Call of Blood

Claimer: I own all of these people, and you know that I do because I created them all! No stealing, or I will force the ravenous puppies on your ankles and you shall forever after walk on stubs.

Chapter 1

" Finding a place to live out here isn't easy, Mum!" I nearly shouted into the receiver, but knowing that she would have broken down into tears if I had, I didn't. " Not many people are willing to rent to a 15 year old, you know."

" If you had just let me give you some money, you could have at least stayed in a hotel until you found somewhere." My mother's voice was tinny through the line, probably because I was on a pay phone at the local cafe that I had been having lunch at all week, or maybe because she was three states away.

" No." My voice was hard, as if I was the mother and she the child. " You need that money for yourself and you know it. I'm perfectly capable of getting by on my own."

The phone beeped, and I knew that it was going to disconnect soon.

" Mum, I have to go, I don't have any more change, the phone's gonna short out on me. Look, I love you and I'll call you again when I have the chance, okay? I'll be fine, I promise." And then it went dead on me.

I put the phone back on its hook, glad that this time I had been able to say what I needed to, instead of being cut off in the middle of a sentance. I just hoped she didn't try and call back. She didn't know I was using the cafe's phone, and would raise a fit if she did. I turned around, and bumped straight into someone.

" Sorry." I mumbled, pushing my way past them, keeping my eyes down.

" Wait!" They put their hand out and grabbed mine, and I looked at them with eyes full of scorn and anger. No one touched me without asking, and the few that had weren't very well off right now.

But something stopped me from ripping them a new one. First of all, we were in a cafe in the middle of the day and there were too many people around, and second, their hand changed. I'm not talking color or anything, but feel of it, the fingers elongating into sharp claws and fur starting to grow on the back of their hand. It stopped suddenly, becoming a regular human hand again, but I knew that this wasn't a human, not anymore. I looked at him, because it was a man, and grinned.

" Riona McLaird, at your service." I stuck my hand out, grinning as he took it and shook with a strong but unsure grip. " You can't know how long I've been waiting for you guys to find me."

He smiled, shaking his head. " You have no idea how long we've been waiting for you, little one." He looked to the door. " Follow me."

He let go of my hand, and started for the door. I hesitated for a moment, but then squared my shoulders and followed him down the streets of the town that had come familiar to me in such a short time.

* * * * * * *

As we walked, him taking me down winding streets and over fences, sometimes running, sometimes barely even walking, I had a chance to look at him. He was tall, taller than I was. I only came up to his broad shoulder. His fine blond hair was cut short and gelled into lots of short spikes. His body was lean and muscled, his jean jacket cutting off at his waist so I had a nice veiw of his leather clad legs. It was a very nice veiw, I must say. He looked back at me once as if to say " Are you coming?" because I must have stopped at one point, and I remember his eyes being a deep blue, his lips full and sensual, like he seemed to be made for doing dirty things in dark places. I decided to like him, at least until he gave me a reason not to like him.

" Where are we going?" I finally asked after bounding over a chainlink fence, echoing his movements, even though it was hard with the height differences.

He turned to me, his mouth in a teasing grin and his eyes alight with something I couldn't read. " I'm taking you to my Ulfric. To my pack." He said, spreading his hands as if that meant everything.

It did mean something to me. I had researched everything that I could on wolves and werewolves ever since becoming one, but I had the feeling that it was going to help me in a real situation. ' Calm yourself down, and everything will be fine.' I thought to myself, taking a deep breath and walking towards him.

" You had better not be pulling any funny business. If I find you that you were the Ulfric all along, I'm going to do something really painful to you. I hate people who play games with me." I said my eyes bright with coming anger.

He merely smiled at me and took off again, this time running like a true lukoi. The chase was on. I let out a wild yip of excitement and started after him.

* * * * * * *

We ran until the sun was going down, most of it being playful teasing, measuring each other's powers and abilities. If he jumped over a fence, I did too, only using no hands. If he sped up, it didn't matter if I didn't know where I was going, I went faster. I knew that it wasn't him holding back, that even though he was an alpha, he wasn't as powerful as I was. It made me feel good about myself.

He stopped suddenly, in front of some expensive looking townhouses that must have had at least seven seperate apartments in them each. There was about four of them in all. I shivered. Not from fear, but from the feeling of raw power of wolf emanating from the buildings. I knew where we were.

" I guess it brings a whole new meaning to 'communal living,' huh?" I asked him with a smile on my face.

" Yeah." He softly said, taking my hand and leading me towards it, but I pulled away.

" I didn't ask for your protection. I only did what you said, and if I'm going up there, it's going to be on my terms." I said, a frown marring my happy face.

He didn't object, and I had the feeling that he was used to dealing with people like me. I hoped there weren't too many in the pack, or I might not survive. It was bad enough living with the women in my family, I didn't need total strangers with an attitude like mine.

" What terms?" He asked, and I realized he was going to play messenger boy for me.

" Nobody touches me without asking me first. No one makes a move on me without the Ulfric's permission, physically, mentally, magically." I put my finger to my chin in thought, but nothing else came to mind. " That's about it, I guess."

