I slowed to a quick trot, not really sure where I was going, but not needing to hurry as much. I doubted they could track me. According to Skye my wolf smelled just like the forest under a full moon. A startled deer bolted across my path and I gave chase, momentarily forgetting about Skye on my back. She swerved around trees and jumped fallen logs but I was hot on her tail. Wolves are distance runners while deer are more of short distance sprinters. Soon I had my jaws clamped around her throat and her heart slowed to a stop.
Skye patted my head. “Well done. Do you mind crouching so I can get down? I would like to shift and see if I can scare up some rabbits.” I obliged and crouched by my kill and Skye got off, slightly wobbly. “Thanks.” He said smiling. “For everything.” I nodded and he went off around a tree. When he came back he was in wolf form. He was a bit smaller than me and had a thicker build with dark grey fur. He lowered his eyes submissively as he approached. ‘Alpha.’ He thought. The message surprised me. He accepted me as his alpha making us a tiny pack unit. I missed having voices in my head. To anyone else that would sound crazy, but wolves are social animals, and I had been very lonely.
In the Shaded Paws pack, I had never accepted Greyson as my alpha so I had never been a full part of the pack. I still wasn't sure why I occasionally had snip-its of their memories in my head but it was a question for another time. For ten years the only constant companion in my head had been Silver.
I walked up to Skye and stuck my nose into the fur on his shoulder breathing in his scent and committing it to memory. He smelled like the lazy heat of the sun settling in a pine forest. Kinda made me drowsy. ‘You can share the deer with me if you want.’ Skye wagged his tail and accompanied me back to the fallen doe. He stayed a few paces back as I dug into the warm carcass. When I had eaten my fill Skye slowly approached and settled beside me eating what I had left while I chewed on a bone. ‘Thank you.’ He murmured when I tucked myself beside him under a cedar tree. ‘For what?’ I asked tucking my nose under my tail. ‘Trusting me.’ Was the last thing I heard before I fell asleep.
By the end of the next day a mountain range loomed before us and we were going to have to cross them. ‘That’s going to be a bitch to get over.’ I grumbled mentally. “They’re not so big, my main concern is food. I say we spend two days here catching a lot of deer and rabbits and fish if we can, and then smoking it to take with us.” I nodded absently in agreement. ‘Good plan.’ Skye jumped down off my back and shifted after putting his clothes in the fork of a branch. ‘I’ll start hunting, you rest.’ He wagged his tail and bumped my flank before setting off into the surrounding woods. I hoped we weren't too much farther from home. The longing in my heart to see my friends and family again was a heavy stone in my chest.
Night had fallen when I opened my eyes from a very unexpected nap. The moon was high in the sky and glowing like a pearl, soothing my frazzled nerves. “There’s enough for you to eat. I already set most of it aside to cook.” Turning my head I spied Skye by a small fire surrounded by drying racks make from green sticks and bark. ‘Thanks.’ Hauling myself to my feet I approached the carcass of an elk and dug in. We had been traveling for a week in what I hoped was the right direction. Doc. rode on my back for most of the time being unused to long distance travel. But at night he would shift and catch me something to eat and curl himself around me protectively while we slept. I didn’t really need the protection, but it felt nice. By the end of the week I was paw sore and travel weary, Doc. was trying to persuade me to rest or let him carry me but I wasn’t hearing any of it. In another few days, I smelled something familiar in the wind. We were almost home!
I took off running with renewed energy and felt a shiver run down my spine. We were in my old pack territory. I was sprinting on bleeding pads, and breathing hard but I was excited. Suddenly a blur barreled into my side. Skye went flying away from me as I crashed into a tree. I tried to stand and a huge wolf pinned me with a paw on my throat.The other wolf growled and I could feel the beta power in him. He thought I was a rouge and was expecting me to drop my eyes in response to him being a beta. He prepared himself to bite down on my neck and kill me but Skye forced himself between us arms spread. “Stop!”
The other wolf faltered, eyes going wide as he stared at Skye. Now that I wasn’t being attacked I took the time to examine the wolf that had attacked me. He was dark brown with a white V running down his chest. Wait... Thomas?
“Mate.” Doc. whispered. Thomas looked down at Skye and his gaze softened. Thomas was Skye’s mate? That’s adorable! I gently nudged Skye forward toward Thomas who was growling at me again. ‘He’s just being protective over his mate.’ Silver told me. I nodded mentally watching as Doc. stepped up and hugged Thomas, burying his face above the point of the V. My adrenaline high wore off and I slumped down against the tree. Skye turned back to me worriedly and took one step before Thomas was blocking his way and snarling at me again. “Knock it off.” Doc. pushed his way around Thomas to scold him. Thomas looked startled but relaxed. I could feel the calming effect my omega friend had on my childhood friend.
