Past Secrets – Version 1 – Chapter 2

“What was I thinking?” Snowhawk asked herself as she walked through the city. “Nyte’s free and happy, and has been for four months now. There’s no point in me interfering anymore.” She stopped and leaned against a stone wall, lowering her head. After several moments of silence, she finally realized where her wandering had brought her. “The estate… Near the back of the property.” She wandered further, reaching a point where the stone wall became divided by sections of iron fence. “I could jump the fence and go back. Easy.”

“Excuse me–,” a male voice interrupted.

Snowhawk spun around, giving a sharp, startled cry as she had not heard anyone approach her. She tripped over her own hooves as she turned and fell against the stone fence, hitting her head and knocking herself unconscious.

The stranger, another Delphin, reacted as soon as he realized what happened. He checked her over quickly, then picked her up and carried her away. Her short cry would have been loud enough to attract the unwanted attention of the estate’s guards.

The Delphin male took her into the city and back to his small apartment. Once there, he carefully placed her on the bed, stomach down, and removed her now bloodied cloak. Luckily, the damage done to her head was not as bad as he feared it would be, but she would still need attention. He went to his closet and removed a medical kit, then returned to the bed and began to tend to her.

She was unconscious for a day. He was surprised that she was out for so long. He knew a lot about her as he had been following her for the past two months. It would have been longer if he could have found her earlier. Maybe, he thought as he watched her, I could have kept her from going back if I had acted sooner. He had once tried to write off his feelings as a crush from his teenage years, but they continued to follow him.

So, with that loyalty he had for her from their first meeting, he remained near her. This loyalty was rewarded late in the evening.

“Hello?” she groggily asked, pushing herself up and looking around.

“Good evening,” he smiled, standing from the chair he’d been resting in next to the bed.

“Where am I?” she groggily asked.

“My apartment. I hope you don’t mind. I was afraid someone would come looking around, so I brought you here and tended to your injuries.”

“Janus never took our safety lightly,” she said, blinking the sleepiness from her eyes.”

He moved to the edge of the bed. “I do apologize for startling you like that. I thought you had heard me.”

She regarded him for a moment, trying to remember where she had seen him before. He was average height for a male Delphin, somewhere around seven feet tall, with dark tan fur, a silvery brown mane, and a dark amethyst horn with a silver spiral, like her own. His eyes, however, were an unforgettable orange-gold. “I’ve met you before. Years ago,” she began, canting her head to the side. “My owner was visiting yours.”

“Yes,” he nodded. “My name is Legacy, and you’re Snowhawk.” He moved a little closer to her and helped her sit up. “You seemed very close to him. What brought you outside the fence?”

Snowhawk sighed and pointed to the scar on her neck. “This. He promised me the missions were over… then another one came up. My target fought back.” She lowered her head and half closed her eyes. “I was a pawn to Janus, a lure for his games. He proved that to me when I was released from the hospital, so I left him. I took my cousin with me, and killed his uncle on the way out.”

“So you’re the one who did that,” Legacy grinned. She replied with a small nod. “You did a great service to many slaves that night. Many of us escaped soon after while our owners fought for power. A few, like myself, followed your lead and rid the world of a few more slavers.”

“I never intended to start a revolution…” she said quietly.

“But you did. And you gave us something to look to: hope. This country needs a change. The humans need to learn they’re no longer the dominant species they were a few thousand years ago. The Delphin need to rise to power again, to prove that we aren’t as weak as they think we are.” He lowered his head to try and look into her eyes. “Don’t you agree?”

“Perhaps,” she replied, meeting his gaze. “But what would it accomplish? The slavery would still be there, just wouldn’t have so many humans in command. It’s not like they’re the real threat anyway. We are our own worst enemy. There are many Delphin that are slavers as well; slavers of their own kind.”

“What? But why?” he said, leaning back in mild shock.

“Where’s the money at? No species can avoid the greed. If one has money, they have power. If they have power, they can control.” She folded her ears back, then dropped her head again. “If you have power, you can get anything you want. And everyone has something they want, even if they aren’t certain of it yet.”

“What do you want?” he asked her, leaning toward her again.

“To be free and happy with Janus. But that’ll never happen in this lifetime.” She gave a bitter smirk and closed her green eyes to hold back her tears.

He leaned further toward her. “What about freedom and happiness elsewhere?”

“Like where?” she replied quietly. “I have nothing now. My cousin probably thinks I’m back with Janus.”

“Like here,” Legacy quietly responded.

“I wouldn’t want to intrude,” she stated. “I’m sure you probably already have a mate and she wouldn’t appreciate a new female fumbling around here. It’d be wrong for someone like you to be alone.”

“Wrong, perhaps, but not untrue. I have waited for you.” He smiled softly, and took one of her hands in his.

The skin under the fur on her cheeks took on a pink tint as she blushed. “I will admit, I liked you those years ago. Not that I could have done anything about it.”

“How long were you a slave?” he asked after a moment of silence.

