woes... They just prove that I'm stronger.
"I see... You need some persuading then..." I said and moved over to my table. I turned on the old fashioned furnace and placed my tool inside.
"I hate you and the rest of your wretched kind... You deserve worse than a slow and painful death." I said and I felt my heart clench at the memory of my wife casting me a disgusted glance as she walked out the door, my son trailing behind her.
They are my everything; they were my pack and the Loup Garou took that from me. The creatures I used to admire, the very animals I felt that I could identify with... I was betrayed.
I hissed at that thought and grabbed my tool from the furnace and walked over to the little demon. "I'm going to count to three and if you're not changed by then, this brand is going to burn you. One..."
The pup stood.
"Two..." I continued.
I glared at the devil when it looked me straight in the eye... the blue and gold flashing for a second before burning softly. There was little fear expressed in those eyes... There was only a look of disdain and regret.
They were so similar to the eyes of my son... It only made me resent him more.
"Three!" I yelled in anger and thrusted the scalding hot brand against him.
The pup howled in pain, whimpering and whining with agony. I grinned.
"I'm going to let that wound sizzle for a while and when I come back, I'll ask the same question with the same consequences." I said and left the room.
There was no way he was going to stay in that form now... He knew what was coming to him.
I walked back into my apartment building and collapsed onto my bed. I was so tired...
Evening classes, work, family, and then worrying about Cloud's kid on top of that... It's completely exhausting.
Zell... I hope he's okay... I've been keeping an eye out for things and I have yet to really find any clues. It was bothersome.
I was about to head off to sleep when I heard howls and whines through the wall. I growled.
My neighbor really needed to take better care of that dog! And be more considerate about the people trying to sleep.
There was another howl and it suddenly hit me.
It's been a week since the guy's been here and I haven't seen his dog once... His son also didn't know about it... and from all the noises I hear through the door, I have not heard one bark.
Holy fuck! Maybe...
Wait, I have to check this out... I can't just jump to conclusions like that.
I got out of bed and headed out my front door. I walked over to the apartment on my left and knocked on the door.
After about a minute, the door opened to reveal the burly looking man with the scar on his eye.
"Can I help you?" he asked.
"Yeah, sorry to bother you... But is your dog okay? I can hear him whining and hollering through the wall and it's hard for me to sleep with that..." I trailed off.
"The dog is fine, he just really hates being put in the kennel at night." The man said and I frowned when a soft whine came from the apartment.
"Do you think he needs to take a walk? I can walk him if you want, maybe it will calm him down a little." I suggested hoping he would let me see the dog and I could prove myself wrong.
"That's not necessary." The man replied and I slipped into his apartment. My neighbor frowned and stood in the open doorway.
"Are you sure? Because people say I'm really good with dog's..." I heard another small whimper and I decided to test and see if I was correct in my assumptions.
"Actually, my best friend Cloud has a dog named Zell and I see him all the time!" said loudly so that my voice could he heard through the door.
I frowned when suddenly the howling and whining increased ten fold. They sounded so desperate.
I couldn't believe it...
It was getting really late and I was worried about my son. We hadn't heard him call out to us at all.
Cloud took my hand and looked at me. "I'm sure he's fine. We've raised a strong boy so far." He said and I offered him the slightest hint of a smile.
"The first thing I'm teaching him when we get him back is how to listen for danger... This is never happening again." I said and Zack nodded.
"Never again." Zack repeated.
Suddenly, Cloud froze and I immediately realized what he was doing.
He was intensely focused on listening. Zack said I looked at each other before focusing as well.
...it...It hurts... It bur-...
It was Zell... We could barely hear him. I tried my hardest to sense where the call was but it was too feint.
"Oh god... I c-can't feel him! I can't feel him!" My mate cried. I frowned; I couldn't sense him either.
As the small whimpers continued to sound in our ears, I could feel my blood begin to boil.
I could feel Cloud and Zack beginning to burn with rage. I heard my mate let out a snarl.
"I'm going to kill him..." Cloud said softly, his voice enflamed and tears simmering to the brim of his eyes.
We all started when my son's voice started blaring in our ears.
T-TIDUS? IS THAT YOU! MAMA! DAD! TIDUS IS HERE! PLEASE HELP! GET ME OUT OF HERE, P-PLEASE!
I immediately began to run, I could finally sense where he was. I watched as Cloud pull ahead of me and felt Zack at my heels.
The apartment was in the shadiest corner of the city. We climbed up the stairs and I watched Cloud run through the open door. Zack and I entered soon after. Cloud broke down what I assumed was the locked door and I felt weight lifted from my soldiers when I heard the relieved cries of my son.
Suddenly something came swinging towards my head and I ducked out of the way. I turned to see the man that had tortured my baby and I felt myself burn with anger again.
He swung the bat at me a second time and I caught it. I pulled it out of his arms and with a growl, snapped it on half. Zack and I snarled at the man and began to corner him in the room.
"What are you guys gonna do to him?" I heard Tidus asked.
I suddenly felt a wave of fury and sadness hit me and I heard Cloud scream.
"Kill him! I want him dead! He branded my son! I'll rip his fucking arms off and beat him with them!" Cloud walked out of the back room holding our baby close, tears of rage in his eyes.
He sent the man a cold glare. "What has my son done to deserve this? We haven't done anything to anyone here!" Cloud cried in despair and I snarled at the man.
"That pup is a monster and so are these two! Why are you with them? They'll betray you!" the gruff man yelled at Cloud.
I watched as Cloud gently placed our whimpering pup down before he took off his shirt and changed into his wolf form.
"He's one of us!" I gritted out angrily.
The man stared at Cloud in shock. "How did this happen? You don't have ears!" The man yelled.
