Dream Walker

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Chapter 9 - Malakai


The first thing that occurred to him when he woke up was that he was really warm. As in, burning up from the inside out, kindof warm. It also felt like he had a very heavy blanket draped across him that made it difficult for him to move. Malakai tried to pull his right arm out a bit and something made a snorting noise before moving so he could get his arm up and over his forehead. He felt movement again from around his legs and after blinking a few times he could see the concerned faces of Jasper and Rihanna looking down at him.

“Were you guys laying on me?” Malakai’s voice literally croaked and his throat felt like he had swallowed sandpaper.

“Yeah, you were cold and shivering.” Rihanna leaned in to rest her forehead on his chest for a minute before sitting back up. “Wolf mom told us to lay on the blanket to help keep you warm.” Her smile was gentle, like it was whenever she was helping take care of some of the cubs she watched during the weekends.

“It worked. I feel like I’m burning up. Get off me please.”

Malakai tries to sit up and move, but his stomach rolls and he is hit by an intense wave of nausea. Rihanna is there to hold back his hair and lean him over the side of his bed above a large bowl. Nothing comes out of his stomach, but he heaves so hard it felt like it was literally trying to escape his body. He can’t help but groan afterwards as the churning of everything in his guts somewhat subsides. All he can hear is the sound of his heartbeat thumping wildly in his ears like a herd of spooked cattle. It felt like his brain wanted to kick its way out of his skull and then trample all over his stiff and sore body. He was half tempted to just lay back down and pass out again.

When he looks up, he can see his friend putting on some shorts and dashing out of his room to run up the stairs. His mind wonders why his friend was getting dressed and then realizes that the only reason the ‘blanket’ had been so heavy was because they were shifted while laying on him. He reaches out and pats Rihanna on her leg, the soft slapping sound seemed incredibly loud in his quiet room. Considering that she was probably still naked, he closed his eyes and rolled over to lay on his back.

“I’m ok. Go ahead and get dressed.”

Malakai could feel the bed lighten as she stands up and goes over to wherever she had left her clothes. There is a soft rustle of fabric as he keeps his eyes closed and it wasn’t long before he felt a soft pat on his shoulder. He opened his eyes at the exact moment that Jasper came in and flipped on his room light and his hands came up to cover his eyes quickly, accompanied by a string of very colorful words.

“I do not appreciate that language in my house, son. But this one time, I will let it slide. Turn the light off, Jasper.”

“Sorry, mom. Didn’t mean to…” Malakai moves his hands away from his eyes slowly, then tries to sit up when he realizes it isn’t so blindingly bright in his room anymore. An arm is wrapped around his back with a warm hand holding his as his mother helps him sit up slowly. “I feel like crap.”

“I can only imagine. You’ve been out since Friday night.” After making sure he wasn’t going to fall over, she pressed two of her fingers against the inside of his wrist and looked at her watch as she counted to herself. “Pulse is a bit sluggish, but that’s to be expected. Look up and towards the end of your bed, love.” When he does, she uses both hands to feel under his jawline and down his neck. She nods and then pushes on his shoulder a bit, helping him lay back. “I should have checked before you sat up. Sorry about that, son. I just need to take a look at your injury, ok?” Her voice was soft and soothing, helping calm him almost immediately. His mom could make anyone or anything cool down and be serene, whether it had four legs or two, usually within moments of her talking. She had an awesome Alpha power and it served her well where she worked as an ER nurse.

“Yeah, ok. How long have I -" Malakai hisses a bit as she lifts up his shirt and pokes gently at his abdomen. “Why is that so sore? It feels like I went rounds with dad’s friends in the gym.” He lifts his head a bit to look down while she pokes around at his quite tender guts. “Ok, mom. Seriously stop, please. The more you poke the more I want to throw up.”

She stops and pulls his shirt back down and looks at him with a raised eyebrow. “What is the last thing you remember?”

Malakai’s forehead scrunches as he pulls up the memory from his still slightly foggy mind. “The meeting, for one. All of us are up on the hill. Chasing down that girl. I mean...yeah, definitely a girl. My wolf just took over and I couldn’t do anything about it. He talked to me...He’s never done that before.” He winces a bit as he tries to sit up and his mother was there to help raise him up again like she had done before. A soft whistle comes from where Jasper and his sister were standing and he can see them look at each other and then at him.