“All my life,” she stated.

Legacy again inched closer to her, still holding one of her hands. “Then this is all new to you. Being free, that is.”

She nodded and pulled one of her legs to her chest. “I kinda experienced it, but never anything to say I was free.”

He reached toward her and gently took her chin in his hand. “Would you stay with me?”

“Legacy, I couldn’t.”

“I was trained as a Guardian. I chose you all those years ago, but circumstances kept me from doing my job. I think I could have kept you from getting hurt if I had acted when I found you again. Please, let me protect you.”

“But why me?” she asked, folding her ears back again.

“Snowhawk, you know who you are. You can’t hide it, and you can’t fight it. You can help the Society return. That’s why I want to protect you. And, I know we only met for a short time all those years ago, but I feel very strongly connected to you. I want to be with you.” He smiled at her and gently rubbed her jaw line, then he wrapped his arms around her and held her close.

She dropped her head, smiling a bit. “For a day or so.”

*********

Little more than two years later, Nytehawk’s mate, Hunter, was busy preparing for her upcoming birthday, having thought a little celebration was in order. They hadn’t been in this house at her last birthday. He walked onto their balcony where he found Nytehawk sitting in her usual spot on the railing. “Love, would you prefer choc– What’s wrong?” he inquired, noting her serious expression.

“The wind carries a familiar scent close. Something is about to change,” she replied calmly, her eyes fixed in the forest behind her home.

He tried to follow her gaze, but saw nothing. “What is it?”

“’Who’, dear. ‘Who’ is a better question,” she said with a sigh. “My owner,” she stated as calmly as before.

“But, you’ve been free from him for more than two years! Why now?” Hunter asked, growing agitated.

Her eyes hadn’t moved from whatever she was looking at. “Don’t know. But I’ll go and find out just what he wants tomorrow morning.”

“I’ll go with you.”

“No,” she said, finally looking at him. “He may have someone with him. I don’t want anything to happen to you.”

“But, what about you?” he questioned, taking a hold of one of her hands.

“I can take care of myself.”

His expression grew more worried. “That’s not an answer, love.”

She smiled at him reassuringly. “Don’t come after me. If something happens, I can escape on my own.”

Hunter could only sigh and wrap his arms around her. “You’re too stubborn for your own good.”

“But would you want me any other way?” she grinned.

“Of course not,” he smiled. He nuzzled her and picked her up, carrying her back inside. “Just be careful tomorrow.”

Nytehawk returned his nuzzle as he laid her on their bed. “Of course, love.” She cuddled up to him as he crawled in himself.

Several hours later, Hunter awoke alone. He stood and walked to the window, looking outside. “Please return to me, love.”

*********

An early morning fog covered the city and made the strangely quiet streets all the more eerie. The sound of hooves on pavement pierced the quiet and caught the attention of the lone man leaning against a building. “How good of you to come,” he grinned, brushing his long, blue-white bangs from his ice blue eyes.

Nytehawk stopped only a couple yards from the man, scowling at him. “I can’t believe you’d dare to show your face again. What the hell do you want, anyway? You’ve already taken Snowhawk from us.”

“Says who?” he asked, raising one eyebrow.

“Don’t play stupid, Janus,” she growled. “I should kill you now for taking her freedom away again!”

“You’ve got it all wrong, dear bird,” Janus began, slowly moving toward her. “I’ve not touched your lovely cousin in two years. In fact, that’s why I need you.”

She flattened her ears back, glaring at him. “What the hell are you talking about, slaver?”

“I assume you told that pesky mate of yours to stay put, right?” he asked, still advancing on her.

“What does Hunter have to do with this?” she replied, backing away from him.

“He’ll look for help to get you back. Your cousin and her idiot mate will come out of hiding and find him. Then I’ll be able to get my dear Snowhawk back.” He grinned and continued his advance. “Play nice, won’t you?”

Nytehawk snorted at him. “You’re deluded, or just an idiot. I can’t decide which.”

She finally backed into a wall, and Janus placed one hand on either side of her. “No one has to get hurt, Nytehawk. I would prefer it that way.”

“And you think taking her away from her mate won’t hurt?” she questioned, narrowing her eyes.

“Not for long,” he grinned. “Her little fantasy world is already crumbling. She’s seeing this, and I don’t want her to hit bottom with no one around.”

If a glare could kill, Janus would be long dead. “And that one is you.”

His grin never lessened. “You say it like it’s a bad thing.”

“What did you expect, slaver?” She tried to duck away from him and escape to her right, but he grabbed her arm and held her in place.

“I keep no more slaves, Nytehawk,” he said, his grin finally fading. “Once I have Snowhawk, you will be free to go. However, until such time…”

“I am not going with you,” she growled.

His grin returned. “Willingly anyway.” His right hand left her arm and went to his pocket, then quickly returned. She felt a small pin prick when he touched her again and then remembered nothing but darkness.

← Previous: | Next: