Silver Seren/Derek's Past - Part 2
Derek's Past - Part II by ~silver-seren
Derek's Past - Part 2 Only Power By Silver Seren
“Huff, huff, huff.” There was nothing but movement. Left, right, back, that was all. No time to think of anything else. Reaction was all that mattered. Jaws snapped shut to his left, forcing him to leap to the right. Sweat dripped steadily from the ends of his fur, it already completely matted down. Aches and pains assaulted him, but they had to be ignored.
Derek felt like he was on the point of collapse, much like he had been so many times in the last few days. The claws and teeth kept coming, however, so there wasn’t even a moment of rest available. Forcing his body to keep moving, he barely avoided the myriad of attacks and backed slowly away, panting heavily.
“That’s enough,” a voice spoke, but the meaning didn’t register. His body stayed tense, waiting for the next flurry of blows that he knew had to come. When they didn’t, he blinked and looked around in a confused manner, his eyes blurry. “Derek,” the voice whispered in his ear, causing him to yelp and fall end over end to escape.
Kright laughed heartedly, his barking laughter echoed by the white wolf next to him. Overcoming his surprise, Derek glared at the pair and growled ineffectively. Their laughter eventually died away, though their amusement remained evident in their eyes. “So, Zachary, what’s your opinion of his progress?” Kright asked the white wolf.
Zack rolled his eyes before answering, “Better...slowly. He has potential. Given enough time, he might even be able to beat Lord Logan in combat. Though I did nick him there.” A bloody claw was raised for inspection, the said blood licked away with one swipe of Zack’s tongue. Kright seemed to agree with the assessment and appraised Derek for a long second.
Derek had to try hard not to roll his own eyes or do something else. They always spoke of him like he wasn’t there and they had no qualms about pointing out his deficiencies. It had been aggravating in the beginning, but he was used to it now. Listening without actually hearing, Derek allowed his mind to wander. “Yes, he’s doing quite well. While he is definitely not enough yet to even think of challenging Logan, another should be perfectly alright.”
An eager nod from Zack confirmed this. They both watched Derek patiently and it took a moment for him to understand. His eyes widening, Derek shook his head in a swift motion, his throat dry and raspy when he tried to speak, “Already? But you haven’t taught me any ways to attack, only ways to avoid them. That will only delay things...”
Smirking, a shake of Kright’s head was his only reply and he turned to walk away, Zack copying his movements. A real answer was thrown back at him, “You don’t need to learn any ways to attack. Let your instincts guide you and you’ll do fine. Now hurry up!” Derek chased after them at a slower pace, overcome with exhaustion from the training.
Regardless on whether he was physically ready for a fight or not, his body was physically not in the right state for it. His mentors seemed to understand his weakness and they adjusted their pace accordingly to let him catch up. Both were silent while they walked, not looking at each other or Derek, but straight ahead. The silence turned uncomfortable after the span of only a few seconds, but it was better to keep going and bear it.
Expecting to be on a long trek before they reached whatever destination or took a break, it came as a surprise when Kright diverged at a sharp angle from their path, heading off towards the right. Zack had paused and was looking back at Derek. He nodded and smiled, “I’ll go set everything up. You catch a bit of rest.” Whirling around, he vanished into the woods before Derek could blink.
Standing still for a moment, unsure on what to do, he padded off in the direction that Kright had disappeared in. The wolf was already far from sight, but the scent was fresh and easily traced. Winding his way carefully through the thick underbrush, Derek kept specific attention on where he placed his paws. It would be a suicidal action to enter in any sort of battle injured. The wounds on his side had healed over in the past few days and the fur was beginning to grow back it. That came as some small relief.
The rushing of water reached his ears after a few minutes and he pushed his way past a few final bushes. A small river was flowing in front of him, just ten feet across. It was undoubtedly an offshoot of the larger river he had taken a plunge into a few days previously. Probably just as cold as well, he thought, his parched throat paining him. “Drink,” a familiar voice commanded and Derek obeyed without question or even a glance. Lapping at the ice-cold water, it both hurt and soothed at the same time, leaving behind remnants of mixed physical feelings.
Drinking his fill, Derek stepped back and rested on the ground, watching the flowing water flow past him. It was somewhat comforting. “What happens if I win?” Derek asked in a drowsy voice.
The answer came immediately in a formatted reply, “You will formally become a member of the Pack. You will receive a place in the hierarchy.” He fell silent after this recitation. The tone was neutral, but it still managed to irritate Derek. “But what does that mean?” he demanded impatiently.
