Alcatraz raced across the main den site toward the Vicar’s den. Once he had heard that Gabitrix had been injured he had wasted no time in returning to see how she was doing. When he had first visited her she had been asleep. Not wanting to wake her, he decided to go in search of something that could help her when she woke.
He caught a plump rabbit, thick winter fur heavy over its plump fatty body. He did not stop to speak to anyone as he pushed his way back into the den. He saw her there, lying in a nest at the back of the den. He stalked up to her and breathed in her scent. Her sweet and familiar scent was laced with infection, and hot with fever. But her wounds were covered in herbs, promising hope to the Warden that she was being well treated. ”The One watch over her,”
he murmured softly through the rabbit.
The dark wolf sat down at her side, using his paws to hold the rabbit down as he worked to pull the thick, soft fur from the rabbit’s hide.
A voice rattled through her dream world, the deep vibrations shaking the dark walls of what Gabi' was beginning to think was her tomb. Green eyes slowly open, the process painful and slow. It felt like sand was stuck beneath her eyelids and when she opened them it cut rivets into her emerald gaze. A slender paw shifts and Gabi' lets a name lose on a ragged breath, "Adrian.."
she mutters, blurred gaze searching. When it clears and settles on the dark male making quick work of a rabbit pelt, Gabitrix's features fumble from confused to aware. A soft smile graces her muzzle though it fades with a short ragged bout of coughing. "Alcatraz,"
Gabi' whispers, "You.. came."
She shifts slightly, attempting to get more comfortable. It felt like ages since she had seen Adrian and listened to his promises of saving. She knew he was still searching, and Gabi' would never hold it against him if he failed.. such is her fate.
Alcatraz perked as he heard Gabi’s soft voice. ’Adrian…’
Alcatraz frowned thoughtfully. He wondered for a moment if there was some relationship between Adrian and Gabitrix that he had overlooked…
But that was not important right now as she spoke again. Alcatraz smiled gently, his eyes narrowing in affection as he leaned toward her, giving her forehead a lick. ”Of course I did, Gabi. How are you feeling?”
he asked. Gabitrix was like a sister to him, the closest Alcatraz had to blood relatives and the family from which he had come. ”I brought you a rabbit, if you can have it, to keep your strength up, and I can line your nest with its soft fur…”
he paused, his eyes on her a moment, before adding, ”I can melt some snow for you to drink, too, if you are thirsty.”
She frowns softly eyeing the rabbit, Adrian’s words ringing in her head. She promised to stay strong... but she just wasn't hungry. "I will eat it shortly.. I need.. a moment."
She shifts her weight, attempting to sit up on an elbow as she lets tired green eyes flit to her best friend, ears drooping slightly to the sides. "I feel... oh goodness.. I feel terrible Alcatraz."
Gabi' wails softly, sliding back on her side, her slender muzzle tucking against a leg. "I don't know.. how much longer I can do this.."
she wheezes, her maw opening slightly in a soft cough. Her skin was on fire and she was dizzy, so so dizzy. "You shouldn't be here.."
she murmurs after a moment, "You should be.. with your family.."
Alcatraz nodded, settling down with his tail resting on her flank. ”Sure, sure. Take you time,”
he said in a tone that was far more soft and kind than the gruff rasp with which he usually spoke.
He withdrew a bit with alarm as she tried to get up, ”Don’t get up,”
he chided, and she sank into her side and put her head down. He shifted toward her again, ”Would you like me to get Adrian? Or if you tell me what to get… I can get it for you, Gabi.”
He said. He hated to see her this way, so weak and sick. Never had his sweet friend been so low, and it hurt that he could do nothing to help. First Raphael and his eternal sickness, now Gabi. Alcatraz had always thought he could protect his family. But The One seemed determined recently to prove him wrong. ”Of course I should be here. You are my family, Gabitrix,”
he insisted. ”Just hang on. You’ll be okay, I will make sure-”
he paused. Make sure of what?
He felt frustration well inside him, and he clarified himself, ”You will be okay. Our Vicars are some of the best in the land. You are in great paws.”
Gabitrix listens to him and watches him with sad eyes, though a soft smile plays on her slender muzzle eventually. Her body ached, every movement bringing a faint wince that she tried to hide so he wouldn't see. When he offers to get Adrian she lifts and shakes her head slightly, "No no.. please.. just stay with me for a little bit.."
