A Leader Must Rise

Chapter 1: Nightmares

Patrolling deep in a luxuriant forest, Killian knew three things for sure. First, nature had a delicate balance of order and chaos. Second, apart from the repetitive claps of thunder, the forest was eerily quiet. Third, this storm wasn natural. Killian frowned as dark clouds consumed the night sky, descending the woods into a sombre tone. He flinched and shielded his eyes at the first flash of lightning. His patrol group likewise cringed at its intensity.

Where did this storm come from? a member of his patrol said before he changed from wolf form to human. There wasn a storm in the weather forecast this morning. Killian nodded as the other members growled in agreement. He turned his head as another member shifted, the air pulsing in time with the wind.

Theres no way this is natural, she said as she adjusted her sports bra.

Its not, Killian said, heres something more to this storm that meets the eye. The group paused, those in still in wolf form growled as their fur bristled and pranced nervously at another thunderclap.

The air, its…not raging exactly, but it almost feels like its searching, one said.

Searching? For what? the woman asked. Killian frowned as he picked up on the same thing, but he couldn contemplate further when a sharp pain entered his abdomen. He staggered into a tree, breathing heavily as his team crowded around him in confusion and worry. The woman kneeled beside him, asking questions he could not hear. His wolf howled inside him, his excitement and slight fear collided into Killians chest.

Gunnolf, what is it? Is Sierra all right? Killian asked frantically, worry and fear chewing him as his wolf pranced inside his head.

Shes in labour! his wolf barked, and Killian froze. All previous thoughts of the suspicious storm ceased, replaced by the utter joy and excitement at the news.

Shes in labour, he whispered before he gazed up at his team in shock. My mate is in labour! The group cheered and howled, the woman slapping him in the back as the man helped him to his feet.

Why are you standing around here for? Get going! he said.

Will you be all right until someone replaces me? Killian asked.

Well be fine, but you won be if you
e late, the woman said.

Sheila is right, Killian. Sierra will punish you if you don get there asap, the man said, and Killian shuddered. He muttered a quick thanks and allowed Gunnolf to take control, who took off once the change was complete. He howled as he zipped through the underbrush, both man and wolf were so focused returning to their mate, they missed the thunder increasing in intensity and velocity.

Gunnolf quickened his stride when the alpha responded to his howl, unaware that the wind seemed to help him along. He barked gratefully as the replacement raced passed him and the pack member howling in congratulations. Gunnolf ears perked up as he felt his mate open their link, her growl vibrating through the pair of them.

Killian, Sierra yelled, and Killian flinched, causing Gunnolf to falter in his stride.

We
e coming, love. We
e on our way, Killian said. Are you in much pain?

Much pain? Much pain?! Im giving birth to your second child here, of course, Im going to be in **ing pain!

That was a stupid question, Gunnolf teased, and Killian mentally shoved him, nearly running him into a tree when he did.

Concentrate on getting to her, idiot.

If you
e not here in the next thirty seconds, Ill personally remove your balls, Sierra threatened, and Gunnolf yelped, tripling his pace until he came to a sliding halt in front of the packhouse. They quickly changed from wolf form to human, Killian mentally yelling hes there as their firstborn approached him.

Daddy.

Justin, did you miss Daddy? Killian asked as he placed his son on his hip, cradling him to his torso securely.

Uh-huh, uh-huh, Justin nodded as he clung to his fathers neck. Whewes Mummy?

In this room but shes a little busy, buddy. Why don you play with Mason over there while Ill see whats taking so long, Killian said, pointing to where his nephew was playing with building bricks.

Oh-kay, he replied before he ran over to his cousin. Killian breath of relief was short-lived when Sierra yelled his name. He jumped into action, barely managing a wave at his mates family.

Im here, love, he said as he closed the door and rushed to her bedside. Even with her raven black hair sticking to her forehead and her skin coated in a fine layer of sweat, he still viewed her as the most beautiful woman in the world. Although he knew her current attitude was something to be desired.

Never again, you hear me, asshole! Never again, she yelled as the next contraction hit her and Gunnolf whimpered. Despite the threat of possible breakage, Killian took hold of her hand and laced their fingers together.

Yes, maam, he replied submissively.

All right, this baby is not waiting. Sierra, I want you to push on your next contraction, the pack physician, Dr Doc Hudson, said.

