Lightning flashed in the dark clouds, lighting up the night with flashes of brilliance. The street was a quiet one, not given to excitement or noise on any regular basis. On occasion a neighbor might have a house party, but such parties were infrequent and generally orderly. The most annoying things to occur was when the neighborhood kids got a hold of fireworks, especially the (highly) illegal bottle rockets, setting them off in the middle of the street.

Jared walked quickly down the street, shoulders hunched against the thunder and lightning storm, even though it was several miles to the north. He was not fond of storms, especially ones in which high amounts of electricity was being thrown around. Stopping under one of the street lamps, he turned and waited.

The wind picked up while he waited and he could taste moisture in the air. There was an underlying chill in the wind, an early sign of fall coming, though it was early August. Dried leaves and trash clattered its way up the street, covering the sound of approaching footsteps. Jared sighed and hunched lower in his light jacket. Soon enough, he was surrounded by several young men of an age with himself. This was not something he wanted right now, but an ultimatum had been made and a decision due.

"So, Jared," the leader of the group leaned forward into the light of the street lamp. His eyes glinted strangely, staring at Jared intently, "have you made a decision?"

Jared swallowed and pulled together his faltering courage. He would either be dead or free by the end of the night. There was no going back after this. He held out a hand toward the leader and nodded once. Taking a deep breath, he stared deeply into the other's eyes, a direct challenge to power, before flicking to glance over the leader's shoulder. "I have."

The leader glanced briefly at Jared's hand, before returning his gaze to Jared's eyes. He smirked. "Good. I hope it's the right one." He took a step forward, his eyes boring into Jared with intent before noticing that Jared was not directly at him anymore. All the same, Jared felt his breath seize in his throat for a long moment before a low growl sounded from behind the leader.

"Another step, Kemmell, and you'll be dead faster than you can say 'amour'." The voice was low, rumbling deep within a throat not really built for speaking a human language.

Kemmell stopped for an instant before whipping around to stare at the creature which stood before him. It was tall, standing nearly to Kemmell's waist, with eyes that glowed oddly in the street light, dark fur of an indeterminate color rippling along its back and a long muzzle full of very sharp teeth. Kemmell stared before snarling himself. His transformation was swift even as he started turning back to Jared. In a flash the other wolf had Kemmell under teeth and claws.

"I did wonder if you would listen to me, Kem." Just how he was able to speak around the fur in his mouth, Jared was not sure, but he was grateful all the same. "Now, I have warned you several times to leave Jared alone. Tonight, you've overstepped the boundaries. I have already claimed Jared, and I will not tolerate you, or anyone else," the wolf's voice rose to the others who were trying edge closer around their leader, "coming near him!"

Kemmell swallowed, but growled all the same. This was a matter of territory; a matter of pride; a matter of not letting another alpha move in on what should be his. His growl turned into a full throated snarl. "How dare you," he said, pulling out of the other's hold. Blood dripped down his fur, he shook it away with an impatient grunt. "Jared was marked from the moment he came here, by me. You know the laws! This is my territory Klein and I will not let you have him."

Klein maneuvered around Kemmell, setting himself between the other wolf and Jared. Jared felt frozen in place, unable to move even if he would have been allowed to. The others were crowded in close, watching in wary anticipation, ready for what was to come. He felt the brush of thought from Klein, a gentle jarring in his head mixed with comfort and warning. Be prepared. Jared swallowed, but acknowledged the gesture with his own thought: I will. I am. He straightened from his hunch, trying to ignore the lightning storm which had by now moved in right overhead.

The lightning brightened the scene in strobe-like detail, throwing the two wolves into sharp detail. Both were big, powerful looking beings though differing in only in color and stature.

Klein's fur bristled along his back in a dark wave, a line of almost black fur running straight down his back to the base of his tail. The rest of his fur was a slightly lighter shade of brown, bordering on gold in color. His feet were set, the dark fur creating socks on his paws, the lighter fur covering the rest the way up to his body.

Kemmell, on the other hand, was brindle colored, with dark and light fur marbling across his body. His legs were black as was his tail and his muzzle. Teeth flashed with deadly intent, sharp in the light. Jared gasped in shock and horror as Kemmell's mouth latched onto one of Klein's back legs. Klein snarled in pain, but just clamped all the harder on Kemmell's neck. Blood flew, splattering the tarmac and anyone standing too close to the fight. It took all Jared had not to gag.

With a shredding sound that brought whimpers of pain from both sides, Kemmell and Klein tore away from each other, though their eyes stayed locked. Jared felt his heart pound, trying to not to wince as lightning flashed overhead again, the rumble of thunder loud in his ears, drowning out his heart for a long moment. Jared took a breath, feeling the brush of Klein's thoughts, strong and steady in his head. Ready? Before Jared could respond, he felt strong hands wrap around his waist and the ground fall away from his feet. He let out a yelp of shock before he passed out.

