Gabriel kept the gun sights firmly trained on the werewolf’s head. Claw marks decorated Michael’s torso front and back, and his partner was covered in blood. Though he was getting back to his feet with the tree branch still in his hand. “Erilon?”
“It’s you.” The little girl was still staring at him. Something about her was strangely familiar, and for a moment he felt dizzy. He pushed the sensation away and focused on the situation at hand. “It’s you.” She glanced at the werewolf standing a few feet away. “Magda, it’s him. He’s the one we are looking for.”
Michaels turned toward Erilon. “There is a heavily pregnant barely pubescent little girl here and that guy there literally tried ripping my face off.”
“Explanations had better be good.” Gabriel nodded.
“They are, just…” The black man who had tazed Michaels spread his hands in a placating gesture before nodding toward Michaels. “Look, whoever you are, this guy here is possessed and have reason to —”
“I am going to jam that cane so far up your ass —” Michaels shifted his grip on the tree branch.
“One step toward him and I tear your guts out.” The werewolf lowered her head.
“Rosa called us for help.” The black man looked toward Gabriel. “We came her to find that —”
“Rosa?” Gabriel blinked.
“They seem to think I’m a member of a cabal and threw her in front of that car or something.” Michaels shook his head.
“He’s possessed.” The black man shook his head. “Look, I know this is hard to believe, but Anna here sensed a demon in his —”
“She sensed me.” Erilon narrowed her eyes.
“She sensed…” The werewolf turned toward her, and started to lower her head as if preparing to charge.
“Magda, don’t.” The little girl held up her hands. “It’s him, Magda. He can’t be a bad guy.”
“You don’t…” The werewolf started shaking her head.
“Gabriel, please, don’t shoot Matthias. He’s my friend. I know you’re angry because he hurt your partner but please, I need you to listen.” The little girl turned to look at him. “Rosa ran because she recognized you and knew who you were. She was fated to die the day she met you, and she panicked. But you guys know what really happened and that’s why you were suspicious about us showing up and asking because there was another werewolf and you saw it.”
“How the fuck…” Michaels started shaking his head.
“Gabriel put the gun down.” Erilon turned back toward him. “Let me get the healer back on his feet so he can repair the damage done to Michaels.”
“You keep away from —” The female werewolf’s head came up again and she glared.
“Alternately, kill the wolves, I easily take possession of the boy due to his current state, Michaels takes his temper out on the other witch, and we regroup and discuss what to do about the potential apocalypse in her womb.” She shrugged. “Don’t hurt the other young man though, he’s an innocent.”
“I’d like to register my vote for plan B.” Michaels shook his head.
“It is for their leader to decide.” Erilon stared at the female werewolf.
Stephan watched as Magda slowly nodded before returning to human form. She didn’t look the slightest bit happy, but whatever they were dealing with her had just managed to take Matthias and Daniel down. And if the masked woman was a demon, then it was possible she could make good on her offered ‘plan B.’
The masked man, however, didn’t move. “Michaels?”
“I…” The detective took a few deep breaths, then lowered the branch. “Yeah. Okay.” Only then did the masked man lower the gun. Considering what Magda had told him about alphas, not to mention what he’d seen of Lisa, he couldn’t help but wonder what exactly they were dealing with at the moment.
“Is Danny going to be alright?” Anna turned toward the demon woman.
“He overloaded himself.” The woman knelt next to him. “I just need to take a bit off the top and —”
Daniel came awake with a gasp. He started to sit up, then stared around in confusion. “What the —”
“Daniel you need to heal the detective.” Magda’s voice was flat. She didn’t take her eyes off the demon.
“Okay, I…” Daniel blinked. “But —”
“Preferably before the other guy over there changes his mind about shooting Matthias.” Stephan nodded at the scene over in the clearing. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Ash coming toward them. Ash was scraped up but otherwise looked alright. He went immediately to Magda’s side, putting a hand on her arm. Magda nodded to Ash.
