Nathan’s pupils took three seconds to dilate back to normal as he was exposed to the light. His anger had peaked being manhandled and dragged miles to an unknown destination – his wolf pacing within. Spanish slurs had coloured their journey here.
“What the-?” His head took in the scene in front, eyes widening at the increasing hatred from the wolves. “Well nice to see you all too.”
“It’s not by choice fucktard.” Lucy spat.
“Seems our bonding sessions in the cells haven’t done us any good eh Lucy? Such a shame. So... what do y’all want with little old me?”
Lucy snorted. “Dear god, can’t you like shut-up for even a minute? Your narrow mindedness might spread to the rest of us. And unlike you, we got important shit to do...like not being a snake and a complete waste of space.” Brett barely concealed a snort at the pointed disgust on Nathan’s face at Lucy’s comment.
Nathan’s demeanour irked Eóghan as his eyes narrowed at the male. Nathan stood before them cockily. His scent mixed with the unmistakable tinge of whisky. Brett’s hands shook with such ferocity, how had a prisoner managed to acquire alcohol? His dark gaze landed on Eóghan who shrugged his shoulders, his own mind trying to find a reason how the man before them was drunk.
Lucy do you know anything about this?
At the mindlink, Lucy’s eyes darted to her Beta. He has someone smuggling it in at the rota changes- I think. I’ve only been watching them a day, but it was the only explanation I could come up with. She dipped her head in respect.
The news caused Eóghan to shudder inwardly. How had security become so inadequate? Had this happened under his watch, his authority? He buttoned his insecurities and cast his eyes back to his superior – Titania would never have let this happen.
Doctor Craig, recognising Eóghan’s pause in thought, answered the prisoner bluntly, “I’ll give you the basics. We need to see if your mate bond will get a reaction out of Titania.”
“Wait, she’s still alive? Holy shit...” His head tilted to the bed where Titania lay, “Well she doesn’t look alive to me. What good am I to this anyways, we both rejected each other.”
The numbness at the revelation pricked through his senses, however the alcohol counteracted it. The emotional pain null to Nathan.
"Nearly dead thanks to you..." Brett grumbled under his breath.
Eóghan sent Brett a sharp look before growling at Nathan. “Just shut it and stay still. This is the least you can do for her.”
Nathan scoffed, “Least I can do? She’s like this because of her past, not me - so blame me all you want but it ain’t true. I’m just your scapegoat.”
It took a tremendous amount of control from the four wolves to hold back their loathing for his ignorant comments.
“See, told you that he’s completely oblivious.” Lucy rolled her eyes as Nathan’s jaw clenched at the mockery. “Like trying to talk with a turnip.”
Sensing the tension begin its slow ascent within the room, the doctor tried to hurry things along; Titania was already starting to stir and he wanted this over and done with quickly.
“Bring him over here, we need him to touch her before she fully wakes up.”
The wolves did as the doctor said, Nathan’s protests lost on them as they tried one of the last options Titania had. Brett watched on with uncertainty, for he knew the cost of failure and while his heart ached at Nathan affecting Titania, he reluctantly accepted that it was for the best.
“What now?” Eóghan asked the doctor tentatively.
Doctor Craig gave the monitors hooked up to Titania one last look before nodding his head, “Place his hand on her lower back away from any of the healing wounds. We’re hoping for his touch to shock her into a shift.” He finished filling a clear needle if things went south, “Be careful. She could snap. Just hold his hand there for a couple of seconds.”
Eóghan and Lucy both looked at each other, Lucy’s head nodded at the doctor’s instructions. Taking a deep breath, Eóghan got Nathan into position beside her left side. “Well here goes nothing.”
He counted them down from five before Nathan’s hand made contact with Titania’s shaggy fur.
The reaction was almost immediate as the wolf arched away from the contact as if it the Spaniard’s hand had burnt a hole right through her. In contrast, Nathan giggled as fireworks sparked along his palms, the whisky adding almost a jolt of pleasure through his system.
In one quick move, Eóghan pulled them back as Titania’s wolf snapped and snarled, desperate to hunt down the wolf that was supposed to love her. But Instead ruined all hope for her spoiled heart. He had destroyed it. Stepped and danced on it as if it were nothing more than a leaf on the boardwalk.
With the instinct to hunt forcing her wolf to kill and sink her teeth into Nathan’s hide, it also propelled her shift. All the wolves watched with sympathy and a morbid curiosity as she underwent one of the most painful shifts of her life. Crack after crack. Broken bones, scabbed skin, deep muscle lacerations all tore and wept as her body reformed.
At the desperate growls tumbling out of her, Lucy couldn’t help but turn away. Tears peppering her eyes at the grotesque scene.
