Worthy

byericthebard©

Disclaimer: I wrote this story some time ago, and never posted it because I felt it too violent, too dark. I post it now because I feel I have matured enough to bear any criticism for that. You have been warned.

If, on the other hand, I manage to gain positive feedback, there may be more of Mirk in the future...


I had a date.

This didn't happen very often. I wasn't the kind who dated. Predators like me aren't built for the merry song and dance of courtship, and besides, any woman who wanted to make anything work with me would have to be my equal, and I've yet to meet anyone who fit that description.

But this woman had been singularly persistent, and knew my identity. She had somehow connected Marcus Chadwell, security adviser and owner of Preemptive Strike Security, to Mirk, the urban terror, the man who had left a string of dead thugs and gangbangers across four states. I didn't like that. It implied I had a leak, that I was vulnerable, and we just couldn't have that noise.

So there I was at a nice little bistro as the sun set, dressed casually in a polo and slacks, sunglasses screening jade eyes from the last rays of the sun. I never lack for companionship when I want it; I'm a good-looking guy, and have been told I'm pretty charming, too. So I wasn't worried about making an impression.

Then she walked in. My eyebrows shot up into my hairline as I watched her stalk in with the grace of a hunting cat. She, too, wore loose slacks, and her shoes looked to be low boots. Her blouse and jacket matched her slacks, the whole outfit a dark shade of red, what a wine connosieur would call port. It matched her dark hair and olive complexion well. Her eyes met mine, but I saw them capture everything else that was going on, as well, lingering to catch the same things I had marked upon entering -- the quiet man in the corner who seemed to watch everything, the thick-bodied guardian of the back room door, and the waitress with the sharp eyes and too-short skirt. I smelled her even as she entered, her perfume a light floral scent, her own unique scent under that stronger, muskier.

I was intrigued.

She slid into the seat across from me. "Mirk," she said pleasantly.

I gave her a smile that wasn't, baring my teeth. "Marc," I corrected her. "I'd like to know where you developed this little misconception that I'm a killer."

For answer, she smiled and slid a small manila folder my way. She truly was a stunning woman, and I was beginning to feel my baser urges kick in. Predator I am, but animal I am not; I controlled my instincts and opened the folder, sliding out one of the eight eight-by-eleven glossy photographs that clearly showed me kicking the shit out of a group of thugs. I remembered them; they had tried to mug me.

"Fascinating," I murmured. A slow burn of anger uncoiled within me, but also a bit of admiration. How anyone could get close enough to capture this, and my enhanced senses not catch them...that was a feat. I looked for the telltales of digital enhancement, eyes sharper than any human's picking out the details. This had been done without a flash; there had likely been too much noise in the alleyway for me to hear the distinctive click-whirr of a camera. But why hadn't I smelled her?

I slid the pictures back in the envelope and slid it across back to her. "So. Blackmail, is it?"

"It needn't be." She slipped the folder back in her purse and set it down. "You see, M -- Marcus -- I've been looking for you for some time. You and I have something in common." She smoothed her dress, caught my eyes with hers. "Take off the sunglasses."

I did so, and met her eyes. Immediately, I felt it -- the primal surge, the pure wildness we each bore within us. Both of us, predators, both of us, hunters. Both of us, born of the Blood.

We're the folk who started the werewolf legends. Those of us who bear the Beast within. Many are born with it -- not all of us can control it. We have sharper senses, better reflexes, increased strength and endurance, and we heal much faster. We don't change our shape, but those of us with the least control do...devolve. In all my twenty-six years, I had never met another Beastborn.

And here she was, right across from me.

I broke eye contact. "All right. You have my attention. Now. What do you want?"

She laughed, a sound that thrilled down my spine. The animal lust was building, but I reined in my instincts sharply. She had not yet proven herself worthy. "Isn't it obvious, Marcus? If I am tracking another of the blood, then there can only be one reason."

I nodded. Mating. I leaned forward, offering her just the hint of a smile. "And what, exactly, makes you think you're worthy of me, miss...?"

Her look was challenging, smoldering. She was feeling the fires as much as I, and she wasn't hiding it half as well. If she intended to hide it at all. "Lauren. Lauren Hynes."

"Fine, Miss Hynes. You want me?" I stood up, dropped my napkin on the table, and quite deliberately left her with the check, saying over my shoulder, "You know where to find me."

Once home, I prepared, changing into the durable street clothes and gloves I always wore when going out on a hunt. The city would be cold this night, and so I took a heavy jacket as well. Besides, it would serve well as armor. If she really was Beastborn, it would serve as padding; she'd be able to hit as hard as I.

I hoped.

I was leaning against an alley wall when she finally showed up. I pitched the cigarette I'd been smoking, eyeing her miniskirt, boots, and sleeveless leather vest. I chuckled, the last of the smoke exiting my nose and mouth. "You always dress like a whore to fight?"

She smirked. "You always talk this much?"

I laughed out loud at that and slowly began walking toward her. She didn't wait, but ran in and opened with a high heel aimed at my face. I caught a glimpse up her skirt as I ducked it and stepped back. "No panties. Nice. Come prepared for anything, I see."

