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salvation

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It was in the middle of winter when his heart started to beat faster, for his nose to catch the scent of hatred and dislike, to feel the anger in their eyes and accept that it was time for him to leave.

 

He wondered where he should go, he knew no one, he was no one, he had no one.

 

Wolves, his wolves, his old pack, they barely left wolves in the middle of winter. It was against their law, against their nature in a way. The winter was severe and even if the wolf was weak and unneeded to the pack, they made sure they’d last until the first warm touch of the spring before they request for their leave. The alpha of the pack loved to say that as much as they were wolves and animals, they still had human nature into them. A human wouldn’t leave another human to die in the cruelest way, alone in the nowhere.

 

However now, the same alpha was doing the thing he had said he wouldn’t. Leaving Kim Taehyung, the wolf who didn’t seem good enough, the strangely colored wolf that had been born in a place no one knew but they knew him since he was a small pup. They took care of him, they taught him how to hunt and fight. They watched him grow and be stronger, be beautiful, be the leader they had wished to have once their current alpha grew older.

 

This Taehyung they were baring their teeth at, at this Taehyung they showed their claws and he knew it was finally time to leave. Being different in the eyes of the others of the same kind, was Taehyung’s biggest fear. He had known that once he had reached his maturity things had changed. His color didn’t change as some of the omegas predicted - because they had changed theirs when they knew their position in the pack. He didn’t lose weight - as some betas did, they needed to be faster and leaner, they were the soldiers of the alphas. Taehyung kept his weight, yet he was still faster and stronger than them all.

 

If he was honest, he was sure the final choice had been made when he had to fight with their alpha. It was a challenge every young alpha had to pass, to take a taste of the old alpha’s teeth in their neck, a way to show who they were and to know their place. The ones who had fewer scars left after the fight, they could have been the next generation alpha. It was then when Taehyung had done the mistake that would cost him more than the roof over his head.

 

It was a few days before the full moon. A few days before some of the mating rituals would start again, the full moon was the mother of the mating as some called it, since pups had to be born by the end of April and the beginning of May, many wolves were looking for the right ones. It was the pack’s rituals for the alphas to show their power, the betas to show their dedication in protecting the pack and for the omegas to show their necks for their leader and mates.

 

At that time Taehyung had to show where he was standing, who he was, what power he had. A few hours before his alpha had challenged him, Taehyung had looked up at the sky, he could feel his bones itching and his fangs hurting. He knew that there was something growing inside him, quietly, a small rumble in his chest that he wished to avoid. Unknown to him, but apparently known by his alpha.

 

“Kim Taehyung, it is your turn to show how much you’re willing to sacrifice for your pack?”

 

This was the question with which the alpha had challenged Taehyung. Taehyung wasn’t sure what it had been, he wasn’t sure if it was because his pack was mentioned - the chance of owning a pack of his own -, or it was because of the confidence that Taehyung should bare his tummy and his neck for the man whose eyes could lighten in red at some full moons. Taehyung didn’t know.

 

When he accepted the challenge he knew what he should do. He knew that he had to fight for a while, bare his teeth and try to grab the alpha’s neck with his claws but not to hurt, not to scratch, not to win. He knew, he knew very well that he couldn’t win, he wasn’t allowed to. Taehyung wasn’t supposed to be stronger than the alpha, the pack’s alpha was the strongest wolf, the only leader.

 

And, maybe, this was the problem. Taehyung knew what he should do, how to do it. He knew what was right and what was expected to be done. But in the end, it didn’t feel right at all. There was something so wrong into trying to bare his neck to the man who had been feeding him for so many years. There was something so unacceptable in the way how everyone pointed at him, laughing at him, calling him weak, while all Taehyung had been doing was to protect them.

 

It was him who had been scenting the borders of their pack when he noticed the new wolfpack transpassing. It was him who had brought back a lost pup last summer when no one had noticed that she had been gone. It was him who had killed the brown bear that had mistaken them for the people who had killed her own cub. It was either his pack or the bear and Taehyung had chosen the bear. He had taken her life, he had prayed for her soul and had buried her because he didn’t have the heart to let the pack bite her further. She had been a hurt soul and he wanted her to rest in peace.

