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Taming A Jaguar

By KikiMaye

Fantasy / Erotica

Batman Yes, Chauffeur No…No!-Goddamn It.

The scent was different.

The large black wolf sniffed the air, knowing there was food around, perhaps something more fun to hunt than their current prey. As he moved through the forest he took notice of the pair of equally large grey wolves to his right and the nearly all-white wolf positioned to his left all of them situated no more than the distance of a lunge behind him, just where they should be. He whined in his doggie throat and willed the desire and curiosity he had for the new scent to the pack members that had accompanied him tonight. The motivation didn't move to just the handful of wolves collected within sight but the other half of the hunting party scattered out in the forest trying to catch one particular scent.

There was definitely something with two legs somewhere in the forest ahead. He listened for the sound of his brethren, for the one the hunting party had made their way out to hunt, but the black wolf could tell that this wasn't him in bipedal form. There was a strange scent mixed with this new prey, non-human almost animal-like. There were five more wolves in his hunting party and they were now closing in to surround her, because he could smell their prey was definitely a woman. He let them know he'd figured out the strange scent that had come along with the girl, the cross current of air had mingled his pack member's scent with her own.

The hunting party was outside their government-sanctioned retreat. Even if the government had some pretty nasty legislature concerning lycanthropes, they still gave the ones that hadn't proven themselves murderers, homes to prowl. They agreed to keep their pack within the boundaries and to never attack humans. Never mind that staying in the form of a full wolf had psychological effects on their thought patterns concerning ethics and animal survival.

Well damn they were breaking a half dozen more rules already anyway, why not taste sweet flesh? It would be like the reward for the hard work they had done, and would continue to do as long as it took. Plus it wasn't as if they hadn't already 'run into' a few adventurous nature enthusiasts on their way through the forest.

As he came upon the clearing he saw the small chemical stove, and scented the food she was cooking before he noticed her. Part of him had seen the brilliant red in the back of his doggy head, and that had always meant something injured (not dangerous) and had decided to peruse the campsite instead of focusing on the very center.

He could feel his second-in-command, the sensation of his hunger the pain of it inside - almost sexual - and he noticed how fidgety the white wolf was becoming. He gave a moment to focusing on emanating soothing energy in an effort to calm the other beast, trying his best to suppress his own reaction to all that red which helped him to finally notice that it wasn't blood.

It was a red cloak, as bright as fresh blood with an attached hood currently pulled up to cover her face, a waterfall of unruly dark curls cascaded out. From where he crouched he could see she was voluptuous, her hands delicate as they manipulated the cooking food. He wished he could see her eyes, before the terror came, or the subsequent stillness of death.

The human part of him roared to life and he got as excited as his second-in-command, although not from the thought of fresh meat and blood. He closed his emotions off from those around him; he didn't need this to turn into a frenzy of another kind.

"Are you comin' closer, or do you plan on panting in the bushes all night?" The woman's voice came out, hard but melodious, in a way that a knife sings when it rasps against its whetstone.

Surprised and off balance a moment he looked over toward his second-in-command, but the wolf only cocked his head slightly to the side, one of his large ears flopping over. The bastard knew full well that he hated that look, and made sure to do it every time he got the chance. Before moving out into the clearing he made sure to mentally broadcast to his hunting party to hold their positions out of range of her senses in the underbrush surrounding them.

She turned toward him and his keen eyes took in the fragile curve of one cheek as it stood out from under the hood; she was soft nothing but a feeble human.

Dean looked up to see the stranger walk through the trees and she gave a whistle in appreciation. "Walk around naked in the forest much?" She asked as her eyes moved over his muscular form, not in interest, but she couldn't show any weakness even modesty. Even if this situation was odd and unexpected since naked and human was the shape that put a werewolf at the greatest disadvantage, in any type of fight. Knowing this gave her a thrill of something like panic but it was faint enough to quash with ease.

He didn't answer back at first, and the look in his eyes was animalistic, it happened to some shifters when they succumbed to their animal too entirely and for much too long. She could tell (he was naked after all) that he was happy to see her, out here in the middle of the forest, wolf mentality+human body=bad for female kind in general. He gave her a lecherous grin as he moved closer finally asking, "Camp near a werewolf reservation much?"

She feigned surprise for the audience she'd been waiting hours for, and stood quickly as if to flee. She knew the fear she started to purposefully emit was just his flavor when he growled very wolf-like in his human throat. "Werewolves?" She let an edge of terror creep into her voice, and she saw the shiver that moved down his spine in reaction. He was one sick puppy (pun intended) but why was she surprised, she found they all succumbed eventually.

"Sure thing Red," He said his voice much lower, between his human voice and a gut-wrenching growl.

"How often does your pack communicate with the government?"

That question seemed to put him out of his groove which was what it usually did to werewolves; it was slightly foreboding to the small bit of humanity left in their brains. "You tricked me," He said in a confused way after a long, loud sniff causing a disgusted frown to twitch at the corner of Dean's mouth as he discovered her fear was false.

"Usually it's not so easy," Dean murmured giving him a smile even as the confusion made way for anger. "Come on wolfy I hope at least one of your hunting party is quaking in his furry paws right now."

She could feel the commanding energy that moved through the clearing, easily reaching the group of wolves surrounding it. Only seconds later a handful of wolves moved into the clearing, but she didn't even spare them a glance. She kept her gaze on their naked leader and instead focused her energy and sent it out toward them like invisible feelers. It touched each of their own energy, gained by their lycanthrope infection and she found them all lacking.

Not to say that they weren't each powerful werewolves, most types of lycanthrope gifted their kind with supercharged healing, longevity and senses that were more powerful than any human's. Dean heard a few of the small pack start to growl restlessly their lust for hunt aroused, and reeled in her energy before she started to lose control.

"Anyone recognize this woman?" The man asked, still in that wolfy growl of a voice. "She thinks we should be scared of her," He mocked.

It had been a good while since she had run into a human - let alone a lycanthrope - without caution for the mention of the government who had their own hunters, some of them even trained by her family and friends. Hell, even a solitary woman out in the middle of nowhere should serve to give any lycanthropes pause. This was a whole hunting party that didn't seem to have an ounce of healthy caution. She wondered if it came from a pack of werewolves that were in the dark (totally isolated from the human world) and therefore much more fearless in the face of normal humans. Well ignorance is usually bliss, she stooped down to flip over the sausages she had on her chemical stove. Sadly she had experienced personally that a few bad bananas made the entire bunch rotten when it came to the types of personalities drawn together in a pack, this party's pack would tend to be of like-mind after spending so long in their wolfy shapes together.

She could feel their confusion, smell on one of them fear. She did look around at them then, and found all of them hungry and ready to pounce no matter their hidden inner turmoils. "Which one of you?" It technically wasn't possible for any of them to know what she was but it seemed at least one of the wolves present knew just how much the government cared for their kind.

Not one bit.

"None of them, but…" Even if she had been staring straight at the man Dean didn't pay much attention to him until he started to move closer. "I'll be getting to know you."

Dean gave him a patronizing smile as he moved within a few feet of her, much too close for a strange naked man and definitely not a safe distance to let a werewolf venture. "What are you doing so far off your reserve?"

Like it should have, her question made him go still, as if he were in wolf form and his prey had just caught a sound of movement, and was listening especially hard for him, ready to bolt. The look on his face, the smell that came off of him, told a different story; there was a ruffle of worry lacing it all. He was breaking rules by being off of his reservation but part of him didn't want to.

Dean thought about letting one of the small group live to question. Truthfully she had been sent to take care of this rogue hunting party, to send a message to the rest of their pack that they couldn't break promises and get away with it. Dean was pretty sure the higher-ups wouldn't bat their collective eyelashes should she decide that the entire pack was a threat especially if there was a chance more of them would venture past their boundaries.

She dropped that line of thought so she could begin to figure out exactly which of her various special skill sets could find out what she needed to know before engaging those that were closing in around her...

