Bunny scowled. “And you think I’m not laid back?”
Tabby tried to hide her growing grin behind her coffee mug, but knew she’d failed when Bunny just shook his head.
They left the restaurant in total accord. Bunny helped Tabby onto the bike and climbed on after her, careful not to jar her. “Want to head to my place?” He had every intention of claiming her tonight, but had no desire to do so in her tiny apartment with her roommates down the hall. He took a deep breath. He longed for the scent of his mate to fill all the empty places inside him.
Instead, he caught the scent of something else, something terrible. “Chloe?” And blood. Lots of blood.
“Tabby?” The scent was stronger now, the breeze bringing him his cousin’s pain.
He handed Tabby a helmet, the need to move, to protect his little cousin gripping him with steel hands.
“What?” She shoved the helmet on and wrapped her hands around his waist.
“I need you to hold on.” He started the bike, roaring out of Noah’s parking lot. He ignored Tabby’s squawk of surprise, concentrating only on getting to Chloe.
He turned the corner and found an ambulance, lights flashing in the darkness.
They illuminated the body of his little cousin sprawled on the street, her red hair mingling with the blood under her, around her. The paramedics bent over her body worked frantically to save her.
He was off the bike and charging for the scene before anyone could stop him.
Chloe was hurt. Chloe needed him. Ryan was going to freak if anything happened to his baby sister. He needed to call Ryan…
Oh fuck. She looked dead. There was a stranger bent over her, obviously not a paramedic. The man had long, dark hair bound in a braid, but that was all Bunny allowed himself to see. “Chloe?” If he could just touch her, he might be able to help heal her.
One of the paramedics stared at him with sympathy in his eyes and shook his head ever so slightly.
Someone was tugging on the stranger’s arm. “Sir, you need to step back and allow us to do our job.”
“I’m a nurse,” the man growled, deep, bass, primal. It went straight for Bunny’s gut. The man was a Bear like him.
He trusted another Bear a hell of a lot more than he trusted a human paramedic.
The man pushed Chloe’s light jacket aside, baring her shoulders. “She’ll live.”
The weary pain in the other Bear’s voice was a dagger in his gut. “Live how?”
A car screeched to a halt next to them. A blond man stepped out, his eyes concerned. “Let me through.”
Surprisingly, the men did. Bunny, however, wasn’t moving. Not until he scented Puma.
“I’m Dr. Jamie Howard. I saw the lights.” He knelt down next to Chloe, taking the bag a dark-haired woman, also Puma and smelling strongly of Dr. Howard, handed him. “What happened?”
“Julian Ducharme. I’m a nurse and acquainted with the patient. I don’t know what happened, but her injuries are bad.” Julian began a catalogue of Chloe’s wounds in a cool, professional tone that left Bunny feeling left out in the cold.
“Bunny? Who is she to you?”
He turned to find Tabby standing in front of him, shivering in her light dress. He took off his leather jacket and wrapped it around her shoulders, pulling her against him. He needed comfort, the scent of Chloe’s blood poisoning the air around him.
It was bad. He knew it was bad, just as he new his paltry gift was of no use here.
Tabby sighed. “Oh, sugar.” She pulled his head into the crook of her neck, and held on tight. He took a deep breath but nothing could wash away the metallic tang of Chloe’s blood.
Tabby could barely see what Julian and Dr. Howard were doing. Bunny took up a lot of space in her field of vision, but she could hear what they were saying and it wasn’t good. Julian seemed to think he could help if he had time alone with her, but time was rapidly running out along with the other woman’s blood. Bunny trembled in her arms, his hands fisted at the small of her back. She knew he wanted to help, but there was no way he could. Even Tabby could see Chloe was beyond saving.
So she held on as hard as she could, feeling the fine tremors racking her mate’s body, while her friend knelt at the side of a dying woman.
“Make them go away, doctor. Get them away and I can save her.” Julian’s voice was intense.
Bunny stiffened in her arms at Dr. Howard’s soft words.
“Let me do this. I can save her, they can’t. Trust me.”
She almost walked over to tell Dr. Howard that Julian could be trusted, but before she could the man sighed. “I’ll see what I can do.” Dr. Howard walked over to the paramedics who’d huddled off to the side. “These are her family. They want a moment alone with her.”
“Sir, she’s not going to make it.”
Bunny keened softly, the sound full of anguish. His arms surrounded her, held her while he trembled.
“Let’s grant their wish. It’s not like it will hurt anything, or anyone.”
Somehow Dr. Howard got them away, got the paramedics to give them a moment of privacy.
Bunny let her go, grabbed hold of Julian’s hand and placed his other on Chloe’s shoulder. Tabby watched Julian take a deep breath and…
That’s when Tabby knew she was losing her mind.
Bunny relaxed and allowed Julian to direct the path of the healing. He might be a Bear, but Julian was trained as a nurse and had far more knowledge than Bunny could lay claim to. Modern medicine had made the healing the Bears did easier, allowing them to know the ways in which the body functioned, but it came at a price. A price Dr. Jamie Howard somehow knew about. The small amount of healing Bunny could do might keep his cousin alive long enough for them to get her to the hospital, but it would leave him exhausted. He knew he’d sleep around the clock after they were done.
He began to assess the damage. He could feel every cut, every bruise, every single broken bone his cousin suffered from. There was no way, no way they could save her. Her body was too injured to sustain life. It was amazing she’d lingered as long as she had.
He owed Julian for giving him the opportunity to say goodbye.
Just as Bunny opened his mouth to thank the other Bear, the strangest thing happened. Julian took a deep breath, focused, and his hair turned pure white.