10. Werebeasts

10. Werebeasts

A Chapter by Lynaelee

POV change (some back tracking)

"Mabel, get control of the hellhounds," Laurence demands as they charge down the hill.

"I'm trying. I can't," she cries out. She sits up tall and calls all the creatures she can as Clara screams out. "Go!" Mabel orders mentally and the herd of elk charges the field.

"Ahh! Ahh! Buck!" Clara cries out in anguish.

"I'm coming, kitten. Mabel, wolves now. Save the humans if you can. They are nothing more than a meal for those beasts," the mountain lion orders as he takes off down the hill behind the stampede.

"You got it, Lee," Mabel replies.

"Call me Buck," he orders as he leaps over the cage. "Hang in there, kitten. I'll keep him away from you."

"You have been scouting my camp," Kern accuses as he points his sword at Buck. "I thought the others were too small. How'd you get pass my guards and dogs?" Buck crouches down and growls at the man; he would never give that man the satisfaction of receiving any answers.

"I think I got it. That man that you're fighting, he controls the hellhounds, right?" Mabel innocently inquires.
"He does," Talon confirms as she dives and gouges out a hellhound's eye.
"Good. Buck, if you can distract him long enough to make him lose control for just a minute, it'll help. I'll help Clara until then," Mabel insists.

"Follow me, little one," Laurence demands as he leads a way through the wild animals, humans, and hellhounds. Buck leaps at the demon lord. He dodges makes a swing at Buck with his sword, but misses.

"We're away from the cage. Get Clara upright," Buck orders as he attacks Kern again, this time successfully landing a bite and a scratch.

"In a minute. I gotta get the knife out first; I'm locked in here with her," Mabel remarks. Clara cries out again and Buck resists the urge to look at her.
"You'll be okay, Clara. Just hang in there. I'll be beside you soon," his mind whispers tenderly; he hears nothing in return. 
"I got it! I got the knife out!" Mabel exclaims in their silent way. 

"Can I hold you?" Clara whispers, but everyone can hear the pain, sorrow, and fear in her voice. Buck growls and Mabel stumbles over her own mind.

"You wan... You want to hold me?"

"Let her. You'll both be safe in there and she needs comfort in some form," Buck orders as he bites Kern's hand as he tries to slash him again. "Ugh! I've injured him, but be doesn't bleed. I'll take him apart piece by piece if I have to. Get Clara upright. Those bars are not ideal or comfortable. I need to see her. You know I'm the best with injuries."

"Okay. Fine. Mabel, have two elk help me. Clara, brace yourself. One. Two. Three. Push," Laurence remarks. Clara cries out softly as the cage tips.

"We gave you warning. Pay attention," Mabel scoffs as she looks up at the woman holding her.

"You got company coming, Buck," Talon warns. "I can't keep the hellhounds contained. There is a hole about a mile and a half away from you. To the south."

"Fine. I'll lead them that way," he insists as he leaps again and takes off Kern's right arm, detaching it at the socket. The sword in the hand clamors to the ground. Buck looks at it and kicks it away from the demon lord. Almost immediately, the hellhounds are on him and he takes off south, still carrying the arm in his mouth. 

"You think that will stop me?!" Kern scoffs and makes his way back to the cage. There he meets Clara's eye and makes a fist. Clara tenses and screams as she sprawls out.

"How is he hurting her? He's not even touching her or pointing in her direction really!" Mabel cries in shock and Clara screams again.

"I don't know that magic," Laurence remarks as Kern offers a brief explanation and stops hurting her as the clouds part. Kern looks up and grins. Everyone sneaks a peek at the sky. 
"Buck, hurry. The hour has begun. Mabel, try to keep her calm," Talon orders.

"I'll be back in a little bit. They don't go down very well and they didn't follow the arm down," Buck replies before he suddenly stops fighting the hellhounds and pants heavily as he feels sluggish and lightheaded. He shakes his head and continues to fight, but his mind is only reaching out to Clara. "Hang in there, kitten. I'll be there soon. I'll take all your pain away. I promise, love. I promise." After another wave of dizziness, he stops and thinks about it thoroughly. "Mabel, is he taking her blood?"
"Yeah. It keeps floating out of her. I think we played into his hand by removing the knife. He said it was connected to his power and he is in control of her blood. I don't know exactly what he's doing to her," Mabel confesses.
"No! Slow it down. Pressure on the wound," he orders as he shakes his head again and knocks the last hellhound down the hole. The ground rumbles and closes. "Finally," he remarks as he heads back. "I'm coming, guys."