"I wouldn't get closer if I were you," Dean told their leader as the space between them began to shrink again.

"I can't fuck you from here," confirmed her guess at his intentions concerning the shift from wolf to man. She had felt the unique flavor of energy used to make such a change and had been curious about the cause. When a lycanthrope made the decision to go wolf pack they didn't usually walk around in their human form by choice. As far as nudity went, clothes were usually very optional but most preferred the other two of their three forms.

She could feel the skin-crawling tingle of lycanthrope energy as it flared behind her. She didn't need her eyes to know one of the wolves behind her had shifted to his in-between form. She liked to call it "wolfman" and it was an apt description. The wolf took on a more human appearance, mostly just a semi-erect posture, the ability to move easily on two legs, a smidge less hair and strangely less human control. Dean had read countless scientific reports on the matter and she had really only come to understand it while doing the things that sent her out into the forest on nights like tonight.

Kill them.

Bathe in their blood.

The words came in pulses like the slowly elevating beat of her heart. There was no doubt she was here to kill them, but she firmly reminded that sinuous little mental voice that she would only take the minimum enjoyment from the slaying, the part where she would be protecting innocence. She pushed that darker part of herself down where she usually hid it, and reached for the sausages to move them around on the flame with her bare fingers.

"Could we get this over with quick? I don't want my sausages to burn." She told the leader, and the wolfman...Dean paused to sniff-sorry wolfwoman-growled from where she was crouched behind her, and she could feel the party's collective wave of rage. Their leader did nothing to soothe it.

Suddenly she had their leader's wrist in her grasp. The first move had really been the werewolf's as he stepped forward and ripped the hood off of her head, all done with a speed humans like this insolent girl couldn't even begin to dream of.

Well most of them.

His eyes were blue like sky, startling and breathtaking as the hint of fear made them open wider. She swallowed the thrill his nervous energy gave her, pushing it back down. "Told you…you shouldn't get closer."

In an instant Dean knew what she had finally done to frighten the leader; her mark had appeared on her face. All of those destined for her line of work got them at puberty, an elaborate tattoo etched on the skin; hers was located around the top of her eye.

It served its function in two ways, when any variety of lycanthrope planned ill intent; it flared into brilliant color, and itched when its owner was near one unawares. Usually it was an invaluable tool for those in her line of work, but damned if she could only see hers in a mirror.

She gasped suddenly as she realized that the sight of it gave the once-confident werewolf a terrifying realization. She could feel the fear dripping off of him like sweat all of the sudden. The thick cloying scent and feel of this unexpected reaction, not to mention the brutality of it, made her have to take a calming breath. She knew only part of his fear came from a painful curiosity of how she might have caught his hand so easily and what that meant to him, but mostly it was knowing her profession although she knew no one should know her order existed.

"Lumberjack," He whispered to himself and he didn't have much time to say more as she heard him use the private nick name for her brethren, and gave his arm a violent jerk. Quicker than he expected retaliation, even if he thought he knew exactly what she was, he was suddenly flying in an impressive arc over her head to land on two of his closest wolves. Dean turned on the wolfwoman as she charged and recognized the look on her face from long experience as the lycanthrope's superior attitude was crushed when she realized too late that it was a silver blade that had run through her heart.

Dean pulled away from the wolfwoman, taking her sword with her. None of the pack had smelled the blade beneath her cloak, and they usually had a keen sense of smell for the only metal that harmed them like a human. Although Dean preferred decapitation and other more instant ways of killing (which for lycanthropes were few and far between, they were a tough lot), she got inventive in tight situations.

She had an uncanny advantage over most opponents whether supernatural or not, considering her genetic heritage.

Her mother's family had spent centuries fighting for an organization that had been nicknamed, "Lumberjacks." Dean's grandmother had told her plenty of times; that the nickname had been developed by one of the only known rumors of their Order's existence long ago, skewed by centuries. Dean had grown up listening to the tale of Little Red Riding Hood along with the adventures that were her mom's missions for the Order.

On her father's side, the part Dean was quiet about—correction-she had long ago zipped her mouth, locked it and thrown away the key; something her mother had known would make her keep the secret as a child...

Her father was a werejaguar.

God her grandmother had been mortified, had disowned Dean's mother Mary, and swore she would never acknowledge Dean's existence. She had vowed to kill Dean's dad, a nasty fight that had ended worse than even Mary could imagine.

Mom had been a telepath and a precog (future sight) and not even she had foreseen making her child an orphan. That fateful day Mary had woken up with a bad feeling in her gut, something she listened to without fail, she had made Dean promise never to let anyone know what her dad was. "On that secret you have to keep you lips zipped, all right hon?" She had instructed her daughter that morning.

Later that afternoon Dean had stumbled out into her backyard to find her grandmother cradling her mother, in a very disturbing scene. That was the day that Dean decide that disemboweling was, under no circumstances, to ever be her mode of execution; she still had nightmares about it to this day.

Her grandmother Samantha Campbell had taken Dean under her wing after that, and when she couldn't foster a bitter hatred for her father and his kind she had sent Dean off to boarding school and the Lumberjack summer camp. It had been developed for the progeny of Lumberjacks those destined to follow in the previous generation's footsteps. No one found out her secret and it wasn't a problem until puberty when her beast woke up.

As far as she knew she couldn't shift forms, but she had the same scary internal and metaphysical fights with her inner-beast making most of her natural strengths harder to hide than one would think.

No lycanthrope had ever lived through the attack of a Lumberjack, so even though the Order had been founded not long after lycanthropes had developed the taste for human flesh, only bedtime stories and rumors existed. Dean had become well known in the worldwide order but she would never truly be recognized by anyone for her vocation, and this werewolf seemed to have knowledge, enough to be scared.

Naturally the sometimes devastating number of werewolves that broke the laws and "disappeared," or were found slain gave lycanthropes that healthy fear of government officials, except for the most isolated ones. They had never purposefully hidden the bodies, but as far as their spies knew the werewolves hadn't uncovered any information on who was behind the vigilante actions.

Dean loved being able to describe her work that way to strangers.

She had first put on the red cloak and hood at a company Halloween party, and had surprised everyone by being the only one to think of dressing as Little Red Riding Hood, since it was one of their more famous rumors.

After the Order was almost wiped out by an unusually large pack they had started making friends with the more human population of supernaturals, mostly psychics but there were numerous other varieties. They had started to recruit those that didn't go furry and homicidal during full moons and with their help had developed many tools.

When the technology had been developed they had created strength enhancing suits, and eventually-as short a time ago as five years-their scientists had started to work on a chemical that did the same. It was still in its trial stages, but some Lumberjacks had started volunteering for injections. Dean had a bodysuit, gathering dust in her bedroom closet. If she had just inherited the superhuman strength she would have thought about using it but she had gotten it all, minus the furriness.

Dean cast out her energy again and although it was hard for her to give off soothing vibes in her current state, she had learned long ago that she didn't have to actually feel the emotions to broadcast them, the leader of the hunting party had learned that with her false fear. The wolves whined and hesitated while Dean stepped in and slashed three of them with her sword. Lassitude wasn't something that lasted long at the sight of something like that, but before they regrouped for a counterattack Dean picked off two of them and wounded the third.

She felt the next attack a split second before it really happened with the precognitive powers her mother had given her. The Biter had merely thought of moving up behind her and Dean was already twirling around, and bringing her free hand up to block her throat. With both of them having superfast speed and reaction time they ended up locked together the wolf's jaws digging into her forearm. The distraction of worrying her teeth at the hunter's arm gave Dean the chance to run the wolf through, silver through the heart a slow but mortal wound.

Although medicine was far advanced over the old days of leeches and herbs, the healing Dean could do thanks to her dad wasn't easy to hide. She didn't have a mortal weakness for silver (like all regular lycanthropes did) but she couldn't wear jewelry made from it, it irritated her skin. The only other mortal weakness lycanthropes had was the wounds gotten from their own kind. Like the silver Dean could heal quicker from that threat as well, although slower than usual lycanthrope speed.

