He felt the bullets hit him as he transformed into full were. Matthias snarled, then raked his claws through the man that had attacked Daniel. They caught on the guy’s ribcage, and he tore it free before lunging at the next. His jaws closed on the man’s shoulder and he yanked his head back, taking a massive chunk of the man’s flesh with it. A fourth man, who had been behind the car, ducked around the vehicles side before popping up and trying to shoot at him again. He caught the third man’s face in one massive paw and crushed it. Then he bent, grabbed the side of the car, and flipped the thing over on top of the shooter.
Matthias rolled his neck, letting the were form’s healing take care of the worst of the bullet wounds before shifting back to human. “You alright, kid?”
“You’re a fucking werewolf.” Daniel was staring at him.
“I did tell you they were real.” He shrugged. “Get in the truck.”
“Did you see that?” Anna was bouncing in the back seat. “He was all ‘rawr’. It was great.” She gestured dramatically. “The wicked witches were no match for the big bad wolf.”
Daniel tried to control his breathing. Eight men were dead. Matthias had killed six of them with his bare hands. The man he’d been sleeping next to for over a month was a werewolf. Eight men were dead. He looked down and saw blood on his pants. His stomach started to roll. “I think…” He swallowed. “Oh, god.”
Matthias had barely gotten the truck to a stop on the side of the road when Daniel opened the door. He leaned out, vomiting up breakfast, dinner, and pretty much everything he’d ever eaten. After a few moments, he was just dry heaving. It took him a moment to realize Matthias was offering him a water bottle. “You going to be okay?”
“Me?” Daniel stared at him. “They shot you. Like…” He’d lost count. “A lot of times.” He leaned forward to yank open Matthias’s shirt, and stared at the wounds. All he could see were three. They weren’t bleeding, but still looked bad. “They shot you.”
“Ain’t the first time I’ve been shot, kid.” Matthias shook his head. “I’ll be —”
“Shut up.” Daniel shook his head. “We need to get you to a hospital.”
“We can’t go to a hospital, remember?” Matthias touched his shoulder. “I’ll be —”
“You’ve been shot. I have to…” Daniel reached up to touch the skin near one of the wounds. “We have to do something.” He felt a curious tingle as his fingers made contact, and then the bullet fell out of the wound as it closed. He started to sway as he abruptly got light headed.
“Kid?” Matthias’s voice sounded both concerned and far away. “What did you —”
“I think —” The world around him went dark.
Matthias sat, staring at the unconscious man on the bed. Anna sat on the motel room’s other bed, also staring at her brother. “He’s going to wake up, right?”
“He’s breathing, and his pulse is stronger now.” Matthias nodded. His were form had taken care of the wounds he’d taken during the fight itself, but… He looked down at the three distorted bullets in his hand before moving his shirt to look again. The skin was smooth, as if he hadn’t been shot at all. His fingers traveled down to where the old scars had been, and found nothing. It was as if he’d never taken a hit in his life.
His eyes went back to where Daniel was laying. Whatever it was the kid had done, it had knocked him on his ass. For a few moments in the car, the kid hadn’t been breathing, and his pulse had been weak enough that if it wasn’t for his enhanced senses Matthias wouldn’t have been able to find it at all. He’d have preferred to be a lot further along before stopping, but first he needed to be sure Daniel wasn’t going to need medical attention. He really didn’t want to have to threaten a doctor.
Daniel stirred a little on the bed. “Matthias, Matthias he’s waking up.” Anna started bouncing.
He stood, then sat down on the side of the bed next to the kid. “Daniel?” He put a hand on Daniel’s shoulder. “Daniel, can you hear me?”
“What…” Daniel slowly blinked his eyes open. “Where?” His eyes abruptly widened, and he’d have sat bolt upright if Matthias hadn’t prevented it. “What happened?”
“Was kind of hoping you can tell me.” Matthias frowned. “How are you feeling?”
