Auron stood before the Council bound and defiant, eyes flashing. He knew they were angry already, especially having been called from Naples in the first place. One could not be sentenced unless the entire Council was there, because the joining houses in England, Scotland and Norway didn’t have that much pull alone.
The Council was the standing governing body for his kind, and had been for centuries now. They had a job to do, to keep what they… called order; and they didn’t care about casualties. Were it up to Lychelin his Ulfric, he would never have called any of them.
Auron barely moved as Methos’ battered body was thrown in front of him.
Did he care?
He’d gotten exactly what he deserved.
He looked up grinning as Hellos stood over Methos’ dead body. Hellos turned and punched Auron in the stomach, but Auron refused to double over. He wouldn’t give Hellos the satisfaction.
“Yer here to be sentenced.” Merrick spat, and Auron’s grin widened even more.
Merrick was head council for Lycans in Keelik’s absence. Auron hated Merrick's pompous ass at first sight. Auron suddenly wondered where Keelik was.
“You think this funny boy?” Eveleen asked with an incredulous look on his face. He knew Auron had balls; it was clear from his days of training, but he didn’t think Auron would ever actually kill someone.
It just wasn’t like Auron.
“We have the power to sentence ye to life or death boy; there isna anything funny about that!” Llewellyn yelled as he looked Auron in the face.
Auron frowned, but he still didn’t care; even if Lew was a God of old.
“Ye might think ye do.” Auron stated as he looked Llewellyn in the eyes, then kicked Methos’ frayed, bare chest, blood soaked body before the Council.
The members gasped as Envois, one of the head Council’s guards came forward and punched Auron in the face.
Auron turned his head, glared at Envois, then spat the blood onto Methos’ body.
“Take him now!” Merrick yelled, and Auron grinned as a couple of the self-grandizing members actually tossed themselves. Auron was being sentenced to the Inquisition, and he laughed at that.
Even though the Inquisition had ended ten years prior for the Spanish, as well as most of normal North America and Europe as a whole, the Council still exploited its methods as a means of torture for those who didn’t abide by their rules.
Magnus suddenly stood up.
“What will it profit ye to sentence him to the Inquisitional? He will merely waste awey for nothin.” He voiced as he looked at Auron frowning.
The Council members convened for several minutes, then Llewellyn cleared his throat.
“Fine, then he is to be banished from all. Clan, Företag, and all those he loves immediately.”
“But for how long ma lord?” Lychelin questioned as he looked at his best mate, then at Keelik his king as he walked into the room. Keelik frowned, then shook his head at Lychelin warning him.
Auron thought the sentence smacked of Merricks’ decision-making; especially with the banishment. They didn’t seem to care whether he was right in his killing of Methos or not.
“As long as he walks this earth.” Merrick replied with a self-satisfied grin, and Lychelin frowned.
Men came forward, took Auron and led him from the room. He looked back at both Lychelin and Magnus nodding.
Auron looked up as the priest walked into the cathedral. He motioned for Auron to approach him as he lit the candle in front of him. Auron opened his mouth to speak, when the priest placed his finger to his lips and inclined his head towards the confessional.
They both walked into the booth, and the priest opened the portal between them.
“Have ye found anything my son?”
“Yes father I have, yet I must seek it in America.”
“Then ye have my leave son, but we must keep this to ourselves. If this were to get out, well…I daresay it must be kept quiet at all costs.”
“Yes father and it shall. Do I leave now?”
“Yes my son as soon as yer possibly able to. But I say tread softly my boy, because if the Council got wind of this…, well ye know the rest.”
“Yes Ignatius I do…and I shall leave at once.” Auron stated rising.
“And go with God my son, because ye’ll need him once this is over. May He bless and keep ye.” The priest said as he too rose, made the sign of the cross over Auron, then exited the chambers.
Auron waited until he thought the priest was clear of the booth, then exited himself. He noticed the three suits in the corner pretending to pray, and turned toward the back of the church. He saw as soon as he did, all three rose. He went through the priest’s chambers in the back.
“Sir, you mustn’t be in here.” One of the alter boys called after him, as Auron hurried out the back chamber. He heard a commotion and running feet as the young man yelled at someone else. He cut around the back of St. Paul’s, then up Holborn, and turned on Farringdon St. He could feel them following him, and abruptly turned into Blackfriar Station.
