June 15, 2008 (3 am)
Odin and Blood Fang had been a real mess after their fight. Shayd had offered sexual favors as recompense for the trouble she caused, and had been refused and mildly reprimanded by Odin. Both Fang and he had explained in clear terms that it was too dangerous to allow a physical relationship to develop between them.
However, Odin also said he did welcome contact between them. They were human, yes, but also wolf and physical contact was an important and healthy part of their pack relationship. So, Shayd had instead helped them get cleaned up, dress their wounds, wash their bloodied clothing and generally simply share her space at her apartment with them. No words were exchanged during this time — they found they didn’t need them. Allowing instinct to guide them but not drive them as poor Blood Fang often felt pulled to do, they discovered they could touch without having to take things to a sexual level. Or rather, at least Odin and Shayd did. If Odin and Fang formed the original core of the developing pack, Shayd was rapidly becoming the glue that held them together.
It was during this time of bonding Odin received a call. A woman named Cerai asked to meet with him and mentioned she had been given the number by Max Romen who thought they might be very interested in meeting her as well as a “cub just come into his own this very night”. Odin caught the insinuation they, too, were werewolves and were hoping to find a place in a new pack.
Fang grumpily dumped cereal in a mixing box and sloshed milk in on top of it. He watched Odin pace as he spoke on the phone. A lot of all listen and no talk dominated the room. The years that they had know each other had helped Fang read the new Alpha of the pack. So he left him alone in his silent conversation.
His attention returned to the massive bowl of cereal. Co-Co puffs and chocolate milk were shoveled into his mouth with force, a little milk dribbled down his chin.
The sex had been so bad he was still rigid. Guess you really do get what you pay for, he thought as he tried to eat away the pain in his pants. But then the temptation was still in the room. He could smell her scent and it was frustrating.
Fang figured he could pull off sulking because he gave in to Odin in the fight. But they both knew how close it was. No way in hell did Fang want to babysit an entire pack. Nope second in command was for him, after all Odin listened to him most of the time anyway.
But still his eyes followed her every move.
Shayd had been doing some aerobics in the corner of the living room when Blood Fang returned. Keeping toned and in shape — but not overly muscular — was important to her, after all. Fang noticed she’d changed into tights, maybe spandex, for her workout. She watched him watch her out of the corner of her eyes a little while and could see he was unhappy, but she misread what was bothering him. Seeking to help him, she raised herself from the floor where she’d been doing some stretches while doing the splits, and moved over to him. She glanced at Odin and saw he was still on the phone and probably wasn’t paying attention to them.
She rubbed his back in an attempt to assure him. “It’s okay Fang. Odin’s alpha now, and I’m sorry you guys got into it so bad over it,” she said in hushed tones. “You shouldn’t feel bad that you lost to him. He’s a really tough guy, you know? It’ll work out.”
“Muh, Moos na dat gu? o vay.” another large spoonful of cereal was shoved in. “ner o ay I ost,ave im ” He swallowed. “He knows. ”
“Uh,” Shayd wasn’t sure what he’d said, except that he wasn’t mad about that. She continued to massage his shoulders. “Oh! Are you mad about the rat thing? I really am sorry about that. Next time I’ll listen to Odin, honest.”
He spun around on the bar stool to look at her. “You really have no idea huh? Okay I will let you in on the secret. I am upset that the sex I got while on the beer run was pathetic and less than satisfying.” He shoved another spoonful in his mouth as he has brought the bowl with him as he turned.
She felt like an idiot. Stung, she took her hands off him, realizing that now all she was doing was tormenting him. At the same time she got the impression that his lack of success was somehow her fault and her cheeks colored, though she wasn’t sure if she was embarrassed or angry. None of this was Fang’s fault, of course. He was the way he was and she was the way she was and there was no help for it. The worst part of all this was that she really liked him. It occurred to her that the situation, not being able to do what they wanted, pissed her off. But there was no one to blame for it. Again, it just was the way it was.
