Michael's eyes shot open and he sat up straight. His hands went to his temples, which throbbed in extreme pain. He groaned loudly as sweat flowed from his forehead.

Initially shaken by the sudden movement, the gorgeous young woman next to him sat up slowly, sleep still had a slight hold of her. "Michael?"

Through gritted teeth the former soldier spoke to his wife. "Damn head hurts, Claire."

Putting a hand on his broad shoulder, the young woman tried to console her husband. "A migraine?"

Feeling the veins bulge in his temples Michael slowly shook his head. This pain was vastly different from a typical headache. It was the kind he absolutely dreaded. "Much worse."

She didn't any further explanation than that. "Wait here."

She climbed out of bed, the long skirt of her white gown flowing behind her as she quickly left the bedroom. Michael watched her as she left, running his hands through his short ebony hair. Claire knew how to handle this situation and he hoped she got back before he would attempt to crush his own skull.

Taking deep breaths in his attempt to alleviate the pain Michael felt it ease slightly but still felt the stinging pain go through his head. He tried to take his mind off the pain by looking around the bedroom. The room was bare save for twin dressers for himself and his wife as well as Claire's vanity. The door to the master bathroom was open and the light was off. The bedroom door was wide open. The northern wall behind the bed was made of tall glass windows that led onto a balcony

"Maybe some fresh air will do me some good..." he said lowly before climbing out of the bed. He felt the soft carpet under his bare feet though it did little to comfort his aching head.

The Howlett's bedroom had a balcony attached to it that gave a view of the backyard and the woods that surrounded the house. Michael went through the door and stepped outside onto the wooden porch. He was immediately met by the cold autumn air that sent goosebumps along his bare chest.

Michael didn't need a light to help him along the balcony. The light of the moon above did that for him. He peered up at the glowing orb in the night sky. Not quite full and the stars shined brightly around it. Would have made for a romantic sight with his wife under normal circumstances.

Much normal circumstances.

Michael leaned on the wooden railing, his blue eyes piercing a hole through the woods ahead of him. His hands gripped the railing tightly. The sudden urge to run out there and be free made him grab the railing, holding on for dear life.

'Keep it together...the moon isn't full. You can handle this, dammit! Concentrate!'

Then he heard it, the sound of an unnatural howl that pierced the silence of the night. Animals ran for their lives, birds flew from the trees and the air seemed to get colder. The howl reached his ears and Michael's entire body froze, his hands gripped the railing so hard that cracks formed in the wood.

Though technically a werewolf could only transform on a full moon, the legends never mention the influence of other nights when the moon was out. It still had major influence on those afflicted with the lycan blood flowing their veins. Michael suffered from it on a near nightly basis, only receiving a reprieve when the clouds covered the moon or on a night of a new moon. Tonight the moon was over three quarters full and it was pushing his limits to near breaking point.

The color of his eyes started to flicker to a bright inhuman yellow. He could feel the urge to go full wolf course through his body and it was taking all his will power to keep himself from jumping over the railing and run into the woods. Yet he fought back, struggling to maintain any semblance of control, to remain human.

Yet his mind drifted off to less rational thoughts. That howl was at the forefront. An intruder in his domain? Like he'd let them get away with trespassing without suffering the consequences-

A soft warmth grazed his shoulder. "Darling?"

The man snapped his head in the direction of his wife's voice and it spooked her.

She was shaken, but with steel resolve she stood her ground. She had something for him, and she hoped she had arrived in time to help him. She offered him a small glass filled with a green liquid, "Michael, take this."

With what grip he had left in his human side Michael took the glass and without thinking gulped it down in one go. "Shit..." the taste was bitter and sour, making him gag as the sting stuck to his tongue long after the drink reached his stomach. He took a breath and as quickly as he felt his body start to calm down and he began to feel drowsy. He looked at Claire, her expression was one of worry. "thanks...I think I'm good now."

The witch smiled lightly, "That's good. Come, let's go back to bed."

Though a full head shorter than him Michael let Claire take hold of his hand and pull him back inside. She led him to sit down on the bed while she set the glass on the bedside table as well as turned on the lamp. Michael leaned on his elbows cradling his aching head. Yet even through that he felt the urge to sleep beginning to grow deep inside. The effect of the drug Claire had given him was hitting hard and fast, just what Michael wanted. "What was in that stuff?"

Claire came out of the restroom when he had asked that question. "Liquidized wolves bane and sleeping weed. My own concoction."

"Wolves bane? Isn't that poisonous to werewolves?"

"I watered it down considerably, to the point where it gives a minor sting instead of being poison. You'll be fine, trust me."

Michael knew better than to question Claire. When it came to her medicines he knew she was damn good at keeping him alive as well as herself. He would never consider less of her.

She went and stood in front of him and Michael looked up to see her looking down at him. Her long dark blue hair cascaded down her shoulders and onto her buxom chest. Her shoulders were bare save for the thin straps of the night gown she wore. Her expression as she examined her husband was deep but affectionate. She examined his face, noticing his complexion turning slightly pale but other than that there didn't seem any side effects showing.

Satisfied with her examination Claire smiled, "You should be okay for the night."

She went and sat down next to her husband, and Michael felt her rest her head on his right shoulder. "What would I do without you, Claire?"

The woman giggled lightly, an assuring gesture to relax her husband, though she couldn't help but agree with him with a degree of modesty. "Let's not think about that."

She placed a gentle hand on his leg and Michael took it in his own. He had always shown his wife the gentleness she earned, and deserved. Being married for three years and not even in their mid-twenties, both the Howlett's loved each other in a way that few people could understand. Claire, a witch from the 18th century frozen in time for three hundred years until Michael had found her, viewed her husband as her guardian and lover as well as mentor in the ways of the 21st century that she was unfamiliar with. Michael, a former soldier who was afflicted with the curse of the werewolf, saw his wife as his anchor to his humanity and reason to live. He also saw his life's mission to make her happy, by whatever means he could.

Sighing lightly, Michael leaned his own head onto hers. He took her advice once again. Instead of thinking of the now, he looked to the future. "I think we should head into town in the morning. See if there is anything we need."

His wife was well ahead of him. "I got a list."

"Then we better to sleep," said Michael, feeling the effects of the sleeping weed begin to get to his system.

As if she couldn't wait for a day of shopping in Salem the woman climbed to her side of the bed and pulled the covers to her chest. Her husband did the same though a bit more slowly. Yet when he laid down she huddled up next to him, resting her head on his chest, and her hand was on his belly.

Michael's mind was finally at peace. As long as she had Claire by his side, he could suffer through anything.