12. Return to the livingMature

((I don't really like the title of this chapter so if any of you have a better one please post it and tell me??))

"Has she woken up yet?"

"No, not yet."

"She's been out for three days, she should be awake any time now..."

"That's what Dina said too..."

"You should get some rest, she won't be alone and you need the sleep."

"I won't rest easy until I see those silver eyes open."

I surfaced slowly, like the morning fog over the shadowed lake. I could hear the worried voices of my loved ones, but the pain kept me under. I hurt so bad. My leg felt like it was on fire and my shoulder throbbed. My arm felt like it had been wrenched so hard I tore muscle. And the pounding in my head was just icing on the cake.

"Alright, but please, if you feel like your going to pass out, lay your head down for a while. You can sleep next to her."

Was that Willow? Who was she talking to? And why did they both sound so tired? Everything sounded so distant and faded, like they were talking down a hall but I could still catch a word or two clearly.

I felt so tired. I wanted sleep. Everything became silent once more as I drifted away.


I felt more awake than I had in days.

Opening my eyes to my surroundings, darkness greeted me. There was a warm hand holding mine. Soft snores reached my ears.

And Bear was the one snoring. He was fast asleep in a chair, his head on my bed. And it was his strong hand holding mine.

Smiling, I whispered his name over and over, waiting for him to raise his head.

Blinking the sleep from his eyes, he looked at me, confusion on his face.

"About time you wake up. I said your name about thirty times."

Suddenly he smiled. "You awake finally."

I nodded. "How long have I been out?"

"Close to a week now. You were pretty banged up by the time I got you out of there. And even then , if it wasn't for your brother we both would have died."

"He helped us?"

he nodded. "Brought every guns man blanks instead of bullets. He kept us from being shot to badly."

I smiled. "So everyone is safe?"

He nodded. "And all waiting for you to wake up."

"Will you help me sit up? I'm not sure my arms will hold me."

He helped me adjust the pillows and blankets so that I sat with my back agains the head board.

"That Hunter dislocated your shoulder when he got a hold of you..." He snarled, brushing a gentle hand over the bruised skin. "Dina had to pop it back into place. I'm so glad yu were already heavily medicated."

"What about my leg?"

"The bullet went in pretty deep and there was fragments that couldn't be pulled out from the wound. You'll have a nice scar were the opened it wider to extract it." He took a deep breath, his eyes burning with rage. "At least the one in your shoulder was shallow."

"Thank you..." I took his hand, fight back tears. "You've saved my life twice now?"

"Hey, come on, don't cry..." He sat on the edge of the bed, pulling me to his chest and wrapping his arms around me. "I would never let you die if I could stop it..."

I sniffled, wiping the tears off my cheeks. "What time is it?"

"Almost six in the morning."

"Will you go wake my pack? Tell them I'm ok?" i looked up at him as another tear rolled down my cheek.

He smiled and wiped it away. "Of course. But why don't you lie down? While I'm gone?"

I nodded, letting him help me snuggle back down under the blankets before he left the room.

I felt the emotions welling up inside me again. How could I ever repay him for what he has done for me? I owed him so much. He had saved her in more ways than one, physically and mentally.

And the way he held me just now, his strength and warmth surrounding me, it made me feel so safe, so comfortable. But if my guess was right, and I'm pretty sure it was, he was taken.

Still, I could dream that he could be mine, right? There was nothing wrong with that.

But Rusty and Salem both seemed determined to be my mate. They were both nice guys and all, I just didn't think of them that way. They were my pack mates, my brothers. They were helping me get my life back together , anything more could ruin the bond.

"Echo!" I hadn't even heard the door open. Brooke and Faline were by my side in a matter of seconds, there eyes wide with worry.

"Hey guys." I set a hand on Falines, forcing myself to smile.

"Good to see you awake." Willow stood at the end of the bed, Jasper by her side.

"Good to be awake. You two talking again?"

Willow blushed as Jasper wrapped an arm around her waist. "You could say that." He chuckled, giving me a sly wink.

I shook my head. Took long enough.

"Feeling better?" Rusty's small smile couldn't hide the worry in his hazel eyes.


"That's good." Salem nodded, his look just as forced as Rusty's.

"So what have I missed besides those two finally hooking up?" I said, waving a hand at Jasper and Willow.

Leo shrugged. "Not much. We've all been so worried about you that we stayed close. It's been quiet since you and Bear tore abort that Hunter base."

"Tore apart?" I frowned, looking up at Bear. "Last I remember, everything was in one piece."

Leaning against the wall next to me, he shrugged. "I might have done a little more damage after you passed out."

"A little?" Vivian laugh as she shut the door softly. "By the time we got there, there was hardly a building standing."

"You're exaggerating." He scoffed.

"Not by much."

"What was i suppose to do? They tired to take her away from me and lock her up."

Vivian patted his shoulder, a playful smile on her lips. "Alright, alright... I'm sure that Echo is very grateful for you protection." She laughed, sitting on the bed beside me. "How are you feeling?"

"Tired, sore and grateful," I smiled at Bear. "And definatlyhappy that my pack is here with me."

Willow and Jasper smiled sadly.

"It's to bad Shade is no longer with us..." Brooke murmured.

Faline bowed her head. "It's my fault. He was sick and he tired to protect me when a big hunter grabbed me."

Leo set a hand on the young Shifter's shoulder. "It's ok, Faline, you're safe, that's what matters most."

I could feel Leo's pain. Shade was his last blood connection, his parents and older sister murdered by the Hunters when they were discovered for hiding two Shifters in their home. My parents had hidden me from my own blood. I just wondered what my brother will to about them.

The End

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