"Alpha! Alpha!" She cried, racing through the woods blindly, feeling panicked, as though she'd provoked a hive of bees and the whole lot of them were chasing her, changing tactics in calling her father, "Papa! Papa, où est-tu?"

Receiving no answer, she continued running in as straight a path as possible, seeing not so much as a bird fluttering in the trees, something that worried her greatly. There was always something moving about these woods, and the only time the woods were quiet happened to be whenever in the presence of a predator… so what had frightened them off? Was it her? She was the only predator in these woods… right?

Clouds moved over the sun just then, thick black ones that blocked even the thinnest ray of sunshine, crushing it like even the barest sliver of hope. The unexpected darkness made her stop, choosing a small copse of trees in which to hide in, pulling some branches in close to hide her dark hair from view.

Then it came.

Something tall, dark, and — honestly — frightening. It had the form of a man, but yet, it wasn't a man. It had dark red eyes, hair that looked to be flames in the shadows, with thick, black leathery wings folded at its back. It had just materialized right where she'd been, and it lifted its face to scent the air, taking mere seconds to turn its ember-like eyes in the direction of where she'd hidden. Right as their eyes met — despite her hiding place — she felt naked beneath his heated gaze. Looking down at herself, she found that she was indeed naked, when she'd been wearing jeans and a T-shirt just a few moments before.

Then she was suddenly at his feet, kneeling with her hands on his thighs and her face level with his knees. What black magic was this?

"Don't you remember me, Little Wolf?"

"I know who you are," she said, digging her sharp nails into his thighs as she pushed away from him without bothering to cover herself, "you're the one who killed me."

"He didn't kill you, Sweetheart," came her mother's voice as the scenery changed to that of their den they'd had for the summer lodgings, her mother sitting cross-legged at the back of the den with a blanket about her shoulders as she wove flowers together for some occasion or another, "you're dreaming, Lila, and you need to wake up now. You can't stay here."

She wanted nothing more than to crawl into her mother's arms and stay there for all eternity, but she couldn't move her feet to reach her, "But Mo-…"

"Go now, go to your father. He misses you. Don't be so hard on him, either."

"One more question, before I go?" Lila asked, feeling herself fading even as she spoke, "What do I do about… about the stranger? What should I do?"

Her mother's only response was a soft smile before she went back to weaving her flowers with not so much as one more upward glance, leaving Lila with a sense of emptiness and longing just as she'd felt when her mother died… a feeling she'd never voiced even to her father.

And now it was back.

It had been four days since he had drank from her in the former interrogation room. His mother hadn't bothered him since, but the young girl had been in critical condition ever since he'd taken her back to her family, her father speechless and glaring daggers at his mother the entire time the older woman had been caring for her granddaughter.

It had surprised him, however, that the father hadn't blamed him in any way, even though he must have known it was entirely his fault. As being the Alpha and being her father, he should have been placed on a rotisserie in the center of the pack's camp and his cooked carcass would be shared throughout the pack's ranks. So why had such steps not been taken?

As though such thoughts had been a summons, her father approached him where he sat overlooking the camp, "May I have a word with you?"

He was Alpha, his daughter was more than three quarters dead, and he was asking permission from a stranger? This was certainly not the behavior of any Alpha he had ever seen.

"You may."

Rather than sit and place himself beneath a stranger, the Alpha remained standing, "Who are you?"

"I was born Thane Dageus Suiryan," he answered, figuring a lie would do him no good, "I would prefer to be called Aesir."

He blinked, "Is there… any particular reason for that?"

"None that I'll share with you." He replied tersely.

"Fair enough," the Alpha nodded as he crossed his arms and merely looked out at the camp before asking his next question, "what are you?"

"I am one of the Fallen."

The Alpha nodded, as though he'd figured as much, "Please, Aesir, I want to understand you. My mother seems to know quite a bit about you — I haven't the slightest idea how — but she isn't sharing much of it with me. I wish merely to know what you are and why you have such an interest in my daughter, who happens to be my only child."

