A/N: So, I haven't written in years, and I've never written supernatural before...
Please let me know what you think.
She smelt different.
Yet, she smelt somewhat familiar. Whatever it was, this scent, it was deep within her. How deep though, he could only imagine. It made him want to approach her, want to force her to turn so that he could see her face. Bring his face right up to hers and drink in her essence. Discover why she smelt this way, why she was making him have to fight his instincts so hard.
That wasn't how this worked.
He couldn't risk being seen yet. He wasn't ready. She wasn't ready. He knew how this needed to play out; how it always played out. He needed to bide his time, wait until everyone was in the correct place before he took any action. He needed to have a plan, not be rash.
When he'd first come up on this village, he'd been pleased. More than pleased with himself; he'd been positively smug. It had been a while since he'd manged to approach a village with such stealth and skill. The last few he'd come across he'd not been careful enough, he'd been too blasé about it. Become too sloppy. He'd been seen, he'd been invited in to the communities as a visitor, a friendly traveller, as one of them. They'd thought him a friend.
And where had that got him? Nowhere. He'd had to take their kindness, their happy words and cheery faces and pretend that they were good and hospitable people who he owed so much to. Days wasted, not leaving with more than the false smile on his face. It had been two months since he'd last made a good catch and even more since he'd got paid handsomely for it too.
So, when he'd picked up word of the village for the human town on the outskirts of the forest, he'd treated it as a mission, rather than the literal lone-wolf style of work he'd taken on over the past year. He'd crept his way through the trees, he'd listened out intently at the slightest snap of a branch, and kept himself downwind as much as possible. It had taken him half a day to get to the village, while if he'd been a visitor, had wanted to be sensed, it would have taken him but an hour to walk, to run, freely towards it.
There was of course the chance that it wouldn't be worth it. That the village wouldn't have what he was looking for. It had happened before, he'd wasted a careful approach to find that there was no one suitable there.
He'd been here for three days. Three days of just watching. Listening. Smelling. He'd caught the strange scent after only an hour or so of observing them, but it hadn't been until today that he'd found the source of it. Until today, it had just made him curious, it hadn't stood out. It could have been anything. This village was close to the town, he was aware that the community here was somewhat closer to the human world than some of the others that he'd visited.
The community here was fairly small, ten main families and a dozen or so others. He'd smelt others in the town when he was passing through, it seems there was a mix between the village and the town. There were packs he'd come across that would call this weakness, allowing itself to be dispersed like this. But, he could understand it. He was able to tell who the leader here was, but he sensed that they weren't an alpha. Either they'd lost their alpha and a new one hadn't come to light, or they'd left their pack to create a new settlement. It was becoming more and more common these days, the breeding with humans was causing packs to disintegrate, the blood diluting, the chance of non-wolves being born heightening.
There were a few humans in this village, and those who he assumed were non-wolves too. It was difficult to tell a non-wolf, they smelt like wolves and they were genetically wolves.
Non-wolf was a strange name for them, but it was a neutral name, there were some far cruder names they could be called, that he'd heard them called on many occasions.
Non-wolves had a wolf inside them, the problem was that they couldn't make contact with the wolf. The link between the human and the wolf was broken. Since the first transformation could take place anytime between the ages of three and puberty, it was often impossible to tell if someone was a late-bloomer or a non-wolf. He'd even known one werewolf who had been thought a non-wolf, until he'd turned at the age of 17.
He wasn't interested in non-wolves though, they weren't what he was after, which might have been why it took him so long to find the source of the strange scent. He'd been watching a group of female werewolves in their late teens, a few of whom were unfortunately mated, when his eyes were drawn to the opposite end of the village. A female he hadn't remembered seeing these past few days had joined a younger female, a non-wolf, and a male werewolf who'd been chatting quietly between themselves. He hadn't seen her approach them, but he hadn't been interested in them so she could have been there a while.
It was a gust of wind that had alerted him to the presence of her. Up until then he'd only been able to make out the briefest trace of the scent in the village, he hadn't even been able to tell which house it was coming from, if any, which had aggravated him. But then, the smell was on the wind, rushing towards him. He'd turned quicker than he'd meant to, if anyone had been any nearer to him they might have sensed him there – caught his scent on the wind, or seen the small flash of moment he made. However, he'd been lucky, he stilled and held his breath for a full half minute before he'd dared to take in the scene before him.
It was a girl. The scent was coming from a girl.
She was a little taller than the non-wolf, but had the same dark brown hair, it looked to be a similar length but not nearly as straight. She had on a flowery flowing skirt and a strappy top, both of neutral colours. Her feet were bare and she seemed to have a more boyish figure than the non-wolf in front of her. She was a werewolf though, that much he could tell. Her scent was stronger than that of the non-wolf, stronger even than that of the male werewolf.
He breathed in more deeply; she didn't appear to be mated, she couldn't smell anyone on her, he couldn't see any sign that she'd come to season either. So, she must be young. Possibly younger than he was here for. But, there was that subtle difference in her smell…
He needed to look at her properly. It was all well and good trying to determine her age and her status from behind like this, but to be certain she needed to turn. He thought he'd get the opportunity to see her face when an older man walked up to them and the others she was with started motioning towards him, but she didn't move, not a centimetre. She seemed to freeze under his gaze. He recognised the man, he was the leader here.
