No choices. (Private - Kadzait Alpha)
He had not had any time to change out of the dark green flight suit that had been in the bag he shoved into Marthinus T. Steyn's hands back in South Africa. In fact, he barely had time to notify the Alpha that he had returned for good. It had been several months since the completion of the pack's estate and his return to Johannesburg to tie up loose ends. Now he entered the newly completed Nachton hospital, state of the art medical facility. He relished the cold that October had swept into the city. Hammerthynn had become so used to the heat of the country, that the pleasantness of the cold winter chill brought back memories of soft auburn curls and warm fires in the hearth.
The ding at the elevator banks snapped him back to reality. As he entered the elevator car up, he pushed the 16th button. A couple had walked up towards the doors but stopped short at the sight of Hammer. He looked down at them from his 6'6 statue and flared his nostrils. They backed away, saying they'd catch the next car. Hammer nodded, relishing in the quiet humor. He made people uncomfortable - it could've been his height or his eye, but probably both. People gave him a wide berth, much to his delight.
Reaching the designated floor, Hammerthynn stepped out and again cut his own path down the hallway towards Steyn's hospital suite. The life monitor outside the room read that he was stable. Pushing open the door slowly, he stepped inside to find him sleeping soundly with bits of wire and IV's attached to him. For a moment, Hammer allowed himself to sigh deeply and run his fingers through his hair in an uncharacteristic show of emotion. There he was, Marthinus T. Steyn, infected with the GMV virus, shot on pack property, fighting against a probable addiction to Eternity.
Yeah, this couldn't end well.
The ride up was long enough to give him time to mull over the cryptic message. Hammer was back, great... Xeph had grown used to having the dry, surly Beta around and had long since admitted that Hammer wasn't such a bad guy. That he'd brought company was what Xeph found curious. Hammer was not entirely the world's most sociable critter, even on a good day. And the way he'd said company... well, it implied Xeph not only would want to meet this company but might not eb thrilled with said company.
He couldn't say he exactly had a rosy outlook, considering he was on his way to a private hospital room to meet them and he was certain it wasn't Hammer who required medical assistance.
Striding down the hallway he located the right room number and cautiously opened the door. He smiled at the grizzled Beta, seeing Hammer immediately upon entering, and then looked to the figure in the bed.
"Well hello, Mr. Steyn." The man was asleep, it appeared, not looking as chipper as one might hope or expect.
Xeph turned to Hammer, keeping his expression carefully neutral. "I'm guessing you're going to explain."
With a grim look, Hammerthynn finally added, 'This could be a good thing, but it was unforeseeable. He was dying, you of all people should appreciate the position the human put me in.' The human - Hammer inwardly winced at that term, he used it often but it betrayed his discomfort regarding caring for others. He would automatically try to separate himself from any type of situation that would imply showing emotion.
'And unfortunately that position led to this one.' He nodded towards the bed. 'It would be fairly safe to say that the Eternity I gave him was a last resort. He did not appear to be the type that indulged in that vampiric drug, but he had it on him and a man of his position could certainly afford it, that leads to me wonder who...or what...is his supplier.'
He shook his head at Hammer. "I can't say I'd have done any differently," he admitted, "but what do we have here now? What do we do with him?"
That was the question on his mind at the moment. He stood back up almost immediately. "Did you have any thoughts past this point?"
Xeph allowed himself a moment or two of satisfactory pacing. "Has he even been awake at all since you returned?"
How much did the CEO know? What would he remember when and if he opened his eyes? How the hell had he gotten shot on Pack land, anyhow?
Lowering his voice so as not towake the man although that looked fairly far off, Xeph hissed at Hammer, "I swear, I'm going to revoke your frequent flyer miles and ground you in the Den for the next fifty years."
He ran his fingers through his hair, a deliberate sign of his agitation. The situation was rather serious, and certainly no joking matter. Xeph had a Pack to run, an entire city to grow into, a whole history to live up to...
Drug-addicted, GMV infected CEOs of major companies he did not need. Not right now. But Mr. Steyn sure was right here, in front of them, and needed to be dealt with.
"We need to know exactly what he remembers," Xeph said with another sigh. "Then we need to discuss the matter of his Gifting."
When, where... and of course, if.
Marthinus opened his eyes and took a deep breath. He had stirred during Hammer's explanation of what had happened twenty four hours prior, but the arrival of Dr. Xephier and his subsequent speech left Marthinus just as curious as he was frightened.
His late afternoon appointment had gone terribly wrong. He had left Nachton to get away from such violence and terror and yet he seemed to walk right back into it. It. He wasn't even sure what 'it' was. They spoke of a gifting and as he slowly sat up in bed, he considered Mr. Hammerthynn's heroic rescue a gift, but apparently he left something else, but then you'd have to ignore the fact that Marthinus had never seen anything close to what Mr. Hammerthynn was turning into without buttery popcorn and chiclets.
