A Classical Werewolf Ch. 01byrosamundi©
To Lord Reynard's Fancy readers, please be patient as I edit and re-write, my disability has been rearing its ugly head. Enjoy this much shorter multi-part story for now. This story is dedicated to my partner, who hates junk science on wolves.
Remember to rate and comment, I am always encouraged by your kind or constructively critical words. Thanks! - Rosamundi
Addy planned a peaceful hike that day, not a panicked marathon through brambles. She'd been running for approximately eternity. Fleeing, actually. Only the fact that fetching the next breath absorbed all of her attention kept her life from flashing before her eyes, even now her vision tunneled and dimmed with hypoxia. She only regretted that she'd not thought of the simple expedient of climbing a tree while she'd still possessed the strength. Now she consigned her soul, such as it was, to God or the Conservation of Energy. If indeed they differed.
"It was so fucking obvious. Wolves don't climb trees." Addy thought as she collapsed to the forest floor.
She was amazed to wake, breathing easily again. Addy chose to assume this meant she was still living and in one piece. She just enjoyed the rest for a few seconds. Then the howling started again in the distance. Too bad. Though she could breathe again her muscles had quit for the time being. No tree climbing for her, let alone another run. Ten miles a day did not a marathon runner make.
She gasped her eyes open but held very still instead of starting another chase when she felt the warm tongue and cold nose in the crook of her neck. Freezing took all of her considerable will, her muscles suddenly screamed for action. Whining, not growling, vibrated on her skin as the huge grey wolf lapped at her. She relaxed a fraction and the whining stopped as it sat back, tongue lolling out and tail sweeping the undergrowth. Moving slowly, careful not to startle the wolf even though he looked about as threatening as a puppy at the moment, Addy sat up and looked around.
Okay, not nearly a marathon. All uphill though, she noted with pride. She was thoroughly lost, no trail in sight, but she could tell from the landscape reflecting their elevation that she was about twenty miles into the national park she hiked and camped regularly. She'd been about five miles along when three wolves started running AT her, a puzzle in itself. The grey one beside her seemed well nourished and calm, and as far as she knew healthy wolves did not hunt adult humans. Though admittedly she was no zoologist. And they should have outrun her almost immediately instead of erratically slowing then speeding up again.
"What were you thinking? And where are your buddies?" Addy asked the wolf softly, scooting to lean her back against a tree. He followed and his head settled on her lap. Just as she grew comfortable in a guarded way, two other wolves tore into the small clearing howling and baring their teeth as they approached on each side.
Addy didn't realize she could scream so loud and found herself on her feet without thought. She'd never been the screaming type before. Wrong tree too, no branches in reach. She clenched closed her eyes wishing they'd managed to reach her still unconscious. That's when the yelling started.
"You cheated!" In good humor.
"No fair monopolizing the bitch before the fight!" Furious and petulant.
"Look, I outran you both because I'm faster. If you want to monopolize women, maybe you should take a run once in awhile. Also, you have ten seconds to back out before I decide to fight you for real." His voice grew quieter, and charmingly smug. "Trust me, I'm motivated after a few minutes of monopoly."
Interested in the last speaker, Addy opened her eyes. Instead of wolves, she saw three naked and visibly aroused men standing toe to toe, ignoring her completely to fight amongst themselves. They were built, and the white guys sported all over tans. Maybe they were houris, and somehow despite not even trying she'd been a good enough Muslim to make it to Paradise after the wolves ate her. A psychotic break seemed more likely. Did houris fight each other? Were there even male houris? Eternal virgins seemed a tiresome prospect to her. Or maybe hell was full of pre-ejaculating virginal boys or hot naked gay men who would ignore her for all eternity to argue? The fact that she was debating any of this made a psychotic break the obvious explanation.
Addy slumped back to her butt. "Oh, thank God! I'm just having a psychotic break. No wolves chasing me. Now I'm hallucinating gorgeous naked men instead. Best psychotic break ever!"
"I'm guessing you didn't mean to say that aloud." said the smug voice belonging to the prematurely grey man who turned to her with a brilliant smile. "And I'm afraid you're wrong, no psychosis for you. Though I'll take that last bit as a compliment."
Great, now all three of them were staring straight at her lustfully. Just as well she'd worn bike shorts under her sundress. The grey haired man offered her a hand up, which she accepted gratefully. His dark eyes burned into hers, conveying his desire to touch more than her forearm.
"Thanks, and no I didn't mean to say that aloud. If you'll excuse me, I need to go home and blush for a few years. Later, good luck finding some clothes." Addy managed to mumble, wondering if paranoia ever presented as embarrassment over what you say to your own hallucinations.
"I'm afraid you can't leave just yet. These wiseguys haven't decided whether to fight me for the honor of mating with you." He circled her wrist with a loose but strong grip.
She supposed being restrained so would frighten the typical woman, but it aroused every submissive cell in her body. The other two men glared but didn't get in a word in edgewise as Addy ignored the manhandling and confidently replied to the stranger restraining her.
"You aren't a very convincing real man, I have to say. The odds definitely favor you as a hallucination based on that little speech." Grey sported a salt and pepper beard just begging her fingers to run through it.
Addy felt that she was enjoying psychosis way too much. The other two men were objectively just as handsome, but she couldn't tear her gaze away from the fascinating one holding her arm.
"You're not hallucinating, it's much more prosaic than..."
Addy ranted, still in an adrenalin rush, "Think prosaic? Okay. A nightmare of wolves chasing me morphed into a sex dream with a foursome. Almost. Before you started talking, so thanks for that. Because I've earned a foursome damn it, even an imaginary one. What with the chaos at work, and nobody to go out with except people that the university rules say I can't - the entire frigging biology department, instead of just neuroscience. Asshole admins. I really need to start dating someone, anyone, get out of the lab once in awhile, have sex again before my vagina is condemned by the authorities."
"I'd hate to see that happen." Dimples appeared on his face. "I'll be delighted to help in any way I can, short of a foursome. I was about to explain that's why we're here. It's very simple, we're werewolves and we caught your wonderful scent, and then I caught you, and now I'm going to win you if you'll just give me a few minutes."
"You seriously just decided to convince me I'm neither hallucinating nor dreaming by announcing that werewolves are more prosaic?"
"Chemical exposure, that's it. If those cock suckers from biochem dumped Bunsen burner LSD into my root beer again I'm gonna have them written up."
"Again?!" he asked before focusing, "Wait, no! This is not an acid trip. I told you the truth. And do you talk to your mother with that mouth?"
Addy raised one eyebrow and a half smile blossomed on her face, her bright green eyes sparkling with amusement, "Have something against cock sucking, do you? That rules you out as Bachelor Number One, since I definitely do more than talk to my mother with this mouth."
"Wrong again, don't rule me out just yet." His voice grew deep and he growled out, "And don't call me bachelor number one, Bachelorette. Unless of course you're being flippant because I just hunted you to ground and you're a little frightened of what else I might be able to do to you?" Grey crowded her against the tree trunk and scraped his beard along her cheek as he brought his mouth to her ear, "Is that it? Because frankly, I would find that very, very sexy in my mate."
This stole her breath away. Addy wasn't used to anyone reading her that well. It felt mildly dangerous and unexpectedly welcome. She didn't get to be a respected neuroscientist in that male dominated field by shirking challenges, though. This big bad wolf had no idea what he was up against. Her eyes narrowed as he pulled back and caught her gaze. Addy's eyes still sparkled, but with pride as she threw down the gauntlet.
"Oh, it's on! I agree to be your mate...IF you can win me. And no, I'm not frightened of you, but I am into BDSM. Frankly, I would find being hunted down by my mate very, very sexy."
"Will you two SHUT UP for a minute so we can fight here?" Interrupted the petulant redhead, previously a reddish wolf.
Addy turned on him, "Don't bother, Miss Manners. I wouldn't so much as hook up with you if it got me tenure at Berkeley. So far in the five minutes you haven't been chasing or growling at me, you've managed to call me a bitch AND tell me to shut up. Which officially makes you non-mating material in my mind."