Gethin Dray - tall and broad, with long greying hair. The other wolves spoke of him often, with respect tinged with some fear, so his name was in the air here. Looking at them now a realisation sprang to him mind. The non-wolf and male werewolf in front of him were definitely his children, he could see the same cool blue eyes graced all their faces. Breathing in again, he could smell a similar scent on all four of them – they were all of the same blood. He couldn't smell the strange aroma on Gethin and his other two children though, just her.
He willed her to turn, to speak, to do something. He needed to get a better idea what this girl was, and whether she was a good target. Unfortunately, the rigidness in her posture didn't go away, not even when her siblings relaxed in their fathers greeting.
Normally he would have just given up. He'd have looked back towards the group of females on the other side of the village and followed the blonde curvaceous girl carefully with his eyes for the rest of the day. Ana, he'd heard the others call her. She was pretty, but not too pretty. Pretty enough not to be entirely aware of it and of her effect on those around her. She'd probably not hit season before, a virgin. That's what he'd look for when he could, the virgins were worth so much more. Plus, with a virgin it was likely there weren't bonded. He'd taken bonded girls before, but it just wasn't worth the hassle anymore. He didn't get the same satisfaction out of it that he used to, and to be honest he just wanted to deliver, he couldn't be bothered getting to know the girl, gaining her trust and, in a sense, wooing her into submission. He just wanted a nice quick, clean job.
It wouldn't be easy as such, to take Ana. She was always pushing herself towards the other girls of the village, but he'd watched her. He knew that in the evening she liked to walk out towards the edge of her garden and just listen to the noises around her. He'd got here in the evening and there she'd been, just sat yards away from him staring into the distance, for a moment he had been fearful that she's heard or scented him, but her smile hadn't faltered, nor her ears pricked up at this settling into the treetop. She just looked so damn sweet and trusting, he was sure it would be easy to snap a twig, drop a few branches and tempt her curiosity towards him.
But, the scent.
He wanted to know what it was, what it meant. There was a niggling voice in the back of his head telling him that he knew what the smell was, but he ignored it, it couldn't be that. He was sure of it. It was too unlikely. His own curiosity was too much for him. He needed to know.
So, he changed his plan. He kept his eyes on the girl. He'd find out what the smell was, and then continue with the normal steps. Hopefully she was of age and hadn't been bonded. And either way, if she was pretty then he'd find another use of her.
Her brother and sister walked away towards a house. He was hoping she'd turn and go with them, but her father laid a hand on her neck and walked her towards another building and shut them both inside. She'd moved so rigidly it made him question whether he was wrong about her state of wolf. Werewolves of her age range were often so fluid when they moved, so carefree. Later in life they could stay that way, or become more calculated in their movements. But then he heard the raised voice of Gethin Dray and realised that she was probably apprehensive about going with him.
Her father left the building and shut the door firmly behind him after only a few minutes. He didn't hear raise her voice during the confrontation so couldn't get an idea of her in his mind.
For a while he was unsure of what to do. He hadn't seen this girl in the three days he'd been here, what if she didn't reappear for that long again. He could stay here watching the door waiting, but what about when he needed to hunt? What if she left at that exact time, or if she ended up just being escorted between buildings?
During this internal conflict, he suddenly caught a small whiff of her in the air and strained his eyes to look at the back of the building she was in.
There she was, crawling out from panel at the back, shielded from the light of the sky above them. He watched her crawl along the floor slowly, towards the trees, before she quickly shot up into a crouching position and fled into the forest. He made a split-second decision and lowered himself to the floor, traveling as silently as he could around the perimeter of the village. He knew he'd be upwind from the village, but he needed to catch her alone.
Once he'd made it to the other side of the village, hidden in the dark of the trees, he stilled himself. He let his wolf take control of his senses; listening for her, looking for her, tasting the air. He caught her scent and stalked his way through the trees.
She was sat in a clearing just upwind from him. He was worried she'd come into the woods to shift, knowing that she'd have sensed him quickly in that state. But, no. She was just sat there, facing away from, leaning back and looking up at the leaves swaying above her.
He would have liked to have taken a proper look at her first, but since the element of surprise was handed to him on a silver platter he had to take it. The easier this could be the better, especially since she might be the wrong age.
He readied himself.
Slowing his heartbeat, lowering his breaths.
He leapt behind her, landing just as she went to turn. He heard the slightest outtake of breath leave her lips, as though she was about to exclaim something. And then, she still. Head lolled backwards in his arms as he held the cloth against her mouth.
She wasn't pretty like he hoped. She was beautiful. Her pink lips were pouting up at him, her cheeks flushed, her lashes long and completely still against the tops of her cheeks. There was a smattering of freckles across the bridge of her nose, and something deep in him wanted to reach out and run his fingers across them. He shook it away.
This wasn't what he wanted.
If she was this pretty she might be bonded, he could smell on her that she'd never been mated though, that she'd never even been in season. It did something to him that he hadn't felt in a long time.
If she was bonded, then this wasn't the way he'd have taken her. She'd have 'chanced' upon him one day alone, he'd made himself her little secret, gained her trust and turned her against her partner, and then tempted her away from her village with the promise of romance and adventure.
Nevertheless, that wasn't an option now and he had to think fast. He had to get her away from here before someone came upon them, or noticed she was gone and started searching. He didn't even have enough time to properly establish why she smelt the way she did, he just had to get out of there.
He'd have time later. It would have to wait.
He grabbed her limp body and hoisted it over his shoulder.
Then, he ran, feeling exactly like the big bad wolf he knew he was.