'I would just like to know,' Marthinus looked directly at the man with the missing eye, 'just what in the hell are you?'
Looking at the clipboard and the list of medications there, Xeph quirked an eyebrow at the CEO and then glanced back at Hammer. "I agree. He's unforgettable. Sure not going to win any beauty pageants anytime soon."
That was all, though. This was Hammer's ballgame, Xeph figured, and he wasn't about to bail his Beta out so easily, so he simply stood at the bedside and gestured to Hammer when Marthinus asked what he was. Let Hammer explain. Sure, there was a small amount of fairly malicious glee involved, but it wasn't often Xeph got to catch Hammer in a pickle like this. He was also positive Hammer would have no trouble working it out.
'I tried explaining it to you but you were too far gone, apparently.' Hammerthynn's tone could have easily been miscontrued as rude and aloof but in all actuality he had been worried about the man. Worried as much as he could be. Hammer honestly did not know what to say to him and just fell back on the norm.
In a monotone voice, Hammer explained, 'You've been exposed to a virus that is lying in wait, dormant in your system. It is called the Genetic Metamorphic Virus. You're in the beginning stages of becoming a werewolf.' He said that, matter of factly, which was the only way he could. Continuing Hammer added, 'It's changed you but not completely, not until you've been gifted.'
'Gifted?' Marthinus asked.
'Gifted. Bitten. The virus will activate and you'll become what you saw in me, in the elevator.' With one eye he looked at Xeph and shrugged slightly. 'Any questions?'
Hammerthynn asked if he had any questions and he might have, had the dizzy feeling not turned into a raging rush of adrenaline, causing him to shake and break out into perspiration. Marthinus tried to get up, but found he couldn't move his legs which scared him further. His heart was now beginning to race and he had a moment to wonder if maybe he wasn't having another heart attack, coupled with the Eternity addiction he was most certainly experiencing - at the same time before he threw up over the side of the bed.
Questions? Oh he was full of them. Recently freed from his familiar bond with a notorious and murderous vampire, he teetered on the edge of addiction and another heart attack, not to mention this added life changing event that was doing god knows what to his body. So any questions Marthinus might have had for the large, one eyed man was lost in the violent convulsions he started having in the new, state of the art hospital that he was apparently destined to die in.
Rather than let the alarms continue to sounds, bells, whistles, and all, he moved to the various machines, ignoring the convulsing CEO in the bed and overriding them to show normal rhythms. He crouched beside the bed and waited till a particularly strong one passed, and peeled open one of Marthinus' eyelids.
"Here's how it is, Marty. D'you mind if I call you Marty? I didn't think so. I know you can hear me, regardless of the eyeball-rolling crap."
Letting another convulsion pass, Xeph resumed his position and continued talking. "You can live, or you can die. Right now. You've got about ten seconds, I'm guessing, to make a decision."
Xeph had moved quickly to Steyn's side but Hammer stood at the foot of the bed, watching Steyn as he convulsed, with a painfully unemotional expression. Hammer waited to see if Steyn would choose to live or die, not that he had much of a great choice. Be a werewolf or die an old, broken man addicted to a horrible drug. Xeph had verbalized that choice and his eye flicked over to his Alpha who was hopefully volunteering, but probably not.
'You're going to make me do it?' Hammer sniffed and then looked back at the man. What could Steyn offer the pack? How could he so carelessly bring an outsider, not at all prepared, into the fold? Why couldn't they just let him die? He thought of this as the time started to count down. Walking over to the opposite side of the bed, Hammer leaned in close and pulled Steyn's face out of Xeph's hands and spoke quietly.
'Choose wisely, Mr. Steyn.'
Marthinus relaxed from his latest convulsion, his eyes rolling back to their natural position. Focusing in on Hammer he said two words.
Marthinus took a deep breath and then said again, only louder. 'Carol Hedley. Duibne.' He reached up and then grabbed Hammerthynn's hand on his face. He hoped he was clear in what he was saying, that the searching look he was giving Hammerthynn's lone eye would speak volumes. Marthinus needed her to bring Simon, so they would know, at least, where to find his body.
The thought made him whimper slightly. God damnit, he just wasn't ready. Not now. Not right now, not like this. A pathetic man who spent a pathetic existence who would die a pathetic death.
'Do it,' Marthinus whispered to Hammerthynn. 'Do it now.'
He stood, placing one hand on Marthinus' shoulder, little more sympathetic than Hammer, but it was something. "You realize what you're taking on," he said solemnly to Hammer, the short short version of what he'd have said to any other Gifter. "You're bound to him, for the next year, as aipa. What he does is what you do, and his actions will reflect upon you."
