Everything Changes Ch. 05byKemMyst©
Parts some of you have been waiting for here. By the way, sorry guys for what happens to Cody.
The pack was finishing dinner when Randall got word that his first grandpup had arrived. He stood and everyone took notice. He howled and the pack joined him.
Randall then strode to the side room, collected the Severns, and the three headed down to see the new parents and their pup.
[Lyssa, I have a little girl.] Lyssa snorted milk out her nose.
Emmett looked over at his mate. [Jo had a girl.] Emmett snorted himself, then chuckled, then laughed out loud.
[Congrats, Jo. How are you?]
[Good. Oops, here they come..]
"Jo's asking for you. She's sent the Severns home and Randall and Roland have been down. She wants to see you before she goes to sleep."
Lyssa was quiet as he turned and took her hand. "C'mon."
She broke into a smile as they entered Jo's room. Jo was looking down at the infant at her breast. A head of fine, blond hair. A tiny little hand, with tiny little fingers, in a tiny little fist, resting on her sternum. Nathan looked down at his mate and their new pup with a goofy grin on his face. Ariel briefly caressed the little one's head.
"Lyssa, come in."
Jo looked up. "Oh, Lys, isn't she gorgeous?"
Lyssa came closer. Emmett was behind her, hands on her shoulders. Her voice broke, "She's the most beautiful thing in the world, Jo. How do you feel?"
"Oh, fine, tired, happy. I can't believe it." She pulled her new daughter up to her shoulder and giggled. "Nathan's mom had to check a couple of times."
"So, do you have a name?"
Jo shook her head. "I'm glad we have a couple of weeks."
A small baby belch left a bit of spit up on Jo's shoulder. Ariel cleaned it off, then stood. "We should let them rest and bond."
"Congratulations, Jo. Nathan. I'm happy for you."
As they reached the door, Jo said, "Just wait, Lys. You won't believe it."
They climbed to the main floor, Lyssa moving slowly. Lyssa was big, her back arched to counterbalance the weight she now carried up front. Her breaths were on the shallower side as the pup was pressing up against her lungs. She kept one hand on her lower back and the other on the handrail as they climbed the stairs. Ariel asked, "How are you feeling, Madam Beta?"
Startled from her reverie, Lyssa asked, "When will she go back?"
"A couple of days. Natalie will check her and we'll let her get her feet under her before they get home."
Ariel stopped Lyssa by putting a hand on her arm. Lyssa whirled. "Lyssa. How are you?"
Emmett stroked down her back. "Randall wants me, sweetheart."
Lyssa nodded and Emmett walked away.
Ariel watched the movement in Lyssa's belly. The pup was active, things appeared to be going well with her pregnancy. Lyssa turned to go to their room. "Lyssa, stop." She turned to look at her Madam Alpha.
"Are you alright? What does the healer say?"
"Fine. Everything's fine, Ariel."
"If you want to talk, Lyssa, come find me. Any time."
He found her sitting in a corner, eyes closed, kindof curled up.
"Lyssa. Mate? What's wrong?"
"I can't do that."
"Do what, sweetheart?"
She flapped a hand in the general direction of Medical. "That."
He pulled her to him. "Ah, Lys." He kissed the top of her head. "You don't have much of a choice."
Lyssa clung to him, hiding her face against his chest. "Not helping, Em."
He cradled her head to him and stroked down her back. He spoke quietly. "You saw her, sweetheart. She's fine. So's the pup."
"But..." she bit her lip and looked up at him, a bit teary. Her voice dropped. "What if I'm not?"
He closed his eyes and considered his worst fear, losing them both. He could feel the pup moving inside her belly, healthy and strong. He couldn't be sure, of course, that she would be OK. Things could happen. But, the vast majority of births were fine.
"Lyssa, Lyssa, you're young and strong. And healthy. You'll be fine."
Her breath hitched. He didn't know that. She didn't know that. She could tell it hurt him to think about the possibility that something might go wrong. She resolved to keep her fears to herself. She didn't want to burden him. "OK."
Stephanie was keyed up. Calvin was taking her to her old pack, to address a blood debt.
It had been so long ago she saw no need to seek vengeance on Cody.
He was still alive, with a mate and two pups. Even a grandpup.
She had spoken to the pack's Alpha, and Beta, who, by this time, had figured out who it was. But all of them had impressed upon her the duty of the debt. This she already knew but, did it really matter anymore?
She talked to Calvin about it as well. He couldn't understand her reluctance. He was more than ready to go over there and take the male out himself.
