The Mournful Howl

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Chapter 24

Jayne and Gabriel spent most of Sunday making sure that she had everything she would need for two weeks of monitoring, tagging, and sample collecting.

Digging through one of the boxes from her cabin that she hadn't opened yet, Jayne pulled out a small package with a flattened bow stuck to the top of it.

Sitting on the floor, she wondered what it was and fumbled to open it. Inside she saw a new pair of ear buds, just like the ones she'd broken weeks ago.

Hearing the door open, she saw Gabriel coming in for the cold, his hair dusted with snowflakes.

Jumping up, Jayne darted across the small space, throwing herself into his arms, burying her face into his neck.

Taken by surprise, it took him a few seconds before he wrapped his arms around her waist in a bear hug.

"Thank you," she whispered into the collar of his shirt.

"For what?" Gabriel asked, confused, but content.

Leaning back, she showed him the present he'd gotten her not so long ago.

Smiling, he kisses her forehead gently.

"I felt bad that I made you loose yours," he explained, "so when I was in town before I picked up a replacement.

"I hope they're the right ones," he added, a look of concern flashing across his face.

"They're perfect," Jayne beamed, happiness shining in her eyes. "Just like you."

Gabriel rolled his eyes at her statement, but returned her smile just the same.

Lowered to the ground, Jayne took his large hand in hers and led him to the pile of supplies she'd pieced together while he'd been outside.

"I know it looks like a lot of stuff," she explained, settling down on the floor, reaching for a large military style duffel bag, "but once it's packed and organized it should all fit in this and my backpack."

Gabriel nodded.

"I'm going to start some dinner," he told her, running his hand over her head like she was a child playing with toys. "Any requests for our last hot meal?"

"I'm not going to the gallows," Jayne laughed, giving him a silly look, "but no, I don't really have a preference. I'm sure whatever you make will be good."

"So," Gabriel mind-linked with a twinkle in his eyes, "liverwurst and head cheese sandwiches it is!"

He couldn't help but laugh when Jayne's cheeks turned pale and she began gagging.

"I'll take the gallows please," she managed between wretches.

"How about grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup," he offered, still chuckling.

"Just don't talk about liverwurst," she said looking up at him, her eyes watering from gagging, "or head cheese.

"Sorry love," Gabriel said softly, looking across the counter at her.

Giving him a smile as she shook her head, Jayne went back to packing her rucksack while he went back to buttering slices of bread and unwrapping cheese.

Reluctantly, she decided to leave her new earbuds behind wishing she could take them with her, but knowing she couldn't risk loosing Gabriel's gift.

Taking a mouthful of soup, Jayne was surprised by the spice that bit at her tongue.

"What did you put in this?" she asked, eagerly scooping more into her mouth.

"Tabasco," he told her. "My secret ingredient."

"This is really good," Jayne said, taking another bite.

"When I was living odd job to odd job, I got really creative with Tabasco," he said with a smile, "though I don't recommend it on cereal. That was a bad experiment."

Jayne shivered at the thought.

"Gross," was all she could say.

"Yeah," Gabriel chuckled. "The worst part was I couldn't afford to throw it away so I had to eat the whole bowl."

Jayne laughed so hard, she spit her bite of grilled cheese across the table right into his face.

Covering her mouth with her hands, she couldn't help but laugh harder at expression of surprise Gabriel gave her.

"I'm so sorry," she snickered, failing to suppress her mirth.

Jayne watched as Gabriel, picked up his napkin and wiped a smear of cheese grease from his face, his eyes never leaving hers.

Realizing he was planning on getting her back, she yelped and jumped from her seat, running out the back door.

Hearing Gabriel's wolf growling behind her, Jayne put on a burst of speed and ran into the darkness searching for a place to hide.

Pausing to get her bearings, she listened for any sign of the wolf pursuit.

Hearing nothing, she slowly began moving towards a tree that looked like it would be easy to climb.

From her left, a furry blur tackled her onto the snow covered ground, its slobbery tongue licking all over her face.

"Ew," Jayne laughed, trying to shove its maw away, but failing miserably as its tongue entered her mouth.

With a series of cracks and snaps, the animal laying on her chest was quickly replaced by Gabriel, his hands moving under her shirt as his lips continued the kiss.

Moaning in pleasure, Jayne lifted her arms as he tugged her shirt up and over her head, his lips leaving hers only long enough to let the fabric past.

Ignoring the discomfort of the icy snow against her back, Jayne wrapped her arms around Gabriel's neck, her fingers threading into his thick hair.

"Rutting in the dirt like an animal," a voice said from behind them. "What else should I have expected from a disappointment like you?"

Jayne and Gabriel's heads snapped towards the voice, all laughter and merriment dying under the piercing eyes of their intruder.

"Are you going to introduce me to your whore Gabriel?" the man asked as the pair struggled to their feet, Jayne retrieving her discarded shirt and pulling it on.

At the name the man used, Jayne felt anger radiating off of Gabriel's body, as his lips pulled back to reveal his canines extending.

"Who the fuck are you?" she asked, stepping in front of Gabriel, realizing he was standing stark naked.

"You dare speak to me with that tone?" the man barked, a low growl echoing off the trees. "I am Gabriel's father and Alpha of the Blood Claw Pack, and you are just his whore!"

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