* Trigger Warning: Physical and emotional child abuse ahead*
It feels strange to see the man I’ve feared for so long kneel before me, trembling like all the times I stood before him while I recited my poems.
But even as he bleeds, even as he sits at my mercy, I still see the look of disgust flicker in his eyes when I speak to him for the first time in almost 20 years.
“H-Hello, father,” I snarl, my fists clenching at my sides as I fight to contain my anger.
How can he hate his own son so much!? Around me, the Scarlett Haven wolves gawk at me, unable to believe I just called their Alpha, ‘father’.
“You’re….You’re no son of mine,”
Sebastian pants, his brown eyes turning blue as the wolf within takes over.
“You’re nothing more than a weak, pathetic-” I swing my arm back, punching him in the jaw and nearly knocking him flat on his back before he can finish his sentence.
“E-Enough!” I growl, my father’s mouth clamping shut while his eyes widen in shock that my commands work on him.
“T-that’s enough! Y-you think y-you’re so strong and so t-tough? W-well look at y-you now, father! Wh-what good is y-your strength now?”
“How dare you speak to me that way!”
“y-you have silenced m-me all of my life.Y-you do not get to silence m-me before my own p-pack!”
“Your pack?” He scoffs.
The Ravenstone wolves growl at his disrespect, proving that they are now loyal to me.
“My p-pack,” I repeat.
“De-despite how little y-you think of me, not only did I-I find a p-pack that accepts m-me as I-I am, but I-I also managed to ou-outlive m-my replacement.”
Sebastian laughs and opens his mouth to speak only to be silenced by a slap to the face as Grayson takes over.
“Did I say you could speak?”
Grayson roars, Sebastian’s eyes widening in shock at Grayson’s confidence.
A cold amused smile curls on Sebastain’s lips.
“Pack?” he laughs.
“The man who stands beside you killed your mother and your brother and yet you proudly show your loyalty to him,” my father scoffs.
“H-he didn’t k-kill Jonathan-“
That’s when I see it, the flicker of fear in his eyes when I mention my dead brother.He’s hiding something…Lowering my walls, I allow the river of thoughts to flow between us.He can’t know about Jonathan.
There’s no possible way he would know! I hear him say to his wolf.
“W-what don’t I know?” I ask, my father stiffening with surprise that I know what he’s thinking.
“What?” he asks, bemused by my question.
“I -I said, ‘W-What don’t I-I know about Jonathan?”
I repeat, this time taking a menacing step forward.My father tries to crawl back but winces when he tries to move his legs.
“W-What don’t I-I know about Jonathan?” I snarl, dread settling in the pit of my stomach.
My father stares back defiantly at me, refusing to speak so I take matters into my own hands.
Closing my eyes, I listen in to his subconscious, following the voices in his memories.
A coldness envelops me in the darkness before a bright light blinds me for a moment.
Like a movie projection, Sebastian’s memories begin to unfold on the dock in front of him for all to see.
Scarlett Haven and Ravenstone wolves alike fall silent to watch, allowing me to focus on the many rivers of thought trying to drown me.
In the first memory I find, all I see is Sebastian sitting at his desk, staring at a hairbrush in his hand.He does not use it, just carefully caresses it for a few moments before stuffing it into a drawer and returning to his work.
For a moment, he almost looks human…until he carefully hides all his pain behind a mask of stone.I dig a little deeper, unlocking another memory where my father berates Wyatt for questioning him.
“Zane will not take the title because he doesn’t have what it takes to look his opponent in the eye and lead his soldiers in war,” he snarls.
“He will always be weak…He’s useless…I showed mercy to him as a favor for Elenore.He was her son, but he was never mine.”
Despite the venom in his voice as he says those things, I feel a smile curl on my face and a sense of relief wash over me as I realize something amazing.
His words no longer hurt me and I am now free of the chains that bound me to him.We are not family, just two strangers at war.
