Haven's Wood Ch. 05bynotmy_realname©
Sorry about the longer gap before this chapter I had a bit of writer's block.
Natasha leant on the sink and watched the water run around the basin before disappearing down the plug hole. She was having some difficulty marshalling her thoughts. The last couple of days had been something of a rollercoaster ride.
Natasha was feeling a little lost. Things were moving so fast and she felt like she had no control over what was happening to her. She'd never really reached out to anyone before. She was used to being on her own. She had envied other people the closeness that seemed to come so easily to them, that was true but, she didn't really think it was something she would ever have. Yet here she was having poured her heart out to someone, someone who seemed to see something in her, something worthwhile.
Natasha looked up into the mirror and tried to look at herself impartially. She looked at her tumbles of brown curls that fell about her shoulders, and could only think that it needed taming. She scanned her face not seeing anything special. She looked into her eyes, and only saw her uncertainty reflected in them. Natasha shook her head, she wasn't anything special, she didn't think she was disgusting, but she definitely didn't see anything that would spark the longing James held in his eyes when he looked at her.
Natasha let her thoughts drift towards James. Telling him about her past had made her realise some worrying parallels between then and now. She once again seemed to be trapped in an opulent house, only instead of a distant uninterested uncle, she had an intense and possessive ...
she wasn't sure how to finish that thought. Boyfriend? Kidnapper? Werewolf! Life seemed to have gotten complicated quickly!
Natasha heard voices from the other room so quickly splashed some water on her face. She was looking around for a towel to dry off with, when she really looked at the room for the first time. There was a shower big enough for three people to share, and it looked like it had multiple shower heads. The masterpiece of the room though was a sunken tub. It looked almost big enough to swim in, and upon closer inspection Natasha noticed that there were jets all around it.
Natasha found herself idly wondering how it would feel to luxuriate in that tub, with the jets massaging her. Then the image of James's naked chest popped unbidden into her mind, and her thoughts found their way to wondering how it would feel to run her soapy hand over that chest as they lay in the tub together.
Natasha was a little worried at the direction her thoughts had taken, it was a nice fantasy, but she wasn't really sure that she was going to be staying long enough to be entertaining those kinds of thoughts. Snapping out of her day dreaming she spotted a towel hanging on the wall, a decadently soft towel, of course. She dried her face and hands, and then headed back into the main room to see who James was talking to.
Natasha opened the door to see Katie telling James off. James looked somewhere between amused and annoyed at his sister. Dean was leaning nonchalantly against the frame of the door, watching the siblings.
Dean spotted a look of concern flash over Natasha's face when she saw the confrontation in the room. Dean caught her eye and grinned at her.
"Don't worry, this is normal." He informed Natasha. "They used to do this almost every week, it's one of the reasons we moved out to the village."
Natasha had been about to reply when she noticed James striding across the room towards her. The moment he reached her he wrapped her in his arms and held her close. Natasha started to step back but stopped when James grumbled at her. However when he started running his hands over every part of her he could reach, she decided that enough was enough. Ignoring his grumble this time she stepped back away from him, exclaiming,
"What are you doing!"
James looked a little embarrassed.
"I wanted to make sure my scent was on you."
Natasha's mouth dropped open.
Katie interjected at this point.
"He's just being a typical male wolf" She told Natasha with a grin. "We have a much better sense of smell than humans, even when we're in our human form. He wanted to make sure that you smelt like him, so that any other male wolves would know he's interested in you, and if they wanted you they'd have to deal with him."
Natasha was a little taken aback by this. It hadn't really entered her mind that Katie and Dean were also wolves until that moment. It made perfect sense, she just hadn't thought about it.
After a moment of thought Natasha asked.
"So how come I've never seen Dean do that to you? He is your... mate, isn't he?" Natasha was a little unsure that she was using the term correctly.
"Well Dean has claimed me so he isn't worried that another wolf will try and take me away, he is still possessive if another male gets too close though" Katie said this last with an air of long suffering.
Dean huffed at the tone in Katie's voice.