 

Back then he knew others had seen him, no one had said anything. Taehyung was grateful, he couldn’t imagine what it could have happened if someone else knew, if his pack leader knew. He’d be thrown away with a cut in his throat. Back then it was fear that made Taehyung look only down and keep quiet. Even when some decisions of the pack were wrong, even when they were moving further away from the humans when Taehyung knew that they were getting sick like humans, when they needed human clothes and sometimes human food.

 

Maybe it was all this and the fact that he was keeping everything inside but he was also trying to make everything right behind the back of the man he was ready to call father, even when they had no blood relation.

 

It could have been the way how he had seen some of the wolves getting weaker in their strength and some confusion with what it was expected of them. Some would be dying soon, Taehyung could feel the deadly scent, so strong, so permanent in the air and no one was doing anything.

 

Or it could have been his selfishness, this full of greed desire to show his own power, his own strength, to show how much better he had been that they all had thought. So many had pointed their fingers at him while he was simply growing and improving. Taehyung knew his worth, despite denying it for so long. So it could be this. Taehyung wasn’t the strange pup they had taken in and no one wanted to get close to. He was someone else, he was a beautiful black wolf with a beautiful silver tip on his tail. He was a good wolf, but he was a good human too.

 

When his alpha attack, the big grey wolf with a little of brown on the tips of his fur, bright yellow eyes burning fires inside Taehyung, Taehyung had let his paws further into the snow. He wasn’t going to fight. He was looking down, dodging the attacks but not making his own. He had bared his teeth but it wasn’t wholeheartedly. He didn’t want to hurt anyone. Taehyung couldn’t.

 

”Are you so weak that you can’t make an attack of your own, little pup? Taehyung could hear the alpha’s words between his growls, so happy, so content about being so strong. Taehyung could crush him and no one knew about it. ”So weak and so pathetic, this was probably why your own pack had let you die in the middle of winter!”

 

Something in Taehyung snapped then. The provocation wasn’t the reason for his actions - or at least it wasn’t the only one. For the first time in months, Taehyung had simply let go. He had let his subconsciousness to do the job. He was dodging, attacking, growling and crawling, he didn’t think. It was all about his instincts and his desire to surprise, to prove he was more than simply thrown away cub no one cared for.

 

“I can snap you in half, can’t you see it?” Taehyung had growled in his final attack and pushed his alpha on the ground, tummy bared, eyes wide and most from all, Taehyung’s teeth were almost on the older man’s neck. So close to tearing the skin but still so far. His claws though had cut the skin, and blood was falling down.

 

It was the silence that made Taehyung realize what was going on. Everyone was scared of him and painfully quiet. No one could say anything, what could they? This wasn’t supposed to happen. No one was stronger than the alpha, no one could allow themselves to make the alpha fall on his back, no one, absolutely no one, could threaten the alpha.

 

And Taehyung had done all this in a matter of minutes.

 

He had stood up, slowly and carefully. Making sure that no more damage could be done. Taehyung hadn’t noticed when he had turned into a human, neither when he had forced his own alpha to turn into one too. But he knew he had to kneel down and apologize. He had to ask for forgiveness because he had sinned, he had done wrong. He knew he realized.

 

So Taehyung had done it. On his bare knees, he had fallen down on the ground, crying and begging for forgiveness that had never come. His alpha and the other wolves had left him and Taehyung kept on sitting on his knees, forehead on his palms. It was cold and snowing, he was naked and still begging. This was the law, the forgiveness had to be given and the one who was begging had to stay low and wait to be allowed to stand up.

 

Taehyung stayed like this for hours, close to a day. The snow was over him, he was shaking his body so that it would fall on the sides. He was freezing, he was crying and begging. Howling pathetically, hoping that someone still was holding forgiveness and affection towards him. However, no one did. And Taehyung broke another law. He had stood up, changed to his wolf form, tail between his legs - Taehyung had walked back home.

