Spirit (Shifter Rescue 5)
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2016 Sean Michael
Metro filled out more paperwork, shaking his head. It was his own fault for volunteering his time to do this, but he knew his way around a lot of it, and the Old Tavern didn't have anyone on staff who could do the accounting. So he showed up once a month and spent far too much time going through the books.
He finished the last of the paperwork and set all the forms that had to be mailed out in the appropriate basket.
Pirou appeared in the doorway, a smile on his face, a drink in his hand. "Thirsty?"
"Totally. Especially if that's a wheatgrass smoothie." Metro did love him some green things.
"You're addicted to those." Still, that was what was in the glass, and he could smell it.
"They're healthy." He took the big glass and sucked up some of the smoothie, glad Pirou had remembered he liked the big, thick straws.
"They..." A commotion came from down the hall and Pirou frowned. "What the hell was that?"
"You expecting a new resident?" Metro got up from his chair, going with Pirou to the door. He was considerably larger than the sweet kit, who had a knack for finding the shifters who needed them. As Metro was here, the least he could do was to offer Pirou his protection.
"No. No, I..."
A tiny white-blond man stood there, blood pouring from a wound on his head, clothes in tatters. "Please. Please, sanctuary. Please."
Metro didn't even have to look at Pirou to know that they would of course offer the requested sanctuary, so he strode forward, again offering Pirou his support.
What a sweet... Metro drew in a deep breath, sniffing hard... bear. So small. It was unusual for bear shifters to be as small as this man.
"Come in. Come in." Pirou reached for the little man and he pulled away, cried out.
Poor terrified man.
Metro got behind the guy and closed the door firmly, then locked it. "You're safe here."
"Sanctuary," he whispered softly. "Please. Please don't let them use me anymore."
"Oh, honey, nobody is going to use you, I promise." Pirou went to put his arms around the little guy, but stopped himself and pointed down the hall instead. "Come this way. I have just the rooms for you up on the second floor. Okay?"
The scent of blood was maddening and made Metro growl, and the fact that this bear was nothing but bones covered with skin infuriated him. Someone had been starving this little one.
"Send up some food," he told one of the security guards. "Berries." Bears liked berries, right?
"Yes. And water, some brandy. And fish." Pirou didn't touch, and the little bear slowly climbed the stairs, the sweet body swaying dangerously. Metro could see Pirou restraining himself from fussing. "Oh, dear. Oh, dear."
"I've got him if he faints, Pi." Metro stayed behind the slight body, ready to catch him.
The wee bear muttered softly, working himself up higher and the windowpanes began to shudder, the glass rattling.
"Hey, little one, if you bring this place down there won't be anywhere to have sanctuary," Metro said softly. "So just calm down."
They got to the second floor landing and Pirou did a quick peek. "Oh good, there's no one in the hall. Come on. It's safe."
The bear stumbled and went to his knees, blood dripping from his head wound. He began to crawl and Pi whimpered softly. "Metro?"
He nodded, no more able to let this little bear crawl than Pi was willing to watch it. He stepped forward and swept the bear up into his arms, following Pirou.
"Someone's starved him, Pi. This isn't right." Metro knew that was why they were here, and it infuriated him.
"I know. We'll fix it, Metro. We'll make this right."
He nodded. Damn straight they would.
Pi ushered them into a dim, interior room -- simple and quiet and still.
"This is perfect." Metro nodded, still holding the little bear, who had curled in on himself, trembling in Metro's arms. "Shh. Shh, where does it hurt?"
Metro looked over at Pirou, holding back his angry growls, only because he was sure it would scare this wee one.
Pirou fluttered. "I'll have a doctor come up right away."
There was a knock at the door, which they hadn't closed yet -- one of the staff there with a tray of food.
The bear in his arms jerked at the knock, then curled in harder on himself. "Please. Please, Master Lion. Please."
Master Lion. Metro had to admit, that sounded so right.
"I've got you, little one. No one will hurt you now."