Nathan was overcome with fear at the murderous intent that was displayed within Titania’s black eyes. He could visibly see her need for his head, and he retreated to the chair as he shook. Reliving the attack from her in the packhouse. Brett’s disdain for the Spaniard was evident as he watched the male act the fool, his moods changing like the tides. One second giggles, the next adoration and then fear.
An unsettling mix when his apparent soulmate was in a life-threatening condition. A waste of such a precious gift...
It took eight minutes of a painstakingly slow shift for her body to fully reform to its human state. Nobody dared speak; nobody knew what to say. All while Doctor Craig gathered essential supplies to try to keep the stubborn woman alive.
He motioned to Brett; who’s stormy eyes watched her form intently. “Go grab me bandages! Com’ on! And gauze and the herbs from storage! Oh, and morphine...”
The doctor barked out orders. In any health determined situation, he was in charge and was in his element as Titania shifted; a feat deemed highly risky.
“Beta, we need to take Nathan back to the cells. We got what we wanted.”
Eóghan nodded, his eyes cast to Lucy. “You okay?” At her weak nod, he mindinked Angus explaining the situation.
No longer than three minutes passed before Angus arrived. Receiving their orders, Lucy and Angus put the bag back over Nathan’s head as they unceremoniously took him away. He drunkenly stumbled with their guide; slurs and swears following the trio. Lucy’s red-rimmed eyes took in her superior one last time as she exited, emotions spilling over her cheeks at the anguish coating Titania’s screams.
The room became significantly less crowded as Doctor Craig frantically dashed around the monitors and medical equipment. Her heart rate was dangerously high as her bones popped one by one.
Eóghan cut bandages as Brett collected the items requested by the doctor. Working like a well-oiled machine, the males aided Titania as fur turned to skin and growls turned to shrieks. Noises hollow and troubled etched into their memories that would serve to haunt them.
“Morphine now!” Doctor Craig bellowed as he put the pain medication through her IV. He had managed to reattach the line as her arms had luckily been one of the first limbs to shift.
“Here,” Brett produced a clear bag, “anything else?”
“No, get away from her. She needs to shift so I can get to work on her injuries.” The doctor said, “When I reset her leg, I’ll need you to hold her down, she might struggle.”
Brett nodded and sat down to the side as Titania’s last bone popped into place. Her breathing was ragged at the forceful transformation. Her skin took on a damp look from the sweat that poured out her pores, the black locks on her head clinging to her forehead.
“Pleee-ss—uhggg” She moaned. The noise croaked out her unused vocal cords with unconcealed pain.
“Titania?” Eóghan’s bewilderment was clear as he approached her bed, “You’re good, we’re in Duskfall.”
The moment of awe passed over the wolves as Titania’s eyes flickered open, the pale blue now present over the black. She took a few seconds to adjust to her surroundings before closing her eyes again – her brow creased as her body refused to cooperate with her.
“This is amazing! The best possible outcome we could’ve asked for.” The doctor scribbled down some notes as he regarded her condition, “let’s just hope this helps with the healing.”
The silver chains that were ignored in her wolf form now started to sizzle her skin but the males were too occupied by her shift to notice.
“Chaa-n, t-ke fff.” She muttered.
The doctor’s eyes flickered to the strained breaths of her chest and the coppery scent of the silver eating into her skin. While her words were unintelligible, his instinct told him what she meant.
“Interesting... she’s feeling the silver now. We’re not taking them off until we’ve reset her bones. Brett...”
Brett’s eyes finally met the doctors as he stepped forward. He knew what needed to be done. Rolling up his sleeves, he placed his hands on the top of her thigh.
Exhausted from the shift and the morphine, Titania only had enough energy to flicker her cobalt eyes to Brett. He sent what he thought was a reassuring look as he whispered softly, “Hey there, long time no see. Close your eyes and take a deep breath.”
With noticeable confusion in her eyes from her drowsy state, her eyelids closed once again; obscuring the arctic blue that was quickly becoming Brett’s favourite colour. His lips tilted in a barely there half-smile. Already the stress of the past two months had been worth it: even just to see her eyes for a few seconds.
The doctor interrupted his appraisal, “Brett hold her tightly and Eóghan pass me the bandages and the salve. We have one chance to correct the bones.”
Brett’s teeth clenched as he held her leg tightly. “Ready.”
“The bandages are done,” Eóghan bundled them to the doctor’s side, “we’re all set.”
Huffing out a breath and praying to the gods above that he possessed the skills that could pull this off effectively, he steadied himself. Sweat peppered his brow as all eyes were on him. Adjusting his hands in place on her fractured ankle, Doctor Craig could feel the hard mass of bone that had attempted to heal despite the wrong position.
He’d have to rebreak her ankle to reset it.
Not now, not when she’s survived the worst of it. This is it. He thought to himself as his hands twisted her ankle in one swift movement.
