A Room With a Wolf (or Three)

Timeline: September 27, 2007

Today, Lyla had a smile upon her face. She really had every reason to be happy. Ramiel had begun to accept her and that was progress very dear to her heart. She’d grown to realize that his acceptance of her, and recognition of her as something other than monster, helped her to accept herself. She’d taken control of the rampaging hormones and instincts that are always so overwhelming to new “cubs” as the other Uratha referred to new werewolves, and managed to accept who she was.

Her private little enterprise was moving along as well. She wanted to open a new bar, something that would provide the pack with a little bit of operating money (hopefully) and give them something to do when they weren’t dealing with rowdy spirits or patrolling territory. James — Ironclaw let her get away with calling him by his first name these days — had approved the move with a few stipulations, which Lyla readily agreed to. She had the location and space rented for the little bar and grill, and the town had approved a liquor license for it as well. The bar itself was nearly finished save for giving time for the final coats of varnish to dry, and the stools, chairs and tables ordered had just arrived. She had worked up a list of beers and drinks to carry and ordered it; that was due to arrive tomorrow — a Friday. This was perfect, because her planned opening was Monday, October 1st.

The progress on the new business freed her up to think about things a little more personal, and closer to home. In this case, that was literal. A few weeks ago, Rey had turned up and she had been delighted to see her old friend. But it was nearly that very same day that Honoré had discovered what Lyla was, as well as Chaska. Her insights, probably due to being touched by the supernatural as a witch, led her to see things in members of the pack that no one else in the mundane community could see. That could have been extremely dangerous for Rey, but Chaska and Lyla were her friends. They vouched for her before Ironclaw. The alpha wolf was nevertheless wary. He knew the Oaths of the Moon as well as any of them. How closely and how rigidly he would enforce them was the question. The Oaths were simple, clear statements of intent, and were therefore wide open to interpretation. Loopholes and exceptions could be found in any of them, but the question was, what would the Lunes deem going to far? What would Mother Luna deem breaking the Oaths as opposed to just bending them a little? As alpha for the pack, it was up to Ironclaw to make the decision. The entire pack would profit or suffer from what he would choose to do.

Therefore, Ironclaw called upon Grey. Grey Spiritwalker was an older man, though he had been a werewolf no longer than Ironclaw himself was; his first Change had simply come later in life. And Grey was very wise. Ironclaw would listen to Grey’s council on matters such as these because Ironclaw recognized that, while he was a powerful and effective leader, he lacked the peace and harmony of spirit that Grey possessed. Few of the pack did — and that certainly included Lyla and Chaska. That these two youngest members of his pack vouched for Rey did mean something, but Ironclaw had found himself talked into a lot of perhaps… questionable activities lately by Lyla. While he didn’t regret doing those things, not in any way, he did realize that sometimes it had not been the wisest of things to do. This time, he would bring Grey in on this before he made a decision because he’d begun to find it difficult to tell the persuasive little vixen no.

Ironclaw and Spiritwalker were with her when Lyla knocked on Honoré’s door.

Rey put her book down and slipped off the bed where she’d been reading. She opened the door and smiled when she saw Lyla. “Hi,” she said to her friend. “Come on in. Excuse the mess.” Except for table covered with a jumble of beads, herbs and other assorted odds and ends, the room was practically immaculate.
Lyla entered with the two men following. Lyla looked good today; she’d been wearing nicer clothes, closer to what Rey remembered she’d wear when spending time in a city back in their wandering days. One of the men looked to be maybe 30, but had prematurely greying hair that was not so long ago black and brown eyes. He appeared to be most likely some mix of Amerindian and Caucasian. The other man was huge. He was one of those giants that could have made a career out of professional wrestling if he had a mind to. Or pro football. Then again, given the heebie-jeebies this guy was giving Rey, he was probably a werewolf like Lyla, and a werewolf pro football player was a frightening concept. At over six and a half feet tall and massively muscled, this guy looked like he topped 250 pounds. There was very little body fat to that. In comparison, as silently, subtly frightening any of the werewolves were, this guy made Lyla truly seem a delicate little thing. Yet she stood next to him with comfortable confidence born of familiarity.

“Rey,” Lyla said, “this is Grey, and the tall fellow here is James. They’ve been wanting to meet you.”