"Why should ears matter? The fact is, you need to leave us alone! You can't kill us, we're everywhere!" Zack yelled.
Cloud growled at the man and moved to lick Zell's wounds. I snarled when I saw how bad they were.
"You are gonna fucking pay for what you did to my son!" I yelled and Cloud grabbed his clothes before he moved back to the back room.
When he came back I realized what he was going to do.
"Hold him." He said and Zack and I were happy to oblige.
"Cloud... Are you sure this is a good idea?" Tidus asked.
"An eye for an eye." Cloud said in a deadly voice before gripping the hot brand tightly.
"Cloud?" My ear twitched at the new voice in the room.
Cloud looked over and sighed. "John, what are you doing here?" Cloud asked.
"It's not just me, my mom's coming too. We were going to take the Loup Garou he captured away from him... But it seems you beat me to it. Ummm... What is going on? Who are they and why are you holding that thing up to my dad?" The boy, John, asked.
"Auron! We are taking that Loup Garou! You are not going to torture that poor creature any-AH! What's happening!" a female voice sounded by I didn't take my eyes off of the man in front of me.
"This man here kidnapped and tortured my son... And we are seconds away from giving him what he deserves." I said and glared coldly into the man's eyes.
"I can't believe my first encounter with fully grown Loup Garou would be under these circumstances. Auron... This obsession over revenge has got to stop... This isn't justice for your brother anymore. You're hurting innocent people... A child? How would you like it if a complete stranger took John and tortured him for the sake of revenge? You know this isn't right..." the woman said.
Auron growled. "They took you away from me! They broke us apart!" he yelled.
"No Auron, it was your hatred that made me leave. Even your brother understood that the Loup Garou were not to be blamed for what happened. I couldn't live with a man who couldn't let go. And I didn't want John to grow up in that hateful environment so I took him with me. I don't understand why you can't just leave this behind and come back to us. John and I want our family to be complete again too, and it all depends on you."
"I thought you didn't want anything to do with me. I thought you didn't want me back." Auron said.
"Dad, we don't want anything to do with his kind of behavior... I want us to go back to the way it was. I want to be able to talk to you about anything... I want you to be someone I can be proud of and look up to... I just want my dad back!" John said.
"So if I give up on this... We can be a family again?" Auron asked.
"Yes!" John and the female said together.
"Well that's all fine and fucking dandy, but what about what you did to my son? Where is his justice in this!" Cloud yelled angrily.
"That's a good question..." Tidus said awkwardly.
"Cloud... I know my dad did something horrible... But please, forgive him." John said.
"My son and my wife were right... The little pup didn't deserve the torture I forced on him... And I'm sorry... I'll take out all my traps and never show my face in the forest again. I'll leave you alone and I'll make sure others leave you alone too... I really lost it for a while and actually thought I was finding justice for my brother... I-I... I'm so sorry." Auron said and I growled.
"If I see you trying to hunt anything in that forest... I won't hesitate to kill you. This will not happen again." I said with a voice that held no room for argument.
"As much as I wanted to slam this hot metal rod down your throat... Zell wouldn't want me to do that. He sees good in everyone... And that's something will never do. So watch yourself." Cloud said, anger and pain still present in his voice.
"We're not that different from you, Auron. We're not a bunch of monsters... We feel and we think... Probably way more often than most humans do." Zack said.
"Well, I think we should all just go our separate ways now... Are you coming to work tomorrow, Cloud? I know it's been a really rough week for you..." Tidus asked.
Cloud shook his head. "I want to make sure my son is alright. But I'll be there on Sunday." he said.
"Let's move out..." I said and picked up my son who was still sleeping soundly on the floor. I rumbled low in my chest to offer him comfort as I moved towards the door.
"Remember what I said..." I added before leaving, Cloud and Zack trailing behind me.
When we got back to the clearing... It was like the sun escaped from the cloud's clutches and things were falling into place again.
Zell's back! The kids yipped happily and I sighed in relief, a few tears falling slowly down my face.
'Yes... He's back...' I said softly and placed him down on the soft grass in the clearing. I smiled when I saw him sigh and stretch out in his sleep.
'I don't know about you guys... But I think it's time to cuddle.' I said and felt my heart flutter when my kids beamed at me.
Yeah! I wanna sleep next to Zell! Sora yipped.
I wanna sleep next to him! Kairi whined.
Could I join you? I smiled and nodded at Hayner.
'Of course you can! I think Zell would really like if he woke up to all of us around him.' I said and settled down.
I think we're all kind of tired... I say it's pack naptime, right Xemnas? Riku said giving his mate a look.
Xemnas stood and walked over to his mate without a word and laid himself down in the most dignified manner possible. Riku huffed and settled down as well next to Sora and Kairi.
CUDDLES! Zack yelled and snuggled next to Hayner with Xigbar following soon after, shaking his head at his mate's silliness.
Larxene sighed and moved over to the steadily growing huddle... I knew that on the inside, she wanted to snuggle too.
When Squall finally laid himself down next to me, I knew that the nightmare that we were living was finally over. I pulled Squall into a kiss and sighed happily at the feeling.
This was how life should be...
A/N: So there you have it! I'm currently brainstorming about the sequel so you'll probably see that some time soon. I'm also thinking a lot about the FIRE prequel that a lot of people wanted to see. The sequel to this story will be called The Pack: Two Tails. Yes I did just destroy your soul with a shitty pun. And yes, since the story is halfway devoted to Roxas/Axel, there are essentially 2 stories in one. Also, if you want to look out for the FIRE prequel as well, it's going to be called, Into the Flames. Thanks so much for reading and to all of you wonderful people that reviewed. You guys mean a lot to me! I hope to see your reviews for this and future fics!