49 Come Back To Me...
Blood spraying across my face brings me back to the moment. Robs face is contorted in confusion and rage as he staggers back looking at the silver arrow poking through his chest.
Another arrow takes Robs third dropping him and freeing my brother. My eyes search the ridge but I only catch a brief glimpse of her before a mousey grey wolf tackles her.
Searing pain is followed by relief as Derek removes the knife before slamming it into Robs beta dropping him instantly.
“The ridge, we have to stop them from flooding the ridge!” I shout pulling the knife from his back.
Howls break around us as a new wave of wolves break into the fight. I spot Eric’s wolf as they dive into the thick of things. The fresh wolves start cutting the rogues down ruthlessly.
I look up on the ridge again spotting Jess as an armed man closes in on her. They’re over run, Jude and Sara are fighting desperately to hold back the tide. With a flick of her wrist she ends the man, he falls away as she tries to help the defenders.
Jude is failing, if he falters, she’s alone. I can’t get up there in time. He has always been there for her, protecting her when I couldn’t. Hell, he’s even stood against me when he thought I was out of line. The realization hits hard.
“Get up Gamma and do your fucking job!” I roar, eyes locked on his. He shakes off his attacker pulling back into position with strengthened resolve.
More wolves are closing in on us, I have to trust Jude to do his job so I can do mine. Robs head warrior beelines for me, shifting in front of me before submitting. I’m caught off guard but don’t have time to consider it further as he takes out the closest rogue.
As the fighting winds down Jess and the others make their way to us. My heart leaps at the sight of her.
“Why are you here?! You’re supposed to be safe at home,” I say looking pointedly at Sara. I can’t hide my concern as I look her over, she’s covered in blood and dirt but I don’t see any serious wounds.
“It’s not mine, don’t blame Sara, I told her I was coming. She did what you told her to and protected me,” she defends. I can’t exactly be mad, if it wasn’t for their arrival we’d be dead now.
“How did you know?!” I ask surprised.
“Jude showed up right after you left warning that Rob was behind it all. He was only able to break out after the reserve rogue force left to join the battle.” Jess explains looking at the silver wolf to her right.
Guilt hits me as I think of our last exchange when I thought he sold her out. Even after that he hunted for her solo, got captured and still came back to warn us.
“I owe you an apology,” I grumble. “Shift!”
Jude instantly obeys, but keeps his eyes averted in respect. He looks like hell, numerous bites and slashes coat his regularly pale skin in blood.
“Gamma Jude, it’s long past time for this to be official. If I wasn’t so hard headed we could have moved past this long ago.” He has been her Gamma since day one, I was just too insecure to to see their relationship for what it really was.
Derek offers me a blade knowing what I was getting at. “Do you accept?” I ask, eyes locked with his.
Jude’s hand shoots out palm up with zero hesitation as he nods. In a quick motion I draw the blade across both of our palms before grabbing his hand. With the blood bond finished the link is formed. “Welcome to Still Waters,” I grunt as howls erupt around us.
‘Thank you Alpha, I won’t let you down,’ he links me.
Of that I’m sure.
The trip back is slow, many of our wolves were wounded in one way or another. Doc dispatched pickup to collect the worst wounded to shuttle them back. By the time the rest of the us get there the pack hospital is overflowing.
“Alpha I need to start a line to flush the silver and get you healing,” Doc cuts in as soon as he sees me.
“See to Jess first-”
“There’s nothing wrong with me, just scratches, I promise, please just let him do his job.” Her honey brown eyes are locked on mine, pleading.
Doc leads us down to a quiet corner room. He flushes and dresses my open wounds and starts an IV drip. “This will knock you out for a bit, but will help break down any residual silver.” I simply nod, this isn’t my first time.
Jess looks guarded standing to the side as they work on me. Her history with hospitals stirs unpleasant memories. I settle back on the bed shifting to the edge before reaching for her. The drugs are starting to take effect, my lids are already heavy.
“Stay with me?” I ask.
“Of course,” she says smiling at me. She shrugs out of the jacket wincing. I can see bruises and minor cuts and scratches but nothing major.