“Hello,” Rey said. She was pretty confident that her nervousness wasn’t obvious on her face, but she suspected that they could probably smell it. “Is this going to be an interrogation, interview, or friendly chat?” Rey asked.

Lyla grinned. “That depends on who’s asking the questions, doesn’t it?”

Grey couldn’t help smile at that. Rey suspected even the big guy might have had a shadow of a smile, but it disappeared quickly enough she wasn’t sure.

“Really,” Lyla continued, “I just wanted to introduce you to each other.”

There was a momentary awkward silence. Grey seemed to be waiting for ‘James’ to speak, and Lyla seemed to have said her peace. Finally, the giant next to Lyla spoke.

“Everyone just calls me Ironclaw,” James told her. His voice, deep and rumbling, matched his size perfectly. “We’ve been hearing a lot of good things about you.” Once he began speaking, it seemed a lot easier to speak with Ironclaw. Despite his nature and his size, his voice held a conversational tone that made it seem more like you were talking to a big brother than a man who could probably break most people in half with his bare hands. The thought was there in the mind of an onlooker but he seemed amiable, as if the thought of taking advantage of his size and obvious strength hadn’t occurred to him.

“Thanks,” Rey said with a smile, her nervousness abating a bit. “My name’s Honoré, but my friends call me Rey. I wish I could say the same, but Lyla’s been very close mouthed about you and the others.” She looked between Lyla, Spiritwalker and Ironclaw. “Lyla probably told you I figured out what she and Chaska are.” Rey paused for a moment, getting nervous again, then continued. “And I can see that you and Mr. Grey are the same as them. Not human.”

“Fair enough,” Ironclaw said amicably. “Although it might be said that you are also a bit more that simply ‘human’, yourself. Lyla has described you as a witch. Not as a derogatory, but as a descriptor of your abilities. And Chaska has noted that some of your abilities are particularly interesting. This has significance, given the circumstances.”

Lyla looked between Rey and Ironclaw. It seemed the werewolf leader was waiting for something, so she took the cue. “Uh… what I think James is saying is that your life, like ours, walks a narrow line between discovery and persecution and survival on the fringes of society.” She paused in case Ironclaw chose to correct her, but he didn’t.

For the first time in this conversation, Grey felt he needed to add something. “Eldon Well is unusual in that there are people here that are a little more accepting of the supernatural. But really what that means is that they’ll tend to overlook it or just think that’s the way things ought to be when something unusual or magical happens. Discovery that your magic could really work or that things that go bump! in the night were real is no less dangerous, however, because while our townfolk neighbors are isolated and superstitious, they still hold to their convictions on the way the world works. In addition, a lot of them are aware that the town suffered two centuries worth of trouble the last time some of them intruded upon the wider supernatural world.”

Grey sounded for all the world like a professor in a lecture hall. Still, his words seemed to carry a solid grain of truth. “Therefore, we may predict that in Eldon Well, small things may well go overlooked for some time, but should the local folk be confronted by something truly supernatural, their reaction would be just as negative and just as dangerous as reactions by regular folk anywhere else.

“Given these facts, therefore,” Grey continued, “I’m certain you can clearly see that revelation unto the Herd is counterproductive to both our own safety and yours. Furthermore, such incidents can ultimately result in, at the very least, displacement.”

Lyla rolled her eyes impatiently. Even Ironclaw looked bored. “Oh, for… look, they just would like to ask that you not blab to anybody, which I already told them you wouldn’t. But they want to hear it from you.”

“I spent ten years of my life enslaved by my own parents because of what I can do.” Rey didn’t bother to try and hide the pain and bitterness she felt, and shook her head. “Don’t worry. I know the importance of secrecy. I won’t tell anyone anything.”

Ironclaw nodded, accepting her word as her oath to him on the matter. He smiled, and that seemed a good indication that he was satisfied.

“James?”

Ironclaw turned his attention to Lyla. She gave him a coy smile. “What is your word on interacting with Rey? I mean, I realize that I’ve been living in the same house as her for a month and you know we’ve been friends for a long time. But what about pack business?”

“Pack business is pack business,” Ironclaw stated resolutely.

It was the first time a concept such as “pack” was ever stated aloud in Rey’s presence. Grey, at least, seemed to note that with a single raised eyebrow at the exchange. His look toward Lyla was clearly suspicious.

“That’s your final word?” Lyla asked.

“Yes.” Now Ironclaw was looking at her suspiciously, too. Lyla just bowed her head, seeming to accept that as final, however.