He’d parked all the way up on Cornhill.
Not looking where he was going, Auron bumped the man in front of him, and he looked up shocked.
Fuck! This was one big ass Irish man.
“Ye think ye might watch where ya goin pip?” He jeered, and Auron looked at him surprised.
Auron was nearly 6’4. He nodded and the man frowned but didn’t budge, so Auron couldn’t get around him. This was all he needed, a row right here in the middle of Blackfriar Station, with this huge ass Irishman!
Like he needed to draw even more attention to himself.
The suits paused at the newsstand.
“My pardon sir.” Auron replied, and to his astonishment, the man nodded, smiled and went on his way.
Well I’ll be damned!
Auron thought wide-eyed.
He took that as his opportunity to slip in between the stalls, then came out on the other side. He guessed he must have lost them in the commotion, because as he looked around he didn’t see them. He hurried towards Cornhill. He needed to be there like yesterday, because if what he found was true; it was only a matter of time before they too found out!
Auron stood above the concert theater looking down from his hill top perch. He spotted her and sighed. He instinctively looked up, saw it was a full moon tonight, and frowned.
Great...just what he needed.
He was amazed at how long the line was, considering the fact that it was twelve am in the morning.
He thought taking a deep breath.
As he did, he could smell the night Jasmine. He looked around again and took a long drag off the cigarette, then ground it out.
It wasn’t like it would kill him.
He noticed the crowd of people and wondered why the men still wore their britches so tight, and shook his head chuckling to himself.
Nothing new under the sun.
As he glanced up at the sign it read; “Maroon5 tickets on sale now.” He frowned again.
Whatever happened to a nice minuet?
He muttered and moved further into the shadow receding to a safe spot, as a laughing couple passed him. The male gently tugged the female into a shrub near where he was standing, and he took a step back. She let out a loud giggle, and they disappeared.
He looked down and saw the woman move a couple of spaces in the line, and wondered why she even bothered. As long as the line was, he seriously doubted she’d actually obtain the tickets.
As she made her way through the enormous line, he sighed again. He felt like such a mother hen lately. She was certainly one for trouble. He’d been watching her for sometime now, and she’d almost gotten herself killed five separate times up to this point. He realized early on she was a bit daffy.
Auron had taken the vow of protection, and now he was seriously regretting it.
For 474 years he’d walked the earth, and he knew less now then he did then. The adage; “With age comes wisdom” seemed like a load of bollix, especially as he looked down on his ward.
His ward...sheesh! He thought.
Ignatius made him vow that as well, but the only problem was; she didn’t know it yet.
He’d given the priest his sworn oath that he would protect her with his life if need be, and he’d done exactly that for the last seven, almost eight months. She was a flighty one, and most of the time she was oblivious to everything around her. Except for her students. Those she would do anything for, and he liked that about her. For the last month, he’d been having some serious emotions toward her; which not only confused him, but almost got in the way of him doing his job.
As he’d watched her something in him changed, and at one point he’d contemplated telling her he was there. Was he some kind of depraved nancy boy? Some might say yes, but he’d given his vow, and he would do just that. He knew what his job was. Moreover, he definitely didn’t have time for entanglements of love.
Was he in love with her?
His heart screamed yes, but he pushed the thought to the back of his mind. He had a job to do, and nothing more. Not to mention Ignatius would probably skin him alive if he knew. He sighed again as he saw her pause in the line as if she were deciding something.
He whispered harshly to himself as she stepped over the rope, and got out of the line. He cursed again, because he’d picked his perch too high. He’d never catch up with her in time.
He turned and hauled ass down the hillside. He cleared some brush, and nearly barreled into that giggling couple. They both looked at him as if he were an apparition, which had suddenly appeared out of nowhere. He spun around them, and ran down the hill. He saw her skip out of the parking lot and onto the street.
He yelled at himself as he saw her start out walking. He heard the howl too late to react, and Jerreck slammed into him and they both took a nose-dive down the side of the hill into the brush.
As they both scrambled to their feet, he heard it again.
He growled as he punched Jerreck in the face, and let as much power as he could seep from him without drawing any more attention to them. Jerreck went plummeting down the rest of the hill, and out of sight.
Auron took off running. He had to reach her first, because Finnish and his men were probably sent here to kill her.
