The pack, well most of them women, pups and men had gathered outside the door of the infirmary taking in the sights of a human girl, unconscious, just like the previous. The crowd split in equal parts upon my approach, no one daring, except Allison ofcourse who was used to my menacing aura, followed. Her steps were quick, filled with the anticipation of her fellow members outside.
It wasn't as if we've never seen humans before, well, most of us that is. Once you were part of patrol or a leader, that was an incidence that couldn't be avoided. Though for the last hundred years or so, the only humans we've come across ever so often were the Hunter clan. Humans who had migrated to Cascade falls and thought themselves to be the owners of this land. They invaded our home, demolished bonds we had and even more, went ahead to destroy our environment. Now Silver moon, my pack is the only pack that still resides in the forest closer to where humans live. We act as sentinels, alarms for other surviving packs to be on guard for an attack.
It's not as illustrious as it sounds. We don't always get along. It's enough that we might find ourselves in a bind from time to time. Between rogues and discontent neighboring packs, our hands are more than full. More than. There's no fanfare in this, no awards to be gained. Every pack member present within our community know one thing is sure. We'll always share blood and tears. We'll always loose someone to an attack. A mate, a father, a brother, a friend. Joining or packs is like certain death, yet somehow we still manage to smile everyday.
Gale, our pack doctor's face is riddled with concentration. The small surgical room is saturated with the scent of fresh blood and it's only through steeled control any of us haven't already gone ballistic over the scent. This girl is badly injured, compared to the previous and my thoughts wonder if their both sudden appearance is somewhat connected. There's a deep gash to her right ankle, a few superficial scrapes and cuts to her hands and another across her cheek.
"How bad is it?"
"This one needs stitches, I'll give her antibiotics intravenously in case of an infection. The wound on her foot was quite dirty"
"What do you think caused it?"
Gale shrugged, picking up another swab laced with anesthetic disinfecting the areas.
"Doesn't seem like an animal doing which is good. Caleb said they found her down the cliff like the previous girl. Maybe they jumped or was pushed"
"You'd come all this way just to jump from a cliff?" I ask to no one specifically.
"You can ask her when she's awake" Gale replies. "Humans are weird. I can't say what exactly happened".
I paced knowing this was rather an inconvenient time to have humans in the camp. Jaxon was away at a council meeting and won't be back until a few more days. The worst thing however was that we couldn't just kick them out the pack, they were two injured girls and even if they were rogues, there were female's here would never let me hear the end of it. Especially Allison. Feminism and all that. I observed her clothing noting that it wasn't like what the hunters wore.
Growling in frustration I walked away. I didn't have a choice, there was too much coincidence here. The hunters attack and now their sudden appearance? I'd have to treat them as related until proven otherwise. I'd give anything to have my week gone completely the opposite way.
"How is she?" Allison asked outside the door. She stood sneaking a peak inside the room every now and again. "Are they here to hurt us?"
" I don't know, there's only so much you can ask an unconscious person"
"The pack is worried you know, the pups are scared..."
Like I truly needed a reminder. I could feel their anxieties through pack bond, humans were a disaster to us, a plague. Children are often told stories of their cruelty in equality to the boogie man beneath the bed. Gale slipped past us, heading back to the recovery room holding the other human, she wasn't enthusiastic about having her anywhere near the pack house, but what could we do. We've never had human prisoners, and the holding cells we had were made in case of rogue attacks or disputes between pack members.
"Hey Gale" called Allison. "How is she doing? "
She huffed glancing over her shoulder at me.
"If I didn't know better I'd swear she was a wolf like us. She's vicious. Honestly Rider I hope you stick around. Maybe you can scare her into staying still and being quiet"
"Yeah, maybe he'll growl again like the last time" Said Allison laughing.
Gale paused her walking at the door turning to glance at me, her eyes narrowing.
"That reminds me Rider, are you okay? Allison's right, you're a little possessive"
Don't even think about it, I mind linked an open mouthed Allison. These two women were like a wild fire, once they knew, the entire pack would know and I was still wagering on what to do about this haphazard situation.
"I'm fine" I replied stepping between both women heading into the room. The girl turned, meeting my eyes upon my entry, folding her hands across her chest smugly.
"Can I go now? You've prodded me enough and ....I want to leave"
"You're wounds haven't healed as yet"
The human touched her head and arms gazing at the bandages before laughing. Something light and melodious, my ears straining automatically to take in every octet.
