Beta John’s POV
I laid back in my bunk, a few minutes after lights out. My head was still going a million miles a minute; the Russian lessons I was taking were not enough to calm me. My wolf was not happy with me, he was tightly chained in the back of my mind right now. He wanted his mate, he wanted to run, to hunt, to howl at the moon, and we could have none of it.
“Я тебя люблю - I love you,” I whispered to my Jessie, wherever she was.
Today at visiting hour I didn’t see Alpha Larson, instead I had a visit from my lawyer, Charles Thompson. Since he was my legal representative, we got to meet in a room free of cameras and out of sight of the guards. I was still shackled, so I couldn’t shift, but at least we were able to talk. “What brings you here, Counselor?”
“Your case, of course. I wanted you to know I’ve been in contact with the Prosecutor about some new developments in your case.” He pulled a newspaper article out of his briefcase and slid it over.
Police announced the arrest and indictment of Todd Ruttman, 21, of Eau Claire following an officer-involved shooting last this weekend in the alley behind the End Zone Bar and Grill in Madison. The officer was on foot patrol in the area when he investigated a woman screaming from the alley. “On arrival on the scene, the officer found the suspect hunched over a woman whose clothes were torn and who was fighting to get away. The officer ordered him to freeze, and when the suspect turned towards the officer with a knife in his hand, he refused repeated orders to drop the weapon and was shot twice when he turned back towards the victim. Mr. Ruttman was charged with felony sexual assault, kidnapping, and assault charges. His wounds were not life-threatening and he has been remanded to State custody. The victim, whose name has not been released, was treated for multiple injuries but is expected to make a full recovery.”
“I’d like to buy this guy a case of Scotch,” I said with a smile. “And I should buy him some shooting lessons. He should have put two through his worthless heart.”
“Well, it’s a good thing you didn’t,” Charles said. “As you can imagine, the optics of this are not good for the State. People understand now that he was a sexual predator, and that makes the sentence you were given seem a little unfair under the circumstances. I’ve gotten Assistant District Attorney Dawkins to agree to a recommended modification of your sentencing to time served, the remainder of the sentence suspended. You’ll still be deported and your guilty plea to the felony stands. If you break the law in the United States again, the remainder of the sentence comes back, no parole. That won’t matter if you aren’t here. We have a court date in two weeks with the judge who sentenced you. If he agrees, you could be released and taken to the airport for return to Scotland.”
That would be amazing. I can’t do anything in here, I thought. “They’ll go for it?”
“You’re just costing them money, and so far, you’ve been a model prisoner.” He glared at me. “And you will STAY a model prisoner until the court date, won’t you.”
“I will do anything for my mate, you know that,” I said.
“I’m counting on that.” He stood up and pounded on the door, yelling for the guard. “Keep studying, and you’ll be home soon.”
Brian relieved me in the room a little before six, and I dragged myself to the Pack House for breakfast. I walked through the door of the dining hall, and immediately I was escorted to the Alpha table where Sean was already up and eating. “Good morning, Brian. Sleep well?”
I smiled before rolling my head on my shoulders, my neck cracking a few times as I did. “Cots aren’t wolf size,” I said.
“Is she still sleeping?”
“Yes, Doc should be by shortly, but no change from last night.” It tore at me that I couldn’t do anything.
“I’ll call Miriam this morning and ask her to come out,” he said. I didn’t have any other ideas, so after breakfast I went back to the room, took a shower and went back to bed. I woke to a knock on the door. “Pack Warrior Larry, the Alpha Heir said the Coven Leader will arrive in an hour. He asks that you get lunch and meet them in the Pack Clinic,” the voice said.
“Thank you,” I said as I rolled out of bed. Dressing quickly, I ate and joined Brian in her room. She was laying on her back, hands folded over her stomach on top of the sheet. The beeping of the monitors was the only sound in the room.
“Doc says she’s physically doing fine, she’s still healing from the blast but there isn’t any reason he can find that she is unconscious,” Brian said. I looked at her, the IV needle in the back of her left hand, the urine bag hanging off the side of the bed. I put my hand over hers, she was warm but didn’t respond.
A few minutes later, Alpha Heir Sean and Doc Connell entered the room, trailing behind a five-foot-nothing dynamo with flowing white hair. “Oh my,” the woman said as she came to the bedside. “It’s been centuries since there has been something like this.”
