Chapter Twenty-One: Dusk
Song of the Chapter: A Little Messed Up by June
Noah holds me tight to him as I nuzzle his chest lightly with my nose taking in his scent. The room smells of the sex we just had, it was a desperate kind to reassure us that we are both okay. It was to reassure us that what happened today was good rather than bad, it was a move forward rather than backwards. I wish I could say I feel bad about what happened to Kiki and Perry but I can’t, I don’t. In reality, I’m done trying to be anything than what I am, I’m a killer. I kill when I need to in order to protect myself and those around me. Noah and I have become our ultimate selves and nothing is going to change that, together we have reached the peak of our abilities. I have to admit I’m a little freaked out by the whole going Ghost Rider look but if it’s part of who I am than I’ll accept it. A light knock comes at the door, Noah and I slip our clothes back on before we slip under the sheets to continue cuddling. The door opens and Reaper peeks his head inside the room.
“Hey, you guys okay?” Reaper presses gently, I know he’s concerned about us.
Reaper understands who Noah and I are better than anyone else because he has that same darkness within him. Reaper struggles with the same struggles that we do. All three of us are killers, all three of us have the power of death at our fingertips even if it is in different ways.
“We’re good, how about you?” Noah asks Reaper as he steps into the room closing the door behind him.
“This is all hard to adjust too but it’s giving me hope that maybe one day we can have a better life,” Reaper replies honestly as he wrings his hands.
“One day we will have a better life,” I state needing to believe that it’s going to be true.
Reaper nods and then goes back to wringing his hands. I watch him do so trying to read him, trying to read what’s bothering him. Noah beats me to it as he sits up causing Reaper to stop and look at him.
“Is it hard being around humans, or is it just the guns that make you nervous?” Noah prods gently and I catch onto his train of thought.
Reaper’s mother was killed by hunters when we were younger, this could be his first time around humans and guns in a long time. Or at least his first time living in the same space as them.
“It’s the guns, I keep hearing the sound of the gun that killed my mom going off.” Reaper barely whispers.
Noah and I share a look of agreement.
“You can stay in here if you’re more comfortable with that,” I suggest and Reaper’s eyes flicker up to mine before he looks to Noah for confirmation over my words.
When Noah nods Reaper lets out a relieved breath before he shifts into Wolf form circling a few times before picking a spot on the floor to sleep. Satisfied that our packmate is now comfortable in his situation Noah and I close our eyes seeking sleep. My body is exhausted from fighting and healing Victor. It’s need time to recover and I plan on giving it that.
Three months later I wake up to a similar setting, Noah is curled up beside me and Reaper snores lightly on the floor. Things have been going well and progress has really been made with this group of humans. Ever since the humans saw Noah and I’s combined strength they’ve respected us. Ever since I healed Victor from the brink of death they have seen our value. Just like them, we can be soldiers too though we have fought a different war than they have. Things are changing, for the most part for the better. On other fronts for the worse, Noah is always tired and I learned a secret about myself that I don’t feel like I can share with him because of it. Right now Reaper is the only one who knows only because he guessed it. Today is supposed to be just like any other day, a good day. We wake early and go for our daily run, we now do it in Wolf form with our human companions riding our backs using targets put up as shooting practice. Reaper sticks close behind Noah and me as he is the only one who can’t have his partner touch him in Wolf form. Reaper has become very close with Noah and me as he continues to struggle with his ability and his trust of humans with guns. He’s come far since that first night. When the run is finished we return to our temporary home to meet up with Hayley and Crane. Every day we have been checking in on Hayley’s progress, even though she doesn’t feel like she has, Hayley, is coming along. Every day she can smell farther, picking up more scents, she can run faster and she gets stronger. She is simply frustrated because she can’t shift still and we know she is still incapable of sexual relations with Crane. It’s been hard on them but Crane has been patient, after all, he believes she is his mate now. If it were Noah I would wait a lifetime for him to be able to be with me, heck I kinda did. Using one of the bigger rooms we meet up with Hayley, Danny and Cassie. Settling in we wait on Crane’s arrival, his human partner fell during the run and he wanted to make sure that she was okay.
“Any progress today?” Danny asks gently, this is always a soft subject with Hayley as some days are worse than others.
Today Hayley is bubbly and excited, this generally means that something prominent has happened.
“Crane doesn’t know about this yet so don’t ruin it for him when he gets here but watch this!” Hayley replies very excitedly.
She extends her hands to us as she closes her eyes. Taking in a deep breath and then breathing out Hayley’s hands begin to crack and change until her hands are no longer human hands. On the end of her arms are paws covered in thick fur. Opening her eyes Hayley smiles widely causing us all to smile even if this is the weirdest thing we’ve ever seen. She changes her paws back into her hands with little effort before beginning to discuss the progress with Danny. Normally Noah and I would be more supportive but I’m distracted and he’s doing his best to keep himself awake. I’m about to say something when suddenly my ears hear a bit of commotion on the other side of the door. Swearing reaches my ears just before a pained growl does. The door opens wide as Victor and Diana haul an unconscious body into the room followed by Crane who is plucking a needle from his neck.
“What the hell?” I ask getting up from my seat and moving to my brother as I take the needle from him and check his neck where a blood spot wells up.
“He came at me quickly mumbling something about I’ve corrupted Hayley and if she were a Wolf she would have been able to shift by now. Then he jabbed me with that needle, it was full of a grayish purple liquid.” Crane mumbles before he sways, I move into him catching him.
Noah is up to taking the needle from me before he gives it a good sniff and letting out a growl in response.
