Title: Hamartia

Note: You're my tragic flaw.

Love is something to cherish, not to throw away to save your own pitiful existence. Most beasts understand that concept, but not humans. They always have had extraordinarily thick skulls. She seems to ponder the vastness of the Universe as she sits at her window, but 'tis nothing more than love.

She remembers how love brought her this fate, has condemned her to death by a silver scythe and eternal damnation at the fangs of a wolf. Nothing good comes of love. Fog wisps and catches in the bare branches, and moonlight dances upon the freshly fallen snow. The pendants at her neck tinkle as she shakes her head, as though to be ridden of bothersome pests.

Breaths cloud before her and as she always does, she meets the moon with a sense of vengeance. Air is dragged from her lungs and knives of cold stab in her chest as the air is replaced. The chain around her neck, that covers the crosses and Saint Michael pendent, rattles and throws moonlight to scatter about the darkness that is her cage.

Growls rumble in her throat and her shoulders hunch against the pain. Fangs rip through her gums and blood pools in her open mouth, drowning the screams of agony. Muscles ripple just beneath her skin and claws jerk through her fingers. The pain drags her to her knees. Bloodied claws drag and grip at the rough stone. Ribs force their way out of her fragile skin, her chest cords with muscle and her lungs rake against her chest walls.

Rocking back on her haunches, her form shakes. Yellowish green eyes glow in the soft light. Blood and saliva mix and drip from large fangs, exposed and glinting in the moonlight. Breathe clouds in front of her slightly open lips, blood frosts on her muzzle. Her ears flick and lay tight against her skull, she creeps as far away as the chains allow, trying to hide in her corner.

The tumbler of the lock echoes and the heavy metal door creaks open. I loved you, still love you and you keep me caged like a beast. Not like the girl you once loved in return. Why must you torment me so? Is my soul not yet burdened with the many murders of the innocent? Must you add more pain to my suffering? He moves into the room with liquid grace. She is nothing more than a pet now. His hand is gloved and she hunches her shoulder, sure a blow is about to be struck.

His long fingers, so beautiful and elegant, are clothed in black leather and yet she can feel his heat. His touch is light and he regards her with hooded violet eyes. She looks away. He left her at the jaws of the wolf, gathered her when she had fallen and locked her away. Chained her like the beast she was to become. Long ago she forgot what his skin felt like, the loving caress of his fingers. Even now, in this form, he wears gloves as he strokes along her bloodied muzzle, past her lightly glowing eyes, over her pointed ears to become lost in the thick silver ruff at her neck.

"Will you heed the call of your Master? Shall you return if I release you? Last time, you almost got away. I would hate to lose you. You know I love you." Words spoken softly, rumbling with a slight accent that coats his chocolate and brandy tones. The tone soothes her nerves but the words send shivers fluttering down her spine. Am I nothing more than a dog? Do you not understand that I understand? I know who is Master and who is Slave. It matters not. Her head jerks from his touch and she glares at the wall. He stands and pulls a key, the chains fall to the ground.

Tall form unfolding, it has been over a month since she could stand on the night of the wolf. Her silver tail sweeps the floor and the tips of her ears brush the ceiling. The deep chest and the tapering waist, the muscled thighs and strong legs. Hind claws dig in and the arch from toe to hock is prominent. She moves silently, throws herself through the window and blends with the snow and shadow that is her world.

Claws dig into a tree trunk and the tree shakes slightly. Crouched on a branch, sheltered from the biting wind and telling light. She has one chance to regain her freedom, tonight. All Hallows' Eve. Grasping the tree branch with one hand, she scanned the snow and moonlight kissed horizon.

Lights seem to float in the darkness. Slowly, one by one, the lights disappear. The town is absorbed into the darkness and she falls feather light from the branch. Snow barely stirs as her toes spread to absorb the shock. A stalking gait brings her ever closer to the town, she can smell the garlic. Sadly, it does nothing to ward the wolves away. A howl echoes around, catching in the trees and shattering the silence.

Human scents are so telling. The innocent and the wicked. The young and the old. She tilts her head back and lets the scents wash over her, picking the last soul she is to devour at his command. She would rather starve to death that feast, upon flesh that she once called her kind.

Glass shatters upon contact with the muscled body and she lands in a crouch. Lips draw away from large fangs, saliva makes them glint. The "guard" dog cowers in fear, tail between its legs and neck exposed. Her front toes spread and she pads silently towards the back rooms. She noses the first door open and watches the subtle rise and fall of the child's chest. An innocent. The last. No more after tonight. I would rather be chained by silver than reap another.

Creeping closer to the bed, she touches her nose to an exposed arm. The warm body twists away. "Go away Shep. Sleeping." Getting slowly to her feet, the growl rumbles free and she looms over the bed. Wide blue eyes meet wicked gold and terror scents the air. The scream is cut mid-air and lights flutter back to life.

