8 Years Later

I was walking down a sidewalk in a random city when it happened. I stumbled and spun around to stare at the young man I'd just walked past. It had been eight years, but he only looked older. His face was still soft-featured and handsomer than most other men. The same brown hair and grey eyes that were natural to me had not changed in him at all.

"Edan . . ." I whispered. My hair was blond and my eyes were green, but my face was normal. I quickly made some slight changes to my face so I would remain unrecognizable to even my own brother. I yelled out, "EDAN!!!!" before he got too far away. He stopped and turned around with a quizzical look on his face. I walked over to him and said in a light hearted voice, "Little Edan McKie? You've sure grown up."

"I'm sorry, but do I know you?"

I laughed, grinning. "I'm Rae's friend from 11 years ago. My name's Chloe Miller."

"I apologize but I don't remember you."

My face fell. "Oh. Well . . . How's Rae doing these days?" I didn't want to stop talking to him so I said the first thing that came to mind.

His face went blank and his eyes flat. "She's dead."

I gasped. Of course I knew that's what they thought, but Chloe Miller wasn't supposed to. "What happened?" I asked.

He closed his eyes a moment and dropped his head. I bit my lip. I didn't want to cause him pain, but I wanted to know what he thought happened.

"You, uh, don't have to tell me if it hurts too much." I said softly.

"No, it- it's okay. It's still kind of new to me though. She disappeared 8 years ago on the day of her graduation. We think she was kidnapped, but we never received any ransom notes or threats or anything. The search was widespread and after a while we started giving up. But once we reached the point to where they would close the case, there would be a tip about her. Eventually the tips stopped keeping the case open. They declared her dead a few years ago and we had a funeral." I kept my mask of sadness on. I kept the tips coming. I had assigned some wolves to every once in awhile call in a sighting of me, but I realized it was selfish and only kept my parents in more pain.

"Where is she buried?" I asked hollowly.

"Her casket is buried at Shadow Grove Cemetery back home. We didn't have a body to put in the casket so we filled it with pictures and notes from friends and family. We also put a copy of her file in there."

I nodded slowly. "What about Anais? She's fourteen now, right?"

"Yea, she is. She ran away two years ago and hasn't been found. We've had no tips about her at all."

"Oh my god, I am so sorry." I said. I shifted uncomfortably. Everyone in my family has been ripped apart. Probably by me.

"I'm afraid to ask about your parents." I said, looking at him.

He shrugged. "They're healthy. Just not happy."

I nodded faintly. "What about you? What do you do these days?"

His eyes flashed. "I'm a hunter." He said softly.

Something about the way he said it made me shiver. And made suspicions form. "What do you hunt?" I asked as nonchalantly as possible.

He grinned showing teeth. "Werewolves, vampires, you know the usual."

I forced a laugh out. I knew he was being serious. I had heard the whispers from my wolves about a human hunter. Most of our hunters were some other supernatural being, but this human hunter was even better than them.

"Really, what do you actually hunt?"

His eyes became flat again, but a faint smile played around his lips. "Bears and such."

I could smell the lie.

I nodded again and glanced at my watch. "Well, I have to get to a meeting. I'm so sorry about everything."

He nodded.

"Bye." I said, turning around and leaving.

As I walked away, I heard Edan whisper, "See you soon . . . Wolf."

I kept walking.

"I want her found. And I want to know as soon as someone gets her that she has been found. Is that clear?" I said sternly, into the phone.

"Perfectly, my lady." Ryan answered on the other end.

"Good." I hung up the phone and tossed it on the couch.

I walked into the Conner's office and sat down in the chair facing his desk. He looked up from the latest reports on the pack.

"What happened?" He asked, pushing the papers aside.

"I saw my brother earlier." I said quietly.

He raised an eyebrow. "And?"

"They had a funeral for me a few years ago. And Anais ran away from home two years ago and hasn't returned. Oh, and probably the best part of all, Edan's the hunter who's been slaying our pack so efficiently."

