*Twenty Minutes Later*

Tyler's POV

I clenched my fists and stopped myself from reacting to Archie's obvious taunts. I was acting like a pubescent teenager!

"The Shifter was shaking in her boots when I came into the classroom today for Scream E. It's nice to know I have such a powerful effect on that little creature," He relayed to Sparky. I had kicked that particular wolf off the roof during the Plithorus epidemic, and silently revelled in the fact that he still couldn't transform without a wince.

"Such a coward," Sparky snickered and I sat up, slowly reaching over to grab the book that had been resting on my bedside table. I snapped it shut and glared over to the welp, silencing him immediately.

Archie, of course, caught this, and smirked. I met his gaze with a sharp one of my own. The glaring contest wasn't going anywhere, until Griffin interrupted our silent minutes of Hate. I frowned up to him, but he simply shook his head, "Your sister is looking for you."

I nodded and, with one last glare, I got up and left, sending the book over to hit the sniggering Sparky square in the forehead. I hated that vindictive little sheep in wolves clothing.

"What's up?" I asked, my voice cold. I was already beginning to get anxious as I was led out of the dorms and into the courtyard, where Tonya and the other girls in her room were assembled. All except… My throat constricted and I was instantly defensive. "Where's Theia?"

Griffin, as if sensing my rising panic, thought it best to leave me with Tonya. It was a good choice, since in this state I didn't know what I would do. My Soul Mate; a Shape shifter. Theia. I had grown regretfully shy of her after Nurse Higgins had relayed her story of her own meeting with her Soul mate, and then the implications of being such.

Though it had calmed my curiosity, and let me relax now that I knew that it was almost… natural… to feel this way, I hated the fact that she was still afraid of me, and I was causing her grief. Each time I saw that small pained expression when we passed each other in the halls, or in the grounds, I would instantly want to tear myself apart and beat my insides black and blue. Self-hate. It was bound to happen when I was the one causing her direct pain, when I should be protecting her and helping her. She didn't deserve me as a Soul mate.

Tonya, noting my apprehensive expression that was becoming increasingly difficult to hide, cleared her throat. "Theia has been gone for over half an hour now."

I clenched my fists and Pup whimpered at my feet, looking to the forest trees with a forlorn expression. I rubbed my temples and grimaced. "Where was she going?" I asked in a tight voice.

Edith reached out a hand, but decided against it at the last moment, her cold fingers hovering dangerously close to my skin. I didn't want to be comforted now, or ever. I just needed to ease this dull ache in my gut. "Where?"

Tonya, taken aback by my low demand, couldn't hide her wide smirk. This little smug sister of mine wasn't going to let me live to forget this, and my increasingly high vulnerability. In truth, this was probably weakening my nerves already and I shrugged into the jacket I had thought to bring before I left my room.

"She went to collect herbs for class tomorrow. When we asked if she wanted one of us to come, she just said we shouldn't worry and that she needed time to think," Tonya said. I groaned low in my throat, and instantly felt guilt wash over me. This was my fault, and I would continue to blame myself until Theia assured me of otherwise. I was such a bastard! "She is in the forest, and went down the Southern Trail."

I flinched, her scent suddenly filling my senses. The wind had changed, and I presumed the others smelt it too. Wordlessly, I began to trudge towards afore mentioned trail, my eyes glued to the dark shroud that night had thrown over everything. I was unheeded by the lack of light and easily followed my nose, more attuned to my senses than the females. I probably would be faster if I continued on by myself, but knew that they would only get themselves in trouble if I left them to their own devices. I was still a brother, and a protective one at that! As soon as we began our hike along the rough trail, I knew Tonya was walking beside me, her brown eyes travelling down to her Labrador every now and then, then back to me.

"Did Theia do anything these past two weeks?" She asked suddenly and I faltered in my steps, before glaring sharply at the tree that twisted our path.

"No. She hasn't done anything wrong," I murmured, my voice void of any emotion. "It's me."

Tonya snorted, "You are both so cute to watch. Tell me, big brother, have you talked to that snake that has been bothering Theia yet?"