He heard the howl again as he came up the street, and saw Finnish poised on the hood of her car. He had no clue how he did it, but he suddenly had her in his arms and they were rolling. He tried to cushion her as much as he could, but he felt her shoulder hit the ground; and she cried out. He pulled her to her feet and she gasped as she looked into his face.
“Stay here!” He told her forcibly, and ran after Finnish.
As he ran off, he didn’t see those same three suits in the bushes to his left.
I saw a whirl of motion too late, because the next thing I knew I hit the grass rolling and someone had me. I slowly got to my feet and swore it felt as if my shoulder was knocked out of place. I waited behind a bush, crouching near my car. All I could see were the wolf’s feet and the man’s. However, what was so astonishing to me was the fact that the wolf was standing on two feet!
All of a sudden, I heard a yelp, and the wolf scurried off. I scrambled out from under the bush, and the man had his back to me. I was so thankful he’d scared the wolf off; I touched his shoulder before I thought about it. I heard the deep growl again as he spoke.
“Cud ye please not touch me right now luve?” He whispered, and I noticed an accent.
“I’m sorry…excuse… me. I just wanted to say thanks.” I snapped a little annoyed. He turned, and I took a step back. His eyes so did not look human. It was as if he’d traded eyes with the wolf! The pupils bled into the irises, and his teeth seemed just a bit longer.
“What the fuck?” I whispered, and continued to inch backwards.
He reached out to me, and before I knew it I was looking into those eyes.
“I smell yer fear.” He said softly nuzzling my neck.
I could hear the low growl at the back of his throat again and gasped. He put his hand into my hair and drew my mouth to his, and before I could react I was kissing him back.
A deep… long… hot kiss.
I felt his other hand curl into my shirt, and he jerked me even closer to him. He almost lifted me, as if he wanted to climb into my skin. Then just as un-expectantly as he’d done it, he put me down and released me. I drew my hand to my lips and watched as his chest rose with his shallow breathing.
“Leave me, now.” He commanded harshly.
I fumbled for my keys.
I unlocked the door, started the car and gunned the engine. I looked in the rear view mirror as I sped off, and saw him fall to his knees; throw his head back and what?
Oh, my, God!
What the hell was going on?
Okay, I must be dreaming. I know this is Hollywood, the town of fantasy, mirrors and lights; but no way could that have just happened. I looked into the mirror again just as I was about to turn the corner, and saw him take off running. He was chasing the car.
No fucken way!
I put my foot to the gas and spun around the corner so fast, I nearly rolled the car.
When I came up Laurel Canyon, I saw he wasn’t following the car anymore. After about three lights I began to relax, and could breathe normal again. I sighed as my heartbeat returned to its normal pace when I turned onto my block.
Now that was something straight out of the Twilight Zone.
I must be going crazy, because werewolves do not exist. And freaky shit like that just doesn’t happen, I told myself as I got out the car retrieving my schoolbooks and brief case.
As I climbed the steps to my condominium, I pondered what had just happened to me again. If I told this to Danni, she’d swear I was smoking crack!
Danni was my adopted cousin, but we were more like sisters; because her aunt and uncle adopted me when I was two or three. They were the only parents I knew, and I loved them for it. I graduated from UCLA with a major in History, and my minor in English Literature.
I had the bright idea of teaching K-12. I’m an advent complainer, but I love what I do. My kids are everything to me, and maybe one of these days I’ll even settle down and have a few of my own. Who knows? My mother is constantly telling me I’m not getting any younger, and the clock is ticking. I think it’s just because she wants someone to spoil.
It was hard to get the door open so I tapped on it with my foot, but no one came to open it. I put the contents in my arms down on the porch, unlocked the door, and wondered where the hell my cousin was. She always made it home before I did.
As I came through the door, I noticed all the lights were off.
Well that just sucked. After what I’d just been through, there was nothing worse than coming home to an empty house with all the lights turned off! I took my keys from the lock, then switched on the hallway light.
“Danni? You home?” There was no answer.
I went to her bedroom, opened the door and flicked on the light. No one there either. Her bed was made, and it was actually clean in there, but no Danni. I walked into the kitchen and turned on that light, then took out yesterday’s leftovers and warmed them up. When I was finished I walked to my bedroom balancing the food on top of my books. As I opened my bedroom door and was about to turn on the light, a hand went over my mouth. I dropped nearly everything I’d been carrying, as I choked on the scream. I heard his voice then.