"Did you hear that, Clara?! Buck is coming," Mabel thinks excitedly.

"What. What did you say?" Clara verbalizes weakly. Buck growls and sprints faster as Mabel repeats herself. "I don't hear any voices beside my own in my head," Clara's mind echoes in his own.

"Talon?" Buck snaps, looking for answers.

"She's still connected. I don't know why it's not working. No! Mabel! Buck, he threw her with a flick of his hand and the inner cage is open," Talon exclaims as she dives toward Kern. He meets her eye and smirks. One of the hellhounds jumps up and tries to stop her mid-flight. Clara is lifted in the air and thrown into the outer cage, her already weakened ankle slams against the door as her body is turned, but she is too weak to cry out. Then she is thrown against the outer cage wall with a loud thud. 
"Mr. Lion, tick tock. Her eyes are slowly closing. She's bleeding out. There won't be much of the world to save if you don't get that wound sealed. One hour, undenied. That means we just have to stop him once and he can't feast for a straight hour. That's how we win," Laurence remarks.

"No! That's how we stop him! She still needs to live in order for everything to be denied. I'm still half a mile out. Don't let him kill her. We won't win and the earth will be doomed," Buck states.

"We're doing what we can. The hellhounds are attacking us again, stopping us from getting closer to the cage or him," Laurence insists around a growl. "And he's kneeling next to Clara."

"It's gone!" Kern yells.

"I think we just caught a break," Talon insists as Buck comes back into the field. "Her heart is missing. Did you do that, Laurence?"

"No. I can't make something that important just disappear. I just cast a protection spell around it," he replies after crushing the head of a hellhound into the ground.

"I told you that I can't let you kill her," the man who started the rebellion remarks.

"Don't you ever die?!" Kern yells as he picks up his sword again.

"I will once you are dead. I will not die knowing you took all of my family away from me," Miguel retorts.

"If her father did something before you got her out of camp, that could explain it," Laurence states.

"Told you, I would die tonight no matter what. You didn't have to die too, Buck," Clara's voice rings clearly in their minds. All the werebeasts have to step back and shake their heads.

"I'm not dead, kitten. And you aren't dying. I promised you that I would take care of you; I mean it. You don't get to give up that easily. I'll always protect you," Buck snarls as he takes care of the last hellhound in his way. He makes his way into the cage and licks Clara's exposed and bleeding shoulder; it's draining faster than he can stop it. She doesn't move or acknowledge in any way that she's aware of his presence. "Keep an eye on my back. Wake up, kitten," he orders with a whine.

"No. We want her to sleep! It makes the enchantment I'll have to cast later a whole lot easier. Get in the cage with them. We won't have to divide our attention then," Laurence replies. "I'm sure Talon wants you to look over her daughter too." Buck nods and looks over his shoulder. The wolves have started to attack the elk and remaining men, Kern and Miguel battle it out, and the remaining hellhounds duke it out with Laurence and Talon; they're the closest to the cage, but not close enough to cause Buck any concern. Seeing that he wouldn't have the danger of someone follow him in, he shapeshifts, opens the gate, secures it shut behind him, picks up Clara, brings her back to the inner cage, secures that one too and shifts back into a lion. He looks over Mabel quickly, licking her head where a small opening bleeds. She stirs and opens her eyes weakly. She blinks twice at him; her way of saying 'I'm fine.' She and Buck didn't always have to talk to understand each other. Buck nuzzles her head affectionally.

"She'll be okay, Talon. She was just rattled. Give her a minute and she'll be back to her rambunctious self," he remarks mentally and pushes the beaver over to Clara's hand. Again, he licks Clara's shoulder wound in hopes of getting it sealed. "Come on, kitten. Stay with me. Don't give up. This is going to sound crazy, but I need you. You were so brave, kitten. Just stop bleeding," he pleads, but the wound doesn't seal. "It's not working," he panics. Mabel stirs again and sits up. She nuzzles Clara's hand and looks up at Buck before looking around.

"I can control the remaining hellhounds," her mind whispers.

"Do it!" Laurence orders. Immediately all the hellhounds back away and move towards their master and his dueling partner. Kern grins and looks at Miguel. "If we can cut him off, we cut off his magic. He was too focused on Clara that he lost sight of that." Mabel nods and closes her eyes.

