Chapter 5

The young woman's eyes fluttered open. In front of her, she saw a tall, muscular, handsome man staring into her eyes. His hair was extremely dark and his eyes rich blue, and deep. He looked very intimidating and alluring, but his expression was concerned.

"You're awake." His voice was gentle with a hint of hoarseness, but there was a sense of possessive superiority – like he knew what was his and wasn't willing to share. She perceived that he was some high rank in his society. Anyway, she didn't speak. The man leaned in closer. His breath was – surprisingly – sweet. Like some type of strawberry candy.

"Can you speak?" He asked softly. Only then did the woman realize that there were others in the room.

And that she was naked except for a white sheet over her body. Lifting a heavy hand, she made drinking motions. Suddenly another woman appeared, handing her a bottle of cool water. She had dirty blonde hair and black eyes. She drank the water greedily and then tried to sit up, but the man pushed her back down gently and eyed her curiously.

"Speak." He said.

"Um… Hello?" The woman groaned through a hoarse communication. Slender, warm fingers cupped her cheek and she saw the blonde woman smile at her.

"Where did you come from?" The man asked. The woman racked her brain, but felt empty.

"I don't remember." She moaned.

"I got her some hot tea." Another voice called. The woman tried to sit up again, but the man shoved her back down this time and gave her a supercilious look. "Stay down. Are you human?"

The woman raised an eyebrow. "Of course. What… what else could I be?"

"And an ignorant one at that." The man smiled. "My name is Roukan – what is yours?"

"Kaiya. Kaiya Tanaka."

"Hmm… You came here with a sibling." Kaiya furrowed her eyebrows.

"Yes… I think so."

"You did." Roukan assured her. "He's a little brat too. 15?"

"Yeah…" Kaiya was finding it extremely difficult to remember anything really.

"Where are you from?"

"I said I don't remember." Determined, she rose again when Roukan wasn't looking. Turning back, he furiously pushed her back down, drawing the sheet up to her neck and glaring at her.

"I said don't move."

"Why not?" She asked, haughtily. Roukan's beast growled at her, and she sunk into the bed.

"Because I said so." He retorted, looking at her with an analytical expression that told her he was confused by her defiance. She liked that.

"And who made you boss over me?" She snapped. Roukan frowned.

"You're in my territory." He hissed, his voice coated with anger. "You follow my orders." He leaned in closer. "And if you don't, I'll throw you right back out into the snow."

Suddenly Kaiya could remember something. She could remember her own mother yelling at her brother. She remembered running to his aid. She remembered her mother throwing them out onto the street. The people beating them. Shredding their clothes. Her brother had helped her to escape. Her own people had thrown her… right back out into the snow. Suddenly tears filled her eyes. Roukan looked at her, his expression softened.

"I… didn't mean to scare you." He said, reluctantly, as he wrapped a hand around her upper arm. "Don't cry." He whispered. Are humans this fragile? He seemed to think. He was almost appalled at how quickly her emotions were activated.

Kaiya sat up again, and Roukan quickly wrapped the blanket around her naked body. Right. That's why he kept telling her to stay down.

"I won't, okay?" He promised. "We're here to help you." The soft side of the man had come out. Kaiya smiled.

"I remember my family and fellow villagers throwing me out into the snow." She sniffled. "They beat me and my brother up and left me to die. He took me here when he accidentally dropped me. I think I hit something hard, because I don't remember anything after that."

Roukan sighed. "You humans don't know what you're doing." But although he looked annoyed, he wiped away Kaiya's tears with a tenderness she hadn't expected him to have. Was this how these people treated each other? With threats and love, tenderness and harshness, at the same time?

"Why do you say 'humans'?" Kaiya asked, confused. He looked human.

"Because we are not. But for now you can think of us as the same as your own species. You must be hungry and cold. My friend here, Kylie, is going to tend your wounds and clothe you."

The blonde woman walked over. "Hey!" She called happily. The first thing Kaiya noticed was that in every way Kylie was larger than her. She was slightly muscular, about 6 feet, and just 'big'. But to Roukan, she was a generally normal sized woman. Okay, Kaiya thought, I've discovered the small giants of this earth. Kylie walked over and placed a hand on Kaiya's cheek.

"You're safe in my hands." She said, smiling again. Kaiya looked around. Roukan had suddenly left. "Roukan is nice… he's just very demanding and controlling because he's our alpha. His love is a dangerously strong one."

"Oh." Kaiya said. Kylie was moisturizing her legs.

"Does anything hurt?" Kylie asked.

"Um… my head. And my right shin. And my ribs… and my biceps. And my hips, for some reason.

"So… everywhere."

"Well, not everywhere…" Kaiya attempted a smile, and Kylie laughed.

"Well, optimism is a good trait." She said. "Our clothes are generally too big for you, so we had our village seamstress, Cali, sew you some clothes." She paused. "Humans wear, like… business attire, right?"

"Actually, humans wear a variety of clothes, from thongs to hijabs and ankle length dresses. So… put me in what you want."

Kylie blushed. "I don't know what either of those are."

"Well… a thong is… underwear that women wear that shows basically everything-

"Well that's inappropriate." Kylie interrupted.

"As is interrupting." Kaiya laughed. "I'm just playing with you. And a hijab is a shawl that Muslim women wear to cover the head and sometimes face."

"What's Muslim? Never mind. Well, if one of our girls was found strutting around with a 'thong' on, Roukan would have a bone to pick with them."

"Well, thongs are usually worn as undergarments though."

"Oh." Kylie frowned. "That would be uncomfortable."

Kaiya laughed. Just then, an older woman with chestnut brown hair walked into the room with a few packages in her hand. She paused when she saw Kaiya, who was lying on her stomach, uncovered.

"Oh. Sorry, I should have knocked."

"That's okay, Cali." Kylie said as she tossed the sheet over Kaiya and grabbed the packages.

"Kaiya, do you think you can put these on yourself?"

"Well, I'll try." She said.

"Thank you Cali." Kylie called before the old woman left.

"Eh." Cali replied dismissively. Kylie smiled at her back as Kaiya sat up and wrapped the blanket around herself.

"I don't know if I can stand on my leg."

"Never mind. I'll help you." Kylie said, as she took Kaiya down from the table-bed.