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In A Dream

I ran, the cool forest air ruffling my fur, deeper into the old growth forest. The moonlight filtered down throughout the trees splashing the ground with silver. A wolf stepped out of the underbrush across my path standing in the shadows. I skidded to a stop and stared at him.

He was beautiful, blue black with golden eyes that gazed back into mine. Curious I took one step forward, he danced back away from me. I tilted my head at him and he yipped shooting off into the woods. Something inside me made me give chase and dash after the strange wolf. We dodged around trees and through sword ferns no louder than the passing breeze. I lost him in a sudden fog but found my way into a small clearing lit by the moon.

A young man stood on the far side of the clearing, his back to me. His hair was the same midnight and blue of the wolf but unlike the proud stance he had taken, the man stood with his head bowed and his shoulders slumped. I shifted to call out to him but the black wolf appeared out of the shadows and stepped up to the man. “I cannot live like this for much longer Fenus. I’m losing hope.” The wolf nudged the man until he turned around to face me. My heart nearly stopped. The wolf and the man were the same, but separate. ‘Mate.’ Silver whispered softly in my mind. Sorrow tinged her thought voice matching the sad expression on the handsome man. The dream began to collapse around me and I reached out to the beautiful sad boy.

I couldn’t get his eyes out of my head all day. The piercing gold of the wolf and the mellow honey brown of the man. The steady ache in my chest reminded me that he was waiting for me. My soul mate. My other half. I couldn’t wait to meet him outside of a dream. I sighed and leaned against the marble counter, it was cool through the sleeve of my shirt. “Are you alright Kendra? You seem kinda distracted.” “Hmm...?” I looked up at Lisa’s concerned face and smiled dreamily. “Oh I’m fine, just thinking.” I said absently. I replayed his eyes lighting up when he saw me and the smile that followed in my head for the hundredth time. “About a boy I bet.” Lisa’s remark startled me out of my daydream. “How’d you know?” I demanded, shocked.

Lisa chuckled. “Dear, I was once a young woman like yourself and I spent a good deal of time fantasizing about my mate before I met him. I know the look of a dreamer.” She smiled and pulled me into a hug. “Just you wait, he’ll be even better than you can imagine.” Lusa whispered in my ear. “He is.” I sighed. Lisa pulled back to look at me. “You’ve already met him?” She asked. “Not really, he was in my dream last night. I think... I don’t know...” I shook my head. “I think there’s something wrong with him. There’s a broken feeling to him, and his wolf appeared beside him in my dream.” Lisa frowned thinking over my words carefully before speaking. “I’m not sure what your dream meant but when you meet him you can help him and he will help you.” She smiled and pushed me gently out of the kitchen where I had been loitering. “Go and pick bouquets with some of the girls, I’m sure they’d love it.” I beamed and skipped out of the house to round up the kids to go hunt down flowers.

May and Stacy held my hands while little Abigail rode on my shoulders. We all sang at the top of our lungs as we hiked to a small meadow filled with wild flowers. “Okay girls,” I said setting Abby down, her blond curls bounced around her smiling face. “We’re going to surprise everyone with bouquets tonight!” They cheered and began dashing around gathering big armfuls of the most brightly colored blossoms. The sea of orange, pink, and yellow inter-spaced with purple was almost taller than little Abigail. I kept an eye on them as I made my own, less flamboyant, bouquet. They laughed in the sunshine and made Abby a daisy crown calling her the queen of the meadow.

I suddenly wished I could relive my childhood, the childhood that died when I was stolen. I dashed away a traitorous tear and plucked a branch off a wild apple tree burrowing my face among the cream colored petals and breathing in the sweet scent.

“Kendra!” At Stacy’s scream my head snapped up. A small tan wolf was barreling towards the girls that I had left unprotected. I cursed myself for being unobservant and shifted, bouquet lying forgotten on the ground. So intent was the rouge at attacking the girls that he didn’t notice me until I was biting deep into his shoulder. The rouge yelped in pain and tried to shake me off. ‘I know this scent.’ Silver growled. ‘It’s HIM.’

