tagNonHumanRemembrance of Things Past Ch. 03

Remembrance of Things Past Ch. 03

bylilgirlsix©

I'm sorry for the long wait for this story. Writing was on the back burner for quite some time, but starting to come to a boil again.

As always, thank you Archangel for your wonderful editing.

Thank you to Cookie and Larry for the inspiration for two new characters. I wonder where they'll take me next?

Please vote and comment!

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Baxter Pack Compound – 5 miles East of Elko, Nevada – June 15, 2026

Carr could hear whispering through the door and smiled at the thought that the cubs forgot they could be heard.

"C'mon, Colin. He's your dad. You ask him."

"He'll listen to you, Colin."

"Oh for Heaven's sake. Let me!"

Just then the door opened and Carr's daughter Tyra waltzed into his office, the rest of her cohorts stumbling along behind. The group of cubs scrambled to regain some composure in front of the Alpha.

Carr sat up straight, closing the file he'd been perusing. "May I help you?" The look of amusement on his face was lost on the cubs, but his mate could feel it through their bond. His green eyes sparkled with love when he looked at the future of his pack. It was hard to believe that just thirteen years earlier there hadn't been a cub born to the pack in close to twenty years. He smiled to himself as he thought about all of the changes that had come about since then.

What are they up to?

I haven't a clue, but I'll let you know.

"Well? You have my full attention."

Tyra started to talk but was interrupted by her sister, Kyra.

"We want to go to high school in Elko."

Carr tried not to show his surprise. "And what's brought this on? Do Rebecca and Danielle know about this?"

Rebecca and Danielle were the two panthers who were members of the Baxter Pack. They were the mates of two of Carr's best Betas, and had been the teachers of the Pack's growing brood of cubs since they began school.

"It was their idea," Corey piped up from the back of the group. Corey was never shy about speaking to the Alpha; his Uncle Carr was always friendly to him. Besides, he knew Carr was never mad with the cubs.

"Oh?" This revelation was a bit of a surprise, and Carr didn't like surprises. He was about to ask Rebecca and Danielle to join them when he noticed two conspicuous figures doing their best to hide behind their more boisterous friends. "Tad, Teddy, is there something you want to tell me?" The two cubs were Danielle's and Rebecca's sons, respectively.

Tad and Teddy were two peas in a pod. Their fathers were twins, and their looks had passed on to their sons. They did everything together, and had a bond as close as their fathers did. The fact that they had guilty looks on their faces right now was what had Carr's attention. The two boys exchanged some unheard words through their special bond and came forward in perfect step, stopping in front of the Alpha's desk, heads hung low, eyes to the floor.

"Well?"

The pack was used to the bizarre way the two boys spoke in unison. Carr could only imagine what an outsider would think.

"We heard our moms talking the other day."

Carr blinked a few times, waiting.

Silence.

"And?"

Once again, the boys spoke in one voice:

"They said they thought we should go to school in Elko because they didn't know enough to teach high school and if any of us wanted to go to college we needed a real education." They each took in a big gulp of air after their long, run-on sentence.

"I see. Well, I think that's something that Lee and I will discuss with them, not you. Am I understood?" He glared down at the cubs, trying to appear stern without laughing his ass off.

"Yes, Sir."

"Yes, Alpha."

"Yes, Daddy."

The group started to file out of the office.

"Colin, wait here a minute."

The Alpha's son stopped in his tracks, sighed, and turned around to face his father, eyes cast down.

"Close the door, son."

Another sigh as Colin gently shut the door and stood in front of his father's desk, the Alpha's desk, the desk that might one day be his, if he became Alpha that was. He absent-mindedly slid his fingers across the smooth surface. He knew every scratch on the old desk. His father had built it with his own father some two hundred years ago.

"What do you think, Colin? Do you think you and your group could be trusted to go to school with the humans? And not get into trouble by shifting or growling or saying too much to the wrong person?"

Colin thought about it for a moment. "Maybe. I mean, they'd try really hard. I know Chase and Kenny want to be doctors. But nowadays, they'd have to go to a real school to get into college."

Carr smiled. His son was already thinking of the members of his pack, just as an Alpha should. Little did he know that the same subject had been on Carr's mind recently.