“Damn,” she said. “I’m sorry for that, Fang. That was stupid of me. And maybe you don’t want me touching you right now, either but are too nice to tell me that.” She stepped around him, pulled out a chair and sat down next to him. “You want me to just give you space?”
Christ, How is it the one woman who doesn’t seem to mind my nature is the one I can’t have? Somehow I’m blaming Odin. He smiled at the thought. Then sat his bowl down, took a drink of beer, thought about it and disappeared into the bathroom.
A few moments later he returned and stood over Shayd. She could tell he rinsed away the beer and cereal on his breath with mouthwash. “I am gonna do something, something I may regret when Odin decides to beat me. But trust me when I say I think it is worth it. It may be all I ever get, so forgive me.”
With that he wrapped his hands gently across her cheeks and leaned in and kissed her, deeply, gently and passionately. Putting all that sex between them could be into that one motion. Her eyes widened and then narrowed in dreamy compliance as she returned the kiss.
on the phone…
“So, Cerai, is it? How soon are you wanting to meet?” Odin asked.
“Were it just me, I would say it could wait until morning, but there is the cub to consider. The sooner the better.”
“Ok,” Odin said. He gave her Shayd’s address. “Meet us here in about half an hour. Where are you two at right now?”
Cerai told him of the location of the phone booth she was calling from.
“I will see you two in half an hour, then. Goodbye”, Odin said as he hung up his cell phone.
Odin turned around to tell the other two of his pack about the guests that were coming, when he saw Fang and Shayd in a passionate kiss. Not wanting his anger to take over, Odin said in a loud voice, “What do you two think you are doing?”
Without moving away or stopping the kiss Fang held hand up in Odin’s direction. Giving him the universal sign for not now.
“Don’t give me that,” Odin said. “We have company coming, so clean your act up.”
Fang curled three fingers in and tucked them under his thumb. It was an old teasing gesture but he did not stop kissing Shayd. Not as long as she let him continue.
Odin then calmly walked over to the kitchen sink, turned on the cold water, and pulled out the sprayer. Returning the single finger gesture back, Odin aimed the sprayer at the both of them, and let loose with a blast of cold water.
With the cold water hitting him he let go of of Shayd and turned on Odin. Grabbing him by the neck in arm lock and giving hum nuggies by rubbing his knuckles across his head. “That’s it ass, say uncle!” he shouted with a smile.
Odin started laughing, as he started to retaliate by tickling along the sides of Fang’s ribs.
Fang tried to resist the laughter that was inevitable.” Say mercy Bitch.” He said as he wet one finger and stuck it in Odin’s ear.
“Mercy is for the weak,” Odin said as he continued to tickle Fang. When Fang stuck his wet finger in Odin’s ear, Odin had enough. Reaching back, Odin grabbed for the back of Fang’s underwear, intending to pull up with all his might, yelling out, “Wedgie!”
Fang laughed as he new something that Odin was about to find out. As his hand reached for the waistband of his underwear, to his surprise Odin realized Fang was not wearing underwear. He had left them behind with the woman at the hotel and had not had the time to replace them.
Shayd was still feeling the heat from the kiss, though Fang and Odin’s childish antiques had already ruined the mood. She rolled her eyes and decided perhaps it was for the best anyway. She brushed off remaining water on her and left the room, retreating to her bedroom, though she left the door open so she could hear when they decided to knock off the play-time.
Odin encircled his arms around Fang just under his ribs, and gave a mighty squeeze. Causing Fang to expel the air from his lungs, Odin only did this when he was tired of playing.
Once Fang let go of Odin, Odin said as he stood up, “Straighten up, we have company coming.”
“Not…..” wheeze,” cool…” Fang gulped in air and returned to his cereal. He was relieved that it had distracted him from Shayd. And at the same time there was a pain in his chest that had nothing to do with the oaf named Odin.
