6. The DenMature

I woke up to silence. My shoulder was bandaged and healing. All around me my pack was sleeping peacefully. All except Willow. She was in the little hospital wing a little ways away.

Quietly I slipped away. I wanted to see Willow. The halls were quiet and dimly lit by the lamps that lit every other hall. I just hoped I wouldn't get lost.

It seemed as it the entire bunker was deserted, I  didn't see another Shifter as I the wandered halls. Occasionally, soft snores reached my ears when I passed a closed door, or a set of shuffling steps from down a hall, but no living thing crossed my path.

I found myself wondering about Bear. I hadn't even thanked him for saving me from my own brother.

My heart sunk. Dominic had tried to kill me. It's true, as a Hunter he had never been close to his family, but we still has our moments. Even though he always seemed to have a touch of bad blood when it came to how different I was.

My parents had lied for me. They kept me hidden from my own blood. They had helped me escape and I hadn't even known.

I felt so alone knowing how my family had turned out. My parents protecting me, my brother hunting me. Why did  I have to be so different? Why couldn't I be a normal human like my family? I wrapped my hand around the gold locket, closing my eyes, my heart aching. i just wanted my life back.

I ran into something solid, falling back to land on my butt.

Grumbling, I got to my feet, looking up to see what I ran into. I felt my face flush.

Bear was looking at me, his green eyes slightly amused. "What are you doing up? I figured you would be sleeping after all of the excitement."

"I came looking for Willow." I explained. "I wanted to see if she was ok. What about you?"

"Guard duty." He said simply.

I nodded. "Uh... Thank you... by the way." I looked at my feet. "For saving me and all."

"Just doing my job." He said, his voice ringing with no-big-deal attitude.

"He said the same thing before you showed up..." My voice cracked. "I can't believe he's the same person I once knew..." I shut my eyes against the tears, forcing back the feeling of betrayal.

"Who is he? Some one from your past I take it?"

"He's my older brother." I looked up at him, trying to smile. I didn't want to cave with only a complete stranger.

Something flickered in those pale eyes, what it was, though, I wasn't sure. I felt my heart beat stutter and my face grow hot. I didn't know anything deeper than a name and here I was ready to spill my guts to him.

"So... Where am I?" I asked him, looking around.

"You almost left the Den. Your almost to the front entrance." He smiled. "How about I take you to where Willow is?"

I blushed. "But you're on duty..."

He shrugged. "I'm sure Luka won't mind if I show you around?" He looked at the scrawny blonde Shifter, who shrugged and mumbled something that sounded something like 'go ahead'. He smiled. "Come on."

He headed down one of the the halls at an easy walk, his hands in his pockets. "So where are you from, if I may ask?"

"California."

"How did you end up out here?"

"When I was discovered, I ran to protect my family. And to hide from Dominic."

"Your brother?"

I nodded. "Yeah..."

"Hm..."

I followed him through the halls, listening to the day begin around us. It felt strange to know that day was here, but the sun remained unseen. I missed the feel of the sun on my skin.

Bear kept walking until we reached the end of one of the halls, opening the last door to our left.

Inside a great room sprawled out, with beds and tables and curtains. It strongly reminded me of one of those military hospitals that are set up for temporary use near war zones. most of the beds were empty save two or three. And there was Willow, fifth bed on the right, glowering at a nurse as she checked her stitches.

"Willow!" I breathed, rushing to her side. "How are you feeling, are you ok?"

She nodded despite the nurse's order to stay still. "Sore and slightly confused, but not too bad."

I turned to introduce her to Bear, but he was already leaving, pulling the door shut behind him.

Did I say something?

The End

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