tagNonHumanTo Love a Stray Ch. 09

To Love a Stray Ch. 09


Hi, I am trying to post once a week. So all you avid readers please bear with me. Real life does have a mind of its own.

I look forward to all of your comments, enjoy.

* * * * *

My body protests as I sit up. My shoulder is sore this morning but it is my hip that is the worst. I swing my legs over the edge of the bed and carefully ease my weight onto my feet as I stand up. I take several limping steps along the edge of the bed before I am sure that I can walk out to the lounge room without falling flat on my face. I head out towards the main areas of the building and can't help noticing that the toms have gone quiet at the sounds of my progress.

"Look, its hoppity," Steven says as I reach the lounge room doorway. I grimace at him but make no retort as I pause in the doorway. I eye the empty lounge several moments before starting the marathon to get to where I can sit down.

"Shouldn't you have that arm in a sling," Micah challenges.

"Probably but I am not going all the way back to the bedroom to find one," I say between gritted teeth as I manoeuvre around the end of the lounge until I am in front of it.

"Timny, go get that sling you had when you broke your collarbone," Micah orders. I notice both Timny and Justin leave the room and I turn to ease myself onto the lounge carefully. It is when I am sitting down that I realise I should have sat in the middle of the lounge so I could stretch out in comfort.

"Doc has been here nearly an hour. Once he's checked your stitches and shoulder he'll probably clear you to change so you had better have a feed," Micah tells me firmly.

"Okay," I say without argument although I had warned him the night before that one side effect I suffered from the painkiller was a loss of appetite for nearly twenty-four hours.

Timny returns with the sling and hands it to Micah and I glance at Timny before resting my head back on the lounge. Malcolm passes me a plate of sandwiches and I sit the plate on my lap before picking one up and taking a bite. I allow Micah to put the sling on for me while I eat. I am still eating when Doc comes in and I eye him distrustfully while I finish my food.

"Are you going to let me look at your injuries or are we going to do this the hard way? I'm sure some of the guys here will sit on you if need be," Doc warns me.

"She'll be fine Doc. Rosy and I have an understanding," Micah tells him with a firm look my way.

I hesitate a moment before giving a brief nod and handing Malcolm my empty plate. I hold still as Doc pokes and probes my shoulder bringing several gasps from me before he is satisfied there was no damage to the joint. I pull the edge of my shorts up to expose all of my stitches and I jump with a hiss when Doc goes to touch the upper most end of the wound. Micah catches his hand stopping him.

"Doc, look at exactly where the end of that gash is. Look up an inch higher and remember what she's been through," Micah advises.

Doc suddenly looks up at my face and gives a slight nod. "Rosy, I need to check for signs of infection and one is heat around the wound." His touch is light and brief as he can make it but I can't prevent myself hissing and jerking when he touches me.

"Two full changes and those stitches can come out, but no strenuous exercise until the fourth or fifth change. That means no running. Trotting is okay, no leaping or pouncing either," Doc pronounces.

"No climbing trees, fences or anything either," Micah orders.

"Out of curiosity, am I allowed to twitch my tail or breathe," I ask seriously. "Because those are about the only things that haven't been banned."

"Doc do you know what this is and how it works," Sam asks and I look to see him holding the tool he took from the room the previous night. I grimace and long to hide my head but I know it is no option. Doc takes the tool and studies it carefully before looking at Sam startled.

"They're called emasculators; some farmers use them on male calves. The pinchers here are positioned above the ... testicles, the handles squeezed shut tightly and the blood supply to the isolated parts is cut off and they either fall off after a few days or are cut off immediately. Where did you get them?"

"Holy freaking hell," Steven exclaims and jumps up from where he is squatting watching me; I notice he isn't the only one of the toms to move uneasily.

"Can they be worked one handed," Micah asks in a tight voice.

"I'm not sure ..." Doc says as he experiments with holding the handles in one hand.

"It can be done by an experienced operator but the ... patient would need to be motionless and have the necessary parts ... exposed for access," I say as I lift my chin defiantly.

"You know how to work them," Doc asks with interest temporarily unaware of the tension in the room.

"She called them calf castrators," Micah growls and Doc looks at him with a frown before glancing at me.

"Right before I threatened to use them on him," I say and quickly lower my head submissively.

