Chapter 18: Intense
My ears ring with Varian's exclamation. He has been going for twenty minutes straight now, I should be grateful and Laith should know better yadadada. Jesus will he shut up.
Oh I'm being called.
'HELLO! Erza you better be listening dammit.'
I flinch as Mara is treating my injuries; her death stare digging me grave as Varian rants.
'I heard you jeez.' I roll my eyes.
Varian all to quickly leers over me. Bastard..
'Dont roll your eyes at me when you just attacked our leader. You should be thrown out and left in the street you ungrateful ass.'
Before i respond Laith butts in.
'Varian if you havent noticed she has her own share of injuries. Stop painting me as a victim.'
Laith reclines back and winces as Mara props his leg up that is dripping with blood. Oops...despite my anger guilt seeps through not that i will admit it to anyone.
But instead of Varian backing down he just gets more riled up.
'Laith look at you! Look at me! She is more animal than human at this rate. Why are you letting her get away with it?'
A hiss sneaks through my clenched teeth as if agreeing.
'See?' Varian gestures his hands wide in the air as if uncovering a mystery of some sort.
Laith sets his jaw. Oh shit now he is pissed...
'For god sake Varian. Will you just shut the fuck up for once.' His gold eyes are now a brilliant electric blue.
Mara flicks Laith on the forehead chastising him for activating his powers. Varian stands dumbfounded and I sit frozen. No one moves for a minute.
'Erza had a good reason for going Alpha on me.'
Alpha? What does he mean by 'going Alpha'?
Laith seemingly hears my thoughts and answers them.
'When your power involves animals or even animal spirits like mine, their instincts seep in to our consciousness and will. You went Alpha on me because you blame me for the suffering of part of your pack. Layla. Furthermore your angry at my lack of fathering for Layla which I get.'
There the truth is out now. Layla who has been hiding in the corner in fear and shock now jolts at the revelation.
Layla's eyes fill with tears. 'Your my ddad?'
Laith's mouth opens but no words come out he clearly forgot she was here.
Varian is pale in complexion...his green eyes now on me as if expecting me to say something. I will not oblige him.
Layla in flash is on Laith drawing him into a heartfelt embrace.
Laith hesitates before wrapping him arms tightly around her his gold eyes full of unshed tears. I cant tell if its relief, pride or guilt but they begin to fall.
Mara flicks Layla now for jumping on an injured Laith but Layla takes no notice.
Despite the aching of my heart I smile for Layla and her task finally being complete.
Varian now back to reality walks over to me and offers his hand.
I observe his hand smooth like he has never done a hard days work ever. Despite my disdain I take his hand and he helps me up.
Varian stands awkwardly nudging pieces of broken wood with his feet. Oh god he is going to apologise isnthe...
Varian looks determined as he meets my eyes and he brushes his hair out of his face before a solemn look becomes him.
'Im sorry for jumping to conclusions Erza.'
I dont trust this guy. 'S'cool it isnt the first time you've done it and it wont be the last.' I push past Varian and leave the office ignoring Mara's protests.
I need some air. I call on my power and within seconds I'm in fox form. A form I have neglected lately.
I should down the stairs surely tripping plenty on my descent but I dont care I need to get out.
As I bolt down the hall way Aibek follows my movements with eyes a smirk upturned on his lips. The first expression I have seen from him.
Drawing my eyes back to where I'm going I burst out of the factory door and retreat to the back of the building.
The back of the L shaped building is a small area of grass with tiny potatoes poking out and tomatoes littered. Guess this is how they cook plenty of meals then they grow them.
I slow my sprint to a light job as my paws pad across the concrete until I feel the cold grass under my paws. A sigh erupts as I lie down. I stretch my paws and lie on my belly wincing as my injuries sting in connection the damp grass under me. But at this moment I dont care.
Thoughts cloud my mind and takes every bit of energy to try sort them.
First of all Layla. She has her dad now which is Laith which is a what the fuck moment right there. She doesnt need me now...she has a chance to make friends her own age and have a room with her dad. I should be happy for her right now yet all i feel is loss.
I lay my head on my outstretched paws. I am alone again. I guess without meaning to Layla became family or as Laith called it my 'pack'. I knew this day would come one day but to see her out of reach just hurts too much. I mean sure I will see her around but it wont be the same. How can I train her now when she has Laith the lion spirit around.I have no clue how to manage water like that.
A heavy sigh erupts before I can stop it. Jesus this is depressing.
The next issue is Laith I mean I attacked the dude. He must want some comeuppance for me and my actions if not surely the others who were witness will. If he kicks me out I wont have anywhere to go now. I can survive in the wild but a purple fox is sure to bring attention. God the hunters would love that...especially if I turned back human. Oh look we killed one of those 'freaks'. Just imagine the government and their ecstatic faces. One of the deserters has been killed specifically one of the Insurgo group. No doubt that James Collings bastard reported our whole team as a problem.