“Shooting —” Daniel’s eyes widened and he quickly got to his feet. He looked down at his hands. “Holy shit, what the…” He shook his head. “Never mind. Okay. Uh…” He looked up at Detective Michaels. “I need to touch you to heal you.”
“Whatever.” The detective shook his head.
The wounds on the detective vanished, though there was still blood all over him. Daniel immediately started to go toward Matthias, and the detective caught his arm. “I need to —”
“Let him go.” The masked woman nodded to the detective, who released Daniel. Daniel gave the masked man a wide berth as he went to Matthias.
“He’s alive.” Daniel looked back over his shoulder at them.
Ash gave the detective a worried look. The man’s clothing was covered in blood, and his body was smeared with it despite the healing he’d received. His windbreaker hung off him in tatters. Ash shrugged out of his own jacket, and held it out. The detective blinked at him, then nodded before taking it. “Sun is coming up.” Ash shifted his weight from foot to foot.
“Perhaps everyone should…” Stephan slowly nodded. “Go to their separate corners and do a lot of calming down.”
The detective put the jacket on. “You fucking electrocuted me. I’m just trying to figure out how the fuck I can fucking throw you all in fucking jail for the next six fucking decades.”
“Case in point.” Stephan rubbed his forehead.
“You fucking tied me the fuck up and fucking threw me in the fucking trunk of your fucking car.” The detective glared.
“That isn’t fun.” Ash nodded in agreement. Both Magda and Stephan flinched slightly.
“If we let these people go, they are just going to light the fuck out of here.” The detective turned toward the masked woman.
“No they won’t. We need to talk to him.” The little girl pointed at the masked man, who was walking up behind the detective. The masked man put a hand on the detective’s shoulder, and the detective hesitated a moment before nodding. Checking on his pack brother.
“It would be better if they did.” The masked man’s voice was quiet. “You went after a citizen of my city. You abducted him. You tortured him. Even if he were not my friend, that would be reason enough for me to want you all gone.”
“But…” Anna started shaking her head.
“Anna, perhaps it is best.” Stephan put a hand on her shoulder.
“We cannot let them leave.” The masked woman shook her head. Her voice was unusual, echoing strangely.
“Shit is going to hit the fan when Matthias wakes up.” Stephan exhaled.
“We will clear out for a day, then we can arrange a meeting to discuss…” Magda sighed. “Look, I know you have no reason to trust us, but…” She rubbed the back of her neck. “We need to regroup, to discuss among ourselves before we explain what happened here.”
He could see from the expression on the detective’s face that they might well not get that chance. The masked man would back his pack brother. The detective shook his head. “So you leave and come at us from another angle now that you know we can —” He cut himself off, shaking his head.
The masked man patted his friend’s shoulder. “Woodchipper.”
“Woodchipper?” The detective raised an eyebrow.
“Woodchipper.” The masked man nodded.
“Right then.” The detective shrugged. “Fuck, they already know where my place is. They can fucking meet us there tomorrow.”
Ted started to breath a sigh of relief when he saw them coming back, then he caught sight of the bloodstained Michaels. “My god.” He started fumbling for the first aid kit.
“Ted, I’m…” Michaels held up his hands when Ted started toward him. “I’m fine. I just…”
“We need to get him home.” Laura gave Michaels a worried look. She actually opened the door for him.
Michaels all but fell into the backseat. Ted gave Gabriel a concerned look, and Gabriel just nodded before going to the passenger side. “Your place, Ted. Please.”
He was nearly back to the highway before Laura spoke. “Erilon’s going to need a few hours to recoup, but she left me some intel.”
“Alright, just…” Michaels sat up, his face furious. “On top of everything else, what the fuck were you guys thinking bringing Laura into a fight?” He slammed the back of his head into the headrest. “And what the fuck am I supposed to do about it? I can’t punch Gabe in the face because I’ll break my hand and if I punch Ted in the face I’ll feel bad.”
