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Akela was walking along the lakeside beach next to Allie. In front of them were three large wolves running riot. Ezekiel was as much a child as both his sons in wolf shape. round and in between the bouncing, playful wolves were Blossom, carefully included and occasionally saved from splashing into the icy water.

Akela had three young dogs on a leash. Yzma had accepted Kyron and Sasha without trouble, and the three of them were shaping up to be a great team. All three were well behaved and obedient. Sasha had even gone with Ezekiel to the fire station to participate in some basic smoke and heat exercises with Rocky. She was inteĺligent enough to understand the instructions Ezekiel gave her.

"So... you're human?" Akela asked Allie, careful not to appear nosy.

"Yup. I was blind and Ezekiel was my seeing eye dog," Allie chuckled.

Akela stayed silent, unsure what to say. The story wasn't hers to pry into.

"He told me that he was lycan, and I didn't believe it, but then he rescued Zion and me from captivity. And I thought he died. And I couldn't bear the thought of living without him. So when he reappeared, I let all my doubts go. He's my one," Allie said softly and stopped to tug on the ears of her golden wolf, who came running over when he felt his mate talk about him.

"20 years in and he's still my fluffy best friend," Allie chuckled and watched her mate run back to their children, just in time to stop Blossom from slipping on a wet rock.

Akela was tempted to shift and join them. She hadn't had a playful turn as a wolf for nearly two years. But Ezekiel had entrusted her with the dogs and she was with the Luna.

"Come. Sit," Allie said and pointed to a picnic bench set on a grassy bank a bit up from the beach.

Akela followed and watched Allie pull a thermos out of the bag already placed there and pour out a couple of cups of coffee. 

Akela unclipped the three dogs, watching them run to join the lycans in the water.

"So. You've seen Dr Dixon, and Dr Maddox and both say you are physically in good shape," Allie said as if casually mentioning the weather.

Akela shrugged. Both doctors had been kind and respectful.

"How is your mind?" Allie asked.

Akela gave a slightly sniffy laugh. Every day someone would ask.

"I'm... okay, I guess. It feels good to be a member of a pack and Alpha Zeke is a great leader..." Akela nodded.

"You just wish you could share it with your sister," Allie nodded in understanding.

Akela nodded again with a deep sigh.

"How about Zion and Abel? Are you feeling the bond strengthen?" Allie asked, this time with a different kind of curiosity.

She chuckled.

"It's honestly none of my business. I have only ever felt a link with Zeke... I just wonder if one of them feel... clearer... Now that you are away from them," The Luna smiled.

Akela gave a small smile. It did feel a bit absurd.

"It kinda.. hurts? I don't know how to describe it. It feels like a bruise that you can't stop touching," Akela smiled.

At the back of her mind, it felt like someone was watching her. As if two people were itching to talk to her. And it felt sore. 

Allie nodded. It reminded her of how it felt to be away from Ezekiel.

"But I can't say one of them hurts more. I miss them... In a weird way. And I worry that Nia will take Abel, or that some other girl is going to want Zion while I'm away," She chuckled at her own stupid worry.

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