The pale Vicar sighs gently, leaning back and watching him thoughtfully. "I suppose.. I would like some.. water.."
she murmurs gently. She felt as if she had to give Alcatraz something to do. She knew he didn't like to feel useless, but in this case.. there wasn't too much he could do."Talk to me.. how is Athena.. how are the babies?"
she wheezes softly, her brows tucking up curiously as she waits for him to answer.
Alcatraz nodded at her request. ”Of course. I will stay with you for a long bit even, if you’d like,”
he said with a fond smile, trying to lighten the very serious mood. He perked up immediately as she said she wanted water. ”Ah, yes!”
he looked around, about to grab something to go get water in until he noticed a bowl-shape filled with water already to one side of the den. Not as much effort as he would have liked to have put in, but it would do to bring his friend water. He grabbed the rim gently and dragged it over toward her until it was by her head. ”There you go.”
He said, settling down beside her.”Athena is doing fine, as are the pups. They are growing stronger each day.”
Alcatraz said with a smile. It was a bit of a lie, Raphael was as sickly as ever, but his condition had not changed. But he did not want to dampen Gabi’s spirits. And besides, the other pups were doing well.
She nods her head gratefully, eyes watching as he searched and finally pulls the water bowl close. Leaning, Gabi' laps at the cool liquid until she can stand it no more and slowly slumps back within the nest with a tired oomph
. His words bring a small smile to her face and Gabi' nods her head slowly, "They will grow to be strong beautiful wolves Alcatraz.. I have seen it. I dream of them often.. all of them,"
she murmurs, her eyes closing for a moment as if she were about to fall back asleep.
Her green eyes flutter open once more however and she heaves a slow breath. "If.. I do not see Athena and.. well,"
she hesitates to say 'If I don't see her before I die', "Please tell her I am grateful for the chance she gave me.. and the home. I only wish there was more I could have done to aid her."
Alcatraz watched her, his tail tip twitching anxiously as she drank, and then fell back. She spoke softly and he smiled at her encouraging words. He nodded, nuzzling her cheek, ”Yes, they will. And you will watch them grow as well,”
he reminded her gently.
It looked like she was ready to fall asleep and Alcatraz hesitated, wondering if it was time to let her sleep, but her green eyes opened again and she spoke. Her words sent chills and choking sadness through him. He had to recompose himself before saying, ”She already knows, and you have done so much for this pack, Gabi. And beside that you will tell her yourself. You’re going to be okay, Gabi. I know you will.”
he said, nuzzling her neck gently, and silently praying to the One that his words were true.
Gabitrix closes her eyes against the nuzzle, soaking in the touch of her best friend. Her skin felt like fire, and despite the uncomfortable spark his touch made against her feverish body, she ignored it and instead just took in the touch of her very first love and her only family. When he pulls away, Gabi's eyes slide open slowly and she offers him a warm smile of reassurance, "Well look at you.."
she murmurs, "Mr. Broody is being the optimistic one this time,"
the pale wolf jests gently. A slender paw reaches to touch his own fondly and she nods her head, "Yes. I will be ok.. after all, someone has to make sure you do not drive Athena bonkers."
Alcatraz chuckled at her witty remark, giving her a smirk, ”I am not broody, I am a realist,”
he explained, ”and I know what you are capable of. This sickness stands no chance,”
he assured her. His heart melted when her white paw touched him gently and he smiled softly at her. ”Yes, someone has to keep me in line,”
he agreed warmly. After a moment he sat up onto his haunches, ”I will let you sleep. Do you need anything else before I go?”
She shakes her head slowly, green eyes sliding half shut as he stands to leave her. "No.. I am ok.."
she murmurs tiredly, the white vicar shifting to get more comfortable, her brows twitching up in a wince. As the brown male makes his way towards the exit of the healing den, Gabitrix looks up groggily, "Alcatraz.."
she murmurs, her voice already sluggish with her feverish sleep, "I love you. Don't forget that."
The Vicar's slender head slides down to rest along her legs, green eyes watching him until Traz turns into a smudged blur on her subconscious, the sickly wolf sliding down into her restless slumber once again.
Alcatraz nodded as she said she was okay and turned to go. As she said his name he stopped, looking back over his shoulder. Her words made warmth bloom in his heart. He gave her a gentle smile, an automatic expression that shone love through his pale yellow eyes. ”I love you too, Gabi.”
he murmured, and then he turned away, closing his eyes at the emotions that flooded over him as he walked back toward the sunlight. He sent a silent prayer to the One. Please. Let her be okay.