The morphine had done its job as Titania lay blissfully in an undisturbed trance, a nice change from her usual nightmares. With no sound coming from her bar a low rumbling, the doctor made quick work of resetting her bones and stitching her up.
A similar routine followed the next few days as she recovered. The doctor monitored Titania closely while Brett dealt with her personal care, luckily her pain medications allowed her to rest without tearing her stitches and causing further damage.
The scent of infection dimmed significantly as her human form fought the injuries and within seventy-two hours, her surface wounds had scabbed; the deeper lacerations would take at least two weeks to heal but the progress was favourable. Doctor Craig was pleased, his part played in her rehabilitation. It seemed that the restless sleep and constant movement had played havoc with her recovery but an IV line with morphine seemed to remedy that.
Harmonious slumber occupied Titania as she slept. No dreams, no nightmares, just nothing. A rarity unknown to the female. And while life continued around her, day by day, night by night, she lay soundly in her own secluded bubble - how her mind had craved that.
For when had she last had a semblance of peace? A moment without pack issues, or males heaving down her back about a mate? Forever, was the answer.
On the third night of Titania’s shift, Brett was applying salve to her healing back and while he was bandaging her, he felt her gaze heavy on his face. He met her eyes as he continued with his task. The past week he had been shown how to bandage her properly and he knew that if he stopped now, it would be hard to finish the entirety of her back.
She remained silent as the last few bandages wrapped around her lower back. Titania has been drifting in and out for the length of Brett’s visit but struggled to open her eyes: her eyelids heavy and uncooperative.
Now she was graced with the face that matched the low voice that accompanied her during the night. His eyes were steely as he dutifully tended to her. His jaw set and brow furrowed as if in deep thought. It was quite comical to her to have such soft care from such a brute of a male, as his silhouette towered over her form from above. Her eyes fell upon the rugged hair that adorned his usually clean-shaven face and then she realised that his demeanour screamed out his tiredness, as if the weight of the world were placed upon his broad shoulders.
The scratch from her throat didn’t stop her from trying to form human word. Words that had not been spoken from her in the past two months.
“Brr-ett?” She swallowed with great difficulty, “Am I... Thisss re-al?”
His head swivelled to her as she forced the seemingly unnatural syllables from her mouth. Without pause, he brought a glass with a straw to her mouth, as she was laying on her front it was the only means to hydrate her throat.
She took the water greedily as he pondered her words. “This is real, I’m real see?” He waved awkwardly to her, “And so is the water, you can feel it yeah?”
With drugs pumping through her system, her eyes spoke their confusion to him. She looked at the water with sceptical eyes, flittering her gaze between the straw and Brett’s face.
“Try a sip, it’s real. You’re alive and in bed.”
Her eyes closed for a second, taking a second to process the words from Brett while ignoring the headache that was creeping in with her consciousness.
Brett’s face showed no malice, no deception so she followed his words and let him guide the straw to her mouth.
The water may have relieved the soreness of her throat, but it did not magically improve her speech. Her vocal cords were rough and tender and gave her words a husky edge to them, reminding Brett of the feral side of her.
“Better?” He asked and his relief showed when she thanked him with a small nod of her head.
Her consciousness wavered as the interaction with Brett drained her. Brett noticed and let a soft smile grace his stony features. He finished with the salve and went to set all the medical equipment that he had used to the side- Doctor Craig had given him a stern warning the day previous for leaving the cabin in a state of array.
“Don-t le-ave.” She muttered, her hand slowly reaching out, desperate for contact. Something Titania would never ask for. “Stay.”
The vulnerability within her tone had Brett complying as he left the instruments, he’d face the anger of the doctor the next day and brought a chair to her bedside within her eyesight.
High on morphine, Titania’s grin caught Brett off guard. Her eyes drank him in as she continued to reach out for him. Slowly, as if not to startle her, he rested his hand within her own.
The warmth from his grip heated Titania and her eyes closed in contentedness. As she faded back to unconsciousness, she let her fingers wrap snugly within the protective confines of the male’s hand.
“Warm, good.” She hummed, “Sta-ay. Hunt toomorrow, we need f-ishhh. Pinky, pinky salmon. Sall...moonn...”
Brett chuckled, a sound which had Titania’s eyes opening slightly. At the movement he hushed lowly, “Lots of fish, promise. Now go back to sleep, you’ll need your strength for the hunt.”
A smile tugged at her face as she drifted off - fond memories of her previous hunting wins flickering through. His fingers traced the grooves of her hand as she fell back to a slumber away from the pain, torment and revolt that escalated around her.
Hey lovelies! How y’all doing? Sorry for the wait! Any comments on Titania’s future? Honestly, reading your comments make my day! Just hearing your different perspectives makes it all the more interesting. Once again, thank-you for supporting me and my writing! x
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