“Don’t scream, I won’t harm ye.” He said softly, and I realized it was that man! He moved us towards the window and pulled the curtain back slightly. I looked into the court yard, and saw four nasty looking wolves circling under my bedroom window. He backed up taking me with him.
“Ye have to get out of here this instant; they know yer scent now.”
“They who? What the hell is going on?”
“I don’t have time to explain right now, but if ye want to live we go now.” He snapped and pulled me towards the back porch, as I hastily grabbed my kicked off shoes and a jacket. When I came out the room, I placed all I hadn’t dropped on the hallway table, as he propelled me towards the back door.
“Where did ye park?” He whispered again, and I noticed his hazel eyes were doing that thing they did. He peered out the kitchen window, as if he were looking for someone. He pulled me onto the back porch, then bent to look directly into my eyes. He was so close; I had to bend my head back to focus on his face.
“Please tell me you are not…about to go all wolfie?” I hissed, and he smiled at that.
“Not yet, tis the moon.” He grinned and we both looked up.
Sure enough, it was a full moon.
“Ok now what? How the hell do you propose we get to my car with wolves staking us out? My god, this sucks. I’m a junior high school teacher. This is the stuff I tell my students don’t exist. Wolves do not just eat people. I am not lil red riding hood!” I screeched looking out over my back yard.
“Those arena wolves luve and we have to make a run for it. Since it's a full moon, I obviously canna drive.” He stated grinning again as he put his hands up, and it was as if all at once the stark handsomeness of his face hit me.
He had shoulder length sable hair, a very angular strong chin, hazel eyes, which were greener than any other color, thick dark brows, and what looked like a five o’clock shadow. His body was ripped with toned muscles, and he had to be well over six feet. I also noticed he spoke with a sort of British/ Scot’s accent.
“Ok luve, just how do we do that? They’ll eat me alive before I reach it.”
“That is why I shall be yer distraction. The minute I jump this back fence they’ll take off after me, tis a smell thing. It gives ye ample enough time to chip wit it for the motor, circle round and pick me up just beyond that point.” He countered pointing to some trees on the other side of the small bluff.
Great…just great. Terrace Drive was a bitch to navigate at night!
“Okay, but I betta make it to that car. Cuz if I don’t I swear, I’ll come back and haunt cho ass for all eternity.” I retorted and his grin only widened.
“Ye will luve. Although the prospect of ye haunting me for all eternity I’m well up for, but let’s just leave that till later.” He teased, then winked. “Are ye ready then?” He asked and I nodded. He grabbed me and kissed me full on the lips again. My face registered my shock.
“For good luck, not to mention I need some inspiration here. Off with ye then.” He said, winked at me again; then jumped over the rail.
I heard the howl of a wolf, then running, both paws and feet. My adrenaline started to pump as I took off for the front door, grabbing my purse as I ran. I cleared the two flights of stairs in record time, shot across the street; then dropped my keys as I tried to turn them in the lock. As I opened the door, I heard it. That same fucken growl from before, and glanced to the side of me. Maybe if I stayed very still, it would just go away.
The black wolf jumped on the roof of the car, but this time I was ready for him. As he leapt towards me I ducked and pulled the car door closed, just in time for his teeth to grab at the window. He jumped on the hood; I revved the engine, then took off. The wolf flew off the hood, and I ran his ass over. The bump was surreal, but it was either him or me.
I sped around the corner and raced up Terrace Drive, and saw hazel eyes running towards the car with the pack close on his heels. I reached over and pushed the door open, and this alone was a feat within itself; especially as close as I was to the edge of the bluff. He jumped in and as soon as he closed the door, I hit the gas.
“What the hell happened to you?” I screamed as I saw the blood on his face, and the fact that he was holding his left arm.
“Did ye think they’d just leave me be luve? Anyway, tis nothing, at least compared to the last time I wus done over.” He declared grinning again, and I just rolled my eyes. I could already see he was a flirt. He’d nearly gotten himself killed, and he still saw amusement in the situation.
“Where are we going?” I asked as we cleared the over-pass on Highland.
“Ahhh, I don’t think so. I don’t even know you.” I protested.
