A Summer To Never Forget

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4. Riley

Today was the day that Archon Phury Cole would present himself to the King. The whole village was abuzz with it. It has been years since we had a new addition to the Pack. Adding new members to the Pack is always a risky business; for the safety of everybody the King himself needs to be present and the Alpha of the clan the person would join afterword.

In Archon’s case, there is no Alpha, since no one knows what his animal looks like, they can’t place him in a clan. That’s the reason why all the clan Alpha’s were waiting in a smaller room next to the throne room. So that the correct Alpha can step in after the King is done and teach him more about Pack life.

Well, at least that was the plan. It all changed for the worse when he finally started changing; a gorgeous sandy golden colour spreading all over his body, ripping his suit to shreds. Before I could stop it a possessive growl left my throat; making everybody in the room look at me. Including Archie.

Rightly confused he looked back from me to the King; nobody ever interfered with the King. I just signed my own death warrant. I tensed as Archie crashed to the floor convulsing; bones snapping, ligaments reforming accompanied by howls of pain.

Within a span of a few minutes the convulsing stopped, Archie slowly got to his feet. You could see it clearly on his face that he was confused that he couldn’t rise on two legs and was now confined to four. He whined in confusion; it was a clear wolf sound, although his body screamed feline.

“Bring in Sterling and the Alpha’s.” The deep voice of the King sounded through the room. Standing at attention the two guards at the double doors started opening them. Archie panicked; he dashed away from his spot and charged the other pair of double doors.

“Riley”

I didn’t need any more prompting as I dashed after Archie. I had a pretty clear idea where he might go to. A soon as he had made his way out of the Pack House, he immediately made his way north; towards my clearing.

Or at least I hoped so; my clearing is close to the border with the feline clan. A clan that doesn’t like mixes like Archie. To them he is an abomination, he shouldn’t exist. There used to be more weres like Archie a long, long time ago. They were their own little clan, then something happened and they all disappeared.

Without a second thought, I shifted; his scent was a lot thicker. I growled under my breath, my feline side became very possessive of Archie. It was almost as if it had claimed Archie as his mate. Which was impossible; Archie wasn’t even properly settled within the Pack yet.

Reaching the clearing I slowed down; there is no need to spook him even more than he already was. Making sure to rustle the leaves and snap little twigs on the floor, I made my way into the clearing. Looking around; Archie was nowhere in sight. My ears perked up at a low whimpering sound, it came from a cleverly hidden cave.

[Archon? Is that you?]

Another whimper sounded, more distressed than the first time. Crouching low, I could just make out his outline in the dark cave. I blessed my cat night vision. I growled a little, gaining his attention. He stumbled back and yelped in pain; he must have cut himself on the sharp little rocks which are also littering the cave entrance.

[Archon, are you okay?]

This time around it took him a few minutes to respond.

[Who are you?]

I heaved a sigh of relief, glad that I made it through.

[I am Riley, the guard who picked you up the other day.]

I could feel his astonishment very clearly.

[You are? why are you here? Aren’t you supposed to guard the Alpha King at all times?]

My chest rumbled with my chuckle

[There are other guards too you know. But I am here because the King is worried about you. I am too, please come out so I can look at your cut. We need to disinfect it, we might be more resistant than the average human but we can still get sick.]

I didn’t like the silence that followed.

[Okay, I am coming out, don’t laugh at me.]

I moved back to give him room to get out.

[I won’t laugh at you, I promise.]

When he finally got out, all I could do was stare at him. He was absolutely magnificent; his coat was a sleek sandy golden, he stood tall; almost as tall as me, I could look him straight in the eyes without having to bend down. Like I said earlier, his build screamed feline. He was built with speed and swift movement in mind, unlike wolves.

He shifted restlessly under my staring gaze. He took my staring the wrong way.

[I told you not to laugh at me!]

He growled and glared before darting off again, this time towards the south. The south was bad; that’s where the border was with the population outside the Pack.

They wouldn’t know him; they might shoot him before asking questions later. I gritted my teeth, hoping to catch him before he reached it.

[Archie! Wait! God damn it, Archie! Stop!]

I shouted at his retreating back.

Damn! He’s fast!

My Panther purred at the thrill of the chase and the fact he thought he could outrun us. Luckily I knew the terrain better than him; I managed to catch him just before he crossed it.

[What are you doing Archie? Are you trying to get yourself killed?]

He snarled at me

[You don’t get to tell me what to do!]

He even nipped at me!

I snarled back at him.

[I didn’t mean it like that! I mean if you crossed this border like this the humans on the other side might have shot you before you could explain yourself.]

He blinked owlishly.

[let's go back and get you some warm clothes.]