Both Chase and Kenny had been talking for some time about how they wanted to become doctors like their fathers, Logan and Jeff. In the days of Kenny's grandfather, the first pack healer, they just learned from their father what they could about setting bones to heal correctly and helping the females give birth. But there had been so many deaths due to horrendous injuries that couldn't be treated. Kenneth Kilean had recognized that quickly, and as soon as he could he'd sent his son to Toland Medical College in San Francisco, California. In fact, that was where Jeff had met Logan and the Jensen Pack Doctor, Jordan Majors, in 1864. The three had been shocked to realize there were other Werewolves attending the Medical School, but had been overjoyed to find each other.

In the present day, it was common for a pack healer to attend medical school, then a few years later, veterinary school. Many obtained further training every few years, usually by attending medical school for a second time. A few older healers had actually attended four or five times.

Carr thought for a moment and realized that Jeff had been completely through Medical School three times in the last 165 years. There was such rapid change in the medical field that there was really no way to keep up without going back. The worry was always that they would meet someone in later years who they had known in medical school, a human doctor who was approaching seventy or eighty years who recognized the young face from their past. As far as the medical school was concerned, Jeff was Jeffrey Kilean, III, as well as Jeffrey Kilean, Jr., and Jeffrey Kilean. They just thought he was a legacy, following in his father's and grandfather's footsteps. Little did they know.

"If I did allow you all to go, would you help me by keeping track of your friends, and especially your sisters? I think they might be the most trouble." Carr laughed, although he knew he wasn't really joking. His daughters were a handful, and sometimes thought they were already adults and knew what was best for everyone. He loved them dearly, but there were times they tried his patience. He knew that being among humans at that age would be a challenge, a challenge he wasn't sure all would be ready for.

Colin nodded his head vigorously, his chocolate brown hair falling over his green eyes, so much like his father's.

Carr grinned and ruffled the top of his son's head. "Okay, I'll think about it. But if I agree, I'll be depending on you, Colin. I'll speak with your mother and make a decision."

Colin's face lit up with a huge grin. "Thanks, Dad. I know you'll decide whatever's best." Colin ran out the door to his waiting friends, who immediately asked him about his conversation with the Alpha.

"Think he'll say yes?"

"We'll never get to go to school with the humans. Even if the Alpha says yes, what if our parents say no?"

"No one defies the Alpha. Even Bronwyn's parents and the other Council Members will go along with it if the Alpha says it's okay, right?"

Colin walked briskly out of the building, his friends trailing along behind pumping him for information. He didn't want to talk about the discussion with his father, at least not where any of the adults would hear him. As soon as they got outside he broke into a run and made a beeline for the trees. Suddenly his clothes were torn and floating to the ground as the lanky chocolate-brown wolf broke free and ran, enjoying the wind in his fur. He heard the howls of his friends as they tried to keep up. His ground covering gallop took them all the way to the treehouse before he stopped, catching his breath as he waited for them to catch up.

Out of the corner of his eye he saw a rabbit pop its head up. Kyra and Tyla exchanged glances and quickly had it corralled. They stood facing each other, growling over who would get to finish it off.

Colin wondered: could his sisters and the other cubs control themselves among the humans? They were only thirteen years old. They'd have to keep their wolves much more under control than they did now. Something to think about.

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"Thank you for making this meeting with such short notice." Carr smiled at the parents he'd gathered to talk about the cubs' request. His own pack would do whatever he decreed as Alpha, but the Council Members who lived with the pack and the neighboring Bertrand-Kardos Pack did not have to comply. If they did not agree with his decision it would split the cubs into two groups. He didn't want to do that if at all possible.

After explaining the earlier meeting with the cubs, Carr sat back. "Well? What do you think?"

The Panthers were almost jumping out of their seats with excitement. Their mates did not look as pleased.

"I don't like the idea of the cubs being so exposed to humans at this age." Alistair's voice was polite, but stern.

"And what's wrong with humans? I was a human! Alec is half human, for that matter!" Jenna had her hands on her hips, her lips pursed. She had never heard Alistair say anything derogatory against humans so this attitude had caught her off guard. Their son had human blood in him, and she didn't see the problem. Katy and Tracy vigorously nodded their heads in agreement, ignoring their own mates' grumblings.

