Gretel and Maia were sharing a plate of spring rolls when Luke got back to the Jade Wolf that night, nodding to Theo where he sat at the back of the room, watching the rest of his pack. Luke made his way to Maia and Gretel’s table, sliding into the booth next to Gretel. Maia jumped out of her skin, still on edge from the attack six weeks ago. Upon seeing it was just Luke, she forced the tension out of her shoulders.
“How are you both doing? Coping with the moon okay?” He asked, glancing between Gretel and Maia.
“I’m fine,” Gretel assured him, though she knew that the question wasn’t really intended for her.
Maia shrugged, fiddling with the filo pastry of her spring roll. “I’m okay. It feels… Strange, but I’m okay.”
“You’re doing great for your second moon.” Luke smiled, and she breathed a sigh of relief. Her first moon had been horrible, but at least it had meant that Luke had found her and brought her to the pack. She felt safe with them; they were the kind of family that she’d always wanted. “I need to go and check on the woman you scratched last month, and I was thinking that you might like to come along.”
“Yeah, actually, that would be great. I need to see that she’s okay. Are we going now?” Maia reached for her jacket as Luke nodded. “Thanks for the spring rolls, I’ll see you tomorrow, Gretel.”
“Hope that she’s okay. I’m sure she’ll be fine.” Gretel smiled, pulling the plate of spring rolls towards herself.
Luke led Maia to his squad car, Maia’s nose scrunching a little as she got in the passenger side. “Weird being in the front?”
“Yeah, kinda.” She admitted.
“I’m still getting used to it and I’ve been on the job for five years.” Luke told her, putting on his seatbelt.
Maia snorted and looked out the window as Luke pulled off the pier. “What are we gonna do if she turns?”
“We’ll do what we did with you. Explain everything, let her choose if she wants to join the pack or use wolfsbane to control the change. She’ll be alright either way, I promise.” Luke looked over at her, offering her a comforting smile. Maia returned it, though it was shaky, at best. “Hey, it wasn’t your fault. You’ve been through a lot. And it’s not like you knew you’d turn into a wolf if you got upset. It happens. You know better, and you’re gonna be there for her. That’s what really matters.”
“Have you ever turned anybody?”
Luke shook his head. “Almost, but not quite. I ran into Gretel when I was freshly turned, in the forest upstate. She was a born wolf, though I didn’t know that at the time. I thought I was going to hurt this poor kid, but then she transformed. And that’s how I joined the pack. I hadn’t wanted any part of it before then.”
“I want to be there for this girl if she really is a wolf.” Maia insisted. “When I was turned, the way I was turned was traumatic enough, but… The worst part was him just leaving me there, bleeding and confused. I had no idea what was going on. I don’t want anybody else to suffer like that.” She could feel her eyes burning, and she fixed her eyes on the sidewalk as they sped along the streets of New York.
“Listen, the guy who turned you was a deadbeat loser and if I ever meet him, he’ll be sorry for abandoning you like that, mark my words.” Luke muttered, shaking his head. “And whoever turned him and left him without a pack was just as evil.”
“Jordan isn’t evil,” Maia said, too quickly, and closed her eyes. “He’s just…” She furrowed her eyebrows. “Possessive. And stupid.”
“Well, I won’t disagree with that last part.” Luke hummed, rolling to a stop outside a townhouse. “I think this is it.”
Maia let out a shaky breath as she unbuckled her seatbelt, fear rising in her. She didn’t want to see the woman turn. She remembered how painful it was, and the thought of seeing someone else go through that because of her made her stomach flip. “Luke, I don’t know if I can do this.”
“Hey,” Luke put his hand on her shoulder. “I’m right here with you, okay? I’ve got you.”
Maia swallowed hard, and nodded, hesitating a moment longer before letting herself out of the car. She and Luke walked up to the front door, Luke knocking smartly. When the woman answered, Maia’s heart leapt to her throat. The scratch on her arm wasn’t healed, not quite, but it was obviously on its way. It had started to close up, and it didn’t look all gross like Jordan’s had.
“Hi, I’m Detective Luke Garroway with the NYPD. This is my daughter Maia. It’s take your daughter to work day,” he chuckled, as cool as ever, and the woman smiled at them. “We’re just here to do some follow up questions about the dog attack you were a victim of two weeks ago?”
“Oh, yeah,” she nodded, stepping aside to let them in. “There’s no harm done, really. The authorities said already that the odds of them catching the dog are slim, and I’m okay.”
“Any mood swings? Heat from the scratch?” Luke checked, letting her lead them into her sitting room.
“Nope,” the woman answered, crossing her legs. “Like I said, I’m right as rain. The doctor checked me over, gave me a rabies and tetanus shot just to be safe.”
“So you really feel okay?” Maia blurted out, leaning forward.
The woman looked a little surprised in the intensity of Maia’s question, but shrugged. “Yeah, no problems here. Why? Is there something I should know?”
“They found the dog, and it had rabies.” Luke cut in, “but since you’ve had your shot, and feel okay, then I don’t think there’s anything to worry about. You’re clearly not infected.”
“Yeah,” Maia breathed, rubbing her knees. “Not infected.”
“Yep, I’m good.” The woman assured them, looking at Maia out of the corner of her eyes. She was grinning, almost in tears of joy.
“Well, miss, we won’t take up any more of your time.” Luke smiled, taking Maia’s shoulder. “Let’s go, kid.”
The moment they were out of the house, Maia whirled around and gave Luke a hug, squeezing him tightly around the waist. He chuckled, and patted her back. For a long moment, she didn’t want to let go, burying her face in his shoulder.
“Thank you,” Maia mumbled.
“I got you, Maia.” Luke assured her. “You’ve got a family now.”