The hunter was pumped with adrenaline at this point, she really never had a problem with that since most of the time she had the uncanny knowledge that a battle was about to begin seconds or even minutes before her opponents thought of their first move, it always gave her a premature rush. She turned before the recuperated leader could retaliate, and was fast enough to catch him in the gut with her steel-toed boot making him double over and stagger back a bit. Usually she had time to kick the small silver blade out of the toe of her shoe but this one was a good fighter.

Dean freed her foot and followed through with the step forward, her foot falling behind the wheeling lycanthrope. When he proved to be only playing winded she was already one hundred percent ready for him when he straightened to send his elbow into her throat. She had her free hand up to catch his forearm and step even further into his space, twist her body before planting her foot and pulling the man into another hip toss that sent him flying again and into a not-so-nearby tree. She winced at the loud crunch that sounded because it wasn't from the tree, although it was quite tilted at the impact.

Dean spun and found the last wolf, a white one presently licking the wounds of a brown wolf that had only been wounded. No wonder she hadn't gotten a precognitive flash from them, neither were attacking or planning to. Although she had learned control in some of her jaguar aspects, Dean hadn't learned enough skill in her human gifts and tended to compensate with other supernatural skills. As far as the jaguariness went she tried to keep herself out of those situations when she needed to hide her secret, the scent, the feel of it was unmistakable to those that used it themselves.

Now wasn't one of those times.

She sent out a wave of energy so powerful the white wolf whined and his nose hit the dirt as he bowed down to her. He wasn't powerful enough to shift like his leader had, going from one extreme to another the true admittance of defeat to a superior.

When it came to animals (Were and otherwise) power could make someone dominant to another. Unfortunately for were-animals there was always that unfortunate moment where they used their more human side than animal and realized she was "just a woman." Invariably the males were like that from the outset, unless that woman exhibited power. Dean's power was mostly untapped, and what she gained when she just turned to her beast, acknowledging it, was enough to scare her and her prey.

She hadn't yet let herself get close enough to touch her inner jaguar, she'd stumbled a little closer sometimes; a lot a few times during puberty. The beast had been new, and she hadn't known the need for caution, her father had never thought she'd have to deal with that part of her heritage.

Samantha always insinuated that the reason she had gotten her mark over her eye was so it would be impossible for her to follow her mother into the Order. She continued to send her to camp after revealing this belief, and Dean quickly learned that it was a means of torment for the tiny bane (Dean) of her life, to learn and never be able to fulfill her destiny as much as Dean strained at even that restriction. In the end however, Dean had asked to be in the Order and gone through all the official training, to thwart Samantha.

One should really have a good grasp on the type of relationship cultivated between Dean and her grandmother by now.

The power she pushed at the white wolf got him to go still, submissive and kicked the heat of his fear up just a few degrees. His fear moved through her, as purposefully as she had calmed him the wolf brutally pushed his lycanthrope energy at her. She knew he was trying to make her pull back, give mercy to the cringing wolf, as if she didn't know he'd turn on her if she gave him the chance. Unfortunately for the wolf his tactic proved to do the exact opposite. She couldn't keep down the hunger that ripped through her, not sexual—well not entirely-but visceral. The wolf, in turn, felt her emotional broadcast, turned and bolted out into the forest.

"Son of a bitch," She growled the rumble of it not quite low enough to be considered kittenish, but it wasn't natural for her voice pitch which was already more baritone than the sonorous end of the usual female range. She moved after him, pushing her power out in front of her; both her jaguar sense and the precognitive few seconds she sometimes got in fights. It was the only way she could use that power so far, but she knew that all she really needed to do was work on it to make it stronger right now it was so nebulous it was like trying to guide a cloud with one's hands.

Sometimes it was a telepathic flash of her attacker's thoughts, sometimes an empathic flash of emotion, or even clairvoyant flashes of the attacks seconds before they happened. Most of the time they combined in just a gut feeling and a vague sense of déjà vu, mostly during fights when she actively tried to use it. It worked better when she let it feed her muscles without trying to consciously use it.

The lycanthrope energy helped as long as she could keep in absolute control of it. Now – for instance - with it's help she could feel the leaves on the ground like an extension of her body was feeling it, helping her catch the fallen trees with a duck below or a jump above the obstacle at exactly the right second to clear it without drag. Her small human ears could hear him running through the underbrush. Her nose caught another good whiff of fear and faster than the human part of her mind could fathom she found herself upon him wringing his neck with her bare hands. She hadn't realized she had left her sword behind until she sat beside the body looking around for its gleam in a daze making a concentrated effort to try and release the twisted neck.

For at least a minute, psychic flashes smashed through her mind's eye, blinding her with images and memories of this wolf's mate and two pups, a pair of cute three year old, platinum blond twin girls. She gasped as she jerked back from the wolf and realized she would definitely not be touching in the future, and it wasn't her precognitive powers that told her that.

Absolute control.

She stood and moved back to the clearing where she saw that the wounded brown wolf of before, noticing the sound of wheezing air through the hole in her lung. At the sound Dean recalled that she might have yanked the blade a little more, slashed through the ribs instead of higher, something she didn't do if she could help it. It was scary sometimes when she couldn't remember all of a fight but all she did now was try and keep in control as best she could, one slip was one too many. Along with the memory of their small skirmish near the beginning of the fight was a few of the flashes of moments ago, this brown one was the mother of those pale twin wolf-cubs, the white one's mate.

She didn't have to look over to where her sword was lying in the grass, the scent of it intimately familiar to her palate, she managed to slip a toe under the guard and lift it to her waiting hand as she moved back to finish off the wounded wolf.

"Deep breath…in…out," She whispered in an attempt to hide the crack in her voice as she looked down at the shiny red on her blade, blinking back tears as she tried to push down on the reoccurring flickers of those two fragile orphans.

Absolute control.

With a long slow breath she tore her gaze from the blade and turned to look toward the leader, "And then there was one."

He rolled over and propped himself up with a wince. His eye color caught at her again, such an intense blue. She saw them roll wildly over the destruction that she had wrought in the handful of minutes he had been incapacitated in the tree. "What are you?"

"That's why you're alive right now." She moved closer and sat back down at her chemical stove, she had purposefully moved the fight well out of the way of the stove which she now turned off before the sausages burned. "Because you know the answer to that question."

"I thought you had a pet, thought the cross breeze of my pack had contaminated the scent," He murmured as he stared at her and Dean knew her tattoo was still blazing (he could hardly keep his eyes off of it), this guy was still thinking very adamantly of killing her even if he was giving off enough fear to make her stumble closer to her beast. She was reaching out, but still not close enough to touch. "You're a lycanthrope."

Dean gave a gentle sigh of frustration and shook her head, "Don't strain your brain you really don't need to be concerned with that part." She said softly having spent the better part of her life doing just that and the leader's fear raised several more notches. She had more questions, not just his knowledge of a secret order; she had come here with a different purpose. "What's so important that you would leave your reserve? Out hunting dumb campers?"

"No," He shook his head, his fear dampening and she knew he was healing. "One of our own is out here and we wanted to bring him in before he brought your kind down upon us."

"Why there it is again," She picked up one of the sausages and took a bite. It was a lot more cooked than she liked, but she didn't really think bloody meat was a good idea for her tonight. "You keep saying things that lead me to believe you know who I am."

"Ah," He sat up with little difficulty; his ribs were probably done knitting back together, healed to a comfortable level. The long glance to the blazing mark over her eye let her know that the wolf was aware now that she meant something more than just a little lycanthrope DNA when she spoke of her identity. "That's sort of on a need to know basis."