"She's got a first aid kit that those came out of. Can you have a look through it for anything else that needs to be taken away from her," Micah asks in a hard tone.

"Certainly," Doc agrees readily. I frown as Steven produces my first aid kit from beside one of the chairs and hands it to Doc who places it in one of the seats and begins to go through it carefully.

"It's basically all equipment for treating injuries. Some of it could be used as weapons if nothing else was available but they'd be along the lines of last ditch efforts of defence," Doc says once he has finished checking my briefcase. "Ah ... when she threatened you did you have your pants off and parts dangling in view?"

"No! I was trying to help her," Micah spits out angrily.

"Well you think about where her injury is," Doc says with a laugh. "I doubt you were in any danger other than being bashed over the head with them. So how many of you did it take to hold her down for the stitches or did you knock her out with some of that sedative I left?"

"I held her hand and talked with her while Micah stitched. Once she'd used the anaesthetic on herself she calmed down," Steven informs Doc.

"Well I guess you'll be capable of taking the stitches out. Won't be the first lot you've taken out," Doc says critically as he turns away. "What stray did you get into a fight with Edwin? Those strips across your ribs are going to need several changes."

"And with every change you want to think about your place in the ranks boy," Micah says on a low snarl. I glance between the two of them uneasily before looking towards Sam and Mitchell hopefully. Sam comes over to sit beside me on the lounge and I grin happily when Mitchell joins us.

"Help your sister into one of the rooms so she can change while Doc is still here. I want him to be able to check those stitches," Micah directs his order at Sam or Mitchell and both of them stand and turn to look at me. I sigh and get to my feet with some difficulty. I would prefer to heal a lot more in human form before having to change but apparently I was under orders to change.

"Hold still," Sam orders and I find myself picked up.

"Gee I should have thought about this before I walked out here by myself," I say.

"You don't like your brothers helping you," Doc inquires.

"I don't mind it," I say and grin at Sam who pretends to scowl at me.

"I can handle it from here," he tells Mitchell before carrying me from the room. He puts me on my feet carefully in their bedroom and holds my arm until I gain my balance.

"You should not have threatened Micah last night Rosy. He had every right to punish you for it and still has if he wants to," Sam tells me sternly.

"Can I just change and get it over and done with? I'm really not into pain so I can't see why I have to change so soon," I mumble.

"Because changing speeds up the healing process and will help prevent any permanent injury to your shoulder," Sam informs me.

"It's worse than anyone is saying isn't it, and it'll hurt like hell when I change," I mutter to myself.

"Yeah little sis, we think there's tendon and ligament damage," Sam acknowledges quietly.

"Ok, help me with the shirt then get back," I warn.

When I am naked I sit on the floor with difficulty and manage to balance myself with my hand. I close my eyes and let my head hang for a few moments before taking a deep breath. I try to concentrate the necessity of changing, not the fact that Sam is in the room while I am naked and vulnerable.

I let go of my cat and she surges to the front of my mind eagerly. We scream as the pain lances through our shoulder and hip and then I am standing on all four paws and shaking with weakness before stumbling forward and collapsing.

I can hear a cat whining and wish it would shut up. The same with Sam who is yelling for Doc making my head feel like it is about to explode.

"She's coming around Doc," Mitchell says and I feel him stroking my head and neck. I realise I am a cat as I sit up on my chest and lift my head to look around. Mitchell is sitting by my head and I sniff him before rubbing my head on his thigh. Doc is kneeling on my other side with Sam and Micah behind him and I lay my ears back before getting to my feet slowly. My shoulder feels a lot better but it is my hip that has the deep burning ache that informs me there is a fracture in a bone.

I move to sniff Sam and rub my face against his knee before rubbing my body against Micah's legs. I give Steven the same treatment just outside the door before heading for the lounge room carrying my back leg. I claim one of the few remaining mattresses remaining in the lounge room as mine and stretch out on it rubbing my face on it when I smell Chris's scent on it.

"Rosy, roll over and let me check your stitches," Doc tells me and I lift my head, turn it towards him and hiss menacingly. My cat remembers him drugging us not too long ago.

"Hey Rosy, come over here," Edwin invites and scratches around my ears when I comply. I begin purring as he scratches along my back line but I stop purring and turn my head towards the hallway door as a sound catches my attention. I recognise Mitchell as he walks through the doorway in cat form and I swish my tail as he approaches me.

