XXXII | still have mine.

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It was a different kind of quiet. Jack's heart had been fuzzy, like static on a television screen; sometimes you could almost see the outlines of images through it. But Kaleb's screen was utterly black. There was nothing. 

Kaleb whipped his arm away, "Don't touch me, Kaia. I can tell when you're trying to read me."

"Kaleb is this supposed to be a joke?" Lionel asked, glancing nervously at Kaia and Kaleb. 

Kaleb just stared at Lionel for a moment before tearing his best friend apart, "Are you and Cole supposed to be a joke?"

Lionel's face went bright red immediately, and he stumbled backwards as if Kaleb had physically punched him. "Kaleb!" Kaia scolded. 

He simply looked down at her, his face blank. "He's a Hunter. He's your brother. He's not interested," Kaleb explained, "Just get over it." And with that, Kaleb walked past both of them and left the room. Kaia stood frozen for a moment, staring after him. 

"That's not Kaleb, is it?" Lionel asked, looking at Kaia, "Please say no." His eyes were begging. Kaia felt a stab of pain. 

"It's Kaleb," Kaia said sadly, "But something's happened to him. When I touched him, he..." Kaia wasn't sure how to describe it to another person who wasn't Kaleb. 

"Something's changed," Lionel finished for her. That was good enough for now. 

Kaia nodded and looked at Lionel, touching his arm gently, "He didn't mean a word of that; he doesn't know what he's talking about. You know that, right?" Lionel nodded slowly. Kaia smiled softly, "I don't know much about it, but I can see the way you look at Cole. You have my blessing, not that you needed it." 

Lionel stared at her for a moment like he wanted to say something more, but instead settled with, "We need to do something about Kaleb." 

Kaia felt a two ton weight slam back down on her shoulders. She nodded. "We can figure this out. I think first thing's first, we need to make sure that the majority of the Pack doesn't find out. We can tell Rosy, Ben, and Elias to start, but no one else. People might panic." 

"Rosy and Ben aren't going to take this well," Lionel mumbled, slightly lost in thought, "He's like their son."

"Lion, we need to try and bring him back. I don't know what happened, but I'm pretty sure it was Jack. It's the only thing that makes sense," Kaia said. He'd been fine when they'd fallen asleep together, more than fine. And then Kaia had woken up to a nightmare. 

"How do we do that?" Lionel asked, staring at her. 

"Stage 1, we trap him before he can do any damage. We can't let him issue the order to execute Jack's captured Pack members or something else equally disastrous," Kaia said, heading out the door. Lionel followed on her heels. "We need to get him in a room and see if we can jar him back to himself. Whatever Jack did, we can try and undo it. I can try to undo it."

Lionel managed a smirk, "Are you going to kiss him and hope true love's kiss wakes him up?" 

Kaia stopped walking for a second and looked at Lionel. He was smiling, but his eyes were sad. "No not the time for jokes," Kaia said, "...But thanks." Lionel, always there to make you smile when you most needed it. Kaia hoped he never changed. 

Kaleb was sitting at the table in the middle of the room, fuming and nursing the brand new deep cut on his forehead. Elias had put his rings to good use to get Kaleb where they wanted him; it wasn't like he would have gone willingly. Elias was honestly a force of nature. 

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