"Tell me about it!" Dean exclaimed, throwing her empty hand up in the air. "Secret order and all that nonsense...Hm," She gave him a long weighty stare, the green of her eyes just light enough to be a striking shade both from a distance or close up, like his. "Just let me know if you're the only one, or is your whole pack in the know?" She passed her sword to her other hand, the one closer to him as he started to look antsy.

He kept quiet and she stood and stepped away from the small stove while she sheathed her sword in the scabbard across her back, which was slightly angled enough so that it only stuck up though her hair sometimes when she sat down. Usually the hilt brushed her neck and hid amid the mass of rich curls, at the moment it was too dark and nothing but sunlight would do the golden hints in it justice.

"Whatever brought you out here is going to bring your end," She moved toward him slowly sending out soothing vibes that she could watch work, the grimace on his face easing. Just as quickly as it had gone it came right back, he was obviously confused about her powers they weren't very human, and he knew she killed lycanthropes. "I decide if it's honorable and painless or pretty damn painful and looks it too. What you tell me determines that, and whether I get to go home tonight and sleep in my two thousand thread count sheets or spend the rest of my sleep time hunting down each and every one of your pack back on their reserve."

There was an uncertain spike of fear as if he wasn't sure she was capable. She moved toward him and reached out to touch his face, not telling him that she had done exactly what she threatened tonight on more than one occasion, single-handedly. She couldn't see anything but those blue eyes, stark in his face especially rounded in fear too much of the whites showing. "How many of you?"

"Living?" He looked around the clearing not saying anything and she had the idea that the pack members had been chosen for the hunting party because they had known. She was glad he was seriously ignoring the caress; sometimes touch made a difference to her powers. "'Bout two now."

She met his eyes as they darted toward hers but there was nothing, sometimes she could read thoughts but now she heard nothing. She wondered if she was fighting that part of herself. In truth she was actually trying her best not to think about the wolfy family she'd just ruined. Of course she knew that lycanthropes had some pretty human tendencies, families, they had their own type of marriage (much more mystical than humans) and theirs was a connection that held possibilities of forever.

Part of her didn't want to use her powers again.

"Two?" She gave him skepticism and he moved his head to put his face out of her reach and her nose noticed discomfort in his sweat, her gaze read pain in the movement of the lines on his expression, telling her that he wasn't fully healed yet.

"Look it doesn't matter how many know. We've kept it quiet for years; we're not going to let it out now." He looked down and grabbed her hand before she could touch his face again, giving her the skin contact anyway.

Like the flash earlier she knew he had grown uncomfortable with this situation, before she'd been prey, then enemy and this part had no meaning to him, it was awkward, he'd definitely stayed wolf for too long. After that she saw a face that she thought was the man she was looking at, except one of the eyes was a dove grey instead of sky blue.

After she had noticed the slight difference in eye-color she saw small differences in the face. "Are you hunting your brother?"

The pulse in his thumb sped up from where it was pressed into her arm and she could feel the wash of remorse from him like she had scented his fear. "No, he doesn't know anything."


"I'm just worried-" He looked down his posture going submissive like the white wolf had and he shook his head. She was instantly suspicious.

"Where is he?" She knew there was a reason he didn't want her to go after his brother but she didn't really know if it was worth investigating.

Before she could really decide she heard something soft and at first she thought the werewolf had said, {{I don't know.}}


He looked at her confused and moved back as he managed to stand. She quickly took a step back and they stared at each other again. "I do have a brother, but he's back on the reservation, most of them are afraid to break the law because your kind isn't the only kind that kill us."

"Speaks well of your pack, if these were the only ones willing to break the rules." She gave him a smile and reached up to pat him on the shoulder.

His hand came up fast to swat her hand away, but her hand decided to grab his wrist instead and it happened again…a whisper in her mind?

{{More will stray for the cause of Castiel's hunt.}}

"One more thing?"

"You just kept me alive because you had questions?"

"Of course," She shrugged and the look on his face held disbelief. "What's your name?"


Castiel walked into the clearing, his dark fur took on a silver sheen in the moonlight. He noticed what looked like perfectly good sausage and he sniffed it just to be sure.

A little more cooked than he liked but oh well...The sniff at the sausage brought more scents and he moved around the clearing, munching on the remnants of the sausages he'd practically inhaled into his shaggy muzzle. This was the hunting party after him and his secret.


He smelled his brother before he saw him, well his head anyway. Castiel gave a doggy growl, the last way his brother should have died, fast and mostly painless. Bastard deserved disembowelment or shot through the heart with silver shot like Castiel had been subjected to.

That had been a tense few minutes.

Almost against his will he lowered to his haunches and let out a baleful howl. Nathaniel was his brother, even if he had been trying to kill Castiel any way he could. He had tried to get away but the pull of family was too much for him. He couldn't get away from his pack to be with his mate wherever she happened to be.

In a very technical sense Castiel had survived a shot gun blast of silver shot to the heart delivered by a Lumberjack twenty years ago. Although lycanthropes didn't live forever, their lifespan was a bit prolonged and he'd been young back then, stupid. Before he was killed he'd been the most subservient wolf in the pack, the one that followed all orders no matter the objection or moral dilemma he might have.

Nathaniel had been ashamed to be his brother when it was he that was one of the six most powerful and assertive werewolves in the pack, including the pack Alpha (leader) and his mate.

After his short death and unexplainable change of heart (shit, it was nearly obliterated) on the decision to live, he'd been a very different wolf and it hadn't been a surprise. Castiel and Nathaniel's bloodline had a tradition, sort of a blessing and curse mixed.

One of every generation would have the power necessary to become Alpha or one of the Alpha's powerful soldiers. Nathaniel himself was at third right now, meaning he followed the commands of the Alpha, the Alpha's mate (she wasn't more powerful than he was but she always shared command with the leader) and the second-in-command, the Alpha's right hand wolf.

Castiel wished his brother had even had a second thought for protecting him since the only thing that kept weaker wolves from being abused by the stronger ones was a more powerful wolf to protect them.

The other child, according to the curse/blessing would be debased with a human mate. The only reason Nathaniel had ever looked his brother's way, was to keep him down long enough to stay within the pack's reserve where he would most likely never meet any sane human woman; not only because a mate would make his brother happy but because it was said that once he found her he would have no allegiance to his family, would no longer drawn by their pack's almost tangible mental link.

The last part, the part that had never come to pass (but had been hanging around in the legend as long as it had existed and made Nathaniel even more unbearable recently) was that there would come a brother that, "Would Die but Not..." Castiel had never thought it would be him what would that even mean...but not? Truly he had never thought much of the curse/blessing; he had spent all of his meager energy on staying upbeat in the face of almost pack-wide abuse.

Turns out it was pretty literal.

After he died things had gone south fast and Castiel had made a deal with a demon that called himself Balthazar to take his place in Hell while he got a second chance. Something had made the demon laugh as he gave Castiel back his body and it unnerved him to think of why he might have been so filled with mirth, unlike his kind. If Castiel could find his mate Balthazar would keep the place in Hell and Castiel would get a clean slate.

When he'd woken up, gasping with one good lung and half a healed heart, as if no time had passed for his body when he had actually been dead for twenty years, Castiel had moved right in at even keel with his brother. The pack could hardly believe he was alive after all that time.

Usually fights happened for power and sometimes death was the only outcome. Castiel didn't want to kill his brother, but his brother hadn't felt the same way. While their father the Alpha was still alive, however, Castiel could only be killed in a fair fight. That was, unless he left the reservation, yet another impetus for him to stay away from normal, sane human women – the jaws of his brother always on his tail.

That was when Castiel mentioned the woman that had attacked him. Their kind knew there was someone out there killing them because deaths had been too numerous for natural ends to be responsible. He remembered the conversation he'd had with the older woman as if it were another person, emotionless now.

Apparently that knowledge was scary and something Nathaniel had wanted to use to his advantage and Castiel's silence or—even easier—death had become much more important, he couldn't let him tell anyone else.

