Endings and Beginnings
Six Months Later
“Oh you are making such a mess!” My girls were getting more oatmeal in their hair then in their mouths, and I laughed as they smeared it around. I wasn’t the only one with this problem; the guys had quickly learned to put the high chairs over a long tarp, and we made two lines with all the toddlers, back to back. I was on breakfast duty this morning with Adam, Steven, Meghan, Adriel and Kushiel, all of us moving along the lines and trying to get the girls to eat. With twenty-three of them, it was a busy time.
They had reached their half-year two weeks ago, but they were all a year old physically. Each around twenty pounds, they had been on solid food for almost two months now. My boobs were still huge as they liked to supplement with momma milk, but we were starting to wean them away from that. They ate like ravenous wolves, until their little bellies were rounded with food. We had them all in diapers only, after breakfast we would turn them over to another group of adults for the bath assembly line before giving them fresh diapers and sun dresses.
Kushiel made sure the next group was ready, then we started to go down the line for cleanup. I’d pick the girl up, Steven would use a big wet towel to get the big chunks off, then Meghan and Adriel would take their diapers off and give them to the group doing baths. Adam and Kushiel would follow behind, wiping off the high chair before putting it back against the wall. When we were done, we’d fold up the tarp and take it outside to be hosed off and dried.
“That wasn’t too bad,” Adam said as he took my hand to lead me back to our room.
“Nothing is as bad as pancake day with all that syrup,” I replied. He winced; the last time we had done this, Crystal had taken her hands, wiped them in syrup, then used them to paint her hair. It took us an hour to bathe everyone that morning. We quickly changed from the scrubs we used for this duty into normal clothes for the day; shorts and a T-shirt for him, and a light sundress for me. With the girls still liking to snack on my milk, the dress made things easy.
All of the parents came to pick their babies up from the communal bath room. Originally designed as a hot tub room, the tiled room with showers along the wall had been filled with small bathtubs instead. The showers were connected to hoses and wand sprayers, and the floor drains took care of the rest. The girls were sprayed down, scrubbed and shampooed in one tub, then handed to another to be rinsed, finally to be dried and dressed before being taken out. It took a dozen people in there to do it, all were nude, of course. The human mates in our group had quickly lost their modesty about nudity after all these months of living with werewolves, for whom it was a normal thing. Most had adopted our loose-fitting clothing and lack of underwear as well. When you want to shift, it’s easy to just pull off and go.
My babies toddled towards me as we reached the door where they were waiting for us. “Hi babies!!” Allison and Crystal stumbled towards me, their walking still not practiced. The girls had been crawling for a month and walking for the last week. I picked the girls up, noisily kissing their cheeks, as Adam picked up Barbara and Danielle. The girls were wearing loose-fitting sun dresses that we had purchased by the case, little flowers and puppies printed on them. We walked out the door and into the grass of the front yard, where we had a fenced area with lots of toys in it. This was our favorite part of the day, watching our babies all play together.
We went into the fenced area, which we set up just to make sure none of them wandered off. I set the girls down, and they ran over to where we had a sandbox set up. The other children were let in, and they went everywhere. Some played with balls, some played on the kiddie swings or in the fort, or just chased each other in the long grass. The weather was perfect for late September; mid sixties, low humidity, and a warm sun low in the sky. It would get hot today, but after lunch and naps we would do other things.
There were enough parents out here, lounging in the comfortable Adirondack chairs that formed a circle inside the fence, that none of the other males were needed. We all chatted about things, mostly about how much our lives had changed. “It’s pretty wild, isn’t it? Where were we last summer? I was living at home, praying to Luna that I wouldn’t find my mate because I was afraid I’d be taken somewhere far away and become the sexual plaything of a man I just met.” Adam squeezed my hand. “OK, so I did, but at least it wasn’t far away!” I giggled as I thought of how fast my attitude towards mating had changed.
“I was divorced, jobless and alone, just traveling and looking for a home,” Mia said.
“You found one,” Snake said as he pulled her tighter to his chest. They had struggled with the idea of Vivian being reincarnated within Kelly’s daughter; Snake didn’t know what to think of his lost love being back, and Mia was threatened by a woman who died long ago. It was Gabriel who helped them understand it was her wolf coming back, not her human side. Her wolf had never bonded with Snake, she accepted him only. It was the human part that had fallen in love with Snake, and she wasn’t coming back. It shouldn’t matter, but if you watched closely you could see how Mia would arrange things so someone else could handle Vivian while she worked with another girl. I hoped that as the girls grew, it would become easier, and they both could accept her with her true mate.
“I couldn’t stand men and I was pissed off at the world,” Mackenzie said as Gabriel held her hand. “I just needed to find the right man.”
