Painted Scars (The Millennium Wolves 03)

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Chapter 11

A year after my powers shockingly matured at the age of five instead of ten (like every normal healer) I went into a rebellion period. I didn’t want some cosmic forces to decide for me what I would do; I wanted to do decide for myself. Even at six, it seemed unfair that I was chosen for a certain fate without having a say in the matter. So I decided I wanted to be a musician and asked for violin lessons. My parents gave them to me just so I would run off steam and finally realize what was my true destination in life.

While they were right and I did want to be a healer despite everything, the violin stuck with me. Nobody, and certainly me, didn’t expect for me to love those lessons as much as I did. So I got better, practicing day and night, playing for my parents, for Daphne.

Then, one time, as I was practicing for Daphne while she danced freely to the notes I wove, she suddenly fell, twisting her ankle. I stopped at once, fearing something truly bad happened to her, and ran toward her, ready to heal her. But before I could reach out with my healing magic, she raised her hands and looked at me with anguished eyes. “Your music,” she whispered. We were merely juveniles back then. “Keep playing. Don’t let me stop you.”

“Daphne, let me fix you first – “

She seamed her lips together. “Play first.” Healers were stubborn by nature. Daphne was no different. Sometimes I thought she would turn out more stubborn than me.

Since I knew that setting her off the track her mind chose to take was moot, I sighed, glared at her, and rose. Worry nagging at me that I was giving her what she wanted in a situation where her wants should obviously be overlooked, I raised the violin, tucked the edge under my chin, and began sawing with the bow over the strings.

Something happened then. As I played one of the kids’ pieces I was working on, I felt a tag inside me, right to my very wolfish soul. Curious, I followed that tag, using it to twist with my music, and when Daphne suddenly cried out in surprise, I snapped my gaze to her, stopping playing at once, and saw her feeling up her ankle in shock.

That was when both of us first learned that my powers were beyond the extents of normal.

We began to experiment after that. Daphne would deliberately hurt herself in different ways; scratching her knees, biting her lip, slapping herself. I would then play the violin and follow the tag until she was healed.

When I was fourteen and she was eleven, Daphne took it up a notch. I’d been too focused on how the violin was helping me actually heal, that I didn’t notice what this kind of healing did to my patient. So when we were at some mountain to “practice” - we always went to deserted areas – and she pushed herself over a cliff, I knew I’d messed up big time.

Under the cliff were only a rocky ground. Daphne’s head hit a certain sharp rock and she was bleeding badly. Her arms were twisted as well, and her tail bone was broken. She was literally broken, and I knew that I was the reason for it. I didn’t know how yet, but I knew I was.

Crying and sobbing and fearing for my sister’s life, I began playing the violin. I had blood on my hands from some scratches I took myself when I made my way through the rock to her body. Apparently, the blood added an effect to the already strange healing thing I got going with the violin. And before my very eyes, Daphne’s unconscious body floated into the air, surrounded by a gloating light.

Once the tag stopped sucking magic from my soul, I snatched her tiny body and saw, for my utter astonishment, that she was completely healed.

I didn’t tell her to this very day exactly what happened back there. She knew the general idea of how somehow the mix of my blood with my violin made it possible for me to fix her so thoroughly and easily. Yet I didn’t tell her about the phenomenon that occurred when it happened.

Then, I forced her to tell me what was she thinking when she risked her life like that. She then confessed that she liked the feeling of when I was healing her with music. She was eleven, and she was addicted to hurting herself just so she could be healed by the violin. It was an euphoric feeling, she’d said. After being healed it made her feel stronger, more vital, more alive, like a drug.

And at that moment, I called it all quits. I couldn’t have my sister risking her life again and again for me just because she was addicted. So I left the violin and the music and the healing that came with it behind me in the past. I still played sometimes, but only when no one was around. I didn’t want anyone else getting addicted to it.

But now, as I stood in front of Reyna Morgan’s broken body in the entrance hall of the Pack House, with the Millennium Wolves and West Coast Pack alpha and his people, I was about to break a rule I’d set to myself. So before I started with the concert, I said, “Put your hands over your ears and try not to listen to me play.” I could only hope it would somehow distort the effect.

If there would be an effect. I still didn’t know if my music-healing magic worked on humans. Logic said it shouldn’t, since my core healing magic, like every other healer, worked on werewolves only. But something in me, a hunch, told me it was worth a shot. So I was willing to take.

Looking at Daphne, I begged her with my eyes to leave the hall. Her face turned stubborn instead, and she motioned with her eyes to the fact that she, like everybody in the room, did as I asked. I didn’t know how effective it would be on her specifically, but I could only hope.

I had no time to spend fighting with her. Reyna needed me.

Then, I closed my eyes, and played.

Inside me, the tag burned to life, roaring and shoving to the surface with utmost force that it made me stagger. Without mercy, it launched inside my soul and began to draw from my magic, ruthlessly so, impatiently. I hissed at the huge amount it was taking from me, but didn’t deny it what it needed.

Radiance made me open my eyes and I watched in sudden sorrow as Reyna’s body floated a few inches up in the air, a bright aura surrounding her. Her back was bowed and her hair was swirling in a breeze that wasn’t really there, and I could see, horrified, as the blood that pooled on the floor suddenly rose to the air and began to fly around her, as though it had life.

I had no idea what was going on. This didn’t happen with Daphne ten years ago. Afraid, I tried to stop playing, but my hands felt like they were detached from my body, having a soul of their own, and they wouldn’t obey me. I couldn’t stop. And the tag kept on sucking me dry.

Suddenly the blood began entering back into Reyna’s body through the wounds it came through. I felt sick to my stomach at the sight. I understood now what was happening; my magic could heal her only using her own blood. Because I couldn’t fasten the cells to reproduce in a human; I could only do that to a werewolf because I was one. Still, the violin magic made it possible for me to overrule the fact all healers had believed to be absolute; that we couldn’t heal humans.

Apparently, we could. Or rather, I could.

And it all came back to Webb Montgomery.

Once the blood was all back inside Reyna, I saw the wounds closing, sealing themselves, and her skin was moving, the blood beneath resettling. A few minutes later, the glowing around the girl dimmed and she fell to the floor harshly, no longer floating. Finally, I could stop playing.

The violin and bow dropped to the floor from my numb hands and I stepped toward her, kneeling next to her body. Then, just as I checked for her pulse and found that it was kicking moderately and strong, Reyna let out a groan and opened her eyes, blinking as though coming out of a daze.

Her green eyes found mine, and something in them made me still. I couldn’t point my finger on what shot alarm bells through my head in her look, but whatever it was, it freaked the fuck out of me. “Thank you,” she whispered softly.

I had no time to say anything else; Martin was over at once, hugging his daughter and crying, and I suddenly couldn’t keep myself straight anymore. I was drained. Seriously drained. Just as much as I’d been when I healed Shade.

Before I could hit the floor someone caught me. I sniffed and found Shade’s already familiar scent wrapping around me. “She needs to rest,” he said in a low voice, so close that I could feel it on my skin, feel his chest vibrating against me. “You can question her later.”

“Later?” Eve’s incredulous voice sniped. “We don’t have a later where she’s concerned – “

“Eve,” Daphne’s voice cut her off, and I could barely hear her, since blackness started entering my mind. “I’ll fill you all in. I don’t know about the Snow thing, but about the violin I do. Just let her – “

I couldn’t hear anymore. I blacked out.

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