A Cat Among Wolves Ch. 02bykitten101©
The next few weeks had been boring by Sabeen's standards. Ange had disappeared from the house swiftly after her loss to Sabeen, and the word had gotten out about how badly outclassed she had been in the fight. The only time Sabeen saw her was when she was slinking around with Theo. Those times Ange cringed and left the general area as quickly as possible. Her lesson had been learnt.
Theo only cropped up occasionally, but those times made her skin crawl a little. She took a look at him with her mind one afternoon, and he scared her.
Many shifters had some very small power to enhance their own natural one. Hers was a bit of a temperamental gift, sometimes she'd look and see nothing, and sometimes she'd get a small glimpse of power or inner thoughts. In her head Theo had looked like a black oil covered wolf, slowly advancing on her. She explored the similarities between him and her not so fond memories of Robbie in her diary, and made a decision to stay the fuck away from him for as long as possible.
Theo hadn't made any moves yet, but she was beginning to doubt that Marcus's influence would hold him back much longer. Marcus didn't seem to have the iron hold on his entire pack that he once did. She didn't for a second discount Ange's influence in Marcus's waning leadership. The woman was cunning and well liked (for unknown reasons) amongst the pack, and many still considered her an Alpha, despite her loss at Sabeen's hands. It didn't help Sabeen's suspicions that she could be found on the fringes of any trouble that erupted.
Marcus had fallen into a new routine with Sabeen in the house. Usually he was more of a late morning sleeper, but he had adjusted his schedule to hers - it was more out of necessity than anything else. He had discovered Sabeen to be a loud morning person. It wasn't intentional - she was just extremely clumsy for a cat. From the moment her feet hit the floor at 5am in the morning (on the dot every morning) until the moment she got outside for her morning run she crashed into walls, stumbled over her own feet and slammed doors.
He found sleep somewhat impossible through all the noise and so ended up running most mornings with her. It definitely was not a company thing, she was barely there in the morning so spoke very little and did not have much of a reaction to his presence but he found it incredibly peaceful. At that time in the morning he could almost believe that today's trials would be non-existent and the Pack would take some strides towards going back into is previously tight-knit family unit.
They had suffered huge losses while on the Council's mission, as he'd known they would. His original second and third in command had been brought down leaving him in a vulnerable position. Theo's father was killed early in the mission, and Marcus had seen the changes this brought about in his former friend. Many of the partnered male wolves had been killed, leaving Marcus with far too many widowed women. He was aware of how they looked at him, and when the bitch-fights had begun to crop up he had been forced to choose a mate. He had gone for Ange, who at the time seemed like a sensible choice. She was beautiful, unassuming, the women respected her, and the men wanted her. Looking back now he could see the blaring mistake he had made in assuming that she didn't want him for his power. She had definitely wanted power, she was just better at hiding it than some.
Sabeen enjoyed their morning runs a little more than she probably should have. Mornings made her feel foggy and stupid, so the first time Marcus had met her at the door and joined in she had blinked stupidly at him and strived to appear unaware of him for the rest of the run. Ignoring him was hard at times, like when he shook his hair out of his eyes, or when he stripped off his tee-shirt in an attempt to cool down. But then no self-respecting woman would ignore those things.
Running was a good excuse to map out the areas around her and familiarize herself with the normal scents and sounds of the area. But more importantly it established a routine. If any wolf or cat did a little homework they could see that morning was clearly the best time to ambush her. She was loud and clumsy in the morning, but some of it was played up for the wolves around her. She could be surprisingly onto it when she had to be, and actually preferred to fight in the morning. With the routine set up the way it was, chances were, if she was attacked at anytime, while she was running would be it.
She slowly eased into the wolves lives, and despite her reservations, she found that she liked quite a few of the them. Finn was very funny and great company, and Bucky had a true heart of gold. Marcus's third in command, Rob, spent a fair bit of time around the house, mostly with Bucky and the three of them got her into the habit of drinking scotch with them semi-regularly.
