I run right past Hunter and towards Josh, now in human form laying on the ground, an arrow in his chest. Arrows aren’t fatal unless they hit something major. The only thing that can kill a wolf is celestial silver, which isn’t common nor do the hunters know about it.
But before I could even reach him a high pitched scream comes from the direction of the house. I take one look at Josh and no at the two men who are about to pick him up before sprinting back to the house, Hunter right on my trail.
As the pack house comes into view I shift back mid stride not caring about who sees and go right towards the girl on the ground, screaming in pain. I kneel down next to her and take her head in my lap.
I look all over her body and it finally clicks. She is having her first shift. Of course, alpha children only shift earlier then 16 if needed or when their alpha dies. She experienced the war, her wolf woke up and is forcing her first shift. But she is only 4 for goddess’ sake!
“Shh, Hannah it will be okay,” I say as I push her hair back from her face. Somebody drapes a blanket over my shoulders from behind, before Hunter kneel down in front of me taking Hannah’s hand.
Hannah looks up and tears fall freely from her eyes. “Mom-ma, w-w-whats h-happening?” she says in between cries.
“Sweetheart, you are shifting for the first time. It will hurt for a bit until you completely change. Do you understand?” Hunter says and she nods. It seems like hours as we sat there just holding her, waiting for the shift to actually start shifting her body. I don’t even complain about being near Hunter, right now his presence calms me.
She cries and screams and all I can do is watch. Sure, the younger you are the better, since your bones are still soft and aren’t fully developed yet, but the burning you feel before it as your wolf genes take over in your body and kick out most of the human ones.
But finally we feel one of the bones in her arm break and this is where we have to back off. Probably the most painful to watch. Since we have to watch it from afar until her wolf recognizes us.
I gently set Hannah’s head back on the ground and stand up. Pulling the blanket tighter around me. Hunter at one point put on some basketball shorts. I look up at him to see his eyes rimmed with red and his hair all messy with some leaves sticking out of it.
Right now I don’t care if he hurt me, or I have the one I love inside waiting for me to see if he is okay or not. I lean into Hunter, needing the comfort as we watch our daughter suffer through excruciating pain. He wraps an arm around my shoulder pulling me into him closer. Tears fall from my eyes every time another bone breaks and she screams. The pain going straight through and piercing my heart.
I can tell its affecting Hunter as well because through each scream his grip on me gets tighter. But finally there is only one last bone to break and fur is already growing. But this has to be the worst part. The skull is the last one. A piercing crack sounds and I hide my face in Hunter’s chest. Not wanting to see my child broken and in pain anymore.
Hunter slowly releases me and I feel something brush against my leg. I look around and spot the small wolf rubbing against Hunter and I’s legs. The same color as my own, but with the tips and paws black like Hunter’s. I bend down and pet her head. She barks happily at me and puts her paws on my knees.
Hunter bends down next to us as well and Hannah looks over at him. “Sweetie, you have to shift back now. Okay?” Hannah shakes her head up and down excitedly. She sits down on the ground as I stand back up.
“Maria, can you go grab Hannah some clothes please?” I say to one of the mother’s wolves that was standing on the porch watching. She nods and hurries away.
“Now, sweetie I want you to think of your human self and just imagine with that cute little head of yours of being you again.”
Maria comes rushing out with 2 dresses, one for Hannah and one for me. I take the simple blue dress and the yellow one as well. I bend down next to Hannah as her bones start breaking and replacing themselves back into her human form. It doesn’t take as long, but the more you do it the less pain will occur during the shift.
Once Hannah’s completely shifted she looks up at me and gives me a dazzling smile. I just chuckle and slip the dress over her head. “Mommy! I shifted into my wolf!” she screams excitedly jumping up from the ground and tackling me. I make sure to keep the blanket around me.
I think I already showed people my body enough today. I sit up with her on my lap as she hugs me tightly. I kiss her forehead and hug her back. I stand up sadly, finally remembering the person inside I don’t even know is alive or not right now. I set Hannah down next to Hunter and look into his eyes. The eyes I could just get lost in all day. The never ending blue just like the ocean.
I look away and start walking towards the house as I hear Hannah excitedly talking to Hunter. I walk towards the house dread filling me every step I take. As I enter I follow his sent into a white hospital room where Josh is laying on a white bed gauze on his chest. A girl is bussing around doing stuff. What? Theres another pack doctor?
She turns around and I gasp. Jessica. The queen bee from high school or should I say the pack slut. I haven’t seen her since she switched packs our junior year. She seems I don’t know...more stressed? Not as pretty? Her brown hair is dull and in a french braid down her back, no longer shiny and pretty. Her skin pale and she is slightly bigger then she was in high school.
I shake off my thoughts and focus on whats really important. But before I could even reach Josh an echo sounds through the room. I look at Josh’s sleeping face and look to Jessica who is walking over angrily. “Don’t. Touch. Him.” She snarls at me as she reaches his bedside.
“What are you talking about Jess? I’m a doctor and his friend. Why can’t I touch my best friend?” I snarl back not liking someone telling me what to do. I am above her! Kill her Nikki, she is out of place! My wolf snarls in my head, but I just ignore her.
“He’s mine!” she seethes standing possessively in front of him. I look at her like she just grew 2 heads.
“Josh already met his mate and she died,” I say looking over at Josh’s still body. The only thing telling me he is alive it the constant beep coming from the machine next to his bed.
“No, I’m his mate. I knew it the moment I touched him. I felt the tingles.” she says angrily touching him slightly.
“We will see when he wakes up now give me time to see my friend,” I snarl back at her, slight alpha command in my voice making her backdown.
She angrily stomps away into another room and I slowly walk over, placing a hand on Josh’s arm. I quickly check his wound and critique her work. She used the wrong tape, she didn’t even close the wound, and the wound is still bleeding. I walk over and grab some evaporating thread and needle, the correct tape, and gauze.
I rip off the bandage and clean the wound again. The arrow was taken out, but never completely cleaned. She didn’t use everything your suppose to, especially since it was wood. I quickly stitch him up, wrap gauze and tape around the wound and put everything back.
I take a seat next to his bed and take his hand. “I’m so sorry Josh. That I wasn’t there when you needed me most. But I’m here now. Hannah went through her first shift. It was terrible, but seeing her wolf was amazing. I think you found your second chance. When you wake up your going to have a new mate waiting for you. Your always welcome at the house and around Hannah. But I guess it’s over between you and me, huh? I was thinking anyways. Maybe Hunter has changed? Maybe he's realizing his mistake? Maybe I should give him a second chance like you have now. The moon goddess was right. I would lose one and gain another. I guess that means Hunter. I really do love you Josh, but we both have mates and it won’t work out. Goodbye Josh, I’ll see you soon.” I get up and kiss his forehead as a tear falls from my eye. As I stand up I see Jessica standing in the doorway sympathy on her face.
“Tell me when he wakes up, okay?” she nods and I walk towards the door.
“Thank you,” she whispers as I close the door. Josh has his second chance, but do I? The question is, can I forgive him?