They were going to the basement, she assumed, where the two wolves were being kept. One, was being gagged and bound against the floor pillar. The other, was being gagged and left loosely chained to the stairs. It was easy to see which wolf had which treatment.
She followed a little more hesitantly after Reid when she felt the anger of the Alpha downstairs. Her wolf shuddered at the aura he was giving off, so she pressed close to Reid's back for protection. He didn't seem to mind, which surprised her.
Elizabeth noticed both wolves, perked at their approach. The submissive seemed almost relieved to see them, while the Alpha's energy swirled turbulently and his eyes settled on her...then Reid.
That drew Reid's back straighter and tense with un-shed violence. She clawed her hands into his shirt to keep him close to her.
"Nate," Reid barely spoke, but his second seemed to understand the command in his name.
Nate came forward and released the gag from the nomads leader, who raised his head in defiance and met his eyes to Reid.
"Your name, wolf." Reid spoke first, barely whispering.
The man-wolf narrowed his eyes a bit at being commanded but replied easily enough, "Joseph Thompson."
"What do you intend to do with my wolves, Joseph Thompson?" Reid countered.
Thompson smirked and raised an eyebrow. "Your wolves...? That's... interesting of you,"
Reid's hands shook and he balled them into fists. "Get to the point," he growled, more wolf than man at the moment.
The nomad lost his humor, and his face hardened. "Give me my wolf, I'll give you yours."
Reid tilted his head, his wolf to the forefront now and his eyes were sure to be gleaming. "Your wolf?" he asked sardonically.
"Don't play the fool, Wynn! You've been chasing after her! And you bloody well knew she was mine!"
Her breath stopped at his words, then came confusion. Reid didn't miss a beat...then again, she felt the power of his Alpha, so his instincts were better for arguing.
"I was referring to the boy we tied on the stairs...not my woman,"
She tried to push back the human feminism that irked in annoyance at his emphasis and possessiveness of her. Her wolf was only vehemently agreeing with him.
"You mean to deny that she was in my territory, under my supervision - and you had no underlying means to intentionally take her from me?" he asked sarcastically, his voice changing accent.
"She was in Farris territory, which is neutral ground that I will eventually claim. She was an un-mated female, or else I wouldn't have taken to her. She is, clearly, not attached to you in any way." Reid explained, his Alpha power muted slightly as the human came back into control.
The nomad only laughed. "Un-mated, Wynn?" he questioned, teasingly and narrowed his eyes. "Why don't you ask her?" he asked with a smile.
Elizabeth's face fell flat at his remark. Reid inclined his head toward her, but she didn't know what that meant.
"I don't have to. If she were yours, your scent would be mixed with hers. And it's not," Reid added.
And when the nomad was opening his mouth to say something else, Reid cut him off, "Furthermore, if you consider her your wolf in your so-called 'pack'. Let's be honest, she's better off in my pack, where she'll be fed and cared for better than any of your wolves could ever provide."
The argument was bizarrely becoming more and more civil.
The nomad didn't deter, "She's mine, Alpha. I have the receipt to prove it."
Elizabeth's mouth fell open in shock and Nate bumped into her back for reassurance. Her wolf let her relax against the second, for comfort.
There was a long, silent pause as everyone took that in and the nomad watched their reactions.
Reid finally continued, "That explains her vocabulary, at least. And her coloring. And her memory loss. After such a horrendous ordeal, I'm sure her wolf wanted to wipe it out of her system," Reid started pacing around Thompson. And Joseph Thompson was only looking through him, to her.
"I'm curious though, what was your sellers intent when he sold her to you? A female of our kind is valuable and should be treasured. Was he so impaired in judgement that he passed her to you?" Reid asked, his voice mildly curious while his words were meant to pierce.
The nomad only chuckled. "What do you intend to do with her, wolf? I imagine our intents would be the same,"
"Doubtful," Reid snorted, keeping composure.
The nomad's mouth met firmly and his stare at her hardened. Reid came back in front of her to block Thompson's avid gaze, but it only made the nomad chuckle which irritated Reid further.
"There had to have been some other reason," Reid continued slowly.