Suddenly the red wolf was back and terrifying, advancing snarling at her. Then so was the grey, standing between them before aggressively chomping at the red wolf's scruff. He twisted neatly out of Grey's grasp and bit back but missed. Addy couldn't tear her eyes away as they circled each other growling. Though as men a few inches in height and barely heavier build scarcely showed, as wolves that difference made Grey appear giant in fighting context. Red clearly showed superior agility and speed, almost dancing around Grey and swiping at him then occasionally ducking underneath his muzzle to snap at his throat. Grey was heavier and stronger, he conserved energy and let Red tire himself out. After untold, nerve wracking, wince inducing minutes of neatly dodging with his long legs or batting the smaller wolf away with an idle swipe of a paw, Grey suddenly surged into full on attack mode. Within seconds he had charged into Red's side, bowled him over onto his side and closed his powerful jaws on his opponent. Red struggled briefly before he showed his white belly and Grey let go. Addy saw that the smaller wolf's throat dripped blood as he ran off yelping.
Addy threw her arms around the Grey's shoulders and held on whispering her thanks. Then remembering her manners, she stood and held out her hand politely to the remaining fellow, whose light hazel eyes stood out against his mahogany skin and dark brown hair.
"How do you do? My name is Addy O'Malley, and I may be an idiot but apparently I'm not psychotic. I've just learned never to backtalk a werewolf," she smiled.
"Pleased to meet you, Addy O'Malley. I'm Robert Carnegie. Please call me Rob. Kevin's always been an asshole, don't worry too much about us in general."
"That's a relief, Rob. Self restraint isn't my strong suit."
"So it seems. That's why you and Hera..." at Grey's growl Rob grinned and amended, "...Harry here were clearly fated for each other, and I'm bowing out. Reluctantly, since you're beautiful and funny, Addy. Harry here might take some convincing, since he doesn't believe in true mates, er, true love in your terms. But I do, and I know it when I see it. I hope to meet you again soon. Fight you back home, Harry. I wouldn't want to risk winning your mate away from you." With this the Rob actually bowed, shifted and ran off.
"Show off. Theater people are all alike," Grey snorted.
"Hey! I resemble that remark, Grey."
"No, Harry. Not Grey. Oh no, Harry...hairy, werewolf." Addy started laughing and couldn't stop herself. She slid down the tree again and buried her head in her arms and laughed harder and harder until she fell on her side.
Harry just stared. "Addy?"
This made her laugh harder still. It had been a really long day. She was apparently going to be a werewolf soon. A mousy werewolf, because of her mousy brown hair. Three species and counting. She couldn't quit giggling, hysterics no doubt.
"Addy, are you all right? I think you should calm down, sweetness."
Tears streaked her face and she gasped for air, rolling on her back and covering her face with her hands as she wondered what werewolf taste buds were like, what the equivalent of sweet was. Fortunately, she was laughing too hard to speak, this was definitely all rude to laugh about.
Lust threatened to eclipse Harry's concern when Addy's short dress rode part way up her legs, exposing an intriguing black garment that seemed like reverse stockings, leaving her shapely calves bare but clinging like lace edged tights to her thighs revealing every contour. Harry's throat went dry and he switched tactics, moving to sit next to her and stroking her throat lightly with his thumb.
"Addy, we're alone now. I out fought Kevin and Rob backed out. May I have a kiss?"
The soft request got her attention.
Addy sat up sobering herself and said, "Of course. I agreed to be your mate if you won, and you have. I don't make promises lightly. Even if I didn't like you best, which I do, I'd be honor bound to be your mate. Could I please call you something other than Harry, though? Hal, maybe?"
"Anglophile much? You could 'call me Ishmael.'"
"That's American, and if I think about _Moby Dick_ right now I'll start laughing again what with the naked men, uh, naked werewolves and all. I'd much rather kiss you. But yes. How did you guess?"
"Well, Hal's not very common stateside. Plus the copy of _Pamela_ in your backpack, which I stowed for you. Do you only read 18th century smut or are you open minded?"
"Impressive literary fu. Up to the minute smut is fine, given certain elements."
