Hunter: A Choice

The battle to the death ended, Garv set to the task of removing the spear from his middle. Algar had successfully skewered him, but not in a vital area. His comrade Fire Blood approached him very slowly which made me a tad nervous…did he intend to fight Garv for the right to lead? If so…I wasn't sure if Garv could take the humongous warrior, especially in his wounded state. But Fire Blood instead struck his beefy arm across his chest in a gesture of respect for Garv's new position as leader. Garv returned the warrior salute and turned to Quick Blade and Striker; they too gave the salute to him. Apparently they accepted his newfound role.

Fire Blood turned Garv around and examined the spear a moment, trying to judge the best way of removing it. The shaft needed to be severed so it could be effectively extracted without the barbed tip. Predator weapons were mostly made from the same element and they were damn near unbreakable. However, they knew how to make weapons…so therefore they knew how to break them. Flicking out a smaller disk Fire Blood reared back and in one fluid motion cut the spear shaft and let the bigger end of the weapon drop the ground, leaving only the barbed tip and the smooth shaft inside Garv's body.

"Prepare yourself." Fire Blood growled gripping the tube just below the sharp tip. Garv clicked a yes. In one quick jerk Fire Blood ripped the rod out and Garv rumbled raggedly with pain holding his middle.

The huge Predator admired the spear tip a moment before Garv retrieved his medic pack on his back and pulled out a pen-like device. He rocked a moment as if preparing himself for the inevitable pain. Very slowly he pointed the device at his wound and shrieked harshly as the object flared with a reddish laser that cauterized the wound shut and rid it of any infection. It was a relatively modern invention that replaced the old field method of filling the wound with burning putty. It wasn't any less painful but it was more efficient and quick. When he finished he handed the device to Fire Blood, asking him to get the hole in the back. He complied and seared the wound in the back shut causing Garv to shriek again.

Fire Blood snorted, "Oh get some balls…it doesn't hurt that bad."

"Shut your face Fire Blood." Garv snarled back. The big Predator chattered in a snicker.

As soon as his wound was dealt with Garv raced to my side, gently sitting me up and looking at my ribs with his mask vision. I winced trying to take small breaths to lessen the pain.

He hissed, "You've got three broken ribs and some internal bruises…but nothing you can't recover from."

I smiled, "Feels worse than that. I can't believe you're alright!"

His great head turned, "You didn't think I could beat him?"

"It's not that…he stabbed you like that…I just knew you would die."

"I'm tougher than that. That son of bitch didn't have a chance," he clicked confidently.

My head lifted, trying to find Jake, "Where's Jake? He's hurt badly."

Garv glanced over at the man lying on his side and let a heavy sigh. "He saved your life…that was a truly…honorable act."

I felt my eyebrows lift in amazement, "That sounds like a compliment."

"I'm just stating the obvious," he uttered curtly.

"Is he alright?" I asked.

Gently Garv lifted me up and took me over to Jake to examine the damage. Jake opened his eyes and rasped, "Come to finish me Garv? I know you don't like me."

I think Garv understood some of his words because he barked a quick laugh, "You're not worth the effort Ooman." He responded in his own language.

I translated quickly and Jake smiled weakly. Garv looked him over a minute and clicked, "Internal bleeding from a severed lung artery…he won't survive Little Fighter."

"What?" I gasped in horror "You're not making that up?"

He shook his head, "I wouldn't lie to you."

To confirm his statement Jake coughed speckling his lips and face with blood. Tears filled my eyes immediately and a sob clung in my chest. I pulled Jake's head to my bosom and wept in his hair, rocking back and forth.

"Why Jake? Why did you have to do that!" I whispered; crying at the same time.

The corners of his crimson mouth turned upward and a hushed rasp came from him, "I…couldn't let you die…I love you too much."

A choking moan of emotional agony slipped out of me, "How can you love me? You only met me three days ago."

"More…than enough…time." His body arched slightly in my arms, "I…am honored…to give my life for you."

The man brushed his shaking fingers across my cheek and stiffened, shaking and gasping quickly until at last he sagged in my arms. I'd lost two loved ones in one day and the strain broke my heart like glass. Numbly I blacked out…the emotion was so strong.

…………………………..

I awoke gradually and found myself on the ship lying on my designated bed. My chest ached but I found the pain to be considerably less than before. I guessed my friends must've performed a little first aide on my while I was out.

I jumped when Garv spoke up from across the room, "You're awake."

"How long was I out?" I asked unsure.

"Nearly a day. How do you feel?"

"My chest doesn't hurt as bad as it did." I admitted.

He shook his head and strode over to me, "Actually I wondered how your heart was."

I lowered my eyes, "It…might be awhile for that to get better Garv."

Both of us were silent for a moment. "You miss them don't you…Hunter and Jake?"

I was surprised Garv had called Jake by his name. That said a lot if a Predator called you by name. "Yes…of course I do."

"I know you felt something for him…Jake. Something you don't feel for…me." He murmured.

My eyes squinted in confusion but he continued in an almost ashamed far off tone, "Had he not died…you would have chosen him. I knew that. I simply couldn't accept it."

"Why do you say such things Garv?"

He rattled, "You were right…I was jealous. There…I said it. I wanted you for myself and it just angered me to see you with another."

I smiled. "But, why Garv?"

"I've…wanted you ever since the day you made your first honorable kill. I saw something I never thought I'd see in a female of your species: you were fearless and focused; you had the spirit of a Predator."

"I did?" I whispered in awe.

He nodded, "At first I didn't know how to handle such feelings…it's not exactly a common thing for a hunter to take a female of another species. But I am the clan leader now…and I…still want you."

I blinked in shock and ducked my head, "Garv…you can have any female in the clan now. Why would you want me? All my life you've been my shadow, my protector and truest friend…I'm not worthy of you."

He lifted my chin with a gentle claw, "I think I should be the judge of that. I couldn't ask for a better mate…if you will have me."

Misty eyed I smiled and put my head against his massive chest, listening to the heartbeat so different from my own. He wrapped his arms about me, holding me tight but gentle purring deeply. The sound tickled my cheek as it rolled through his chest. I felt so safe…so loved…never alone. I'd lost so much but my emptiness was being filled like a pitcher beneath a waterfall. Garv would take care of me no matter what happened and would die to protect me…and I him. I may have been born human and still carried my humanity but deep down I was a Predator and that's where my heart and soul belonged.

THE END