The nomad looked up at him curiously. "European females aren't easy to find. Most stick to the human world and blend in and live out their lives as lonely humans do," Thompson looked to the cement of the basement wall and added, "they refuse to reproduce and carry on the gene of our kind,"
Reid's eyes narrowed slightly at that, but Thompson didn't notice. "So you decided to pay homage to your ideal by buying a stolen female werewolf from that sick, perverted, ass!"
Reid's anger didn't deter the lone wolf as he shrugged, indifferently.
"I planned on taking her away from Europe - our kind are so desperate there," he said with a strange look to Reid and added, "but she escaped when I hit Seattle."
Elizabeth felt as if her heart was drumming loudly enough for everyone to hear. She was straining to listen for anything else the wolf might say, but he just turned his head back to the wall, silent.
Reid breathed out a sigh. "Her wolf brought her to me,"
The nomad's eyes flicked back to Reid, angrily. "She escaped because she was claustrophobic, in that minuscule hotel room."
"She ran from you - and ran to the nearest available wolf that she was suited for."
Elizabeth didn't like this turn of events, and crossed her arms sourly. She didn't like how they were trying to size each other up based on what they thought her wolf had done.
Reid must have noticed for he then said with an absent wave of his hand, "It no longer matters. Her choice is to remain here. If needed, then I will pay the fee you, yourself paid for her. Other than that, there is nothing else to discuss. You will then return my wolves to me."
Thompson only grinned. "Full of yourself, aren't you?"
Reid's gaze hardened at him. "You will return my wolves to me. Or you and yours will pay for it."
Elizabeth looked back and forth between all the wolves, carefully watching their expressions for any of that wolf telepathy. The nomads submissive looked curiously worried, which had her puzzled. Was he worried for his arrogant Alpha? Or worried that he would have to go back to him, if Reid released him?
She turned her head slightly to gaze upon Nate. He had a bored sort of look on his face, she noted. He looked a little too intent on the nomadic leader, though, for him to be completely relaxed. She was quite relieved and thankful, then, on how loyal Nate was to his Alpha. Her wolf didn't like Nate because he flirted with her. But Elizabeth understood that a little - his flirtations were more like a brother teasing his brother's girlfriend, for fun. She smiled with warmth at the second.
"She is not my only concern, Wynn." The Alpha continued lazily, and that had Reid's back muscles tense under hand.
The two wolves in human form stared, unblinkingly at each other for a few moments before Reid conceded simply with, "Ah."
To clarify, perhaps for her comfort since everyone else seemed to understand the epiphany, Reid explained, "You are not the first she-wolf to have been sold, dear one."
She now realized Reid was specifically talking to her, if his endearment was any indication. Her wolf preened at his affections and the human half tried not to blush too much.
Reid grinned, a little, in success at having flustered her before adding, "In Europe females are more common than the Americas, but not so common that the males of our kind wouldn't be above fighting each other for them." She pursed her lips in thought at that.
Her eyebrows furrowed at that and finally she spoke, "Stealing?"
She heard the growl in Reid's voice when he answered, "Yes. Females taken against their will - and being sold to the males of our kind. Like cattle."
The cattle imagery had her hackles raised and for the first time Elizabeth growled with her human voice.
"This one," Reid flicked a finger in the chained wolf's direction," bought you at auction - intending you as his mate." Reid couldn't help but growl at the thought.
"But your wolf escaped him and brought you to me," there was satisfaction in his voice then as he continued, "for recompense Joseph Thompson has taken my wolves, which will be returned to me."
The wolf in question snorted derisively.
"The other concern is that of the other nomadic pack that is within Farris territory. One that we've had problems with before. Originally I had given them mercy - they are young and their Alpha is not strong enough to care for them but now..." Reid had trailed off.
"What do you mean?" she asked slowly, not yet understanding.
Nate answered for her. "Paul's pack, is the one that attacked us and Thompson's pack last night."
She looked in confusion to Nate and Reid amended,"Thompson is no innocent." he said with a growl to the man-wolf in question. "But we now have a common enough enemy."
"Why take them, though?" Elizabeth still didn't get the importance of it. But her wolf did. Territory.
"Yes," Reid agreed with her thoughts. "There is something else though... something is odd about Paul's pack-" Reid trailed off again, lost in his own deep thoughts.
"The whole bleeding country reeks of it." Joseph Thompson said with a sneer. Reid met his eyes with a glare.
"How do you mean?" he asked seriously.
