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chapeter 2 pages 1-6

OK it's gonna be long... sorry

 

The night is long.  Kevin tosses and turns and whines in his sleep, I feel helpless.  The things I know to do can’t help, not really.  I know prayers and spells, calling out to Odin.  Towards dawn I give in.  I’m praying and throwing handfuls of incense on the fire in our bedroom when one of the Healers enters.  He looks at me with a mixture of embarrassment and concern.  I realize I must look a fright. 

 

“I didn’t know there would be anyone here,” the healer says quickly, “the – um-“

 

“Valet, he’s a valet.”

 

“Yes, well.  He let me in.  He didn’t say anything about any family members being here.”

 

“I’m his…” I sniff the air, the healer isn’t like us; he’s human.  There are other scents there, some wild magic but other than that, the scent of the other human he lives with and a dog, he just smells human. Totally human.

 

“You are his mate.  I understand, my name is Gawain Bright, I’m a Doctor at the hospital, but I do a lot of work with your community.”  That seems odd to me, after all the community here seems to hunt humans, why would they use them for help? He seems to recognize what I’m thinking because he continues, “You aren’t from here are you?”

 

“No.”

 

“Things are different here.  The Werewolves here don’t generally go to collage even let alone medical school,” he’s bending over Kevin now, “totally dependant on true humans.  Funny considering the way some of them treat us.”  

 

“Shouldn’t be like that,” Kevin mumbles.

 

“Oh good, you’re awake.  Makes life easier,” the healer smiles at Kevin, “You are a lucky young man.”

 

“I don’t feel lucky…”

 

“Are you dead?”

 

“No.”

 

“Then feel lucky,” he pulls my knife out of his bag, “a blade like this should have killed you.  I’ve read about werewolves who are immune.”

 

“Ulfheonar,” I say.

 

“Yes,” Gawain says, “Religious I guess.”

 

“Yes, I suppose it would seem that way.”

 

The Healer turns slowly, “You are Ulfheonar?  I wasn’t sure you really existed.  This is fascinating,” his attention has turned from Kevin. 

 

“My Mate, Dr. Bright.”

 

“Yes, yes,” he turns back to Kevin and changes his bandages and does any number of doctory things before sitting down next to the bed, “I really need the chance to study you miss…”

 

“Call me Lola.  And now isn’t the time for ‘study’.”

 

The healer looks at me and then Kevin, “If you’re with him, I’ll have time to study you.  If half the stories are true, I suppose things will be different here from now on.”

 

“It may be, it may not be,” I shrug. 

 

“Be that as it may, the two of you should have a portrait done just in case you do become the Alphas.  I know some artists.  I’ll give you some names if you want.”

 

“Maybe next time,” I say quietly extending my hand, he shakes it. 

 

“Tomorrow, then,” he says standing, “I can find my own way.”

 

***

When the Healer is gone I sit on the bed next to Kevin, “How you feeling?” I ask knowing he was just asked this.  Just asking so I have something to say. 

 

“You didn’t have to be rude to him,” Kevin shifts and rests his head against me.

 

“I wasn’t being rude.  I just needed him to know he was here to take care of you, not to study me.”

 

“Just because he,” Kevin looks at me and gives me a small smile, “I’m not going to convince you,” he sighs and then, “How do you feel?”

 

“You are the one that is hurt.”

 

“And I know how it feels when you are hurt.  It hurts me, so how are you feeling?”

 

“It hurt.  When he stabbed you, it hurt me.  I was not prepared for that.” 

 

“I should have told you.”

 

“I wouldn’t have believed you anyway.”

 

“I know.  You’re pig headed.  If you got my computer I could be working now,” Kevin says, trying to sound strong and healthy. 

 

“I can get it for you, but I don’t want you working,” I turn to face him, “I want you to rest.”

 

“It’s not like I work hard,” he’s not trying as hard to sound healthy.  In fact he sounds a bit whiny.  I wonder if I sound like that after an injury.  Somehow I doubt it after all I am used to being on his end of this.  Not that I’ve been wounded this badly in years, but I still remember it.  I can still feel it.  Come to that I can still feel his wound form last night.  It feels – well not painful exactly – odd may be a better word for it. 

 

“Fine,” I say, giving into him and getting his laptop.  He grins a little grin that says ‘I knew you’d give in’ and then pokes at the thing for a bit.  I settle down on the bed and watch him for a bit and then turn back to watch the fire.

 

“Did you want to read your e-mail?” he asks after a time.

 

“No not really,” I say, then something occurs to me, “You know we still have to fight the others, Olaf and what’s her name?” 

 

“Amanda, her name is Amanda.”

 

“Right.  I still have to fight her, and you still have to fight Olaf.”

 

“Yes.”

 

“And you don’t have the benefit of surprise, like you did last night.”

 

“I suppose that is true,” he shifts uncomfortably.

 

“He’s bigger than you Kev.”

 

“I am glad your powers of observation haven’t escaped you.”

 

“They haven’t.  Do you really want to be Alpha Male?  Or would it be alright if Olaf won?”

 

Kevin shifts, discomfort crossing his features, “I don’t know him very well to be honest with you.”