Castiel really wasn't interested in the "Alpha Blessing," but it seemed his brother wasn't going to let up on it now that Castiel was strong enough to play against him. What others thought of as the "Human Mate Curse," had his interest however. Most of the brothers that had this part usually lived with the pack and were solitary, or even good fuck buddies for those that didn't yet have mates of their own.

Castiel had decided to take matters into his own hands; he still battled the almost Pavlovian impulse to turn his paws back toward his family so that he could leave the fight caused by the ongoing change of his mindset from submissive to dominate.

Nathaniel had other plans of course and had formed the party to go after him. The wolves now dead in this clearing were the wolves that, should there be some sort of coup would be the main culprits. They might send someone out to find the missing party in a couple of weeks, his father was cocky and none knew that Little Red Riding Hood had come to visit their neighborhood.

Then again none of them knew who she was, his dad knew of her Order's existence and the ones involved in Castiel's death but not even Nathaniel had known just who his killer was. By now she was in her late twenties, she'd been a kid when he'd last seen her but time hadn't passed for him.

He'd been forced into being bait by his brother and his very recently deceased uncle, the old second-in-command. Turned out the little girl and her "caretaker" were involved in a trap set up for their pack before they'd gotten their government owned reserve. It was a couple of states over and he remembered the strange feel he'd had when he'd noticed the bright red tattoo blazing across the top of the older woman's hand.

He'd still been alive when the little girl had come in to see him two seconds after being sprawled across the floor with silver shot where his heart should be. She had stared down at him with tears in the prettiest green eyes he'd seen. There was a tattoo on her face, over the top of her eye and down the side across her temple. He remembered how the pattern had looked like tears and how-as he watched-one of them had even grown to curl under the corner of her eye as she silently mourned a stranger's death.

She'd grown up to be just like her caretaker, if this carnage was any indication. He frowned at this thought and wondered if he could pass himself off as a lone wolf, the kind not tied down to a territory, they did exist, they were just rare.

He'd seen her again in his dreams, but the only reason he'd known who she was at her present age was the blazing tattoo across her eye in his fantasies. Even the tattoo looked different but Lumberjacks wouldn't have lots of people that had their biggest tool where it couldn't be seen Castiel guessed…plus his family's psychic abilities with dreams meant he was seeing his mate as she currently appeared.

Her smell had the same quality it had when she was a pup-child; of course there were some things that had changed with adulthood that made his blood run hot as he scented her trail where it moved further into the forest away from where he'd seen her car parked, toward his pack's territory.

There was no way he could let her go there, there were good people in his pack, submissives that he had protected before and after his death and even dominates that were still more human than wolf. He knew whatever she had planned wasn't good. They were his pack.

He gave his brother's head the most level a gaze he could, where it had rolled into the grass. They had once been close to identical; they both even had those same sharp blue eyes. After his death one of Castiel's eyes had gone grey, and his face had gotten rougher. He'd had a boyish quality to his looks before but now he had lost the softness. He had to shave more too. Even though Nathaniel had been aged twenty years to Castiel's one, he still looked like the younger boy-faced brother, thanks to good lycanthrope genetics.

With a bark he followed her trail out into the forest, and he noticed that same strangeness to her compared to other humans.

Her scent was different.

Dean had tendrils of energy reaching out through the trees as she moved, quiet as death through the undergrowth. She'd repositioned her hood halfway onto her head so it wouldn't impede in her field of view but still gave her some cover and-of course-the look.

When she was alone in the forest, or just on a hunt in general this was the time she could be free. She couldn't let go completely, she'd never done that and didn't know if she could come back after trying.

The sounds were spectacular just moving through the underbrush and listening to the forest. She could see in the dark as well as daylight so scanning the forest wasn't a problem now, she could see more than just shadowy shapes. Dean had never before had to go this far out into the forest while she could use her fledgling powers.

She had a bag with more weapons, mostly more blades and some long distance weapons but she had left it behind in the car. Her favorite was her katana, curved and sharp with a black woven hilt, usually hidden in her hair, easily reachable.

In fact, she had more than one sword like it; she had more than a dozen in her weapon's store. She had most of it back at her house, the bag in the car and even some back in Massachusetts where the Order was based in North America on a large estate with a large basement, about four sub-stories deep.

Usually she used guns when she knew she was going up against something big or something much more dangerous in close quarters. In the beginning she had taken the gun courses required for the Order and liked the sensation of holding something wild in her hands that she could fully control but scoffed at the need for long-range in the field (hello lycanthrope strength?). She always felt a need to prove herself, doubly-so in regards to her grandmother, plus with the sword she had to get up close and personal-which she liked more-but once not far into her career she'd met something she didn't want to get close to, and she had been missing her gun something fierce.

So her second favorite weapons were a handful of Shurikens that her dad had made for her; he had wanted her to be prepared to follow her mother, he had been that sure she would break his heart. Close on her favorites list-almost a tie—were guns, most of the time her shiny Colt 1911 Commander, .45 usually silver, always hollow point ammo. She hadn't brought one on this hunt, she had wanted to stretch her powers, both lycanthrope and human.

She glanced at her arm where that wolf had gnawed at it. The teeth marks weren't bleeding anymore and by now were a dark pink, just breaking the skin. The more she used her kitty powers the faster she healed, like lycanthropes; if she could shift forms she would heal it almost instantly.


"Ew," She looked around as her name drifted casually into her consciousness its flavor difference truly what caught her attention. She didn't tell many people her full name and only one of them ever called her by it.

Never mind being surrounded by wilderness.

She only remembered hearing one telepathic voice in her mind and it had been mere whispers of her mom's gentle tone. Usually when her beast raised her furry head to suggest things it was more fierce emotion rather than words. When she had wanted to bathe in the hunting party's blood it had been a bloodlust so profound she almost bit her tongue as if it were someone's jugular.

Dean's powers weren't developed enough for telepathic conversations but she could send her emotions and desires on the wind with her kitty energy, the same energy that was wafting out around her through the trees.

As she paused to concentrate on her disgust of that name and the curiosity about who would use it, something brushed her feelers. She turned back where her energy told her there was something of interest and she moved her energy until it was all cast toward it and she caught him inside.

Déjà vu.

She knew that energy! It tugged at her memory like a familiar face in a crowd. A thrill of worry came as she remembered the obvious that she did nothing but kill any werewolves she met, she had no wolfy friends! Surprise or no she quickly tried to mask the anxiety from him. She pulled her energy back in, shielding from anyone else's feelers, hiding.

Moving through the forest in a semi-circle, she came upon him from the left and downwind. She stopped a few yards away, watching him as he stood there in the dark. For a few moments he wouldn't know where she was since she was shielding herself. As she watched his large form cut through the undergrowth without bending a single twig, she realized he was no doubt doing what she'd been doing as she walked through the woods alone moments ago. She felt his energy move along her skin like a prickly rush and she tried not to move as the sensation caused a shiver.

As he turned his furry head toward her she gave him a smile, and a nonchalant wave. She didn't remember his energy at the clearing so he must not be a member of the hunting party. "You're awfully far away from your territory Wolf," She didn't bother to raise her voice, knew he would hear if she whispered across a football field.

She watched as he moved toward her and she released her shields to get a feel for him. She could already feel his calmness, he wasn't scared or even angry and animals that were neither of those weren't much of a danger. "First off, nobody calls me Adeana if they want to keep their fur."

{{How about Dee?}}

She tried not to be surprised when he spoke in her head so clearly and failed abysmally at trying to make it look like she was cold instead. "Hell. How do you know my name? You read my mind?" Otherwise why would he mention the most common nick name used by her grandfather Dean? Coincidence?

He actually shook his doggy head and looked up at her with a puzzled expression; that was when she noticed his eyes, one pale crystal blue, and the other dove grey. "So what is the real reason they were hunting you? I take your brother's reason with a grain of salt, he did have a sword to his throat, and I caught him hiding information a few times."