Thompson looked at him in disbelief. "Can't you smell the stink of it?"
Thompson chuckled when Reid didn't answer. "You Old Ones don't see anything anymore, do you?"
"Answer me, wolf." was Reid's short reply.
"It's not just here, it's back home too. The stink of it - the madness."
Thompson's normally brown eyes lost their luster and began to look a bit mad themselves. Her wolf made them press against Reid in nervousness.
"Humans can barely live amongst themselves in peace - how can we be expected to? They make it too easy," The wolf said blithely.
"Humans are weak and not a threat." Reid growled incoherently.
Thompson interrupted with a snort," All the more reason."
"I'm not sure I understand," Nate interjected, to her relief.
Reid sighed, but it wasn't from impatience. "The wolves overseas are gaining attention, too much attention. Since the females of our kind are rare... too rare, they're trying to make some."
Stunned silence followed.
"Forced...Changes?" Nate finally asked softly.
She didn't understand the significance of it, but her wolf did. And suddenly Elizabeth felt sick with her wolf's emotions running through her.
"Yes," Reid agreed, either with Nate or her wolf she wasn't sure. Perhaps both.
"They don't usually make it to the Change, though." Thompson chirped in lightly and she frowned at his levity.
"And humans are not so foolish as to not notice a pattern. In the Old days they would not have noticed - there were too many ways to die then. Their disappearances would have been easy to conceal. But now, it is becoming harder and harder to hide our kind."
There was a long pause as she thought of the way he had said 'easy to conceal' - she wondered if he had done some of that himself. But her wolf said no. Reid did not have the scent of death about him, of that her wolf was sure of - and relied on.
"What does this have to do with taking the pack?" Nate finally asked, in their silence.
Reid looked pointedly to Thompson who ignored his hard gaze. Surprisingly he met her gaze, which had Reid growling.
"I have females in my pack." And when it was obvious that they still didn't understand the significance of that he added impatiently, "Un-mated females."
"Why take our pack then?" Nate countered defensively. Reid had chosen to remain silent, and just by being near him she felt his wrath.
At some point Elizabeth's hands had snaked around Reid, so instead of grasping onto the back of his shirt like a child - she had wrapped her arms around him to his stomach. Her wolf had them dig her fingernails into him tightly. He didn't seem to feel pain at it though, so to appease her wolf's rising anxiety she kept them there.
"They know you had an un-mated female within your rank. But mostly - Wynn's pack is nothing more than a thorn in everyone's paw." Thompson grinned at that, but lost it when he didn't manage to get a reaction from Reid.
Now Thompson just seemed bored. "You are nothing more than their poor attempt at a power play. I was going to intercept them before they made a play for my wolves - when he -" Thompson flicked his head to Reid, who met his eyes darkly," Decided that fighting me was more important than protecting his own."
"You attacked us." Beth added coolly before Nate could interject huffily.
Thompson seemed only amused that she had spoken directly to him. He shrugged in a nonchalant way. "It makes no difference. Now both our packs are gone - and we're wasting time with this interrogation."
"It doesn't make any sense. They've never done anything this...ambitious." Nate muttered to no one in particular.
"As I said: this bleeding country reeks of madness." Thompson added dryly.
"There is something else though, something Other that is affecting the packs," Reid murmured perhaps to himself.
"Oh?" Joseph Thompson inquired with curiosity. Elizabeth wondered at his strange range of emotions. He looked the picture of relaxation, chained to a pillar in the basement - talking to an Alpha that had just beaten him in a fight, standing next to a woman that he had intentionally bought to be a slave and the second in Reid's pack that had killed one of his own. The man-wolf, Thompson, was perhaps the very hint of the madness he was claiming the packs to be of.
Reid seemed to notice that he had spoken aloud. "I will be the one to deal with it."
Thompson only seemed amused. And that's exactly what Beth was noticing. An assumption. Either the wolf was good at acting, or was quite mad. It was fine line.
"Madness only easily affects the young ones of our kind. Like a child catching sickness from other playmates. They cannot help themselves. But someone is spreading it around." Reid explained gently, then grew firm.
"Don't look at me." Thompson added slyly.
"Do not assume innocence. You are as much to be given fault than any other." Reid added sharply. He had turned, possibly in disgust, away from the chained wolf - but seemed to forget that she was still attached. As an afterthought, he paused - but by then she had dropped her hands.
