Enter the Cat Ch. 07byMygypsy©
I look at the others where they stand watching the fight uneasily. It is too violent, too savage - no good can come from it. Timny is the first to meet my eyes, and I lay my ears back.
"Get Wade," I have barely snarled the order and Timny is racing back towards the buildings.
Dwayne trots to my side taking care to keep well clear of the fight that continues despite orders to stop from both Sam and I.
"Prepare for injured," Sam chuffs at him.
I spare a glare for Malcolm who is cowered beneath a thick lantana bush; he shows no inclination of rejoining the fight. I head towards where Robby is crouched in the spot Sam left him. Robby snarls and lashes his tail defiantly as I head his way.
I am on him in a snarling fury of sharp teeth and claws, punishing him for his part in this disaster. He fights back for a minute or so and I continue to deal out my punishment once he has ceased to resist. Finally I am satisfied for now and raise my head angrily. I look back at the fight and watch as Mitchell attempts to break off the fight at his brother's command.
Edwin is on him in a flash, taking advantage of the momentum from a charge. Snarls fill the air as fur flies and dust rises above the two whirling bodies. I hurry to Steven's side and see for the first time the extent of his injuries. This was no simple disagreement; it is clearly a calculated attack. Steven probably owes his life to Mitchell's intervention.
"Let them fight," I grunt to Sam and he flicks his ears with a concerned glance towards his brother.
"I won't let Edwin kill my brother," Sam snarls viciously.
"He won't," I growl and continue to watch the fight.
Again and again Edwin takes the fight to Mitchell, but his advantage of a heavier more solid body does no good. He is beginning to tire but so is Mitchell. Mitchell is showing signs he wants to stop fighting but he refuses to give in or allow Edwin to best him. A sly under handed slash at Mitchell's stomach barely misses its mark and Mitchell curls his top lip up but remains silent. He doesn't snarl, growl or roar the rage that burns in his eyes.
There is almost complete stillness for a second or two then Mitchell is on Edwin in a whirling fury of vengeance. Slowly, one inch at a time, Mitchell begins to drive Edwin backwards. The fierceness within Mitchell gives the illusion of him becoming bigger, heavier, than Edwin.
A blink of the eye, a subtle shift of power and Edwin is down. Mitchell keeps at him; again and again he knocks Edwin off balance keeping him from his feet. The snarls suddenly cease and Mitchell has hold of Edwin by the side of his throat. Not a choke hold, not a killing bite, but the hold used to lift and shake prey or our enemies.
Finally Edwin cries for mercy as he acknowledges Mitchell's victory. Mitchell stands over him for a few seconds snarling down at the cowered form and then he delivers a series of punishing slaps and sharp nips.
I stalk forward and shoulder Mitchell aside roughly before dishing out my own punishment to Edwin. Edwin growls and hisses, resenting my punishment but I press home my point before lifting my head and looking around for Mitchell. He is beside Steven sniffing at his injuries with concerned noises.
I charge over angrily and snarl in Mitchell's ear but he lowers his head as he turns it away slightly. I snort angrily several times before jostling his shoulder. My anger begins to die down as he opens his mouth and curls his lips away from his canine teeth. He shows his canines boldly but makes no hostile moves.
Sam trots over with laid back ears and lashing tail. Angry grunts come from him as he crowds his younger brother but Mitchell makes no complaint or protest. I watch as Mitchell displays his canine teeth to Sam, arching his neck away from his older brother.
Mitchell has shown both of us respect but no fear for our dominance over him.
Satisfied with the new order of my warriors I raise my head and begin a long drawn out coughing roar. Sam joins in after a few moments, another few moments and Mitchell adds his voice.
I lower my head and swivel my ears as the last of our roars die away. I glance around the group. Wade has arrived with Timny in the jeep, and he looks around angrily.
"Everyone back to human form now," Wade orders sharply. "Sam, stay in cat form until everyone else has changed."
By the time I have returned to human form Wade is crouched over Steven studying his injuries. I move to his side and look down at my partner. Even after changing forms the wounds are severe.
"Mikkarl, you and someone else take your brother back to the quarters. Make him comfortable until Doc gets here," Wade orders.
"What the hell happened?" Wade turns towards me with an angry glare as Mikkarl and Chris lift Steven to his feet and drape his arms over their shoulders. He hangs between them weakly but manages to walk with their help.