I continue scouring his memories, stumbling upon memory after memory of him ignoring the cruelty of his own pack against Agnes and I.I travel back many years until I find myself seeing the night of my mother’s death through his own eyes.I stand back and watch my mother leave the car to grab a snack for me, trailing behind Sebastian as they enter the King’s party.
Together they greet guests and slowly make their way towards the snack bar, smiling and laughing like the perfect couple.
To an outsider, they look like your average, happily married Alpha and Luna, but on the inside, I know my mother was screaming.
“’I’m leaving you,” my mother murmurs as she grabs a plate of food for me.
“And I’m taking my baby with me.”
For many years, I have wondered why my mother never left Sebastian, believing perhaps their bond was just too hard to break free from.
After meeting Talia and our pup, I’ve come to understand the fear of someone hurting your child.I was hidden away partially for fear of me being hurt by Ravenstone.
Perhaps my mother feared I would be hurt without Scarlett Haven’s protection…just like Jonathan.
A sense of pride washes over me as I recognize my mother’s strength to choose me over her pack and title.
It could not have been an easy decision to walk away.
“I’ll take the things that I need and nothing more,” she adds quietly.
“And don’t worry, I don’t expect any of your money to help me raise him.You never treated him like a son anyways, so why start now?”
I see the anger seething in Sebastian’s brown eyes and he walks away, my mother turning back in the direction of the car, only to be pulled into a conversation with a pack of Lunas.
Not long after, the attack begins and as the memory drifts away, I hear the most blood curdling scream, a scream that both shatters my heart and fills my soul with rage.
“Sebastian! Sebastian, help me! Help me!” my mother screams, but Sebastian only turns the other cheek and runs in the opposite direction, jumping on a Ravenstone wolf and tearing out his throat.
I stop the projection, unable to understand how Sebastian could abandon his mate when she called his name.
“y-you heard her scream,” I mumble, fighting back the angry tears that so desperately want to escape my eyes.
“S-she mind-linked y-you for help…and y-you left her…”
My voice trails off as I try to contain my rage.
All these years of suffering without my mother…could have ended had Sebastian only protected his mate like he promised to the day he married her.I could have lived a good life with just my mom somewhere far from all the wars and abuse.I could have learned to be happy with myself…but Sebastian robbed me of that beautiful life.
Sebastian stares back emotionlessly, not an ounce of regret for what he did to my mother.
“She was Wyatt’s responsibility,”
Sebastian retorts in a low snarl.
“Besides, who are you to judge me? You stand with the man who ordered her death.You are no better than me.You’re just a spineless-“
Grayson pushes through to the surface, taking over control as I process my rage.
“Push the bullets in further!”
Grayson commands, Sebastian watching in horror as his hands move involuntarily towards his bleeding wounds.
“What- No! No!”
He says through gritted teeth, attempting to disobey the command but failing, his fingers plunging into the wounds to push the bullets in further.
“Fuuuuuuuck!” he growls with strained agony, blood pouring from the open wounds.
“Areal Alpha doesn’t scream,”
Grayson sneers, Sebastian’s face seething with rage and humiliation.
“Areal Alpha never shows weakness.Isn’t that what you always say to me, Father?”
Sebastian growls in response, his breaths ragged as he holds back his screams the further he pushes in the bullets.
“Enough,” Grayson snarls, taking a step back to let me regain control.
When I face the man again, I get down on one knee so that our eyes meet.
“I-l am nothing like y-you,” I whisper in a calm rage through clenched teeth.
“And I-I never will be.” I close my eyes, once again finding myself in the depths of my father’s memories.
Many are cruel and vile, but I stumbled upon one I have no memory of myself.
“You call this an heir?” my grandfather, Alexander, snarls as he looks down at me.
“It can’t even speak.”
Four-year-old me trembles in the presence of the old Alpha, his face contorted in disgust and pity.
“He has a name,” my mother snarls, pushing me behind her to shield me from my grandfather’s wrath.
“You would do well to teach that b***h of yours how to address an Alpha,” my grandfather snarls.