The walk from the phone booth to Shayd’s place was about eight blocks long. Not too bad, though in this neighborhood it seemed to take a lot longer. Wary, suspicious glances seemed to follow the mis-matched couple as they picked their way across streets and alleys to find the apartment Odin had directed them to.
Finally they discovered a run-down five story building. Even a slum lord would be ashamed of the condition the building was in. It was a wonder the city hadn’t already condemned it. Likely, it was only a matter of time.
At least they didn’t have to walk up to the apartment, however. There was a rickety but serviceable elevator with a gate you had to pull closed they could take. They rode it up to the third floor and the moment they stepped out onto the floor they knew this was someone’s home ground. Had they been in wolf form they might have identified it by scent. Instead it was an ineffable feeling, something that did not threaten them, but the subtle power here would certainly have caused humans to find any excuse they could to avoid this floor. They passed two abandoned apartments before they found the one Odin had told them about. Whoever lived here had very little money, or simply didn’t care what the place looked like on the outside.
A knock on the door, despite it being 3:45 in the AM, brought a quick answer.
Odin and Fang had quit screwing around long enough for Odin to tell the other two to expect visitors of the wolfen kind. It was Shayd who answered the door.
Charlie and Cerai were presented with a very attractive auburn-haired woman who obviously took good care of her body and her health. She wore a one-piece jumpsuit usually worn by people working out and it showed every curve. By the way she held herself, she was used to be eyed and didn’t mind if someone took a long look.
“Hey,” she said. She opened the door wide and gave the new arrivals a wide smile. “You must be the two Odin spoke of. I’m Shayd.”
Cerai’s gaze skimmed Shayd and was unmoved by the display. “I am Cerai.” Cerai’s own clothes hid most of her figure, save for where her ragged shirt stretched a bit across her breasts. The only things that set her appearance apart from a street person was the fact her clothes were well mended, her relatively exotic appearance (how many part Innuit do people see in Denver), and the necklaces around her neck. Bits of bone, polished and carved stone, and what looked like a wolf fang on leather thongs and silk threads adorned her neck.
WOW! Are all the creatures in this club hot! This was Charlie’s first thought as he gazed on the one piece number standing before him. A slight eyebrow raise as he looked upon Shayd, “Hi, I’m Charlie… Charlie Thomas. Thank you for letting us come to your place.”
Charlie stood around 5′ 9″. He seemed fit but not overly built. His presence told Shayd this area of town was not his scene. However, she could also tell that fact did not seem to bother him.
Shayd liked what she saw. She leaned against the door. “The pleasure’s all mine,” she said with sultry charm. After a moment, she stepped back and swept her arm to welcome them in a simple gesture. “Come on in, you two. Welcome to my home. It’s not much but… no one bothers me here. The guys are over here.”
She led Cerai and Charlie into the main living area, which really didn’t take anything more than two steps to pass the entry way and be in the living room. They waited only a moment before Odin and Blood Fang showed up.
“Cerai, Charlie, this is Blood Fang and Odin,” Shayd introduced her new pack.
“Good to meet you… well, considering the situation.” Charlie extended his hand out to the first taker.
Fang had been observing from a comfortable distance. After having examined both in turn, the lady perhaps a little longer, he stepped forward. Five foot eight inches of muscle took Charlie’s hand in a very firm grip, brown eyes and a smile met Charlie. His head was obviously shaved and not recently. Fang held Charlie’s hand for only a moment then let go.
“Your hands are soft.” And compared to Fang’s they were. He stepped back and took a seat. “I’m Blood Fang, and that is Odin.” He said gesturing toward the lumbering blonde next to him. Fang had placed himself immediatly behind and to Odin’s side, indicating rank.
Cerai took note of Fang’s actions. “My hands aren’t,” she said with a little smile. “I am Cerai, known as Howls At Moonrise amongst our people.” She was a scant inch shorter than Fang, and her hands were small, narrow but obviously someone who used her hands a lot.