With just that sentence my priorities went from defending the girls to snapping his worthless neck. ‘Stacy, May, take Abby and get back to the pack house as fast as you can. Don’t look back.’ I told them. They were huddled together clutching their flowers, eyes wide with fear. ‘Go! Be strong!’

They took off running in either side of Abby and in my brief moment of distraction he shook me off and lunged for my unprotected stomach. Another wolf howled as it made its presence known, running past us towards the unprotected backs of the three girls. I flipped myself around before his claws could find me and leaped for his throat. I had to finish this fast before the other wolf could get to the girls.

His weight was too far forward for him to dodge quickly and my teeth sunk into his neck drawing blood. He flung himself sideways and landed hard on my chest. I heard something crack and pain blossomed in my chest. The air whooshed from my lungs and I struggled, biting deeper. Need to breathe! I got one hind paw around and kicked furiously at his stomach. I could feel the blood flowing over my muzzle and leg. I had been lucky to get a bite to his jugular early in the fight the extensive loss of blood slowed his judgement. I shoved him off but misjudged his state when he whipped around and tore open my thigh. I could hear the girls crying in the distance. I had to save them.

I reared back on my hind legs making my shredded leg scream in protest and let my weight fall forward in his neck. The snap that followed was very satisfying but I couldn’t stick around to savor my victory. I ran as fast as my mangled limb and cracked ribs could carry me. Flowers raced by in a blur of color inter-spaced by dancing black spots and then it was trees. The girls had gotten a fair ways before the other wolf had gotten to them. He was circling them, snarling every so often. Stacy was standing protectively in front of May who was trying her best to comfort Abby, the scent of their fear permeating the air. I growled low as I approached them. Instincts told me to hide my wound but survival told my to play it up and make him underestimate me.

The wolf chuckled and stalked towards me leaving the girls. ‘Go!’ I urged. They took off running and I lowered my head at the other wolf and snarled. I was going to kill him for attacking my pack sisters. He lunged going for my bad side knowing I would be off balance. Instead of trying to dodge, I charged him as well. I rammed my shoulder into his chest, lifting him up and over my head. He landed behind me with a startled yelp but recovered way too fast. He was on me before I could turn, tearing at my other hind leg. My bad leg gave out but I didn’t stop clawing at him. I bit down on one of his legs snapping the bone and yanking him off his feet. He scrambled away but was back sooner than I hoped. He ripped at my stomach while I feebly tried to defend myself. Suddenly his weight was gone. I looked around dazed and confused, seeing blurs through the haze of my pain. A man smelling of cedar at midnight knelt over me. I didn’t know his scent but it calmed me. A large black wolf soon joined him but the fog was closing in. I thought I heard him murmur. “Hang in there.” Just before I passed out.

I awoke slowly to the smell of cedar. There was a pressure being wrapped around my thigh and it hurt. I snapped my jaws toward my leg and encountered flesh. “You woke up sooner than I anticipated Silver.” I dropped his arm and recoiled in shock. How did he know my wolf’s name? My vision cleared and I found myself staring at the man from my dream. I had just bitten my mate. I whimpered and dropped my ears in apology. I felt horrible, I hurt my mate twice! All the taunts and insults from the Shaded Paws pack came rushing to the forefront of my mind.

You’re worthless. Waste of space. Stop polluting clean air. Just go die bitch. No one will ever love you. I shouldn’t be allowed to live. I got up slowly and with my tail tucked between my legs, slunk away from them. I wandered numbly throughout the forest, ignoring the pain in my chest as I breathed and the fire in my hind legs. Stupid, stupid, stupid. The word ricocheted around in my head as I stumbled along uncaring in my direction. Afternoon melted into night and brought with it a torrential downpour. Rain tumbled down slicking my fur to my shivering body but still I kept walking, head down, feet dragging. Something snapped and I felt a resistance in my next step. I looked down automatically to see a bear trap clamped around my ankle. I blinked not sure what this meant and tugged my leg a few times. This seemed a good a place as any to die so I lay down and closed my eyes.

