Timeline: January 30, 2009
Lyla slipped back home at last. It had been a long, late, painful night with more twists and turns than a Cretin Labyrinth. Her body was exhausted and she was emotionally drained. She was still angry about what Ironclaw had done and wanted a sympathetic ear to bend before she collapsed into sleep.
She slipped upstairs and past Serena’s room, then tip-toed into Ramiel’s room
Steam spilled out of the open bathroom and Ramiel emerged from it’s depths, the only cloth was the one in his hands dryng his hair. “You look like shit love.”
Lyla immediately went to him and threw her arms around him. The emotional impact of everything that happened suddenly seemed overwhelming. She’d taken in everything that happened that night and she couldn’t hold it in anymore. She shook like a leaf as she clung to him.
The towel slumped to the floor in a heap as his arms wrapped around her. “What? Are you crying? What happened?”
She looked up at him. Though her eyes were dry, they were exhausted, drained. Her body still shook. “Hold me,” she said. “Please. I’ve lost so much tonight. But not you. Thank God, not you.” Lyla abandoned the fur blanket she’d wrapped up in, revealing clothes and shoes that Ramiel could see weren’t a part of her wardrobe.
“Hey what’s going on here Lyla?” He asked.
“I have a gut wound. Gunshot. It won’t heal for a long time, I think, but it won’t kill me. Can you take me to bed like you do sometimes? I promise I’ll tell you everything from the beginning, but I want to lying down in a soft place first,” she said softly.
Ramiel reached out a hand and the black satin pj bottoms moved to his hand. He sliped them on and then guided Lyla to the shower. He gently washed her hair as well as her body. He took special care near her wounds. Then he wrapped her in a large towel and carried her to the bed. “Tell me everything love.”
She spilled everything from the moment she and Chaska had been summoned to the bar after closing, including Ironclaw’s order for them to renounce their promise to aid the the Queen of the Desert Duchy. “I refused. I’d given them my word. Chaska forsook the oath, but I wouldn’t do it. I tried to goad Ironclaw into fighting me. I think I can take him. But instead, he ordered every female in the pack — my girls — to attack me. He told them I was no longer Lupa!! He stripped me of my position and awarded it to the one who could take me down. And he gave Rey a gun.”
It occurred to Ramiel that the wounds he saw on her that hadn’t been healed, the ones that hurt her the most were gunshot wounds.
Ramiel’s eyes closed and he went very still beneath her. “What happened?”
“I beat the crap out of all of them, of course,” Lyla grinned. “Okay, so I almost beat the crap out of all of them. I think I scared Ironclaw. They eventually got me but not before I gutted Gillian and knocked Rey around a bit.” Lyla’s smile disappeared again. “I could handle the werewolves. But dodging bullets is a complete bitch. Not possible. She was the one who took me down. She’s Lupa now.”
Lyla told him how she woke up to find Chaska tending the wounds that were too bad to heal. She told Ramiel of Chaska’s support and shared anger over what Ironclaw did to them. She also told him about Chaska’s need and how she tried to comfort him. She told Ramiel how her body just seemed to have a mind of its own since her defeat, but that Chaska was a perfect friend, a gentleman and he didn’t let anything happen. He took her home.
Then Lyla told Ramiel that Rey was waiting for her. She told him how Rey took the Blood and Brew away from her, and how that had hurt Lyla, though she understood why Rey wanted to do it. She told Ramiel she would get over it, that it would be okay. Then he told him the rest of the conversation she had with Rey and how Rey agreed to help her run her business interests while she was gone, and all the rest.
Ramiel wasn’t sure what to say. It pissed him off. Rey with a gun, since when does the pack use guns? What the hell was Ironclaw thinking pulling something like that? Putting his pack in that kind of situation. It’s asinine. The biggest mistake though, was making her feel this way.
He was still and silent for a while, gently stroking her hair. “It’s over now, you should rest.”
“It’s so strange,” Lyla said. “I’ve never lost anything before. Not like this. I feel… strange. Like I can’t find my legs, you know? I’m not lupa. I’m not Ironclaw’s right hand anymore. And the bar isn’t mine.” She sighed and clung to him, needing him.