“I…” Daniel blinked. “I’m starving.” He looked around. “Where…” He frowned. “You’re a werewolf.”
“Yes.” Matthias nodded.
“I didn’t dream that?” Daniel’s eyes widened. “You were shot, we need to get you to a hospital.”
“Kid, I have no idea how, but…” Matthias shook his head. “You already took care of that.”
“What…” He caught Daniel’s hand, and placed it where the wounds had been. Daniel’s eyes widened when he felt only skin and hair. “But you were…” He trailed off as Matthias moved his hand to where the older scars had been. “You…” He started to sit up, and the light-headed feeling returned. He lay back down. “Oh, dizzy.”
“I feel like…” He frowned. “Like I haven’t eaten in days.”
“Anna, get on the phone and order pizza.”
“Okay.” She tore her eyes away from her brother. “His favorite is Hawaiian.”
“Get him an extra large.”
Daniel stared at the empty pizza box in front of him, then looked over at where Anna and Matthias hadn’t managed to finish the other pizza between them. He hesitated, then reached over and grabbed another slice.
“If you throw up again, I’m not cleaning it.” Anna shook her head.
“I’m still hungry.” Daniel stared at the pizza in his hand. “How am I still hungry?”
“You threw up your breakfast…” Matthias shrugged. “Then you used a hell of a lot of power.”
“I…” Somehow, he’d healed Matthias. He’d been panicked, trying to focus and somehow, he’d healed Matthias.
“It was like with the birds.” Anna nodded to him.
“Birds?” Matthias raised an eyebrow at her.
“I brought him a bird that had flown into the window. It wasn’t moving. Mother said it was going to die, but I took it to Daniel and he held it for a while to keep it warm and then it flew away again. He ate half a chocolate cake after that.” Anna nodded.
“A healer.” Matthias nodded. “A genuine fucking healer.” He took a couple deep breaths, then slowly nodded. “Alright. As the last witch I knew explained it to me, magic requires energy. Humans get energy from food. So if you use your power, you need to eat more to make up for it. Same as marathon runners needing more calories.” He smirked. “Probably part of why you’re so skinny.”
He managed a glare. “Then how come after all that, you only ate half a pizza?”
“I’m not human. The wolf comes with an energy of its own.” He shrugged.
“You’re a werewolf.” Daniel set the half-eaten slice of pizza down.
“How come him being a healer scares you?” Anna tilted her head at Matthias.
“What?” Daniel frowned at her.
“Because…” Matthias took a deep breath, then looked up at Daniel. “I knew a healer once. When folks found out what she could…” He swallowed. “Let’s just say it didn’t end well for her.”
“She was saying thank you.” Anna’s voice was quiet.
Matthias rose and walked toward the bathroom. He took a couple deep breaths, and then Daniel flinched when Matthias put his fist through the wall. For a moment, he just stood there, then he nodded. “Kid, you healed scars that were seventy-four years old. Imagine what else you could do.”
“I could…” Daniel stopped, then frowned. “What do you mean, seventy-four years old?”
“I’m a hundred and six years old.”
“No way in hell.” Daniel folded his arms. “There is no way you’re a hundred and six.”
“He turned into a gigantic wolf monster and tore a man’s ribcage out, and that’s the part you’re having trouble believing?” Anna gave him a look.
“Okay, fine, it’s…” He shook his head. “A hundred and six.” He looked at the pizza boxes, and sighed. “I wish I was old enough to drink.”
“Anna’s asleep, so if you want to go to the truck or…” Daniel was giving him an awkward look.
Matthias raised an eyebrow. “What?”
“She may sleep like the dead but I am not fucking you while she’s in the same room.” Daniel shook his head.
“Get some sleep, kid.” Matthias sighed.
“But…” Daniel hunched in a little. “You killed eight men for us, and got shot a lot and…” He swallowed. “You just lost your house.” He looked up at Matthias. “Deal was you keep her safe, I warm your bed.”