"I'm not the only one though am I? I'm not the one that started a fight, when the McClannon Pack were visiting!" Dean retorted with a mischievous twinkle in his eye.
"She was all over you!" Katie said with disgust. "She won't be trying to steal my mate again after that." Katie said with a deep sense of satisfaction.
Natasha smiled at the affectionate exchange. It was obviously a well-worn conversation. She wasn't really focussing on them though as it was the second time she'd heard the phrase 'claimed' and she got the feeling that it must mean something special.
"James." Natasha said, capturing his attention. "What does 'claimed' mean? You said it before as well."
James had been thinking about how to broach this subject with Natasha. He decided that she probably didn't need to know all the details just now; she had enough on her mind already.
"It's a ceremony. The mated pair claim each other in front the pack. They then form a special bond between each other. It's a bit like a wedding I suppose, but 'more'. We don't need to worry about that for a while though." He added reassuringly
Katie gave James a questioning look over Natasha's shoulder at his response.
She's finding all of this hard enough to deal with as it is. She doesn't need to know that I'm going to chase her down, mount her and then change her. And that the whole pack will be watching when I do. James sent to his sister as an explanation, never taking his eyes off Natasha.
You'll have to tell her soon, she deserves to know. Katie sent back
"Is everything alright?" Natasha asked. "You looked, I don't know like you weren't there for a moment then. Sorry that probably sounds stupid."
James looked like a little boy who'd been caught sneaking cookies before dinner.
"I'm fine. I'm sorry. I guess I forgot to mention something we can do. I wasn't trying to hide it, it just didn't occur to me. This is probably going to sound a little odd though."
"Well now I'm intrigued." Natasha said. "The werewolf I just met wants to tell me something odd he can do." Natasha said her voice full of amused sarcasm.
James chuckled at her comment.
"Fair point. When we're in our wolf form we can communicate by talking directly to each other's minds. Stronger wolves can also project their thoughts when they're in human form. As I am the alpha I have a special connection with the wolves in my pack so I can also, when I choose to, hear their surface thoughts even if they aren't trying to project them."
"So you look guilty because I caught you whispering." Natasha wryly suggested.
"I'm sorry I didn't mean to be rude, or make you feel excluded. It's just the way we do things. I was surprised you noticed, most people can't tell."
"Does that mean you can read my mind?" Natasha asked. She was little worried he might have caught some of her more intimate thoughts she'd had in the bathroom.
"No. I can only read thoughts from the members of the pack. Why have you been having some interesting thoughts?" James asked without a hint of innocence in his voice.
"I don't know what you're trying to imply." Natasha replied coolly. Unfortunately the blush creeping up her neck said far more than she wanted.
James grinned, pleased at the obvious sign that she'd been having dirty thoughts about him.
"I don't use it very often. Wolves tend to be honest as a rule, especially in this pack, so I try to avoid invading people's thoughts unless there's a need to do so."
James glanced at his watch
"Dean and I have some business to take care of." He informed her. "I've arranged for lunch to be brought up here for you and Katie. I'll be back in a couple of hours, I'm sure Katie can keep you occupied until then."
James took Natasha's arm and guided her a little way off to the side.
"I'm sorry to ask you this." James began tentatively. "But I need you to stay in my rooms with Katie until I come back."
James could feel the tension surge through Natasha as he said this.
"It will only be for a couple of hours, I promise. I don't want you wandering around the compound without me until I've presented you to the pack, which will happen at dinner tonight. Please try and bear with it until then."
"It's not like I have much of choice is it?" She said a little petulantly, while trying to ignore the tears that were threatening to fall.
"I'll be back as soon as I can, then I'll take you out to the gardens. We can have a walk." James said trying to sound cheerful. "I know this isn't ideal but I need to know you're safe and this is the only way I can do that."
Without warning James pulled Natasha into his arms again. He pulled her tight again his chest and leant down to smell her hair, pulling her scent into his lungs as if to take it with him. He resisted his desire to kiss her, knowing that she wasn't ready for such easy intimacy yet.