“I’m sorry Lyla. It is not easy to loose things.” His eyes moved to the large dresser mirror. A few atlantian words later it showed him Ironclaw. He watched in silence. “What do you want me to do?” he made it a question, and she knew all she had to do was say the word, and he would deny her nothing.
She sat up and then slipped out of the bed. After padding quietly over to his side, she put her arms around his waist. “I love you,” she said as she watched Ironclaw’s sleeping form through the mirror. “You are so good to me.” She reach up and turned his face toward her and kissed him deeply.
He returned the kiss and waved the image away with a hand. “Why did you hold back?”
“I didn’t want to hurt Rey,” she said. “She didn’t deserve to get hurt because Ironclaw was being an asshole. She was only doing what she was told.” Lyla thought about how Rey’s posture changed, how her attitude changed after she became lupa tonight. “Though she doesn’t act like that anymore. She was definitely not acting like the pack’s little pet witch anymore. For a while I thought she was going to try to do more than just take the bar away from me. Instead, she’s going to help look after things for me while we’re gone to New Mexico.”
“Hmmm.” He lifted her into the air and carried her back to the bed, crawling in beside her. “She was never a pet, and acted of her own accord. She deserves every bit of the beating she got. If you draw a gun on someone you better be prepared to die.”
“Yeah. I’ll feel kind of bad when I beat her to a pulp come June when the ban on dominance challenges is lifted,” Lyla said. “She’s been a good friend.”
“I have always thought of her as a little sister. It will make me sad to see what happens to her. Not much I can do though, she seems to have made up her mind to fight.”
Ramiel shifted so that he was on his side and pulled Lyla into the curve of his body. “I’m sorry you had to go through that, sorry that Ironclaw was such an ass about it. I can see a point in there somewhere, but his approach was idiotic. He has weakened his pack by letting a human be his equal. Rey is formidable in her own means, and weapon can give an edge, but they can be overpowered, and in the end, she is too weak against Uratha. Unless she decides to use silver bullets, and that as I understand it is against pack law.”
He kissed her gently on the back of her head. “No worries love, I will make something for you, and Serena that will help ensure your safety.”
Here eyes shown with delight. “A present? Oh, I love presents. Especially jewelry,” she hinted with a small, sly smile. “As far as the pack goes, the fighting does weaken us. I guess that’s why he put a ban on any more fighting until June. He knows I wouldn’t sit still, because I think that he’s effectively set me as the bottom of the pack, the omega, by default as part of the punishment he gave me. I think he’s more worried that the pack will be weaker when Chaska and I are gone for the next three months. I have no idea what he was really thinking, but maybe he thought that any lupa was better than no lupa. And honestly, Rey was pretty good with that gun. With a bit more practice, she might do well against werewolves that aren’t me. I can order the spirit of the gun to make it cease working for a short while. Most werewolves can’t do that.
“But I think I’ve had enough of thinking about that tonight. Tell me about this thing that will protect your daughter and me.” Her eyes fixed upon his face in an adoring expression that was also eager and excited.
His finger traced the contour of her face from the top of her forehead to the tip of her chin. “I am going to make you a permanent shield. Well as permanent as anything I guess. I can create an item that as long as you have it on you, and no one de-spells it, it will work. I was thinking of tattoos maybe. I might need to learn a few things first. It will give the two of you an edge in a fight..”
“Oooo,” she breathed. “My love, you would do that for me?” Her eyes were alight with the things she could do with such magic in place. “That just makes me so…” she closed her eyes and ran her fingers in places he knew he loved. “Excited.” When her eyes opened again, Ramiel could see the hunger there. But this time there was a slight reddish glow to them. She closed her eyes again, and the glow disappeared.
His fingers grasped her wrist, ceasing the movement of her hand. “That’s new.” He said as he looked at the red glow.
She made a disappointed sound and opened her eyes again. While he studied the strange glow, it faded and disappeared as a puzzled expression grew across her face. “What?”
“Nothing, you should rest.” He pulled the sheets up over them. “Sleep for a while love.”
She snuggled up to him, a little disappointed there wouldn’t be sex tonight, but she closed her eyes again and quickly surrendered to sleep.