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Akela was sat on a log by the bonfire.
Opposite, Alpha Ezekiel was cooing over baby Helios while Sam was trying not to butt in. Kira was sat talking to Abel. She had given the two brothers equal attention while they had been there.

Between Zion's medical expertise and Ezekiel's leadership they had decided that both Kira and Felix needed a couple of days to rest before the return journey home could begin. It meant that for two days, Sam, Zeke and Abel had been running regular patrols around the cabin. Akela knew, just from looking at Ezekiel that the constant high alert was wearing on his nerves, but he brushed it off whenever Akela brought it up.

Kira sensed something as well. Her attention would sometimes wander and her body would curl in on itself in fear. She was still skinny and guarded by the rest of them, she would sleep most of the day.
When her concussion would allow her, she appeared as strong as ever, but Akela saw the fear in her, simmering just under the surface.

Akela studied her sister carefully. The high nutrition drinks Zion was always mixing up for her had brought back some of the colour in her cheeks. She no longer looked gaunt and unwell. The concussion and low bodyweight was temporary, and the glowing sparkle in Kira's eyes told Akela that despite the fear and traumas, Kira was still the same.
Curling up together at night placed Akela within touching distance of Kira's nightmares, and Akela had cried her eyes dry over her twin's jumpiness at the smallest sound.
Of course Kira put up a brave front, which seemed only to come down when Ezekiel used his knowledge of PTSD symptoms to chase her demons away.
It would take a while, but Ezekiel had promised Akela that Kira was still the same as always.
Perhaps a bit more cautious and less impulsive, but her twin was still there, currently flirting with Abel.

On another log, Zion sat, throwing little twigs into the fire with a weirdly neutral look on his face. Occasionally his eyes would drift over to Kira and Abel and every time Akela's guts felt like they shrunk.
Abel's charm was turned on and Kira was giggling every so often which had Zion looking at them.

Akela rested her forehead into her palms. There was so much going through her mind and heart.
Kira was right there. And she was so happy about that. She didn't want to lose her again. Not for anything. And definitely not over their mates.

If Akela gave in to that sore chest of hers, she could still end up taking the one who was made for Kira.
The one who was so right for Kira. The calm to her energy and the one who would wipe her tears when the bad memories became too much.
And Akela would probably be happy with his brother.
It was just...
She wanted Kira to choose.
Kira had been through hell. She would need her mate to get through it.

"Hey... What's wrong?" She heard Zion's voice next to her.

She looked up at him, slightly sideways, seeing his worried face.

"She's safe. Kiddo is healthy," Zion said softly.

"I'm just a bit... overwhelmed..." Akela shook her head.

Zion studied her with one of those weird lopsided smiles that Akela found so cute.

"It could be your stepson..." Akela said, taking his smile for exitement about being a dad.
She'd seen him with Felan enough to know he'd be a great stepdad... and a fantastic dad.

"We'll see," he smiled.

"Yeah. She'll need some time..." Akela shrugged.

Zion chuckled softly and turned so he sat astride the log facing Akela.

"There are four of us," he said.

Akela took a deep breath and straightened her back before facing him.

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