Oh and then the final issue. If im not kicked out of the institution what about team Insurgo. How am I gonna save team Insurgo if i am merely a supporter. But will they even trust me if they see group of strangers and their traitorous friends turn up. Especially Peter. He wont forgive me...he out of everyone wont forgive me for what I did. But I cant pity myself that's my consequence for abandoning them. The only thing I need to do is save them. After that what they all do is their choice.
I close my eyes and attempt a light nap just to will the thoughts piling up. Before I let the darkness will me into slumber I sense someone. I lift my head and scour the area until I spot the intruder.
Black hair shakes as he walks and his hands are stuffed into jean pockets. His frayed tshirt hangs off him and his emerald eyes search for me until they widen when they spot me. Varian.
What does he want now?
He approaches slowly and steadily as if expecting me to attack at any moment. I am not that savage the moron.
By the time he reaches me my sleepiness is all but gone.
Varian sits a meter away from me, his arms wrapped around his legs as he looks at the sky.
My curiosity is peaked as this is the first time Varian has approached with no scornful words or attitude for that matter. Why is he here?
Varian clears his throat.
'Laith and my father were friends, they were some of the first members of this organisation so they quickly bonded. My father was a fighter who fought entities to change the public opinion of us, not that it helped much. He went on a mission 6 years ago when I was ten but he never came back. Apparently the public didnt know who to be more scared of the man who was strong enough to beat the entity using his powers of chemicals to enhance his body or the entity. So they reported it and the authorities took my dad away. His body was too torn and worn to get away. Back then we didnt have the role of flighters who get the name from fight or flight instinct debate. So dad got taken.' Varian lowers his head as his body shakes.
Im speechless. That argument with Laith earlier so thats what he meant.
'I havent seen my dad in 6 years and Laith stepped up to raise me. But after four years went by I started to get angry at Laith, if it wasnt for him sending my dad on that mission my dad would of been here. So I took a job gathering intel so I could find traces of my dad and push the institution to a point where Laith would go save people for that institution. However two years go by and Laith mentioned no plan which is why we argued today.'
I say nothing but listen Varian obviously isnt finished.
'I have a lot of resentment for Laith because of everything but he did raise and protect me, which is why I was so angry earlier and I said some things way harsh. So I apologise Erza.'
An apology from Varian and some context into his life. I never thought i would see the day.
'I get it. Apology Accepted.' I say nothing else because I have no clue what to say.
Varian stretches his legs on the grass and leans back on his hands before speaking again.
'To be honest Erza when i first heard of you. You disgusted me.'
And the irritation is back. Can this guy not be an ass for five minutes.
'Before you lose it let me explain.'
I humph but allow him to talk.
'I always felt like Laith abandoned my dad, not just by sending him on that mission alone but because he didnt try save him from that institution for 6 years. Then you come along I hear of the Purple Predator who gathered intel and refused to train into sickness. You sounded so cool.'
I push myself backwards and sit on my hind legs waiting for him to continue and knowing whats coming.
'Then I found out about Insurgo and what you stood for so I could'nt wait to meet you. And that's when the truth came out. Your fragility and how your team mates had to save you because you froze on the battle field and even worse how you abandoned your friends to escape that institution.'
Varian looks me dead in the eye as he says that and I stare right back because there is no point getting angry right now he is just saying the truth.
'So I hated you right from the get go. I released the chemicals from my palms and hoped you would be distraught by who you saw and i was correct in that. I even thought you would abandon Layla to escape from the entity.'
I look sharply at Varian at that comment and display my fangs as warning to not discuss Layla.
'But then you didn't not only did you protect her and win you dragged your injured body back and forth to get help. That's when i realised my actions may have been overstepping and i decided to help Layla. I don't like you all that much Erza and I know you feel the same. But I will say this...your not the same girl who abandoned her friends I saw that much.'
Now its my turn to speak.
'Your right I don't like you either but I can understand why you would hate me after what happened to your dad Varian.'
Varian chuckles and nods.
'So truce?' Varian tilts his head to one side playfully.
I copy in fox form.
'As long as that does'nt give you free pass to flirt with me. Sure.'
Varian rolls his eyes before commenting.
'I prefer girls of a human disposition thanks.'
I growl at Varian who jumps as he gets startles.
'Ew.' I decide.
Varian's smirk is back.
'Hey the girls love me. I am smart and handsome what can they not like?'
'Name on girl who your in love with and I will believe you.'
The smile is wiped from his face.
I chuckle. 'Yea Love you havent heard of it?'
Varian smiles slightly as he contemplates.
'Me love a girl? Yeah right. I don't love any of them.'
'Yeah right but that isnt my business.'
Varian fiddles with his hands as he murmurs 'no its not.'
Hmm. For the first time I could see me tolerating Varian...although his attitude sucks I guess I understand him slightly more now.
Uriel. Grayth. Peter. Kyran. Layla. Will now too. Their faces flick through my mind and a surge of warmth arises.
Varian is fighting for someone too. Even though he may have no chance he is working hard and clinging onto hope.
Laith built this place so he is fighting more than anyone to give people like us a home, a name and some rights.
We all have people we want to save despite the odds.
We all have a freedom we seek.
That's what keeps us going forward, that's why we are warriors.