I frowned, "Not in so many words. I'm getting to that point."

"I thought you would. He's been calling her out, and seems to enjoy the obvious fear she feels for him," Tonya observed. "Thank you for protecting my friend, Tyler."

I sighed, "I can hear it."

I stopped completely, the girls around me nervously fidgeting as they came to a halt along with me. "I want you all to go and get help." I said in a tight voice. "The trail is clear on the way back."

Olga frowned, "What about you?"

I stiffened, "I'll continue on. I don't sense anything up ahead as of yet, but I have this feeling… I think you should hurry."

I kept my empty eyes on the trees in front of me, seeming to encroach upon me as I strained my ears to pick up any sound other than the hurried footsteps of the girls heeding my suggestion and doubling back to go and rally a search party. We had all hoped to find her just scrounging through the undergrowth looking for the herbs she had set out to find.

Now, I was going to follow her scent and my instinct. "I'm coming," I whispered and began a brisk jog further into the trees. I would find her, I promised myself and focused all my attention on her scent. Pup's yipping and panting told me he felt their apprehension as well, his sister. Cecile would have to be with Theia! He took point, bounding through the low hanging boughs of trees and jumping over the fallen moss-eroded trunks, my pace increasing until I was flying through the teeming forest. No creature would have the stupidity to try and attack me, especially when I was in this mood!

We soon broke from the tree line, and dove back into a crop of shrubs. Blood… Dragon… Theia. I stumbled slightly as fear squeezed my stomach tightly and I threatened to hurl up my last meal that seemed so long ago now. Theia had definitely been here, and this dragons' attacker had definitely followed her. I glanced briefly over to the dragon and frowned as I sniffed the air again. She carried the scent of this dragon with her. What had she taken?

I didn't leave myself time to ponder on that small mystery and picked up Pup, to carry him under my arm. I needed to hurry now, and panic sent my energy soaring as adrenaline and my blood rushed through my head. She had to have escaped! She wouldn't be lying at the bottom of that ravine!

I slowed my pace as I neared the ravines' drop and glared down the pit, finding no hint of a glow or even her scent. The mountains? I gritted my teeth as took six paces back from the edge and tucked Pup more closely to my side. "We'll be with her soon, Pup," I murmured and took a short run at the edge, springing into the air and sending myself across the huge crevice.

As soon as I hit the mountain, I found a secure grip for my right hand and my feet, sniffing again. Blood. I reached out, balanced against the sloping mountain. Theia's.

I groaned and my eyes followed its course down the ridges and stone, until my sight settled far below, where the trail abruptly cut short. She had done just as much damage to the supposedly indestructible stone as it had to her skin. I climbed recklessly fast down to her most likely location, grabbing precarious holds and continuing down, my legs burning with need to move. I managed stiff movements and only when I reached the opening of the cavern, did I shake my legs to get rid of the stiffness. Pup jumped out of my arms as soon as my feet touched stable ground, darting further into the cavern and barking happily as he reached whatever he had been searching for. Hopefully, I thought with a distressed grimace, the same person I was looking for.

I loped in after Pup, frowning as I searched for her.

My heart thumped heavily in pain as I caught sight of her bloody back, which was still in the process of healing. Theia shook like a leaf, her long blonde ringlets just touching the dusty cavern floor. "I… Am going to die," She whimpered. I flinched and, without even thinking to check myself, fell to my knees on the ground, my hands clenching in my sides.

"No," I murmured, "You're not."

Theia's hiccupped and sobbed, "Y—You're back?" Her voice was so full of terror that it buried a wound deep under my skin.

I didn't even know how to use my voice at that moment, and she began to bawl like a child, her outright fear and pain echoing in my chest. "M—My parents! You killed them! Kill me; I just don't want to live…" She sobbed.

Cecile looked up to me with glassy golden eyes, unshed tears glistening in their depth. I needed to comfort Theia, but I wasn't sure how to now. She was stuck in her memories. She thought I was the wolf that had killed her parents? At a time long ago, I would've thought I'd be able to kill any Shape shifter I pleased, but now I found it repulsive to even think about take the blood of Theia's kind. I could never hurt her.

