|In the Shadow of the Wolf
Author: anissa7118 PM
Allyson Charnock just wanted to be a veterinarian. But it looks like Fate had other plans for her. Her first mistake was trying to treat her sleepwalking herself, failing to realize it was a symptom of something else entirely.Rated: Fiction T - English - Supernatural/Fantasy - Chapters: 33 - Words: 84,303 - Reviews: 290 - Favs: 155 - Follows: 166 - Updated: 08-20-12 - Published: 03-20-10 - id: 2787546
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Note: I'm back - sorry for the long series of delays. Real life has been an incredible pain, and I've always had trouble nailing down the last arc of a story. That said, hopefully I can tie up all the loose ends in this plot and give you, my awesome readers, the ending you've been hoping for. I'm guessing we have about 10 chapters to go (but the last time I said that, it turned out to be 25).
"You put the needle in the muscle of the shoulder, like this," I told Melisende, as I'd told a dozen other people in the last two hours. "Pull the plunger back to make sure there's no blood—you want it in muscle, not a vein. There should be some resistance when you try to pull it back. If you get resistance, and no blood, press the plunger down smoothly, and it's done. Then all you have to do is watch for signs of allergic reaction. The early symptoms are reddened skin, fast breathing, itching or burning at the injection site. If it doesn't go any further than that, don't worry, it'll go away on its own before you do anything about it. If you notice hives, fainting, or trouble breathing, yell for me. It could be anaphylactic shock, and that needs treatment fast."
"Got it," Melisende said, and gave the next vaccination. I watched, nodded approval, and moved on. I had more than enough vaccine and volunteers to get this done, and the entire pack was fast arriving. It was starting to look like we could actually get this done in a single night. For all the wariness the Lunae demonstrated toward change, once they embraced something, they got it done in a hurry.
I heard my own little speech echoed, and turned to see Samine showing Riva how to give a shot. For once the two weren't growling at each other, and Riva immediately took her place at the head of a line of wolves awaiting injection.
For those in wolf-form and the wolf kin, we were injecting them in the rump just like my canine clients at Dr. McClellan's clinic. The wolf-born stood patiently, but their wild brethren weren't so easy to handle. Snow, Mondavi, Camron, and a few others were helping restrain the wolves long enough for a shot. And with sufficient volunteers trained to give the vaccine, I hurried over to help them, since I was faster at giving injections and used to patients who might bite me.
Simeon Sanxay was prepping injections, filling the syringes and tapping out the air bubbles, before laying them aside on a tray. All I had to do was pick one up, thumb off the cap, and give the shot to a struggling wolf. On my knees on the grass, an endless succession of furious gray, black, and brown bodies tossed down and pinned in front of me, I gave dozens of injections.
We'd been at it for over an hour with no serious side effects yet when someone caught my shoulder and my attention. I looked up…
…into Chayce's warm amber eyes, and my heart dropped out of my chest. I murmured his name, too stunned to speak intelligibly.
"You are exhausted," he said quietly. "I knew you'd overwork yourself. Allyson, take a break."
"But…." My brain felt like it was spinning its wheels uselessly. Chayce had run off with just a note, but now he was acting like nothing had changed, and the look in his eyes was the same affectionate concern as ever.
He pressed a wrapped sandwich into my hands, and then cupped my cheek. "Eat, then rest. I'll take over for you. Katrine showed me how."
"But I need to be available in case of a reaction," I protested.
Chayce chuckled; I'd missed his laugh so much. "If anyone needs you, they can wake you up. Now go—if you don't get something to eat and close your eyes for a few minutes, you'll pass out. Go."
Thoroughly perplexed, I did as he told me, finding a quiet spot to sit and nibble my sandwich. All around, wolves were getting vaccinated. The process was going smoothly so far, and I thought I might be able to take Chayce's advice and rest a little, even if there was no chance of falling asleep in the midst of so much activity.
Thinking that, I swallowed the last bite of the sandwich, lay back to get comfortable, and closed my eyes for just a second….
"Allyson!" The shout woke me from a sound sleep, and I was on my feet running toward it before I even realized I'd ever been napping. I grabbed my bag out of reflex, bolting toward whoever had yelled.
It was Katrine, and she was holding onto a shaking werewolf. The young man's eyes had rolled back, and he was gasping for air, his chest heaving with the effort. But for all his exertions only a little air was getting through, his breath a tortured whistle. His skin flushed an angry red, and hives had broken out on his arm. The raised bumps were moving up his neck as I watched, and I knew we were running out of time. For all our amazing regenerative powers, werewolves could still die if we couldn't get oxygen. Worse, he could have a heart attack at any moment if we couldn't stop the anaphylaxis. Cardiac arrest was just as fatal as asphyxiation.
I dropped to my knees beside the stricken wolf, yanking open the doctor's bag I carried. "Katrine, he needs epinephrine to reverse the reaction," I snapped out. "Hold him still!"
I had a supply of EpiPens in the bag, and quickly injected a dose into the patient's thigh. I was sure one wouldn't be enough; for most medicines werewolves needed three times the dose a normal human or wolf would require, so I gave him two more full EpiPens in quick succession.