“Wolfsbane.” He says deeply as he sniffs the needle again to double-check.
“We can testify that Crane is telling the truth,” Victor tells me as he and Diana move to join us.
Hayley is standing between Crane and Joey looking wide-eyed unsure of what to do. Blinking once more she moves to Crane quickly pulling him against her to help me direct him to the couch where he awkwardly stumbles into a seated position. Worry crosses Hayley’s face at Crane’s awkwardness, we both know Crane is never awkward. A memory of my own experience with Wolfsbane crosses through my mind and I ghost of a smile plays across my lips, even though Wolfsbane can kill a Wolf it also gives us an amazing high. Only mates blood can save a Wolf from a bursting heart of death, thus Crane should be fine as Hayley’s blood should be able to counteract the Wolfsbane no problem. But will it work differently because of Hayley’s struggles? My face creases with more worry as I ponder the likely hood of Hayley’s blood not working.
“What are you frowning about, shouldn’t he be fine?” Carl questions me from where he leans against the back of the couch his hands resting on Tucker’s shoulders.
“In theory yes.” I respond my eyes flitting back and forth between Hayley and Crane, our packmates seem to catch onto my train of thought.
“What do you mean in theory?” Crane mumbles out trying to keep his thoughts together as the Wolfsbane begins to take hold of him.
“Well, in theory, Hayley’s blood is mates blood which should mean her blood will counteract the Wolfsbane if she allows you to take some. However, I’m not sure how her not being able to shift will affect this ability, I’m not sure how her Wolf blood will work.” I explain honestly which causes Hayley to chew absently on her fingernails.
“How will we know if I can help him?” Hayley prods worry clear in her tone.
“I’m assuming you will have to let him take some blood, it would be the only way to see if it will heal him,” Noah says his eyes flitting to mine to confirm his words, I do with a nod of my head.
“And if my blood doesn’t work?” Hayley asks, her face visibly paling at the idea.
“If your blood doesn’t work than as his sister and his alpha female my blood might be able to battle of the effects of the Wolfsbane but there is no clear guarantee upon taking that route,” I reply after a couple of seconds of thought.
It is the truth, I’ve never heard of anything but mates blood healing one from Wolfsbane poisoning. I know the other method has been tried but wasn’t successful. Either way, right now I’m really hoping for Crane’s sake that Hayley’s blood has come far enough that she can heal him.
“Okay, let’s give it a go.” Hayley murmurs as she settles down onto the couch beside Crane who is feeling the full effects of the Wolfsbane at this point.
I settle down on the other side of Crane gently holding him back into the couch so Hayley can try to help him and make this the least possible experience for both of them. Hayley shakily extends her wrist towards Crane, he has no idea what she is trying to do so he pushes it away. When he does so again a second time I know that I need to take over. As gently as I can I take Hayley’s wrist into my mouth, I extend my fangs enough to prick her arm drawing blood. She cries out both causing Crane to flinch and Joey to jump awake where he is sprawled on the floor. Trying to ignore Joey I remove Hayley’s wrist from my mouth and move it to press against Crane’s lips, her blood slowly rolling off her skin to drip onto his lap. Crane doesn’t open up as I expect him to instead he sits stone still his dilated pupils meeting my own.
‘Crane, you need to open up and take Hayley’s blood. It is the only thing that can help you.’ - I say into Crane’s mind where I hope that, like there was for me, there is a sliver of his sane self left.
He hears me as he opens his mouth sucking on Hayley’s skin and taking her blood in which causes Hayley’s lips to form a little ‘o’ shape. The process really only takes seconds but for everyone, it feels like minutes as Crane takes in a decent amount of blood before letting Hayley’s arm fall from his lips. Garth moves before anyone else as he catches Hayley’s falling form, her face pale and her eyes fluttering between conscious and unconsciousness. Crane’s eyes flutter closed as he falls into a deep sleep, hopefully, it is a healing sleep. With Tucker’s help, Noah picks Crane’s sleeping form up and moves him into the bedroom area where they set him lightly on the bed. Crane settled I move to Hayley as blood still slips down her wrist, her own body healing but much too slowly. Taking my own wrist into my mouth I bite into it before pressing it to Hayley’s lips. It only takes a small amount before her bite is healed completely and her face begins to regain colour.
“That was absolutely disgusting.” Joey’s voice comes quietly from where he is seated on the floor watching us with clear disgust written on his face.
“No, that was beautiful.” Diana states as her eyes are narrowed at Joey.
Joey rolls his eyes clearly not caring about what Diana thinks. Confidence seems to bubble out of Joey and that confuses me, faced with this many Wolves he shouldn’t be feeling confident. I turn to focus my attention on Joey just as Hayley regains herself. Before any of us can react Hayley is up from where she was seated and on her knees in front of Joey. A resounding slap echoes through the room as Hayley’s open palm connects solidly with Joey’s cheek causing his head to snap back and an unsuspecting gasp to leave his lips. Silence follows as a single tear slips down Hayley’s cheek falling to the floor.
“You aren’t the same Joey I grew up with, you’ve changed,” Hayley states to Joey who has visibly paled even, though his lips crack into a thin unpleasant line as his eyes harden.
“You were never the person I thought you were Hayley after all only a monster could have been capable of killing my family and not once did I think you could be that monster until I was proven otherwise.” Joey spits the words out like he’s a snaking using them as his venomous bite.
Hayley physically flinches away from his words as her skin turns a scary colour of white. She closes her eyes and takes in a depth breath as I know what we’ve all been waiting to hear about her is going to come to light.