"Theia, it's Tyler," I said, making my way closer to her.

"No!" She moaned, grabbing her head and bowing over, "You're lying!"

In the midst of her tears, she turned away from me and I saw the full extent of what the descent down the rocks had done to her once beautifully white skin. Blood was smeared and dirtied with debris and dust, her birthmark tattoo glistening with sweat that ran down her slowly knitting skin. My throat tightened as my eyes settled on her shoulder. Claw slashes, distinctively Wolf. My own kind. I groaned and skittered back, holding my head in my hands and hissing in anger. Silence, only broken by Theia's crying and sniffles, fell and I rocked back and forth to try and keep the need to slash and tear out of vengeance down. Who had done this to her?

Then, it came to me. My father. My parents and Uncle had been hunting a family of Shape shifters, and I had been begging to go with them, as a child fantasising about my first kill. My first kill… I groaned. My parents had orphaned her.

I shook with pent-up rage, but supressed it with a shudder. I would only scare her if I got angry, and that was the last thing I wanted to do. "Theia," I murmured softly, tentatively, "I'm not the Wolves that tried to kill you. I'm your S—Tyler; I want to help you."

I slowly stood up, my movements cautious. "Let me help you, Theia," I murmured gently, feeling tenderness wash through me and prompting me to shrug off my jacket and carefully drape it over her shoulders. "We need to go," I said simply, smiling down to her.

Smiling? Theia didn't react immediately and shivered. In what? Not relief. "I will die…"

Her barely audible whisper made my breath catch and I flinched. She thought I hated her, and it couldn't be any further from the truth. I clenched my fists and buried it in my side, to stop from biting my arm off. Self-loathing was the worst emotion to feel, especially because your kind had scarred your Soul mate. I could never hurt her!

An egg? I frowned down to the small icy blue egg clutched in her arms and Cecile climbed into her front pocket, Theia completely despondent now. I couldn't be weak; I needed to get her to safety, and out of these mountains. I hesitated as she quivered like a withering flame, but slowly and surely, picked her up and brought her into my chest, keeping her safely tucked in my jacket and arms. Pup jumped up and into her lap, looking up to me with wide eyes. In my arms, I held my children and Soul mate. The egg, I was beginning to see, wouldn't be relinquished any time soon by the silent Theia. This was the reason she'd almost been killed? A dragon not yet born?

Shaking my head, I peered down into her golden irises and wished she would look up to me. I frightened her, and to change that, I would have to gradually show her that I meant no harm to her. Perhaps one step at a time.

Striding to the caves' mouth, I peered critically out into the night and mapped out a trail I could leap across and follow. The chasm would be dangerously close, but I was sure that I could clear it when I reached the point I located stable enough to hold our combined weight. Taking a deep breath, I felt my body burn with new energy and jumped high into the air, tucking the little ones closer into my chest and tightening my hold on the now unconscious Theia. She had been fighting the weight of her fatigue that whole time and had given into it just as I propelled us into the air. Landing with a heavy 'thump', rocks scattered and fell into the ravine below us, making me fly into the air again and come back down to more stable ground, the lip of the mountain a clear vault of a hundred feet at least.

It may have been luck, or perhaps the combined weights of Theia and the little ones, but as I breathed in a deep breath, I gritted my teeth and sent us rocketing across the gaping chasm. We would make it… we would make it… I let out a painful grunt as I landed and stumbled a little, only to keep my footing and glare into the trees.

Rogue growls met my ears and I clenched my jaw, low warning snarls reverberating in my chest. The lustful crimson eyes disappeared and I began to jog through the trees, knowing where to go through following the trails of old and worn footprints. This forest was home to many dangerous beasts, but it was also a training grounds for the higher students. I'd been in here and battled on three occasions now, and used the limited memory of the way back to locate the Southern Trail. My pace was unheeded as I jogged, adrenaline keeping my limbs warm and carrying us towards potential safety. I needed to get Theia to Wiccan College, where her wounds would be treated better than they would otherwise healing at that agonising pace. "Just hold on, Theia," I muttered, "We'll be back there soon."

