That slender frame cloaked in that dark red gabardine hid far more than humans would guess at a glance. Not being human, he could sense something rolling off that one in waves. He did not get such a feeling from most, if any humans, but he could tell this one was not like others. Perhaps it was veiled strength, or some thing he carried with him, but whatever it was, it made the golden wolf more than a little wary at the sense of danger. Humans might have though the long, thick material of that cape and the heavy looking hood drawn up were to keep out the cold - They could have been for warmth, but he honestly suspected this man was concealing himself and shutting out more than just the weather. Though that man moved nearly as soundlessly as he did, every time a noise from him cut into the still air, his fur stood on end. Cold, disgustingly fear laced chills ran through him if he came even remotely near where that man walked. For comfort sake, he was giving that human more than his share of forest despite the fact that he was keeping watch over him.
There was danger just snapping in the very air around that person, but he had a reason for staying near. Blond shaded lashes fluttered over emerald eyes as he sleeked through the trees, trim, toned body never quite making a move too few or too many - Like all wolves, he relied on his own powerful frame, and the speed of his reflexes to both hunt and avoid danger. Without a pack, he had to surpass even the best of his kind. Being an outcast enabled him to grow beyond the normal mindset of his breed because he had no one to lean on, only himself. He learned very quickly to have the vitality, physique, and potency of a wolf, but the cunning, ingenious, calculation of a fox.
He had been cast out of his pack not long after he learned how to hunt. The color of his coat and even his eyes made him stick out in a hunt, which hurt the pack. Unlike the others with gray, variegated dark brown, or black fur, blending into the background was hard. It was similar to a single sunflower being planted in the middle of an herb garden. He was unnatural and he stood out, most of all toward winter when all the leaves on the trees had fallen. He was like a single drop of summer and sunshine in the middle of dead winter; it simply did not work. It did not help that he was... not the most favored cub to begin with, never having won over the alpha even if it was his own father. In many ways, he simply knew he was lucky the alpha male allowed him to stay long enough to learn how to survive before driving him away. The lack of a pack forced him to move closer to the human world where food was a little easier to find and catch.
Even though that man came to the little house far more frequently that the blond was comfortable with, he never strayed far from this place, far from the single human living in that stone structure. Ever since that early snow, he remained in this area because of that person. His eyes drifted to the ground, slowly easing back on his haunches as he watched the figure fade into the distance toward that large residence. That day he had accidentally strayed into land belonging to the humans he later learned were called Nightray, and he learned the peril of such mistakes when he was spotted. Perhaps they though him to be a scout for food for his pack, but no matter what their thinking, they wanted him dead. The rich land owners could not afford to have a dangerous beast on their land for fear of what might happen. Their expensive animals would be at risk, and their servants or children. Other wolves would follow and they could not risk it so near the town.
They chased him, hunted him for days until he had no idea how much time had passed, only knowing he would drop dead if he was unable to shake them. They had fast horses, guns, and men, lots of men. One of the proud Nightray son's caught him with a bullet at some point, but he never stopped running, knowing he would surely die if he did. It was hate that drove him on more than anything, the stubbornness that he would not die to filthy humans like those. Even so, that only went so far before all the will in the world could not force the body to move. It had all seemed so bitterly endless. The only thing that finally saved him was the unexpected snow. The cold drove them back for fear they would be caught in the storm. He heard them say that after the snow they would look for his body. His coat was not ready, not thick enough, for such a sudden turn of cold. It had not even been fall, or if it was, it was in the very beginning. It was bitterly cold. The only good thing about it was that it numbed the pain from the bullet and slowed the flow of blood. He could remember how if he stood still too long his paws nearly froze to the ground. He hurt so much, even though he was mostly numb, the cold itself hurt. Spent, he collapsed, giving in to the draw of sleep.
He flicked his ears back, finally standing again, satisfied that person was gone. It was time for him to pay a visit to his saving angel, the one he owed his life to, and his loyalty. Every single human alive, he hated, all but the one in the stone house - The dark haired, red eyed angel that found him in the snow. Thinking about her, his pace quickened and he nearly broke into a run. Whenever he was not at her side, he longed to be, thought of her every single moment. She was elegant, graceful, beautiful, and gentle, but she was more than that. Like that stranger, from the very first moment he awakened to find himself in that house, he knew she was dangerous. Even from his place curled up at the fireplace, chills of foreboding ran through him. Those crimson eyes staring into his was like looking into the eyes of a predator far more powerful than he, so primal, strong, and lusting for blood. Lacie's potential for being deadly was great, but it was alluring somehow. There were no other humans like that girl, the girl who kindly saved a monster like him.