“Your wolf...talked to you?” Jasper asks quietly. “My mountain lion never talks to me. Would be really helpful to keep me from doing stupid crap. You know, like holding a girl upside-down by her tail and shoving your nose in her you-know-where so you can -”

“Jasper! If you value your hide you will not finish that sentence.” Her voice was quiet but it effectively cut off his best friend, soft golden-brown eyes still on her son’s face. “Tell me what your wolf said. Word for word if you can. Perhaps your father will know what to make of it.”

Malakai takes a deep breath while closing his eyes. He replays the choppy bits of everything until he gets to where his wolf spoke to him. “He said, ‘No one touches her but me.’ I could have sworn there was someone running with me but I have no idea who. He was absolutely bent to make sure he got to her first. I couldn’t have stopped him even if I tried.”

Rihanna and her brother both raise their hands and she is the one that answers. “We both followed you after you ran over the top of us to go chase her. I will admit that Jasper was a bit faster than I was but that’s only because mom tackled me down so you wouldn’t take my head off. He got to see the unfortunate girl you grabbed by the tail and I got there right as she shoved her claws into your guts. When you let go of her, you both disappeared from the dream after that.” She was chewing on her lower lip, something that he knew she only did when she was really nervous or uncomfortable. “I don’t scare easy Malakai, you know that. But seeing that happen...it really freaked me out. I mean, you squirted blood on the ground before you poofed. The blood stayed there, but you didn’t. I could smell it too.”

Rihanna shudders a bit and Jasper wraps an arm around his sister. She leans her head on his shoulder while her brother rests his cheek on her head and they both just stand there quietly. Neither one of them were really sure what else to say until Danielle spoke up, breaking the uneasy silence.

“Jasper, I need you to go get Nakeema and then see if you can track down my other two sons. Nocona tends to spend most of his time with the healer, so Akela would be the only one to really hunt for unless he is at his house with his mate. Rihanna, I need you to go start a pot of water on the stove for some tea, please. You can come get me when it is done.” When neither of them move his mother turns her head and nods it towards his bedroom door. “Now, cubs.”

Malakai makes a face at the loud stomps of the twins as they rush out of his room. He wasn’t ashamed to admit that he was glad that his mom was there holding him up. He leans his head on her shoulder, taking in the fresh scent of clean linen and her light perfume of ginger and oranges as her warm hand rubs his shoulder.

“Son? Have you ever seen that girl before? Or know who she was?”

“No, no idea at all.” He goes to shake his head and immediately regrets it. From deep in his mind he is made aware of a sharp stabbing pain that is accompanied by a deep growl. He really hoped it didn't make its way out of his mouth as his mom might cuff him for it. Not like she would, but he still wanted to apologize. “Sorry about that.”

“Hm? For what?” His mom leans back and turns his face to look at her. “What are you apologizing for?”

“For growling at you.”

Her eyebrow raises just a bit and she smiles gently. “You didn’t growl at me. But apparently your wolf growled at you. He isn’t as hidden as he would like all of us to believe.” She smirks at him and he sighs softly. “If he is acting like that, I am going to assume that he knows who she is, even if you don’t.”

“That...is an excellent assumption, Alpha mother.”

They both turn their heads to see Nakeema come into his room, a small smile on her lips and an amused sparkle in her almost black eyes. Right behind her are two shadowy figures that try to look in his doorway, one tall and one short. The small woman waves her hands at them and they back away from the door with some barely audible grumbles. After closing his door quietly she makes her way over to where he was in bed, sitting down on the very end and smoothing down the front of her apron. She patted what looked like a small set of bottles in one of the pockets.

“I think we shall wait for your father to join us before I continue with some things. I have a feeling he will want to hear what I have discovered. It’s quite interesting. Of course, it all depends on how the next few minutes go. It will determine if my theory is sound or not.” She chuckles lightly as her weathered hand pats his leg lightly.