Where did this storm come from? the nurse, Clare said as she readied the equipment needed. Killian frowned and followed her gaze to the window; rain hammered against the glass, lightning flashing every few minutes and the wind ragging enough to strip the trees of their leaves.

Im not sure, but its not—Ah! Killian shouted in pain as his mate screamed, her hand tightly squeezing his. The bones creaked and snapped, his alpha mate digging crescent-shaped scratches into the back of his hand. Sierra gasped and slumped back as the contraction passed, releasing his hand long enough for it to heal and retaking hold of it.

You bastard, she croaked, and Killian smiled sheepishly. She snorted and managed a smile herself before the next contraction hit. The minutes ticked by as Killian watched Sierra scream and curse through her labour. Both breathed a sigh a relief when the baby was finally free, Sierra collapsing into the bedding with an exhausted gasp.

There you are—oh, Doc whispered. Killian was on instantly alert, paternal instincts kicking in.

What? both asked worriedly.

This pup is a girl, he replied. Bewildered, Killian squeezed Sierras hand and moved closer to the doctor.

I thought you said a boy? Sierra asked.

Im sure I saw a little boy, Doc said. Before Sierra could make a reply, all four jumped when lightning flashed right by the window. The following thunder was loud enough to shake the house. Killian watched the window for a moment, noting how it was worsening by the minute. His concerned were waylaid, however, when he noticed a particular sound missing.

Why isn she crying?

Im not sure, shes breathing nicely, he whispered confused.

Is that normal? Sierra asked.

No, Doc said and jumped at Sierras sudden shout of pain, startling the hell out of the four them. Yet, the baby didn utter a single cry. Killian frowned and flinched as a broken branch struck the window, the glass cracking with the impact.

Clare, take the girl, get her cleaned up and check her for undeveloped organs, Doc said as he handed the baby off to her and returning his attention to Sierra, removing his stethoscope from around his neck and placed the chest piece on Sierras stomach.

Goddess…you
e having twins, he said.

Twins?! Killian and Sierra yelled.

We are so dead, Gunnolf whimpered as Killian asked, I thought you said we were having one?

Thats what I said, yes but your daughter must be smaller than the baby we saw on the ultrasound. And I believe one heartbeat is in similar sync with the other; its the only reason I can think of why I didn discover this in the first place. Okay, Sierra, push now, Doc said, and Sierra screamed yet again. Killian chewed on his bottom lip and eyed the window, the crack expanding by the minute.

Shouldn we move? he asked, and Doc shook his head.

Not in mid-labour, he replied, and for the next two minutes, Killian waited apprehensively for the third pup to be born.

One more push, Sierra and well have him, Doc said, and the woman screamed for one more time before slumping against the bed. And heres your baby boy. Doc glanced at Killian as he moved away from Sierra to let other nurses clean her up. Killian met him halfway and peered down at his messy and loud son.

Hey, baby boy, he whispered as Clara returned with his daughter.

Heres your daughter, Killian. Twins? she asked after handing him his daughter, noticing the baby in Docs arms.

Yes, surprisingly.

You
e usually spot on, Doc, Clara said as she took the boy from the doctor.

I know, thats what worries me.

Oh, shut up. So, you were wrong for once, that just means you
e human like the rest of us, Sierra butted in, and Doc snorted.

Half-human.

Semantics, she replied. Killian rolled his eyes before wandering closer to her bedside.

Anything undeveloped in the girl? Doc asked before Clara could leave.

Nothing I could find, and I particularly don want an angry mother after me when I put her in the MRI. I did that once before; Im not doing that again, she said, shutting the door behind her.

Ill leave you with your daughter; your son should be back shortly. If you need me, Ill be filling in the birth certificates, Doc said before he left as well with the rest of the nursing staff. Killian turned to his mate with a nervous laugh.

Well, you
e done now, he yelped as Sierra fisted the collar of his shirt and dragged him down to her level. He cradled his daughter carefully as slight tremors rocked his body at the intensity of her sapphire and emerald eyes.

Don get your hopes up, boy. Once I can feel my legs again, Ill have you on edge for the six months I endured carrying these twins. Maybe then youll understand not to get me pregnant again, Killian shivered at the promise in her tone. Am I clear?

Damn, thats sexy, Gunnolf swooned.

Shut up, Gunny, Killian groaned as he nodded his head.

Pardon?