Stephanie had put the past behind her and had seen no reason not to leave things as they were. But, he had found her family, reunited them, and made this possible. She had agreed. And, so, they were on their way.
Calvin was driving. With all that had happened, she still hadn't begun to learn. She really didn't see the point.
He was anticipating what would happen and, while he looked forward to his mate taking vengeance out on her betrayer, he knew it would not make up for what had happened to her.
Calvin requested permission and was allowed onto the lands of Stephanie's old pack. Marcus, the Beta, greeted them and escorted them to the dining hall.
The Alpha pair of Ross sat at the head table, opposite the pack's Alpha pair, Paul and Deborah. Marcus sat beside Calvin and Stephanie's father beside her.
They talked of mundane things, and ate, and the pack murmured around them. As the meal ended, the Alpha stood. It took only seconds for the room to go silent. "My pack. I know you are curious about our guests. I also know that some of you recognize the Madam Alpha of the Ross pack."
"She was born into our pack and has returned to settle a debt. It saddens me to tell you she was betrayed, long ago, by one of our own. Handed over to rogues, to suffer in their company. Thankfully, she was rescued and she has risen to the rank of Alpha."
Aurora didn't understand what was wrong with her mate. He had been nervous since they had heard an old packmate was alive. Now he was twitching, breathing heavily, his heart pounding. She touched his forearm and he jerked away.
The strange female rose and looked around the room. Her green eyes lit on them. "Cody Elliot turned me over to a gang of rogues and left me with them. I'm here to repay him for what he did."
Aurora gasped, looking at her mate. Her voice was quiet, tense. "What did you do?"
The Alpha spoke again. "Cody, you will meet Stephanie of Ross in our circle."
"Livvy, I never..."
Anger flared in Stephanie's green eyes. He was denying it, denying he knew what would happen to her, denying responsibility. "Save it. You got to live, find a mate, have a family. I got pain."
"You're Alpha now."
"I was never supposed to live this long." Stephanie walked closer and was followed and flanked by both Calvin and the Alpha Williams. The two wolves on the opposite side of the table moved to one side as she came over to look him in the eye. He couldn't look at her. Stephanie's eyes slid to the female beside him. "You are his mate?" Aurora nodded, mouth open, eyes wide. "I'm sorry." Stephanie said.
She looked back to Cody. "Get up."
Cody was riveted in place; Stephanie's ire was rising. "Never thought you'd get caught, did you?"
He sat, staring ahead, looking at nothing. "What did they give you?"
Nothing, he didn't respond. His mate was looking between them.
Stephanie slammed an open palm on the table in front of them. Cody and Aurora both jumped. "What did you get for me?"
His voice was quiet. "Money. They offered me money."
Her voice was low, menacing. "I hope you enjoyed it."
"They never paid me."
Stephanie laughed a bitter laugh. Looking at him, she considered asking if he ever cared for her, then decided she didn't want to know. "Get up."
After a few seconds of disbelief, Cody found himself grabbed by the scruff of the neck and hauled upright. Aurora looked on, wringing her hands.
Cody was hauled outside by Marcus and one of the other wolves.
Vernon was escorted out by Stephanie's sister, Izadora, and her mate.
Stephanie entered the Williams' circle after leaving her clothing at the edge. She turned to face the male who had so gravely affected her life.
Cody was released and shook himself and looked at her. Larger than he remembered, her body was covered with scars. She was standing confidently, unafraid. She was Alpha now, so different from the little timid thing he had known all those years ago. He walked one way, walked the other, took a deep breath and started shedding his clothes.
Stephanie followed him with her eyes only as he paced a bit. He looked rather nervous as he looked at her, then pulled himself together.
She stood, loosely, waiting. He looked at her.
They stood on opposite sides of the circle.
The pack got restless.
He broke first.
"What? Come on."
She smiled and took a couple steps forward. She watched him steel himself for the attack. She smiled again and took another couple steps.
The pack started grumbling. This wasn't a fight. While some, particularly family, were faintly worried for Cody, the rest wanted to see blood.
Stephanie changed, becoming the light brown wolf-woman. As she continued to look at him her chest began to heave. She thought back and, while it wasn't fresh in her mind, it had been her first sexual experiences. She had thought he liked her. She had thought they might be mated. And then, he had just handed her over, given her to them. Had he felt anything? It didn't seem that way.
He hadn't really apologized.
She looked into his eyes and smiled. He didn't think she could hurt him.
She curled her left hand into a fist and decked him.