"Edan's the hunter we've been looking for?" He said, frowning.

"Yes. And he was able to recognize that I was a wolf, but not that I was his sister."

Conner leaned forward. "How did he know that you were a wolf? You are the best at hiding it."

I rubbed my face and sighed. "I'm not sure. Perhaps something flickered through my eyes that told him or perhaps he just assumes that everyone who mentions his sister is a wolf."

"This isn't good Rae. The wolves want us to kill the hunter." He put up his hand when I opened my mouth to speak. "I know you don't want him killed. But the news that we know who the hunter is and haven't killed him is going to spread. And that could mean our deaths. And we really cannot allow Edan to go on killing our wolves."

"I don't know what to do, Conner." I said, my voice breaking. "I've wanted to go home for so long. I still want to go home, but I know why I can't. I love the pack so very much and I hate that they're suffering. But I don't know how to get Edan to stop."

"Maybe we can seek some witches and they can cast a spell?"

"To erase memory?"

"Yes. So that he does not even know of the supernatural world."

"The wolves will want blood. They will find out what we do and they will not agree."

"Appeal to them then, Rae. You are their Alpha. Make them understand that you cannot kill your own flesh nor let him be killed. They respect you. We just have to hope it's enough to save your brother's life."

I nodded. We sat in silence for several minutes before there was a light knock on the door. I looked over to see my six year old son, Aaron, standing quietly in the doorway.

"Yes, sweetie?"

"What's wrong, Mommy?" He asked.

I sighed. I held out my arms and he came and hugged me. "Don't worry about it. How was school?"

He made a face. "I hate it. No one wants to be my friend."

"Hey, cheer up, kid. You only have another couple weeks here. Then we all head back home for awhile. You'll get to play with Chris and Tyler again." Conner said.

"Weeks? But that'll take forever." He whined.

Conner and I smiled. Aaron wasn't exactly a planned pregnancy for Conner and I, but we never regretted him. He was our son. And he was born a werewolf. It had been a very strange pregnancy. Conner and I were still unmarried but we were engaged. We just never seemed to get the time to plan and go through the wedding.

"What do you say to pizza for dinner tonight, Aaron?"

His face brightened. "Really?"

I nodded. He jumped up and down, yelling happily.

"Sshhh, Aaron. We are in an apartment building. Go finish your homework." He ran out the door but came back a moment later. "Are you sure you're okay, Mommy?"

"I'll be fine, sweetie." I said, nodding.

He left the room.

"I sent a couple of wolves to find Anais."

"Who'd you send?"

"Ryan, Pat, Miranda, and Seb."

"They're good. They'll have her in a couple days."

"I hope so."

Three days later…

Conner and I sat at a desk across from the most discreet witch were knew, Miss Helena Levitt.

"So you understand our situation. We cannot kill him, but he needs to stop." I said.

She sat thoughtfully. "I might be able to do something, but you're most likely not going to like it."

"What is it? If it can save his life and keep the pack safe, I don't see a problem with it."

She hesitated. "Well, you said that he first found out the existence of werewolves because when you were first bitten, you told him?"

I nodded.

"Well, I can't really erase the existence of supernatural creatures then because it sounds like some of the blame he places on why you're gone is because of what you are. I can't eliminate that without eliminating you altogether."

I paled. "What do you mean? I have to die to save his life."

She shook her head. "No, no, no. I have to eliminate you in his mind and then in the rest of your family probably then. Because any of memory of you will spark the part that knows of the supernatural."

I stared, confused. "What about all the other people who me then? There were news articles about my disappearance. What about all of that? Wouldn't all of that spark a memory of me just as easily?"

"We'll displace your family. I'm fairly sure that you are capable of relocating your family to somewhere else with no connections. They will get an entirely new past, new present, and new future."

"That might be better for them all anyway. They might be happier then." Conner said softly.

I looked at him with tears in my eyes. "I don't want to be forgotten by them."