He peered down, squeezed Marthinus' shoulder, stopping just this side of painful. "You got that, Marty?" Crouching once again, he pulled out his cell phone and hissed into Marthinus' ear, "My Beta is going out on a limb for you, mate. If I have to kill him because you fucked up, your entire family is going to hurt."
Okay, he was probably exaggerating there, but he really didn't want Marthinus thinking he was getting a free ride somehow. Raising the phone and wiggling it at Marthinus he said, "Be a lot faster if you give me a number."
As the response was choked out, Xeph dialed and stood away from the bed. Listening to the ring, he made a sweeping gesture at the sour-faced Beta.
"Your stage, my friend."
As the phone picked up, a female voice on the other end, Xeph asked for Carol and was notified that it was, indeed, Carol Hedley. Never before had Xeph received such a short answer punctuated with so much profanity. Looking at his phone in astonishment for a moment, he shrugged and said, "I've a pal of yours here at Nachton Hospital. Marty Steyn. It'd probably be a good idea if you swung by."
He helpfully supplied the room number, hoping she caught it in the flow of even more cursing that issued forth.
(ooc: permission to swear in a high pitched Carol-like voice))
Grabbing at the bed, he dug his nails and ripped the sheet as he felt his fangs come forth. He could feel his face structure changing, his nose elongating, his mandibles sliding forward. With a deep breath he pulled back Marthinus' hospital gown and lifted the man half out of bed as he pulled him forward and bit deeply into his shoulder.
Marthinus stiffened, gurgling with the pain. Hammer was far from gentle when feeding, much less with gifting. As he drank a bit of the old man's blood, his saliva immediately activated the GMV virus in his system, completing the change forever. As he pulled back, the bite mark left a horrible tearing that slowly stopped bleeding but was still raw and ugly just the same.
Hammer struggled with the change, forcing it to return to its dark place but tasting the blood was making it beyond difficult. He let Marthinus drop back onto his bed, bleeding and now completely unconscious while Hammer stumbled back and crumbled onto the floor, trying to regain his control. His gut was on fire, urging him on but his one hundred and three years was finally able to reel it back in. Kneeling on the floor, Hammer put a hand out to the bed and shook his head. The transformation receded back and after a few moments, Hammer stood again, mouth covered in blood.
He gave a slightly embarrassed look towards Xeph. Losing control went against every fiber in his being and having his Alpha see it shamed him. Still, Hammer leaned back over Marthinus checked the bite.
'Done,' he said again in his monotone voice.
Xeph took care of the wound with a good deal more tenderness than he'd previously shown; Marthinus was now one of them. Paying close attention to it also gave his Beta time to compose himself; The transformation was tough on any wolf when blood was involved. Even Xeph, who maintained more control over his body in wolf form than a great many of his family, had difficulty fighting off the feral urge when fresh blood was involved.
Seeing his Beta losing control was equally uncomfortable for Xeph, whowas quite aware that he was something of a control freak himself. Studied avoidance as he patched Marty up was for the best. It wouldn't do to have Duibne's newest CEO werewolf oozing all over the sheets when company came calling, would it.
Carol pushed by the nurses station and completely ignored the newness of the hospital - its beautifully decorated interior, brand new furniture, Starbucks kiosk and the fun 'new hospital' smell. She was read the numbers on the suite doors as she half ran down the hallway, nurses running after her, telling her she couldn't be admitted to see Mr. Steyn.
Stopping she turned around and threatened them with half a dozen curse words and then turned on her delicately sandaled foot, making her way to his suite. Putting her hand on the door and turning the knob only infuriated her more when she discovered it had been locked. Literally putting one foot up on the door, she jiggled at the door so hard she nearly lost her balance.
'What the FUCK?! OPEN THIS GOD DAMN DOOR!'
Simon would be right behind her along with the rest of the Duibne medical team to transport him over to their facilities. Why had he been brought here? Who brought him here? Why was the fucking door LOCKED.
Standing and straightening the sheets over his new Packmate, Xeph looked down at the unconscious form.
"I think she wants in," he said conversationally to the nonsensical CEO. "Do you think she wants in? Maybe I should let her in."
Two large strides took him to the door and he swung it open. "That's quite enough screaming and pounding," he said in his sternest doctor's voice. "I'll have to call for the brute squad if you don't quit it. My patient is resting and I'd appreciate some peace and quiet."
He had to adjust his gaze somewhat loer... funny, he'd expected someone... taller.
'How DARE you? Who are you? What are you doing here?' She shoved past the tall...really tall...man and over to Marthinus' bed side. The first thing she saw was the blood. The second thing she saw was the middle of the stranger's chest. Pulling a chair over to the taller man she stepped onto it and pointed a finger in his face.