I don’t know how long I lay there shivering as the rain beat down on me, one leg stuck out still in the trap. I didn’t know I had shifted back until I was curled in a ball sobbing. I had found and lost my mate all in a matter of hours and I didn’t even know his name. “Its Gabriel.” Great now I was hallucinating. I felt hands on my ankle and the crushing teeth of the bear trap was removed. I uncurled slightly at stared in wonder as my mate bundled me into his arms and set out through the night. “Gabriel.” I whispered burying my face in his chest and breathing in his woodsy scent. “Kendra.” I heard myself say before I fell asleep again.

I woke slowly, blinking away the fog of sleep. I tried to focus my eyes on whatever was in front of my nose but it was too close. Instead I sniffed in the scent of my mate and froze. Reality hit me like a bucket of ice water. I was sandwiched between my mate and his wolf and my face was against his very shirtless chest. I tried to wriggle away but his arms encircled me and pulled me back to him. “Don’t go.” He murmured sleepily. I peered up at his face and my heart melted.

Gabriel’s eyes were closed and his hair was a storm of unruly black curls. A faint smile played on his lips. I felt myself smiling in response and snuggled closer. He sighed and kissed the top of my head. “Thank you.” Gabriel whispered.

When next I opened my eyes I was sprawled partially across Gabriel’s chest with his arms around me. Fenus was curled around my side and sound asleep. They both looked so innocent. I rubbed my nose slowly over his collar bone basking in his warmth and his woodsy smell. It kinda freaked me out at how comfortable I was with a stranger. ‘He’s not a stranger.’ Silver murmured sleepily. ‘He was made for us alone.’ I felt his arms tighten around my waist. “What are you doing? That tickles.” Gabriel said huskily. Goddess he sounded sexy half awake. “Nothing.” I kept rubbing my nose across his collar smiling when he started to twitch. “Seriously that tickles.” I grinned when he tried to position me where I couldn’t tickle him. “Awe... is the big bad wolf ticklish?” I quipped. Gabriel growled softly and I chuckled, poking him in the ribs. “Hey!” I began to laugh then, wiggling my fingers on his ribs. “Stop it that tickles!” He squirmed trying to get me to stop. “No, its funny.”

Suddenly he flipped us over and began to tickle me. “Oh yeah? How do you like a taste of your own medicine.” I shrieked and batted at his hands laughing harder. “Fenus help!” The big black wolf flicked his ear and opened his eyes, they sparkled with amusement. “Get this brute off me!” I was squirming and laughing, tears running down my cheeks. Gabriel’s weight was gone as Fenus tackled him. “Hey you’re supposed to be on my side.” Gabriel whined. I scooted over to where I could tickle him again. “He must like me better. Tell me I’m forgiven for yesterday and I’ll call him off and stop tickling you.” “Forgiven!” He cried, thrashing. I pulled my hands away from his ribs and he stilled taking deep breaths to calm himself. “Kendra you were forgiven this morning when you let me hold you.”

I smiled shyly with my hands resting on his chest while I sat on his stomach. My smile fell and I blushed when I realized that I had been naked when he brought me here. I peeked down at myself and sighed when I saw that I was wearing a large grey t-shirt. “I figured you’d rather wear something of mine than go without.” Gabriel muttered blushing as well. “Thanks.” I whispered.

“So what’s for breakfast?” I asked changing the subject. “What would you like?” That made me pause. What did he have food-wise? “I don’t know what do you have?”

Gabriel thought for a moment the turned his head to the large wolf laying across his legs. “Hey Fenus do we have any of those berries left?” Fenus nodded and got off Gabriel’s legs. “Thanks I was starting to lose feeling.” He laughed. Fenus rolled his eyes at me and licked Gabriel chin to forehead. “Eeeew... Fenus!” I laughed and got up so Gabriel could make food. “Do you like pancakes?” Gabriel asked heading for what I assumed was the kitchen. “Yes!” I love pancakes! I bounced along after him one hand deep in Fenus’ glossy black fur. “I haven’t had pancakes in forever! Not since...” I trailed off and stood in the doorway awkwardly. “Since when?” Gabriel asked mixing flour water and berries in a bowl. “Nothing. Doesn’t matter.” He gave me a funny look but left it alone for that I was grateful.