"And you aren't, Old One?"
The title that Thompson kept calling Reid by seemed to do nothing more than make him turn still enough to mimic a statue. Her wolf didn't like Reid's stillness, it bothered the human half a little too - to see him physically affected..by something. She couldn't tell exactly what he was feeling, but it was strong.
Elizabeth suddenly found herself holding Reid's hand - not entirely sure when she had stepped forward to do so. But Reid's warm hand slowly closed over hers, engulfing it in warmth and assurance.
Reid's eyes had brightened to wolf and were on their hands when he said, "This time there are things to protect."
She didn't understand the meaning, but the other two wolves in the room did, if their brightening eyes were any indication.
"It's happened before?" she asked, slowly.
Reid breathed deeply and didn't answer.
"Yes," Thompson said calmly in the silence.
There was more silence. To break it, she looked up at Reid - ready to question him, when he shook his head. "It was a long time ago."
"Forgotten already?" the Alpha on the floor asked sardonically.
Reid turned to give him a glare and the Alpha only smirked. "Nate - why don't you do us all a favor?"
The smirk left the Alpha's face as Nate grinned and strode forward. "How long do you want him out?"
"Dull," Joseph Thompson said dismissively rolling his eyes to Nate's ready and raised hand.
Reid looked on, uninterested. "Long enough."
"Right on, boss." Nate answered, bringing his arm down hard on the expectant wolf's head.
Elizabeth sat silently perched in the armchair, with her arms wrapped around her legs. The sun was just beginning to set, and she hadn't turned on the lights yet - so the room became slowly engulfed in the darkness. It wasn't scary. Somehow the night had always been more welcoming to her. It was light, the bright and glaring light that she tried to constantly escape. It seemed she could never hide from those that sought her.
One of the men in question leaned against the archway from the hallway to the living room. For a while she ignored his gaze - which she knew was on her. Reid had allowed her, when they first met, to look carefully at him. Beth allowed him the same. She wondered what he saw? She was slowly becoming more accustomed to her human form, the fragility, the lack of strength, the loss of sense of smell and hearing. Humans were so weak. She was no different.
Elizabeth pulled up her hands and looked intensely at them. She flexed and watched skin tighten over muscle and bone. No - there was strength there. She was weak, but not helpless. So then...why?
Why had she been taken? Stolen.
"You may not be a coward, darling. But you were outnumbered four to one,"
She looked into his wolf eyes, curious. "How do you know so much about me?"
She saw the corner of his mouth lift a little, and he sat on the edge of the armchair. His eyes were downcast when he answered, "I know so much about you, because you do."
He smiled grimly at her confusion and he tapped Elizabeth's head lightly in obviousness. "It's all right here, waiting for you to unlock."
"Then unlock it," she commanded impatiently. He snorted.
"I don't have the power to do that, or I would've done it already."
She frowned and crossed her arms. "Then tell me how."
"If I have to tell you then you're not ready," Reid said slowly, leaning into her.
She leaned away - much to her wolf's frustration. And that was becoming another problem altogether. It was a full moon tonight - the last of the month, and the wolf was anxious to be with Reid. The wolf's possessive needs would lessen as the moon waned. All the easier for Elizabeth to handle - but tonight especially, her wolf was grumpy at not getting her way - and Beth only passed that on to Reid.
Reid sighed. "All she wants is for me to touch you, Beth. It helps her calm down when I'm here," he added gently.
"Is that what she wants?" she asked, gritting her teeth.
Reid moved his arm to wrap it around the armchair, where she was sitting. She couldn't see his arm behind her head, but she knew it was there and so did her wolf. The wolf calmed a bit and the human in her bristled.
"You're wolf isn't pissed, Beth - it's you." Reid finally spoke while she fumed silently.
"Is not!"she burst.
He got up immediately from his perch and turned to stand over her. She noticed his eyes were wolf-green. But she was betting hers weren't.
"No, they're not."
"Good." she spat, trying to control the strange urge to hit him.
"You have your wolf so confined within you - can't you see she's only trying to help? You let her out only when it feels convenient for you," Reid added quietly, trying not to set her off, she imagined. She didn't answer.