{{He wants me to go back to Hell.}} The thought sounded forlorn; sad that his brother could want that when he hadn't done anything to cause such hatred.

"As cryptic as that sounds…and as much as I love figuring out riddles, why don't you tell me the real reason?" Sarcasm practically dripped.

{{It is not a riddle,}} he gave a small whine and turned to walk back toward the clearing.

Dean didn't have time to puzzle out mysterious quips. "So how do you know about the Lumberjacks?"

She knew he could hear her, and answer her from where he was but he just kept walking. She wished she had brought her colt, she'd have pulled it on him now; nothing made a lycanthrope with super hearing obey like the quiet click of a disengaged safety. With a grumble she followed after him but he didn't stop at the clearing, he kept walking.

"Hey Wolf!" She stopped following him since it seemed he wasn't planning on stopping anytime soon. "I want to know who you are! Why do I know you?"

{{You do not know?}} The thoughts now sounded amused and Dean gritted her teeth to keep the surge of anger back, sometimes her control got bad when she was around powerful lycanthropes and getting pissed didn't help. {{Amusing.}}

Castiel finally stopped when he heard the sing of metal as she drew her sword from its scabbard and the whistle as it split the air and pressed into his furry neck in warning. "I don't happen to be in a good mood, so why how about you cut the crap?"

{{You would remember if you tried,}} Popped into her head and before she could increase the pressure of the sword he was gone.

"Shit!" She quickly sheathed her sword, her eyes catching his fleeting form only as a flash of movement darting through the forest. Quickly she took chase, throwing out her energy just ahead of her silent feet as she poured on the speed to catch him.

The trees spoke to her, every root that broke the ground and rock that might trip her up called out its presence as she moved through the undergrowth faster and faster. Her hood lost its hold and soon her hair was taken by the wind, flying behind her much like the long red cloak she wore. She could see him ahead of her, she let her senses - her energy - guide her through the obstacles and took one magnificent leap and pounced on him, sending them rolling together in the dirt and smashing into something solid.

Dean had thought it was a tree at first but the cold metal against the back of her neck told her different, and she looked up to see her borrowed car right where she'd left it near the service road two miles away. "I swear if you made me put a dent in my Nana's Spider you're dead no matter who you are," She said, grinding her teeth over the words not focusing on how fast she'd just covered such a long stretch of forest.

"Your grandmother owns this hotrod?"

She didn't notice the voice first since it sounded the same in her mind, but she did notice the lack of fur and the well-muscled torso. She didn't jerk back like her first reaction, but she did make space, bracing her back against the cool gunmetal grey door of her grandma's sports car. "I don't appreciate the mid-hug shift Wolf."

"I thought the "Wolf" crap would stop once I was no longer one."

"You can't hide what you are..." Dean sneered as he sat up and she caught a good look at him. The mental flash Nathaniel had given her didn't do him justice. "...Wolf." She had the crazy idea that she should keep her eyes off his face, those eyes had a dizzying affect on her body and she couldn't muster up enough anger to dissipate it. "Where'd you get that?"

She meant a huge scar on his chest that had distracted her from what would have been a breathtaking sight; of course she was looking for just about anything at that point to distract her. It was a shade lighter than his already pale skin; a huge web over his heart, tendrils of it curling up over his shoulder, and around under his arm to his back like a large multi-legged star. "Oh this old thing?" His hand moved to touch the scar, and she couldn't help but watch as his hand trailed down along an arm of the scar, but where his hand stopped at the end her eyes continued on until she was looking away in an angry and aroused way into the dark trees.

"Do you like what you see?" Came across hushed as Castiel's nose filled with the true answer to his question, her scent might be the only help he was going to get with her. He couldn't help the increase in his heartbeat; the matching heat that started to grow which he quickly got a handle on, before its effect was obvious.

"You've got an attitude that's gonna get you killed." She growled as she moved her eyes back to his face. She didn't want to admit her grandma had mentioned the same thing to her after one of her smart ass quips, or that there were more of such exchanges than she cared to remember.

"Good comeback," His voice came even softer, but curse her kitty senses she heard him loud and clear. "Too bad it is just a diversion. Answer the question."

Being a Lumberjack had put her in multiple situations with obnoxious male members of the Order, and she hadn't lost a beat in the sexual banter they tried to embarrass and intimidate her with. She found herself more than a little upset that a quick sarcastic comment about his size or skill didn't leap to mind; it didn't have to be true, just equally embarrassing. "Very nice."

Castiel was glad she wasn't looking at him because he wasn't just blushing in reaction to her honest answer, and her brutally honest scent that caressed across his nose making his body hum pleasantly. He took a deep calming breath and wished he'd stayed in his wolf form even though he knew she wouldn't trust anything even remotely furry. He knew his two other forms were her enemy, and even if it seemed she considered the same of his human form, it was easier to make her forget he had the lycanthrope strain when he acted as normal as possible.

"You killed my brother," He said his voice still soft, she would come to realize that he spoke like that most of the time; gentle and smooth as if he were constantly trying to sooth a wild beast, little did she know it was a habit he maintained from Hell. He was nice enough to move his legs to cover himself, but otherwise he leaned back relaxed and utterly comfortable with his nudity, like his kind usually were. Animals didn't wear clothes, damn it.

"He was a bad doggie, as are you." She reminded him and she saw the slight change in his posture as his muscles coiled. His nervousness sang out to her in his energy, he wasn't even bothering to mask it, and she wondered why. From his mode of tracking her Dean knew that he understood the flow of energy and power, so either he didn't have control over his own, or he just didn't care.

Most times it was the latter, other times he just forgot he needed to it wasn't something a submissive had to really worry about.

"No ma'am," He shook his head, his hair was dark and as he moved his head it shone with silver like his fur had in the moonlight. It was long, grown past his shoulders and looked silky from where Dean sat; she had to ball her hands into fists to resist the urge to run her hands through it. "I was on my way to get registered as an Unus Homo Canis."

"But you have a pack, and I would wager more than just your brother belonged to it." Dean reached for the catch of her red cloak at her neck. "Your kind usually doesn't voluntarily register with the government. You do know they put a GPS tracking chip in your ear right?"

"Yes," He nodded as he leaned forward to rest his arm on his bent knee, his eyes dazzling different colors. "But you saw my brother, that was not a search party he had with him."

"I know. They were out hunting, and usually your kind hunt to kill. What did you do that pissed your pack off enough to send some of their most powerful members after you?" At her words she felt the nervous energy that had been gently coiling around her as he relaxed tighten up again, and quite suddenly it was gone behind a shield that she ran into like a well-cleaned sliding glass door.

Damn. Well since that had him bottled up she decided to just ask the real question that was bugging her, the question that had sent her through the forest toward his pack. "How do you know about the Lumberjacks?"

"Lumberjacks?" Castiel laughed easily noticing the suspicion in her eyes. Somehow she was picking up on his worries. "Is that why you are carousing about the forest? Need a few more trees to fill your quota?" He could sense her displeasure at his attempt to play stupid, and he realized what had been bothering him in the back of his mind; it wasn't just her scent that told him she wasn't a normal human.

"All right. I'll play your damn game. Your brother spilled a few things, probably on accident before he met his maker." Dean moved as she pulled her cloak out from under her and held it out to him. "He knew what I was, and told me only the two of you knew." She shook the cloak at him impatiently when he looked at it curiously.

"He would never do that," Castiel lied, knowing that his brother would try anything to make sure his younger brother died, even send this beautiful thing that had been his killer to do the dirty deed for him. "How did you find out?" He was guessing she had telepathic powers or even empathic and was simply plucking his emotions out of the air.

"My, my but the night is full of questions hm?" She growled sarcastically as she pushed herself to her feet, throwing her cloak down into his lap when he didn't take it. She watched him bat at it and gave him a disgusted look when it crumpled down on the ground.

