sixteen

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A/N: on the fourth day of christmas gen10 gave me to me, another chapter of gentle predator..... (let's pretend it rhymes). To get everyone into the holiday spirit, and to count down the last 12 chapters of this book, I thought I'd post a chapter a day until christmas! Merry Christmas you guys!

Illyria wondered through the mostly deserted hallways of the pack house, waiting for news of the scouts to come back. Her mind seemed to be in several different places in once. It had been two days since the scouts were sent out, and slowly but surely the rogue's locations were being found out. Several small campsites had been obliterated, but the Rogue King's hideout was still to be found, and that would be where he was keeping his prisoners.

Illyria's thoughts, if not surrounding the Luna's and Jess, surrounded Tristyn who was still healing from various wounds, only waking up for a few minutes each time, disorientated and confused, before being pulled back into a deep sleep. Illyria's heart ached for him; knowing that he would heal fine, but impatiently waiting for the day to come where he was awake long enough for them to continue their earlier... business.

A combination of the mate-bond, and her own, human hormones drove her crazy, and slowly but surely, without the intention of being there, Illyria found herself standing in the doorway to his bedroom, watching over him as his chest heaved with shallow breaths. Illyria moved forward, closing the door behind her and making her way to the side of the bed. She kneeled on her knees and folded her arms on the side of the bed, her head lying on her arms, looking towards his face.

She sighed, bringing one hand up to trace his stubbly jaw. Heat and tingles following her finger up and down the line of his jaw. Surely he was sculpted by the gods, he was an adonis of a man. "You know that letter you gave me Tris? It was from my mum, written the day I was born, meant for the day I found my mate. She wanted it to be you." Illyria looked out the window and chuckled, "'course she did. My mother, ever the matchmaker. I personally never thought we'd end up mates. Even when I had a crush on you at fourteen. Oh yeah, you didn't know about it did you."

"It was just before you'd gone on your tour, looking for your mate. I used to scoff at the girl's in the pack that would fawn over you, but I did it myself. I thought they were stupid, they didn't know the real you." Illyria scoffed, smiling at the memories. "I thought I did, I mean, I know I did. But I placed myself on a pedastal, thinking I was better than them because we were actually friends."

Illyria turned back to Tristyn, her hand coming back up to trace his jaw, and then moving up to brush some strands of his blond hair away from his forehead. "I remember that one time, when it was the anniversary of my parent's death, and Jess had just joined the pack, obviously me not liking her, and I got really upset because she made a Yo Momma joke, which was stupid, in hindsight, but you came, and held me while I cried. It was the first day I realised how coarse your hands are, and how good you smell. How high your actual temperature is, yup, technically how hot you are," Illyria smirked.

"You're a right dickhead you know that, for making me think you rejected me," Illyria sighed, her head now resting on the duvet of the bed. "Unless you wake up, I'm going to hold it against you forever. You're never going to be able to make it up to me. So you better wake up, you loser, just so you can make it up to me okay?" Tears started to well in her eyes, but she blinked them away. "Just wake up okay," Illyria whispered, her hands now holding one of his, tracing over his knuckles and tracing circles right over his thumb.

'Luna, the scouts are coming back now. We're all in the meeting room,' Pierce mindlinked her. Illyrai sighed, leaning over to place a gentle kiss on Tristyn's forehead before standing up and going to the meeting room. The walk there was quick, and Illyria's heartbeat was thumping in her ears. Soon enough she had pushed open the heavy doors and made her way into the strategy room, all eyes on her. She approached her seat, Pierce coming to stand by her right flank. "What's the verdict?"

"We've found them," one of the scouts spoke, moving to stand closer to the map. "Where?" Illyria asked, his finger landed on a point in the map. A small underground series of tunnels used as an escape route from the old pack house. Illyria almost screamed at how obvious it was, kicking herself for not checking there first. "What's the plan?" Illyria asked, now looking at Alpha Logan and the two pack's head warriors. "Tonight at dusk, we go in our human forms, hiding our scents, attacking while they switch shifts of patrol. There are two guards and six different points surrounding the perimeter. If we attack in groups we can get them during shift and dissorientate them enough that two other groups and go in and attack the main compound before they can warn them."

Illyria nodded along as Alpha Logan spoke, seeing no flaws in the plan they decided on groups and agreed to meet out infront of the pack house two hours before sundown; three hours from now. Illyria felt a sense of foreboding but shook it off as jitters. Everything would go according to plan. Illyria was a strong believer of thinking things into fruition.

Everything would go according to plan.

And it would.


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