A Leader Must Rise

Chapter 5: Thunderstorm

Chase couldn get it out of his mind; her scream, her begging, her terrified expression. He splashed water onto his face, clenching his eyes shut. He held the bathroom sink in a death grip, his arms shaking with a maelstrom of emotions. Anger, hate, fear…all fought against regret, shame and guilt. Chase glared at the porcelain sink, the feeling of her soft skin, how beautiful she looked, the moment where she realised he was going to throw her down a flight of stairs and Levi pleas to stop all haunting him.

You shouldn have rejected her, Levi whispered. A sob escaped Chase, shoulders shaking as he covered his eyes. Everything overwhelmed him, his thoughts, his emotions and his life in general.

Levi, I am so sorry, I didn know what else to do, he said.

I said to wait, Chase, that we would figure something out, but you went ahead with it.

I just wanted her safe.

So, safe was throwing her to the ground floor? In a place where no one could see us?

Levi, Chase began to say and froze when he felt him retreat into his sanctuary. Levi! Chases grip on the counter tightened, his body growing cold and empty. It was common for animals to retreat from their host occasionally. It could be for any reason, but it harmed the host spiritually and mentally. Chase hated it when Levi used the effects as payback whenever he messed up.

Chase cupped the water again, splashing his face and took a deep breath. He looked himself in the mirror, hating how pathetic it looked. His eyes were red and puffy, his skin blotchy and his hair in disarray. He was an alpha-born, but he didn see himself as one. All he saw was a coward who couldn protect himself, let alone his mate.

Anger coursed through him; he pulled his arm to punch his reflection when Justin knocked on the bathroom door.

Chase, you in there?

Chase sighed and lowered his arm. He washed his face as thoroughly and quietly as possible. Once Chase was satisfied with a semi-decent appearance, he opened the door. Justin was leaning beside it; he looked as dishevel as Chase felt. He saw him stand when the door opened, jaw tensed and eyes frantic. His wolf, Nari, was much the same.

What the hell?! he yelled, his voice echoing off the empty halls. Where did she get that sort of power? She has no wolf.

And that **ing confidence? Nari added.

Ugh, I want to beat her so badly right now.

Chase and Justin were in shock when they left the contraction site. They didn have time to converse about what happened when the bell rang. They separated for different classes in a haze, going through the motions until the afternoon break. Chase didn stick around for Justin or Kara to find him, especially Kara. He hid in the bathroom that furthest from the cafeteria and broke down there. Chase didn particularly care for Arias strange sense of power, only the fact she accepted his rejection. He still didn care, but he was briefly marvelled at how her abilities made him feel.

Whats the time? Chase asked, cutting off Justins rant. He was dumbfounded as he turned to face Chase. Even Nari froze with astonishment.

Aria has suddenly acquired abilities of an alpha, and you
e worried about the time? he asked.

You
e not the least bit threatened by that? Nari said.

Just answer the question, Chase said tiredly, walking towards the front of the school. Nari huffed, retreating to search for Levi.

Its quarter to two.

Its not even worth leaving early, he sighed.

Chase, everything alright?

Ive just rejected my mate, Justin, what do you think?

Ah, sorry. Even when it was my useless, bitch of a sister, that shit can be easy.

Chase gave him a flat look, and Justin shut his mouth. Both travelled in silence, not really heading anywhere when the bell rang. Chase sighed, and Justin squeezed his shoulder. They parted ways again without a word. Chase was slow as he travelled to his next class. He wasn paying enough attention when a hand closed over his mouth and an arm wrapped around his torso. He was dragged backwards to another bathroom, inside was two men and a woman. Fear turned into terror at the sight of her.

You dare avoid me?! Kara yelled. Chase had been steadily evading Kara since this morning. It was a fruitless venture, but whatever time he could get away with was a blessing in his eyes. Though, it was times like these when Chase deeply regretted not getting it over with. But, a flash of crimson gold appeared in his mind, and he bit into the bastards hand. His captor shouted and loosened his hold enough for Chase to break free. He jammed his elbow into his sternum and swung around to punch him in the jaw. He recognised the man then, and his two partners. All three were fully trained gammas—warriors of the pack—and will be challenging to fight against as an untrained alpha.