"Miguel, it has been a pleasure, but I have a date with your daughter. Finish him, boys!" Kern orders. The hellhounds move past Kern and snap at Miguel. Mabel grunts softly and squeezes her eyes tighter. At the last instant, they turn on Kern and rip him to shreds. When his head is devoured, they turn on each other.

"Take the bodies to the holes," Mabel pleads. The hellhounds start pulling corpses of their fallen species towards the nearest hole. When they come back, she orders them into the fires so they die too. "I don't like them in my head," she thinks with a tremble.

"You did good," Talon praises. Miguel looks up in shock at Laurence and Talon as they make sure the hellhounds around him are truly dead. Miguel then turns his attention to the cage where Buck is still diligently working on Clara's shoulder.

"Can I come in?" Miguel asks in a whisper. Buck makes eye contact but doesn't move away from her shoulder, keeping his tongue moving over the gaping wound. "You aren't going to eat her, are you?"

"That's an insult! I would never hurt anyone intentionally, but Clara! Never. Totally just protected her the past few nights so I could rip her to shreds now! Ugh," Buck's mind screams as he growls at the man and crouches defensively over Clara's body.

"Okay. I just want to see her. Let me in please," he begs.

"Buck, can he?" Mabel asks mentally. "I gotta go out and help Mama and Laurence get the rest of those bodies in the holes." Buck sighs and looks up at the moon; it is all red now.

"I know I only have a limited time left, but I would like to say good-bye to my daughter before I become one of those demons," Miguel softly pleads. Buck looks back at Mabel and growls softly.

"I'm not leaving her side and I don't want to talk to him, but he can come in. He deserves that much. Go help your mom, little one," he orders as he lays by Clara's head and goes back to trying to stop the blood from gushing out of her shoulder more. Mabel nods and shifts back into her human form. Miguel politely adverts his eyes while she opens up the cages. 
"If you value your life, don't ask the cat to move and don't imply that perhaps the cat would hurt her again. You did say you would let the cats pass to get to her. They only want to help her too," she warns as she walks by the cursed man. Miguel nods and makes his way inside with shaky knees. Buck growls softly, but Miguel still reaches for Clara's shoulder. 

"May I?" He asks. Buck growls again but moves his head away. Miguel immediately moves the shirt aside and looks at the wound. "C-c-can you r-r-rip th-th-the clothes? I n-n-need to s-s-see the wh-wh-wh. I need to see all of it. I-I-I was um, before. Uh I was a doctor's assistant. I know. I know what I'm doing and what I'm looking at," he explains in a breathy voice, having a hard time making eye contact. Buck smirks and is proud to be making this man nervous. Carefully, he ducks his head, pulls on her shirt with just his teeth, and slashes the fabric with his claws, making sure not to touch Clara with anything. "Th-th-thank you," the man mumbles as he applies pressure to the wound and looks down. Without looking anywhere in Buck's direction and just focusing on Clara, he is able to speak better. "Come on, baby girl. Show me your mother's strength. Don't give up. Live. You deserve to; I don't," he whispers as he strokes her face. "I believe once the blood moon passes, the bleeding should stop; her blood only holds any power during the blood moon is what I understood. He had to drain it quickly and there was a spell he learned. I don't know what it was; no one does. To drain her completely, in only an hour, she roughly would have to lose a pint of blood every ten minutes I would imagine. At best, I might have been able to withdraw a pint in an hour from a single person when we needed it. She wasn't meant to survive, so I'm not certain if the blood will stop flowing. He poured all of his power into her for a faster discharge of blood. Of course, there was never any literature on what happens after if the sacrifice lives because there was never a plan for that. Life should return to normal if only this bleeding will stop. She's barely got a scratch on her forehead, so thankfully, no serious damage there. I think she lost too much blood from her shoulder, which is why she isn't waking up though. I don't think she suffered from a concussion on top of everything else. Lord Demin said his power was in the knife blade?" Buck ducks his head in agreement and Miguel looks around. "And it disappeared when he did. So I can't use it to stop the flow. Well, if pressure isn't stopping the blood, it can't be stopped by the source, and stitching it up will only cause internal bleeding, then there's nothing I can do. We just have to pray that the blood moon passes quickly. It's her only hope." 