Grey just shook his head. Whatever she was up to, it wasn’t going to be made clear for now. Instead, he turned the attention back to Rey. “Well then. Fair is fair. You’ve answered our question openly and honestly. Do you have any questions?”

Lyla had turned her face toward Rey, too. Rey couldn’t miss the encouraging wink Lyla sent her in secret.

“Can only werewolves be part of a pack?” Rey asked, surprising herself at the question. It wasn’t what she had intended to ask. “What I mean is, I’m pretty sure my abilities would be useful to you. My magic does work, when the ritual succeeds, and even the nonmagical talismans and amulets I create work, if the person using it believes it will.” She paused. “And I can see spirits without even trying. Hell, I can’t stop seeing them, even if I want to. That’s how I can tell you’re werewolves. I can see your connection to Shadow.” Rey didn’t think any of this was new to Grey and Ironclaw, but she felt it was worth repeating.

James peered down at her doubtfully; Grey’s expression was neutral.

Lyla answered her question first. “Of course you can join a pack.” She paused and gave Ironclaw a devious smile. “But telling her how and why would be breaking your rule about pack business, wouldn’t it, James?”

Ironclaw looked at her. She was manipulating him again and he knew it. He wished he knew why he let her do this, but as soon as he thought that he realized he knew why. He sighed. “Yes, it would.”

“Okay then,” Lyla said. She squared her shoulders and looked James in the eye. It was a surprisingly difficult thing to do as he stood there frowning down at her, but she bravely stood her ground as she always had with him. “First and foremost, Rey is my friend. But she is also a witch and that stands her well apart from the herd. She has innate abilities that can help us with the task that we, as Father Wolf’s children, have undertaken. She has sworn to preserve our secrets and she’s already offering to help us. I think we should invite her to be our Ally, officially. Just like the books.”

Ironclaw still looked a little doubtful as he looked back at Rey. “We’ve never done something like this before.”

“Well, we have for all practical purposes already done it for Ramiel,” Lyla pointed out. “Rey will protect the pack just as the pack would protect her.”

The big werewolf asked of Rey, “Is that what you want? To be one of us, even though you are no werewolf yourself?”

Rey nodded without hesitation. “Yes, I do.” There were so many other things to say, running through her head, but it wasn’t the time to blather on.

Ironclaw considered. “Grey? Thoughts?”

Grey mulled the question over carefully before he spoke. “If what Lyla tells us is so, she does have abilities that could be quite helpful. She already knows about our most important secret — what we really are — and there is no way to make that go away.” He was polite enough not to mention that they could simply kill her and stop the information leak right there. Or perhaps he really didn’t think that was a realistic option. “And also she could really help. The pack is going to run that bar and grill Lyla is opening. She might be able to help us with that, if she were willing, especially at times when the pack is occupied with bigger responsibilities. However, on the down side, Honoré is still human. That makes her potentially vulnerable to certain kinds of attack.”

Lyla stepped in here. “I’m Lupa. I’ll see no harm comes to her.”

“That,” Grey pointed out, “may not always be possible.”

Lyla seemed to bristle at the idea. Her anger showed on her face, quick as a storm cloud. It was a look Rey wasn’t used to seeing.

“Enough.” Ironclaw stepped in before things degenerated any further. “Grey, if she’s pack then she’s my pack. Is it possible?”

The wise man raised an eyebrow as he worked out what his leader meant. “You mean… to lead her as you lead the pack? I don’t… That is to say, we’ve never done that before.”

“Find the ritual we need; consult Young Father Bear,” Ironclaw ordered. He raised a thick finger and pointed at Lyla. “You’ll help Grey with this.” He turned to Rey and said, “If it can be done, then it will. We’ll welcome you into the pack then. The ritual I’m asking for will allow me to watch over you just as I do all the pack, even when I’m not there. I’ll know if a spirit attacks you or does something to you — or if anyone tries something against you for that matter.”

Rey nodded. “This… This won’t weaken the pack, will it? The last thing I want to do is cause harm to you.”

Ironclaw shook his head. “It won’t.”

Rey sighed in relief. “That’s good. And I’d be more than happy to help with Lyla’s bar. I worked at a diner before I came to Eldon Well, so I have experience as a server and stuff. Whether or not I can serve beer will depend on the town ordnances. I turn 21 next year.” Then another thought struck her, and she glanced at Lyla. “Hamilton might not be thrilled with this.” She gave a little smile. “He’s scared of dogs, and I suspect he might be even more scared of the pack.”