She did wonder, when seeing Rob and Bucky together for the first time, if there wasn't a little more than friendship happening. Both wolves were older than her, in their early thirties. Bucky was short and on the slender side with a serious dislike of fighting, and so was almost at the bottom of the pack heirachy. Living with Marcus gave him enough protection to avoid being bullied by most of the other wolves.
Rob was a big Cuban looking man, and seemed to have appointed himself Bucky's official protector. She couldn't find a tactful way to enquire about their relationship, so didn't end up asking anyone.
The house was a bit of a meeting spot for all the wolves, and they often stopped in to chat to their leader before heading out for a run. Marcus encouraged it, and spent large amounts of time circulating through his pack. Finn had explained to her that a wolf pack leader was constantly proving his leadership to his pack, and could be de-powered at any time - it was a little more unstable than the pack Sabeen had come from. Marcus was working harder than usual because of the new rifts in his pack.
Sabeen thought that many of the problems in the pack could have been healed by the banishment of Theo, but understood Marcus's reasons for not driving the man away - to an extent. Theo made her skin crawl, and she was extra vigilant about knowing where he was at all times. She didn't trust him, but had no clear evidence to take to Marcus (not that she was sure he'd listen to her).
Finally one night about a month after she had arrived in the house she found a genuine reason to hate Theo. Finn, Bucky and Sabeen had been watching old movies in the rec-room and she had fallen asleep on one of the couches. The men, not wanting to wake her, had left her there and turned out the lights.
It was late when she had woken up, and she could hear someone moving inside the house. She sat up, ready to investigate when Theo swung around the corner.
"Sabeen, nice to see you." He grinned his predatory grin.
"I was just looking around for our glorious leader... Where is Marcus?"
"He's out on a run with Rob and a few of the girls." she said as Theo moved further into the room.
"You aren't jealous are you? He's entitled to his... friendships. As are you. We all know that you two certainty aren't claiming each other as mates." Theo said greasily.
She injected a little sarcasm and scorn into her words. " Thank you for your concern Theo, but no I'm not jealous of Marcus, and I feel no need to embark on any 'friendships' here."
"So then we are not friends?" He asked blatantly raking his eyes over her body.
"That would really be a pity Sabeen, because I have been dying to take a taste of what Marcus has been refusing these past weeks. You certainty are a good looking piece of ass, even if you're not quite broken yet. To tell you the truth I like em a little wild, and I think you'd enjoy a little pain." He grinned wider, and she saw his teeth lengthening.
"Not a chance in hell. Back off." She growled circling away from the couch and more to the centre of the room. Marcus would be pissed if Theo bled on his couch.
"I'm going to enjoy this cat."
Theo jumped at her, much faster than she thought the lout would be able to move. She swiped at him, leaving red streaks down his face, but missing the arteries in his neck that she had been aiming for.
Theo didn't pause, he jumped at her, catching her off balance. She ended up on her stomach, with the half changed wolf pinning her against the couch. Sabeen was very close to losing her temper entirely.
She raged. "Get your disgusting, slimy, dog jaws off me Theo. And for fucks sake have a doggie mint, your breath stinks."
She was about to change and teach the dog a lesson he wouldn't forget when the lights flicked on and Marcus strode in looking pissed off.
"You heard her Theo. Let her go or I'll set her loose on you - damn the cost of the dry-cleaning and re-carpeting."
Theo slowly stood up changing until he was fully human again. Sabeen sat up furiously swiping at her neck. Dog drool was disgusting.
"My apologies Marcus. I didn't realize I was encroaching on your territory." He gave a sly smile.
"Its not my territory I think you need to worry about." Marcus growled.
Despite his words - and the fact that Sabeen was more than capable of defending herself - all he wanted to do was rip out Theo's throat. Damn-right he was encroaching on Marcus's territory, Sabeen was his property.
With one last calculating flash of teeth Theo left the house. He was submissive enough that Marcus could find no reason to swipe at him - although he would have clearly liked to. Sabeen shook her head at the men and brushed past him to head upstairs. Marcus reined in his errant anger and stopped himself from grabbing her possessively.
"Thank you for not slaughtering him in my rec-room. Did he hurt you?"