"Maybe not. There may be a way to stop it now," Laurence remarks in his human form as he takes the pants off one of the fallen men and puts them on while Mabel's animals push the corpse away. Miguel's eyes shoot over to Laurence, begging for him to continue. "Are you absolutely positive this is your daughter?"

"They said she was a baker from the swamplands. I didn't think much of it at first until she asked me not to call her princess any more. Clara or Miss Hatten is what she wanted to be called. I fell in love with the baker's sister. After he died, she ran his shop. My wife and I lived on the edge of the bayou and tried for years to have a child. When she finally conceived, we rejoiced and chose the names Clara Hope because it means clear -or pure- hope. Obviously that's what we had for the future and we chose Bastian Declan if we were to have a son; basically it means worthy of reverence and full of goodness. That's all we ever wanted for our children. So yes, I think this is my daughter because for her to tell me her name was Clara Hatten, that she had a brother named Bastian, and a mother who went by Isidora, is too big of a coincidence. How can we stop the bleeding if medical knowledge won't help? Please! I'd do anything," Miguel begs.

"Are you infected?"

"I don't think so. I was burned when I first joined his army. We were told the transformation becomes permanent after the blood moon," Miguel explains as he shows his chest. Buck growls and nuzzles Clara's cheek. Miguel looks back at him and Buck puts his paw just under her neck, but doesn't touch her chest. "Yeah. She was too. I don't think she's marked the same way the rest of us were. My burn lasted for days and just stung non-stop. She helped care for this shriveled and burned hand, but didn't ask for privacy to tend to her own wounds, nor did she rub it constantly like the rest of us had to. Either she has a higher pain tolerance or I don't think it's the same curse. However, Lord Demin was after her heart to eat himself. So he wouldn't condemn her to be one of his pets. He marked her so that she could easily be found; that much I know is true. The singed heart carries a certain smell or something; which is how he was able to find her without being noticed by any of you. I was marked to be kept in line and obey his commands; I became a slave. It's like we were puppets and he was the puppeteer. One command and we had to follow or our mark burned us into crippling submission. If we still didn't follow orders, we became dog food. After I found out she was my daughter, I begged the gods, earth, wind, spirits, or whatever it took to hide her heart and let her live. I set a delayed fire so I could be with the others when it went up and I gave her a map of the area and some other information hoping she could read them to escape unnoticed. I needed to get her away, but didn't actually know how to help her sneak away. Then I watched a man carry her straight up up the hill like it was nothing and hoped it meant my prayers had been answered; not one of us men could go up that hill without tumbling and slipping back down. Kern could smell her and tell that she went that way, but the rest of us couldn't. I don't know exactly how that works. Honestly, I don't know if I'm infected, but I would do anything to ensure she lives. I don't know how I wasn't injured or scratched up, but I know that's a mark of death in and of itself from the hellhounds. My sweet Isi in the afterlife must be looking out for me and our daughter. She was always very protective and I loved her for it. Clara has her mother's fighting spirit and gentle nature, yet she got my stubbornness; I can tell. I just want Clara to live. She doesn't deserve to die. Not like this."

"Then give her your blood. Directly into her wound," Laurence orders as the cage shifts some and a sharp, metal edge curls in. "She needs pure human blood; familial is best. None of us can help her since we are technically something different." Miguel nods and slices his hand and covers her wound with his. Buck watches closely and nuzzles Clara's head again. He licks the wound on her other shoulder, pleased to see it was sealing. Laurence returns the cage to full form so that the sharp edge doesn't hurt anyone else on accident. "Don't even think about cleaning up the cut on her head, Mr. Lion," Laurence thinks with a mental growl. Buck rolls his eyes but continues to clean up the blood on and around Clara's better shoulder.

"Ah!" Miguel cries out after several minutes. He looks out to Laurence. "I feel like my blood is boiling. I can't move my limbs." Buck pushes his head against Miguel's chest with a growl; he had to make sure none of the boiling blood reaches Clara. "Thank you, great and magnificent lion. I hope this works," Miguel whispers as he starts to convulse. Laurence looks up and sighs.

"Time's up, Mr. Hatten. Get out of the cage," he orders firmly. Buck looks up at the sky. The moon is losing the red glow. Miguel slowly moves toward the exit, struggling to keep his balance and move out. Talon and Mabel come back in their animal forms and push him out the rest of the way before ducking inside themselves. Laurence pats Miguel's shoulder. "We'll do everything we can to make sure she lives. You helped save her." Miguel nods then screams as he falls to the ground. Laurence steps into the cage and locks it. Buck licks the gaping wound on Clara's shoulder again.

