Scott had spent far too much time in hospital. Whether it was discreetly seeking treatment for his own injuries or watching over one or more of his pack, or even checking in on his mother, it had always filled him with unease. Being threatened and attacked there on multiple occasions over the years had done nothing to ease that dread.
This time was different. The scents of his pack filled the room, all safe and well. His mother was fine. Kira slept in the bed next to him, but though her face was lined with exhaustion she looked more peaceful than Scott had ever seen her.
And in his arms lay his baby daughter.
Scott could have put her in the crib, but he never wanted to let her go. She was so small, so fragile, and she had been the most precious thing in his world from the moment he laid eyes on her. He could hear the rapid patter of her heart, a sound he knew he could pick up amongst a thousand, and her scent that reminded him of Kira and his mother, but was at the same uniquely and distinctly hers.
Scott had never dreamed he would have a child. He had never thought the life of a werewolf, let alone that of a True Alpha, would ever let him feel safe enough to bring a new life into the world. He was still afraid, terrified even, but as he held his daughter he couldn’t find it in him to regret a single thing.
Another scent carried through on the dry hospital air, and Scott relaxed as the one missing piece settled into place.
Alan hummed. “The surgery was a success. He’s recovering well, and Miss Heathridge will not be leaving her Scrabble pieces out any more.” He stepped into the room, pausing by Kira. Scott glanced round at him.
“She’s okay,” he said softly. “Just worn out. Everyone came to visit.”
Alan nodded. “And you?”
Scott looked back at his newborn daughter. “Better than I’ve been in a long time.” He stood as smoothly as he could and joined his friend. Alan’s weariness seemed to evaporate on the spot as he saw her for the first time. Scott could understand the feeling.
“This is Elena.”
For once Alan’s iron control over his emotions slipped. “Elena,” he repeated. He brushed one finger very gently over the wisps of black hair. “She’s perfect.”
Scott’s face hurt from smiling so much. He never wanted to stop. “I know.” He glanced at his friend. “Would you like to hold her?”
Alan’s warm smile was all the answer he needed. Scott handed his daughter over with the utmost care, but her eyelids still flickered. Both men held their breath, but Elena merely blinked up at them with sleepy dark eyes and after a moment Scott relaxed.
“Hey, Elena,” he murmured. “Everything’s fine.” He hesitated, but he had made this decision a long time and he couldn’t think of anything more right. “This is your Grandpa Alan.”
Alan drew in a sharp breath. Scott tore his eyes from his daughter’s face to find his old mentor all but gaping at him. “If that’s okay,” he added. “But you’ve been more of a father to me than he ever was, and-”
“Scott,” Alan interrupted gently. “I would be honoured.” His eyes were very bright as he looked from Scott to Elena and back again. “And I can assure you, the feeling is quite mutual.”
Scott’s throat was too tight to speak, but Alan understood. He always had. Elena still secure in the crook of his elbow, he reached out to grip Scott’s shoulder.
“I am so proud of you, Scott.”
Scott just about managed a nod. His vision was blurring, and the tears finally spilled him over when Alan pulled him into a fierce hug.
No words were spoken, but they didn’t need them. Scott relaxed into the constant comfort of the one man who had never let him down, the only father he had ever needed, and listened to Kira’s light snores and let his hand rest upon his daughter’s head.
The full moon shone down and all was well.