"Tyler…" She murmured in her sleeping state and cuddled in closer to my chest, but I didn't stop, only allowed my steps to falter. I kept my eyes on the trees looming around us, and then to the trail. Light was approaching fast and I froze, instincts telling me to keep her close to me. In my sleep-deprived and weakened state, I doubted my control would last if she were taken from me. I was so selfish.

Now, I could see, the light was many torches lit up, green flames flickering over the parched trail and turning Theia's long starlight blonde tresses into a ghostly green. "Tyler?" I heard someone gasp and tightened my hold on Theia's sleeping form. "Y—You already… Found her!"

I frowned and took a step back as Tonya burst through the crowd. Crap, I wanted to fight. "Tonya!" Principal Uno said in a booming voice, "Step back from him."

My eyes flickered to the singular one of the Cyclops and I gritted my teeth. Tonya, dejectedly, followed the order, and my breathing was picking up tempo. The Principal held out his palms in surrender, "Tyler, we are here to help."

My gaze cut into him as I barred my teeth, withdrawing back further down the trail, "No." I must have looked half-starved, almost frenzied. That was definitely how I felt every time someone came close to us.

"Tyler, son, we have to take Theia for medical attention," Mr Dalhart reasoned and my eyes darkened in my anger.

"No." Where had my reasoning gone? All I could see was a thick haze of red, the soft glow of the torches gone. I wanted to protect Theia from the very people who had the ability to help her, and I had growled at my sister? I should be shot. My eyes lowered to the pure glow of Theia, her aura radiating warmth and contentment. She didn't need me right now, but medical attention and the help of the very people I was defensive against.

"Tyler?" Tonya murmured and my head whipped around so fast she stumbled back in mild fear. I was immobile then, the fear making me flinch away and want to run, far far away!

"I don't want to…" I muttered slowly, as if trying to convince myself that I had to do it.

Tonya smiled widely then, "I know. Just relax." Cautiously, she came closer, holding out her arms for Theia, but I immediately evaded her arms, shaking my head.

"Tyler," Principal Uno murmured, "The safest place for Theia is with us. You can even stay with her if that is what you wish, but I want you to see reason now; for the sake of Theia. We only want to help."

My eyes regarded him critically, set in a half glare. Nurse Esme, the first person to step up to me without any fear in her stern expression, rolled her eyes, "You Wolves and your possessive natures! Come along; you shall have to carry her back to the College otherwise she will wake up."

I followed behind her with a deep frown, my emotions leading me to snarl when an assistant reached out to check her temperature. The short elf jumped back.

"I wonder," Principal Uno murmured and smiled widely at me, "Is it that you are now deciding what you shall do?"

I glared back, intent on ignoring him and focusing on getting back to the College. Theia needed medical attention, and I couldn't provide it, as much as it stung to realise that I couldn't provide for her completely. I couldn't afford to be weak, nor could I afford to take the bait that my Principal put in front of me. I had decided what I would do, and it most definitely was to help Theia, my Soul mate.

"Tyler…" I heard a small voice whisper and stopped completely. Theia just cuddled in closer to me than before, her eyelids fluttering as she saw something in her dreams. Me? I almost laughed out loud, the first time I had laughed in so long. Years? No, I'd stopped when I'd turned seven.

"Tyler?" A voice called from behind us. I kept still, calming myself. I didn't need to get so worked up; we were safe. Theia was under no threat, hopefully. I grimaced. Tonya was definitely excited, her eyes betraying her as she giggled, looking between my stern expression and Theia sleeping peacefully in my arms.

"You have trouble hiding it, big brother," She murmured and I sighed, "She really does have a problem with hiding her feelings as well."

"Feelings?" I echoed in a wondrous voice. "You're joking! She's terrified of me!"