Blood and gore drip from her muzzle, stain the silver fur of her neck and chest, puddle and coagulates on the floor. She can hear feet thudding from steps and into the street, her ears flick to the sounds of muffled gasps of the child's mother and angry bellows of the father. Snarls expose bloodied fangs and the parents stumble back. She races on nearly silent feet from the room. The door slams open as her muscled body collides with it.

Moonlight makes the snow shimmers and the blood a shade darker than black. The castle looms ahead and her nostrils flare. When it comes down to the final hours, it's best to just not think. She wades across the frigid moat, thin covering of ice catching at her skin. She shakes herself and slams hard against the door. The heavy oak creaks open and her prey stirs.

Fangs glint in a wolfish grin and he stumbles back a step. "Done so soon? Amazing. And you came without being called." He smiles. "Perhaps you've retained some of your manners." She sits on her haunches, front paws in front of her, and watches him as he moves about the room. He senses no threat, sees only a dumb animal at his command. The grin moves to her eyes, the gold darkening slightly.

Once predator has yet to realize he is now prey. That though they are engaged in an age old dance, that both are damned for eternity, that one thirsts for his blood. She watches him with hooded eyes, sees the slight twitches and the moments of weakness. Where his vulnerability lies. The heavy iron hands of the clock touch the twelve and the chimes echo through the cavernous rooms.

On the second chime she stands, the third has her gaining ground he loses. The clock chimes four and the roar rips free of her throat, the fifth has her lunging at him. Shoving him against the wall and feeling his claws dig deep into her chest. Snarls rip from both their throats and fangs snap against one another. They both lost their soul, he to a demon and she to a wolf.

Ninth chime has a bite ringing true, fangs clamping down on his neck. A strangled scream and hot blood courses through her mouth. She flexes her jaws to get closer, to ensure she snaps the veins and jugular. His screams get weaker and his claws dig at her neck, he tries to slide up the wall and away from her grasp. Her claws catch and hold at his waist. She's stronger than him, having just fed.

Chest surging with each pulled breath and he slips away, she's left with cooling blood and the body of her once beloved. Chime ten has her unwilling to let him fall and she stumbles away. Chime eleven has her legs buckling and the ground racing up to greet her in a stony embrace. The clock chimes twelve and she slips towards the abyss, his body drawn close against her.

Amber eyes jerk open and she's met with unimaginable pain. Her breath catches and she goes to roll away. As the fog of agony clears, she's left with the feeling she missed something. Not being to remember the night before as always, but never quite getting used to it. Blood coats her hair and skin, she can taste it in her mouth.

Blinking back tears that she sheds without knowing why, her gaze falls upon his crumbled body. Never has she woken by her victim. A gaping black hole lays where his throat used to be, rips in his clothes by massive claws, puncture wounds on his arms and neck. Angst hits her and she looks away. And suddenly, all that he did to her, matters not.

It matters not that he left her to this fate, that he allowed her soul to be ripped from her body, that he chained her up and locked her away like a beast. That he commanded her to kill. She still loved him. Now when the cycle returns, there will be no one to lock the chains and the door, to blame the slaying on. To share the guilt with. Only her and her inner beast, her silver nightmare.

Death blind eyes watch her move about the room as she scrubbed the tainted blood away with the tattered remains of a shirt. Clouded violet eyes seemed to follow her to the stairs. Only when four foot stone walls lay between them did the unforgiving gaze disappear. Her feet drag along the ground, her nails drag against the rough stone wall, her silver hair curtains her face and her large amber eyes are locked on the ground.

Crawling up into his bed, black silk sheets slide past her. She lays on his bed, face buried in his spot. His scent lingers, the scent of sandalwood and green apples. She curls up and draws the thick covers over her body, wishing it was his arms. In the beginning, he would hold her when the moon's phase was through. Not anymore. A sob caught in her throat, her amber eyes glistened the colour of bronze.

Tears held none of her attention as she buried her face in his pillow, surrounded by his scent and artificial warmth. She squeezed her eyes shut and shoved all thoughts of her tears away, pretend she was still strong. But her shattered soul mourned for her lost mate. Her lost mate that had died at her own jaws.

Her hand reaches out and attentively touches the lever. He always told her what she must do if anything ever happened to him, if he could no longer protect and control her. She pulled it and the sound of silver bars sliding down to bar the windows and doors rang clearly in her mind. She'd be okay for a few weeks, then hunger would start to gnaw at her stomach.

Slowly, she'd starve to death, or perhaps bite the silver bullet. She knew that when the next moon cycle came around, she'd pick a spot and howl her anguish and hunger to the world. Howl for her lost mate, for the only person she'd ever truly loved. For her hamartia and greatest love.