Carr was a bit taken aback by the discord among the Panthers and their mates. They were usually so much in agreement. He noticed that Guillame and Orsolya were oddly quiet. The Alphas of the Bertrand-Kardos Pack had much more experience in this area than anyone else. Orsolya had lived among humans for over one hundred years. She had raised their eldest daughter as a human.

"Guillame, how do you and Orsolya feel about it?" Most of their pack had lived among humans. Their nephew, Ash, had been raised with humans from the age of ten. Maybe he was who they should be speaking to.

Guillame smiled at Orsolya as he took her hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. "We know that Hope and the other cubs want to go to high school, and some of them to college. Alistair..." Guillame turned his full attention to the man he had come to know so well in the last fourteen years. "I think the cubs can be taught to control their wolves better than you might think. Orsolya and I helped to teach the cubs before we sent them off to a new life in this country. Orsolya raised our eldest daughter entirely among humans."

"See? They think it'd be fine. Why are you being so silly about it?" Katy gave her beloved mate a frowny face to make her point. She couldn't remember the last time they'd disagreed about anything so this really upset her.

Rhys sighed. "Little one, wolf cubs can be unpredictable. You don't notice it because they are among friends here. It doesn't matter if they get scared and shift to run off. They're allowed to growl at each other. They can't very well do that among the humans, now can they?" He smiled, hoping she would see the logic in his argument. He reached a hand out to touch her shoulder but she turned away from him to stand with Tracy who had moved away from a stunned Konstantin to lean against the wall.

"I don't know if you are a bunch of bigots, or if you think our cubs aren't able to control themselves. And I'm not sure which is worse!" Jenna walked across the room from her mate and stood with her Panther sisters in solidarity against their mates.

Alistair was stunned for a moment but quickly recovered. "It just isn't done! Weres and humans are separate for a reason. The less we mix, the better off we are." It's for their own good, and the good of ALL the packs, Jenna. His mate stared at him from across the room, arms crossed in defiance.

Carr didn't like where this was going. He and Lee hadn't expected this kind of reaction from the Council Members, or the disagreement with their mates.

"Can I say something?"

Everyone turned to look at Cole, who, as Carr's second, had been silently standing behind his Alpha.

"Go ahead, Cole. What's on your mind?" Carr was grateful for the interruption. If nothing else, a new voice cut a little bit through the tension in the air.

"Well, when the humans first came to this part of Nevada in the 1860's, Dad didn't want us to have any interaction with them at all. In his day, Weres hid from humans. That's what he wanted us to do. But we couldn't, they moved too close. We had to learn to live with them. And sometimes that meant living with them."

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Elko, Nevada Territory – March, 1870

The hunters had set up in sight of the creek below. This was a perfect vantage point to wait for any game that came for a drink of water. The first one to spot movement nudged his two friends and pointed.

"Hellfire, that'd make a great pelt." The man wore dirty pants and his shirt was too big for his lanky frame. He wore a blue, battle-worn Army cap on his shaggy head. "You're the best shot, Cookie. Right in the head, and then we can sell the hide. I've never seen a wolf that color before. If you're fast, you'll get 'em both!" The man was almost shaking with excitement. "We'll make a fortune on those pelts, a fortune!"

Cookie slowly brought his rifle up to sight down the barrel. What he saw took his breath away. The sunlight glistened off the gilt fur of the beautiful wolf. From their size, he assumed they were both females. The other was almost the same color, but just a barest bit more yellow than gold. But the one he had in his sights was the one he couldn't look away from.

Cookie felt the shift of the wind and wondered if their scent would carry as far as the creek. He saw movement in their direction and thought it must have. When the wolf turned her slender head he had a clear look at the brightest blue eyes he had ever seen in his life. They looked almost human. Were they looking right at him? His rifle slowly lowered.

"Whatcha doing, Cookie? That pelt could keep us in whiskey all year round!" The hoarse whisper was almost frantic.