His gasping got louder; more air was getting through. We weren't out of danger yet, though, so I drew up a dose of cortisone and injected that into his shoulder to reduce the swelling. I followed it with a large dose of dipenhydramine, a strong antihistamine.
Only then did I sit back to look over my patient. He was breathing easier, and his hives were already going down. The sheer speed of the werewolf metabolism never failed to amaze me. And in this case, I gave a deep sigh of relief. It looked like he was going to be all right.
Katrine looked at me, wide-eyed, and said, "I've seen this before, with bee stings."
That made sense. So far I hadn't heard of any wolves with food allergies, and they didn't take a lot of medicine to develop an allergy there. But of course they encountered bees and wasps, and the venom of those insects was could cause anaphylaxis. "How do you treat it?" I asked, curious.
"The only thing that's ever worked is making them shift to garou," Katrine replied. "Of course, that will cure nearly anything. The trouble is getting them there."
So shifting to garou form functioned pretty much like hitting a reset button on all systems. I nodded slowly, and checked the patient's pulse. He had quieted down considerably, drowsiness being a known side effect of the dipenhydramine, but his pulse was still shallow and rapid. "Let's go ahead and bring him to garou if we can, just to make sure," I said.
Before I could begin to reach for him within the pack-sense, Katrine caught my wrist. "Not a good idea," she said, darting a significant glance to my right. I turned, and saw three guards waiting and watching. Katrine continued, "Remember, shifting to garou is the first sign of the Running Madness. Everyone is keyed up, knowing there's been a recent outbreak in a neighboring pack. If they saw him shift, they'd strike before we could stop them."
I swallowed with difficulty; that had been a close call. Without Katrine to remind me, I could've gotten my patient killed. "Right. Thank you. He should be fine, just keep an eye on him. If he falls asleep, don't worry. It's a side effect."
"I've never seen that reaction turn around so quickly," Katrine remarked. "I'm sure he'll recover, now."
With that I left her, going to check on the rest of the recently-vaccinated wolves. It seemed like I had just slept through the last round of shots. There were a couple more allergic reactions, but none were severe. Everyone who'd been administering the vaccines was exhausted now, and I looked them over, too, making sure none were totally overworked.
Riva had fallen asleep where she'd been working, her head resting on the flank of the last wolf she'd vaccinated. Not far from them, Samine was just getting up, obviously stiff. She caught my eye and grinned. "Not bad for a day's work."
"Not bad at all," I said. I hesitated, and then decided to hell with it, I might as well ask. "Have you seen Chayce, by any chance?"
Samine's eyebrows went up slightly. "You didn't hear? The Queen sent runners to each of the neighboring packs to tell them about the outbreak in the Picardie pack, and about the vaccine. Chayce is one of the fastest wolves in the pack, so she sent him to Normandy."
I tried not to show it, but my heart fell. I'd completely missed my chance to talk to him. Still, there were more important things than my silly infatuation, and I should've anticipated Raulle sending runners. "Oh. Well, that makes sense. With the Picardie pack infected, we've got to get the word out about the vaccine."
Samine yawned and stretched. "I don't know about you, but I'm about beat. Would you be terribly disappointed if I missed breakfast tomorrow?"
"I guess not—I'm half tempted to skip class and sleep in myself." I smiled; Samine had been completely dedicated to educating herself, and she'd probably learned a month's worth of material in the last week alone. She deserved a break, and after today, so did I.
"Thanks," she said with a grin. "Tell you what, come to my place for dinner tomorrow to make up for it. I've got a new recipe I'd like to try out, too."
I'd missed Chayce's cooking, being too busy half the time to do more than microwave something, and I jumped at the invitation. "Of course, I'd be glad to." Samine gave me her address, which was in the Quartier de Grenelle, not that far from where I lived in the Quartier Latin.
With that taken care of, Samine wandered off to find a convenient spot to curl up. I thought about going back to my car and driving home, but even the thought was tiring. Besides, I knew I really ought to check in with the royals before I left, so I headed up to the cabin.
Searlas opened the door and frowned at me. "Good gods, Allyson, you look exhausted," he said.
"I'll be all right," I insisted gamely. "Do you need me for anything, or can I go home?"
"We're done here. Lisle Harmon was the last one with any serious problems. But you're not driving home until you get some food in you and at least have a nap." With that Searlas caught my shoulder and pulled me inside.
I found the queen herself almost falling asleep at the table, and barely managed to bolt down another sandwich before my eyelids started getting heavy. "Maybe you're right," I said to Searlas, and yawned. Raulle opened one eye to look at me in amusement, and I added, "Okay, I do need some sleep. But just a nap."
"Couch or hearth, your choice," Raulle said, and stood up wearily. She headed up the hall, and only then did I notice who was missing.
"Searlas, where's Marlon?"
"On his way to Brittany," the old king replied, and then chivvied me into the living room. I wrapped myself up in a couple of blankets and was asleep on the sofa before I even thought about setting my phone's alarm to wake me.