He watched her silently and she turned her head to ignore him. She didn't understand why she was so angry. He had been nothing but kind to her. And apart from her initial irritation at being forced to be part of his pack - she had been cordial to him, flirtatious even at some points. Alright...most points, but her wolf had been calling the shots on those.
Elizabeth couldn't help that her wolf found him attractive. He simply was. Earlier he had been wearing a nice light gray pull over sweater - it hadn't been too tight on him, but just tight enough that it fit well. He abandoned the sweater when they had changed to wolves and hadn't put it back on after waking up. But Nate had scrounged to find his pants - so Reid was wearing nothing but those dark blue jeans. And a now satisfied grin.
She turned her eyes away. She heard him chuckle and approach her - and Beth remained like a statue.
"And you think it's your wolf, huh?" he whispered, his eyes wolf-bright and alight with amusement. Elizabeth tried not to react when she felt his lips by her ear, but it made her twitch involuntarily and goosebumps rose on her arms and neck.
"You see, darling," Reid continued, his lips now by her cheek, "you're wolf isn't the only one that's grumpy about not being about to touch her mate."
She swallowed guiltily and moved her head a fraction to meet his eyes. Wolf. And beautiful.
"Thank you," he murmured, his lips kissed her cheek then and the other. And right by her eye, then her chin, and her ear. He was at her neck, when she finally pulled back, a little shakily but he allowed her.
"You're distracting me," she said sternly, crossing her arms in intimidation. It probably would've helped if she could've slowed her racing heart down and gotten rid of the goosebumps that were still visible on her arms.
He smiled cheekily. "You distracted me first,"
The wolf wanted to smile, to join in with his amusement, but Elizabeth frowned purposefully. "Why won't you tell me anything?"
He lost his smile.
She grew bolder,"Someone has been taking women, against their will, and forcing them to mate with whoever they choose. Why?"
Reid's eyes darkened to human again, his wolf was uninterested in their conversation. "You know why,"
Her jaw clenched in anger. Violence, even. That's what she had craved. Violence. On the ones who took her.
"And it's happened before?" she questioned, knowing the answer. But last time she had asked, Reid had chosen to ignore her.
"Not ignore... protect?" Reid corrected softly, and it set her teeth on edge.
"Protect me? From what? Being so sheltered, that I wander around wolf territory blindly walking into fights - which are being started because of me?" she asked bewildered. "It's amazing that I've escaped this long. Really it is." Her wolf had been cunning to protect them from so many males, this long.
"She is smart, because you are." Reid answered her thoughts, and knelt on his knees next to her. He reached for her hand and she let him. He examined it seriously as she had done earlier.
"Our kind live a long time, dear one... it's taken me a long time to find you." Reid whispered, his eyes were looking at her hands, but they were distant.
"I found you." she added impulsively, and realized she sounded a bit too smug about the notion, to be indifferent.
Reid gave a harsh smile. "Yes, you did."
He continued, "We live so long, and our males outnumber the females twelve to one - can you not see how valuable you are?"
"So?" she quipped lightly.
He sighed and to her he looked quite...tired. Exhausted, might have been a better word. She suddenly regretted her flippant attitude. But she couldn't take it back now.
Reid seemed to understand. But of course he could, he could read minds. Beth, herself, was envious of the ability - her wolf didn't care much.
"You know so little of me, young one - and that's my fault." Reid finally answered, after her long pause.
She looked hopefully at him, expectant.
"Perhaps if I tell you more of me, you'll trust me enough to loosen the reigns on your wolf,"
She frowned, then pouted. "I do trust you,"
His answer was automatic, "If you did - you wouldn't be choking your wolf to death with your control." And before she could argue that Reid countered, "And you're only doing that because you don't want her taking over your body, I understand. But if you trusted me more, it wouldn't matter to you either way."
Elizabeth continued to purse her lips, in thought.
"So, where to start?" he asked clapping his hands lightly, unsure.
She shrugged. The only thing she knew about him was he was an Alpha, who had a brother up North, he wasn't mated, and had the ability to read his pack's mind.
"I can read any wolf's mind, Beth - not just my pack's." he amended, obviously listening in.
A memory came to her just then, and she glared at him in accusation. "You told me that you could read my mind because I was your mate."
"I can," he said instantly.
She scoffed to herself. She had allowed her wolf too much control over them. The wolf was so gullible! It angered her that she had trusted him so easily.