Yes, Mistress, he whispered and lowered his eyes in respect for his dominate mate.

Good. Now, hand me, my daughter. Killian hesitantly handed her over, trying not to disturb her from her sleep. He jumped slightly as another bang and crack came from the window, another fracture joining the first.

How strange, Sierra muttered, and Killian nodded.

Daddy? both Sierra and Killian turned to the door as their son hobbled in with Mason behind him.

Come here, baby boy, Killian called. Justin ran over, giggling as hes picked up and placed on the bed.

Hey, baby, Sierra whispered as he laid beside her and gazed at his sister curiously. Killian smiled at them gleefully, now unconcerned for the storm raging outside.

We allowed in? Helena, Sierras older sister, said as she walked into the room.

You ask whether you
e allowed in, yet you walk in any way? Killian joked, and she smirked.

Eh, you know I wasn one for waiting, she replied and her mate, Simon rolled his eyes before he picked up their son.

Just say you
e impatient and be done with it, he muttered.

Sis, don start, Sierra warned, and Helena stuck her tongue out. Child.

Shes my child though, Simon said, and Helena smirked.

Really? You weren saying that last night, she said. Simon turned bright red.

What happened last night? Mason asked innocently. Simons blush darkened as Helena burst out laughing. Killian covered his mouth to keep from laughing himself.

Hey, sis, the shy voice of Sierras twin, Callum interrupted the upcoming teasing and shuffled into the room. Sierra smiled softly at her brother, rotating her wrist for him to take her hand. He was an omega at birth, making him smaller and more diffident than his sisters. It made his pairing with Sierra even more unique. It was uncommonly rare for a set of twins to be born as an alpha and omega pairing; it only happened every two centuries. Killian was still amazed at their proximity to each other.

Hey, Cal, Helena immediately softened at her brother and moved to stand beside him.

Are you okay? he asked Sierra.

Oh, never better, Sierra sarcastically replied while giving Killian a pointed look.

Uh, whats beyond dead? Gunnolf asked as Killian curled into himself. Callum giggled into his free hand and huddled against his older sister.

Oh, for the Goddess sake, shes not going to do anything to you right this second, Helena said. Killian looked at her with horror.

You just said it, he said, his second.

No fighting in my birth suite, please, Doc said as he reappeared with the baby boy.

Uh, did someone else gives birth today? Simon asked, cutting off Helenas attempt to mock the doctor about his choice of words.

No. Heres your son, Killian, Doc said. He smirked at the doctors blunt attitude.

Twins? Callum asked. Killian nodded.

Now I understand, Helena laughed. You are so dead.

Whose dead? Roran, Callums mate asked as he entered the room. The omega giggled as he flounced over to him.

Roran, Killian knocked Sierra up with twins, he said. Roran looked at his brother-in-law with sympathy.

Dead is an understatement, Killian nodded in agreement and eyed the only alpha male in the room. Roran was the alpha wolf in the pack they found sanctuary in, Lupus Luna. He was a large man with bulging muscles, his dark brown hair and eyes made him look more imitating than he was, but he looked soft as he carried his five-month-old son, Jacob.

Knock it off, Roran, Sierra said, and the man bowed his head.

Still haven gotten used to that, Killian said.

I wonder where she gets it from, Gunnolf replied.

You and me both.

Anyone thought of names? Doc asked.

We already had our sons name picked out, Andrew Alexander Knight. Our daughter was an unexpected addition, he said as his son yawned in his arms. Doc wrote down on one of the certificates and gazed between them for the girls name.

Mummy? Justin called. Sierra looked down at him as he gazed at his sister.

Juste, this is your sister, she whispered, and Justin looked from his mother to his sister several times before settled on his sister again.

Sis-ta?

Thats right, buddy, and this is your brother, Killian said as he walked closer to the bed again.

Brod-da? he said. Killian nodded, lowering his newborn son so he could get a closer look.

So, names for the girl? Helena asked before she yelped as another branch hit the window. A chip fell from where three fractures meet, the wind whistling through the tiny hole.

Now I have to replace that window, Roran grumbled as the doctor groaned.

I think Ill move you to another room, Sierra. One more hit and that window will shatter, Doc said. Sierra nodded.

First things first, names? she asked, but Killian was more focused on his eldest son. She followed his gaze, and the pair of them watched as Justin looked from his sister to the window and back again.

