I pulled my hand away from my stomach as I stared down at the blood. It soaked through my clothes as my mind fully comprehended what had just happened.
“Axton,” I breathed out as he stared at me before I crumbled to the ground.
I felt his arms go around me seconds before hitting the dirt. My eyes started to close as he cupped my cheek with his hand, “Ellie, look at me. Please, just keep your eyes open.”
I felt the pain spread through my entire body as it intensified. I felt myself whimper into Axton’s arms, “Axton.”
“Sh. It’s alright. I’m right here,” he whispers to me before looking up from the ground to a few of the warriors that I hadn’t even heard approach. I try on focus on Axton as he yells for the pack doctor and to put guards on someone but I can’t focus on the words.
I hear someone yelling as another pair of hands touch my wound, “It’s deep. She’s still bleeding.”
“Shouldn’t she be healing, Jade?” Axton asked, panic and pain in his voice. I just continued to stare at him and tried to focus on the sound of his voice as another wave of pain shook through my body, “What do I do?” his voice broke, just barely a whimper that I’m not even sure Jade could hear it.
“We need to get her back to my office. Now.”
Axton lifted me off the ground, pulling me close to his chest as he took off running through the trees. My mind started to drift in and out of consciousness as the pain increased, “Keep your eyes open, El. Just a little longer, alright? You’re going to be okay. You have to be.”
As we came up on the building, darkness took me as I rested my head against Axton’s chest.
“Bring her over here,” I heard Jade say as I was placed onto what I can assume to be a bed, but I still felt Axton’s grip on my hand. It was strong but shaky. I focused everything on tying myself to that feeling of his hand.
“She’s still bleeding,” his voice rang out.
“There must be something still in the wound for her healing to not even start,” I heard Jade say when another wave of pain swam through my body from my wound. I could feel Jade’s hands and tools as she dug into my skin.
“What are you doing?” Axton yelled.
“I’m trying to find the source of the bleed and whatever it is obstructing her healing,” she answers him as she starts digging again, “Now I know you are Alpha, but if you don’t stop asking me questions, your mate is going to die. Either get out or shut up. I don’t care what you choose, but you need to let me do my job.”
I could picture Axton’s face in my mind as Jade said that to him, and it wasn’t a happy one. His grip on my hand tightened, but he didn’t say another word as Jade continued to work on me.
I don’t know how long it was, maybe minutes, maybe hours, but I could feel the pain decrease just a little bit as Jade called out, “I found it.”
“What is it?” Axton asks.
“It looks to be a claw. One of the rogue’s nails must have broken off during the fight when they attacked her,” she says, “Just give me a couple of seconds to try and get it out.”
I felt her hands leave me as she took out what I’m guessing was the nail. I felt stinging pain as she closed the bleeding off and stitched my wound.
“Is she going to be alright now?” Axton asked, his hand squeezing mine as I felt the other one go over my face.
“If her body starts healing, yes,” Jade says and I wish she would have just stopped there, “But I have to tell you, she lost a lot of blood. She might not have enough energy to heal.”
“Thank you, Jade. Please leave now,” it didn’t sound so much as a suggestion, but more of an order. I heard the door shut as she left the room, “I know you’re tired and I know you might want to quit on me, but I’m asking you to just hold on. I just got you back, Ellie. I can’t lose you again,” he whispered.
I wanted to tell him that I wasn’t leaving. I wanted to tell him that I could hear him, that I was right here. But I couldn’t get my eyes to open. I didn’t even have the energy to squeeze his hand back.
“Has there been any change?” I heard Sawyer ask.
“None,” Axton answered her. I think it might have been a couple of hours since the attack, but I can’t really tell and since no one has given me any clues as to how long of been like this, I just won’t know, “I thought you were watching Zea.”
“I was,” Sawyer answered him, “She wanted to come. She tried running past one of the guards just to get here.”
“Did you tell her what happened?” he asked.
“Of course not, Axton,” she answered, “But she still knew. I don’t know how, but she knew that Ellie was hurt,” I figured he nodded his head so she continued, “Zea really wants to see her.”
“You can let her in,” he tells her.
I listen as I hear my daughter’s footsteps come running into the room, “Mommy!”
