Tucking in the edge of the blanket under Simran’s feet, she looked around, thought back to the supplies she’d hauled for Lara. “I think there are energy drinks in one of the boxes. I’ll get some into everyone who’s conscious.” Healers and injured both needed to keep up their strength, especially given the chill night air.
SO calm, so efficient, Hawke thought, watching Sienna move with grace and speed across the clearing as she bullied and cajoled the drinks into the others. His wolf felt more than a lick of pride, but it was focused on far more painful matters. “Lara?” he asked when the healer drew back from Riordan.
The answer was instant. “Yes, more.”
A single instinctive thought and the strength of his men and women flowed into him through the alpha-lieutenant blood bonds. Indigo’s incredible heart, Riley’s solid loyalty, Matthias’s quiet determination, Riaz’s intensity, Alexei’s barely tempered power, Cooper’s stubborn tenacity, Jem’s wildfire, Kenji’s calm will, Tomás’s energetic wildness. The only thing missing tonight was Judd’s cool touch—the Psy male was focused on healing the last of Riordan’s injury as Lara staggered over to Elias.
Funneling that power to Lara’s form through the bond that every alpha had with his healer, he watched color spill into her cheeks . . . then drain away as she ran her hands over Eli’s ravaged flesh. She cried no tears. Never did Lara cry—not until her people were safe. Only then would she collapse.
Dark rubies glimmered in the light of the field lamps as Sienna ran to meet the truck that had just arrived, helping to snap out the field stretchers. She, too, he thought, wouldn’t break down here, on this bloody spread of ground. Not Sienna. Not the woman who’d survived a Councilor, survived the brutal demands of her own savage gift . . . and almost won a game played against an alpha wolf.
HAVING taken a bare few minutes to shower to wash off Simran’s blood after Lara pronounced that there was no more healing to be done, Hawke returned to the infirmary. “Tell me,” he said to Lara, aware of Sienna moving between patient rooms, keeping an eye on things—the healer had ordered both Lucy and Judd to bed as soon as everyone was stable.
“Riordan and Simran should pull through okay,” Lara said, raising a hand to the wild energy of her curls. Her fingers trembled for a second before she fisted her hand, dropped it to her side. “I heard from Tammy—Barker will be fine, too.”
“Eli,” he asked, conscious she hadn’t mentioned the senior soldier. “I know you have to heal burns in small steps. How bad is it?”
Lara’s eyes drifted to the room where Elias lay under a curved panel that covered his body from neck to toe. “I’ve taken care of the life-threatening damage, but he had to wait so long his body went into shock. I won’t be sure of anything until he wakes.”
“You did everything you could,” Hawke said, knowing the words wouldn’t be enough, not for a healer. About to ask her to go into the office so they could talk privately—so she could drop her stoic front for a therapeutic minute—he saw someone unexpected walk out of Elias’s room.
Yuki flew into the infirmary at the same instant, stopping only long enough to whisper, “Thank you, Walker,” and brush her hand over the Psy male’s, before she entered the room where Elias lay unconscious.
Hawke knew Yuki had left to check that Sakura was fine with her grandparents, hadn’t realized Walker had stepped in to sit with the fallen soldier, though now that he thought about it, it wasn’t a surprise. He’d seen Elias and Walker talking more than once, noticed their girls playing together, realized that the two must have formed a friendship.
“Eli’s got Yuki watching over him,” Walker said to Lara, his intent gaze taking in the shadows under her eyes, the lines around her mouth. “The other injured are in a medicated sleep. You can’t do anything until they wake. Rest.”
Lara’s lips thinned. “I’m fine.” Folding her arms, she turned back to Hawke. “I’ll monitor them through the rest of the night—I need to make sure we didn’t miss any hidden damage.”
Hawke waited to see what Walker would do.
The other man folded his own arms and said, “Hawke, notice how she’s wavering on her feet?” in the most reasonable of tones.
Lara’s eyes flashed fire, but Hawke had to agree. “Take an hour—I’ll keep an eye on everyone,” he ordered, tugging her into an embrace and nuzzling a kiss into her hair. “Don’t be ornery just to piss Walker off.” His wolf didn’t know what was going on between the two, but there was no mistaking the tension.
A scowl marred those fine features. “Ornery?” But she softened in his embrace. “A rest does sound good. Wake me the instant anything changes.”
Hawke didn’t miss the way Walker watched them. Neither did he miss the fact that the tall Psy male followed Lara to her office, where she kept a sofa. Moving out of hearing range, he checked in on the injured, found Sienna sitting at Riordan’s bedside, her hand on his. “His mom started to cry so his dad took her out for a few minutes,” she said in a subvocal murmur, her eyes devoid of stars. “They didn’t want him to hear it in his sleep.”
He waited with her until Riordan’s parents returned. The couple allowed his wolf to give comfort to theirs, but he knew nothing would truly soothe them until their child woke. Leaving them with their hands touching Riordan’s skin in silent support, he intertwined his own fingers with Sienna’s.