“Me too,” said Natalie, “Except I hadn’t given up on men, I was working my way through them until I found a good one.”
We watched the children as they ran around; a game of chase had started, and soon they were all involved. It was hilarious to watch, as they were still unsteady on two legs, and falls were common. “They are a riot,” I said as I watched.
“I’m getting in there,” Michael said, and Steven got up as well. Both pulled off their shirts and dropped their shorts, tossing them back on the chairs, then shifted into their wolves. The girls didn’t notice them at first, so they were nearly to them when they were spotted. The girls shrieked and ran to them as they lay down on the grass, letting the girls climb all over them. I saw Selene run over to Steven, hugging his neck with her chubby little arms. “Daddy!”
She stepped back, pulling her dress off and shifting into her little grey and black wolf. She was easy to identify because of the white tip on her left ear and the white diamond on her chest. I laughed as she mock attacked her Daddy, climbing onto his back and grabbing his scruff with her tiny teeth.
When the other girls saw this, they started pulling their dresses off as well. I got up to collect them as all the girls shifted and started to pile on the two big wolves in the middle. I took my handful of clothes back and set them in Steven’s chair as we all laughed. “I’ll never get tired of watching them,” Meghan said.
“Me either,” Natalie replied. “Babies and puppies, too much cute to handle sometimes.”
“Oh, it’s a fair fight now, but wait a few months until they are fifty pounds each,” Gabriel said with a laugh. “They’re growing so fast.”
“We think they might accelerate growth even more,” Meghan said. “We’ve been charting them, their growth is a function of how much they can eat. As they get bigger, it will get faster.”
“How much faster?”
“They could be adult sized in the next two years if the trend holds. Four years at the outside.” Jaws dropped, we knew they were growing fast, but no one expected it to be that short. “Their mates aren’t getting any older, clearly Luna wants to start the next generation without the long delay.”
“How will they learn? You can’t take all those years of learning and jam them into two years!” Snake shook his head.
“Have you noticed the girls know things without being taught,” I asked them.
“What do you mean?”
“Buttons. I was dressing the girls yesterday, and it was a shirt with buttons. Barbara did it on her own while I was helping Crystal.”
“She could have learned watching you,” Snake said.
“She was done before me,” I said. “This was the first time they’d worn a shirt like that, the others all had snaps or zippers. She knew how to do it, like she’d always known.”
“I guess we’ll find out,” Meghan said. “Luna thought of everything else. She’s not going to have adult shewolves with the brains of a two-year old having sex.”
“That’s a good description of their guys when the blood rushes to their little heads,” Natalie said with a laugh. “Try hiding their toys and watch them throw a tantrum.”
“I’m not ready to talk about my three daughters mating yet,” Snake said. “I’m still trying to get my head around the three daughters part.”
“Speaking of which, when are we going to go for another cycle?” Natalie looked around as the others shook their heads. “What? I loved being pregnant!”
“I’m never having triplets again,” Mia said. “And I’m not getting pregnant until my body recovers from the last round.”
“Maybe after the new year,” Alice said. “I’d like to have my next ones after we return here from Florida.” The Florida clubhouse was now complete, and we were going to head down there after Thanksgiving and spend the winter. Some of the guys, along with Alan and Alice, were staying up here but would come down for the annual Christmas ride.
I watched the puppy piles, the yips and yelps bringing a smile to my face. I’d missed this experience. I’d never had a Pack life, the only wolves I knew were the Knights and they were all old and serious. I only got to be a puppy in the house, since they didn’t have the land to run on until I was much older. Adam and Gabriel stood, disrobed and shifted. Letting out howls, they charged into the pile and were immediately attacked.
”INTRUDERS COMING FROM THE ROAD, OVER A DOZEN, ALL ARMED,” Dumiel shouted over the link. He was on duty in the security room this morning, a room in the basement where all the motion sensors and cameras fed in. The electronic surveillance was supplemented by always having one wolf patrolling our boundary.
“GET THE GIRLS INSIDE,” Gabriel said as he shifted. He grabbed the closest two wolf puppies as the rest of us rushed to help. I grabbed the closest two, not bothering to look for my own. I trusted the others would help.
Turning towards the house, I started running with April and Jessica under my arms. The door was open, I saw Kushiel running out with an AR-15 in his hands, his brother Adriel behind him with a bolt-action scoped rifle and a pistol belt looped over his shoulders. They took off towards the driveway as I ran for the door.
Kelly was waiting for us when I heard the first gunfire. I almost stumbled going up the steps as I felt Kushiel’s pain over the link, and heard him cry out for help, that he was hit. I handed my two to Kelly, telling her to take them downstairs.