“We don’t know how many more of them may have come, so I can’t afford the distraction right now. Also, no offense, but uh…” He shrugged. He’d get the house back, soon enough. Or just sell it through his broker. Hadn’t been there long enough to get attached to any part of it. “Your breath smells like pineapple.”
“I forgot the toiletry bag.” Daniel winced.
“Well, at least you remembered the guns. You can make it up with an afternoon quickie once we are clear.” He glanced out the window. “Get yourself some more sleep.”
“Matthias?” Daniel laid down on the bed, then smiled at him. “Thank you.”
“Sleep.” Matthias smiled back. He shut out the light, and went back to looking out the window. Two witches, and one of them a healer. If he was right about Anna, if she was a seer, then… And then there was whatever Anna was carrying inside her. To the right buyers, the kids could be worth almost a hundred million. Possibly each. Daniel was a good and submissive fuck, but with that kind of money he could afford any whore he wanted.
Adding a cabal to the things chasing him was just plain stupid. He glanced back at figures on the bed. Both asleep. They saw what he was, and neither had thought twice about sleeping under his watch. Matthias looked down again at where the scars had been. Daniel had nearly killed himself expending magical energy in healing in his panic over Matthias’s wounds. And Anna… Was curled up with those stupid horses he’d bought her, under the pink blanket.
Goddamn it. He was going to do the stupid thing here, wasn’t he?”
“Check this one.” Matthias pointed at a camping trailer.
Daniel blinked. “What?”
“That one…” He pointed at a few others. “And those.” He nodded to Daniel. “Take a look, pick the interior that works best for you.”
“Okay.” He shrugged, then was knocked out of the way as Anna raced to be first to check. He smiled at her. “Why those?”
“Not too long, still light enough I can make additions without bogging the truck down too much.” Matthias shrugged. “And no pop outs. Can get it moving fast.”
He looked inside. After about a half hour of deliberation, he and Anna settled on one that would effectively give Anna her own little room. The main sleeping area could also be closed off, and the kitchen was tiny but efficient. He watched as Matthias paid cash and produced ID in a completely separate name. At Matthias’s direction, he came out to pay attention to how to set up the trailer and get it ready for moving again. They loaded most of the belongings into the trailer before getting back in the truck. Daniel blinked as he walked by the truck again. The plates were different than they had been the day before. He smiled.
“Are we going anywhere in particular?” Anna leaned forward from the back seat.
“Yep.” Matthias nodded.
“Where?” She tilted her head.
“Six hours of driving, then the first Walmart we come to after that.” Matthias shrugged. “Need burner phones and a laptop.”
“What’s a burner phone?” Daniel raised an eyebrow.
“A phone not tied to your name, that you can dump if the number gets compromised. Do not call anyone other than me or each other unless I say otherwise. Burner phones might not have GPS, but if they figure out the cell tower they’ll know what city we are in.”
After they’d been on the road a couple hours, he looked back to see Anna had fallen asleep. He turned his gaze to the driver. It had been terrifying, seeing Matthias change shape. Part of his brain told him he should be afraid of the man. He was a werewolf and a man who could kill without hesitation. And yet in all of that, he’d been far more scared for Matthias than he’d been of him. “I can take a spell at the wheel, if you need.”
“Might, after we get our shopping done.” Matthias nodded.
More miles passed them by. With it winter, the scenery barely changed. They were heading southwest. If Matthias had a destination in mind, he hadn’t shared it with them. Probably best. Matthias clearly knew what he was doing. “I prayed.”
“What?” Matthias glanced at him.
“Before breaking into your place.” He shrugged. “First time since I was about twelve. Prayed that there’d be something in that house that could help us and…” He smiled. “You’re not quite what I was expecting an angel to be like.”
“You sound like Polly fucking Anna.” Matthias rolled his eyes.
“Well, my sister is apparently Pippi fucking Longstocking.” Daniel grinned.
“I’m no angel kid, and it’s best you understand that.” Matthias shook his head.