"I am well aware of that."

"Tell me. I want merely to learn."

He kept his eyes trained on the camp as he spoke, as did Aesir, who now sat thinking whether or not to discuss his past with the young girl's father. He researched her memories, attempting to learn the man beside him as she knew him, and made his decision from stolen memories.

"You wish to learn but I have no will to teach you. Send a messenger to the standing stone near the mouth of the stream in three days' time. I will await him there."

"What will you feed from?"

"Nothing," he thought, for he would starve himself until he could taste her sweet essence on his tongue again, "that is of no concern to you. Have the messenger there. You have three days."

Her father looked aghast, "And if she is not well by then? What will you do, eh? Swoop down upon us and drain every last one of us until she wakes? Carry her off for your own amusement until she wakes bound in chains? Oh yes, I saw the marks on her wrists and ankles. Will you have vengeance on us? Punish us for her weakened state? Well? Come now, you needn't hide your agenda from me, after all, I'm only her father and Pack leader. What do I care for anyone else's safety?"

Even Aesir had to admit the Alpha had guts to speak to him that way, "Yes. To all, none, or one of the above. I'll let you decide which one. You have until dusk of the third day. I will see you then."

Then he was gone, as though the night had merely swallowed him at that very moment, leaving Lila's poor father to wonder just what vengeance would be exacted upon them if they had not met Aesir's demands on the date he had set.

From what his mother had explained to him, creatures of Aesir's kind spoke the truth at all times, upheld the Laws, and were generally peaceful of nature. However, his mother had also said that it appeared as though Aesir had been trained in the arts of war, for no truly peaceful creature would have calluses on its hands from wielding a sword, as it appeared Aesir did, from what Selira had said after her examination of his hands after he'd died. But Aesir was one of the Fallen, a creature that had broken a Law or maybe even more than one, and had been banished by his leader and sent down to this plane of existence as punishment.

But why? What had he done? Why send him to this plane and curse him to never touch the sunlight — which, with time, would fade away, a sort of self immunization from the way Selira had described it — and to drink the blood of others? And why did he only want Lila's blood? What about it was different? Why not merely drain them all dry until he'd had his fill? Not that Remus wasn't thankful his daughter had been left alive, but why did he continue draining her until she was at Death's door and then leaving her to suffer time after time? What purpose did it serve?

So many questions and the one who could answer them was gone until three days had passed. What if Lila wasn't awake by then? What would happen to them after she did wake? Would he feed from the messenger? If not, what message could he have that he could not merely deliver himself? Who, what, where, when, why, how… he could answer none of this nor had he any reasoning for it, but he did know this:

He had three days to get Lila as far away from the Pack as possible.

--

(15.8.2008) A/N - Sorry this update took longer than the rest, I'd almost given up hope on it until I had a wee brainstorm. Trying to get this finished for my fiance's birthday in September, lol. .

Also, not to frazzle anyone's nerves, but I have never seen it spelled loup garoux. I was born in Niort, France, I watch TV5 (French TV) daily, & I've watched many French movies, including La Bete de Gevaudan (accents are missing, I don't care). English is my second language, French being my first. I don't mean to trample on anyone's toes, it's just that I've never seen it spelled that way. I try as hard as possible not to use it in the plural, so if it's a plural form, then that's fine, but I try not to use it that way, just to save myself the trouble 'cause I'm lazy like that, lol.

Again, I don't want to trample anyone's toes (though I have corrected past French teachers . ) I've had teachers in junior high & high school that had no clue what they were talking about & it was a waste of my time, but I needed a crash course & free credits, so I thought, "What the hell?" Ok, my soap-box speech is done. I'm sorry if I'm missing a plural form in here, but if there is one, I didn't mean to put it in there.

Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoy this chapter (in case you didn't notice, I did actually forget Lila's father's name until about the last few paragraphs, had to reread some of my work to find it . ) I do hope to update this a bit faster in the future. Haven't had internet or a good working computer in a long while, so I decided to take advantage of it while I could.

Enjoy!

Shindaiya