"I know you don't, Rae. No one ever wants to be forgotten by their family. But we just don't have too many options here. This is better than we could've hoped for. Your family gets to be happy. Our wolves will be safe. Our son will be safe."

I started crying, and then I nodded. "Let's do that." I said through my tears.

It took only a few days to get the spell cast and my family relocated to a small town with absolutely no connections. The pack was furious at first, but they accepted my promise that they would be kept safe. My parents had completely new jobs and new belongings. They seemed almost as happy as they were when I was seventeen. Edan lived a few blocks from them and had a normal job as a photographer. He was an entirely different man from the one I met on the street as Chloe. In a few short weeks, he was dating a young woman he had met while working. He was normal. The only thing that was wrong in their new world was my little sister's absence. We weren't sure what to do about that. My wolves still hadn't found her, and I was starting to wonder if she had died. We altered my family's memories to believe that she was in a boarding school. It was almost two months after I sent my wolves out before they finally found her.

I was sitting at my desk in my office when they brought her in. She was much older looking in a way that had nothing to do with her age. I had on the guise of Chloe Miller, not sure if I should reveal my true self or not. She was fairly clean. Her brown hair was in a long braid running down her spine. Her grey eyes showed that she had seen so much more than a fourteen year old should have. She was tan and she was dressed in a simple pair of jeans and a t-shirt with sneakers.

She marched in and demanded, "What's the meaning of this? Who are you to have me dragged here against my will?"

I said calmly. "Sit down, Anais." She sat and glared at me.

"My name is Chloe Miller. I was a friend of your sister's years ago. I heard you were missing from your brother Edan and after hearing all the other misfortune your family has suffered, I thought they deserve to have their daughter back."

"I don't belong with them anymore."

"Why do you say that?" I asked.

" What? Can't you smell it on me? I can smell them, but not you which means, you're very powerful."

My eyebrows drew together. I leaned forward and sniffed. My eyes grew wide as I smelled the unmistakable scent. I stood abruptly and walked to my wolves.

"You didn't think to tell me that she's a WOLF!?!?" I screamed.

"We thought you must've known, my lady." Seb said softly.

I paced back and forth. "When did this happen to you, Ana?"

Anais stared at me for a long moment, suspiciously. "When I was 12, I snuck out of my room a lot and went into the woods. One night I came across a wolf. Raelyn had been bitten and I thought it must've been her, watching us because she wouldn't just completely abandon us. I ran to the wolf and it bit me. I knew that it wasn't Rae, but I knew it was a werewolf. I left that night to find help for what I was going to become."

I sat back down in my chair. "Oh, Ana…"

She took a long sniff of the air near me. "Rae…?" She asked slowly.

I nodded and dropped the disguise. "Yea, Ana. If I had known you were bitten, I would've brought you into my pack. I never would have left you struggling."

She had paled considerably. "…Your pack? You're an Alpha?"

I nodded. "For eight years now. It's why I never came back. You have a home in my pack if you'd like it." I said, looking at her carefully.

She nodded slowly. "I never could find another wolf who was willing to help me. The ones I did find were solitary and afraid of all other wolves. They were always terrified of Alphas. They said that Alphas were cruel."

"The ones I replaced were. Considering that I'm still Alpha eight years later and I've never been challenged, I hope that means I'm doing a decent job. You are welcome in my pack. You are wanted in my pack."

I stood up and walked around the desk to her, I hugged her hard and whispered, "You are one of the few blooded family members I have left, it would honor me if you joined my pack."

I let go and kneeled in front of her.

She was crying. "I want a place to belong and that place is with you now."

I heard a door slam in the apartment. "Mommy, I'm home!"

I smiled and pulled Anais to her feet. "There's someone I want you to meet." I pulled her to the living room. "Aaron, this is your Aunt Ana. Ana this is your nephew Aaron."

Aaron looked shyly at her. "Hi."

Anais bent down and looked at him. "You look so much like your mother." Then she hugged him.

It lightened something in my heart to see my past and my present and future all together in one hug.