“Unless you want me to do it for you.”
There is terror in Sebastian’s eyes and a twitch in his hand, and I make a realization.He feared his father…just like I feared him.He hides it well behind an emotionless face, storming over to my mother and slapping her cheek.
My mother yelps as the sting burns across her face but she keeps her body in front of me protectively.
“You may speak only if you are spoken to,” Sebastian growls, turning to face his father.
“I apologize for my wife’s behavior.” My grandfather only grunts in response, an unamused look on his face.
“Make sure it never happens again.”
Sebastian bows before his father.It’s rather refreshing to see Sebastian cower before another Alpha.I had been too afraid my whole life to notice Sebastian had his own fears.
“Boy, come here,” my grandfather’s voice booms, my mother shaking her head at him.
“I said come here.” My father grabs my mother’s wrist and yanks her away from me, hissing in her ear, “If you care about the boy, do not question my father.Please.”
Please? I wonder to myself, watching my younger self tremble as I take timid steps towards the Alpha towering over me.
“Speak,” my grandfather snaps, younger me opening my mouth but saying nothing.
“I said ‘speak’ boy!” he snarls, tears springing to my eyes.
The color drains from Sebastian’s face as the elder Alpha’s eyes glow turquoise, the look on his face that of utter disgust and disappointment.
Younger me suddenly begins to scream, my little hands clawing at my arms and begging for mercy.
“Father- Sir, please,”
Sebastian pleads as I collapse on the floor, writhing and kicking from the agony burning across my body.
My mother screams with me, begging Alpha Alexander to let me go and pleading with Sebastian to stop him from hurting me.
“I-I’ll fix him,”
Sebastian says, getting on his knees.
“I promise, Sir.I’ll fix him.Just let the kid go.”
My younger self suddenly stops screaming, passed out from all the pain.
The elder Alpha stares coldly at his kneeling son, disgusted by his behavior.
“GET OFF YOUR KNEES, BOY!” my grandfather snarls.
“An Alpha never kneels, EVER!”
The walls rattle with his booming voice, and he turns to leave the room.
“The next time I see that boy,” he says over his shoulder.
“He better be fixed.” The memory fades away into mist, morphing into a new one.
My mother sits in her rocking chair, nursing me while little Jonathan plays with a crinkly foil blanket on the floor.
Looking around, I realize we are in the old cottage by the waterfall, away from the pack territory.
Sebastian walks in quietly, Jonathan pushing himself onto his feet and crawling over to his father to greet him with a hug.
“I’m taking Johnny to the park,”
Sebastian whispers over his shoulder, my mother nodding haphazardly as she caresses my face.
Sebastian takes Jonathan to his truck, strapping him into the back seat, excitement dancing in his youthful face.I had long forgotten there was once a man under all his bitter hatred.I follow them on their drive, watching my older brother play with a rattle in his hand while Sebastian glances at him through the rearview mirror.
Distracted by his son, Sebastian doesn’t notice the three wolves standing in the middle of the road and by the time Sebastian sees them, it’s already too late.He swerves off the road and into a ditch, the truck flipping over a few times before coming to a halt in an upside down position.
The windshield is completely shattered and the smell of gasoline lingers in the air.
Dazed and confused, Sebastian looks around the truck, blood trickling from his nose and temples.
Jonathan cries in the back seat, little cuts on his face as he screams.
Outside, the wolves circle the truck, snarling and growling at Sebastian, daring him to step out.
Sebastian fights against his belt, quickly discovering that it is stuck and trapping him in his metal prison.
“Come out, Sebastian,” the silver wolf snickers as he shifts into his human form, revealing himself to be my grandfather.
Sebastian panics at the sound of his father’s voice and claws himself out of his belt, breaking a window with his elbow to crawl out of the truck.
Wiping the blood from his nose, he presents himself before his father with his head lowered.
“Sir,” Sebastian mumbles, earning him a slap from his father.
“Speak with your chest. None of this mumbling s**t,” his father snarls, Sebastian nodding and standing up straighter.