 

“How can you not know him?” I had always thought that wolves that grew up in a city together would all know each other.

 

“There are over a Million people in Bathory and the surrounding communities.”

 

“And how many of them are werewolves?”

 

“Hundreds, maybe thousands, I couldn’t possibly know all of them.  And Olaf is from the other side of town,” as if the other side of town is so far away, but maybe if I hadn’t taken him away from Bathory when I did he would have gotten to know Olaf, “and it wasn’t as if my parents encouraged me to get to know people from Old Port.”

 

“What’s wrong with Old Port?” I’d been to that area of town, it didn’t seem too bad.  It seems like the kind of area I was born in.

 

“Little money, little power,” Kevin replies. He looks uncomfortable again, “Or that is what my father would have said,” he takes my hand in his, “You know I don’t –“

 

“I know.  You need to rest up, we need to start training again as soon as you can.”

 

 

It’s another day before I have Kevin out of bed for any length of time.  Healer Bright is amazed to see Kevin up and about so quickly, even if by up and about I mean is sitting up at a desk for an hour or so. 

 

“You look at the world through eyes that have only seen Bathory,” I tell him dismissively. 

 

“I know,” he nods, “I’ve never been far from here.  I was born at the hospital I work in.”

 

“Really?” I ask, I don’t really care, but it seems polite. 

 

“Grew up about twenty miles from here, never traveled much.”

 

“Why?” I can’t imagine not traveling.

 

“Just haven’t,” he replies turning back to Kevin.  He’s poking at Kevin’s wound.

 

“We aren’t raised to leave here,” Kevin says with an odd smile.  I want to ask why, but I know he will either tell me or he won’t.  You can’t prompt him on the past, “Take my word for it, we aren’t.”

 

“If you say so,” I say turning to Healer Bright, “Do you know where all of us live?”

 

“Most, why?”

 

“I want to know about Olaf.”

 

“That’s not how things are done,” Kevin objects.

 

“Do you think I care how things are done?  We started this your way and look where it got you,” I should never have agreed to this.  I’m not planning on letting Kevin fight again.  But I don’t want the new Powers to Be here to have the same antiquated ideas about the relations we should have with humans.  

 

“I know you do,” Kevin says in an intimate tone he never uses in front of others.  I make a dismissive noise, he replies to me by saying, “Well you aren’t being paid to hurt him, so I shouldn’t worry should I?”

 

“No you don’t need to,” he doesn’t need to worry; all I want to do is talk to Olaf.

 

“Fine then.  You can tell her how to get in touch with Olaf.” 

 

The Healer writes some information on a piece of paper and hands it to me.  The address is in the Old Port section of the city.  I’ve been there before; I met Kevin in a bar in Old Port years ago.  Old Port is on this side of the Bathory River, so no bridges, but it’s still across this oldest part of town.  I drive out of Seven Sisters, the area that Kevin’s house is in, and through the Museum District, the broad lanes lined with city mansions becoming divided roads with lawns between, each small neighborhood in this district serving a Museum, each museum a little smaller until they stop at the edge of the Port.  The Port it’s self has much narrower streets and they all seem to come in at odd angles, forming little triangular parks. 

 

I pull up to the address I was given, a three story building with a bakery on the first floor, the porches of the two apartments above it shadowing the entrance to the business.  I find a spot down the street and park, walking back to the building I find the door that leads to the apartments to the left of the entrance to the bakery.  No apartment numbers on the buzzers. I pick one and ring, after weighting a few minutes I try the other. 

 

“Who you looking for?” I hear from above me.  I step back onto the street to get a look at the woman calling down to me.  She’s a mass of bright colors, layers and layers of bright colored gauze skirts, a peasant blouse covered by a plaid flannel shirt and long brown hair.

 

“I’m looking for Olaf,” I call up to her. 

 

“Thought someone would be by,” she nods, “I’ll be right down.” Not exactly what I expected.   Not what I would have done.  The locks click open and the woman appears in the open doorway, “come in then,” she says gesturing me in and up the stairway, “You hear about Olaf and the Alpha’s?”

 

“Yeah, something like that,” she leads me into the living room of the second floor apartment.  It is brightly light and brightly colored and smells of Bear, and
Werewolf and any number of other things.  It smells like the couple who lives here entertains quite a bit.  My nose must wrinkle a bit because she speaks up.

 

“I’m Coyote Woman and I live here with The Grim,” a smile lights up her heart shaped face and brown eyes.  I know these aren’t real names. The Grim is the title given to a leader of shape changers or grim.  I am not entirely certain about the differences between grim and werewolves, as some grim take the form of wolves, it must be some sort of internal faith, like the difference between me and the Werewolves here in Bathroy.  I’m in the home of a person of real power, power most likely as great in it’s own way as the power the Kevin’s family wealds, “The Grim and Olaf are at work.  You can stay here and wait with me or you can leave a message for him and I will have him call you.”

 

“I’ll leave a note,” I have nothing against grim but I feel a little unnerved here alone with no weapons. 

 

“I thought you would,” Coyote woman says with another one of those too bright smiles.