Kara sighed as Chase backed away, rolling her eyes at his disobedience. At first, his defiance was cute; now it just irritated her.

Every time we do this, you fight, she tsked, and Chase glared at her. You
e mine, Chasy. You were promised to me when I was born, and I am not going to let anyone take you away from me, including your mate. Chase froze at the mention of his mate, worried that Kara had found out about Aria, but he realised she wouldn be here if she did. She would have killed Aria first and brought her head back to break his will.

Kara smirked, nodding to her gammas to surround him in his moment of distraction and force his arms behind his back. The one he punched stood in front of him, wiping a dribble of blood from chin as Kara situated herself on the bathroom counter.

Chase was a little satisfied he managed to draw blood, but at the gammas punch to the stomach, all he thought about was getting out there. He fought against the two holding him, but their grip was tight, and the fight began to leave him within minutes. They kept going until Chase was dizzy with pain and they dropped him to the floor.

Kara hopped off the counter with a satisfied, cruel smirk. She knelt above his head, fisting a hand in his hair and forcing him to look at her. Chase groaned at the forceful action, crying out when one of the gammas pushed on his lower spine.

You seemed to have forgotten the rules, Chasey. Shall we cover them again? she asked.

F-Fuck you, Chase said. Kara narrowed her eyes and snapped her fingers. Chase groaned as he was dragged back up. Kara pulled a dagger from under her skirt and deliberately waved it in front of him. Chase froze as the blade glistened under the artificial lights, horror filling him as the gammas adjusted their grip.

You seemed to have forgotten, Chasey, Im always above you. You are merely a front, my personal plaything. You are basically nothing, a slave to attend my every will. Once you accept that, youll be nothing more than a drone, Kara whispered almost lovingly as she dragged the point of the blade along his jawline. Chase shook as it nicked the skin under his chin, swallowing nervously when she pulled it away. He nearly sobbed with relief when the bell rang, signalling the end of the day.

Crap, she swore. You two, get out of here. Make sure no one sees you and don tell the alphas of this, Ill tell them myself.

Yes, Luna, the two she pointed too said and left. The third stayed and kept a hold of Chase, Kara returning her attention to him with a malicious thrill. She smirked at his scream, the gamma having to hold his head still as she dragged the dagger across his check.

Know this, Chasy, you aren the alpha. You will never be the alpha; you are mine to do with whatever and whenever I please. If I want you quiet and submissive, youll be that. If I call you up for sex, youll come without complaint. Even if that means tying you up with silver and I watch as others play with you, youll obey. Lastly, if I want to hurt you, the gamma had to muffle Chases scream as Kara dug the point into his open wound, I will. Am I understood? Chase sobbed, unwilling to accept his fate but he managed a shaky nod of his head anyway.

Good boy, Kara whispered and patted his head. The gamma dropped him, and Chase remained frozen until the door closed behind them.

Levi, he called. Levi, please. I need you.

No response.

Heartbroken and betrayed, Chase broke down there, curling into the foetal position in the attempt to ease some pain; it didn help. It took him a few minutes to muster the strength to stand and clean both himself and the room before he left. He was thankful for his fast healing abilities, the two cuts and most of the bruises had healed by the time he stepped out of the bathroom. His legs still shook with the effort to remain upright, though, his hands also trembled with trepidation. Chase kept looking left and right, feeling eyes on him everywhere, even though no one long looking in his general direction. He practically ran to his car when it finally came into view, breathing another sigh of relief to see Justin waiting there.

Dude, you okay? You look like youve seen a ghost, Justin exclaimed when he spotted him, eyeing the blood on his shirt.

Levi didn agree to the rejection, and with our transition still ongoing, its hurting me physically, Chase replied automatically.