“You’re adorable you know that? A little on the skinny side but... nothing my monster pancakes wont fix!” I thought he was joking and laughed until I saw how much batter he poured in the pan. “You weren’t kidding.” I breathed staring wide eyed at the fluffy golden cake dotted with blueberries. “Nope, regular pancakes are for wusses.” I glared at Gabriel playfully. “Oh really?” He nonchalantly flipped the pancake onto a plate and handed it my way. “Yep, now stop making that face before it sticks and go eat!” I couldn’t help it, I laughed again but took the plate obediently and perched myself on the counter behind him, careful to keep my legs crossed since I was sure I wasn't wearing panties.

I was sad to leave Gabriel and Fenus but I had to go home before my father sent the cavalry after me. “I’ll come back as soon as I can.” I had promised before turning my back to pull off his shirt and return it then shifting and with one backwards glance over my shoulder ran home.

Now I was sitting in the infirmary under the scrutiny of Mew. “With that amount of damage you should still be healing.” He said for the millionth time. I shrugged. “Maybe I just heal freakishly fast.” I suggested. “Yeah, okay, sure.”

My father chose that moment to show up. “Okay princess I’ve got news for you. You little missy are going to school.” I blinked at him then blinked again. “Say what now?” I asked puzzled. “You need an education Kendra. Don’t worry, this school is in a town that knows about werewolves so you don’t have to try to hide yourself.” I surprised myself by smiling. “Awesome!” I exclaimed. “Thomas will keep an eye out for you so don’t worry.” I flung my arms around his neck and hugged him tight. “When do I start.” My father shifted uncomfortably. “Actually Lisa is taking you shopping today so you’ll be ready tomorrow.” I was off the examination table and running for the main house in seconds. “Tomorrow!”

I got dressed hastily in borrowed clothes and was downstairs just as Lisa called my name. “Kendra, you ready to go shopping?” I nodded eagerly and skipped over to the garage. We all shared the cars we had so it didn’t really matter which one we took. “You get what clothes you like and I’ll get you the school supplies okay?” I nodded and Lisa drove us to the mall in town. “That’s you’re school there.” She said pointing. It was a large brick building with a football field and a baseball diamond. There was a separate building where I assumed the gym was. “We’ll swing by there after shopping so you can get your picture taken for the year book and your ASB card and register you for classes.” I nodded mutely, overwhelmed. “Its ok sweetie, I know its a big step but you’ll be fine.” I nodded again and shook myself forcing a smile. “Do you know you’re size?” Lisa asked as we pulled into the mall parking lot. “Not a clue but with the amount I’ve been eating I finally have boobs!” We laughed and headed inside. “Woah...” I’m sure my eyes were the size of saucepans.

I was overwhelmed by the many sights and smells overlapping and mingling in the bright airy space before me. “Okay, poke through that store first.” Lisa pointed into a very pink store full of lacy unmentionables. “Just ask a clerk for help measuring, they’re all really friendly. Next go down that way for clothes, ask for a changing room to try things on. I’ll meet you I the food court for lunch in two hours alright?” I nodded mutely and Lisa gave me a hug and a credit card before turning and striding confidently away, this was her domain.

When we got home it was dark and I was exhausted but happy. I had gotten a whole new wardrobe and accessories and Lisa had stuffed my backpack with everything I needed. The secretary had been very helpful in the picture and schedule process. I liked her, she was nice. By the time I had set out my clothes, organized my binder and pencils, and set my alarm it was close to ten. ‘Wish me luck.’ I thought to whoever was listening. ‘Luck.’ Someone answered. I fell asleep with a smile on my face.

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