“ALLISON!” I looked back, Mia was holding a struggling Barbara as Allison ran towards the road. She screamed in pain, Barbara dropping to the ground as Mia looked at her bleeding hand. She started to chase after the two pups, but in wolf form they were faster than her.
“GET INSIDE,” I told her right before I shifted. Tearing my dress, I ran after my babies who were just disappearing down the driveway. I could hear the gunfire, and felt Adriel’s pain as he was hit. Howling my fury, I tore down the driveway towards the danger.
Bullets started to hit the ground around me as I gained on them. I found Kushiel first, he was on his back behind a large pine tree. Allison was standing over him and growling as best a wolf cub could. Adriel was a little farther up, and Barbara was licking his face, trying to get him up. I ran to them, pulling Adreil behind cover under a downed tree. I could hear the men starting to surround me, a cease fire command had been given. I shifted, turning in fury to the men standing slack-jawed, looking between me and the wolf pups still snarling at them. “WHAT ARE YOU THINKING,” I yelled at the leader. I recognized him, he was one of the unmated Alphas from Chicago, and apparently thought he was entitled to The Last Shewolf.
“Eve,” he said. “You’re alive, and they are…”
“They are my pups, they are the FUTURE of our race, and you come in her shooting the place up? What the FUCK are you thinking?” I walked up to him, pimp-slapping him to the ground.
One of the men with him tossed his weapon down. “I didn’t sign up for this, Alpha. You said she was unmated, she’s clearly not, and she has pups. We should be PROTECTING her, not taking her.” He turned to me. “I’m sorry, so sorry.” He turned and walked away.
“He’s right,” another man said as he dropped his rifle. “This isn’t how I was raised.”
Soon, the Alpha stood alone as my Pack surrounded me, the wolves growling, the ones in human form brandishing their weapons.
“Don’t hurt the others, question and release them,” I told the Pack over the link. They had surrendered, that would be honored. It was their leader, their Alpha, who needed to be judged. “Take him. He is to be tried and sentenced,” I said.
Snake screeched to a halt in an SUV, immediately Meghan jumped out one side and Terrance out the other. Each ran to a downed wolf, as my daughters were pulled struggling from on top of them. I was handed Allison first, and I commanded her to shift back. Her fur turned to skin as she shifted in my hands. “MINES,” she said as she reached for Kushiel. “MINES HURT.”
I held her to my chest as she cried and struggled. “Shhh, honey, Kushiel will be fine,” I said as I watched Meghan work. “What do you mean by mines?”
“Wolfy said ’Shiel MINES!”
I handed Allison off to her father, who had just arrived and shifted. “How…” he started to say, then just held her as she cried for her mate. Barbara was just as upset, screaming and struggling to get out of Azazel’s arms. I took her, trying to comfort her as she cried about her ‘Riel’.
Theresa drove up with our ambulance, and Snake had to move the SUV out of the way so she could turn around in the clearing just ahead. Kushiel was moved first on a backboard, he’d taken a round to the stomach and I could see a clamp sticking out of his stomach, Meghan having opened the wound to clamp the artery that had been clipped. “Go,” Terrance said. “Areil isn’t bad, he took a round through the thigh and it struck his femur. We’ll carry him back.”
As soon as Meghan closed the doors, they were off. Snake came to stand next to me, giving me a hug. “Take the little ones away, they don’t need to see this,” he said. Adam nodded, placing his free hand on my back he led me back to the SUV that had been left there. We sat in the back, our crying girls on our lap, and held them as we were driven back to the Pack House.
We all jumped when we heard the shot.
I looked at the piece of shit Alpha who had hurt my friends and threatened my children. He was on his knees, shaking, his arms held by two werewolves. “What did you come here for?”
“For Eve, of course,” he said. “I never believed she was truly dead, and after we placed the tracking devices on your cars, we found your hiding place. She’s mated with pups, though. I did not expect that.”
“You were never her true mate, that is the man who was with her. Last words?”
“I was a fool,” he said. “I pray that Luna will forgive me.”
“I hope so too, because I won’t.” I raised my pistol, firing before he raised his head. The .45 ACP round blasted through his forehead and out the back, spraying brains all over. Some of the guys looked at me as they wiped the blood off. “Sorry,” I said. “Let’s go find out what the others have said.”
They were being held in a circle, Steven was overseeing the questioning. When we showed up, he pulled me aside. “Pres, they aren’t a threat. Several have asked if they can join us, but I told them all to just stay clear of us. We have all their names and addresses, and they have promised to leave us alone if we let them go.”
“Who shot our men?”
“Hard to tell. It doesn’t really matter, they were told to shoot any men they saw.”