“Am I dying or something?” Malakai swallows down what little spit he has in his mouth, surprised that he even had any to begin with. “Seriously. What’s going on?”

“Ah, why must the young ones always assume the worst about everything?” The older woman makes a shushing noise with pursed lips. “How’s the gut?”

“What?” His face pales as she pokes him unceremoniously in his tender abdomen. “Oh, that. Yeah, it's sore.” His hand rubs at where she poked him with a frown.

“It also is taking a long time to heal, Nakeema. Even with his wolf taking a literal back seat to the situation it shouldn’t be taking this long. By now he shouldn’t even have scabs. Here, lean back son and let me show her.”

“Ugh, I feel like a weird experiment that went wrong. ‘Check this out! He isn’t doing what he’s supposed to. His wolf talked to him. He can’t shift.’ Blah, blah, blah.” Malakai rolls his eyes and frowns as he waves his hands around as his mother raises an eyebrow at him.

“Your attitude is horrible, Malakai.”

“What attitude? I don’t have an attitude.” His frown deepens as he falls back on the bed and turns his head to stare at the wall. He yanks up his shirt and huffs slightly. “There, now you don’t have to do it. Poke and prod away.”

That attitude. I understand that you’re feeling out of sorts, but you don’t have to be rude.”

“At least he still has a bit of snark in him, Danielle.” He can hear a liquid being shook in a container and the hiss of air as the top is removed. His room is immediately permeated with a heady scent of licorice that hits his nose and makes him grimace. “Hold him still please.”

“I don’t need you to encourage that snark right now, Nakeema.” His mother chides as she moves his hands away from the shirt and sets them at his sides. “What’s in that anyways? It smells horrible.”

He feels a warm, calloused hand wipe something wet across his abdomen and the slight burning from where they had been poking around on him subsides. When he tries to lift his head, the strong hand of his mom holds his head down. When he tries to move again, he realizes that she is holding one arm down with her other hand while sitting in a way to pin his other arm between her and his side.

“What’s going on now? What is that stuff? It’s really cold and smells nasty.” He tries his hardest to try and see what it was that Nakeema was doing but his mom was a lot stronger than he thought. Yep, mom was in nurse mode. He wasn’t going anywhere.

“Tell me if it warms up, pup. Up, pup! I made a rhyme!” The healer chortles softly as he feels her poke on his sides, then he can feel her press on each one of those little pin pricks of pain on his abdomen at the same time. He does a sharp intake through gritted teeth, but it doesn’t hurt like it had before and he stops trying to see if he can watch. He began to realize just how strong his mom was if she could literally hold his whole body down with just her hands and rear end. Holy crap.

“Not warming up at all. Just cold.” Malakai can feel something else get wiped across his skin and it warms up in the spots where her fingertips had been pressing. There was an odd feeling that worked its way up his chest and down his arms, the sensation floating between chilly and warm. His body shuddered as if it had a chill before he started to feel strange and heavy, like he was melting into his bed. Literally. “Whas in da shtuff… whoolee flip…”

“Already?” Nakeema’s eyebrows raise up and she purses her lips. “Well isn’t that interesting. You can let go of him now, my dear.” The bed shifts as someone gets up off of it, but he doesn't know who. All he knew at the moment was that he was seeing halos around everything and his mouth had a distinct taste of licorice in it. He tries to spit it out but all he does is blow air and spittle out of his mouth, along with a slight whistle.

“Good gods, Nakeema. What did you give him? He looks high as a kite.” Danielle keeps a hold of him while she reaches for his shirt, pulling it down to cover up his abdomen.

“Oh, a little of this and a little of that. Please don’t touch it.” Soft footsteps are heard across the hardwood floor and light spills in through the doorway as his bedroom door opens. “Come on boys. You can come in and see your brother now. Any sign of your father?”

“No ma’am. Not yet. He’s probably on his way home from work unless they have to keep him late again.” Akela’s voice carries across the room and Malakai makes a howling noise followed by a snicker. The older brother lets out a low whistle. “Wow, he is stoned out of his mind. Will he even know who we are?” Akela waves a hand out to his side and watches to see if his younger brother would try to follow it.

