Vision in Silver Page 102

The lesson the juvenile Wolves had learned that day when they had found the body of the resentful Wolf was this: certain actions angered the earth natives who lived deep in the wild country, and they were the ones who should not be provoked.

Would today’s attack be considered provocation? He didn’t know. He just knew that, right now when he was hurt and unable to defend himself, he feared other kinds of terra indigene more than he feared humans.

<Simon?> Vlad said. <We’re home.>

Home. Meg.

He growled about being helped out of the police van, but he couldn’t have stepped down on his own. Humiliating, and frightening, to be that vulnerable. Vlad stayed close to him as he shuffled to the Market Square’s medical office while Henry helped Nathan.

Jake Crowgard, in human form, ran to meet the van, embracing Jenni and Starr when they emerged.

As Vlad opened the door of the medical office, Simon looked at the humans standing near the van. Strangers in police uniforms. Who could be trusted? And what would happen to any who were deemed untrustworthy?

A white car pulled up behind the police van. Right behind it was a black sedan.

“We’re protected,” Vlad said quietly. “Let’s go inside.”

Protected, yes. He spotted several Sanguinati in their smoke form. He saw Blair and a few other Wolves in Wolf form moving along one side of the market’s inner square. In the center of the square was Air astride Twister—warning and threat.

Dr. Dominic Lorenzo, Lieutenant Montgomery, and Captain Burke passed under one of the Market Square’s archways and strode toward the medical office. Tess and Nyx also headed toward the medical office, but they were coming from the direction of the Liaison’s Office.

“I thought you were helping humans deal with the cassandra sangue,” Simon said to Lorenzo, surprised at how slurred the words sounded.

“I am,” Lorenzo replied. “But I’m still putting in some hours here for the Courtyard’s residents. I heard a news bulletin about the trouble at the stall market, and I thought I might be needed here.”

He was about to refuse. He didn’t want any human touching him.

Then Meg appeared in the office doorway. She looked at Henry, then at Nathan, then at him—and burst into tears.

Jane Wolfgard caught Meg before her legs buckled.

“No bending that knee,” Jane said sternly.

Lorenzo shook his head. “Enough of this.” He looked at Jane. “Take Ms. Corbyn to the examination room. While I’m sure you did an excellent job of cleaning and tending the cut, I’ll examine the knee and make my notes for her file.” Then he turned to look at Nathan. “You. Do not lick those cuts. Even from here I can see there’s glass in some of those wounds. If you swallow any of it, it can cut you up inside.” Finally he turned to Henry and Simon. “I’ll examine both of you and make my recommendations for your human forms. Then you and your healer can decide the best course of action.”

Having given his orders, Lorenzo walked into the office and headed for the examination room.

As they hobbled after Lorenzo, Simon noticed Theral, who was standing out of the way. When she saw Burke and Montgomery—and none of the humans who had left with the Others a couple of hours ago—she turned pale and swayed.

“Ms. MacDonald,” Montgomery said gently. “We need to talk.” He led her into the room Elizabeth Bennefeld used for massages and closed the door.

“Mr. Wolfgard,” Burke said, ignoring Simon’s warning growl. “I’d like your perceptions of what happened at the stall market.”

“We were warned to leave,” Simon replied. “Danger. Humans blocked the way and attacked before we could get out. Attacked Nathan too.” He tried to turn his head to look at the Grizzly. “Henry knocked me down.” And probably had that furrow in his right cheek from the bullet that would have killed Simon.

“Captain, I can give you enough for your report,” Vlad said.

Jane stepped out of the examination room. “Nathan?”

“Simon first,” Nathan said.

Lorenzo may have wanted to see them in order of visible injuries, but leader came before enforcer. So Simon hobbled into the examination room.

Since he hadn’t seen her leave, it shouldn’t have surprised him that Meg was still there, sitting in a chair.

He grumbled at Lorenzo and Jane when they cut off his shirt, wasting a usable garment, but he couldn’t raise his arms for them to lift it off, so there wasn’t much choice. He growled about them removing the shoes, socks, and jeans. He would have bitten at least one of them if they’d tried to remove the briefs. No one was taking those while Meg was in the room.

“Oh, Simon.” Meg started crying again.

“Don’t cry, Meg,” he pleaded. It hurt in a different way to hear her crying.

Lorenzo poked and prodded, gently enough, all things considered, but Simon still yelped a few times.

“Well, even in this form, you’re a lot tougher than a human,” Lorenzo said. “You’re battered and deeply bruised, no question about that. You might have some hairline fractures that I can’t detect without taking X-rays, which I can’t do here. But I’m not feeling any obvious broken bones or anything that’s dislocated. All I can prescribe is rest. Give yourself time to heal.”

“Once Simon shifts to Wolf, I can tell if there are problems inside,” Jane said.

“Can’t shift to Wolf,” Simon muttered. “Have to talk to humans about—”

Meg sprang out of the chair and was in his face so fast, he jerked back . . . and then whimpered because the move hurt, hurt, hurt.

“You do not have to stay in human form,” she yelled. “You do not have to talk to any humans until you’re better. You need to be a wolfy Wolf! And if you get stupid about this, I’ll . . . I’ll paint your tail orange!”

He thought of pointing out that he wouldn’t have a tail if he stayed in human form, but Jane nodded and said, “That’s a good threat. Come on, Meg. Let’s step out so Simon can shift and the human doctor can look at Nathan.”

After giving him an “I whack bad Wolves” look, Meg limped out of the examination room.

“Let me give you a hand down,” Lorenzo said, bracing a hand under Simon’s elbow. “I won’t offer a painkiller because I don’t know how a terra indigene would react.”

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