Dean wanted to laugh when he picked it up horrified. "Sorry," He handed it up to her and she tossed it into the backseat of the car with an audible sigh.

"I promise to think about answering your questions if you answer mine." Dean vowed.

"What if I do not feel like chatting?"

"I will kill you," She said matter-of-factly.

"You will kill me either way Adeana," Castiel said just as matter-of-factly as he stood. "Take me to town to get registered and we'll talk as much as you want on the way."

"If you get in that car naked I have no doubt my Nana will kill you Wolf."

He muttered under his breath and it sounded a lot like, "Too late," But since that made no sense Dean dismissed it. "Well you're not going to figure out anything if you just stand there—oof!"

Abruptly Dean was pushing Castiel bodily into the side of the car, twisting his arm around into a hammerlock slowing her movements as she pressed his hand into the small of his back and toward his neck, straining his shoulder joint. "I know you can pop your arm back into place in no time and just be sore for about an hour afterwards." She leaned in, trying her best to ignore the fact that she was pressed up tight against his bare ass (and the fact that it was a nice ass) but she was going for steam and annoyance. "I have a nice big silver blade, and I can make it uncomfortable for a long time. Answer my questions."

"Sweetheart I am letting you know this car is really cold, and I only care because I was sort of trying to impress you." He squirmed and winced as she leaned her weight in on his arm. "I do not think that is happening."

"The pet name won't help."

"I figure if I am "Wolf" you can be anything I damn well please." He started to sound upset and Dean looked heavenward, acting like the stereotypical doggie would help her keep her emotional distance from him.

"Well since you are a Wolf and I am not your sweetheart, I figure you can just shut-the-fuck-up."

The next thing she knew Dean was looking up at Castiel from the backseat of the car where he'd hip tossed her. She hadn't even gotten a precognitive flash like she usually did when someone got ready to attack her. "Now, now language like that is not becoming of a lady."

"Just get in the fucking car. Sit on the cloak. I have extra so I can burn that one." She moved into the front of the car, hand moving inside the collar of her shirt to dig for borrowed key sandwiched somewhere inside her bra.

"You like me don't you?" Castiel asked as he pretended not to see her grope around in her bra, not notice that when she slid her hand into the outside of the garment she almost flashed nipple and squished her cleavage up and over…instead he leapt agilely into the passenger side of the car.

"No. Ah. Ah. The cloak." Dean deadpanned in a quiet voice, now having twice told him he needed to not let his bare ass hit the car seat which was two more fucks than she usually would have given for her Nana. She was pretty sure that his reflexes were such that he could have stopped within a fraction of an inch from the leather, even if he froze with cheeks in firm contact as if helpless. She started the car and reached over to fiddle with the stereo. "The nearest registration is nearly a hundred miles away."

"Aren't you going that way anyway?"

Dean lifted a sculpted brow at his question. True she wasn't far from home this time but the second she'd started to entertain the idea of massacring an entire pack she had intended to get a hotel room, spend the night, and then drive home, even if the trip wasn't more than a handful of hours. There wasn't a town large enough for a government lycanthrope registration, asking for one here might just give her more trouble, and it was hard to top a naked werewolf in Samantha's monthly detailed sports car. "Are you going to walk through a metropolitan area naked? I might hang around to see that."

"My family's does business with the local bank branch; I am buying some clothes when I get into the next town." Castiel said dryly showing her that he was naughty enough to know the area outside of his reserve then he finished with, "And I knew you liked the view."

"You think we're stopping in more than one place? What do you think I am, your chauffeur?" Dean asked as she found her radio station, her grandma got pissed if she changed the preset stations so she had to find it when she wanted to listen to something, other than really old country. After finding another good station that would most likely be nothing but static back home Dean held the button down, and changed the last preset button; she had already changed the other four over the long drive here.

"Of course not. I would not want to impose on you any more than I had to, but you are almost on "E" Sugar." Castiel said.

Dean was sure he hadn't looked over at her gas gauge, but she did confirm that she would probably not squeeze a few hundred miles out of her tank tonight. "You know I really wanna shoot you right now."

"No guns on you, huh?"

She looked over at him before she put the car in drive. "Are you psychic too?" Dean asked, hoping it would stun him into silence and it did. They drove out to the road, the silence only interrupted by a static-filled rendition of the latest alternative song on the radio.

Psychic! Castiel scowled and battened down the hatches, as it were, in his mind as she confirmed his suspicions. He'd had enough practice protecting his mind from interlopers, from his family.

Ever since his death he had started gaining powers he'd been denied before. Like a werewolf he'd always had an awareness normal humans didn't, better senses, but he'd never gotten the hang of the trace of inherited powers he'd had before he'd been killed.

Castiel had only been able to master projecting his thoughts so far, and not very well. Dean had been the first person to catch them and know them for what they were. Alien thoughts. Makes perfect sense she'd have some telepathy. Great for the job.

"What do you do?" Castiel asked over the sound of the radio. He felt her wish that he would just fade out into the background until they got to their destination. Castiel knew she was attracted to him, he could smell it, but from the few words they'd traded, and what he'd experienced with her caretaker, he was pretty sure she didn't want to find a werewolf sexy.

"I'm a vigilante," Dean gave him her standard answer, sans the smirk. Usually when people asked her what she did for a living she was bursting at the seams to brag about her action-packed job. "A rumor, something your people see through the mist of the night and if they hope to survive forget or pray was only a dream."

"That is quiet a line you have there Batman." Castiel gave her a smirk and she felt a spike of ire, accompanied by a rise of her energy and a barely human growl. Definitely naughty enough or the pack they belonged to hadn't had a reserve for long.

After that he was quiet, but she couldn't get a feel on him with either parent's powers. She told herself to ignore him, pretend she didn't care he was still sitting in her grandma's leather upholstered seat naked. She was really trying to ignore the naked part. Really. After trying hard she just gave up and focused on driving, not bothering to keep quiet when her favorite song came on the radio.

Dean knew she was broadcasting her hormones in the car; she was upset that she couldn't hide it but she knew her words and manner came through loud and clear with the truth. Back off.

She needed practice hiding herself with her kitty powers; she had a handle on shielding with her human powers and had been practicing out on her grandma's estate with her werejaguar powers since puberty. Without someone to give her pointers she was really fumbling around in the dark, Since growing up with her grandma – who didn't trust a single lycanthrope - sadly Dean had developed an unhealthy suspicion of them too.

"Where is your bank?" Dean asked the gas station clerk as she reached the cash register. She put her purchases on the counter and dug for her wallet.

"We'll take your ATM card ma'am no cash necessary." The clerk put her five bags of beef jerky and her two Yoo-Hoos in a plastic bag and took her card. "Like beef jerky?"

Dean bit back the sarcastic quip and just nodded as he handed her back her card and she shoved her wallet back into her pocket. She had promised herself not to remind herself of Castiel and that meant being as serious as possible. She could see that grin on his lips as he muttered, no I just like paying eight bucks a pop for shoe leather- "Sure. You're outta pie."

As she reached for the bag the clerk gave a low whistle. "You might want to have that checked out by a doctor ma'am."

"Next stop," She gave him a smile and turned to leave as quickly as possible. She had forgotten to cover up the huge hole that wolf had ripped in her shirt sleeve and she still had some savage-looking bite marks in her forearm, for a human. She had forgotten to pack an emergency set of clothes after the last bloodbath she'd been involved in.

Looked like she was going to have to actually go inside with Castiel to get clothes.

"Did you get me anything?" Castiel called from his seat in the car.

"Not even throwing in gas money and he wants snacks!" Dean walked over toward the car and gave him a grin. "Make yourself useful and hold this." She dropped the plastic bag in his lap, and he wasn't quite fast enough to catch it before it landed in his lap. Dean swung around as she actually heard a doggie yelp behind her but Castiel was only there shooting icy daggers with his eyes. "Cold, Wolf?"