Natasha was feeling hurt because, not only did he want her stay shut in a room but he was leaving her. She wanted the reassurance of his presence, so didn't push him away when he held onto her, but she wasn't ready to return the affection yet so she just stood there and let him do as he wanted.
When he leant in and put his face into her hair, his breath brushed past her ear. Her mind flashed up the memory of when he had pressed her against the door and refused to let her leave him. His breath had felt warm on her skin then as well. Just as before she felt lightning running down her spine. Once again his proximity was filling her with longing. The sensation caused her to draw in a breath.
James couldn't help but hear her reaction to him. He tore himself away because he knew that if he didn't his control was going to snap and he would do a lot more than kiss her this time.
"Let's go Dean. I want this done as quickly as possible." He declared as he strode from the room, pulling the door shut behind them as they left.
Natasha felt as if her strings had been cut. It was as though there wasn't as much light in the room anymore, as though the world wasn't quite as real, like something she needed to live had just vanished.
She slumped onto the nearest sofas, tears she didn't even realise she'd shed streaming down her face. Katie knelt on the sofa next to her and pulled her into a hug, almost like a mother comforting a child.
"It's too much." Natasha whispered. "It's just too much."
"What is?" Katie asked gently.
"All these feelings!" Natasha sobbed. "I barely know James, I don't even know if I like him very much at the moment, but I can't stand that he's not here with me. I feel like I'm going crazy. Why do I have to feel like this? Aren't I supposed to have some choice over who I ..." Natasha trailed off, not ready to finish the sentence.
"Who you love." Katie finished softly for her.
Natasha couldn't deny it to herself any longer; she really was falling in love with James. The more time she spent with him the more she felt she understood the concept of a soulmate.
"It's too fast, isn't love supposed to take time to grow?" Natasha asked.
"Maybe between humans." Katie said thoughtfully. "It's different for us. We know from being pups that one day we'll meet the person we're meant to be with and that we'll love each other unconditionally. Finding your mate is one of the happiest days of a were's life."
"This has been anything but happy!" Natasha exclaimed in frustration, pushing her way out of Katie's arms so that she could pace up and down while she continued.
"I wasn't expecting to magically fall in love. I wasn't even looking for anything like that. I was looking for a place to find a job and make a home. Instead I've been all but kidnapped by a werewolf!" Natasha's frustration was beginning to turn to anger.
Katie paused a moment before responding.
"The way James brought you here was idiotic and reckless I agree. I was telling him as much earlier" Katie said rolling her eyes at the thought of what her brother had done. Natasha nodded her head in silent agreement.
"But," She continued "I can understand why he did it." She waved her hand at Natasha asking her to wait while she explained.
"James has been waiting for you his whole life. He expected that when he did find his mate it would be another wolf, and it would be simple. They would simply find each other and then they would be together, for the rest of their lives. Having a human mate is very rare. When Dean and I realised we were mates, the pack celebrated, he claimed me and we were bonded the same night." Katie began to smile as the memory of becoming joined washed over her.
"Just waiting until that evening felt like torture, we wanted nothing more than to be bonded" Katie continued to explain.
"So," Natasha began, "what you're telling me is that my being human is a disappointment to James. I'm not what he expected. He waited and waited and now he's stuck with a human as a mate."
"No!" Katie exclaimed. "Please don't think that. James loves you. You were made to be together. You're the other half of his soul and nothing else matters. What I'm trying to tell you is that we're not good at being patient. We're part wild animal and wolves no less. Wolves take what they want. Right now James's wolf wants to take you."
Natasha began to blush at this statement.
"I think you may have worded that wrong" Natasha suggested with an embarrassed smile.
Katie grinned wickedly
"No I said exactly what I meant." She declared with a little glee in her voice. "We've very open about sex, and we're very horny creatures." Katie said intentionally provocatively.
Natasha was a little taken aback and her blush deepened.
"What I was trying to tell you before." Katie continued. "Is that part of the reason that James is acting the way he is, is because right now he's really sexually frustrated. We don't wait so long."
Natasha looked at Katie with confusion written all over her face.
