This totally messes with the ToF timeline, sowwz KFf~
Hailey paused in the doorway, her message dying on her lips. It was rude to spy on someone, but the way his shoulders slumped forward with the weight of the world, face hidden in his hand, rigid and still as stone, made her hesitate. "It's not your fault," she stated finally. As expected, he straightened with the emotions wiped from his face. He wouldn't let her see him weak, not now. Even with his shoulder in a sling, his leg mutilated, his neck heavily bandaged, discipline brought a sternest to his posture that made her hesitate to even consider him injured.
"I shouldn't have lost my temper," he replied quietly. He averted his eyes from her as his composure faltered. "I know how fragile she is. I just...she wouldn't stop asking why, over and over, and I just exploded."
"You're allowed to be frustrated sometimes," she pointed out, even knowing the words were lost on someone who had tried to shake years of having the emotions beat out of him, but reverted back to his old ways. "You both were heated. You can apologize later."
"No," he replied after a moment, glancing over at the ring sitting on the nightstand, as if he had no right to touch it or even look directly at it. "It'll be better this way. She needs someone stronger. All of her friends knew I wasn't good enough for her, and they were right. Even if she just needed me, but didn't love me, I barely deserve that."
"Aleksander!" she snapped, catching his face in her hands. She wanted to smoosh his cheeks and force him to understand how much he deserved a slice of happiness for all he had sacrificed.
The door suddenly banged open before Hailey could attempt it. Aleksander's sister stood there, soaking wet, her eyes wide and wet with fearful tears. "They're here."
They had a plan so perfect, with so many contingency plans, that Hailey had really thought they would make it out safely. But her best friend hadn't counted on betrayal as a factor.
Standing over them now, in the courtyard they had been dragged into, Hailey glared up at their captor with intense hate. But Octavia Rurik only glared at the man--crippled so badly he had been literally dragged out so roughly that his leg wound gushed blood though its bandages. He was rigid as stone, battling the morphine that made his body heavy and the pain that threatened to shatter his mind, but even those wouldn't stop him from returning the glare with a maddeningly even stare.
Octavia Rurik growled at his refusal to break and motioned a hand. Hailey cried out as a hand yanked her up by her hair. Instantly, the crippled man was gone, and suddenly a beast like none Hailey had ever known stood in his place.
His shoulder, neck, and leg now bled fervently. They made his stance strange and stained his moonlight-white fur a horrible bright red. Hailey associated the animal with a wolf, but the ebony horns arching back behind his ears with points sharp as swords, were too demonic to be considered natural.
The beast snarled, but stayed in place as soon as Octavia Rurik pressed a knife to Hailey's belly. "People are wondering if it's yours," the traitor relayed with a malicious acid in her voice. "But it's not, is it? After all, you're the only one of your kind. Not only a Velesian wolf. They're just named after a god, just stronger, bigger, faster--and don't forget horned, because that's what happens when a line of shape-shifters mix with a warlock family as powerful as the Ruriks..."
Octavia raised her other hand, a Glock pointed at his head. "Bow, cousin," she growled, "Aleksander Rurik-Romanov, Son of Rome, Prince of Russia. Put your nose to the stones at my feet."
The creature's eyes went to Hailey. They were the same ice blue of the boy she loved more than anything else, her best friend in the whole world, and still missing their light. "It's okay," she told him gently, "I will never think anything less of you."
So the wolf looked at the witch and started to lower his head. Octavia Rurik forgot the knife to put both hands on the gun. And the wolf launched at her, with a snarl that deafened Hailey. The gun's blast deafened her again. She shook her head, disoriented. Then, suddenly, the villain gripping her hair released his grip and collapsed. Something had ripped his head clean off, spraying blood on Hailey and everything else. But she didn't care. She was staring at the giant form in front of her, soft and white as snow except where blood red.
Hailey screamed and fell beside the great wolf. He lay still under her shaking hands. She couldn't look, not at the knife wound cutting across his eye. Hailey quickly pressed her hands against the bullet hole in his chest, willing the blood to stop pouring from her friend. Vaguely, the young woman was aware of the screams around her, but they were a million miles away. She pressed her face into his fur and sobbed his name over and over, begging him to go back. Go back inside, go back to Paris where they had met, go somewhere else far away.
Eventually, his sister halted her massacre. Bodies were strewn everywhere. Ripped to pieces, limbs and flesh and blood declaring her pain. A gun was lowered at Hailey's head, a bullet threatening to cut down another person that Ana cared about. Silently, Ana wondered how Octavia Rurik was so evil. The redhead fell to her knees across from Hailey. A high-pitched whine came from the wolf under her hands, and his sister gently stroked his fur to calm him.
"Please, don't stop fighting," she whispered as more guns joined, pointing at them from all directions. "Just like dad said, everything will be okay if you just keep fighting."