Tonya giggled, "Really? I didn't think that a man could be so dim. Theia is constantly fretting over you; these past weeks, she's been so run-down. I think you should try to talk to her. It would really help the both of you. You see, she was not the only one who was affected by the little to zilch communication between the two of you."

"I'll get there," I murmured simply and began to walk again, thoughts focused on how I would eventually show her, show her my true feelings and help her to trust in me.

Theia's POV

The air was clean, open. The first conscious breath I drew was only when I found myself being passed over from the warmth that I had surrounded myself in. It was so sweet, so serene that I didn't want to leave this special place; where I felt complete.

"Tyler; you have to let her go some time, and the sooner I can take her in…" A soft, cajoling voice murmured and I flinched.

"I… Don't want to…" A deep voice murmured and I frowned as I tried to think of where I was, or better yet, what I was doing in Tyler's arms.

Instinctively, I curled in closer to him and sighed, "Don't hate me…"

"Theia," I heard a deep voice call from far away and flinched into the strong arms around me.

"It's alright; we will take care of her. Please, let Nurse Higgins take her."

I briefly groaned as I felt the arms relinquish me, weakly holding onto the hand that lingered on my shoulder. The egg! I whimpered as I realised my arms were bare. "It's alright, my dear. We're almost at the College, and then we'll patch you up."

I couldn't open my eyes, panic rising in my throat. "Tyler… The egg?"

My faint whisper was heard and a hand touched the back of my head, holding it up and I felt the familiar pressure of that small egg in my arms again, the individual heartbeat lulling me into another deep sleep, Tylers' hand letting my head fall as I was carried once again.

"… Too weak. She can't come out for classes, girls. I'm sorry, but she is still asleep."

Who was asleep? Was I? No!

"Quiet," A deep tenor murmured and I turned my head towards the sound of his voice. "She needs rest."

"Rest?" Hissed a rasping voice and I flinched closer to Tyler, still half asleep. "The Shape shifter can deal with a little school."

"Get out snake," Tyler growled darkly, and I felt a hand touch the bed I was lying on. "Or you will be missing a few limbs."

I curled in closer to the warmth I felt him giving off, comforted by the familiar presence. It was then that I heard a soft snort of disgust, "It seems that she is quite close, huh? It must be annoying for you, Wolf."

Chair scraping, the warmth left me and I rolled over onto my other side, yawning as I cracked my eyes open. Low grunts were all I heard in the silent room and I blinked rapidly to accommodate to the bright light. The only thing I could see was someone's' back, and I frowned. Suddenly, the person moved and I realised why. Tyler was holding Archie up against the wall by the neck, Tyler's' back rippling as he moved and his fist clenched tighter around the Gorgons' windpipe. "Tyler!" Tonya cried, "Don't kill him! Remember Theia is still asleep!"

"Theia?" Tyler murmured and his dark head whipped around to meet my wide eyes. His hand immediately loosened around the snakes' neck and dropped Archie to the floor like a sack of potatoes. Archie coughed and hacked, but Tyler, his onyx eyes hard, dragged him to his feet and quite literally threw him out the door of the nurses' office.

"Ah, Tyler; the silent protector," Nurse Esme murmured and I blushed as he came back over to the chair that I realised was right next to the bed I was lying on. Tonya and Edith were kneeling beside the bed now on the other side, smiling through watery eyes.

"We were so scared!" Edith murmured and brushed a strand of hair from my face. "You shouldn't have gone off by yourself!"

"We'll definitely be going with you next time," Tonya expostulated and I bit back a smile.

I only nodded weakly and turned to Tyler. He avoided my eye, but picked up the small egg that I had risked my life for. He cautiously leaned over to give me the egg, Pup jumping up and onto the bed with a dozing Cecile on his back. I didn't speak yet, my throat aching, as I tried to slowly remember what had happened. Wolves? No. Tyler had been there, to help me and bring me back to safety.

Tyler placed the egg in my arms and, still avoiding my eyes, turned to walk over to the furthest wall. "It began to crack an hour ago," Tyler said in a soft voice.

