Moon, Blood, and Wolf's Bane: Kismet

A chirpy voice met Sean as he asked for help. She was a large woman, bright makeup scrawled across her lips and the crows feet spidering from her eyes were only loosely covered by smeared glitter turquoise eye shadow. She spoke too loudly, too brightly, too happily to be anything more than trying too hard. Twenty years in the same place on the same day at the same hour had worn her into something inhuman, something robotic. If she wasn't happy, she couldn't tell any longer. Life was simply the process of greeting and waving, smoke breaks with the same people, home at the same hour with the same meals and the same shows.

"Sorry sugar," She said to Sean with mechanical chipper, "Cooks already slated in for the lunch rush now, but take a menu and tell me what you're feeling like." She handed him a menu, a glossed thing with the restaurant name bolded on the front. As far as diners went, this one wasn't much different then any other. No self respecting cook worked here and what was left were just those who could follow directions. Nothing fancy, nothing diverse, just sticking to the usual formula.

"Rex!" She called, waving the bright eyed server to Sean, "New customer honey, treat him right hear?" And then she was gone, staring blankly at the door again as if her entire existence pivoted on the restaurant's success.

In the back, Basha was grilling three burgers and lifting a hissing batch of fries from the grease trap. The smell of oil filled his nostrils, almost enough to make him gag, but there was more grit to an old wolf than that and he smiled through his work. He worked with the trappings of each burger with but a second more time than any other cook in a diner might take. The customer may never notice, but he made sure the order was completed to specification. It was hard to take pride in ones work at the lower end of the totem, but if one hadn't the ability to appreciate any walk of life...well, perhaps they didn't deserve walking.

Leaning across the counter, a clang of an overused bell quiet amid the bustle of lunch, he caught Sean's scent...caught it hard. For a moment he hung there, mouth filled with the stench of another wolf, thick aggression coiling along the usual routes. Basha pulled back, resisting the urge to snarl. His teeth had grown, filling his mouth awkwardly as heavy incisors crowded a human jawline. Taking a deep breath, the old wolf banished his aggression, crammed it against the back of his skull with enough force to water his eyes and send ribbons of shock webbing through his body.

As his form reverted human, Basha took a short leave to step out back and breathe, sighing frustration at how far he'd seemed and how little distance he'd actually made. Savagery was not something learned but innate, a nature as permanent as his own skin. Being human was not taming it, just masking it, as this new wolf had shown him. The revelation was almost enough to crumble the old wolf's resolve to this stupid journey of self...but like with all commitments, he wouldn't let it shatter so easily.

How many others in this city now? How many others would find this quiet place and think the same thing he, tranquility.

How many of his old enemies would he meet again?

With a deep breath, Basha turned back into the kitchen, immediately swamped with orders. It was easier to lose himself among the small things, the trivial troubles.

The bigger problems he'd leave till later...after all, no one had recognized him yet. There was no need to worry.
Rex perked up at his name, a young pup in a childish playground that is soon to be trashed as the older wolves come in and took over with their chaos and fighting and their pasts of war. He gave his smile to the nice lady, that young girl so many years ago. The one that whispered her secrets, that she was afraid of the dark and she thought there was a boogeyman in her closet. He remembered running into her closet and barking at old rags, dragging out the tattered fur coat that was the boogeyman. Of course, he got yelled at afterwards for ruining someone's coat, but his master was never too harsh, his master never got angry. All he had to do was tip his head to the side and all his mistakes were forgiven. The human world was not like that at all. If he made one mistake he would become a target, and every slip was an add to anger until it exploded. He learned the hard way...

"New customer honey, treat him right hear?"

"Yess'm! Will do." The waiter smiled and placed his food for the girls and the regular, then froze as he turned to the new customer.

This was a wolf.

Rex whimpered deep in his throat somewhere. He stepped to another waiter with nothing to do. "Hey, can you cover that table for me I'm strapped." The waiter smiled and nodded, always eager to serve a new guy who may tip them plenty. He stepped back further, by the cook, covering the stench with food. It didn't cover all of it, but it covered enough. He wanted to run up, to demand who he was, why he was here, to leave his little town in peace and all potential others with him. He smiled faintly when h was asked by his woman co-worker if he was alright. "O-oh yeah. Just... Just a little lightheaded. I might be coming down with something..."

His eyes never left the stranger's form.
[size=+1]“Hey, don’t worry Zack,” I quickly say placatingly upon his implied threat of what he’ll do should I reveal his… condition, “I’m saying nothing. You saved my ass back in that facility; the least I can do to pay you back is keep your secret safe.”

This response seems to satisfy my companion, who falls into silence for a moment before muttering,
“Glendon’s three hours away now. You looking forward to having a new home?” I sense a hint of sarcasm in the old werewolf’s voice, but that doesn’t stop my enthusiasm from getting carried away.
“Aww man, fuck yeah!” I respond with a grin, “Can’t wait to see what living with other weres is like!”
“Sara's not going to be an easy sell,” Zack points out, “So you're going to have to impress her, and learn the ropes real quick.” At this my face darkens and I look up nervously at Zack.
“You… you saw me fighting when we got out of that place. I’m good enough, right? I can handle myself in a fight?”