Uh, huh, sure. And thats only a drop of blood, Nari muttered.

Justin mentally shoved him and said, Want me to drive?

Please. Chase handed him his car keys and slid in. He hated lying to Justin, especially about this, but Justin was dense enough to miss all the hints he dropped when the abuse started. Chase gave up trying after a year, heavily relying on his wolf for comfort. The truth was Chase finished his transition months ago; it was partially due to Kara announcing he was still changing and partly because there was nothing that could explain his weird and aggressive behaviour.

Hey, have you seen Andrew since you rejected Aria? Justin asked suddenly, pulling Chase out of his head. He frowned, pretending to think about it before answering.

No, I haven .

Its not like him to miss school, even if it is a Friday.

Well talk to him when we get back.

…are you going to be alright?

I will be, Chase said, leaning against the passenger door and thoroughly ending the conversation. Justin was silent the rest of the way home, catching a park next to Andrews when they arrived. Chase frowned as Justin jumped out of the car, immediately placing a hand on the hood of Andrews car.

Hoods cold, he said. Chase knelt next to the tyres, placing his hand against the cool rubber.

Tyres are too, he said as he stood.

Where is he then?

Chase and Justin entered the house, both calling verbally and telepathically. No response came. They moved to stairs but paused when they heard raised voices from the dining hall. Confused, they changed course and Chases brow rose at the gathering crowd, yelling whether who will punish someone.

Hey, Justin yelled, and everyone fell silent. What the bloody hell is going on?

The slut isn here. The bitch shouldve started dinner by now, Kara said. Chase tensed at the sight of her so soon, but then her words registered. He entered the kitchen, finding everything in its original place since this morning. Arias scent was hours old; only Beta Ivos was new. Chase was consumed by fear and worry; fear at Beta Ivo return meant his parents were back and worry because Aria would be too scared to pull off a stunt like this.

Ill deal with it, he told the group, and they sat down to wait. Kara hesitated, eyeing him suspiciously but sat down with the rest of her possie.

Shes not here? Justin asked, anger rising at Chases nod.

You check upstairs, Ill check downstairs. Well meet at Arias room if we don find them, Chase said. Justin nodded and rushed to do his section. Chase looked everywhere: the theatre, the game room, living room, the gym and the library but neither Aria nor Andrew were there. Starting to panic, he raced upstairs to Arias room. Justin was already there; his scent was fresh but paused at the smell of tears. Chases heart thudded as he opened the door, immediately spotting Justin hunched next to the bed. He clutched two pieces of papers to his chest, tears flowing freely.

Justin, w-what wrong? Chase asked, but he immediately knew the answer as he caught sight of the room. Whatever belongs Aria had were gone, only other peoples homework and pack lodgings were thrown about the place. His gaze returned to Justin, practically begging what he was seeing was a misconception. Justin sobbed in reply, holding out the papers. Chase unfolded them with shaking hands, gasping when Arias elegant handwriting. He sat on the bed before he started reading.

Dear Justin and Chase,

When you read this, Andrew and I will be long gone. I wish I weren , I was hoping youll change so we could work this out, figured out what happened to us…but Im sorry, Ive had enough.

Justin, I don know what happened or why. I don know why you hate me or treat me like you do; I wasn responsible for our parents death. I was ten, Justin, ten. They were protecting the four us, and I remember you promising to look after Andrew and me. You have no idea how much it hurt for you to separate us, manipulating Andrew and abusing me. And you know what, no matter what you did to us, we still loved you, both of you. We couldn bring ourselves to hate you.

Chase…theres a lot to say but not enough time. I had hoped you would save me, but I feel foolish for even wishing I was your mate. Im sorry I wasn the person you were after; I hope you find a strong and eautiful woman for both yourself and the pack. Just don let it be Kara, shell destroy it within the year.

I hope you have a wonderful life.

Aria.

Tears were already pouring down his cheeks, but Chase forced himself to read the second paper. A sob escaping at him at Andrews messing writing, the first line causing him to sit next to Justin.