Lyla smiled. “True, but I think he’s come to realize that we can be good allies. We let him soak up all that essence at our loci recently, after all, and he seemed cool with it after he got over the initial shock of us actually sharing it with him.”

“I can imagine.” Rey looked at Ironclaw and Grey. “I’m very glad this ended up a friendly chat. When you first arrived, I was starting to feel like Little Red Riding Hood, but with three wolves at Grandma’s house and no woodcutter in sight.” Her smile was a combination of shyness and mischief, one that Lyla knew well.

Ironclaw replied with a deadpan, “We would have eaten the woodcutter.” His words brought a smile to Lyla’s face.

Later, Lyla was showing Rey around what was very soon to be the Blood and Brew, the bar and grill she was opening at the south end of town. Everything smelled new, despite the fact that it was simply a minor renovation of an old, stone and mortar building.

“The register is pretty simple,” she told her. “Just press the button and zip through the menus to find the items. All the prices are in there already. It was a package thing.

“So,” she said in conclusion, “that’s it. That’s the bar.”

“Lyla,” Rey said, “why do you want me to be part of the pack?” The question had been buzzing around at the back of her head since the moment Lyla winked at her.

“It’s a good fit, don’t you think?” she smiled. “You with your spirt powers. Us with our spirit powers.”

“I know nothing about your spirit powers, Lyla,” Rey replied softly. “But I do know there’s more to it than that.”
Lyla hesitated. It had been a long, hard summer. The changes she’d been through, her rocky relationship with Ramiel, her position in the pack, it would have been hard on the the toughest sort of person. She sat down on a stool and waited for Rey to take one, too.

“I need a friend Rey. Chaska is there, but he’s been busy with his own thing. Ramiel hasn’t liked the changes he’s seen. He finds it hard to accept I’m not human anymore and just don’t see the world as I used to. No one who’s gone through a change like that can.

“I wanted to be strong. I wanted to be so strong that I could make things be the same as they used to be. Instead, I made things worse. Now I don’t dare show a shred of weakness in front of the pack or they’ll knock me down, take what I’ve won for myself. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have anyone to talk to.

“So that’s the second reason, Rey. It’s not as good as the first reason, but it motivated me nonetheless. I need someone I can talk to. I was hoping you’d let me.”

“Of course I will,” Rey said, taking Lyla’s hand and giving it a squeeze. “You know I’ll do my best to always be there for you.” She let go of Lyla’s hand and sat back on her stool. “I have to admit I’m kind of scared about what’s going to happen. All I know about packs is what I know about normal wolf packs. There’s a hierarchy, and the weakest ends up…” Rey paused. “Will that be me, Lyla? Because there’s no way I’ll ever be strong enough to…”

“You’re not a wolf,” Lyla said. “So you’ll be treated more carefully. I’m the youngest wolf, but I challenged Rose and took my place as James’ Lupa. By the book, as they say. Chaska is the next youngest wolf in the pack and he’s shown no interest in challenging others for position, but he just doesn’t act the part. He’s too confident, too strong. Selene was the bottom of the pack before he and I came along, and she’s still the bottom.

“Don’t get me wrong; Selene isn’t a weakling. Not like in the books. But she isn’t a leader and relies on others to tell her what to do, even to protect her. She’s the bottom of the pack in the sense that she has the least position. She’s trying, though. I hear she even wants to try to take Ramiel as her mate. She probably thinks that will make her strong, like me. Or at least as lucky as me. Anyway, if someone needs to take their rage and frustrations out on someone, Selene is often enough the person that gets it. I don’t see that changing any time soon.”

“Somehow, I don’t see Ramiel settling down with her,” Rey said. “But why would having Ramiel as a mate make her stronger?”

“Some of the members of the pack think it’s impossible I was able to beat Rose within an inch of her life. They saw me as I was in the beginning; unable to even defend myself properly. I didn’t like being the beat-on in the pack and I fought back — entirely ineffectually by the way. I got the shit kicked out of me for months by most of them at some point or other, but I refused to stay down. Pretty soon I learned some tricks of my own, but kept it hidden, so they’d underestimate me. But I had a plan.” She grinned.

“What was your plan?” Rey asked as expected.