“Sh, mommy’s still healing, so we are going to have to be kind of quiet, alright?” Axton tells her.
“Okay,” she says, her voice small and scared, “Can I sit with her?”
“Of course, sweetheart,” Axton says as he places Zea next to me.
“Alpha,” a voice calls out. It sounds like Reid, “The guy from the forest wants to see the Luna. He’s right outside.”
“Give me a minute,” he leaned over me as I felt his lips on my forehead, “I’ll be right back.”
When he leaves the room, I can sense Zea shifting from her seat as she grabs the hand Axton had been previously holding.
“Mommy, my bad dream came true,” she said. I could hear her tears as she choked back a sob, “I know you told me never to do it unless you said it was alright, but I have to. I need to make you better.”
I knew what she was about to do before her hands even touched my wound. I felt the familiar warmth it brought as my wound healed. Feeling the energy throughout my whole body, I peeled my eyes open to look at my daughter as she smiled down at me.
I smiled at her, “Are you angry with me?” she asks me.
“Of course not baby,” I sit up to kiss her head.
“You aren’t going in there!” I heard Axton yell in the hall. I could hear a fight about to break out.
I look over to Zea and smile, “Why don’t you go get your dad?”
She nodded happily as she jumped off the bed and ran out of the room. Within seconds, Axton was standing in front of me with his hand on my cheek as he surveyed me completely.
“Ellie, you’re awake,” he breathed.
“Hi stranger,” I smiled at him, “You didn’t think I would leave again. I did make a promise after all.”
He pulled me up and kissed me passionately, “Thank you for keeping that promise.”
I continued to smile at him as he pulled away.
“Mommy, Michael’s here!” Zea runs in, dragging Michael in with her as Reid, Walker, and Sawyer all followed them into the room.
Michael looked exactly as he did the last time we saw him. His auburn hair was pushed back as he smiled goofily at Zea and me, “I see you have been healed, quickly I might I add.”
“Get away from my daughter,” Axton’s voice growled dangerously low.
Michael raised his hands up, trying to show that he wouldn’t hurt her, but Axton just kept growling, “I would never-” His words were cut off when Axton took a step toward him and Michael moved three steps back, “I am just here to talk. I don’t want any trouble,” he said before turning to me, “Come on Ellie, you know me.”
“Yeah, I do,” I spoke up, having all the guys turn their heads to me as I turned to Zea, “Hey baby, why don’t you go play with Sawyer,” I told her before nodding to Sawyer and watching them go into the hallway, right outside the room. I turned back to Michael, “I know you extremely well Michael.”
“Then you know,” his sullen eyes meeting mine. We both know what was coming, just neither one of us were willing to admit it out loud.
“Know what?” Axton asked, looking at me with an unreadable expression, but I couldn’t get my eyes to break away from Michael’s.
I let out a shaky breath as I said my worst fear, “He’s coming for her.”
“You were the test,” Michael tells me, “You didn’t heal yourself. He knows the truth now.”
Silence filled the room as Axton looked back and forth between me and Michael. I could see fear in his eyes as he asked me who it was. He knew the answer. He knew that Cortez was coming. I had already told him before, but that wasn’t what he needed to know.
“Axton, come sit down,” I tell him, “I need to tell you something, something about Zea and I.”
His face twisted with even more worry, “What is it?”
I grabbed his hand roughly and pulled him down to sit next to me, “Axton, remember what I asked you in the forest, about pregnant she-wolves and gifted wolves?”
He looked at me before nodding, so I continued.
“When a she-wolf is pregnant with a gifted child,” I started, “She can sometimes, I don’t know how to describe it, but she can tap into the child’s gift. Do you understand?”
“Are you telling me what I think you are?” he asked, his voice low so Zea wouldn’t look over here.
“Yes,” I say honestly, “I was only two months along, but her power was so strong that I was able to heal that little girl. Cortez didn’t know, almost no one knows about a mother’s connection with her gifted child. Since he thought it was me who could heal him, I let him believe it.”
He shook his head as both our eyes stared at our little girl as she sits on the ground, playing patty cake with Sawyer in the hall.
“So now you know. It isn’t me that Cortez needs,” I tell him, “It’s her. It’s Zea.”