She crawls in next to me snuggling up against me. It’s like the weight of the world is lifted in that moment. The sparks dance between our skin as the sound of her heartbeat lulls me to sleep.
Jess laughs bringing my attention to her, I’m feeling a bit foggy and disoriented. Blinking my eyes into focus I pick out the familiar scenery of the heart of the lake. We’re sitting at a picnic?
She looks beautiful, her long wavy brown hair spills down her back shinning gold and red in the afternoon sun. Her honey brown eyes dance with amusement as she takes me in. There are no scratches or bruises anywhere, her sun-kissed skin is flawless.
“Earth to Chris,” she teases, cupping my cheek.
“Sorry baby, I guess I just got lost for a moment,” I say smiling at her.
“Are you coming swimming or not?” She asks with mischievous glint in her eyes.
I smirk standing up as I go to pull my shirt over my head, she’s already heading for the water. By the time I get it off she’s already in and has tossed her sundress on shore.
I catch up to her in the water as she wraps her arms around my neck while her luscious thighs wrap around my waist. I crash my lips down on hers, savouring her in my arms. She tangles her fingers in my hair earning a growl of approval.
‘Something’s wrong,’ Cyrus cuts in.
‘What do you mean?’ The stupid wolf should be over the moon right now not ruining the moment.
“What’s wrong Chris?” She asks pulling back.
“Nothing baby, Cyrus is just having a hard time being happy,” I say laughing.
She pushes off with a troublesome glint in her eyes. You want to play? I’ll play, I grin at her.
‘It doesn’t feel right,’ Cyrus cuts in more adamantly.
‘What?!’ I snap frustrated with the distraction as Jess is swimming away.
‘Mate, something doesn’t feel right with her,’ he warns.
She’s swimming further away. “Jess, wait up,” I call as race towards her. I can’t catch her. “Jess baby, wait for me!” The panic is rising as she fades further from view.
The fog swallows me back up as I fight to wake up.
The rhythmic beeping of the heart monitor is the first thing I make out. The smell of blood, silver and disinfectant reminds me I’m in the pack hospital. The steady drip of the IV threatens to lull me off again but I fight to open my eyes.
I look down to see Jess sleeping soundly with her head on my chest. I can feel Cyrus pacing nervously in my mind, urging me that something’s up, but what?
‘Mate,’ he whimpers.
‘She’s safe and sound with us,’ I say wrapping an arm around her tightly.
Something is wrong, I can see my hand where the IV was, there’s no IV drip going anymore. My mind rebels against the fog, something’s off, I’m just missing it.
“Jess?” Nothing, she doesn’t even stir. “Baby wake up.” I say giving her a gentle squeeze and shake. He whimpers again in my mind. “Jess?”
Her skin is cold, the usually sparks that dance between us are dull tingles.
“Doc!” I roar.
In a moment doc runs in with nurses followed by Jace.
“What is it Alpha, where are you bleeding?!” The panic is clear on his face.
“Bleeding? I’m not bleeding!?” This haze needs to leave already.
Jace rips the blanket off, stepping back with a shocked expression. “Fuck,” he whispers as his face pales.
In a blur a new bed is rolled in as they lift Jess over. He shouts orders as Jace holds me back.
“Let them work man,” I’m frozen as we watch them get started.
They cut her shirt off revealing a thin cut across her ribs with angry black edges. The blood seeps freely from it as he applies gauze to staunch it.
“OR stat!” He bellowed as they wheeled her out.
“What’s happening?!” I shout.
“She’s been poisoned. We have to clean out the wound, and pray we got to it in time.” Her words are like a knife to my gut. I sag against my bed as my hand lands in something cold, wet and sticky.
Looking down at the bed I see it’s soaked through in blood. I’m covered in her blood too. The dripping is from it pooling on the floor, there’s so much of it.
A nurse runs back in the room, agitated as she pushes me towards the bathroom, making very little progress. “Alpha please we need to wash that off of you,” she pleads.
“Why are you here?! Focus on her,” I roar.
“We are Alpha, but it’s wolfsbane, we need to get it off of you,” she begs.