“I was going to challenge every member of the pack, starting from the top and working down to the least. I figured I’d learn the most that way and end up with a better position. I didn’t try for alpha — or Ulfric in this case. You don’t do that unless you are prepared for a battle where you could die. That’s how serious a position his really is.

“So I started with the position of Lupa. The name means “she-wolf” or “prostitute” in Latin, but in our use it basically means female alpha. And, it means you are also the male alpha’s mate because he almost always choses the strongest female. He has to — choosing a weaker one would make him look soft or weak to the others. Rose was Lupa, and therefore James’ mate. Well, spiritual mate anyway.” Lyla rolled her eyes as if she thought that was a stupid idea. “As it turned out, when I unleashed on her ass, I was way faster than her and I hit just as hard. I tore her up before she could the same to me. I nearly killed her, actually. Then, all of a sudden I wasn’t the bottom of the pack anymore. I’m the Lupa. And as a bonus — James started to listen to me. Over the past two months, I made sure he got to know me really well and now he listens to me a lot, Oath be damned.”

“What did you do with him?” Rey asked.

Lyla’s smile was telilng. “All kinds of things that would probably get James and I shredded by the rest of the pack if they knew. They take the Oaths of the Moon very seriously.”

Rey’s eyes widened. “Why would they want to kill the two of you?”

“Because they have a more strict view of the Oath of the Moon. The Oath is important — it’s a guideline of behavior and explains some things we know by instinct but might not otherwise understand. But the Oath itself is very vague, actually. The particular point here is that the Oath says, Uratha Shall Cleave to the Human. Literally, that means we are supposed to mate with humans, not other werewolves. Offspring with humans are just that; human. But offspring made between two werewolves always ends the same way — with a blasphemous monstrosity born to hate and kill our kind called a Ghost Child.

“Grey has taught a strict view of that Oath and James has always backed him on that. The threat being, if any werewolf in our pack mates with another werewolf, they’d be punished. If it resulted in the birth of a Ghost Child, the punishment is banishment or death. Really the same thing to Uratha.

“But the thing is James and I haven’t been mating, at all. There is a lot of very pleasurable ways to have sex and still have no chance of conception. To James and I, mating is about intent, not just having sex. Still, there are those who just can’t see the difference.”

Lyla gave Rey another mischievous smile. “I always knew James found me very desirable. I knew he wanted to have me and I wanted something from him. So it just took the right push and well, now I get what I want, too; control.”

“So, you don’t really care for Ironclaw at all?” Rey looked at Lyla, remembering all the times her friend had used her body to get other things she wanted. “You just want to control the pack?”

“I like Ironclaw, but I don’t love him. He’s the leader of the pack and we all depend on him. As for control, it’s not the pack that I want to control. I want control over my own life. I don’t want to be told who I can be with and who I can’t. I didn’t want to be told that I couldn’t be with Ramiel, for instance, because he was too powerful and too unknown and too risky. That’s exactly what I was being told by Grey and Bjorn and the others because I was the youngest. I wasn’t going to let that happen. No way. Nobody gets to tell me who I can sleep with and especially nobody gets to tell me who I can love. Well, except for two men; James and Ramiel. But James won’t try it at this point because he knows that if I had to choose between the Pack and Ramiel, I’d choose Ramiel and then he’d have to destroy me. I don’t think he would do that. Not anymore.”

“So, what do wolves look for in a mate?” Rey’s voice had a hint of hesitation. She hoped the answer would be normal humans who knew nothing about the supernatural, or someone powerful enough to go toe to toe with them.
Lyla chuckled softly. She could think of at least four Uratha in her own pack that were available and looking right now. “Just like people, it’s hard to give a blanket description, so I really couldn’t say in general. Everyone has different tastes and um, weaknesses. Hm. And I do know or have a good guess as to the tastes of most of the pack.”

“What are they?”

“Let’s see. James’ tastes are a bit on the rough side. He’d need a strong woman to handle him. He’s… not small. I haven’t seen Grey with anyone, but I think it wouldn’t be hard for a smart woman who knew a thing or two about what he’s into to attract his attention.” She winked at Rey. “Bjorn is available. He doesn’t have very good sense, but I think he’d work okay for the right woman. Rose has a couple lovers in town already. They are both wolf-bloods, and both have helped her in her role as Erato — by the book. But she’s always looking for that “true love”. She’s a bit of a romantic — and bisexual. And then there is Chaska. He used to have a thing for me, I know, but put it aside when we went through the Change. We are very good friends still, and I think he would make a wonderful mate for the right girl. “

She looked up as she thought. “The pack is blessed in the sense that there are some attractive females here. Not quite so blessed as to have males as good looking as Ramiel around, though. Life is really hard for Uratha, but especially so for the men. You just aren’t going to find males without a lot of battle scars on them, unless they are just cubs.