“The one responsible is dead. Let me talk to them.” I walked over to where they were sitting on the leaf litter near where their vehicles had been parked. When the alarm was raised, so was the vehicle barrier that stopped them and forced them to advance on foot. “My name is Snake, I’m the President of the Northwoods Riders. Eve and her children, all of the children, are under our protection. The Knights of the Moon have been folded into our club, we stand together on this.”
“All the children?” One of the men looked up in wonder. “There are more than those two?”
“Yes,” I said. “Luna’s curse is over, and we will rebuild our species again. Go home, think about what our old ways led to, about what you have become. Pray that she forgives you and your wolf is allowed to return in another body someday.”
“I will,” the man said. “If you require anything of us, we are in your debt. Even without that, we will do what is needed to protect the next generations.”
“Go in peace,” I told them. They got up and walked back to their vehicles, climbing in and backing out the driveway. “Trackers in place?”
“Yes, and alarmed if they get within ten miles of here or the other homes,” Steven replied.
“Send full patrols out, make sure nothing and no one else is on our territory. Take the arms we confiscated and add them to the armory.”
“Already being done, boss.” He smiled a little. “The men did well. If it wasn’t for the girls taking off for their mates, the response time was good. Everyone would have been in the safe room well before they were in range.”
“Mates.” I shook my head. “How the hell did they recognize those two as their mates? I thought you didn’t know until…”
“Until one is eighteen,” Steven said. “Since they are so young, I doubt Adriel or Kushiel even knew, but their wolves did. They are young girls, but if the wolves remember their past incarnation, they would recognize the scent of their mate. I’m sure the wolf was holding back until she was of age, but with the mate in danger, their wolves reacted.”
“Terrance was right, their true mates are right here.”
“Yes.” Steven started walking me back up the drive. “It’s something I have to get used to as well, we all will. Our daughters will grow quickly, Snake. We don’t have much time to accept that.”
We walked in silence for a while, finally reaching the home. The alert had been cancelled, and Mia and the girls met me out in the fenced area. They had stayed in wolf form, all the girls had, their wolves felt safer that way. “How are Adriel and Kushiel doing?”
“Adriel is waiting for Kushiel’s surgery to finish, he’s awake and will be fine. Theresa said they need to set the bone and clean the wound. Kushiel will be all right, he lost a lot of blood, his stomach and liver were hit.”
“So nothing we can do?”
She shook her head. “It will be another hour or so, then they will be asleep until late this afternoon.”
I looked at the group of people, everyone was nervous, and we needed to relax. “Staying here won’t help those two. Other than the doctors and Theresa, who else is in there?”
“Eve, Adam and their girls,” Gabriel said. “Barbara is tucked up on Adriel’s chest, she won’t move and he’s calmer with her there. Allison is waiting with the other girls for Kushiel to get out of surgery.”
“Let’s take them to the creek,” I said. “The girls will love playing in the water, chasing fish, and pretty soon it will be too cold for that. The activity will tire them out.”
“What about lunch?”
“I’ll go in with a few of the guys and we’ll pack some coolers, we can eat there. We’ll bring towels and everything.” Ten minutes later, the women save Eve were leading the pups into the woods, a dozen men in wolf form circling them to make sure no one got lost. I knew it was going to take a while, the pups were running around smelling things and playing, but it was only a short distance away.
An hour later, six of us lugging coolers of food and backpacks stuffed with towels broke through the shrubs and took in the sight. The women were spread around, Mia guarding the deeper water while the others sunbathed nude or swam in the five-foot-deep pool under the small waterfall. The pups were all soaked but were having a grand time, play wrestling, chasing minnows and splashing. I was glad the stream ran through gravel and rock instead of mud. We found an area of level ground in the sun, and laid out the blankets then the food. “LUNCH TIME,” I yelled to them.
The pups all started running towards me, but I held up my hand. “Shake first, then shift back to human form so we can dry you off,” I told them. The nineteen pups had water flying everywhere as they shook out their fur, then after they were dried we pulled a fresh sundress over them. The adults pulled on T-shirts and shorts, and we all sat down to eat macaroni and cheese, applesauce and cookies.
The male werewolves all broke out in a smile. “Kushiel is out of surgery, he will be fine in a week,” he said. “Adriel is in now, he will be on his feet in a few days.”
“She crawled up onto his bed, put her head on his shoulder and fell asleep,” he said.
I looked around, the children now being fed were starting to get tired. I got everything cleaned up from lunch, and we got all their faces and hands wiped off. “We should head back for naps,” I said. “Wolf run or walk?”
“WOOF! WOOF!” The girls all stood and pulled off their dresses, shifting into their wolves. I watched them run off under the watchful eyes of their family.
Family. The best thing about our Club was we were all one big family, and I loved them all.
“I love you, Snake,” Mia said as she hugged me from behind. “I love all of this.” I turned and kissed her hard. “MINES,” I said when we came up for air.
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