"Ok, I'll give you an example. Dean and I first met when his pack came to visit ours. Packs get together every year so that unmated wolves can try and find their mates." Katie added by way of explanation.
"When I came into the great hall, I instantly caught his scent." Excitement filled Katie's eyes as she remembered.
"I started to hunt round the room trying to find where the smell was coming from. The trail eventually led me into one of the libraries just off the main room. There was a group of men all stood drinking and chatting. As I stood at the door trying to figure out which one was my mate, I realised he had his back to me. As soon as he caught my scent, he span round and saw me in the door." Katie paused for dramatic effect, obviously enjoying telling the story.
"As soon as our eyes met I knew he was mine. My wolf was howling in my mind that he was ours. So I turned round and walked out the room."
"What!" Natasha exclaimed. "Why would you walk away?"
Katie grinned knowingly.
"So that he'd have to catch me." Katie chuckled before continuing. "I knew he was mine but I want him to prove it to me, prove that he was strong enough. As soon as I left the room I started to run, I had all sorts of plans in mind to lead him around the mansion and back before I let him catch me. I promise you I was looking forward to getting caught." Katie added with a very saucy look in her eyes.
"How far did you get?" Natasha asked, remembering how fast James could move.
"About two steps. Then he tackled me." Katie laughed. "I'll spare you the details, since you blush so easily, but after growling at the few men who hadn't moved out of the way quick enough Dean and I began to get to know one another." Katie explained.
"You don't mean..." Natasha began disbelievingly
Katie just nodded, grinning like a Cheshire cat.
"And that's normal?" Natasha asked.
"Sure." Katie replied. "I think there was another couple that found each other that night as well, not that I remember, I was rather distracted for most of the evening."
"Can I ask a personal question?" Natasha ventured a little hesitantly.
"You can ask me anything." Katie replied. "You're my brother's mate, but before that we're friends right? I mean if you don't mind being friends with a werewolf." Katie added the last bit with a bit of worry in her voice, as she remembered that Natasha was still new to the idea.
"Considering the lack of choice I've found available to myself. I hope I'm still allowed to choose my friends." Natasha paused as Katie nodded. "That given then, I'd definitely like to count you as a friend."
Katie burst into a grin and gave Natasha a quick hug, before settling herself back on the sofa.
"Ok, ask away" Katie said.
Natasha looked at her a bit bemused.
"Is the constant hugging a wolf thing, or is it just a family thing? James is forever touching me and hugging me, and I just realised that you do it quite a lot as well." Natasha said almost thinking out loud.
"I've never really thought about it." Katie said. "I guess it's probably a wolf thing. Wolves are really tactile, we like to touch and be close to each other. It's comforting." Katie mused. "I've never really thought about. Was that your idea of personal question?" Katie asked teasingly.
Natasha sighed at her.
"No it was just a thought." Natasha felt her cheeks begin to heat again as she thought how to frame her question. She didn't consider herself prudish but she just didn't have much experience in talking about sex as she hadn't really had many friends over the years.
"Whatever you ask I promise I won't laugh or think you're silly." Katie said reassuringly, as she could see that Natasha seemed to be having trouble finding the words she wanted.
Natasha smiled at her friend with gratitude.
"You said earlier that, weres.. Is that the right term?"
"That weres are really horny." Natasha paused again
Katied nodded confirmation again.
"Does that mean that you'd slept with someone else before you met Dean?" Natasha asked, hoping that she wasn't going to offend her new friend.
"I don't know about sleeping but I definitely brought guys back to my bed." Katie said without a trace of embarrassment. "When there's a celebration, or a hunt, or any special occasion really there's sex involved. The mated couples are monogamous but unmated wolves do as they like with whoever they like. As I said we're pretty open about sex."
"Oh." Natasha sighed sounding worried.
Katie wrinkled her brow at her a little confused.
"Natasha?" Katie asked gently.
Natasha looked up from the piece of carpet she'd been intently staring at for the last minute or so.
"Are you a virgin?" Katie asked gently.
Natasha's eyes flicked straight back down to the carpet.
"Does James know?" Katie asked even more carefully.