Luke woke with a start, something was missing. The baby? Where was the baby? Panicing he struggled into a sitting position, looking around the chair and floor frightened that the little bundled had simply rolled off his chest and onto the floor.
Finding no sign of her he looked to the bed, Kiena was gone too. Pulling himself from the couch he raced to the door heaving it open he peered into the darkness just in time to hear a wolf howl.
“Damit Kiena, what have you done?” he panicked looking for sign’s of her in the gloom. It was cold and Kiena had not even taken a coat, goodness knows what the baby was wrapped in.
Heading out into the darkness a second howl followed the first. Kiena had been convinced the baby’s father would come for her. It made sense that she’d follow the sound so taking up chase he hoped the light of the moon would be enough to see.
Breaking into the tree line he leaped over a large log heading towards to howl, hoping to intercept her before she handed over the baby.
He stumbled though the undergrowth for several minutes before another howl was heard, heading towards it he eventually broke into a small clearing. Kiena sat on the ground, her shoulders down she could be seen to be sobbing. Looking past her however there was no sign of the baby at all.
“Kiena where’s Megs!” he demanded, the young woman didn’t answer she didn’t even look up. Rushing to her side he grabbed her roughly “Kiena where’s the baby?”
“He… he came, I told you he would” the young woman managed to explain.
“You…. you just let him take her?” he demanded “How do you know he will take care of her”
“She’s… she’s his”
“Yes… but how do you know she will be safe? Does he even have milk for her?” suddenly a noise in the bush’s alerted him to the fact that they where no alone. “Hello… who’s out there?”
A figure stepped out, the man he recognised from the cabin, the one he’d occasionally caught watching Kiena. In his arms he clumsily held the baby, a man clearly unused to handling children.
“You must be Craven?” he asked nervously, the man didn’t seem anything unusual a little wilder than he was used too perhaps, his hair unruelly and face unshaven. However he didn’t look like a monster.
“Aye that I am” he nodded “An you must be Kiena’s new man?” his accent was rich, melodic even slightly sing song. Very different from anything he could ever remember hearing before.
“Yes… I mean … no… I mean im not sure”
“Do you love her?” the wild man asked, seeming unconcerned that it was a personal question to be asking under such strange circumstance.
“Love….. im not sure, perhaps” he agreed “its early to tell”
“I loved her the moment I saw her and so did you” Craven replied, with a hint of sadness peering down to the woman who remained sobbing on her knee’s for whome it was obvious he still cared “Still it’s over with now” he added, seeming to try and shake himself free of the feeling.
“Because your a wolf” Luke dared.
“Because I scare her” Craven corrected, “but aye it could be said that I am of the wolf and that the wolf is of me”
“What does that even mean?”
“You wouldn’t understand” the red haired man decided “whats important is, for me to be knowin if you’ll look after her?”
“Yes of course I will” Luke replied.
The man nodded, “And what of her?” he asked looking down at the child, “would you take care of her”
“Of course” he nodded
“Is if she where yours?” he asked sternly. “On your honour?”
Smiling as Luke nodded.“That’s what I was hopin” the man decided, walking forward and planting the little bundle in Luke arms.
“But Kiena … she’s scared of her” he protested.
The man nodded, and knelt besides Kiena. “Now you be listenin to me” he demanded, taking the young womans tear streaked face in his hands. “You be taking care of our girl, im pretty sure there ain’t no wolf in her an if there is i’ll be back. Till then you be takin care of her…. I ain’t got no time in my life to be looking after a squalling babe with no ma, do you understand me? She belongs with you and I know you ain’t a demon woman with no soul. So you love her… you understand me? You love her like there ain’t nothing more sacred in this world”
Kiena didn’t answer she just pulled herself free of him, scrambling to her feet before taking off into the treeline.
“Kiena! Wait!” Luke called after her.
“Don’t worry for her” the man decided, “She’ll head home”
“How do you know?” he asked concerned.
“I see in her heart, she’ll do as I ask”
“And what of you? You still love her? Why do you give up on them so easily”
“It ain’t safe with me” Craven decided, “There are those that would kill the babe just for being part of me, regardless of the if she’s got to wolf inside her. Kiena too… it ain’t safe, wars coming better they keep out of it”
“So what, I just take over? Your fine with another man just walking in?”
“There ain’t no fine with it” Craven admitted, “but you’ll be good to her… I see into your heart also”