"It worked. Her blood is clotting now," he praises mentally. Laurence nods but doesn't move otherwise. Mabel looks at the sky as Miguel twitches on the ground.

"I sent six animals that were still alive down the holes with the hellhounds due the scratches they received. 23 other animal friends lost their lives tonight and their bodies have been deposited down the holes. We watched several men fall down them too and many others take their own lives, but the only man who actually survived this ordeal was Clara's dad. There are men out there who were scratched too. Even though they're dead, will the men change too?"
"No, little one. They cannot change if they are already dead; this fact has been proven many times. I searched for a cure. Did research. Followers their movements. I learned so much, but not enough. First hand accounts. You can take my word for it," Laurence thinks. "Keep an eye on the blood moon."
"I am. It'll be gone in less than a minute. Clara won't change, will she?" Mabel inquires as she looks back at Buck.

"It doesn't look like it. Her blood doesn't glow like a marked one. Look at the trail of blood Mr. Hatten left from his hand; it's starting to glow," her mother confirms as the bones in Miguel pop and snap, causing him to yell. She snuggles into her daughter, making sure she cuts off Mabel's line of sight to the atrocity that's happening.

"And none of that glowing, boiling blood entered Clara. I can smell the difference too. Her shoulder is whole again. No more blood loss," Buck says in relief. "Mabel, is there any animals around that can carry massive amounts of water?"
"Let's see. Uh. I can send Alpha and his remaining two wolves up the mountain to fetch the buckets and some water if that works for you?"
"That works," Buck confirms. "We just have to get this blood cleaned up some and off of Clara. She doesn't do well with blood and has little nutrients that have actually stayed in her stomach from the past couple of days; I'm actually surprised she didn't spew during this whole ordeal. She's stronger than she gives herself credit for, even though she insists that everything she faced makes her woozy. If she wakes up only to find that she's covered in blood, she'll most definitely throw up and probably pass out again," he states as he looks to the commotion outside of the cage. Miguel is flailing on the ground as his limbs grow. "What do we do with him?"

"All of the holes have all filled up. I checked three times around the area," Talon thinks softly.

"Well we can't let him run wild," Laurence remarks out loud as he uses his magic and takes apart the outer cage. Then he moves it around Miguel as he howls and lowers himself down to the ground, fully transformed into a hellhound. "I'll take care of him later. Right now, we should get her home."

"Now? No! She should rest and not be moved. She received some nasty blows tonight. Any head injury requires rest and no movement. Besides, we have to watch her and make sure she doesn't change into a hellhound either! She was also marked in a sense. She showed me. Fresh burn marks! I did what I could, but that doesn't mean that he didn't do something else to her," Buck counters.

"We also have to change the mind of the town for the past four nights," Talon thinks softly.

"We will! What's one more night if we're going to make them all forget it anyways? Besides the town was burning the first night. Who's to say that a town even remains?" Buck snaps, emphasizing it with a growl. Mabel snuggles into Clara's side.

"I want her to stay little longer," she murmurs.

"Daylight and you move," Laurence orders. "That girl is not one of us. The longer you stay with her, the harder it will be to move on. Get your head on straight and stop being distracted. She isn't even that pretty! The only thing she is good for, we stopped! She is not your pet. Do not see if your infatuation with her is real or just because you saved her. That is the last thing you need, Mr. Lion. Thank you for leaving the wound on her head; it'll play to our advantage when we position her to be found later. Talon, with me. We'll scout ahead." He looks at Clara with a sigh and moves his hand as Talon leaves the inner -now second- cage. "She doesn't need the heart enchantment any more. Nor does she need her memories. If she wakes up before you get her back to town, she won't remember a thing after she headed back down the mountain to go home. We'll piece something together for the rest of the town. Once she wakes, she'll piece together whatever the locals tells her, but I've wiped the past three days from her memory completely."

Buck sighs in defeat as he looks back at her and nuzzles her cheek, "which means you will be completely terrified of me again, kitten. You shouldn't be."