Two more wolves stepped out from the trees and flanked Thomas both growling at Skye and me. I was too tired to fight, and I was sad. I finally make it home and the don’t recognize me. If they killed me at least I’ll die free. Thomas growled at the flanking wolves for growling at his mate and I closed my eyes. “Hey Kendra, no! Stay with me sweetheart! You’re home now, you gotta stay awake.” I could feel Skye petting me. “Come on honey open those beautiful blue eyes of yours.” He begged and I could hear tears in his eyes. I struggled to open my eyes and lift my head, Doc. slowly came into focus. “Oh Goddess, Kendra? Kendra I’m so sorry. I didn’t recognize you. Thomas came into view crouching beside Skye, tears in his eyes. I could hear the startled gasps of the other two wolves. “Kendra honey can you shift so we can get you home. You’re almost there.” I nodded weakly and closed my eyes the shift felt slow but soon I felt the forest floor under my bare skin. “Go tell the alpha, his daughter has come home.”
I was barely conscious but I felt someone pick me up and set me on the back of a wolf then settle them self behind me. “Are you sure you can carry two?” I dimly heard Skye ask. The wolf beneath us huffed and took off towards the main house. The sound of people talking gradually grew louder as I lolled against Skye’s chest. I was too weak to do anything about covering my modesty. I didn’t really care anyway I had grown up here, these people all knew me, at least they used to.
“Kendra! My baby!” I heard my father’s voice growing near and I tried to open my eyes. “Dad?” My voice was barely a hoarse whisper but I felt him pluck me off the wolf’s back, I assumed it was Thomas. “Oh my little princess.” He had me cradled to his chest and I felt his tears landing on me. I heard a pair of feet hit the ground and a wolf shifting, then Thomas spoke. “Alpha Reed.” He said respectfully. “Thomas what is this rouge doing so far into our territory?” My father asked, I could hear the hostility in his tone. The pack must have grown even more wary of rouges after my abduction.
“With all due respect alpha, he’s the one who brought her here, or rather she brought him. And he’s my mate.” Thomas said boldly. I could feel my father stiffen in shock, then he relaxed. “Then you are welcome here. Please excuse me, I need to see to the health of my daughter. If you wish we can hold a ceremony to welcome you into the pack once she is well.” Skye cleared his throat and spoke timidly. “If I may sir, I am a doctor and I owe Kendra my life and my freedom. I would be honored if you allowed me to tend to her.” I could feel my father nod. “Follow me then, and Thomas?”
“Yes alpha?” My father chuckled. “Put some pants on boy.”
I peeked out through my lashes at the white and very well lit room and groaned. “How do you feel?” I tracked his voice to the chair next to the bed I lay on. “I have the strangest sense on deja vu Doc.” I croaked. “I believe it, but this time you’re home safe and sound.” I sighed and relaxed back into the bed. “How long was I out?” I asked worried. “Only about a day and a half. You’re recovering shockingly well. Would you like to see your father?” I nodded eagerly and Skye stood up to get him. Skye looked horrible. His hair was messy, and he had dark circles under his eyes. “Get some sleep Doc. You deserve it.” I called after him.
“Kendra!” My father pushed into the room minutes later and knelt beside my bed clasping my small hand in his big ones. “Thank the Goddess you’re awake. I’ve been out of my mind with worry.” I smiled at him reassuringly. “Don’t worry dad, I’m home now, and I don’t intend in leaving.” Lily burst into the room with Thomas and another man trailing her. ” Kendra!” She shrieked and threw herself at me. “Lily dear please be careful, you mustn’t exert yourself.” The man said. “Oh hush Ryan.” Lily scolded fondly, smiling ear to ear. "I still have several months before I get delicate."
“Good morning sleeping beauty. Welcome back to the land of the living.” Thomas said from the foot of my bed. “Glad to be here Thomas. Very glad to be here.”
“Kendra you’re a stick!” Lily exclaimed horrified. “You don’t even have enough fat to have boobs!” I laughed at her comment so happy to be where I was. “I know, but now that I’m back, I intend on eating you out of house and home.”
“What happened to you baby? We searched for you for a full month but never found a trace of you or the bastard that took you from us.” I turned my head to look into my father’s sad blue eyes. He blamed himself for my disappearance. “Papa...” I set my free hand on his cheek. “Don’t beat yourself up about it, I ended up on the other side of the mountains in a very sexist pack that has completely gone against everything the moon goddess has taught us.” I looked over to Lily. “They treated me like a slave. Skye is the only reason I’m alive. Whenever I was in the infirmary he’d sneak me food." I didn't want to say more, the trauma still too fresh in my mind. My pack mates gasped in horror and their gazes went to the many scars on my arms and I suddenly felt extremely self-conscious and tried to hide under the sheets. “Total injury count is twelve concussions, eighty four broken wrists or arms, twenty three broken legs, six hundred and thirty broken ribs, and more lacerations than I care to count most requiring stitches.”
Skye spoke from the doorway where he was standing with a tray of food. “Now, if you don’t mind Kendra is still my patient and she needs to eat, so out.” That was the only time I had ever heard Skye be stern and it brought a smile to my face.