 

It was then that he knew he had to run away. He was going to be thrown away. He knew he would. The alpha was on the side looking at him with murder in his eyes. The betas - some with woods, others with knives, they were getting ready for a hunt. Taehyun’s hunt, he was going to be the prey. It was unfortunate that the snow was falling still. Taehyung would be easily noticed no matter how much he’d try to hide and his only chance was to run in his wolf form.

 

He was faster than them, faster than all of them. He knew he could run away from them, hiding wouldn’t be so easy, but outrunning could be. Taehyung had done it before, outrunning and hiding but he was coming back. Now he could do it again. He was confident, he must be or he’d lose hope and let them kill him. No matter how wrong Taehyung was with his actions, he knew one thing only - he didn’t want to die.

 

Once Taehyung reached his den, he changed back. The den was a small thing he had been forced to create on his own when he was strong enough to work. No one had helped him or told him how he should it, but he managed. So now this place meant so much to him. Taehyung was making sure it was clean and in order if he was going to appreciate something, he wanted to start from his own little safe den.

 

It was safe until today. He could feel the angry wolves circling around it. Sooner or later they would attack and Taehyung had to be prepared. He couldn’t bring everything with him. He knew that once he was gone they’d burn this place. They hadn’t changed places for over than a decade but now he was sure they’d do it. Only to make sure that nothing related to Taehyung would be left. He was going to be a memory no one would wish to have.

 

Taehyung had prepared a small bag he had bought from some of the villages around. He could put a few clothes and small jewels he had kept over the years. Food would come around since he would be traveling more like a wolf than he’d as a human. Too many books would be burned and too many memories he’d leave behind but it was either this or die with them.

 

Taehyung was surprised that they had waited after the full moon. They were stronger before and through the full moon but Taehyung had thought that their mating season was more important than he was. Thankfully, Taehyung had managed to sell some of his books - better to be in someone’s else hands than burned into ashes. With the money, he could buy new ones once he knew where he was going to settle.

 

For now, it was good that he could have more than the small amount Taehyung had managed to save through the years. Taehyung had kept his bag close to the window from which he was going to jump through when running away.

 

It was only three days after the full moon, none of the omegas or betas had sought for him through the full moon. No one had looked his way. It wasn’t a surprise but Taehyung had hoped once that he could settle with someone and have pups of his own. Someone to take care of, someone to love, it was in his nature - even when he couldn’t explain it. He wanted so badly to protect and take care of someone. When he had asked when he was younger, no one could reply to him. Taehyung must have known since then that something was different in him, in his nature.

 

The hunt started on the fifth day and Taehyung had never run faster than then. They had been prepared, starting with the faster betas they owned and a few hunters they had who could use human weapons. Taehyung had never tried to dodge a bullet as desperately as he had done then but he was sure if he managed to get away the faster he could, the better. He wouldn’t be shot. A bullet was scary, especially when Taehyung was going to be alone and with no one by his side to help him survive.

 

Unfortunately, that night the luck wasn’t on his side. Taehyung wondered when it was.

 

At first, while running through the snow and desperately further into the forest, some of the bullets had reached him. Thankfully, Taehyung knew none lasted inside his body but he could feel the cuts through his thick fur and his skin breaking. His muscles were crying in pain but Taehyung was pushing himself even more. He needed to run away.

 

The lack of sleep and the blood loss would show hours later, Taehyung knew his body. He could last for long - longer than his ex-pack could last running. He was confident. He wasn’t prepared for the surprise on the north. His pack had done a plan to surround him. Taehyung wasn’t prepared to be slowed down like this and fighting wolves. Hurting innocent wolves wasn’t his plan.

 

However, it was for his survival, so Taehyung was attacking back. Whining and hissing when some of the wolves bit him deeper and some almost took away pieces of meat. He was desperate to survive and he was going to fight until his last breath. His teeth and claws were also biting and cutting bones and meat, many wolves fell down in front of him, many more attacked. The snow was colored in red, the whines and growls were so powerful that Taehyung was sure any other animal around would have run away.

