I laid there on the ground for a few seconds, staring at the two of them. Tyler gently set Kimberly back on the ground, but I noticed how he still made an effort not to touch anything but her clothes. Finally, shaking off my shock, I got back up and ran to kneel over her. There was already a big, purple knot growing out of the top of her forehead, and I felt my stomach do another somersault.
“You— you could have killed her!" I shouted, my temper going through the roof before I even knew what was happening. “What's wrong with you?"
Tyler didn't reply, and I didn't really care. I leaned in closer to Kimberly, putting my hand on her chest and sighing in relief when I felt it rise and fall normally. That bump on her head, though… that worried me. I gently ran my hand over it, and Kimberly moaned in her sleep.
“I'm sorry," Tyler said at last.
I spun around to face him. “You're sorry? You knew this would happen, but you still told me to bring her out here? Sorry doesn't cut it!"
“I knew it could happen," Tyler said, his voice sounding strangely numb. “I didn't think it actually would."
I glared at him for a few seconds, so angry it felt like there was steam was coming off me, and then turned back to Kimberly. Her teeth had gone back to normal, and the fur that had started growing on her arms was gone. I didn't touch her eyes, but I had a feeling if I pulled the lids back they would be normal again too. She looked so pitiful, lying in the middle of the dark woods like that.
“Is she going to be okay?" I asked, finally.
Tyler was silent for a few seconds, but then he said, “She should be fine. Her wolf only tried to come out because of us."
I shook my head. “What does that even mean?"
“Her wolf wasn't supposed to wake up until the full moon," he explained. “But it sensed us, and got confused. It tried to come out before it was time."
“How would that have killed her, though?"
“The full moon," Tyler explained. “Do… do you know about moon starvation?"
That term sounded familiar, and when I thought back I remembered Dex mentioning it before.
“It's, like, we can die if we don't get any moonlight for too long, right?"
“The first change takes a lot of energy," Tyler went on. “Your body is being remade into something else. Without a full moon, you'd lose all your energy in a few seconds and die."
I shuddered, imagining that happening to Kimberly, and finally turned to look at him. “Why did you tell me to bring her out here if you knew this could happen?"
“I told you," he said, “I didn't think it would. This kind of thing is rare. It means that…" His voice trailed off, looking down at Kimberly.
“What?" I snapped at him, not in the mood to put up with vagueness. “What does it mean?"
“It means her wolf will be stronger than usual," he answered, looking back up at me. “When a wolf can force its way out like that, it either means the person is weak, or the wolf is strong."
I let this sink in for a moment before asking, “And what does that mean for her?"
Tyler shook his head, and then lowered it so he wasn't looking me in the eye. “I don't know. Really, I don't."
I looked back at Kimberly and fumed silently for a minute. “I can't believe you made her do something this dangerous. What do we do now?"
“We can't do anything else tonight," he said, and I heard him stand up behind me. “Let's get her back to the house. You…" he hesitated. “You might want to get dressed now."
Oh… right, I thought, looking down to find myself still naked as a newborn baby. My cheeks burned with embarrassment. Crap…
I didn't even look at Tyler as I hurried to put my clothes back on. Now that I thought about it, it was actually pretty freaking cold out here tonight. How had I gone that long without a fur coat before feeling it? After tugging my shirt down over my head, I went back to Kimberly. She hadn't stirred, which wasn't surprising seeing how I'd looked away for less than a minute. I gently slid my hands underneath her and lifted her up, being careful not to jostle her more than I had to. She groaned in her sleep again, and I held her closer to my chest.
“It's okay, honey," I whispered. “It's okay, I've got you."
I started back in the direction of the house, and didn't turn to look when Tyler came to walk beside me.
“I'm sorry," he said again.
“I don't care," I muttered. I knew it wasn't fair for me to be this mad at him. It wasn't like he'd meant for this to happen or anything. Still, when I thought about how close to death Kimberly had just come, I couldn't help but blame him for it. If he hadn't told me to bring her here, this wouldn't have happened. If I lost Kimmie, I don't know what I would have done…
“You could have been a little nicer to her," I said, just trying to burn through my anger now. “She tried to pet you, and you just walked away."
“I didn't just walk away," he argued. “When she touched me, it hurt."
I snorted. “It hurt? Big strong guy like you got hurt when a five year old girl touched you? Forgive me if I don't feel sorry for you."
“It burned," he insisted. “It was like she had something on her hand. Felt kinda like… I dunno…"
Now, despite my anger, my curiosity was piqued. “Felt like what?" I asked.
“Never mind," he answered, and then shook his head. “Forget about it. It was nothing."
NEXT TIME: Oh, interesting. Very interesting! Kimberly has become Rogue from X-Men! No joke, that's totally where I'm taking this. But first, Amber has to wake her up… IF she ever wakes up.