Then a sure voice that spoke in a whisper, “It means that we will protect you. You’ll become a part of the...family. We’ll always be there for you.”
Pain, he felt pain, but it wasn’t physical, not in the slightest. Derek’s heart ached in his chest in a way that it never had before. Grief and happiness melded together into an epoxy of pain and hurt. All of the sorrow, the horror, that had been suppressed deep within his psyche now came bubbling to the surface.
It had to.
If he was going to accept any amount of true kindness and happiness, no matter how minute, then he had to come to terms. With himself? With his emotions? He wasn’t sure which, but he knew that he had to. His body trembled as he held in the maelstrom of emotional forces, weathering them, understanding them, but also knowing they were over.
It was right to grieve, to feel sorrow for those loves ones that he had lost, but not for him. Over the past few days, his mind had shielded him from the truth and the reality of things. His parents were dead and they weren’t coming back. But he didn’t have the luxury of mourning time. There could be no weakness or period of grief for them; it just wasn’t possible.
The shuddering gradually died down until it was only the tips of his claws that were shaking. His eyes came into themselves, self awareness brightening. It was then that he noticed Kright staring at him in a very concerned manner. Shaking himself, Derek tried to be reassuring, “I’m fine...sorry.”
The concern didn’t fade as Kright stepped closer, “Are you sure?” He sounded anxious and this surprised Derek. Smiling to himself, he rubbed the side of his muzzle against the broad leg in front of him. There was comfort in doing so, both given and received. Derek nearly laughed when Kright froze at the display of affection, but held the rippling sensation back, barely. This didn’t stop him, however, from continuing to enjoy the feel of fur against his own fur. The softness it created was soothing. Novel, in a way,
Part of him, he was sure, only kept it up because of the uncomfortableness he was giving Kright. Finally, to give a little slack, Derek backed off a little, smirking. The smirk vanished when he saw the look on Kright’s face. It wasn’t angry, as he had suspected it might be, or even annoyed, but somewhat compassionate, though seeming surprised at being so.
This brought a warm smile to Derek and he belatedly answered the question, “Yeah, i’m sure.” Chuckling, Kright licked the top of his student’s head, just as the sound of faint padding steps could be heard. From the sound, Derek could easily tell that it was Zack, but it also seemed unlike him. He was walking slower than usual, which could be a cause for alarm. A nervous glance was shared between teacher and student, but neither moved.
Eventually, Zack stepped out from the trees, concentrating on the grass in between his paws and not on the two people in front of him. “What’s wrong, Zachary?” Kright asked through clenched teeth. Something must have been terribly wrong. There was a pause before an answer was forthcoming, “It’s about the opponent...” Zack muttered under his breath.
The words, even with the tone, must have come as a relief to Kright, for he started breathing again. “Is it someone higher than we expected?” His tone was off-hand, but the look in Zack’s eye continued to be unnerving. There was a nod in reply, “Rolan.” The word meant nothing to Derek, but he was able to grasp that it was a name.
Stiffening beside him, Kright growled menacingly. There was a stunned feeling that pervaded the air around him, before he exploded into unmasked rage, “Is Logan a fool?! Or does he wish to disgrace me by seeing my charge die in combat?” That sent a thrill of fear through Derek. “Why the hell would he place a new-born against one of his elite guard?!” Zack didn’t look up during the tirade, but he shook his head every once in a while and cringed.
Breathing heavily and swearing under his breath, Kright whirled to face the river, his entire body shaking into a blur. Derek had so many questions to ask, with a vice of ice surrounding his heart and palpitating his fear, but Zack discreetly shook his head. So he said nothing.
The only sound was the forest around them and the angry panting from the furious wolf. Time passed and Derek spread out on the ground, panic framed on his face. Zack seemed extremely anxious and he fidgeted from side to side. Kright finally spoke in a whisper, “This changes everything and we don’t have any time to correct it. There’s no time...” His voice sounded hollow and he trembled lightly as he framed the words.
Then he abruptly stated, “Go.” It was a command that neither of them dared ignore, no matter how much they wanted to resist. Derek wanted to say something, anything, but he bit back the words. Turning away with Zack, they both unwillingly tramped towards the trees.
As they reached the edge, Derek thought he heard, or wanted to believe he heard, words drift on the wind behind them, saying, “Don’t die.” The trees enveloped them and a single, solitary tear fell from Derek’s eye to land on the dry, dusty earth.