“And of course in the list of availables, there is you,” she chuckled. “You’re part of the pack now, and also you’re our witch. So you have a big advantage should you decide you want to date any of them, at least over any other human choice.”

“Me?” Lyla could hear the discomfort, and perhaps a touch of fear, in Rey’s voice. “I don’t think so. I don’t want that kind of relationship with anyone.”

Lyla paused, giving Rey a penetrating look. “Yeah, it’s too early right now. But when you are ready, you’ll find lots of opportunities.”

“I guess.” Rey seriously doubted there’s be any time when she’d want to take that chance again. “What is this book you keep mentioning?” she asked, changing the subject.

Lyla’s dark, pretty eyes sparkled. “Oh that! Well, when James was putting together the pack, he didn’t have much to go on. From what I understand, the elders pretty much just said, ‘here you — those are your new packmates’ and sent them all off to figure things out. Apparently, that’s the usual way. Anyway, Rose had read the entire series of books by Laurell Hamilton that described the adventures of Anita Blake, Vampire Executioner. In this series, there was a lot of information on werewolves, and Rose was really surprised to find that much of it really meshed with the real world. We suspect that Hamilton is some kind of occultist that managed to get some facts together and then disguised it in fiction so that people wouldn’t really believe it, while still reaching those who needed to know.

“Anyway, James took what he needed from what Rose learned in the books and applied them. Not everyone in the pack has read the whole series, but everyone knows how things work now and we have a source we can point to. It sounds silly, but it really works both with the pack structure and our natural instincts. I’ve read, um…. the first ten I think?”

“Really?” Rey was surprised. “Is there someone in the books like me? I mean, should I read them too?”

“I think it could be helpful,” Lyla said. “And I remember in one book there was this thing about a pack who had a witch with them. She helped with the spiritual side of things and the magic. That’s where I got the reference and justification for including you in the pack proper.” Lyla grinned.

Rey chuckled. “I don’t suppose you have the books, or will I have to find the library here and borrow them?”

“Of course!” Lyla laughed. “Rose’s were so beat up, dirty and dog-eared, I just went and ordered the whole bunch off of Amazon. They’re in my room. I’ll get them to you the next time we are back at the house.”

“Thanks,” Rey said with a smile, but then she sobered. “It was nice of Grey not to come right out and say that Ironclaw could have just ordered me killed, rather than going through all the effort to find a way to get me into the pack. I just hope the price Young Father Bear requires isn’t too much.”

“Well, he might go easier with you. The price he levies upon the pack for his gifts to us isn’t something you’d really care to do, I think. Especially since those gifts can’t be bestowed upon you the same way. If he demands payment, then he will be required to give you something in exchange.”

Rey nodded. “Yeah, I know how chiminage works. I just meant that when you and Grey ask him for the knowledge of how to make me part of the pack, the price you have to pay is favorable to what you think I’m worth to the pack.”

“Oh that!” Lyla chuckled. “Don’t worry about that. Grey and I will figure that out.”

“Yeah, well, you know me.” Rey was a touch embarrassed. She never really considered her abilities of all that much value. They weren’t flashy, she was next to useless in a fight. She was more suited to… what did they call it in that movie Sky High? Sidekick status?
Lyla angled her head curiously. “Unless you want to worry about it. Do you want to help us with that, Rey?”

“Do you think I could?” Rey asked.

“Of course. You are good with the spirit stuff, as I recall,” Lyla said.

“Yeah, but it doesn’t mean I’ll be able to help at all. Young Father Bear might get pissed off at the presumption of me being there, and that could cause problems. Angry spirits are dangerous spirits.” Rey spoke from experience. “But if Grey thinks it’ll be okay, I’d like to try.” She smiled wryly. “My wanting to be part of the pack are rather selfish too.”
Lyla chuckled. “I’ll ask him.”

“What’s so funny?”

“You and I, being selfish together,” she said with a smile.

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