“A magical exhaustion,” she said. “She’s been out since yesterday?
“Yes, about 22 hours now,” I said. “Thank you for seeing her.”
She nodded and pulled some crystals out of her pocket, placing them around her body. “She has no idea of her power?”
“Not that we know of,” I answered. I told her what had happened. Her eyes widened a little when I described what happened to the other car, and what Patrick had told me about what Father Kempechny had done after the blast.
“Her magic is old and powerful,” she finally said as she collected the crystals. “White magic is about balance; we do not take, we direct and trade. This can be deadly to the untrained, as the energy is taken from their body. Her magic protected her instinctually, but at a high cost.”
“She will wake up?”
“In hours, days perhaps. Her body needs to regenerate, then she will wake.”
We didn’t have that kind of time, the longer she stayed here, the more likely she would be found out. “Is there anything you can do to help her?”
She shook her head. “Not until she wakes, and then she needs to make a decision. The magic that was pushed into her wants to come out. She needs to be trained in how to use it properly, or she needs to give it to another. The next time it pushes forward without her control could kill her.”
Sean looked at me, then her. “How much training are we talking?”
“Novice witches spend years learning our craft, and they have a fraction of the power she has been given,” Miriam said. “The best thing would be to give her over to a Coven that can guide and train her.”
“Um, that’s not happening,” Sean said. “She is the mate of a Beta of this Pack. He won’t leave her in a coven.”
“That’s impossible, witches are not mates with werewolves,” she said with certainty.
“She was his mate before she gained this power,” I replied. “My theory is that Father Kempechny used magic to bind and bury her wolf in order to protect her after she was adopted by a human family.”
Miriam put her hands on each side of Jessie’s face and closed her eyes, her face strained with the concentration. “I can feel her wolf faintly,” she said. “I’ve never heard of such a spell, but I suppose it is possible.”
“Can you reverse it?”
“I don’t know. It isn’t magic I am familiar with. I would have to ask other Covens if they have heard of it. Still, magic cannot remove the wolf, only bind it tightly. The spell might have a way out built into it.”
“I don’t know.”
I sat down, trying to think. I had two problems now; I had to get Jessie out of the country without being traced, and I had to find a way for her to be trained by a witch if she chose to keep her powers. I’d read an article in a travel blog in the airport on the way to Russia, and it just might work. “Miriam, what would you need to train Jessie enough to be safe with her power, even if she didn’t know how to use all of it?”
She thought for a few minutes. “A couple weeks with an experienced trainer, in a place with no distractions and no interruptions would do it.”
“Would it be all right if that time included all-expense-paid travel to the United States along with your fee for such training?”
She smiled. “I haven’t been out of Europe in decades, young man. If you arrange it, I’ll go.” She put her hand on Jessie’s. “It’s actually quite exciting, her power is so different from mine. Finding out what she is capable of will be like unwrapping presents, you never know what might be there.”
The next morning, the four of us were exiting a car driven by Charles at the Scottish port of Grangemouth. He was the only one to know our destination, and he would keep our secret. I carried a sleeping Jessie up the gangplank of the grain carrier SS Marbacan, which was headed for Duluth to pick up a load of wheat to bring to the European markets. The transit would take three weeks, during which we would relax in our comfortable cabins and Jessie could learn about witchcraft, all without anyone being able to find or reach us. The middle of the ocean was the safest place I could think of for Jessie right now.
Miriam opened the door to their cabin; the beds look comfortable and had rails in case of bad weather. She turned the sheets down and I set her in place, tucking her in. Hopefully, she’d wake up soon. I returned to our cabin, where the Captain was waiting. “We need discretion in this,” I told him as I handed him an envelope with some cash. “We are involved in nothing illegal, but we do need to prevent anyone from knowing we are on board until we arrive in Duluth.”
“Discretion will be yours,” he promised as he pocketed the cash. “Enjoy the voyage. You are welcome to eat with the crew, or we can have meals brought to your room. The exercise room, bridge, and decks on this level are all available to you. If you want to see anywhere else, just come up to the bridge and let us know.”
We stayed in our cabins, watching out the portholes as we got underway and out to sea. The big ship was a smooth ride. I was reading my copy of “Dominant Species” when there was a knock on my door. “She’s awake, and she’s asking for you,” Miriam said.