"Always." Her voice smoked, simmered, smoldered, and as she craned up for a front snap to my face, my boot caught her raised calf and sent her spinning to the ground.

I waited for her to get up. "You're disappointing me, girl."

"I've barely begun," she snapped, rolling lightly to her feet. True to her word, she crab-stepped in and launched a side kick, which I easily blocked. I didn't realize until almost too late that it was a feint; before that heel was even fully down, she had shifted her hip for a spinning aerial heel to my temple. I barely ducked in time, and she slid in for the fist work.

Now this is where I really excel. As her right came in, I blocked with my forearm, and once I had wrist-to-wrist engangement, I turned my hand and pulled her arm down, my right crossing in for a backfist. Her left hand blocked, and her right twisted, seeking a grip on my left to pull my arms together. I would then be vulnerable to her knees. I broke engagement with my right hand, twisted my left to grip her blocking hand, and pulled her into a gut punch. She broke engagement and stepped back, then came in with a left jab. I knocked it away and crossed her, scoring the first actual hit of the fight. Her head snapped back, but I had to twist to avoid a knee to my groin. It struck my hip instead, and then she had me on the defensive, blows raining down so fast I had little choice but to block or take hits to go back on the offensive.

She was good. But I saw immediately -- she was inexperienced. She'd never fought a human before who came even close to her level. I have. You learn a lot.

As her left came in, I took back the initiative, catching her wrist and sliding under it and behind her, turning back to back to wrap my free arm around her neck and then dropping to my knee, pulling her over my shoulder. In wrestling, this move is called the snapmare, and in that elegantly choreographed setting, doesn't do much damage.

Were she not a Beastborn, this move, here in an alleyway, had a good chance of killing her, snapping her neck. Even as a Beastborn, I risked much, but I wanted to let her know I wasn't fooling around.

She rolled over my shoulder and hit the ground rolling. I had felt her relax her neck and push off with her feet to control the fall; she had good instincts. As she came up, I shook my arms, loosening them, and stripped off my jacket.

"Not bad," I complimented her. "Not bad at all." The long slow grin on my face made her hesitate for a moment. I think she was realizing for the first time exactly what she was facing. A wolf in man's clothing. A predator of predators. "But. Now we get serious."

I shot in, feinting left. As she took the bait, I smashed her across the face with my right, driving my heel into her gut and following back with my left in an uppercut that snapped her head back. Blood dripped from her nose, and I smelled the sudden burst of fear in her as well as the coppery tang. I spun, delivering a wicked backfist that spun her almost all the way around, following it up immediately with the following hand and continuing around, dropping to my knees to sweep her feet out from under her. She fell, and I placed a booted foot on her chest and leaned forward slightly, grinning down at her.

"We call that the Downward Spiral, sweetheart."

I took my foot off her, dragged her up, and slammed her against the alley wall. I put us nose to nose, jade eyes boring into her blue ones.

"Now you tell me, sweetheart, what precisely made you think you could step to me."

"This," she hissed, and I felt the telltale prick of a taser in an instant before it fired.

Let me tell you, folks, ten thousand volts is no fun. Even as tough as I am, it hurt like fire, and I dropped. Her foot caught me in the face, and before I knew it, she straddled me, hands on my throat.

"Now," she said, her voice seething with hatred and satisfaction. "I've beaten you, Mirk."

Her look of shock when my hand closed around her throat was priceless. "Guess again, sister," I said, and tossed her off of me like a feather. Up like a striking snake and upon her, I lifted her and put her up against the wall again. "But I'll tell you what you have done. You've impressed me."

My lips met hers. It could hardly be called a kiss. It was as combative as the rest of our encounter had been, teeth and tongue and lips struggling for dominance. Her legs came up and scissored around my waist, squeezing painfully; I ripped her leather vest apart, freeing her breasts, full and upright, with nipples that stood out in the cold night air. I could smell her arousal, too; I let go of her mouth and sank my teeth in her neck. Her head went back, and her hand fisted in my hair, her nails clawing the shirt I wore to shreds. My hands cupped her ass, fingers dipping into the center of her; she was hotter than the Amazon and twice as wet.

Her hands shot between us, trusting in her legs' grip around my waist and her back against the wall to keep her up; she managed to unzip my pants and shove them down, freeing my cock. "Fuck me, Mirk. Now."

"Happy to oblige," I told her, and slammed home into her. She threw her head back and screamed.

It didn't last long. If it did, we might have killed each other before we finished. It was a frenzy of biting and clawing, as our bestial natures took over and shoved our humanity down into a dark little corner. We snarled, snapped, and hissed at each other, and when we hit the brink, our mingled howls triggered every dog in the city.

Finally, exhausted, our humanity returning to us, we staggered apart. My shirt was in tatters; her clothes were destroyed. She would be pregnant, I knew; we always knew. Just as I knew I would never see the child.

We took separate ways out of the alley, and I never saw Lauren Hynes again. But I bear the scars of her teeth on my bicep to this day.

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