“I was worried about you, jackass.” Laura glared at him. “Pretty-Boy needed Erilon backing him up or even though…” She shrugged. “And Ted he was totally bad-ass, by the way…” She turned back to Michaels. “He could take on the big bad wolf the others would have dog piled him or used you as a hostage or something.”
“We left a pregnant little girl with a bunch of fucking psychos, Gabe.” Michaels shook his head. “Not okay with that.”
There was silence for a moment. Gabriel was staring out the windshield, his head tilted slightly. Ted frowned. “Gabriel?”
“Hmmm…?” Gabriel shook his head and blinked.
“Gabe, are you alright?” Michaels leaned forward. “Cause uh…” He frowned. “Pretty sure you got smacked by a tree at one point.”
“These people came here trying to help Rosa.” Gabriel took a deep breath. “So…”
“So who the fuck were that other witch and werewolf?” Michaels leaned back again. “I’m getting fucking nostalgic for the vampires.”
“You’ve said the f word like two hundred times in the past half hour.” Laura shook her head. “Maybe take a few deep —”
“He has a right to his anger, Laura.” Gabriel’s voice was calm. Calm enough that Ted knew Gabriel was absolutely furious. It wasn’t hard to see why. Michaels could barely sit still in the back, fidgeting before finding various small things to lash out on. They needed to get Michaels home and safe before the traumatized man broke down entirely.
“Fucking right I have a fucking right to be fucking angry and I’ll fucking say…” Michaels took a deep breath. “Ted pull over.”
“Michaels?” He glanced in the rearview mirror.
“Please.” Michaels hunched his shoulders.
He hadn’t quite gotten the car all the way to a stop before Michaels opened the car door and leaned out. Ted winced as he heard the man start retching.
Matthias’s eyes blinked open. He immediately bolted upright. “Daniel?”
“Right here.” Daniel put a hand on his shoulder. Matthias grabbed him and yanked him into his lap. Magda couldn’t help but smile as she watched her son reassure himself Daniel was alright.
“You okay, Boss?” Matthias rubbed his shoulder.
“Yeah. I’m…” Daniel actually let out a small chuckle. “I healed everybody and I’m not even the slightest bit tired yet.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “I tried draining that guy. The Crimson Crusader guy.”
“You screamed.” Matthias narrowed his eyes.
“It’s normally like touching a candle to a candle. That was like sticking a candle into an actively erupting volcano.” Daniel shivered a little before turning toward Anna.
“He’s broken.” Anna nodded.
“Cards on the table.” Stephan leaned back. Ash put his head on Stephan’s leg, and Stephan started rubbing his head. “What the fuck just happened?”
“I…” Magda took a deep breath. “I’m about four hundred years old. I’ve seen alpha’s beaten before. You’ve even seen me beat one.” She folded her arms. “I used enough C4 to level a large building three times over and it almost wasn’t enough. Matthias…” She turned to him. “What the hell happened?”
“I uh…” He exhaled. “I don’t remember anything that happened after Daniel screamed.”
“He hit you that hard?” Stephan blinked.
“No, I uh…” Matthias looked away. “I was pretty much in full rage mode at that point. Not really any sort of rational thought going on.” He looked up. “So what did happen?”
“We, uh…” Magda sighed. “We kind of fucked up royally. The guy we…” She couldn’t bring herself to look in Ash’s direction.
“The guy you were fighting was Anna’s broken angel.” Stephan’s voice was quiet. “Anna and the uh…” He shook his head. “Whatever the fuck she was managed to get us all to stop fighting.”
“We meet with them tomorrow, at the detective’s house.” Magda nodded.
“And we are all going to be nice.” Anna nodded gravely. “They are good guys too.”
“But the guy had a demon in…” Matthias looked confused.
Daniel put his arms around Matthias’s neck. “I was unconscious for part of it too, but uh…” He shook his head. “I think we need to hear each other out.”
“I’ll go to the meeting.” Magda nodded. “The rest of you can stay —”
She wasn’t able to get any more words out before they were all loudly rejecting that idea.
“Mags…” Stephan met her eyes. “We are all in this one together.”