a/n: Tried my best to make this part of the story cohesive. Hope it makes sense to everyone. Feel free to ask any questions if it doesn't.
The month that followed was a lot calmer. Both of our mothers really did meet up to compare pictures and anecdotes of our respective childhood. Lexus and my father met during his stay and, though the initial introductions were a bit awkward, there was no bloodshed or drama. According to Morgan, Lex had been nervous about first impressions, but the chocolate lab did his best to lay those fears to rest.
Morgan himself was planning to ask Sabine to become a more official couple towards the end of November. I couldn't have been happier for them both. My envy of their progressive relationship dissipated the more I focused on my own relationship, backward as it was. Given the same opportunity as Morgan and Sabine, I had a feeling that things would have turned out the same. Even as a Beta, I probably still would have chosen Lexus.
"I just wish I had more to offer her," Morgan stated as he tied his shoes. As usual, he was getting ready to head out to the bus for his first class early in the morning. "I mean, I don't even have a car…"
"Mor, she doesn't care about that. We're all still college students," I insisted as I handed him his coat and tugged my own coat on. Though Lexus picked me up every day, I still walked Morgan halfway to his bus stop to see him out. "You can worry about supporting each other after graduation. For now, just enjoy getting to know each other."
"Well, at least I'm not alone in that area," Morgan snickered as the two of us headed out the door and locked it. "You and Lex have been doing things backwards, but it still seems to be working out." He carried his backpack with him along with a few binders in his arms. Half of his load was usually deposited in the locker throughout the day. But, most of the books would end up coming back for assignments.
I sent him a wry grin. "He may be my Alpha, but he's going at my pace, which is something I appreciate…" I admitted. "Considering that my pace is kind of all over the place. One moment, we're rutting on the dining room table, the next we're helping each other study for an exam…"
Morgan nodded absently until the words seemed to sink in. "Wait, our dining room table? Gross, man! We eat off of there!"
"I disinfect everything, honest!" I replied between a fit of laughter at the expression on my best friend's face.
We were so absorbed in our banter that we barely noticed the van that pulled up beside us. Morgan's attention immediately shifted when the doors began to open and several uniformed men filed out. Instinctively, he took off, likely to seek help. But, we were outnumbered and they were faster.
I was so confused about what was happening around us that I didn't react fast enough. The next thing we knew, the two of us were shoved into the van and were restrained. I opened my mouth to call out to Morgan when a gas mask was shoved against my nose and mouth. The material hurt against the bridge of my nose and cheeks as I struggled against their hold. I saw that Morgan was struggling as well across from me.
Lex! I called out internally as Morgan's form began to wane like rising waves of heat. I heard a deep voice hollering before my consciousness faded.
When I came to, I was laid across the cold pavement of a prison cell. I was disoriented and it took a while to find my footing without collapsing back onto the ground. I took hold of the bars of the cell as my vision began to focus. Bewilderment morphed into sheer panic at the state of Morgan.
My brown-eyed best friend was tied up to a chair. He had bruises everywhere and was slightly leaning to one side as if he was nursing some kind of injury there. Morgan was shaking, though I couldn't tell whether it was due to the pain or due to trying to fight an Alpha command. As one of the uniformed men began to bark orders, I realized that it was the latter.
I felt sick to my stomach at the sight.
"Commander, he's awake," a woman said as she motioned towards me.
I began to breathe in short, fast intakes of air as I was addressed. Never had I ever felt so frightened, not even when Ashur threatened to cut me up. The fear wasn't for me, but for Morgan's safety. Just who were they and why were they doing this?
"Nice of you to join us," the commander rumbled.
I used my hold on the bars to lift myself higher so that I could look at the man. He had one blue eye and one brown eye. The rest of his body was covered, which would make it difficult to identify him later. Though the eyes were uncommon, they weren't exactly rare. The entire group wore similar uniforms. They had no emblems or distinguishing symbols on their clothes.
"This show is all for you," the commander continued as he clutched the top of Morgan's head. My breath hitched in concern at the twinge of pain that travelled across the Labrador's face. "This Beta can delay Alpha commands," he pointed out as he dragged a thumb along Morgan's lower lip. "But, as you can tell by the blissful silence we are currently in, he can't delay them for long."
"Since we can't command you to do anything, you'll just have to deal with seeing your friend suffer in your stead," the commander concluded as he shoved the back of Morgan's head against the tall chair until a 'thunk' could be heard from the contact.
"Stop it! Just who are you doing this for?" I questioned as my eyes filled with unshed tears. My gaze remained focused on my best friend. If they hadn't seen me with him, would Morgan currently be in this position? Fuck! "What is the point of torturing a couple of college students?"
"Commander, Mr. S is on the line," yet another uniformed man announced as he approached from a dimly lit hallway.
"Enjoy this respite while you can," the commander stated before motioning for the entire group to follow him down the hallway.
My arms trembled as they clutched onto the bars tighter. I didn't have a doubt in my mind that the uniformed group had been hired to capture us. "Mor, I'm so sorry," I hissed. He must have been commanded to keep his mouth shut because he couldn't seem to respond back. But, his light brown eyes didn't leave mine.
I took a shaky breath as I tried to once again send out a plea. Lex? Lex, please tell me you can hear me…
Just how far away were we? Was there a limit to how far I could reach him?
"Damn it!" I cursed as I pressed my forehead against one of the bars. I had to figure out a way to get us out of this situation.