She turned slowly, there was real concern in his voice, but looking at his eyes all she could see was anger and hardness and behind it all she could see that he was tired. Her causing problems was probably the last thing he needed right now.
"I'm fine. There is absolutely no need for antiseptic."
She pulled her collar down a little to prove it. He thought she was joking and smiled a little, but she was deadly serious. That man was far too eager to splash around antiseptic.
She took a longer shower than usual, trying to banish memories of another man who had tried to rape her while sleeping. That one had almost been successful, and worse yet it had been at her fathers blessing.
Royce had been adamant that she would marry Robbie, and at her stubborn refusal he had decided that she needed to be 'broken'. She got away from Robbie that night, and earned a small reprieve when the council had sent Marcus against Marie and Anya. She hadn't been sure what she was going to do faced with the probability of rape once she was back within the pack. If she killed Robbie or went too far against her father's wishes she would have been fair game for the pack, no longer under the protection of being the strongest fighter and daughter of the leader.
She spent a few hours writing about it in her diary that night, trying to purge the memories from her mind before succumbing to an exhausted sleep.
The next morning as they ran she was more out-of-it than usual. She had not gotten anywhere near the required amount of sleep for a happy kitty-cat. They had just reached a path that they often ran, when Sabeen scented something out of the ordinary. She stopped abruptly and breathed deeply, drawing the air across the back of her tongue.
Marcus had taken a few more steps before noticing she had stopped.
"Did you smell that?" She asked, knowing he had a more sensitive sense of smell than her.
He looked confused before scenting the air around them. He did a thorough job of it, not in the habit of ignoring Sabeen's hunches. In the end they were unable to locate whatever she thought was out there and so continued with their run.
She was pretty sure she knew what had been there, but clearly it was holding back for another time. She was more vigilant than usual in the week following, but nothing out of the ordinary happened until the next Saturday morning.
There had been a party the night before to celebrate the engagement of Poppy and Jerry, two of the older wolves who lived in town with quite a few human friends. Sabeen and Marcus had attended, and Marcus had had a few drinks and a later night than usual. She had stayed sober at his request and kept a watchful eye over the wolves interacting with the humans.
Marcus didn't join her for the run in the morning, as expected, and she set off at a faster pace than usual, wanting to stretch herself a bit. She stayed reasonably close to the house, mindful of the forest around her, but pretty sure she was alone until she scented it again.
This time she didn't stop, just slowed her pace until she reached a curve in the trail and there they were. Four men and a woman stood waiting for her naked and in various stages of their changes.
"Aw, a war party from Royce. How sweet of him to think of me... And how fucking predictable."
Looking over them she saw Robbie, licking his lips obscenely at her. Taj, one of her fathers most trusted tigers and an old sparring mate. Heath, a cunning little shit - she'd have to watch him for weapons. The other two she hadn't personally known, but she'd seen the female fight, and knew she'd give her a run for her money. The male had done a lot of time in the fighting ring. She had a distinct memory of him being used to train young tigers, he didn't go easy, and more than a few young men and women bore his scars.
Her father had sent his best warriors to finish her off, which was strangely gratifying. She was a little glad to see that he had been paying attention to just how good she was. The odds were slightly stacked against her, but she was confident. In her world shifters were good or they were dead. She was good, and these cats were about to become dead.
Robbie stepped towards her opening his mouth as if he was about to say something. Trust that little fuck to have prepared a speech. Sabeen didn't give him a chance to say his spiel. Instead she charged him, knocking him to the ground.
The others were ready, and she was immediately engaged in a four to one fight. Her body took over, and her mind supplied well rehearsed fight combos. Step to the side, elbow to the gut, duck, grab, swing, crack. She broke Heaths neck. He fell instantly, and a delicate silver blade slid towards her. Where the heck had he hidden that?
She picked it up and instantly sliced Taj's chest open. It wasn't deep enough to be fatal, but she would bet that it hurt like a bitch. Taj took a step back as Robbie joined the fight.
She stabbed at Robbie, her blow glancing off his shoulder as she was forced to duck the unknown male's leap. As he recovered and Robbie stumbled she delivered a lightning fast kick to the female's throat, crushing her windpipe. She dropped gasping for air and gurgling.
