A Leader Must Rise

Prologue: The Birth of the Storm

Patrolling deep in a luxuriant forest, Killian knew three things for sure. First, nature had a delicate balance of order and chaos. Second, apart from the repetitive claps of thunder, the forest was eerily quiet. Third, this storm wasn natural. Killian frowned as dark clouds consumed the night sky, descending the woods into a sombre tone. He flinched and shielded his eyes at the first flash of lightning. His patrol group likewise cringed at its intensity.

Where did this storm come from? a member of his patrol said before he changed from wolf form to human. There wasn a storm in the weather forecast this morning. Killian nodded as the other members growled in agreement. He turned his head as another member shifted, the air pulsing in time with the wind.

Theres no way this is natural, she said as she adjusted her sports bra.

Its not, Killian said, heres something more to this storm that meets the eye. The group paused, those in still in wolf form growled as their fur bristled and pranced nervously at another thunderclap.

The air, its…not raging exactly, but it almost feels like its searching, one said.

Searching? For what? the woman asked. Killian frowned as he picked up on the same thing, but he couldn contemplate further when a sharp pain entered his abdomen. He staggered into a tree, breathing heavily as his team crowded around him in confusion and worry. The woman kneeled beside him, asking questions he could not hear. His wolf howled inside him, his excitement and slight fear collided into Killians chest.

Gunnolf, what is it? Is Sierra all right? Killian asked frantically, worry and fear chewing him as his wolf pranced inside his head.

Shes in labour! his wolf barked, and Killian froze. All previous thoughts of the suspicious storm ceased, replaced by the utter joy and excitement at the news.

Shes in labour, he whispered before he gazed up at his team in shock. My mate is in labour! The group cheered and howled, the woman slapping him in the back as the man helped him to his feet.

Why are you standing around here for? Get going! he said.

Will you be all right until someone replaces me? Killian asked.

Well be fine, but you won be if you
e late, the woman said.

Sheila is right, Killian. Sierra will punish you if you don get there asap, the man said, and Killian shuddered. He muttered a quick thanks and allowed Gunnolf to take control, who took off once the change was complete. He howled as he zipped through the underbrush, both man and wolf were so focused returning to their mate, they missed the thunder increasing in intensity and velocity.

Gunnolf quickened his stride when the alpha responded to his howl, unaware that the wind seemed to help him along. He barked gratefully as the replacement raced passed him and the pack member howling in congratulations. Gunnolf ears perked up as he felt his mate open their link, her growl vibrating through the pair of them.

Killian, Sierra yelled, and Killian flinched, causing Gunnolf to falter in his stride.

We
e coming, love. We
e on our way, Killian said. Are you in much pain?

Much pain? Much pain?! Im giving birth to your second child here, of course, Im going to be in **ing pain!

That was a stupid question, Gunnolf teased, and Killian mentally shoved him, nearly running him into a tree when he did.

Concentrate on getting to her, idiot.

If you
e not here in the next thirty seconds, Ill personally remove your balls, Sierra threatened, and Gunnolf yelped, tripling his pace until he came to a sliding halt in front of the packhouse. They quickly changed from wolf form to human, Killian mentally yelling hes there as their firstborn approached him.

Daddy.

Justin, did you miss Daddy? Killian asked as he placed his son on his hip, cradling him to his torso securely.

Uh-huh, uh-huh, Justin nodded as he clung to his fathers neck. Whewes Mummy?

In this room but shes a little busy, buddy. Why don you play with Mason over there while Ill see whats taking so long, Killian said, pointing to where his nephew was playing with building bricks.

Oh-kay, he replied before he ran over to his cousin. Killian breath of relief was short-lived when Sierra yelled his name. He jumped into action, barely managing a wave at his mates family.

Im here, love, he said as he closed the door and rushed to her bedside. Even with her raven black hair sticking to her forehead and her skin coated in a fine layer of sweat, he still viewed her as the most beautiful woman in the world. Although he knew her current attitude was something to be desired.

Never again, you hear me, asshole! Never again, she yelled as the next contraction hit her and Gunnolf whimpered. Despite the threat of possible breakage, Killian took hold of her hand and laced their fingers together.

Yes, maam, he replied submissively.

All right, this baby is not waiting. Sierra, I want you to push on your next contraction, the pack physician, Dr Doc Hudson, said.