“If ye want to live, I need ye where I can have easy access to ye.”
“You…what?” I screeched, and the car swerved.
He looked at me for several moments, then threw his head back laughing.
“I didna mean it like that luve, although the thought of it is a blinder. But it’s my intention to keep ye safe, and nothin more unless…”
“No.” I pronounced, then frowned. He shrugged his shoulders and gave me a sheepish grin.
“Then if I am to protect ye, I need ye within arms length.”
My brows rose and he smiled.
“I believe ye know exactly what I meant. I can only protect ye if yer with me.”
“I get it. Where exactly is this safe haven of yours? And won’t they know where you live? Not to mention, what exactly is it you’re protecting me from?” He frowned, but didn’t answer the third question.
“Not yet, up Sunset Plaza Drive.”
“Boy, are we swanky or what?” I muttered.
We drove the rest of the way in silence. He was so quiet I glanced over at him, and almost choked on my quick intake of breath.
“Oh, my, God! You look terrible, and the blood.”
I touched his arm and could have sworn he yelped. My hand came back covered in blood.
“Don’t, I heal quick.” He mumbled in between breaths. “But I need to change to heal this.” He whispered and looked at me from behind hooded eyes.
“Just what exactly do you mean change?”
“I wud think by now, ye’d know exactly what I meant. But for yer sake, I willna mess up yer seats.” He replied giving me a weak grin. “Up there on the right.”
He pointed up ahead of us, and I was shocked as the house came into view. This was one of those homes you would see on something like Celebrity Cribs.
“My, God! You live here?”
“Yes.” He hissed, and I looked at him again and saw his eyes were changing.
“Whoa, wait until you at least get in the house wolfie!”
“I don’t think I can…” He whispered again, and I saw his eyes were almost completely dilated.
I helped him out the car, then fished in his pockets for his keys; to which he giggled. There was a black sedan parked like three cars back, and as I looked that way it pulled off.
What the hell was that about? Did he have someone watching his house?
I put it from my mind as he began to slide down the wall. I knew he must be in a lot of pain, because guys like him don’t usually giggle. I pulled him upright, and tried to lean him against the doorframe. This was amazing in and of it self, because he was probably about 6’4, and I was only 5’6.
I helped him through the door, in awe of the place. High vaulted ceilings, Egyptian floor coverings, a chandelier in the foyer, a Victorian settee in the corner; and a spiraling staircase. I laughed to myself then. You could so tell he was European. I almost expected Jeeves to come out baring a tray with porcelain tea cups!
“I don’t have a Jeeves.” He murmured, and startled me.
“How the hell did you know what I was just thinking?” I whispered, as I almost dropped him. He just grinned as I laid him on the sofa.
“I know a lot.” He said, struggling to a sitting position.
I stared at him for several seconds, and began to wonder if he was a stalker, or a sex offender.
What had I gotten myself into?
Was I suffering from Campbell’s hero complex?
Was the fact that he’d saved me from whatever the hell it was out there, clouding my judgment? I should be scared shitless; but for some strange reason, the fact that he could turn into a wolf didn’t frighten me.
I suddenly asked myself, why the hell not? Maybe I was just in complete and utter shock, and any minute now, I would pass out from sheer fright, or run my ass out the front door screaming.
But as I looked at him I didn’t think he would hurt, or eat me for that matter. Well, at least I hoped he wouldn’t.
“I wud never hurt ye Arieanna. I promise ye.”
“How did you know my name?” I asked eyes narrowing, as I backed towards the door.
“Don’t…ye canna leave. Not yet.” He whispered and curled into a ball.
I watched as he began to shake, as though his body was chilled. I tipped over to the sofa and looked down on him. He looked up at me and I could see the pain in his eyes.
I sat on the edge of the sofa sighing as I smoothed his saturated hair from his face.
“You’re burning up! Why don’t you change, or do whatever it is you do to heal yourself?” I asked. He caught my hand and rested it on his cheek, as his teeth chattered.
“Because… I …can smell …yer fear…and if I were to do
that …I know ye willna be here… when I wake.” He said looking me straight in the eyes.
“So you would put yourself through this much pain, just to make sure I stayed here?” I countered not believing him. “Yes…I wud. Yer the reason I came here.” He murmured, and immediately passed out.