The two wolves came together in a clash of teeth and claws, snarls ripping the air.

The fight raged on for a short time, a long time; a long, timeless moment. Lightning added a strobe like affect to the scene, highlighting the fight with blood, pain, wounds, anger, snarls, and more; the constant rumbling of thunder in the background. Cold wind ripped through the trees lining the street, tearing leaves off and throwing trash around. For a long time even those in the immediate vicinity of the fight, Kemmell's confederates, could not tell who was winning as the fight raged back and forth; the two alphas were fighting for more than territory and the heart of a young man, now safely away from the fight. This was a fight to the death.

The two backed away again, bleeding, wounded. Even with a werewolf's constitution, it would take a while for healing to begin. Both were on the edge of exhaustion, and to make matters even more interesting and dangerous, rain began to splatter down in big, cold, wet drops. Kemmell drew in a deep breath, trying to clear his ringing head, ears plastered back, teeth bared in a snarl. Blood dripped from wounds on either side of his throat, body and all of his legs. Even his tail had suffered from Klein's attentions. It drooped tiredly. Klein was only slightly better, a tear down the side of his face promising to turn into a deep scar if he had time to heal.

Kemmell's followers watched in awed silence as the two wolves circled each other. None thought to interfere. Kemmell stumbled hard, eyes narrowed in pain. He shook himself all over, scattering water and blood everywhere. Klein's eyes narrowed as he stalked closed, a low growl emanating from his chest.

"Give it up Klein. You know I will not submit to you." Kemmell's voice was low. He breathed heavily, putting effort into speaking.

"I wasn't planning on submission, Kem." Klein's muzzle rose in a smirk, eyes still narrowed. Grim amusement threaded his tone. Despite himself, Kemmell found he had to hide a shiver of fear. Rain began beating harder on the tarmac and the participants. It was colder, if possible and the lightning flashed brighter than before. The thunder crashed with ear numbing intensity.

Kemmell smirked back, trying for bravado, "ah death then. Good. I have so been looking forward to this." He stalked closer, his intent clear. "Ted, John, Calum, Arnold, Sean, see to Jared. Now!"

There was the sound of restless shuffling and a throat cleared before someone managed to say anything. "He's not here Kem."

Kemmell stopped, head up and eyes glinting dangerously. He could not turn his back on Klein, not here, not now. "Find him!" he snapped.

"Can't Kem. His scent is gone, shredded in the wind."

Klein's own smirk turned into a full grown wolf's grin. Overhead, the street light swayed alarmingly in the wind and lightning forked across the sky. Kemmell saw what was coming too late, distracted by the missing Jared.

Klein launched himself across the short distance and caught Kemmell's throat in his teeth. Without hesitation, he set his legs hard against the surface of the road they were fighting on, clamped his jaws around Kemmell's throat and proceeded to rip it out in a gout of blood, fur and tissue. Blood spurted everywhere, running in the rain, splattering against Klein's chest and front legs, coating his muzzle in red. He heard voices cry out in shocked surprise and anger and then paws smacking pavement as Kemmell's men ran in a frenzy to get away. Kemmell choked, his voice gone with his throat. Hate gleamed in his eyes briefly before they dulled in death.

Lightning flashed one last time, showing in that instance the gore of blood all over the street and Klein's fur. The rain increased its intensity yet again, washing away the blood. Klein dropped the other were's body, spitting out fur and other things, trying to clear the foul taste out of his mouth. All he wanted to do was collapse in exhaustion, but forced himself to stand. He still needed to check on Jared. He needed to finish this. He looked down at his former adversary, sat back on his haunches, and throwing his head back, let out a full throated howl which rose above the houses, above the storm and echoed eerily through the night announcing his victory over Kemmell and any others who dared to challenge his authority.

There was one last crack of thunder and the rain died finally. The clouds began breaking up, and for the first time that night, the light of the full moon glistened on wet pavement and tarmac. It glinted in Klein's eyes as he let out another howl, and yipped more gently. Others, who had been watching at a safe distance now began moving in, their faith in their chosen leader proven once and for all. It was a battle that needed fighting, one in which Klein proved himself more than capable. It was enough for now. In time there would be other challenges, other problems to solve. Now was a time for healing and bonding. They crowded around Klein and howled their joy in unison.

In the distance, Kemmell's former lieutenants picked up speed. By morning all would be gone from the city and state, searching out safer places to live. Folks who were not used to hearing a live wolf howl twitched in their sleep or hunched down in their chairs, some instinct letting them know that this was not a normal howl and that it carried danger and triumph in its tone. For his part, Jared's watchful guardian smiled for the first time since Klein had told him his plans. He recognized Klein's voice.

In his sleep, Jared twitched too, relaxing for the first time that night. A slight smile creased his lips before he settled into the first deep sleep he had enjoyed in months. Kemmell would never bother him again. And soon, Klein would be home. Safe.

The End.