He sighed again. "You are my mate - that cannot change. But with the way you've leashed your wolf in - you can't even feel it."
"Feel what?" she grumbled, crossing her arms.
He looked a little surprised, but then answered quietly, "Me."
He tilted his head a bit and his eyes brightened to wolf-green. He reached his hand out and touched her arm gently. At first she stared, unimpressed, then she began to feel what he was talking about. It felt similar to when he had helped her change from wolf to human. But this was a very different type of power he gave her.
It trickled from her arm throughout her whole body - and for some reason, she felt suddenly exposed. It felt... liquid-like, she thought - but warm. Almost hot. Like lava. It warmed her to her toes, and made her feel flushed.
She had the strange urge to curl up beside him and sleep. Just sleep. As if she could stay completely content and peaceful, as long as he was near. She had felt this before, Beth realized. The night she had met Reid, as wolf.
"I gave you peace then, yes." he murmured, his eyes were still wolf-green.
"Why?" she questioned, unmoving.
"Why give it to you? Because you needed it," he answered like no other reason had occurred to him.
"I don't feel like you're my mate," she added honestly,suddenly. Elizabeth had a feeling one of the side effects of his 'peace' was 'honesty'.
"You've never had a mate before, how would you know?" he asked lightly, to her it sounded casual but the bright eyes of his wolf said otherwise.
They met her eyes then.
"Neither have you," was her reply. Marcy had told her that her first day here.
"True. But I'm an Alpha, and old enough to know when my wolf-mate is near. And here you are," he gestured to her with a wave of his hand.
"What's it feel like?" she asked before she could stop herself. Elizabeth didn't want to sound so curious - she was trying to talk herself out of the whole 'mate-thing'.
Reid thought seriously on that. "There's a bit of the peace that I give you, I think. But that's different. What you give me, makes me feel... settled."
Elizabeth wasn't sure what to say to that, because she wasn't entirely sure she knew what he meant.
He clarified,"Wolves mate for life, dear one. And I've lived a long time, some days I think too long -" he looked away then, to stare unfathomably at his hands.
And he continued, "But when I could smell you, it was like I had finally stopped searching for something that I didn't know I was looking for. As if I were running for a long time - and finally reached my destination."
He turned his eyes back to her and they looked happy. "That's what you give me. A relief - that fills my bones, to know that I no longer have to be alone."
How could she answer that?
"You don't have to," Reid responded softly to her thoughts.
She frowned, ashamed of her earlier behavior -but couldn't make herself apologize. "Tell me something else," she commanded, instead.
His eyebrows raised. "What else do you want to know?"
"Anything!" She burst, then amended," No - something different. Something no one else knows," Elizabeth said quickly. This is what she needed, he had said. To know him more. She would be lying if she said she wasn't curious at all.
"Something no one else knows? That's difficult.. my brother knows just about everything about me." Reid pondered aloud to himself.
She waited patiently.
His eyes roamed over her for a moment, then he answered, "Words are not so good for the wolf. He wants to show you."
Reid took her hand from her crossed arms and she forced them to bend for him. He put her hand, smothered by his, against his chest. The gesture made her face heat - but the seriousness in Reid's face, made her focus. His body was hot - she wasn't sure if that was just him or because of the peace he had given her earlier. But she felt his warmth - and muscle. Nothing but muscle, it seemed. Taut as iron beneath slightly tanned skin.
She felt something else though. His heart? To her, it seemed to be beating too fast. Fast, but strong. And steady. Elizabeth didn't know why, but touching him this way - calmed her more than his 'peace' ability had.
"Something no one else knows?" she repeated softly, lost in the feel of his warmth.
He hummed to himself before answering, "The way you make me feel. No one knows that." and he pressed her palm more firmly against his heart.
Elizabeth could feel his heart beating. Rhythmically strong, and just vitally there.
Abruptly, Reid sat straight up - forcing her hand to lose it's grip and fall awkwardly onto his leg. She moved it in a flustered rush and she heard Nate clear his throat.
"Thompson's up," Nate said simply, eyes glowing silver in the dark.
Reid observed him silently. Beth twisted her hands in her lap, avoiding the impulse to flee away from the Alpha. It was as if she needed to constantly touch him in order to feel that 'peace' that he so generously offered.