 

It might have been hours or minutes and dozens or more wolves later, Taehyung couldn’t tell, but he had finally managed to find his way out. So many wolves he had hurt, some of them he was sure wouldn’t manage to survive the night, but he was let to go. They stopped following him, especially when they noticed that he’d never stop fighting.

 

Taehyung was lucky he managed to bite off the guns of the wolves and bit their arms off. A cruel decision he had made in the middle of his blindness for survival. He was regretful, he would be forever feeling this heavy sorrow in his chest but he could walk away. None of the wolves followed Taehyung, instead, they cried pathetically for help.

 

It was then that Taehyung realized he had managed to take them away. Further away from the pack and closer to the unknown territory no one tried to reach. Taehyung was sure no one would hear the wolves now, they were weak to go back home and he had to live with the realization that he had taken the lives of many strong beta wolves that were the mates of someone.

 

With every step he was taking away from them, Taehyung started to realize he wasn’t much better than them. He was bleeding and he was feeling weaker. His vision was getting blurry but his feet were shaking, he no longer could feel his paws and his fur felt as if it didn’t exist because the cold was too much to handle. It was bitingly freezing cold, reaching into his bones and he could feel how his wounds and the blood was freezing. It was making it harder to run and after a few pathetic tries when he fell on the ground panting and letting out pathetic whines because it was so hard to stand up, Taehyung gave up on running and kept on walking.

 

He wasn’t sure for long he was walking. There was a snow storm so he wasn’t sure where he was going either but since the scents he was catching were unfamiliar and unknown, Taehyung was relieved that if he was going to die, at least it wouldn’t be anywhere near his old pack.

 

It was surprising how free he was feeling now, on verge of dying, alone and in the middle of nowhere. Who knows what wild animal was going to feed on him once his last breath would go away like the snowflakes falling over his eyes. Taehyung was blinking and trying to catch some of the most annoying snowflakes away from his eyes with his paws but every time he tried, he was falling down and he was too tired to keep standing up.

 

A few more tired steps ahead and a few more pathetic whines that no one could hear of and care for, Taehyung fell down on the ground, on the cold unforgiving snow and he was sure that he knew his faith now - or his end.

 

His fur was bloody and sticky and probably half bitten off, he couldn’t feel his paws anymore, so many hours walking in the snow - it wasn’t surprising. Taehyung felt how his heart was slowing down, it was a scary experience realizing how less and less his own heart was beating with every second passing. If it kept going, he was sure he’d die right away.

 

He was going to die, he was sure of it, however, he wanted to be able to stay like this for a little longer. Barely managing to breathe and barely keeping his eyes open, but he wanted to rest before he was going to close his eyes forever. It was too much to ask for, he was away, yet Taehyung prayed that he was going to be denied. He loved the snow, the pureness of it, even if it was mixed with unforgiving deadness when it came to someone like him - hurt and weak.

 

It was when he was preparing to take his last breaths and let the snow do its final task in freezing his body, Taehyung saw it.

 

The beautiful light purple wings sparkling because of the melted snowflakes, the beautiful golden eyes, wide and innocent, the bunny teeth and the sweet voice that was like a song of angels. At least Taehyung was going to die after he saw an angel. It was something.

 

Taehyung blinked a few times, whining as a greeting because growling felt too forceful, unneeded. The angel - or whatever this creature was - took a few steps closer towards Taehyung, a little frowning, a little sniffing, Taehyung huffed tiredly. He was wounded and he was sure his scent was mixing with the blood and the death of many lives.

 

“For a mutt coming from the north, you do have interesting fur and power coming with earthy scent no mutt is supposed to have,” Taehyung could hear the voice of the creature - the angel - it was so soft and nice, a little deep, a little warm, just like the golden eyes that were looking at him. The creature was curious. “You’re dying, aren’t you?”

 

With this Taehyung grumbled his amusement. It had been obvious. Taehyung was, in fact, amazed that he managed to live with wounds and blood loss as these for so long. However, his body was starting to betray him and even keeping his eyes open was harder. His heart was still slowing down and Taehyung’s last thought was sent towards the angel.

 

”I’m not a mutt, I’m Taehyung.”