"I aim to please. And yes, call me Hal if you like Addy. I certainly like it. That kiss?"
"I'd be very pleased with a kiss, Hal."
He smiled at her word play, leaned over and kissed her cheek reverently. Addy felt like velvet and smelled like roses and salt and home after a long journey.
"So that's it, we're mates now?" Addy asked, wide eyed.
Hal looked horrified.
"Dear God, no. Addy, you're not some toy we fought over for possession. I won the right to court you, that's all. Some people believe that mating can be instant, that you find your true mate and you are fated for one another and winning any challenge confirms it. I'm not one of those people, as Rob said, because I'm not completely irrational. We just date, and you are free to break things off if you wish, refuse to mate with me. Right now if you want."
"I told you I don't break promises if I can possibly avoid it, and even if I did I'm not inclined to break this one. Honestly, I would date you under any circumstances, so thank you for asking. I never understood those types who meet and fly to Vegas for a fake-y wedding at a drive through chapel myself. True love may exist, but it builds over time with work and commitment. But what happens to you if I refuse you?"
"It just means I blew my chance at mating, and I remain a bachelor. It happens sometimes. I'm glad we're of one mind on this, Addy. We have a lot to talk about and learn about each other. I admit that I've never seen or touched or scented a more beautiful, alluring woman before. And I'm comfortable sharing my wolf with you. Maybe the true mates idea has a kernel of truth that's been exaggerated over the centuries."
Hal thought back to Addy's fearlessness toward him when he couldn't resist tasting her at first, how she'd allowed him to rest on her lap before they were rudely interrupted and rushed to embrace him after the fight as if blood weren't still dripping from his fangs. This was not a normal reaction from a human woman who'd just been hunted like prey. It added up to more than a kernel, but he doubted a sharp thinker like her would agree that the superstition might be true. Addy herself interrupted his line of thinking with a question.
"Wait, you mean there's no second chance for you? You'll be alone forever?"
"No second chance to mate and father children, no. But I have a family and a home in my pack, and that wouldn't change. I could still have casual partners if I wished, and enjoy my nieces and nephews as I do now."
Addy decided that he had put a brave face on what sounded in truth to be a lifetime of loneliness to avoid pressuring her, and deserved better than a modest kiss on the cheek. Besides, he was eminently kissable.
So she threw her arms around Hal's neck and kissed him soundly on the lips. Then again, and again as he twined his arms around her waist and deepened the kiss, parting her lips with his jaw and tenderly exploring her mouth with his tongue. Addy never wanted to stop, she felt like her skin was on fire and his smooth skin felt hot as well over solid muscle in his shoulders and arms. She ran one hand down under his shoulder in a pleasant haze. Their embrace grew increasingly intense and romantic, until she felt a wet patch and gasped when her hand came away bloody.
"Oh my God! Hal, you're hurt! Come on, let me see, let me get you cleaned up. Where's the nearest water?"
"Don't stop, Addy, it's just a scratch," he groaned trying to pull her back into his arms, "the blood will clean it out. I'm fine. Never felt better," he drawled, seeking out her soft lips again.
"Dripping with blood is fine? I don't think so. No more kisses until I get you patched up. My hands are covered with dirt, it's gonna get infected." She dodged his mouth and knelt up, trying to see over his shoulder. This dragged her breasts up his chest inadvertently, ending a tempting few inches from his mouth, which did not make him eager for a first aid intermission.
"Stop fretting! Trust me, I'm feeling no pain with you in my arms and I'll settle for the anesthesia." Hal retorted, nipping at her neck and nearly bare shoulder.
"Endorphins don't prevent infections," Addy insisted as she resisted his charms. Then at his frown she slid back down his chest and continued seductively, "I can make cleaning you feel so good you'd regret missing out if we stay here. Wouldn't it feel nice to have me run my cool, wet hands all over your body, Hal? It's the least I can do after you fought for me, protected me from that other werewolf."
"You certainly can be persuasive, Addy. Very well, the creek's this way and my immune system is used to it, before you argue again." Hal took her hand with a hot smile and led her out of the clearing and downhill.