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Aug 08, 2020 7:57 AM
an unusual recruitment (Starr Twins and the Alpha Pack in Nemeton)
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"Just the eyes. There's what we do to survive, and what we do because it matters. I always take their eyes."

So she does. It's messy, and she supposes, sacrilegious, but that's why she picked her name. They taste awful, of course, they always do. It matters.

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"Your brother, Alexei. Is he alright?"

His voice is gentler than it has any right to be.

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He watches her, blank faced, only looking away when Deucalion speaks. 

-right. Is he? He- reaches out, over the bond, eyes going distant and unseeing - he couldn't do that before but it seems obvious now.

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Jamie is... not actively worsening. His primary emotion right now seems to be confusion. The fury from Alex's side of the bond, Davin's urgent rush from the room, and now the feeling of his brother pressing against his mind had jolted him into tense awareness. Now that there's a lull the exhausted low-grade pain-fear-reaching is rising again, however. He reaches back to Alex's presence, though his 'grip' doesn't go beyond the confines of his own mind.

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Alex turns his attention back to the room he's in, "He's alone," he reports. "Hurting." Obviously. "If anyone is guarding him they haven't entered the room." That could change, however. He shifts on his feet, and begins to make his way to the door leading farther into the building. 

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"Do you want privacy, or do you need us to provide the exit strategy sooner rather than later?"

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"I'll help Ennis with the betas. Good work, Alexei. I'm proud of you."

She slips out.

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He stares after her, more than a little bewildered by the praise.

"-exit strategy," he repeats after a moment, "For Jamie? I want to- see how bad it is. But then, yeah. I want him out of here." He won't be leaving anytime soon, he knows. The next of Deucalion's demands dances on the edge of his mind, but he shies away from it mentally, focusing on Jamie for now. 

Davin's rooms are through that door and then up a short flight of stairs. Alex leads Deucalion through the apartment to the bedroom, stalling for a moment outside the door. He has less bad memories of this room than Jamie does, but that doesn't mean he has none. 

(Frankly, his instinctive reaction to it is a bit more pronounced than the memories account for.)

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Deucalion taps the door with his cane forcefully enough that it opens. He stays back.

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He twitches away from the cane when it passes him, startled. The door opening gives him the impetus to step inside, though - that and the scents coming out of the room. The same as the ones that were wafting off Davin when he'd come downstairs, along with a faint hint of ozone. 

Alex makes for the bed, stepping lightly. "...Jamie?" 

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There's a lump on the bed. It shifts when he speaks, and alarm winds its way into the emotions Alex can sense from the other end of the bond. 

"...Lex?" Jamie's voice cracks on the name. "Shouldn't be here- will be mad-" his words definitely don't reflect his feelings, which might as well be crying out for Alex, begging him not to leave. 

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Alex climbs up on the bed and reaches out to touch him. 

"...It's fine, he won't be coming," is all he says in response. 

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He curls toward his hand immediately. It's difficult to make out in the dark room, but there's definitely a significant amount of damage, all of it healing very slowly. Still, he's conscious enough to squint up at Alex and realize something is- off. 

"What'd you... do?" He asks, apprehensive. 

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He's not going to intrude. It does remind him of a moment just after he had gone blind, when he sought out comfort from someone he trusted- he suspects that Alexei won't learn his lesson here and now, though. This loyalty is unshakeable.

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"...Killed him." And he doesn't regret that at all. 

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It takes Jamie a moment to process that - and another, longer moment to connect the dots. He makes a small, wounded noise, "Alex-!" He glances past him, just making out Deucalion in the darkness, "You- I was going to-" he struggles up into a Half-upright position, ignoring the flare of PAIN all over his body as slowly healing bruises and burns protest and a number of cuts reopen, "This is just the same as any other time, I would've been fine!" Eventually. 

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"There was something I could do to stop it, this time. I couldn't not take it." 

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"But now- the betas, Alex." He's still looking at Deucalion. What will he do if Alex refuses? Nothing good, he's sure. 

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He smiles slightly.

James is young yet, but he'll make a good alpha one day. He already has the instincts for it. It's only the loyalty to his brother that might need to be challenged- but they have time.

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-yeah. Choices. They have very few, here. 

 

He looks back at his brother, "Alex."

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He looks up - being confronted with the reality of the next step had hit him hard. He's not sure he even has that in him-

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"All those betas- they did nothing. They stood back and watched while we suffered for years. Some of them even helped, took their fear out on you because they knew Davin wouldn't care-" 

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Alex grits his teeth - he has a moment where he knows what Jamie is doing, on the precipice before his anger flares up again, and maybe he could stop it but-

He has two choices here: the betas lives, or his and his brother's. It's hardly a choice for Jamie - of course not, it never is, Jamie chooses them over everyone else every time. For Alex, though-

 

It's a question with no right answer. But even as he chooses not to stop Jamie from continuing to speak, fanning his anger at the betas' inaction, he knows he will regret this for the rest of his life.

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Jamie curls his arms around Alex's neck and keeps whispering to him, listing out all the little moments when someone could have done something, anything- all the times they hurt them when Alex was vulnerable- all the people who turned their faces away from two kids out of fear. The betas they grew up with, their mother's friends, who won't even look at them anymore.

He keeps going for several minutes, carefully judging the emotions on the other side of the bond- and then he whispers one last name. A place to start. The coward who let the wolf in the Esche pack's door in the first place.

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-Alex pulls away from him and strides purposefully out of the room.

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