Fang was never one for manners, or doing things properly. He stood again realizing that he had, to others, ignored Cerai. Though he had taken in every detail of her, hair, eyes and structure was a mundane in the looks department, though when added together she possesed an exotic quality that was appealing. Like those damn chai latte tea things. So froofy yet he couldn’t get enough.
He moved to her and took her hand in his and kissed the back of it. “Howls at Moonrise, I bet you were named as such because that is what all the men do around you. Exotic and sexy, good qualities to posses.”
He circled her scrutinizing her clothing. “The clinging stretch across the breasts is working for you, but the rest we need to redo.” He stopped in front of her. “I can take you shopping, Odin can pay and if not,” he looked at Charlie, “I bet Soft Paw has money.”
Charlie never thought of himself as soft. Of course this Blood Fang looked like he worked as a mechanic all his life. Either way, Charlie could tell he was not in his element.
“So! Do you have any beer?” Charlie exhaled as he realized he was very thirsty.
Shayd nearly choked, she was trying so hard not to laugh at Fang’s behavior. “Sure Charlie,” she said. “I’ll get you something.” After she returned from a short trip to the beat-up, old Frigid-Aire, she presented him with a bottle of Bud Light she opened for him. “This place isn’t much,” she said, “but I always have something to drink. I’ve got whiskey, too, if you’d rather have that later.”
“Does this mean you’re accepting us into your pack?” she asked, looking from Fang to Odin. She could see their healing injuries and wondered at their cause. A dominance fight, perhaps? Or have they already had their control of their territory tested? And not even a single question about who we are, and what we can contribute to the pack other than teeth and claws?
Shayd looked amused. “Nobody has invited anybody to anything. That’s up to Odin,” she nodded toward the alpha. “We may be part animals here,” she said with a wry little smile, “but that’s no reason I can’t offer a little hospitality to guests who come with Max Romen’s recommendation.
“Anyway,” she continued, “I’m gonna guess you want to be part of our pack. There’s no other reason Max Romen would send you to us. I’ve only just met Odin and Blood Fang a couple days ago myself and we staked our claim yesterday.” The bag of empty spray paint cans was sitting on the floor at the end of the couch; an obvious testament to her statement alluding to the newness of the pack. “Personally, the pack thing is a change for me since I haven’t been with one for a long time. Odin and Fang convinced me it’d be a good idea to leave the solo game in my past.” She shrugged. “I think it’ll work out. And maybe hooking up into a pack with us is a really good idea for the two of you, too. Why don’t you two tell us a little about yourselves? And Cerai, you want something to drink? I got beer or whiskey or bottled water.”
“Bottled water will be fine, thank you,” Cerai said with a nod and a smile. “But I was referring to Fang’s offer to have Odin pay for new clothes for me. That kind of thing is usually reserved for pack members, not strays passing through. But you are correct, proper introductions are probably in order.”
Shayd chuckled as she retrieved the water for Cerai. “I haven’t known Fang long, but I think you’ll find that offering to spend Odin’s money? That’s just Fang’s style.”
Her body language changed, and Odin and Fang immediately recognized it as similar to that which Andrea Waters took when imparting wisdom to her pack. “I am Howls At Moonrise, also known as Cerai, blood kin to Sharptooth, the Bone Shadow Cahalith loremaster of the Thundering Mountains pack near Juneau, Alaska, in whose pawprints I also travel.
“He trained me well in the ways and lore of the Uratha and in rites and rituals essential to any pack, especially one just starting out. When he deemed my training complete, he led me on a vision quest. That led me south, through the wilds of western Canada that is controlled by the Pure, and eventually here to Denver.” She couldn’t help but give a little smile. “And it appears I managed to avoid Max Roman’s attention for almost two weeks, until I was called to guide Charlie here through his First Change.
“I also have more mundane skills that would benefit the pack. I am skilled in crafts, especially prefer carving and tattooing. I know first aid and am familiar firearms. And I can hold my own in a fight, though I have yet no scars with which to tell those tales.”