"It's for your own good. Let the animals do their own thing, Mabel; you don't need them. Stand up. Both of you. Now," Laurence snaps. Buck and Mabel do as told as Laurence waves his hand again and a light drizzle of rain hits them, washing the blood away. Then Laurence dries them all off. Then he waves his hand again and the metal ground beneath them shifts into something more comfortable to lay on.  Buck gently pushes Clara off the hard, cool, metal surface onto the warmer, softer bedding and Laurence finishes transforming the floor. He nods his approval and walks away as the cage holding the Miguel-hellhound is raised into the air and Laurence shifts back into his animal form. Talon flies over and drops a blanket into the cage.

"Here. This must have wiggled free from the cage after they dragged her through the mountain; I can't find the pillow but this should make the stay a little more comfortable tonight. Keep her warm. Her ankle needs to be looked at again too. I wouldn't be surprised if it was broken being thrown against that cage door. There. I released the connection with Laurence now. I'm sorry, Buck. I know you enjoyed taking care of her. Take it slow. You'll get one more day with her," she thinks softly into his head. Buck nods, looks over the sprained ankle quickly, and then adjusts his body so he is laying the same way Clara is. "Mabel, lift up her head," Talon orders as she looks at Buck. "Good luck." He nods in gratitude and tucks his paw under her head. "I'll see you all tomorrow. You'll have to talk without my help."

"Thanks, Talon," he thinks as he brings Clara closer to himself to keep her warm, as he can already see her breath fogging up the air. Talon flies off and Mabel shifts into human form and looks at him curiously as he looks down at Clara. "He is wrong about you, kitten. You were worth protecting, and not just because he has a vendetta against hellhounds or because the world wouldn't be able to survive if you died. It's so much more, Clara. I don't know how to tell you. And pretty isn't a word I would use to describe you either. Gorgeous. Witty. Adventurous. Creative. Brilliant. Amazing. Those are just the first few that comes to mind; none of which you will ever know," he thinks bitterly as he nuzzles her arm then looks back at the child who was grinning so big, her face might fall off.

"You clearly like her. I don't understand him. Why doesn't Laurence want you to find someone to love and care for? Wouldn't Clara make a good choice?" She asks as she wraps up in the blanket and sits as close as she can to Clara's other side. Buck looks at the child carefully before shifting himself. He reaches over and ruffles her hair playfully.
"Because magic has been banned; those caught with it are put to death. I'm sure he was hoping I'd fall for your mom, but your mom isn't looking for a relationship and she is more like a sister to me. I love both of you, but not in the romantic way. I love watching you grow up and seeing what you can accomplish. I'm proud of you, little one, but I could never love your mother in the way that I might with someone else; someone like Clara. I want to love her, but it's forbidden for reasons I don't understand. I can't fall for one of the girls in my own village because most of them love to brag about what they would ever do to a man if they found out he had any magic. They cut off the hands and toes of a woman for suspected witchcraft; they would do much worse to me. I don't want to be living in fear of that all the time. I want someone who wants me for me, just the way I am. Laurence thinks I have a savior complex with Clara, but she doesn't need saving. She proved that the first night when she ran away. She asked me in the cave by the camp if licking was considered kissing since my secret was revealed. I replied mentally, 'I'll show you a real kiss if you let me.' She replied by saying something along the lines of good, because that would be immoral. So she got something else out of it which shattered me. Her own stubbornness is her biggest downfall. You'll understand someday, but please wait until you get older. Laurence lost his wife and sons to the hellhounds. Which is why we have done nothing but study that prophesy. His sons he could do nothing for, but his wife he tried to save with the help of the people from the town they were from. She had a small scratch on her foot from the hellhounds as she tried to climb to safety. Unfortunately, the fever grew and her cut glowed while her foot swelled up. I don't know why she swelled and the men just convulse, but that's the way it is. Anyways the town stoned her to death. It was just a glimmer of magic, but he fears that a non-magical person will always turn on those with abilities - like our shapeshifting. Clara isn't like them though. She was upset I didn't tell her earlier. She didn't turn against me and I don't think she ever will, but in Laurence's mind, our fate has already been sealed," he explains as he rolls Clara to her side and pulls her bottom arm out away from her body. He tucks her back into his chest and makes Mabel curl up in Clara's arms, facing the same way. "Your job, little one, is to keep that arm warm. It's also your pillow. I'll keep the rest of her warm. We have to say good-bye to her tomorrow. I know you don't want to, but we have to protect each other first. It'll be okay."