"About time. Has Derek gotten a call back from his man yet?" Reid asked, his eyes fixed on her. She pretended not to notice, despite the difficulty of it.
Nate scratched at his arm and didn't meet Reid's gaze when he answered, "They're still looking."
Reid growled and stood up in one fast movement that she couldn't see. Nate went clumsily to his knees. Reid walked slowly to where he knelt and patted Nate on the shoulder.
"Someone else is looking for the pack?" Elizabeth questioned uncertainly from her chair.
"Yes," Reid replied, not looking at her.
Her response was automatic, "Why?"
"Why not me, you mean?" he asked slowly, abandoning Nate to come before her.
She tried avoiding his gaze. "Don't you want to find them yourself?"
"Yes," he answered stiffly.
She let the silence between them be her answer.
"I would... do anything for them," Reid said too slowly, forcing the words out.
Elizabeth arched a brow and finally looked up at him.
"Anything," Nate reiterated. When Reid's presence didn't force him to his knees, Nate came forward and sat down on the floor closest to her. "It's not a good idea to have our Alpha wolf in a mad frenzy running around downtown."
"You won't hurt anyone," Beth said strongly, meeting Reid's eyes as if she could somehow make it come true.
He stared at her gravely, "I would do anything, dear one. It's best I let a few I trust to find me a scent to track - before I start tracking them."
She knew that, so she nodded. It made sense to her, it did - it was just... Marcy was so small. Surely, they wouldn't hurt her before Reid could find them?
"Marcy is in no danger. It's Ben I worry more for," Reid was answering her thoughts absently, pacing.
Nate crossed his legs and bowed his head so she couldn't read his expression.
"Thompson is up - and I will use his pack connections to help find ours." Reid said absently, and she was fairly certain he wasn't talking to either of them.
"You can't use yours?" she asked hesitantly. She noticed Nate had been looking at her, but Beth concentrated on Reid who stopped pacing at her question.
"No. That is not a gift that I have. I have the ability to sense my pack, but not to know their exact location. Older wolves gain abilities, dear one, but I've not been blessed with that one."
"You can read their minds," she added lightly.
"Yes. But until I'm close to them, that won't help. Unfortunately, I will need that fool." Reid growled and began pacing again.
She pursed her lips, in thought. "When you find the pack - what will happen to him?"
Reid's eyes glowed green, then. He turned his face from her, "Why do you ask?"
She shrugged. "Just curious,"
Reid braced his hands on the back of her chair, and she felt the odd feeling in the pit of her stomach as he pulled it back so it stood on two legs. She leaned back so he could better balance her.
"Pity him?" he asked softly.
"I don't know, do I?" Elizabeth asked crossing her arms.
"He is no innocent, young one. If he hadn't stolen you, he would've found another," he growled, easing closer so his mouth was next to her.
"I wasn't thinking about that."
"Weren't you?" he countered.
"I was thinking about the inevitable trap you're all walking into." she added simply, ignoring his brisk tone. When he didn't choose to answer she continued, "That nomadic pack, and their Alpha. And whoever is controlling them. It's pretty obvious they're just setting a trap for you to walk into."
There was another long pause, then Reid stepped back and gently let her chair back onto four legs. He came around kneel in front of her, his hands on her knees.
He tilted his head, and his wolf was still in his eyes when he said, "You think someone is controlling Paul?"
"Who?" she asked automatically.
"The nomads Alpha," Nate answered from the floor. So far he hadn't shown any interest in them, but when she had spoke he seemed suddenly alert.
"Yes, him." she agreed.
"Why?" Reid demanded.
She shrugged, unsure of why he was being so determined. "You said that someone was spreading stuff around. I just thought you meant that Alpha - that's why he took the packs,"
"No...I didn't mean that," Reid answered, a little reluctantly.
"Oh," she said dumbly, at a loss.
"But it's interesting... very interesting," Reid wasn't paying attention to her now, he began his pacing again.
"I don't understand," Nate put in, finally voicing her thoughts.
Reid stood as still as stone. "No, nothing for now." He whipped around and met her gaze - Nate's eyes dropped to the floor - and Reid was in front of her again.
His eyes were bright and wolf when added slowly, "I've got some hunting to do."
A/N: The long awaited Chapter 5, yay! :) Whew! Continuing onwards!
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