A howl went up as he hit the ground, holding his eye.
She took another step toward him and he scrabbled backward, climbing upright to face her. He shifted, and puffed up, mumbling something about being suckerpunched.
They circled, briefly, and he rushed her. She stepped aside and raked her claws across his hip.
Cody snarled, turning, and, in a sweeping gesture, knocked her sideways. They traded blows, drew each others' blood. And Calvin watched, interested in her reactions in this instance. Anger, while it gave you strength in some circumstances, made you blind in a fight. It could make you lose.
Marcus remarked to his Alpha. "She fights well."
Calvin put on a feral grin. "Decades of practice."
Stephanie dropped under a swing and swept his legs out from under him. She settled over his waist, she was not a small female, and began punching him in the face. He tried to fend her off but was quickly overcome by the ferocity of her attack.
His nose was broken, his eyes blackened, his lips split. After 8 or 9 strikes, his body relaxed as he lost consciousness. She continued punching until the calm voice of her mate entered her mind. [Stephanie.]
She stopped and put her claws around his throat.
Cody moaned and Stephanie looked up at the wolves ringing the circle. The Alphas and Beta looked grim and resigned. Calvin's expression was unreadable. Some of the other wolves looked expectant. She then caught sight of Cody's mate and what appeared to be a friend or one of their pups. Worried. Afraid of what she would do.
So long ago.
Cody moaned again and started to wake.
Stephanie took a deep breath and made her decision. She shifted sideways on his body, grabbed his balls, and squeezed.
A high-pitched scream left his lips and he clutched at her, tried to buck her off. She kept squeezing and he gurgled, then fell silent. She held on as he fell unconscious again, grinding those testicles between her fingers and palm. Mashing them until they grew flaccid and soft.
Stephanie stood and walked to the edge of the circle without looking back. "Alpha Williams, I would appreciate the chance to wash up."
"Do you wish the services of our healer?"
"No, thank you. I think he will have his hands full with him."
The wolves began to disperse as the fight was obviously over. Aurora was crouched next to her mate, crying. The healer was looking him over.
She was given a chance to clean up and they were offered a room for the night.
Stephanie demurred, wanting only to go home, to sleep in their bed.
The healer came to report on Cody's condition. Broken nose. Broken cheekbone. Concussion. Loss of a couple of teeth. His testicles were completely mangled; he would never father another pup. But, he would live and would be able to service his mate during her heats.
Calvin stood beside her and squeezed her around the waist. He understood what she had done, and had not done. [I approve, little one.]
"Lala, your father would like to visit with you."
Stephanie closed her eyes at the old nickname and smiled to herself. She looked to Calvin. "As long as you wish, mate."
There was a side room, off the dining hall, where they were both embraced warmly by Izadora. "Oh, Livvy, we thought you were dead, so long ago. I'm glad you're alive. And an Alpha!" She looked at her sister. "Why didn't you come home earlier?"
Everyone had a basic idea of what had happened to her but could only speculate on certain things. "Izzy, she had her reasons. Maybe she wasn't sure of her reception."
Marcus growled. "Lala." He paused, took a breath. "Lavinia." He shook his head. "Stephanie. We looked for you, searched. For months, years. We never had any clue where you'd gone. Why didn't you contact us?"
She had never liked being the center of attention but had gotten better, having been Alpha for several months now. "I had been gone for years. After Wallace and the others rescued me, I had a hard time fitting back in to a pack. I made a pledge to the Alpha Wyeth, to protect him and his blood, for what he had done. I found a place there, learned to fight."
"You still could have told us."
"And you're only recently mated?"
Stephanie dropped her eyes and smiled. "Calvin was most persistent."
Calvin put a hand on her face and pulled her to him for a light kiss.
Vernon's voice broke through. "Are you happy now, daughter?"
She looked at her mate, inhaled, exhaled. "Yes, Papa, I am."
The visit lasted for quite some time. Refreshments were brought and Stephanie was introduced to nieces and nephews. Given the lateness of the hour, a room was again offered and, after checking with Sampson on the state of the pack, Calvin agreed.
Sleep began to pull at everyone and Vernon was taken to his room after extracting a promise of future visits.
As Marcus escorted Calvin and Stephanie to a room, they passed several wolves along the way. A storm strode into view. Marcus had time only to warn, "Aurora," before she slapped Stephanie across the face. "Bitch!"
Stephanie was rocked back on her heels by the blow and blinked at the other female, confused. Marcus had grabbed her arms. "I didn't kill him."