"Rosy, come and let me check your stitches," Doc says again and Mitchell promptly bites me on the ribs. I hiss at him but hop over to Doc and lay down before rolling over onto my back and letting him check the stitches before rolling back onto my stomach.

"Rosy," Micah warns.

"They look fine but the way she's carrying that leg worries me," Doc admits.

"Could there be anything in the wound," Micah asks. "I'm sure it was cleaned properly but it went deep into the muscle."

"Hey Rosy," Sam calls and I get to my feet to hop over to him. I purr loudly as he pats my head and pulls on my ears, "Walk on all four feet for me Rosy."

I turn away and limp back to Mitchell where he has curled up on the mattress I claimed, and I sniff him before stretching out beside him on my stomach with my leg tucked up under me.

"OI!" Chris protests. "Can you pair get off my mattress! I don't want cat hair all over it."

Mitchell gets to his feet and moves off the mattress before lying down once again but I walk around the few mattresses sniffing them. Finding Steven's I lay down on it and swivel my ears waiting for him to tell me to get off it.

"Rosy, go change so Doc can check that leg out," Micah orders and I turn my head to look at him. "Don't make me change to make you do as you're told," he warns me. I get to my feet and head for the bedrooms. I hear Mitchell get to his feet and follow me.

When I come to my clothes I halt and Mitchell nudges my side as he comes up alongside me. I turn my head and he stares at me intently. I blink and look away but Mitchell claims my attention and stares intently once again. As I watch he begins to change and I realise he is changing slower than usual. Finally I get what he was trying to communicate to me – change slower.

The pain hits like a knife being plunged deep into my hip as I force myself to change slowly; I gasp and struggle to maintain the steady change until finally I am lying on the floor in a heap naked.

"Give it a minute," Mitchell advises as he wraps a blanket around my shoulders. I shiver and hug the blanket closer, glad I am not collapsed for a second time.

"Edwin! What the hell are you doing," Steven demands loudly in the room next door and I turn my head to see Edwin glance in the door on his way past.

"I'm just after something in my room," Edwin calls back. I wait until he has passed the door on the way back to the lounge room before reaching for my clothes. I pull them on hurriedly, happy to find that my shoulder is indeed much better and the ache in my hip is a lot less noticeable. Mitchell has finished dressing and is sitting with his back to me; I glance over my shoulder and smile to myself. He really is a good brother.

"Finished," I tell him and he gets to his feet and turns around.

"I thought you might like company," he explains his actions.

"Thanks," I head back out to the lounge room still limping but this time each step doesn't send needles of pain deeper into my hip joint. Doc looks my way and gets to his feet motioning at the lounge; I walk around to the front of it and put my foot on the seat before pulling the edge of my shorts up above the stitches along the pink line in my skin.

"I think every second one can come out now and the rest after your next change. What happened when you first changed," Doc asks.

"It's in my hip joint. Going on changing with a cracked rib, I'd say a fracture or a chip in the socket. Shoulder is fine now, a tiny bit of residual pain but that's it," I explain.

"She changes too fast," Mitchell says.

"What makes you an expert," Edwin cuts in. I glance his way and he grins at me but I don't smile back. More and more I am starting to see a nasty side to Edwin I am not sure I like.

"Can Rosy come hunting with us today," Micah asks.

"She needs to change several more times with that hip and rest it for a few days. No long treks," Doc warns.

"I can cook up a feed here by myself," I say with a shrug.

"No need to stay by yourself," Edwin tells me.

"I'm used to being alone. It gets too crowded here for me at times," I say brushing his concern aside.

"You want to stay for a hunt Doc? We need to clean out the pasture. Had a big bull and a couple of younger ones get in during the last week and I don't want to miss anything that might end up dropping a calf," Micah explains.

"I can't. I got a meeting I have to attend in an hour and a half," Doc sounds sincerely regretful.

"Well in the next couple of days if you can," Micah extends the invitation.

"I'll keep that in mind," Doc begins to gather his medical bag and coat and I watch as he shakes hands with several of the toms. When he comes to me I hesitate a moment but allow a handshake earning a smile from him before he leaves.