Tonight we we’re going to be welcomed back into the pack and Doc. was going to join. I wasn’t up to too much strenuous activities so I kept Lily company in the kitchen baking deserts. We chatted away like old times and I got caught up with the pack happenings. “You’re going to have pups?!” I squealed throwing myself at Lily. “I’m so happy for you! You’ll be a great mother.” I felt like any teenage girl, bubbly and excited and care free. Ryan poked his head into the kitchen. “You girls need any help?” I looked at him then back to Lily. “Is he...?” I whispered conspiratorially. She nodded grinning as I threw myself at Ryan. “Congratulations!” He hugged me gently and set me on my back on my feet. “Thanks.” He muttered blushing. “Could you put the ice cream cake in the freezer please dear.” Lily asked approaching us with a monstrous cake. We had spent a good part of the morning making that beast and I was pretty proud of myself.
“Of course my sweet.” Ryan gave her a lingering kiss then took the cake and strode out if this kitchen to put the cake on the big freezer by the walk in fridge. “You guys are so cute together.” I chirped, mixing brownies in a huge bowl. “Just wait till you get your own mate and we’ll see who’s cute.” Lily teased. I froze not daring to think about him. “You already met him?” Lily took my stillness the wrong way. I looked at her sadly. “Kendra, what happened?” Her slim hand rested gently on my arm, warm and comforting. “The son of the alpha of the pack that stole me.” I started. Lily jerked. “Wait you left your mate to come home? You’re crazy girl!” I shook my head angrily. “He’s not my mate.” I snapped. Seeing the hurt on Lily’s face I felt bad for my outburst. “I’m sorry Lils, I shouldn’t snapped at you like that. I was his mate but he wasn’t mine or something, and that bastard raped me for a month.” I could see the tears in Lily’s eyes and she embraced me tightly. “You poor baby!"
By the time the party was ready to start I had told Lily everything, all the hardships I had endured. “And if you tell anyone without my permission I’ll... I’ll... I’ll castrate Ryan!” I wouldn’t really but she knew I meant it when I said not to tell. “Woah! What did I do?” Ryan asked stepping back into the kitchen. “Nothing.” We said at the same time and burst out into a small bout of giggles. “Hey you three, party is about to start.” Thomas said leading a very nervous Skye into the kitchen. “Don’t look so worried Mew everything is going to be fine.” I said reassuringly. “Why did she call you Mew?” Thomas asked looking at his mate with a puzzled expression. “Haven’t you told him your name?” I asked washing my hands. “Oh... I must have forgot.” Skye admitted shyly. “My name is Bartholomew Skye. Hence the mew, and she thinks its hilarious because I’m a wolf.” This made Thomas grin and pull Doc. to his side. “I like it, Mew.”
Skye blushed furiously and I giggled. “Come on Lily I want to be home again.” “You are home.” She said as I pulled her from the kitchen and out to the clearing. “Only physically, my head is very empty. Its just Mew and Silver up there.” She and the guys laughed at how crazy I sounded. “Shush you.” I scolded playfully as we neared the stage that had been set up. I bounced up the steps with Skye on my heels up to my farther standing at the center of the stage in front of the whole pack. Silence fell as we stopped and turned to face the crowd.
“Friends, family of my heart, my loyal pack. Today we welcome back my daughter Kendra and with open arms accept this rouge, who helped her get here, into our pack.” They cheered for a while and my father let them carry on before silencing then with a wave of his hand. “Step forward.” Mew timidly stepped past me and up to my father, eyes down. “What is your name? What do you have to offer our pack?” He asked. “My name is Bartholomew Skye.” His voice rang out clearly, but not as powerful as my father’s. “I am a skilled doctor.”
As if finding strength within himself Skye close his eyes and took a breath, then slowly looked up to meet the shocked gaze of my father. “And I am an omega.” He held my father’s gaze for a second longer before dropping his eyes submissively. “Welcome, Bartholomew Skye, healer and bringer of peace, to the Moonlit Pine pack.” My father smiled at Skye’s sigh of relief and clapped him on the back. “You can go back to your mate now, he’s getting jumpy.” He whispered. Mew nodded and scampered off the stage and into Thomas’ waiting arms.
“Kendra.” I looked up when my father said my name. “Yes?” He pulled me into a hug and kissed the top of my head. “Welcome home.” I admit I got teary eyed when all the thoughts and feelings of my pack mates shoved their way into my head. ‘I’m home!’ I thought, letting them feel how joyous I was to be back.
The party was a huge success with games and an insane amount of food. I was still pretty skinny in human form from ten years of living off scraps but I still have a healthy appetite. Werewolves had crazy fast metabolisms, something to do with needing the energy to shift. Safe to say, there were no leftovers. I had my own room and a real bed now, just down the hall from Lily and across from Thomas.
It was huge! A four poster queen with silk drapes a light sky blue. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier. After taking a leisurely shower I said goodnight to my pack and changed, I actually had proper clothes again, into a baggy t-shirt and a pair of soft cotton shorts and crawled into bed. Oh yeah I was spending a lot of time here. The sheets were soft against my skin and the thick comforter was warm enough to keep out the late summer chill. I had left my window open so I had a nice forest scented cross breeze blowing across my face and billowing the drapes gently. I smiled sleepily out my window at the moon and said a quick thank you before I succumbed to the warm embrace of sleep.