"Why not?" Aurora screeched. "What you've left me," a pause, "he's not even a male anymore."
Stephanie's voice hardened. "He was never a male to begin with. At least he can still fuck you when you come into season."
Marcus shook her. "Aurora, enough. Stop this, now."
She looked at Stephanie, eyes blazing anger. Marcus shoved her. "Go to your room."
Marcus turned to the Ross Alphas. "I'm sorry, La.. Madam Alpha."
Calvin looked after Aurora. "Has there been trouble? Between her and her mate?"
Marcus' mouth was set in a grim line. "I'm sorry, that's not any of my business. Our room?"
The Ross Alphas climbed into an unfamiliar bed. Calvin simply laid beside her, arms around her, and waited for her to sleep. He, however, fell asleep before she did.
He had expected her sleep might be restless, and it was.
She moaned and rolled. He stroked her arm and tried to comfort her as best he could. He woke, before dawn, to find her missing from the bed.
He waited a few minutes, thinking she may have gone to relieve herself. When she didn't return he called out [Stephanie?], and got no reply. They were not at home. He needed to inform someone if he was going to search for her. [Marcus? Beta? My mate is missing and I need to find her.]
It took a few moments before the reply came. [Brian saw her climbing the stairs.]
Calvin rose, throwing on pants, and headed off, after Stephanie. He followed her scent, down the hall, up the stairs. It stopped in the middle of the upstairs hall. He looked around, where could she have gone?
Aha, a small rope dangled from above. He pulled on it, dropping a ladder, which he climbed. "Stephanie?" She was sitting on the edge of the roof. "Stephanie? Little one?"
She was sitting there, swinging her legs, and humming to herself. "Lavinia?" She glanced at him, then looked back over the range. "I don't think any of the males like me."
She sounded younger somehow. "What do you mean?"
"Guess I'm not pretty enough."
Sleepwalking. Had to be. Transported back to when she was a young female. "You're beautiful, Stephanie."
She looked at him, confused. She leaned forward, looking over the edge. "Don't."
She straightened and looked back at him. He was afraid she would fall. A little more than three floors, the fall wouldn't kill her, but she could be badly hurt.
"You are pretty. You are."
She blinked jade green eyes at him, still swinging her legs. The movement was inching her closer to the edge. "Stephanie, please come to me."
Nothing. She didn't respond to him. And he had no idea how to get her to come away, to wake up. "What do you want?"
She blinked up at him again and he saw what she must have been like when she was young. Calvin crouched and she slid sideways a bit. [Alpha Ross? Have you found your mate?]
[Roof. Sleepwalking.] He had to keep his concentration on her. "So, do you like it up here?"
"Mm, hm. Quiet. Nobody bothers me."
"Someone's bothering you?"
She looked away, out into the darkness. "Mm. No."
"You don't sound sure." He reached out and she scooted sideways a bit. "Who's bothering you?"
He heard the hatch open. "Livvy? Lavinia, come inside now!"
The voice was female, commanding. Stephanie's green eyes widened and she scrambled up and headed for the hatch.
[Alpha Ross, follow her in. I'm not sure if I can wake her.]
Calvin followed her and settled when Izadora gestured to him to stop. She had Stephanie by the arms. "Livvy. Wake up. C'mon, Livvy, come back."
Stephanie blinked but didn't answer. "Are you tired, Livvy? C'mon, let's go to bed." A slight tug, and the two sisters moved forward.
Calvin followed, watching the interaction, musing. It was another insight into her youth. And, at this point, he wanted to have a talk with Izadora.
Stephanie balked at the room she was led to. She murmured that it wasn't hers. Izadora told her she'd been moved but she stopped dead at the smell of a male in the room. [We've got another spare room, Alpha Ross. I hope I can get her to wake.]
"Alright now, Livvy, come here." Izadora cradled her older sister on the bed. "It's alright, Livvy. Wake up now. Wake up."
Calvin stood in the doorway, watching, mesmerized. [Dad says I sound like Mom.]
"C'mon, Livvy, time to wake up."
Stephanie took a deep breath and her eyelids fluttered. Suddenly, she jerked upright. "What's going on?"
Calvin strode over. "You were sleepwalking, mate. How do you feel?"
Stephanie blinked. "Calvin. Izzy. What happened?"
"It's OK, Livvy, you just took a little walk. Why don't you and your mate go back to sleep?"
Calvin extended his hand and Stephanie took it, rising from the bed. Glancing back, she said, "Thanks, Izzy."