Odin stood with arms crossed, watching the two newcomers, apriasing them for the worth it would bring to the pack.
Odin listened to Cerai’s history of how she arrived to be here in front of him and the others, and of what she could bring to the pack. Odin then spoke, “I can see the worth you would bring to any pack Cerai, and would welcome you to join us.”
Odin then turned his cool gaze upon Charlie, saying, “You have just been reborn into a new world. I am sure that you may have thousands of questions you want to ask, feel free to do so. I am alpha of the Freki Ulfr Pack, and I welcome the both of you.”
A smile lit up Cerai’s face, and she ducked her head, lowering her eyes to the ground for the first time since she’d arrived. “May I learn the scent of my new pack?”
Fang kept his comments to himself though the smile probably betrayed him.
Charlie didn’t know were to begin. He watched and listened very carefully to how Cerai treated Odin and the others. He was obviously the boss in this gang. However, he knew there was more to them than just the brutes and one pieces he saw before him.
Charlie put back the bottle of hoppy tainted water and then looked to Odin. Taking a cue from Cerai, he lowered his head slightly and calmly stated, “I don’t know were to begin. I sense this is a time for me to prove my worth to you all, but I’m not entirely sure what you would deem worthy. I honestly don’t know enough as to say what I can contribute. I feel for reasons not known to me that I am indebted to Cerai. Maybe you can sum up what I’ve gottin myself into… Oh and I feel another beer would help me absorb this information better.”
“Get the man a beer.” Fang said with a smile as looked at Shayd. “Me too while you are there.” His grin was all cheese for her.
“Smart ass,” Shayd told Blood Fang. But she retrieved a couple beers with a smile. She opened Charlie’s for him and handed it to him; the other she tossed to Fang unopened, figuring the man had plenty of experience catching beer bottles so as not to agitate their contents.
They settled down into a discussion about what it meant to be a werewolf and taught Charlie some important terms, such as the name they had for themselves as a people. Werewolves referred to themselves as Uratha, which Charlie instinctively knew it was a word from an ancient language, something spoken by beings before there were even living things on the planet.
They explained to him that Uratha weren’t just monsters from legend. They could be that, of course, and he was strongly cautioned to keep tight control of his emotions, lest his nature reveal itself and cause unnecessary harm to others.
But Uratha were also beings of spirit, something human did not have. They were blessed with being the spiritual children of an ancient, mighty spirit called Father Wolf. Although Father Wolf is long since passed, his children carry on his duty. The Forsaken, a nickname used for the Uratha who try to fulfill Father Wolf’s ancient duty, are charged with protecting the world from spirits who might slip across into our world. Usually this is to satisfy their own bizarre and alien needs, but it is almost always to the detriment of those who live in this world.
Yet, the Forsaken recognize their kinship with these same spirits even as they act as police. It is their spirit side that grants them their power and they would do well to appease those spirit that might grant them power.
Thus they broached the topic of a Totem. A Totem is a spirit that agrees to aid a pack of werewolves. In exchange for power, the spirit gains access to the pack’s Loci (usually), as well as establishing some ban the pack must perform. A ban is a requirement, usually in line with the spirit’s nature, that must be followed or the power granted to the pack may not be provided. Insult a totem enough and it may abandon the pack it sponsors.
But a Totem is a powerful link and ally to the spirit world and often is a crucial advantage for a pack to have over its enemies. Besides power, Totems will usually fight along side a pack in defense of its territory, especially in the spirit world.
Shayd in particular explained Cerai’s actions to Charlie. When she “sniffed” the other’s of the pack, she learned what they smelled like. It seems like a very animal thing to do — and it is. But Uratha are part wolf and to deny that is dangerous to good mental health. Learning who the others were in this way enabled Charlie to find them later. Shayd didn’t push him to try any more shapeshifting tonight, though, but just let him get used to the idea first. He knew where to find her at least, and could contact her if he had trouble.
By the end of the talk, the pack was bushed and ready to catch some z’s.