"Okay, first of all, I don't know you people" She glanced around at all of us in the room. "You can't keep me here against my will" She shrugged. " Well you can try"
"We just want to help you. You're not here against your will"
"Then let me leave. I need to find my friend"
"You can't leave" I say stepping closer. "It's not safe"
"Here isn't safe!" She snapped jumping up suddenly Allison ducking behind my back from fear, protecting her unborn pup. "I'm in the middle of God knows where surrounded my trees and weird people"
"He just said it's not safe. You're right, there's forest around us, there are predators out there" Gale reasoned moving closer before her hand is swatted away. "We don't want to hurt you"
The human laughed humorously again, actually it was a cackle. The hideous laughter of a witch mixing her pot of stew singing her spells. Before we knew what was happening, the human had already grabbed the bottle of anesthetics pointing it at Gale having enough. A growl left me, from part annoyance and part fear. Fear thinking she might hurt herself. If there was a chance that I'd feel anything like what I felt yesterday seeing Gale attend to her, I'd rather to keep it at bay. I don't know when I'm standing next to her, don't know when the bottle dropped from her hand, only my mind registers the fear that's etched into her features. And as Selene lives, I hate it. In my mind I'm snarling, pissed at myself for sharing her, I want to run and hide, maybe rub against her and ask forgiveness.
This mate bond shit is messing with my mind, and I loathe it. I fight against my instincts, to not shield her in, tell her to stop, to growl at her like I would any other wolf in the pack. Only she's not a wolf I remind myself and if I shift, I won't only scare her, she'll never let me hear her again.
"You're hurting me"
"What?" I ask swallowing. My voice is unrecognizably thick. I need to get away from her and run. But hell, what kind of Beta would I be running away from a woman? A human at that.
Her hazel eyes pierce mine as she stares, there's pain there but not much.
"I said you're hurting me" She mumbled again tugging her hand from my grasp.
I sigh stepping aside, only a little. Thank the moon for enhanced hearing or she might've lost her hand from my tight grip. Gale guards the bottle of anesthetics as if it was her life while Allison stands a good distance off. Her eyes dart from the human to me then back again, asking if I'm okay. She has spunk that much I know, which meant as far as personalities go, we clash. Thanks so much Selene, just what I need, as if Jaxon isn't enough annoyance as it is.
"Until she gives you the okay to leave, stay here"
The human glares, her eyes a burning flame and somehow I welcome her challenge. She sits despite wanting to defy me and within that moment I feel myself take a huge breath.
"Gale, change the bandages. I'm going to go talk with everyone" I start off, nodding for Allison to head out before me. "Oh and you" My mate jumps as my eyes narrow on her person.
"What?" She answered gruffly her mouth set in a pout.
"Don't give her any grievances. I'll know"
Veron and Quinn meet us in the hallway, the entire pack already in the large meeting room. From where I stand, I hear their excited chatter, all eager to hear about the humans.
"So, what's the verdict?" Veron asks straightening to his full height, while Quinn shifts uncomfortably from feet to feet. "Is she a hunter?"
"Go" I say to Allison needing some time to clear my head, before turning to the men. " I don't know"
"You spent half an hour inside" Veron states in disbelief. "Are you losing your touch?"
" Well that's inconvenient " Quinn speaks up a quirky smile on his face. "Never thought I'd see the day when Rider has difficulties dealing with a problem. Jax would have a field day with this"
"That's not it" I mumble scratching my head before sighing. "I didn't get to question her"
Both men glanced at each other before turning back to me.
"Do tell" they said in unison.
"She was freaking out, almost blinded Gale with the anesthetic"
Quinn laughed while Veron groaned folding his hand across his chest.
"You're a Beta and you let a hunter, a mere human get the best of you?"
" Well I could just rip her throat out but a dead man or woman tells no tales" I argued partly pissed at their suggestion. Sure we had another human to interrogate but killing humans were always a last resort. She was scared.
I can't believe I'm rationalizing this. If push comes to shove and she's a part of the hunger clan, I'll have to kill her and if I don't Jax definitely will. Mate or not, he won't save her and sacrifice the pack and I could never ask him to do that. His nephew would be here in the next two months.
"All I'm saying is, this is our land, she abides by our rules"
"She won't just listen to us, we're complete strangers. As far as she's concerned were probably kidnappers"
"Why should we care what she thinks? She a hunter" Veron snaps. "We lost wolves. I care squat what or who she thinks we are"
"She's also a woman" I retort and my mate. I want to say it loudly, I want him to understand I won't let anyone near her, not willingly. I won't let them hurt her, even if I can't accept her right now.
"Point taken" Quinn interjects planting himself between me and Veron, which could be the best thing for either of us right now.
He's pissed that I'm dragging my foot while in my head, the lines between friend and foe are blurring. I'm seeing his defiance as a challenged and I'm ticking to have him pinned against the ground until he bared his throat in submission.
"Lets agree to disagree" Quinn continues. "Women are women, hunters, humans, wolves. Right?" He looks between us desperately. My fists are clenched at my side, nails digging into my palms drawing blood. The smell tints air between us and seconds later the pack house erupts.
"Lets go calm them down" Quinn says dragging Veron down the corridor and I sigh resting my head against the wall.
Damn mate bond. I swear I'm going to go crazy, if I don't solve this fast.