'What happened to Marthinus? What are you doing here? Who the hell are you? Why is he back in the states? Oh my GOD - are you going to answer me??!!'
Her mind hadn't quite wrapped around the amount of blood on Marthinus sheet, but she wanted to know, in great detail, just who the hell this tall fucker was calling Marthinus his patient.
'Wait a minute, YOUR patient? You're not his doctor. This isn't his hospital. I'm taking...' Just then the bathroom door slammed open, almost coming off its hinges. Turning at the sudden ruckus, she literally jumped onto Xeph at the sight of the huge monster coming through the door.
'What the FUCK?! Who...christ your fucking EYE is missing, who are you??'
He was about to grab her by the scruf of the neck like one of his feline patients when Hammer emerged from the bathroom and she literally flew at him. Amazing. Her mouth was still going.How did she do it?
Disentangling her from him... or trying to, Xeph finally resorted to grabbing her upper arms in his huge hands, literally pulling her off of him, and giving her a gentle shake that may or may not have rattled her teeth. He put his face very close to hers and gave her his most wolfish leer.
"Will... you... please... shut up."
The words were ground out as politely as possible (he had said please, hadn't he?) and emphasized with a good shake as they were spoken.
"If you want answers I suggest you keep your trap closed. If you have more questions I suggest you phrase them politely. If you have an opinion on the physical attributes, or lack thereof, of my esteemed second, I humbly request that you keep them to yourself, and if you have an objection as to the treatment of this man you will have to go through both him" he nodded to Hammer, "and me, because he belongs to me now."
The territorial wolf instinct was rising and Xeph caught himself in time and lowered his voice, which had begun as a perfectly polite soft tone and ended up fairly raised with agitation.
As quickly as his tirade had begun, it ended. He dropped Carol almost like a hot potato, being marginally careful not to be rough about it. Gesturing to the man in the bed he said, "Your Marthinus was dying. We offered him a choice of life or death. That choice wasn't yours to make. it was his, and in doing so, he belongs with us now, and no longer with you."
The words were spoken with all the authority and weight of a full Alpha, with a quiet conviction and determination that were, for the most part, unquestionable.
Now they had to get Marthinus out of the hospital without attracting much attention. Moving a shot gun victim who had arrived in the country under the pretense of diplomatic services wasn't going to last long under scrutiny. Quietly, they had to...
Suddenly an explosion of high pitched questions came from the other side of the door. The Carol Hedley woman, he presumed, but her loud tone was a tad too accusatory for him and most definitely not allowed towards the Alpha. Pushing the door open with a force that was usually reserved for the enemy and cats, he walked through the bathroom door and looked at the tiny blonde woman who had attached herself to Xeph.
It took everything to stifle a laugh.
'Sup Popeye, some bodyguard you are, in the bathroom.' The taller man narrowed his eye at her and clenched his jaw.
'Either one of y'all feel like explaining just what the hell you mean by offering him a choice and him being yours?' Then it occurred to her. 'Oh my god, you didn't give him anything, did you?' The Eternity, they must've given him the Eternity but that would make them...
Carol looked over at the opened window. The sun was rising, just barely and it came streaming in the 16th floor window. 'I don't understand...you're not...but what, are you from some organization? Christ, how many questions did I just ask, pick one and answer!'
Lowering his voice from the forceful Alpha tone, he began to speak softly, cajoling, coaxing, using his deep timbre to lull this demanding, irritating woman into some semblance of calm. It was one thing to know what someone needed, and another to supply it properly.
"I guarantee you, Carol, I gave him nothing. Marthinus Steyn was brought here from South Africa for treatment after a gang shooting injured him on my family's property. Hammerthynn, was the one who accompanied him back and notified me. When I arrived Marthinus was in poor shape. He suffered a heart attack, convulsions. There was very little to be done by that point. He seemed to be suffering from a variety of problems; the GSWs, some sort of strange drug withdrawal as far as I could tell, and his heart giving out. It was too much.
"He had a choice though. Marthinus didn't have to die just then. My second here was able to give him an opportunity to survive, one borne of a strain of virus called GMV. Genetic Metamorphic Virus," he clarified, restraining himself from going into his 'doctor's voice' again and keeping the tone deep and compelling.
"We're not entirely human. GMV makes us something beyond that. Normally the virus gives us strength; heightened senses, certain abilities and skills. But every months it changes us completely, during the three nights of the full moon it controls us entirely. At that time, very few of us have any control over our bodies, or over our minds."
He pinned Carol with a solemn stare, not sure whether his story would be met with laughter, seriousness, or something between.
"We're werewolves, Carol. And Marthinus is now part of my Pack."