With that Jace takes over, dragging me into the shower as she follows. After fifteen minutes they’re finally satisfied and let me out. Jess is in surgery for three solid hours, it might as well have been three days.
What bullshit twist of fate is this?! To go through all we have and look to have made it to the other side only to get screwed again. Anger, worry and despair threaten to take over and pull me under.
“What happened?” Jude asks, barely a whisper.
“She was poisoned,” Jace answers.
My eyes are locked on them through the OR viewing window as they wrap up. She’s so pale with a sickly grey cast to her skin. I shift my gaze away as doc makes his way out.
“What is it,” I snap. His body language isn’t helping my nerves, and his silence is deafening.
“Not good,” he replies, handing me a specimen jar with a jagged grey piece of metal. “We removed this but the damage is done I’m afraid.”
My heart drops as Cyrus howls in anguish. “What do you mean the damage is done!?”
“We’ve removed the blade fragment, but the toxin is throughout her system already. It’s attacking and shutting down her organs. We’re doing everything we can but-” Doc says sadly.
“Don’t you dare,” I growl out, cutting him off. “She was fine, you saw her, I don’t understand...” I trail off.
“It was tricky, the wound was very shallow but the blade was designed to fragment, the razor sharp piece was left behind. It was steeped in the toxin, so it’s been leaching into her system this whole time.” His pained expression matches everyone in the room.
“I wish I had better news Alpha-”
“Can’t you do anything!?” I growl.
“We’ve done everything we can, now it’s a waiting game, but-”
“Don’t,” Jace cuts him off.
“You need to prepare yourselves for the possibility-”
“No! Keep working! Anything you need, whatever resources you need, they’re at your disposal,” I say with desperation.
“We aren’t giving up! We have done everything we could, and will continue to do so. It’s down to the Luna and the Goddess now, she’s going to need all the help she can get.”
Doc looks exhausted. He’s an excellent physician and surgeon and has worked tirelessly for the good of the pack, though I need him to give us more then ever now.
“Stay with her,” he says softening. “Your contact might help feed her spirit, we need her to fight if she’s going to make it. We’ve stabilized her blood pressure, it took several transfusions, and we’ve ordered more blood to be able to top up if need be.
She’ll come off the ventilator within the hour, and we’ll keep the IVs topped up. She’s on antibiotics to fight the sepsis and anti toxins to break down the wolfsbane. I’ve never seen such a strong reaction in a human before.”
He puts a hand on my shoulder as he hangs his head. I know he’s done everything he can but at the moment feels as hopeless as the rest of us.
“Come on, she’s in recovery now,” Jace says leading me to the recovery wing.
We walk over to the softly lit recovery area, the nurse has just finished checking her. “Alpha,” she nods before giving us some privacy.
The steady hums and blips of the machines is deafening. Heart monitor, ventilator and IV drips fill the air. I slide a hand on her arm, her skin is warmer but the sparks are just a faint tingle. Cyrus just whimpers in my mind begging to do more.
Jude steps up on the other side, the guilt and pain written plainly across his face as he takes her in.
“She’s a fighter. She’ll beat this, she’s too stubborn to-” I couldn’t finish as I choked up.
A look up at Jace shows he isn’t faring any better.
Jace grabs my shoulder waking me up, I had nodded off slumped over the side of her bed.
“Here,” he says passing me coffee and nodding to a plate on the side table before sitting down.
“Eat, then shower,” he commands. I try to protest but he cuts me off. “Love you like a brother but it’s been two days, you’re getting gamey,” he tries to joke with a weak smile.
“Jude will stay here till you’re back then he’s going too,” he says with a pointed look at Jude.
I slowly eat the breakfast offered, sipping my coffee as I watch her for any signs. There has been almost no improvement in the two days since surgery. Doc says the anti toxin has done it’s job, but her body hasn’t responded well.
“Go,” Jace says softly. “I’ll stay with her and link you the moment anything changes.” He flashes me a sad smile as I stand.
I lean forward and kiss her softly before I reluctantly head out. “Come back to me,” I plead softly as I caress her cheek.