Justin? Sierra called as he placed a hand on his sister.

Ari, he whispered before he looked up at his parents. Ari, Ari, Ari. Justin bounced up and down with increasing enthusiasm and excitement. Lightning flashed, and thunder answered in the distance, almost simultaneously with each bounce. Killian shook off that realisation as coincidence, glancing at his mate.

Aria?

Aria Wolfe Knight, she whispered, and Doc smiled as he wrote it down. The whistling turned into a howl, the glass shattering by the sheer force of the wind. Lightning suddenly increase in numbers, some striking around the perimeter of the house. The velocity of the thunder grew so instantly, the foundations of the house trembled and groaned under the onslaught. Sierra shouted in alarm, shielding their daughter as Killian protected their sons from the calamity. The artificial lights brightened to a blinding degree, waking the sleeping twins. Andrew squirmed in his fathers grasp, crying and reaching out towards his sister. Soothing his son, Killian glanced up as Sierra leaned back with her mouth open in shock. She was peering down at their daughter; her fluttering eyelids revealed golden irises. Aria released an ear-piercing scream, and everyone dropped to one knee as the power cut out. The storm tripled in intensity; the house groaning against the wind, thunder overlapping each other and lightning strikes seconds apart. It continued to build until all the lightning strikes appeared as one and a massive explosion shook the very earth. Then nothing.

There was no howling, no thunder, no flashes of light…everything was still.

Everyone was scared to move, a tremendous pressure weighing them down. Killian was familiar with this sort of pressure, he had experienced his mate push her authority over him before, but it was never like this. Her power felt like a gentle caress, a blanket of protection and reassurance: this pressure made it hard to breathe, their bodies quivering with the strain of remaining on one knee. Whats more, it was like time itself had stopped—it felt like the silence before a great battle cry. It was disturbing for them.

A small whimper broke the silence, and the pressure was lifted. Golden light illuminated the room; a roll of thunder answering in the distance. Everyone stayed still for a moment longer, but at Sierras gasp, Killian stood like fire was at his heels. He froze at the sight of his daughter. Sierra had removed the blanket, revealing her tiny body shining with delicately thin markings. The colour was as pure as sunshine gold, shimmering like the moonlight on sleepless waters. Her golden eyes shone as equally bright, gazing at the window with wonder. Killian followed her line of sight, feeling shocked and suspicious to see the clouds dispersing as quickly as they arrived.

Killian, Sierra called, her voice quivering. Killian glanced down to check over their sons and nearly jumped as the same golden glow peered back at him.

Whats happening? Helena muttered.

Am I dreaming? Killian asked Gunnolf as the golden light began to fade.

…No, Killian gazed at Sierra bewildered as the lights flickered back on, both unsure what to do or what to think.

Okay…Doc, whatever you saw, doesn leave this room, understood? Roran said as he stood.

Y-Yes, Alpha, Doc shakily replied. Ill finish these and get them laminated.

Sierra, Killian, until we figure out what just happened, I think itll be best if you go into hiding, Roran said as the doctor left.

No, Sierra growled.

Sister—

No, she yelled, I will not be seen as a coward. Helena flinched at her tone and bowed her head.

Sierra held Aria closer to her bosom, her voice hard and as cold as ice, But if you think its the best for the pack, well leave.

…Im sorry, Sierra. Roran did look sincere, but Sierra was not having any of it.

N-No, Callum whimpered.

Well go with her, just until we find a pack of our own, Helena said.

All right, Roran said regrettably.

Don go.

Im so sorry, baby brother, Helena sighed and hugged him tightly.

I don want you to go.

Neither do we, Cal but your mate must do whats best for the pack, Sierra said, shooting her brother-in-law a filthy glare. Roran flinched and looked away.

…Once Doc clears you, well help you find somewhere to go, he said.

No! Callum yelled. Helena sighed, guiding her sobbing brother outside. Roran, looking regretful and pale, followed after them.

Everything will be okay, Simon said, squeezing Killians shoulder in comfort before leaving with Mason. Killian turned his fearful gaze at his mate, the same fear reflecting at him.

What was that light? Are they blessed or cursed? her voice was choked with tears, How are we going to protect them if we don know which it is?

Well find out, love, he reassured her. As Simon says, everything will be okay. That, at least, brought a smile to her face.

I hope, he added silently as the pair of them watched their children sleep the night away.

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