"No it won't! Clara gave her heart to you! It'll hurt you. You can't rip out your own heart, never to see it again. She's a part of who you are. You have her heart and you gave her yours when you carried her back into the cage. That's why there was no heart for Mr. Demon-" Mabel protests, looking over her shoulder.

"Lord Demin," Buck corrects looking at her in awe. For such a young child, she was sure wise beyond her years.

"Whatever. That's why he couldn't take it. I may have been rattled, but I heard everything that went on," Mabel insists.

"Maybe. Or maybe Laurence was just really good with his protection spell," Buck retorts as he pushes her head down some. She snuggles under Clara's neck with a heavy sigh.

"You know I'm right, Buck. You could tell the blood was being pulled from her body before we said anything. That could only happen if you had her heart. You couldn't see through our minds; Mama can only let you hear. You felt it. I know you did. You were in animal form. I could sense your dizziness, but you weren't even hurt or hit. I know this. You know I'm right. You have Clara's heart. So when blood was draining out of her too fast, you felt it," Mabel insists. Buck softly sighs and shakes his head. As much as he wants to believe it, that theory feels too far fetched.

"If that were the case, why don't I still feel light headed?"
"Because you're awesome and nothing can slow you down," Mabel replies in a matter-of-fact tone. Buck grins.
"Get some rest, kid. Our day starts at daybreak. Besides, I'm sure I'll be over her in three or four weeks tops, four months and I'll probably forget her all together. No more talking tonight. Shift back if you get too cold. I have to keep Clara warm. Just know she may freak out and panic being with us if she wakes up; she won't know who we are and we can't show or tell her," Buck replies as he shifts back into his animal form and pulls both Clara and Mabel closer, knowing his animal form provides more warmth than his human form ever could. "If Mabel is right, kitten, I hope I can give you some blood that you lost. My heart is strong and is pumping steady. Recharge. Live. I'm here for you. I don't feel light headed, but I'm sure you will for a few days after you finally wake up again," he thinks as nuzzles her cheek tenderly then nuzzles the small child.

"Laurence is wrong. I won't like saying good-bye and I will still like Clara," Mabel says around a yawn as she pulls Clara's bottom arm around her body.

"I know. Me too," Buck thinks remorsefully as he looks back at Clara's disheveled appearance. He licks her forehead and pushes her hair out of her face before putting his head down on her shoulder, examining where the knife wound was again, and looking back at her face. "Good night, kitten. I'd hate to see you go and not be part of my life in any way, but daylight is coming whether I like it or not," he thinks woefully as he listens to her breathing and heartbeat. Both sound a little weak, but considering what she just went through they sounded relatively normal, thankfully. He rubs Mabel's stomach, causing her to giggle. "Sleep well, kiddo. You had a busy day and did so good," he thinks proudly as he looks down upon the small child. She looks up at him, kisses his nose and grins.

"Night, Uncle Buck. It's a good name. I like it much better than Lee. So strong and manly sounding," she confirms around another yawn and snuggles into his stretched out paw. "Don't squish my new friend," she begs sleepily as she closes her eyes again and holds onto the paw around her waist.

"Wouldn't dream of it. She's too precious," he confirms silently. When Mabel is sleeping peacefully, he looks back at Clara one more time and nuzzles her cheek. Her lips part as she gasps for air and her head turns toward him. He licks her chin with a smirk. "Yes. Fight for every breath, kitten. Keep your heart pumping. You can beat this. Kissing you, that's something that will never happen, but I wish I could have at least once. Licking you isn't kissing, but I should have kissed you in that cave. Lord knows I wanted to. After what I witnessed tonight, that thought is even stronger. You are beautiful, strong, courageous, and simply wonderful. You can go home tomorrow, just like I promised. You were definitely worth protecting. I hope you know that, deep down. And I hope somehow, you remember me," he thinks as he pushes her head down so her neck isn't craned. Then he lowers his head on her shoulder again and finally closes his eyes. Sleep comes quickly, and daybreak comes too soon. 

© 2017 Lynaelee

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Added on August 7, 2017
Last Updated on November 22, 2017



Sometimes I feel like I need an outlet to express myself. I have never been good with verbal communication, but I have always found an out in writing. I hurt. I bleed. I make mistakes. I cry. Yes,.. more..

If only If only

A Book by Lynaelee

1. *Prologue* 1. *Prologue*

A Chapter by Lynaelee