He nodded and walked up to the bigger townhouse, knocking on the door and going in afterwards. It gave me the time that I needed to look around.

The houses were built in a clearing that must have been a very wild forest a few centuries, but human habitation had tamed it a little. Off to my left, I scented deer, and knew why they had chosen this place to build their pack up in. Free hunting and all the woods you could run in. It was a nice place. It smelled a little too strongly of pine and not enough redwoods, but hey, beggars can't be choosers.

There was a few flowerbeds and vegetable gardens off to my right, and I drooled at the sight of the nicest patch of broccli that I had seen since my grandmother's gardens. I hoped I would be getting dinner tonight.

The door opened and I saw him make the ' All systems go' sign, and so put my fears and hopes behind me, and walked to the Ulfric's house.

It was a nice place, with rich burgendy carpets and cream colored walls, curtains matching the carpet as well as the couch. A few cream colored pillows lay on the couch, with embroidered forest scenes on them, each with a single wolf in them. I knew it had been done by hand, because machines just didn't give you that loving quality that hand-crafted things had. My grandmother used to make blankets and stuffed animals for me, I knew hand-crafted when it was shoved under my nose.

There was a tv in the corner, neatly surrounded by small pots of African violets, and there was a sheer curtain waving in the breeze that was caused by the open porch door. I sniffed the air, and found that they were all outside, in the backyard. I don't know why I expected them to be inside, I hated being inside myself. It was one of my personality quirks, but it had become stronger when I had become a wolf.

" Hey?" I asked, drawing aside the curtain, and the scene that greeted me did not please me at all.

The man who had brought me here was bent over, clutching at his stomach as if he had been socked in the gut. There were five people there, and another man, taller, broader, darker than my guide stood over him.

" I told you to ask me first before bringing anyone into the territory." He said, his dark brown eyes glinting with anger as his hands fisted up.

" And I told him to bring me here." I said in a cool voice, making sure that it carried to him.

I posed casually, leaning against the doorframe with my arms crossed over my chest and my legs slightly apart. It wasn't an aggresive state, but it made it clear that I wasn't taking crap from anyone.

" He's supposed to listen to me. I am Ulfric." He said, stepping away from my guide and towards me, sniffing the air.

" And I'm still higher-ranking to him." I smiled, a nice baring of teeth. " Check me out if you don't believe me."

I pushed myself away from the frame with only the small muscles of my back and let my beast awake from its sleep, and it stretched, yawning after its long nap. The Ulfric did so as well, and our beasts stalked around each other, then tentatively slid against each other in a rush of fur and tongues, accepting and recognizing.

The Ulfric's face became surprised, his dark eyebrows rising. He suddenly grinned, thin lips showing brilliant white teeth in a tanned face. He brushed his thick bangs back with a large hand and nodded at me. " I don't say this often, in fact, I don't think I've ever said it, but you could be Ulfric if you tried."

I shook my head. " I'm not here to challenge you, and I'm pleased by the compliment, but all I'm looking for is a pack and somewhere to live." I pointed to my guide, who had regained his feet and only looked a little winded. " He should have told you, or did you not give him enough time before punishing him?"

" Joren should have known better to go against my orders, no matter who you were." His face became dark again. " But I apologize. I was unaware of the fact that he was bringing such a tasty treat to us."

" I'm not a tasty treat, I'm Riona McLaird." I stuck out my hand.

" James Peters, Ulfric of the Buever De Sang pack." He took my hand and I felt the power in him, a little above mine.

" French for Blood Drinker." I murmured. " Why is it French?"

" That is where my family line descends from, France." James said.

" Oh, of course." I let go of his hand, feeling dizzy from all the power I had been touching. He was not one to hide his aura in the presence of those he knew, so neither would I.

I let down my shields, my walls and let my power burst out of my skin. It actually forced James to take a step back and make the other five people look up at me, their eyes bleeding slowly into their wolf eyes. James must have felt them rise, and he put a hand back.

" Move down, folks. She's just sharing." He said, his eyes sparkling.

I really hoped he had a lupa already. He was so way older than me. I didn't want to be lupa anyway. But the sharing comment made me laugh, and so I did.

" You know, girlie, if I had known you had half this much power in you," Joren said, moving up beside James with a smooth glide. " I would have sent you over to Damian's pack." There was a teasing grin on his face, and I saw that it was the same on James'. Joren was James son. I scanned the group of people behind them and saw the woman with the same blond hair as Joren, the same eyes and felt reassured. If James had a wife and a son, it was very unlikely that he was going to come after me. Not that I had to worry. After I revealed my age, they were going to have one huge cringefest.

James, however, did not like this idea and growled at Joren. " That's not funny, Joren."

" Sorry Dad." He said, his body all sorts of submissive behavior, but his blue eyes still sparkled.

" Hey," I spoke up, looking at the approaching dark. " I have a good idea. How about you invite the new wolf to dinner and give her a test run."

James smiled at me. " Hungry?"

" How could you tell?" My voice was dry.

" I've raised a few kids. I know when their jumping at food." He said. " Come on, I've got a nice roast turkey in the oven."

" Great." I said, pasting a smile on my face and let him lead me back into the house.