"I heard the sounds of a fight and found both Robby and Edwin mauling Steven," Mitchell says tightly. "I stopped them before they could murder him."
"I am higher ranked than Steven and it is the last time he ignores me when I give an order," Edwin snaps angrily.
"Steven is ranked over you because Micah is his partner," Sam snaps.
"You had him down on his back. He was trying to submit to ..." Mitchell snaps angrily.
"Shut up boy, don't speak to me like that," Edwin snaps turning towards Mitchell livid with outrage.
Mitchell's reaction is instant; he steps forward and delivers a short hard jab to the chin that knocks Edwin from his feet.
"Enough! We will make our way back to the quarters and I will discuss what has happened there," Wade roars.
"Justin, go with Mikkarl, Chris and Steven. Let Dwayne know we are on our way back. Edwin, Malcolm, Robby, you three start walking back and there will be no talking between you on the way," I order tightly. "Mitchell? You want to go back in the jeep or walk?"
"I can walk," Mitchell says curtly but gives me a slight smile and nod.
The walk back to the quarters is steady. Both Edwin and Mitchell are tired and beginning to stiffen up. The group jogs when everyone can manage it but I am quick to slow the pace to a walk as soon as I see the pace wearing at Mitchell's strength. He is a high calibre warrior and I am proud to have him in my group after the integrity he showed today.
Wade quickly takes control of the situation once we are inside the quarters. He orders Robby to sit in the kitchen, Malcolm in the hallway and Edwin to sit on a chair in the lounge room.
Justin reports that Rosy is working on Steven but isn't finished yet. He passes everyone a pair of their jeans and I quickly step into mine, mindful of Rosy's discomfort when any male is naked around her.
"Sam those deep scratches on the back of your thigh need stitching, they're still oozing quite a lot. I'll do them, then we can start on Mitchell," I say as I eye their injuries.
"You'll need stitches in those over your ribs," Sam remarks before handing Mitchell a bottle of whiskey. "Here get some of that into you."
"Thanks," Mitchell says as he settles himself backwards on a chair and takes a deep drink before turning his attention on Edwin.
"Where's my drink of whisky?" Edwin demands.
Mitchell lifts the bottle to his mouth and drains the last inch and a half of alcohol before lowering the empty bottle.
"Oh, did you want some Edwin?" Mitchell asks lightly.
"Bastard!" Edwin growls.
"Any more out of you lot before everyone is stitched up and I will take the skin off the offenders back with a whip," Wade warns hotly.
We all fall silent as I set about cleaning and stitching Sam's injuries. When I have finished, Sam and I clean Mitchell's numerous wounds. We take turns stitching up the deepest gashes; one of us stitch while the other prepares the next needle and thread.
"How's Steven?" Wade asks.
"I've stitched him up best I can. A lot of stitches but the worst are his neck and the back of his leg," Rosy's reply is quiet but firm and I look her way to find her watching what we are doing to Mitchell.
"You stitch everything up that needs stitches?" I ask remembering the state of his neck.
"She's thorough, fast, and as neat as you and Doc," Dwayne cuts in.
"Micah, leave Sam to work on his brother while you go get that side of yours fixed up," Wade orders.
I put the threaded needle where Sam can easily find it before heading for my room. I want to see how Steven is for myself as soon as I can. He isn't in our room when I enter it so I sit on the edge of my bed and watch Rosy as she walks into the room. She takes a moment to study my side before beginning to clean the injury. Her touch is light and she works quickly but gently.
"Did any of you get to eat?" Rosy asks.
"No," my reply is clipped and short. The peroxide stings as she uses it liberally and I am glad of the slight pressure as she pats the slashes dry.
"How bad did you beat your brother up?" Steven asks with a grin as Mikkarl and Chris help him into the room and to his bed.
"Mitchell put him down on his back and made him submit," I say.
"Mitchell? Holy shit," Steven says getting comfortable on his bed. "You think he's going to go after your spot?"
"I don't think so. Sam and I tried to break them up but Edwin kept going after Mitchell and Mitchell realized he couldn't turn his back on him," I say. I look down at the stitches Rosy is putting in. "You can't do continuous stitches like that or they'll tear out when I change."
"I'll cut the connecting threads when I get to the end. Saves picking up the scissors and putting them down again with every stitch," Rosy mutters.
I grunt faintly with surprise that Rosy does the same as I do when stitching a wound; I go to comment then decide against it.
"Are these the only ones?" Rosy asks.