I nodded again, holding the egg closer to my stomach and clearing my throat. "Thank you," I whispered and smiled down to the egg. "And I am sorry for all the trouble I have caused."

Tonya, smiling widely, leaned over to kiss my cheek. I blushed, unsure how to react. "Olga and the others are in class right now. We kept switching watches, but they told me to tell you; 'It's not your fault'. Trust me; we're just glad that you're safe."

I felt tears clouding up my eyes again and simply nodded. Why hadn't I come here sooner? Here, at Wiccan College, I had friends who cared this much about me. I had a daughter, and a… Soul mate. A soul mate that despised me, because of my species. I flinched and peeked up to Tyler, who was standing in the corner. I was the cause of his troubles, and I had tried so hard to remove myself from his unnecessary worries. I was such a nuisance.

Breaking me from my self-blame was the soft crackling of thin paper. The egg? I looked down to the cracked surface, and gapes as a tiny head was beginning to poke from the top. A cute little sneeze sounded and Cecile poked her head out from my pocket and sniffed the egg, only to jump back comically as the shell tore again. A baby blue scaly snout poked its way through the shell and I gasped, the dragon infants first cries coughing out white smoke. I slowly let go of the egg and set it down next to me on the bed.

The wings, unfurling and glistening with the insides of the egg, were next to surface, and I heard Tonya and Edith move closer, while I felt Tyler had moved much closer to my back, though I wasn't sure what he was looking at; me or the dragon. I was transfixed as the infant emerged almost completely from the egg with a needy cry, its stubbly neck littered with beautifully tinted blue scales. Its snout was short and rounded, while it had yet to open its eyes. The body was now almost completely uncovered now as the blue shell lay in tattered remnants around the bed and I reached out cautiously, my hand quivering. The body was as stubby as the neck, but the tail was long, the tint seeming to have turned from any colour to a shade of pure white. The wings shivered as badly as my hand was, but I slowly kept reaching out to touch the head… I froze as winter grey eyes opened and met mine, a small mewl coming from the dragons toothless mouth.

A mewl. It hiccupped softly and I giggled, unable to help it. It tried to copy the sound, a small cloud of white dust again coming out. I frowned, reaching out again, but with a steadier hand and held it an inch from the infants nose. The dragon tried to hop closer, its head hitting my hand as it stumbled and fell against my stomach, huffing and trying to kick the egg shell still attached to its short, chubby legs. "Hello," I whispered hoarsely, smiling down to the dragon infant and touching its neck with a finger.

"Mmmmmmmr," The dragon infant dragged out, opening its jaw in one gesture.

I felt it shuffle closer to me and snuggle into my stomach, its eyes closing. Edith gasped, while Tonya burst into astonished chortles. Nurse Esme, taking one look at the silent Tyler, came around to begin clearing off the shell remnants from my bedding. "It seems she thinks you are her mother. A fine young female," the Nurse remarked.

I smiled down to the dragon, a warm feeling spreading through my chest. "You're going to a part of my family now," I whispered and the dragon turned in closer to me, snuggling tightly. "But…" I looked up to the beaming nurse, "How does one look after a dragon?"

Tonya burst into a fit of giggles, patting my head. "You're going to have to name this one soon."

I nodded, trying to decide what I could name this bundle of cuteness. Its scales emitted a soft blue flame which didn't burn, but radiate a warmth that was felt deep in my stomach.

"Not now!" Nurse Esme broke in, smiling down to me, "It looks like you need a little more rest. You can name her when you are feeling better."

I opened my mouth to disagree. I had just woken up, but looking around the room and looking for any support, I found none. Tonya and Edith were shuffling out of the room, while Tyler had a serious expression in place, which I instantly obeyed. The message he sent was clear; 'Rest'.

Blankets were pulled up and over my back from where they had slipped off and folded around the body of the dragon infant, but when I opened my eyes a crack, I saw a dark arm pulling it over. Tyler? Why? I just accepted it in my drowsy state, yawning widely and smiling a little in my sleep. Tyler was babying me, and I was holding a new member of the family, little Baby.