My look’s almost pleading, something which annoys me but I can do little about. Zack’s told me what some of our species call weres like me; Ghost Wolves, the packless wanderers of the world. The thought of being less of a werewolf just because I never got the chance to be taught properly is one that troubles me frequently; I intend to show what I’m capable of when we get to town.

Zack does not respond to my questions, instead rubbing his temple and sighing heavily before simply asking,
“You going to make your way alright when we get there?” I glance at him sideways and a thin smile crosses my lips; I know exactly what he’s hinting at.
“What’s the matter? Big badass Zack not wanna be seen in town with some fuckin’ Ghost Wolf he’s dragged in with him? Worried I’m gonna cramp your style in front of all your old buddies?” I chuckle and shake my head. “But seriously, I’ll be okay with any luck. Just don’t go ditching me right away; I’ve never been amongst a group of our kind before. What the fuck are you supposed to do?”

I’m looking to Zack for advice here, I know; I don’t mean to pressure the old wolf, but the closer we get to Glendon the more apprehensive I become.

Soon we’ll be well and truly in the wolf’s den. I want to make sure I make a good first impression.

The butterflies swarmed around in her stomach, all fighting to break free. A shudder crawled across her skin, making her shiver despite herself. The nervous squirming in her stomach coupled with the plethora of scents that didn't belong together mingled in the air, assaulting her senses so strongly she felt a wave of nausea wash over her.

The sickness caused her to pick up her pace, her desire to get her business done and finished. Her growing revulsion in relation to the whelps that tumbled around town and only seemed to shit all over everything. As much as she hated it, she knew that if she didn't go, it would only make things harder.

And so, sooner than she cared, the young woman found herself strolling in the streets of Glendon. Her dark eyes swept her surroundings as she prowled along. So far, none of the whelps had tried to interact with her, which was fine. She didn't know if they knew anything about her, but she knew enough about them that she cared to. Her right hand shoved into the pocket of her pants, roughly retrieving a crumpled list of tasks she set herself out to do. It would take a while to gather what she needed, but it all seemed fairly easy.

Looking at Alex as he answers that, Zack seems to relax slightly. He knew he could trust the younger Were to keep his word.

“Aww man, fuck yeah! Can’t wait to see what living with other weres is like!”

"It's something." Zack says with a slow nod, and closes his eyes for a moment. 'I just hope the kid doesn't go playing all his hopes in one throw of the dice. He should know as well as any life's got a funny way of shitting on your parade.'

“You… you saw me fighting when we got out of that place. I’m good enough, right? I can handle myself in a fight?”

"Fighting... ain't all it's about. You need to learn when to back down, and when it's smart to fight fair, and dirty. That could mean many things. Many things I could show you, but I don't you want to go that route." Lighting another cigarette, Zack takes a deep breath from it, and exhales slowly, the pain in his shoulder was starting to numb.

“What’s the matter? Big badass Zack not wanna be seen in town with some fuckin’ Ghost Wolf he’s dragged in with him? Worried I’m gonna cramp your style in front of all your old buddies?"
"Mention my name around them, and that you're friends with them, and you'll feel what the sharp side of a kebab feels like. They aren't too fond of me." Ashing his cigarette, Zack turns and looks at Alex once more. "I'm going to be around, and about, but don't go getting your hopes up that I'm going to be your roommate. You gotta make your own in this world... and when you do, don't go giving it up. Even if it's for a damn good reason..." Pausing a moment, the face of a woman passes through his mind, and though he can make out every detail of her face, and her name... he pushes the thought away. "Be selfish, and keep what you get."

"When we get there... we're going to visit Sara. Then, I'm going to go out into the woods... if you need me, you can find me. I won't be hard to miss."

Matthew jolted awake as the phone rang. He half lifted himself out of his bed, and looked to the clock on his end table. Who the hell was calling him at five in the morning? He picked up the phone and lay back down. "This had better be important." he said with a rough voice. "Hey doc just thought you might like to know, someone spent the night in one of your houses in town." Matthew sat back up again "Really? are they squatters again?" Matthew cringed at that thought.

A couple of weeks ago a group of punks thought it a good idea to set up a meth lab in one of the houses Sara was having Matthew buy for other wolves. they soon realized their mistake, to bad they never had the chance to learn from it.

" Don't know man, I can check it out if you want." Matthew put a hand through his hair "No I think I'll take care of it. Thanks for the heads up." This happened often these days. Sara wasn't assigning homes to wolves, she was just letting them move in without notice. Matthew, usualy had to be the one to check it out. He didn't like having to be sara's unnoficial welcome wagon.

Matthew fumed as he showered and ate. Why was Sara being so lax with the pack? She needed to take a firmer grip or something bad was going to happen. It always does. Matthew decided to bring it up when he and Sara had their next argument over how to spend his money.