“Yessir,” he says with forced confidence.
The Elder Alpha, glances from side to side at his two colleagues, before a sinister smile spreads across his lips.
“Kill them,” he says, Sebastian and the two wolves staring in shock at the Alpha.
His smile dissipates, replaced by a cold frown.
“Do I have to repeat myself? I said “Kill them!”
The wolves cower back, and while confused, Sebastian turns to the two wolves, his arms turning to their deadly green gas.
Sebastian whispers, the green mist racing towards the wolves, pouring into their eyes, their nostrils and their mouths.
The wolves try to escape but the gas does its work, blisters spreading across their bodies as they howl in pain.
Foam spills from their mouths down their chins and as they collapse on the ground, convulsing violently until they take their last breath and cease to move.
The mist flows back to Sebastian’s arms as he towers over their dead bodies while his father lights a cigar for himself.
“You apologized,” his father says in an annoyed tone.
“You know what that shows me?”
Sebastian suddenly collapses on his knees, groaning in pain and clawing at his arms in desperation.
“Weakness,” his father snarls.
“I will not have a weak heir. Stand up, you imbecile!”
Sebastian staggers on his feet, his breath ragged as he pushes through his pain.
“Now kill your son,” his father commands, Sebastian looking at his father in horror, shaking his head in refusal.
“No…you can’t- I can’t do that…” he whimpers, collapsing on his knees again and screaming in agony.
I said “Kill him,” the elder Alpha demands.
“We need more allies in this war,” his father snaps.
“Losing the boy will garner the sympathy we need to get us the troops to defeat Ravenstone-“
“T-there has to be another way,” Sebastian shakes his head.
“I lost my son to those mutts,” the Alpha roars.
“He was a man who went after what he wanted like a true Alpha and now I’m stuck with you, a poor pathetic excuse for an Alpha.You’ll never be Cyrus, but I will make you the Alpha you need to be for us.”
“But he’s just a pup.He’s my son-“
“And Cyrus was mine!” his father snarls.
“Now do it!”
Sebastian begs and pleads for another solution, but his father is relentless.His eyes glow turquoise with rage and Sebastian begins to scream and writhe on the floor from the nerve pain inflicted by his father.
“P-Please! Please, father stop!”
Sebastian cries, his father’s eyes stone cold.
“Do it…” he whispers softly.
“And I’ll make the pain stop.”
Sebastian endures the pain for as long as he can, but eventually he reaches his limit.
“I-I’ll do it,” he pants through his sobs.
“Just make it stop.A satisfied smile curls on his father’s lips and he releases his son from his painful grasp.
“Don’t use your gift,” Alexander orders.
“They’ll know it was you who did it.”
Sebastian nods, crawling into the truck to grab his crying son.
My heart rate climbs as I watch him wrap his fingers around Jonathan’s throat, my brother staring innocently up at his father.
Tears slide down Sebatian’s face as he tightens his grip on Jonathan’s neck, the little boy squirming in his arms.
Sebastian sobs, crushing his own son’s windpipe until at last, a loud crack brings silence.
Sebastian stares blankly at Jonathan’s body, his hands trembling for what they had just done.
“You will say these two were spies conspiring with the Ravenstone pack and that they killed your son,” the Alpha says, his voice interrupting the eerie silence that had settled over the forest.
Sebastian says nothing, caressing the cheeks of the son he just killed.
The old Alpha pats his son on the shoulder in solidarity and holds out his cigar to him.
“Now you know what it feels like to lose a son to this war.Maybe now you’ll step up as the Alpha you’re supposed to be and bring an end to this.For your brother and for your son.”
“You made me kill my pup,”
Sebastian whispers to himself in disbelief.
“No,” his father shakes his head.
“No, Toran Ravenstone did this to you.He made you do it.He killed your son…and now…you must get revenge.”
The memory fades away, morphing back to the present where I find myself staring at the monster before me.
“y-you killed Jo-Jonathan…”