Chapter Nine: Mal
He peeked around a car and noticed the wolf laying there, flecks of blood still splattered on his nice white coat, his chest rising and falling rapidly. Mal crouched down, trying to seem less intimidating. He brushed back a lock of hair that had come loose at some point and held out the clothes. He placed them on the road halfway between them.
"I'm not going to hurt you," he said quietly, "Why don't you shift and get dressed, then I'll take you to the hospital if needed." The wolf shook his head frantically. Mal had to bite back his smile, that move really didn't look natural coming from an animal. "Okay, how about food then? You hungry?" The wolf's ears perked up at the mention of food as Mal had hoped they would. Shifting took a great deal out of a person, so Darel always told him. The man was always starving when he changed back, and Mal was constantly surprised by just how much food Darel could pack away.
"I didn’t know which ones were yours so I just grabbed them all." Mal pointed to the clothes pile on the ground. "I'll be right over there when you're ready." Mal nodded toward his bike, then slowly stood, only letting out one grunt as the movement hurt, and made his way to his bike.
Mal leaned against the leather seat, his long legs stretched out in front of him, his hands on the bike on either side of him. Mal felt exhausted and he hadn't even done anything but threaten a few guys. For the first time Mal actually wondered if he would have won if it had come to a fight. With the way he was feeling right now, he started to doubt that he'd have come out on top. One good punch or kick to his chest and he would have gone down like a sack of potatoes.
This was definitely one time Mal was thankful for the survival instinct. He hated to think what they had been planning on doing to Kaden if Mal hadn't come round the corner. Though he had to wonder just how much they thought they could get away with. It wasn't like the back parking lot was empty. There was sure to be other people coming and going. Just as he thought it a couple walked round the corner, the man holding onto an obviously inebriated woman. Her shoes were dangling from her hand and she leaned heavily on the young man, who was doing his best to steer her towards a vehicle on the other side of the small lot.
The guy smiled and nodded in Mal's direction when he saw him but otherwise didn't pay him any attention as he pulled keys from his pocket and unlocked his car.
Mal's attention was drawn away from the couple when a man stood from between the cars where he'd left the white wolf not a couple of minutes ago. Mal's grin grew wider and wider as he took in the man before him. Not at all what he'd expected, the man was down-right pretty. Soft short blond hair, dark eyes, a sharp nose and lips that just begged to be kissed. His cheeks were flushed and his clothes dirty and wrinkled from where they'd been discarded on the ground.
Mal didn't stand to his full height, he didn't want to scare the man as he slowly made his way toward Mal. It didn't take him very long and soon Mal was faced with one of the prettiest men he'd laid eyes on is quite some time. Kaden wasn't as short as Mal was expecting him to be but Mal still stood well over half a foot taller.
He offered his hand in introduction. "Name's Malcolm Demir, everyone calls me Mal." Kaden shook his hand, the man's skin soft and smooth, unlike Mal's own calloused palms.
"Well, Kaden, it's a pleasure to meet you."
"You too, thanks for the help." The man's cheeks went pink and Mal wanted to kiss him he looked so adorable.
"How are you? Are you sure you don't need a hospital or a doctor at least, I saw blood on your coat."
Before Kaden could reply the sound of retching came from the other side of the lot. Mal looked over to see the man from before standing on the passenger side of the car, the door open. His girl was obviously not very well at present.
"I'm fine thank you. It wasn't anything that would scar, the shifting helped to start the healing. I should be fine again in a few days."
Mal nodded. "How about we get out of here, I seem to recall promising you some food."
Kaden bit his lip, obviously unsure whether or not to trust Mal. Mal smiled gently then reached inside his jacket for his ID.
"Here," he said as he handed it over, hoping it would help calm any nerves Kaden might have.
Kaden took the wallet cautiously, then flipped it open. Mal saw the exact second Kaden realised what Mal did for a living. His eyes widened and he stared at the identification for several minutes.
"You're a dragon rider?" he asked reverently.
"Yep." Mal grinned. He liked the expression on the young man's face. "I'm a Ranger."
Kaden looked up at him, his eyes practically bugging from his head. "I'm an accountant," he whispered.
Mal laughed, he couldn't help it.
"You willing to come get a late night snack with me?" he asked as Kaden handed back his wallet. Mal tucked it back into his pocket then smiled widely when Kaden nodded.
"Great, jump on," Mal said as he pushed away from the bike. He grabbed the helmet he'd hung on the handle and handed it to Kaden. "Here you wear this."
Kaden didn't protest and he pulled the helmet over his head. Mal straddled the bike and scooted a little further forward than he'd usually sit to make room for Kaden behind him. The man swung his leg over the set and settled snugly against Mal's back. Mal waited to feel Kaden's hands on his waist but when that didn't happen Mal looked back in confusion.
Kaden had his hands in his lap. Mal reached back, grabbed them and pulled them around his waist. He was careful as to where he placed them, the move alone had hurt. He didn't want to add anymore to his pain, or to Kaden’s.
"Hold on tight," he said as he turned the key and the engine roared to life. He felt Kaden tense behind him, but Mal ignored it. Instead he straightened the bike, kicked up the stand and slowly drove them out of the parking lot.
This wasn't at all how Mal saw his night ending but he couldn't say he was disappointed with the way things had turned out.