He cocked his head to the side in question.

[Since this is your first shift, they will come and go. Like the tide.]

He whimpered looking at the border longingly.

[I know you want to go back but, it’s not smart going like this.]

I pressed my shoulder against his; showing support.

[Let’s get back to the Pack]

His ears flattened on his head.

[I don’t want to go to the Pack]

I nudged him once more.

[We’re not that bad, you know]

I lead us back to the clearing; it took us longer than usual. Archie needed to inspect and discover everything and anything.

[So this is your place?]

He asked when we stood at the edge of the clearing.

I just looked at him in question, sure he should be able to know by now.

[I mean the whole place smells just like you.]

I rumbled again.

[Yes, this is part of my territory]

He looked down at the ground, tail low.

[So I trespassed the other day? I am sorry.]

I shook my head.

[Its okay, back then you didn’t know.]

He licked my cheek; startling me. I looked at him unsure what to do. He rubbed his head underneath mine; a sign of submissiveness.

[I like you, you smell nice.]

My inner Panther purred at the submissiveness, he liked the fact that Archie was this submissive. I growled at the fact that he might be this submissive towards others as well.

[Come, let’s go to my house. I will get you some clean clothes, and some food.]

His stomach rumbled on our way back.

[Do you know how to change back?]

He shook his head; he didn’t know how he had changed in the first place.

I changed as soon as we reached the porch; I opened the door and motioned for Archie to enter. He entered meekly; looking all around my modest log cottage. “Please wait here, I will get you some clothes before coaching you to change back.”

I nimbly climbed up the stairs and grabbed a pair of sweats and a sweatshirt for Archie and slipped in a pair myself. Back down I found Archie curled up in front of the fireplace. “Archie are you ready? I have got some sweats for you to wear once you have changed back.”

He looked a bit panicked; his eyes darting this way and that. “It will be painful. But once you know how to change back, it will get easier.” He looked back up at me, still slightly panicked.

“Do you remember the sensation of changing into your animal?” He nodded his head. “Good, I want you to remember that sensation and visualise you changing back into your human form.”

I saw him close his eyes, and whine before his body started to change. When he opened his eyes he was still in his animal form. “Relax Archie, its fine. The first time changing back is hard.” I petted his head to get him relaxed again. He relaxed to my touch, closing his eyes.

He had finally calmed down enough and changed back. I kept petting his head, making sure he was okay. He blinked a bit sluggishly, “Am I back to normal?” His voice was a nice mix of a high feline were and the low of a wolf were. It sends a shiver of desire down my spine.

Helping him back up to his two feet, I guided him to the bathroom. Carefully I let him sink into the warm bath I had run before going down. He let out a sigh of relief once he was submerged up to his neck.

I smiled slightly; I remember the first time changing back being cold as ice. I turned to leave let him soak in peace when he grabs my wrist; “Please stay. Don’t leave me alone.” That too, I remember the feeling of being alone even though there were other people in the room.

I settle down on the toilet seat; “It’s okay, I am not going anywhere until you’re finished.” He relaxed against the back of the tub and checked out all the bottles that line the tub’s edge. Timidly he opens the bottle after bottle, sniffing lightly at the scents.

I watch silently as he goes through all the bottles twice before settling on my own favourite; lavender scented bath soap. He giggles slightly as the bubbles come to the surface; he plays a little with them before squeezing some axe body wash on his hands and scrubs them thoroughly through his hair.

After helping him rinse his hair and body, and getting him dressed he’s now curled up on my couch watching the flames dance in the fireplace.

[He’s fine Sterling; he just had a warm bath and some warm food.]

Sterling had been nagging me about returning Archie back to him. I had asked Archie several times if he wanted to go home and he declined every time. I had told the King the same thing; he seemed not to want to leave my place. The King told me that I should send him home tomorrow, he wouldn’t go anywhere today.

Of course Sterling kicked up a bit off fuss; he demanded Archie home. The King gave him a stern talking to, Archie was going nowhere today, and he was to stay with me until tomorrow. Grumbling he accepted it, not before threatening me. I scoffed; as if he could really hurt me.

I offered him a steaming mug of green tea; as a were we couldn’t stand anything stronger than green tea. Well, that all depends on the age of the were; the King and several on the council drank coffee. He accepted it gratefully; he smiled before turning his attention to the dancing flames.

Not long after finishing his tea, Archie fell asleep; curled up in a quilt. Seeing as my late mother took her time to beat manners in my thick skull; I scooped him up and gently disposed him on my queen sized bed.

He immediately snuggled into the covers mumbling something under his breath. Shaking my head lightly I walk back down and settle myself on the couch; using the same quilt Archie was wrapped up in earlier.

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