Winter seemed reluctant to release its hold. The cold seeped into my bones like icy fingers and I shivered against a bitter wind that pulled me this way and that. I longed for the gentle days of summer, for the ground to turn soft beneath my feet.
When I was a safe enough distance from the village I allowed what little strength I had left to cloak me in the radiance of a forgotten sun. It was an illusion, but one my body responded to in earnest.
He could hear my thoughts, I know he could. But he wasn’t yet mature enough to communicate his, not clearly. I got a series of images, memories of a time I didn’t belong to. Still I understood his need. It was the reason I had ventured out alone, away from a community that feared us and wanted only to be rid of him and all he represented.
When I saw the cabin appear in the clearing, at first I thought it another illusion. One brought on by my desperation.
The moment I saw the wolf I knew it was him and my heart quivered, for him, for our child, for all of us.
Joel transformed then, though it was forbidden. His eyes gleamed with a knowledge I could never possess. It hurt just to look at him.
“If they find you here, they’ll kill you,” I whispered, unable to move towards him because I feared that weakness.
“You think I’d allow you to go through this alone?” His voice thundered around us, as deep and raw as the emotions rippling through me.
“I’ve studied well. I’m prepared.” I took a step forward, only then noticing the scar on his arm. “What have you done?” I asked, forgetting for a moment, that to be with him was punishable by death.
“They can’t find me now, Teagan, you’re safe. Let me help you.”
As though waiting for a sign, our son made his intentions known. The pain robbed me of breath for a moment, the first signs of labour. I had studied this, was prepared for this and soothed him once more.
“It’s time,” I whispered, trying to calm my beating heart.
Joel was by my side in an instant, lifting me off my feet and carrying me towards the cabin.
“How?” I managed, remembering the structure that shouldn’t be, but was.
“It’s Audrey’s power. Her will,” Joel said, glowing again with a knowledge that he had yet to speak of. “Once we cross over there’s no going back. You have to be sure, Tegan. Will you come with me?”
“Will he be safe?”
A cloud passed across his face. “I’ll always keep him safe.”
“Then I’ll come with you.”
His face was very close to mine now, and his eyes, so like the wolf, were hypnotising. “Will you leave everything behind?”
I knew what he wanted me to say, and I hesitated, too weak to dull all of the pain. It seared through my stomach and made me wince against the growing contractions. I would have to give up my powers, give up everything, for him and the child we’d made together.
“I’m afraid,” I choked out, and I was. Afraid to hope, to want the life together I thought we could never have.
“I’ll keep you safe,” he said, loosening his grip. But it wasn’t his words that swayed me, it was the love I felt in every fibre of his being. It cocooned me in warmth. It was brighter than any star, stronger than any sun I could conjure.
We stepped over the threshold and into the kind of room that didn’t belong in a cabin. It had been an illusion after all. It was a doorway, nothing more. Joel had brought us to safety, risked everything to protect his family. For we were a family and had been since the moment I’d looked into the eyes of his wolf.
As soon as our presence was detected the medical staff rushed forward and guided us to a bed.
By now the pain was intense. I was no longer in my own time and my power had no place here. I was on my own, and would have to rely on what medicines they would allow.
Thanks for reading.