She filled up the gas tank and left the station as Castiel rummaged around in the plastic bag. "Ooh beef jerky-"

"Back off!" She grabbed the bag and put it in the backseat as she drove up the main street of the small town bordering the forest. "You've already committed enough crimes to get you killed tonight I suggest you leave my jerky alone."

It wasn't long before she pulled up in front of the bank and parked the car. She pulled a bag of beef jerky out of the backseat. "I'll wait." She caught his gaze and she couldn't help the grin. "What?"

"I am naked."

Dean gave a sultry laugh as she opened her beef jerky and it made Castiel's gut clench. Human enough to notice! She ripped off a piece of beef jerky with her teeth and chewed at it. She gave him a once over with her eyes and was proud when she didn't blush, she felt like ruffling his composure. "Your kind is comfortable with nudity. Go on and march in there."

"I might be comfortable but your kind is not," He said acidly. "Listen, how about you buy clothes for me and I will pay you back."

"Sure!" Somehow the word came out meaning the exact opposite.

"There is even a sign on the front door that says 'No shirt, No shoes, No service'." Castiel pointed toward the glass double doors.

"I'm sure if you let them know you don't own any shoes or shirts they'll service you. Ask to see their manager."

"There is no way you are going to help me here is there?"

"Are you embarrassed about being naked?" Dean asked.

"No," Castiel admitted his lip out in a pout and his brows knitted in a scowl.

"Then go on in Wolf." She met his eyes and gave him a roll of her power. "I'm the dominant animal here sweetie."

She could feel the flicker of surprise and saw his eyes go wide with it as she dunked him into her energy and pulled it back. She knew it could get prickly and uncomfortable for some people and she wouldn't hurt him if he hadn't done likewise. "But you can't be a lycanthrope."

"Not," She reeled her power back and tucked it away, putting up a shield as she felt tendrils of his tickle across her skin to figure out the temperature of her power. "You have a nose."

"And it smells something odd on you." Castiel confessed. "Always has." He tried not to wince at the slip up, but she didn't seem to notice.

Castiel smelled the tingle of fear thrill through her, and she looked murder at him. None of the lycanthropes she had ever crossed had mentioned an odd smell. They had always smelled her as human and hadn't wondered if she was something else. Whenever she fought time and time again she ran into cocky lycanthropes that threw caution to the winds when they exchanged blows. She figured if her opponents knew she had lycanthrope blood they would have had at least a little care in their approach.

"On my rag, what can I say?" Dean threw back as she grabbed a Yoo-Hoo out of the backseat, took the keys out of the ignition and got out of the car. "C'mon."

"You're not very nice you know." Castiel climbed out of the car, wrapping her cloak around him like a skirt.

"Most definitely."

"Are you this mean to non-furry people?" He asked as he opened the door for her still a gentleman, even nude.

"I am mean to everyone Wolf."

"Even your grandma?"

"Especially her," Dean growled, remembering her grandmother's ultimatum when she'd lent her the car. Dean's own Impala was in the shop, owned by an ex-boyfriend of her grandma. She had promised to match the Spider scratch for scratch and dent for dent.

"How about your parents?"

"Wolf you are not my friend, stop asking questions like you are." She turned as she entered the building and waited for him to follow.

He walked in and got the reaction Dean had expected. She sniffed out the werewolf working as a teller, and her nose was confirmed when the she-wolf's neck almost snapped as she lifted her head to look toward the front door. She finished with the customer she was talking to and even though there was a line she put up her "Window Closed," sign and came out from behind the counter.

Almost all of the people in the bank were looking their way; all of the women were gawking and sputtering as they sauntered through the lobby. Dean couldn't tell Castiel had been objecting to this moments ago by the swagger in his step. She knew it was probably for the she-wolf's benefit.

"Good evening, Sir," The teller, whose name badge announced her as 'Hannah', reached forward to shake Castiel's hand.

Yup, werewolf Dean confirmed. Not even a true professional could confront nudity without batting an eyelash.

"I am here for my safety deposit box," Castiel said with a smile.

"Of course."

Dean watched her use their joined hands to pull him closer and Hannah tilted her head slightly to the side exposing her neck. Castiel look over at Dean, unsure but not because he didn't know what Hannah was offering him.

There were different ways that lycanthropes greeted each other depending on their level of power, species and the situation. Most times in the less furry public it was just a handshake with either eye-contact (between equals) or the less powerful wolf would keep their eyes lowered in a submissive gesture. In less human surroundings things like biting happened, or - like now - Hannah was going to let Castiel smell her. Hannah must have instantly known he was the more powerful because she took the submissive position automatically, if the more powerful chose he could rip out the weaker's jugular and the submissive was voluntarily giving them that choice.

"Don't be rude on my account," Dean grumbled to Castiel as he continued to look at her.

Castiel gritted his teeth in frustration, and leaned in and to give Hannah's neck a cursory sniff then he quickly pulled back. He had been trying to be as human as possible in front of Dean - hoping she might forget that he was her mortal enemy - but he hadn't been prepared to run into a werewolf so soon. Damn, Castiel gave Hannah a small smile before she turned to lead them to the safety deposit boxes.

He would have denied her supplication as most powerful it was his choice, but it would have been like letting a hand for a handshake hang between them just plain rude. Apparently Dean studied her prey in depth, because greeting rituals weren't usually human knowledge.

Dean brought up the rear of their little troupe. Her eyes played across the muscles in his back as Castiel walked in front of her, down to the swell of his ass barely covered by the red fabric.

{{Damn he's a wolf and I'm even pissed off at him and I can't stop fighting jealousy or ogling him!}} She felt the bite of her own fingernails in her palms, a tactic she used to distract herself when her concentration became too intense. When she had problems controlling her jaguar she often resorted to other more painful ways to distract her inner-kitty. She had been more than a little upset when she'd realized she was jealous of Hannah.

{{Do not worry; she is not my type and stop drooling over my posterior in public please.}}

Fuck! Dean gave the back of Castiel's head a murderous glare and as she did so he looked over his shoulder and gave her a wink. {{Don't do that!}}

{{Stop projecting then Darling,}} he thought as he held the door open, it was one of those half doors people banged their knees on.

Hannah led them to a room with a table running through the center, a much more secure door leading to the next room that must contain the boxes. "We'll just need to do a fingerprint scan for security purposes."

Dean leaned nonchalantly on a nearby wall as Hannah took a small electronic pad from its matching leather holster at her hip. She held it out to Castiel who pressed his thumb into the small sensor on it.

{{Wish she wasn't so attracted to you,}} Dean thought grumpily and she saw a smile flash across Castiel's lips, making her attention stick to them. She could smell Hannah's hormones all over the place. The bank teller was trying her hardest to let Castiel know she was interested. Dean had half a mind to stake a claim on Castiel just to clear the air of Hannah's horney energy.

With a soft murmur of gratitude Hannah glanced at the pad and gave a soft nod before disappearing into the next room alone. She emerged only moments later with a long narrow box which she placed on the table in the middle of the room.

Hannah stepped back as if the contents might be explosive and Castiel opened the top, fished around inside and pulled out what looked like a wallet. He flipped it open to give the contents a cursory glance then lifted his gaze to gift Hannah with a soft upward tilt of his lips, "Thanks."

"Nice doing business with you Mr. Novak." She stepped forward to close up the box and put it away.

She was still turning away to return the box to its secured room when Castiel started for the door, gesturing to Dean that she should follow. Dean moseyed out behind him and obviously he was trying to escape Hannah because he grabbed her arm and started to pull her quickly toward the door.

The moment his hand touched the skin showing through the tear in her shirt sleeve, Dean felt her knees buckle the sound of a stranger's laughter echoing in her head. It wasn't coming from anyone around her; the voice inside her mind indicated no direction but she could see shapes moving behind her closed eyes.

She didn't feel it as Castiel swoop her up in his arms and continue out of the bank, she was too busy blacking out.

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