Matthew walked out of hsi house. It was a log cabin several miles out of town, depite that it was one of the biggest homes in the area. It had been built by some rich guy who wanted to "experience nature" without having to sacrifice too much modern convinience. Matthew got in his Jeep Sahara and started to drive towards town. He wanted to get this over with as soon as possible, he also had some things to talk to sara about.

Matthew always marveled at how pathetic Glendon was. he grew up outside of a small town in montana, but even Ennis was bigger than this hellhole. the streets were empty, they always were before eight. He parked in front of the house in question. Someone was sitting on the porch's railing. "Not squatters." he said to himself a little disappointed. Matthew got out of his car and started up the walk way. the man looked like he had just recently woken, and smelled like he had been traveling for a while. he was definately a wolf though. That gave matthew little solice. "morning"
Sean perked up when the woman helped him, it was nice to get a bit of service and he grasped the menu tightly when it was handed to him. "Thanks, ma'am." He smiled, looking over the plastic gloss over the pictures of various foods on the inside. As he looked he could sense them, all around, so many of his kind. Was the pack this big before? I feel like I don't know who was there in Raymond... Sean thought to himself, the menu momentarily forgotten. He shifted in his seat, torn between texting Parker and telling him to be wary of anyone coming around but stopped short when he felt eyes on him. It made him uncomfortable, and it made him wish that he'd never left the city, but he knew this would help his research and would improve Parker and Aidyn's moods. They hadn't seemed to enjoy the big city as much as Sean had, so this was for their future, all three of them.

He quickly refocused on the menu, not wanting to sit around and wait for whatever, or whoever was watching him to make a move. He finally got a waiter to take his order, two cheeseburgers and chicken fingers for Aidyn. Now all he had to do was wait for his food and take it home, hopefully none of the others he could sense around would try anything, but part of him knew they wouldn't in the presence of all the humans. Maybe I'll just call Sara, she would be more likely to know how many of us there are in the town. At least it seems as we'll be safe from hunters, I hope, but maybe they'll have their own counsel... Sean worried as he fiddled with his phone on the counter, pondering what to do.
Owen relaxed a little as Sollux smiled a small smirk - knowing, but not unkind. "Four. But for now just us." he said, and Owen pushed a couple of his barriers down. Potentially four, he supposed the wolf meant, though he sensed that this was very much the unfinished business Sollux intended to sort out in Glendon. But learning from just Sollux on the drive was good for him - he could get to grips with the wolf world one step at a time. Suddenly the other man spoke, as if guessing the Irishman's earlier thoughts.
"You've probably guessed I'm going to Glendon for reasons other than the simple fact that theres wolves there. Theres three in particular I'm hoping to find there. My mate, my son, and the runt who took them." The sudden surge of anger seared the air between the pair and Owen felt a responding hostility coil inside him, but he repressed it with difficulty. Yes, definitely unfinished business, he confirmed. Then Sollux's anger disappated into forced calm and he spoke once more.
"Though you're wondering what what you just agreed to." he said, seeming psychic abilities shining through. Owen's interest was peaked. "Its simple, so far you've survived alone so I know you can take care of yourself well enough, but in a pack everyone watches their own, and everyone else's backs." Owen found himself grinning, just a little. This didn't sound so bad. "Once I've rebuilt the pack you'll find your place easily enough." The strong assurance in Sollux's voice dispelled almost all the doubt Owen felt about being alone and inexperienced in a world that was not his own.
"Thank you." he said softly, with as much sincerity as he could possibly muster. He didn't know if Sollux understood what he had just given the young wolf, but he didn't want to seem to seem soppy and clingy by telling. Instead he asked one of many burning questions.
"Changing - being a wolf. And the other wolves. Society - people. What's it all like??" his queries were garbled, a plea for information, any information relevant to their destination and what awaited them there. He hope Sollux would give him that, just talk about being what his was - inhuman - Owen choked mentally on the word, still struggling but determined to overcome it. This was his goddamn chance and he wasn't going to blow it now.
Sara inwardly sighed at Remmi. The woman tried to play off that she didn't care what others thought of her. But Sara knew better. Everyone cared and wanted to feel like they belonged to a pack. And the people that usually said they didn't care were often the people that cared the most. It was the same with her sister... Remmi reminded Sara so much of Natasha. Maybe that was why Sara's expression softened.

She sat down on the steps, running her hands through her shaggy hair with that same restless frustration she seemed to have with everyone, no matter who or what she was talking about. "The plan is to make a home. A real home. No more moving, no more running."

Sara stared out at the yard, the little toys, the houses in the distance. "Most of the people here are from broken up packs. Survivors, lone wolves... people that don't have a home any more for whatever reason. We're going to make Glendon our sanctuary. Whatever it takes." She was dead serious. Glendon would be their last stand. Sara intended to fight to keep it safe, and die trying if it came to that.