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A Forest to Run (A Home to Find)

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There is a guardian within the forest, as ancient as the trees themselves. It is a threat to anyone who wanders into its lands, chasing them out with vicious efficiency and killing those who refuse to leave. The guardian takes up the form of a wolf such a light shade of blue it looks white with its eyes a piercing golden that never blinks once they are set upon those it finds. It is said that if you hear its howls, you would be the next to fall victim to horrible teeth and blunted claws that were agonizing as they ripped your flesh.

As a child, Jack was always told to never dare venture into the forest, threatened by the legend every night before he was sent to bed. And it echoes in his mind even now as he runs, stumbling every other step and bleeding heavily from the point-blank shot he took before managing to escape. He can feel the wounds across his torso weeping with every movement he makes and the pain is dizzying.

But he can’t stop.

Overwatch’s secrets lie on his tongue bitterly, something he would never spit out no matter the amount of torture. No, he would take them to his grave because Overwatch was the only thing close to a family that he had.

It’s the dead of winter and the cold seeps into his bones brutally given the tattered state of his shirt – or well, what remained of it. He wouldn’t come here in the middle of the summer, much less the winter, but it was the closest cover that he could get to. Jack skirts around a large tree, gripping the bark with blunted fingernails as he finds an incline on the other side. The shouts are getting closer and louder leaving Jack with no choice.

He plunges down the hill, trying his best to maintain his balance in the snow and ice by lowering himself closer to the ground. It’s all going well until, with a lurch, he’s hurtling forward headfirst the rest of the way, foot stinging from where it caught on a hidden stone. “Down there, he’s down there!” a single voice bellows victoriously and Jack curses, wheezing loudly as he hits the ground, snow cascading over him in a freezing blanket. He won’t be able to move, he knows it even before he tries, so he stays put hoping with the depths of his soul that his pursuers would overlook him, continue in further so he can get out the way he came.

That hope grows as the guards stumble into the area one by one, cursing and looking around dumbly. “I thought you said he was down here, bastard!” one shouts, shoving another up against a tree.

“He was! He couldn’t have gotten far, start looking-!” he breaks off with a sound of horror, eyes bulging from what Jack could tell, and the blond had no idea why the soldier would look like that. That is until a large white paw steps right into his view and he goes tense, eyes widening as the humongous wolf prowls forward, attention fully on the guards. The beast doesn’t seem to realize he’s there, a low growl rumbling from its chest before it lets out a chilling howl.

The guards scream and break off in different directions, shoving those near away in attempts to cause easier prey. At first, the wolf doesn’t move, still hunkered down and glowering after the men before darting forward as there’s a sharp whistle. Not even a second later a second wolf follows the first, their howls echoing through the forest as well as the screams of their prey. Carefully, Jack tries to move and immediately groans in pain when all it does it pull torturously at his wounds. Above him, a huff makes him freeze apprehensively, eyes shooting towards the furred boot that stepped into his sights.

How did they manage to completely miss you, foolishly eager for their chases.” a definite male voice speaks in a language Jack doesn’t understand – maybe he would recognize it if his head wasn’t spinning a million miles an hour. Just as there’s movement once more, pain and blood loss finally manage to sink their claws into Jack and draw him into a world of false warmth and comfort.