"Want me to take off my pants so you can check?" I ask and have to grin as she blushes prettily.
"No thanks. I have enough to laugh at as it is," Rosy mutters.
"Cruel," Steven laughs.
"I'm going to check on Mitchell," Rosy says before hurrying for the kitchen.
"I owe Mitchell my life," Steven says quietly. "I thought I was done for. Edwin and Robby were intent on ripping out my throat and then he turned up. "
"I'm glad he got there in time. Now you'll have to excuse me because I want to get back out to the kitchen in case Rosy freaks out when she sees how badly Mitchell got clawed up," I tell him.
"Very bad?" Steven asks with concern.
"Bad enough, but nothing too serious," I say as I pause in the doorway before heading back towards the other end of the building.
"Hey Rosy, you gonna come stitch me up," Edwin calls enticingly.
"You shut up Edwin! You've caused enough trouble already," Wade orders angrily.
"These darned claw marks over my ribs won't stop bleeding and they've opened up old wounds," Edwin calls back.
"I'll sew him up! Sew his damned mouth shut as well," I snarl from the door of the lounge room as I stop and glare at him.
"Micah! Back off," Wade orders as he heads for the lounge room. Wade checks Edwin's injuries and makes an angry sound in his throat; he straightens up and glares down at Edwin.
"Some of those injuries aren't that old. Who the hell have you been fighting with?" Wade demands.
"We had a slight disagreement yesterday," I say evenly. Might as well let Wade in on what has been going on.
"What else don't I know about?" Wade demands.
"Rosy was spooked and ran from the fight. She got hurt, that's why Doc was here this morning," I say
"As a warrior your first priority is to protect all she-kitts, is it not? You got involved in a fight you had to know would scare Rosy. Is that doing your job? I don't think so! As Alpha I am responsible for all females under my care and you allowed one of them to be hurt," Wade is outraged and clearly fighting for control of his temper.
"I should have ..." I begin knowing I need to appease his rage over being left uninformed.
"A she-kitt got hurt and you didn't see fit to tell me?" Wade yells and heads towards Rosy.
I see the alarm flare in her eyes as she steps closer to Sam and he stops sewing up Mitchell's wound to slip an arm around her waist.
"Doc cleared Rosy for changing this morning and she's already much better after one change," Sam says quietly.
"Is that why you're limping?" Wade demands.
"My hip is sore but I'll be better after another change or two. I didn't know changing helps things heal lots quicker," Rosy murmurs clearly cowed by his anger.
"I want to know if there are any problems in the future and I had better hear that Rosy has recovered fully in the next few days," Wade snaps before looking at Mitchell's back. "Edwin needs stitches in his side now; it can't wait for Doc to get here."
"Doc said he left sedative here last time I ran off ... knock him out and I'll stitch his side up," Rosy says coldly.
"Oh come on Rosy, I'll behave for you," Edwin whines with a grin she ignores.
"You got both of my brothers hurt and you think I'm going to care if I'm causing more pain stitching you up than when the pain first hit after the injury?" Rosy asks in a deadly voice. Edwin watches her and wisely keeps silent.
"I'll get the sedative," I say and head towards the bedrooms.
"I am not getting knocked out here! There's no guarantee I'll ever wake up," Edwin denies before I walk out the door.
"They weren't just going to make Steven back-off. And he was going to put Mitchell out of the picture at least for a while," my anger comes pouring out. "This was an outright challenge of my authority and position!"
"Get the sedative, and before you protest again, Edwin, you get stitched up here then taken to the main house. Malcolm and Robby can spend the night locked in the containment room for their own safety. Tomorrow I am going to get to the bottom of all this business," Wade orders, his authority ringing in his voice.
I head off to get the drug. If Rosy is going to see to Edwin's injury then he will be unconscious as she asked. When I return Wade administers the drug and I feel a sense of satisfaction as Edwin struggles to stay sitting up and alert as the drug takes affect. I am glad he is getting to experience a small piece of the feeling of vulnerability Rosy must have felt when he had grabbed her making it necessary for her to be sedated.
I notice Rosy leave the quarters when she has finished sewing Edwin up and I take the chance to return to check on Steven. He is stretched out on his bed, eyes closed, with Mikkarl sitting beside him leaning back against the headboard.
"How is he?" I ask quietly.
"Just taking it easy," Steven says as he opens his eyes. "This wasn't just about you being boss you know. Mikkarl, tell Micah about what Robby was asking this morning."