Where did this storm come from? the nurse, Clare said as she readied the equipment needed. Killian frowned and followed her gaze to the window; rain hammered against the glass, lightning flashing every few minutes and the wind ragging enough to strip the trees of their leaves.

Im not sure, but its not—Ah! Killian shouted in pain as his mate screamed, her hand tightly squeezing his. The bones creaked and snapped, his alpha mate digging crescent-shaped scratches into the back of his hand. Sierra gasped and slumped back as the contraction passed, releasing his hand long enough for it to heal and retaking hold of it.

You bastard, she croaked, and Killian smiled sheepishly. She snorted and managed a smile herself before the next contraction hit. The minutes ticked by as Killian watched Sierra scream and curse through her labour. Both breathed a sigh a relief when the baby was finally free, Sierra collapsing into the bedding with an exhausted gasp.

There you are—oh, Doc whispered. Killian was on instantly alert, paternal instincts kicking in.

What? both asked worriedly.

This pup is a girl, he replied. Bewildered, Killian squeezed Sierras hand and moved closer to the doctor.

I thought you said a boy? Sierra asked.

Im sure I saw a little boy, Doc said. Before Sierra could make a reply, all four jumped when lightning flashed right by the window. The following thunder was loud enough to shake the house. Killian watched the window for a moment, noting how it was worsening by the minute. His concerned were waylaid, however, when he noticed a particular sound missing.

Why isn she crying?

Im not sure, shes breathing nicely, he whispered confused.

Is that normal? Sierra asked.

No, Doc said and jumped at Sierras sudden shout of pain, startling the hell out of the four them. Yet, the baby didn utter a single cry. Killian frowned and flinched as a broken branch struck the window, the glass cracking with the impact.

Clare, take the girl, get her cleaned up and check her for undeveloped organs, Doc said as he handed the baby off to her and returning his attention to Sierra, removing his stethoscope from around his neck and placed the chest piece on Sierras stomach.

Goddess…you
e having twins, he said.

Twins?! Killian and Sierra yelled.

We are so dead, Gunnolf whimpered as Killian asked, I thought you said we were having one?

Thats what I said, yes but your daughter must be smaller than the baby we saw on the ultrasound. And I believe one heartbeat is in similar sync with the other; its the only reason I can think of why I didn discover this in the first place. Okay, Sierra, push now, Doc said, and Sierra screamed yet again. Killian chewed on his bottom lip and eyed the window, the crack expanding by the minute.

Shouldn we move? he asked, and Doc shook his head.

Not in mid-labour, he replied, and for the next two minutes, Killian waited apprehensively for the third pup to be born.

One more push, Sierra and well have him, Doc said, and the woman screamed for one more time before slumping against the bed. And heres your baby boy. Doc glanced at Killian as he moved away from Sierra to let other nurses clean her up. Killian met him halfway and peered down at his messy and loud son.

Hey, baby boy, he whispered as Clara returned with his daughter.

Heres your daughter, Killian. Twins? she asked after handing him his daughter, noticing the baby in Docs arms.

Yes, surprisingly.

You
e usually spot on, Doc, Clara said as she took the boy from the doctor.

I know, thats what worries me.

Oh, shut up. So, you were wrong for once, that just means you
e human like the rest of us, Sierra butted in, and Doc snorted.

Half-human.

Semantics, she replied. Killian rolled his eyes before wandering closer to her bedside.

Anything undeveloped in the girl? Doc asked before Clara could leave.

Nothing I could find, and I particularly don want an angry mother after me when I put her in the MRI. I did that once before; Im not doing that again, she said, shutting the door behind her.

Ill leave you with your daughter; your son should be back shortly. If you need me, Ill be filling in the birth certificates, Doc said before he left as well with the rest of the nursing staff. Killian turned to his mate with a nervous laugh.

Well, you
e done now, he yelped as Sierra fisted the collar of his shirt and dragged him down to her level. He cradled his daughter carefully as slight tremors rocked his body at the intensity of her sapphire and emerald eyes.

Don get your hopes up, boy. Once I can feel my legs again, Ill have you on edge for the six months I endured carrying these twins. Maybe then youll understand not to get me pregnant again, Killian shivered at the promise in her tone. Am I clear?

Damn, thats sexy, Gunnolf swooned.

Shut up, Gunny, Killian groaned as he nodded his head.

Pardon?

Yes, Mistress

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