"It ain't right to kill somethin' so beautiful. It just ain't right." Cookie slid the rifle into the scabbard hanging from the saddle horn and looked back at the creek where the two wolves had been just a minute ago. "Beautiful," he whispered to himself. He sighed and put his foot in the stirrup, pulling himself up into the saddle. Cookie hadn't seen beauty in anything since the beginning of the war. All he could see was blood and death and gore... until today. Something about that little golden wolf had made his heart beat again.

"Dad gum it, Cookie. Where ya goin'?"

"Back to town. I ain't huntin' wolves no more with you two." Cookie kicked his horse into a lope and made tracks for the town of Elko. He'd moved there just a few months before and met these two scalawags. They acted like just because they were all Union Army veterans that they should be fast friends. Well, Cookie didn't need friends like that. He needed to keep away from them. He'd just keep to himself. That's what he'd do.

Cookie made it back by dark, put his horse in the barn, and walked slowly into his room above his gunsmith shop. He heard Clem and Jeb ride into town, loudly complaining about how much money Cookie had just cost them. Cookie laughed to himself. They'd never be able to take those pelts on their own.

The big, muscular man got ready for bed in his tidy little room. He'd lived through some of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, including Gettysburg and Cold Harbor. He'd killed many men, and watched others die from disease and infection, but the thought of killing that wolf today was abhorrent to him. He shook his head to clear the images of death. For one night, maybe the nightmares would go away. Maybe the wolf was some omen of something better coming into his life.

Not that Cookie would understand things like omens. He wasn't an educated man, at least not school-taught. He'd learned his trade from his father, who'd died just after Cookie went off to war. When he'd returned to the farm, his home was gone and he had nothing and no one. So, like so many other veterans, he'd come west to find his way in the world, to make his mark. He'd stopped in Elko, a brand-new town at the railhead. It was wild and rough, and a gunsmith had an easy time making his way.

Lying in his bed, Cookie's last thoughts before falling asleep were of the golden wolf. So beautiful.

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Ewan awoke with a start, his daughters' thoughts loud in his head. He felt their fear, and something else he couldn't quite understand. By the time he'd dressed and come downstairs Elsbeth and his youngest, Shannon, were standing in the middle of a crowd, excitedly relating what had happened. When the group saw the Alpha, all talk stopped and they backed away from the two females.

Elsbeth ran to her father, out of breath, stopping inches in front of the giant Were.

"Did they see ye?" The Alpha's loud voice drowned out the babbling from his gathered pack.

"No Papa, I mean, they only saw our wolves, not us. They were going to shoot us!"

"Shoot you?"

Angry voices began calling out.

"We should kill the humans before they kill us!"

"We need to leave this place!"

"What will we do?"

The Alpha's command echoed throughout the large cabin. "We stay. This is our home. We will not be driven out by the humans or anyone else." The Alpha would not let this devolve into an angry mob. "Shannon, ye've been quiet girl. There's something on yer mind. Say it!"

The Alpha's youngest cub bit her lip. I can't say it out loud Papa, only to you and Mama.

Ewan ground his teeth as he looked at his daughter. This did not bode well. He could see her flushed face, more than from exertion. No, this was not going to be good at all. Up to yer room, then. Yer mother and I will be there shortly.

The Alpha turned to his sons. "Carr, take Cole with ye and be sure they've left our land. Then we will decide what tae do next." Claire, Shannon is waiting for us in her room.

I know, my love. I will see ye shortly.

Ewan scanned the room, seeing the fear in the eyes of his pack. Most of them had never been around humans. Those that had traveled to this country with him from Scotland remembered the suspicion and hatred of most of the humans they had met. He would need to tread carefully.

"Jock, stay here and keep them calm. I've need to speak with my daughter."

"Yes, Alpha, I'll take care of it." Jock immediately began fielding questions from the pack. Since becoming the Alpha's second when his own father, Jamison, had died unexpectedly last year, he'd been learning that most of the second's job was keeping the rest of the pack from bothering the Alpha. He hoped he would do as good a job as his father had done for two hundred years. He saw his own son, James, watching him proudly from the corner of the room.

Ewan Baxter didn't want to enter the room. Even without asking, he knew what his daughter was going to say. He could see it in her face. What would he say to her? What could he say? He opened the door and stood for a moment, looking at his baby, sitting at the edge of her bed with her arms flung around her mother. Claire and Shannon looked up when he walked through the door.

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