I trusted you both, and despite everything, I stayed loyal to you. I had hoped and prayed for years for you two to see reason, to realise what you were doing was wrong. Again and again, you disappoint me, and when I think you couldn do anything worse; you do. I can no longer watch the pair of you destroy yourselves. Just be thankful Aria is weakened by your abuse or I would have hurt you both tenfold.

Justin leaned against Chase, eyeing Andrews note with growing sorrow and guilt.

Im a coward, he whispered.

We
e both cowards.

I-I don even know why I blamed her. My sister, my baby sister, was ten! What could she have done to cause our parents death? We were playing in the house, god damn it, Justin yelled, getting and pacing the length of the room. Chase took a deep breath before standing, checking the door was closed.

Justin.

Yeah? Justin said, looking at Chase with growing concern. What is it?

I… Chase choked on the words. …the reason I rejected Aria is that I can even protect myself.

What do you mean?

Chase looked Justin in the eye and said, Im being abused as well.

What?

My parent promised me to Kara when she was born—

The psychopath whore?

—and no one expects me to be the alpha. The pack listens to Kara.

Why are you only telling me this now? Justin asked.

Because if I said anything, they were going to kill the three of you. I didn know what else to do, Chase said, and when I found out Aria was my mate, the person I loved for years, I panicked. If Kara found out, shell kill her on sight. Whats worse, I didn do the reject properly. I left out the future alpha bit on purpose; it might be possible for me to track her.

Justin was quiet for a moment before shouting, Are you mad? That could kill her, especially without her wolf.

She has one, I felt her, Chase said even as his panic started to rise. He didn know that could be a possibility.

Thank god, she has a chance then.

Sapphire, her name is Sapphire, Levi said.

Oh, now you show up.

Chase, Im sorry I left you alone with Kara and her trolls. I was trying to find our mate.

And?

They
e gone. They left the territory hours ago.

We have to find them, Justin said, bringing Chase out of his conversation with a groan.

We can . Levi said they left hours ago. My parents won let us leave for a deserter and a shiftless wolf, he said and Justin visibly deflated.

Then what—

Both froze when someone forced their way into their minds, flinching at the sharp pain it caused.

Chase, Justin, Alphas office. Now, Beta Ivos said. Levi whimpered when he retreated, Nari nestling against him to offering whatever comfort he could.

…we—we have to go, Chase stuttered.

Chase, we can let them hurt you, Nari said.

Just be there afterwards, and well be fine.

Justin shook his head and said, You
e my brother, and right now, the last of my family, I can —

You
e going to have too, Juste. I can let you be hurt either. Ive put up with this for years; I can handle it. Please, Chase pleaded, taking hold of Justins shoulders.

Justin sighed, he and Nari regretting his decision but said, Fine, but on two conditions. First, Andrew and Aria might be out of our reach—for now—but we are not going to stop looking for them. Two, starting tomorrow, you and I start training together.

Deal, Chase said immediately.

And one more, Nari added.

What?

We take the fall for Aria and Andrew, he said. Chase and Levi froze, unsure what to say. It was technically accurate, but that would put them in harms way. Don even think of arguing.

But—

No. You might be an alpha born, Chase, but you
e not the alpha yet. Let us take it, Justin said.

…okay, he conceded.

Lets go, he said. The boys were quiet as they travelled to certain hell, Chase and Levis anxiety rising with each step.

Levi, Chase called, and his wolf purred.

Right here, Chase.

Don leave again.

Never again, Levi said. Justin knocked on the door, the booming voice of Alpha Jack shook the door.

Oh, thatll be fun, Justin muttered.

Bring it on, Levi and Nari growled, and their humans glanced at each other. Chase stood tall, nodding to Justin. He was ready to face the fury that was his parents, and with Justin and Nari, Chase and Levi felt they could hang on a little longer. Justin took a deep breath before opening the door, turning the attention of three furious high ranking wolves and Kara.

Goddess, please keep my mate safe and away from here.

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