The male changed fully into his tiger form and took another leap at her. This time she didn't duck, she did her best to evade the claws and thrust the dagger deep into the tigers chest, miraculously missing his ribs and catching something vital. The light had already died in his eyes when he hit the ground.
Taj and Robbie changed fully into their tiger forms and attempted to bulldoze her to the ground. Sabeen punched Robbie hard enough to break the skin over his eye-socket and kicked Taj hard enough to break ribs. While they were occupied she slipped off her clothes, changed and rushed Taj.
She tricked him into thinking she would engage him head on, and then swerved to the side. Taj had never remembered to keep his chin down when they were fighting, and she took advantage of that now, delivering the killing bite with a little regret that he'd never get the chance to learn it.
Robbie paused for a second before re-engaging her. She took advantage of that and spun behind him, catching a hind leg with her outstretched claws and doing some serious ligament damage to the slower tiger. They tussled for a moment and then broke free, staring each other down and limping in wide circles.
Sabeen had not got through the fight unmarked, but she ignored the aches and pains, focusing only on Robbie. Then it was over. Robbie roared and attacked, slow on his damaged hind leg. She swiped twice, missing his neck once, and then finding her spot the second. Her claws dug deep into his flesh and he collapsed panting and bleeding profusely into the dirt.
She stood looking at the dead around her and roared her rage. How dare Royce send his missionaries to kill her, and only five of them! He had seriously underestimated her. Yet again.
She changed back into her human form and taken a quick catalogue of her injures. She had what felt like a deeply bruised wrist, a sprained ankle, some deep scratches over her ribs and most concerning was a deep cut across her hip. Heath must have got her with his dagger before she broke his neck.
She dragged all the cats off the path and into a valley, where she covered them with branches. Then she disguised the blood on the path with leaves. It would have to do until she had help to dispose of the bodies properly. Slipping her ruined clothes back on she grimaced at her need for modesty and headed back to the house.
When she walked into the kitchen Bucky was the first to spot her. Marcus and Finn turned to see her when Bucky dropped the coffee pot he was filling and ran to grab the first aid kit.
"Don't even think about it. Put the fucking antiseptic back in the draw." She snarled before heading upstairs to shower.
Marcus stood and evaluated the amount of blood on her clothes before taking the kit off Bucky. The blood was probably not all hers, but he wasn't going to take the chance.
"Finn, Bucky, grab a few of the others, go see where the bodies are. Don't come back until its clean."
As they left he headed up the stairs. He didn't stop at the bathroom door, she hadn't locked it anyway. He locked it after himself though, just in case she tried to get out.
Sabeen had hopped into the shower, hoping to get some of the blood off herself before Marcus came to investigate. He pulled back the shower curtain and gave her a once over, practically ignoring the fact that she was naked. No doubt planning which part of her body to douse in antiseptic first.
"The hip's a bit of a worry. You might need stitches there. I can't really just bandage it. Everything else will be fine, the scratches on your ribs are closing up already. What else hurts?" He asked.
Sabeen rolled her eyes and turned off the water. Marcus passed over a towel to pat herself (gently!) dry with.
"My ankle's sore as hell. Its not too swollen though. It feels like a strain. And my wrist hurts. I landed on it pretty hard at one point but I think I've just bruised it deeply. You can see where its beginning to color up now. It doesn't feel like the bone." She said, rotating it experimentally.
Marcus shook his hair back and prodded at her wrist and ankle before agreeing with her. He strapped a couple of cold packs to each, and then pulled a tube of white cream out of his pocket.
"Antiseptic. No stinging, and no smell."
He handed it to her and she gave it a cautious sniff before dutifully beginning to apply it to her cuts. He wrapped bandages around her ribs to keep the scratches clean, and then bent down to examine her hip.
"How in the hell was this done? Never mind you'll tell me later." He said, sounding angry to his own ears.
"Does it really need stitches?" She asked.
He looked at her incredulously. "Yes it does. Its deep, and its not in a spot that would naturally heal quickly."