"You sure you'll be right by yourself Rosy? One of us can take the jeep for you to ride in," Micah offers.

"I don't feel like doing much running. I'm still sore in the hip and I don't want to chance ripping out my stitches," I say.

"I've got to take some out haven't I? It won't take more than a minute," Micah says glancing around.

"Later, after you get back. It'll give me time to get used to the idea," I tell him. He eyes me doubtfully as if he expects me to be gone when they return just to avoid his touching me.

"Ok, first thing when I get back," he tells me firmly before turning towards the others. "Who's for lunch on the hoof?"

I watch as they head out the door. Edwin grins at me as he glances back over his shoulder and I smile as he bumps into Malcolm. I move into the kitchen and look in the fridge. I can hear the crunches and pops as the others change and move to where I can look out the small window in the kitchen door.

I can see Sam, Steven and Dwayne but it is Steven I watch as his body goes through the stages of his change. I turn away before he finishes and stand staring into the fridge without seeing what is in it. My mind is filled with images of Steven naked and on all fours braced against his change.

I make myself a hamburger for lunch stacking on the salad only to pull the burger apart and eat it a bit at a time before stretching out on the lounge with a can of soda and turning the TV on. The movie is one I have already seen but I lay there too content to bother about moving. My eyelids grow heavy and I yawn before placing my drink on the floor and rolling onto my side.

"Rosy! Rosy! Wake up, get up and give me a hand," Dwayne's voice cuts into my sleep and I open my eyes and sit up groggily.

"Rosy! Get up now," Dwayne orders and I get to my feet.

"What," I ask confused.

"Give me a hand, quickly," Dwayne orders and I see the sheet of plastic he holds in his hand. I hear an angry roar outside and glance at the doorway before following Dwayne towards the bedrooms.

"Has someone been hurt," I ask uneasily.

"Yeah that's a pretty good description," Dwayne says as he goes into Micah and Steven's room and heads for Micah's huge bed.

"What's happened," I demand as he passes one corner of the plastic to me and we spread it over the bed.

"There's been an all-out brawl. Edwin started it. All that stuff in that case of yours, can you sew someone up," Dwayne asks.

"I've sewn myself up a few times. Sewn up dozens of animals. I suppose I could sew someone else up if I had to," I say uneasily.

"Well you're probably it," Dwayne announces as he throws a light blanket over the plastic sheet.

"But both Micah and Sam can stitch people up ... is my brother hurt," I demand scared.

"Sam seemed fine when he sent some of us ahead to get things ready here," Dwayne tells me calmly.

"Where are the others," I ask uneasily.

"Timny has gone to get Wade to see if he can stop the fight," Dwayne says without looking at me.

"Who's fighting," I demand forcefully.

"Let's get some needles threaded for stitching," Dwayne orders and heads for the other end of the house. I look at the bed for a few moments before fully realising whose it is. As it hits me I take a deep breath and hurry after Dwayne. Micah and Edwin had had a fight yesterday. Had they started up again today?

Dwayne has my first aid kit on the kitchen table and I open it to pull out my supply of suture needles and thread. I hesitate for a moment then open the hidden compartment to pull out my small supply of skin glue and plastic skin. I set water to boil putting aside the sterile gauze for cleaning wounds. Dwayne places a box filled with hydrogen peroxide bottles and thread in plastic bags on the table. The screen door bangs and Justin runs in wearing no clothes - his face pale and sweaty as if he has been sick.

"Chris and Mikkarl are coming with Steven. Dad has gotten Micah and Malcolm separated but..."

"Shut up and get some pants on," Dwayne snaps at his brother and I begin shaking as I realise Sam or Mitchell if not both of them have been involved.

"I need to know Dwayne, they're my brothers," I say between gritted teeth.

"Edwin apparently ambushed Steven. I think Edwin's working on the basis of knock off Micah's back up then take him on. Mitchell apparently flew in and he nearly had Edwin driven off Steven when Robby stepped in. That's when Micah and Sam got there. Sam put Robby out of the fight; Edwin went after Mitchell and Micah tried to break it up. That is when Malcolm went after Micah probaly thinking to even up the numbers," Dwayne says holding my gaze. "Edwin's been after Micah's job for about a year now. He's pissed off that Mitchell is ready to stand up for Steven and is backing Micah as the dominant tom."

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