"Robby pulled me aside this morning and started asking if I was interested in Rosy. Would I be okay with Edwin as boss, not you? He hinted that you pair had it planned when Rosy was due around that Edwin's team and us would be out on jobs. No other toms would be invited on her behalf," Mikkarl says calmly.
"You didn't think to tell your brother or me?" I demand tightly.
"You both were busy and then you suggested the hunt. I did manage to get Mitchell aside for a few moments and he was going to speak to Sam. I was going to call Steven aside but then that sow took off from almost under foot," Mikkarl explains.
"Edwin knows Rosy is losing interest in him," Steven says quietly. "And then this morning, I caught him lurking around outside Sam and Mitchell's room when Rosy was changing back. He was trying to peek in the room."
"Robby told me Edwin said you're trying to steal everything that is rightfully his: his job as chief warrior, your father's respect, and now the chance to impress Rosy. Something about him being the oldest, he should have been the one to get the size and strength, the power and control that goes so easily with it for you," Mikkarl says evenly. He is silent for a few moments before speaking again.
"Last night I overheard Malcolm telling Robby not to take what Edwin said at the pub too seriously. That Edwin had always been jealous of you - your size, your strength, the ability they gave you to protect your clan," Mikkarl tells me levelly.
I am struck speechless for a long moment. The contempt Edwin always had for my size. His cruel remarks that had often left me feeling awkward and as if I didn't fit in.
"You saying today was planned?" I ask Steven turning my thoughts away from Mikkarl's last comments. I can't allow myself to think on it.
"Maybe not for today specifically, but then we were all separated. Edwin had the chance to come up behind me, catch me unaware. Robby backed him up. I could have held my own against Edwin but I can't two on one," Steven says in cold tones.
"And Edwin figured he hadn't finished the fight yesterday with Mitchell," I muse quietly as I begin to understand the motivation for what happened today more clearly.
"Sam said to let you know Edwin, Robby and Malcolm are out of the quarters," Justin says from the doorway.
"Tell Sam I need to speak to him for a few minutes," I say to Justin. "And make sure someone is cooking a feed."
"Timny has already started on cook and I'll be giving him a hand," Justin answers before heading back towards the other end of the building.
"Edwin made a lot of stupid mistakes today," Steven says quietly. "He has his mind set on getting Rosy but he doesn't give a damn who he hurts to get her."
"He could have torn the clan apart today," I say tightly as I think of how his actions would have affected various members of the clan if he had succeeded in his objectives today.
* * * * *
I walk over to where Sam and Rosy stand and raise my eyebrows with a smile, "So it looks like you've decided to become a clan cat now."
Rosy shrugs and looks towards Sam as if for guidance, "It just seemed the right way to address Wade at the time."
"I had to try," Sam says as he looks down at his sister fondly before meeting my gaze.
"Hey why didn't you tell us Rosy would be acknowledging Wade as her Alpha," Steven asks as he limps over stiffly. He looks from me, to Sam, and back again.
"I sprang it on her. Figured if she had too much time to think about it she'd talk herself out of an answer," Sam says.
"Hallo in the quarters," Doc calls from outside. He walks in and Steven heads over towards the lounge.
"I understand I've got some stitching to check out," Doc announces. "Now who has changed and who hasn't?"
I pull my shirt off over my head and stand in front of Doc so he can see the slashes on my ribs. Sam is right behind me showing Doc the stitches on the back of his thigh before Doc moves away to check on Mitchell, Steven and Malcolm.
"Micah, Sam, those stitches can come out. Mitchell, you need to do two complete changes before you loose the stitches on your back. Steven you're fine to change, I think you're going to need three or four changes just to be safe with that neck wound. And Malcolm, you should be fine to change without getting stitches." Doc says firmly.
Doc glances around and spots Rosy where she has moved to stand near the entry into the kitchen.
"Ok Rosy, your turn. I want to make sure your leg is healing nicely," Doc says evenly. Rosy had been hesitant about letting him touch her yesterday but did allow him to inspect her injury with some gentle reassurance from me.
"I already took the stitches out, all of them," Rosy says without approaching him.
"Come on Rosy, I just want to make sure the muscle underneath isn't damaged," Doc says coaxingly.
Rosy hesitates before walking over and putting her foot on the arm of a chair. She flinches as Doc runs his hand over the inside of her thigh quickly and lightly. I remember her remark about hating being touched on the inside of her thighs.