In the morning, I found Scott and Yuri as restless as me, so we went for a run and then trained behind the house. “You are getting more buff I’ll give you that, but you’re also getting slower big boy,” I grinned at Yuri, dodging his fist than hitting my knee in his stomach. He grunted and backed away, rubbing his stomach. “Done already?” I said smugly. The smug was wiped out of my face when he ran for me, practically throwing me over his shoulder. Shit. I grabbed hold of his shoulder and pushed off his knee with my foot, I managed to jump behind his back, kicking out and sending him to his knees.
“Fucking hell, you’ve gotten a lot better than when we were kids,” Scott said watching us from a distance. He wanted to say something else, but his eyes suddenly focused on something behind me. Both me and Yuri turned to see Colwyn walking towards us with an aura of uncertainty. Weird. He never visited. No one except for Ivan and Lowell visited us.
He stopped just a few feet away, looking at the ground, his hands clenched into fists.
“Hey, everything alright?” I asked, helping Yuri to his feet.
His mouth opened but nothing came out. He closed it again, gritting his teeth, then looked up with unexpected fierceness in his brown eyes. “Teach me!” he said suddenly.
I just stared at him in shock, feeling stunned. What? What did he just say?
“When Marc and Jake fought… I just stood there. I didn’t know what to do,” he said, obviously angry at himself for it. “I’m supposed to be the future beta of the Ghealach pack. I can’t keep being the scared weak kid. So, please… Teach me how to be strong.”
“Wait wait, buddy, are you listening to what you’re saying?” I asked in confusion. “You want me, the outcast of the pack, to teach you?”
“That’s precisely what I’m saying.” He nodded. Scott, Yuri, and I shared a look of pure confusion. What the hell was going on? If there wasn’t so much fierce determination in his eyes I would’ve said he was joking. Alright. I guess this needed some seriousness.
“Okay… How about we take a walk?” I said leaving Yuri and Scott by the house while I led Colwyn away into the forest.
“Don’t make fun of me, I’m not crazy,” he said as we walked.
“I’m not saying you’re crazy I just don’t understand… I think I’m going to need a better explanation,” I told him gently. This was obviously very important to him.
He sighed and rubbed his face wearily. “I always had a crush on your sister, which I’m sure you know,” he said. Oh yeah, he would run after her and cast shy longing glances her way our whole childhood. “I was so goddamn happy when we started dating… I didn’t expect though that one day, the Alpha, your father, would take me out for a walk like this and tell me I was to be the next beta.” I could imagine what kind of a shock that must have been. “Till this day not Alistair, nor Trystan, nor Akira told me why they picked me as the beta. I mean… shouldn’t it be Akira? Wouldn’t it make more sense to make her the beta?”
“No,” I said immediately, absolutely horrified by the idea. He stopped and gave me a weird look. “I get that you see her through rose-colored glasses because you like her, but frankly, Akira is not beta material. She is more of a warrior, ready to protect the pack. She’s not… nurturing, which is a must for a beta.”
His look said he disagreed, but he didn’t fight me on it. “Still, why me? I’m… weak and scared of everything and not dominant at all,” he admitted quietly, looking at the snow.
“I have given up on trying to figure out what Father is thinking a long time ago,” I said. “But I know that he always carefully thinks about what’s best for the pack. So if he says you should be the beta, I believe him.” In the end, Father had a lot of experience with packs. He led many, and helped to create many more. He had to know what he was doing by now. “To be perfectly honest with you I can’t really see you as the beta, at least not the way you are now,” I said seriously. I felt a bit bad as his shoulders sagged but I thought he needed to hear this. “You are not a very good fighter, you’re not confident, you’re not dominant, but those things are not set in stone.” I stopped and made sure he looked at me. “You came to me to get stronger right? Which means you want to become a beta?”
“Yes,” he said immediately. “I’m scared, hell I’m terrified of fucking up, but I want to protect the pack and be useful and… I want to make Akira proud.”
“Alright. I can train you but while knowing how to fight might raise your confidence and dominance that is not all a beta needs. You also need to have extensive knowledge of all things pack and supernatural,” I reminded him.
He looked up at me with a small smile. “I was the best at school out of all of us, you know? Both human and supernatural.”
True. “You’ll also need good social skills. I mean you’ll be shaping the future of the pack.” That made him a bit nervous again. “But that should come with experience.” I smiled at him.
“Thank you,” he said.
“Don’t.” I shook my head. “Thank me after I actually teach you something. I have never taught anyone how to fight,” I warned him. “Why don’t you just ask Nikolai or one of the warriors? I’m sure they would gladly help.”
Colwyn grimaced and looked away. “They’re all really good fighters. But it feels like they have no patience for someone my age who should already know how to fight properly. And… It’s much harder to admit how scared I am to them than to you.”
“Seriously?” I asked in disbelief. I guess I understood what it was like to be seen as a failure and to never be enough…
“You kind of remind me of Bran,” he said, smiling. I had to do a confused double-take. Me? Reminding someone of Bran? I looked away suddenly feeling my face heat up.
“Compliments won’t get you anywhere!” I said then shooed him back to Scott’s house. He seemed way too amused by my reaction.
I tried my best to teach him. Now obviously he knew all the basics. We all did after the many many lessons with Bran and the other warriors. He was just so unsure… Maybe he just needed some experience and more practice to be more confident in his own moves. I also thought back to the days when Bran gave us fighting lessons, especially the ones reserved only for me on some more advanced things. Yuri and Scott watched us obviously confused about this. They didn’t comment though, just gave Colwyn pointers.
We trained for a few hours. He wasn’t that bad; he was simply too self-conscious. “You did well,” I said as Colwyn got up, breathless and covered in sweat. “You need to trust yourself more, you have the basics down and you understand the more advanced stuff so don’t be afraid to use it,” I told him. He nodded and thanked me before he went back to the pack house.
“You’re a surprisingly good teacher,” Yuri said as we watched Colwyn leave.
“I was just copying the way Bran taught us,” I admitted, feeling that grief grip my chest once again. Scott squeezed my shoulder offering support. Before I could say anything else, my phone rang.
I picked it up quickly, adrenalin flooding my veins as I saw Daniel’s name on my screen. Finally. The wait was over. “Talk,” I said impatiently.
“My, my, not even a hi? You’re so cold, Reid,” Daniel said with fake disappointment. “You know you should be kissing my ass right now. I persuaded Baltazar to meet with you.”
“Good, tell me the time and place,” I said, trying to sound calm even as I buzzed with anticipation.
“Where’s my thank you? You’ve become so rude.” He made a tsk sound.
“My thank you will be the blood you demanded, now stop wasting my time.” I so didn’t look forward to that.
“Tomorrow at eight pm, the Clan residence, I’m sure you know where that is.” And he hung up. Was he sulking? Well, who cared. We would finally meet Baltazar. I will avenge you, Bran I swear…