“What she has in that stuff, I wouldn’t recommend you getting into it.” This came from the softer voice of Nocona. “There are some serious herbs in that poultice. I could smell them outside your house while you were preparing it.”

Nakeema pats the shorter brother on the arm lightly. “You are quite correct. It was made with your brother and his situation in mind. Although I don’t think it would do much to you, Nocona.”

“Damn the bad luck. He looks like he is seeing some pretty wild things.”

“Now then, let’s see what we can find out about what is going on with Malakai. I have a hunch, but I just want to be sure. Come closer now you two and stand at the foot of the bed.” When they move forward, she clicks her tongue happily. “Good, good. Now hold still. Danielle, prop him up a little better so he can see all of us.”

Malakai tries to focus as his mom sits him up, blinking slowly as he stares from one brother to the next. A wide, slightly lopsided grin crosses his face as he stares up at Akela. His gaze shifts from one brother to the next, his forehead creasing in confusion. His head tilts to the side as he looks at his mother and the same crooked grin returns as he reaches up to pat her on the cheek. A round of snickers and snorts erupt from him as he stares at his hands.

“Ima glowbug.” He flexes his fingers before he points at Akela and then his mother. “So’s you, an’ you. We all glowbugs. ‘Cept them.” Two hands point fingers and draw lazy circles in the air at his other brother and Nakeema. “They butts don’ lit up.” His eyes open and close, then reopen slowly as his hands fall into his lap. His head leans to the side to land on his mothers shoulder, eyes closing as his mind slips back into the blessed darkness he had just woken up from. He lets out a soft howl before starting to snore softly.

“Man, you have got to get me some of that. Well, without the hallucinations that is.”

Nocona prods his brother in the side. “For you or Lyssa?”

“Don’t be weird, it would be for me. To help me sleep.”

“Didn’t realize you were having issues with that again. It’s probably all those energy drinks you drown yourself with on a daily basis. Smells more like Monster than Red Bull this week."

Akela goes to make a comment to his smirking brother when Nakeema waves a hand towards Malakai’s open door and then points to the couch in the other room. “Take it out there, boys. Not like you will wake your brother, but we should all go out there and wait for the Alpha. Come on.”

Danielle sets her son back on the bed gently and pulls up the blanket over his chest and arms. She feels his forehead with the back of her hand for a minute before moving a strand of his hair out of his face. With a sigh she stands up and accompanies her other two sons and the healer out to the downstairs living room, making sure to close the door quietly behind her. The second hand on the clock seemed to move slowly around the circular face, ticking loudly in the silence. She clears her throat and motions for her oldest son to scoot over so she could sit next to him on the couch. When she is settled she folds her arms across her chest and regards their healer with a raised eyebrow.

“Care to tell me what all was used in that poultice you smeared all over Malakai? That worked a lot faster than your usual concoctions.”

The corners of Nakeema’s mouth turn up into a smile and she chuckles softly. “Of course it did. The faster the reaction, the stronger the tie his wolf has. But as to what was in it?” The old woman taps her temple and winks. “Trade secret.”

Akela rubs at the back of nis neck and asks, “Tie to what?”

“Ah ha!” Nakeema exclaims, holding up a long finger and waving it, her sun-touched face lighting up with a wide grin as all three of them on the couch jump slightly. “You caught that, did you? Good for you! Now if you remember there were three of us that lit up, as he said, like glowbugs. Care to guess why?”

Rihanna comes down the stairs at that moment and nods to Danielle. “The water is done ma’am. I turned it off so it wouldn’t burn up.” She shuffles her feet on the rug a bit as she wipes her hands on her shorts. “Is he doing ok?”

“He’s fine. Just sleeping. Thank you Rhee, you can go ahead and go. Your mom should be getting off work soon and will need some help around the house. Go find your brother and have him help you.”

“Ok. Can you please let us know when he wakes up?"

“Of course.” With a nod, the girl turns and goes quietly up the stairs to leave. The front door is heard opening, along with the rumble of the Alpha’s voice giving her a greeting before the door closes.

“Sounds like my mate is finally home.” Danielle calls out over her shoulder. “Kaga! We’re downstairs!”
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