My gaze fell down to where the iron bars melded into one solid metal plate embedded into the ground. The plate was 36" (91cm) from the ground. The highest I could safely jump in my canine form was 12" (30.5cm). I knelt down and placed a hand on the space between the bars. I placed another hand on the bricked wall on the side. If I could somehow use the brick wall to launch myself further through the gap…
"I'm gonna jump it," I told Morgan, who immediately began to shake his head.
At the moment, we didn't have much of a choice. We could either wait there until the group came back, or we could try to get out of there. I, for one, wasn't going to stand around to see Morgan receive more injuries than he already had.
Shifting took a lot of concentration, especially to be able to shift with clothes and all. I had to fight through my fears and frustration in order to focus on that one task alone. My line of vision lowered as I shrank down into my Yorkie form. I took the jump at a run again and again.
I knocked the breath right out of my tiny body twelve times until I finally managed to make it through the opening of the bars. I landed heavily on my left foreleg and it took everything I had not to cry out. Shit, had I sprained it? I limped my way towards Morgan, who actually had a few tears escaping the corner of his eyes. Was he that worried about me?
Both Morgan and I gazed towards the hallway when we heard a distant commotion. Crap! I was little more than a white snowball. There was nowhere to hide out in the open. My lilac eyes landed on the hem of Morgan's long, baggy pants. I rushed towards it on three legs and struggled to duck into the fabric, using my good foreleg to lift myself up enough to balance my two lower paws onto Mor's sneakers.
I couldn't see anything, but I heard a set of boots clunking around back and forth in the room before kicking the metal plate of the barred cell and ultimately stopping near Morgan.
"Speak, Beta." Came the Alpha command. "Where's the Omega gone? Someone just offered more money for the both of you."
"Miles…away by now…" Morgan croaked. One of my paws unfortunately slipped off the shoe at that moment.
"Bullshit. We'd have seen him-oooh, I see. Such a clever little shit."
I let out a keening whimper when I was tugged right off of Morgan's leg. I squirmed and tried to bite the man. However, his grip was so tight that it was all in vain.
The commander peered at the cell and then back at me. "If you weren't such a breakable little thing fought over by the rich, I'd keep you for myself and train you to be of stealthy use."
Fought over by the rich? Could Ashur's family be behind this? I just knew that they wouldn't let their son be incarcerated without a fuss!
I was then shoved in a carrying case, of all things, and Morgan was hefted over someone's shoulder. With my good foreleg, I slowly and carefully unzipped the carrying case and hopped out before they tossed me back in the van. In spite of the pain on my sprained leg, I took off. I had already rounded the corner of the nearest building by the time they realized I was no longer inside the case.
I kept running and running until I saw a small window open on the side of an auto shop. I hopped onto a box, a trash can, and a trash dumpster in order to slip into the window. A shelf lay below the window and I carefully clambered onto it. By that point, the pain was too much for my small canine body. I laid down on my side and promptly passed out.
I don't know how much time passed. Minutes? Hours? When I came to, it was to the sound of an employee rooting around for tools on the shelf. I peered down around the same time as he looked up. For a moment, we just stared at one another in surprise.
"Avion? S'that you?" Derrick questioned tentatively before talking to himself immediately after. "I mean, unless he has a sibling or something…"
I barked to draw his attention back to me.
"Right! Need help getting down from up there?"
I nodded and barked once again. He rushed about getting a ladder and held out a hand to help me down. When he saw me limping, he frowned. "You're hurt, too? What the hell happened, little buddy?"
When I was set down onto the floor, I shifted back. Shifting back with an injury was always a painful ordeal. But, due to my many injuries in the past, I was almost used to it. Both my shoulder and wrist burned in agony. "Derrick…call Lex…" I panted.
I looked on as the Doberman searched for his phone and frantically called the Blue German Shepherd he called 'friend.' My stomach was all tied up in knots with worry. How were we ever going to find Morgan? We had to free him!
"Wait, listen! He's right here," Derrick tried to explain. "I mean, he's kinda beaten up, but I'm about to take him to the hospital- what? Morgan, too?"
I straightened up at the mention of Morgan. Had Lexus figured out that we had been abducted? Was he actively searching for us both?
"Yeah, we'll meet you there," the Doberman concluded. "He said he found Morgan all beaten up too and they're at the hospital. Ready to go meet up with them and have that arm checked out?"
I let out a sigh of relief, feeling my body finally relax, as if it had been taut the entire time. "Yeah, am I ever. Thanks Derrick."
I felt another sense of relief when I was able to hear Lexus's thoughts in my head. Derrick and I were only two blocks from the hospital. So, it seemed that Lexus and I were finally within "hearing" range.
Derrick and I are almost there. How's Morgan? How did you find him?
I tried calling you when I didn't see you in front of the apartment, but I heard your phone ringing inside. I thought that maybe you were still at Morgan's bus stop and headed that way only to find two of his binders on the ground. I called in a favor with dad and he found out that a shady organization used by influential families had just recently grabbed two college students for ransom…so, dad made a bigger offer. I had just about lost my mind when they made the trade for Morgan and you were gone.
Yeah, I kinda gave them the slip at the last second. But, I didn't know they were talking about your dad. All I could think about was getting us out of there.
I don't blame you. Morgan has been ranting about legal repercussions from the moment we got to the hospital. He forced the doctors to take pictures of him at every angle. Are you sure he doesn't want to be a lawyer instead of a police officer?
That's something we'll have to ask him personally when things settle back down. The two of us are definitely gonna need some kind of therapy after this.
Avi, love, I think even I might need therapy after this.
We can all go together, then.