As he approached the door his pace slowed, paws touching the front step lightly. A swift shake of his body snapped his fur in multiple directions as he prepared himself. Whenever he shifted, it always tingled almost painfully. He always felt rather dizzy for a moment after, the height and stance difference taking the most time to adjust to. An unpleasant snap of his hip joint made him flinch as he straightened his posture. Shifting was not too bad, it just felt uncomfortable the first few seconds as the body settled. His tongue flicked out to run over his lips as he closed his eyes, feeling the sudden chill of the air against his now bare skin. Fluttering in his chest was natural, both from the change to his body and because he was this close to Lacie. Instinctively, his arms moved to hug his chest, willing the cold to leave him long enough to stop his body from shivering. The loss of fur was always the worst part about this!
Rather quickly, once he knew he would not fall over, he reached under the first step where she had tucked away and hidden clothing for him. Most people thought mystical beings like himself just happened to shift with clothing somehow a part of the process... but that was not the case. Once a werewolf shifted to human form, they had to find clothing. In his case, Lacie was good enough to hid some for him to use. It took him no time at all to jerk them on, cold drove him to be fast at this. Were it not impossibly embarrassing and totally improper, thus unthinkable, he would change inside. Lacie was a lady though, and he would not dream of doing something like this in her sight. Once again, he hugged himself, a few hard shivers running through his lean, but toned frame. Even in his natural form he was a bit on the bony side because of his difficulty in finding food, but in human form he looked far less intimidating. Lacie said he was handsome though, told him he had all the most ideal portions, nothing too big or too small. When she was in a praising mood she said he had a sweetheart, model, but boyish enough to be cute, sort of face. From what she told him, blond hair was attractive, making others believe you were trust worthy in the human world.
Tugging his long golden braid out from under the simple teal linen men's shirt, he flung it back to hang neatly. The shirt was just something men normally had on under one of their expensive court coats and vests, but it was comfortable and fit him without being overly tight. He could only be grateful she had gotten him long pants rather than those horrible breeches a lot of men put on, especially considering he had no socks to put on under them, which would make him cold. The final item was one he was most glad of, the green wrap, capuchin, jacket, blanket, or whatever it was... it was warm to put on, which he loved! Humans should be dead from the cold by now with how stupidly they dressed these pathetic forms if you asked him.
A set of long fingers reached up to fix his bangs, brushing his ears as he worked everything into place. The wolf characteristics all faded, but his flaxen tail and smooth ears always refused to change without a good deal of work. With her, he was not worried about hiding them, she already knew what he was. Most of his kind had no trouble hiding away their ears or tails, but for some reason, he always had the hardest time shedding them when he shifted into a human form. Lacie never seemed to mind, and the only time she even let on she noticed them at all was if she ran her fingers down his tail. He tried to look good for her, always secretly wishing to impress her.
His knuckles rapped at the door the way he had seen the other man do every time he came. It hurt to do that so he never understood why it seemed to be a ritual with these beings when they could call out instead of getting bruised hands. His heart was racing, cold forgotten as he heard her moving around inside. Any second he would be able to see her. Granted, he saw her yesterday, but that felt like a long time to him. Every time he visited her he got the same nervousness, and the same rush of joy. The door jerked open suddenly, making him jump, but he did every time.
"Ah, Jack, I was not expecting you! Come in for a moment." Her sweet voice washed over him like a warm bath on a cold day.
He swooped inside, not really lifting his eyes past her feet. It always took him a moment or two to collect himself enough to look up at her. Being in her presence, while he loved it more than anything, always made him feel skittish and unworthy. Seeming to sense it in him, her silk gloved hand reach out and cupped his chin, tipping his head up to meet her eyes. His emerald eyes widened as her garnet orbs swallowed him up but he did not pull away. Her graceful form leaned in, ghosting her lips over his before dancing back a few steps to smile at him. She told him he was handsome, but she was far more lovely than any goddess, that flawless, symmetrical face, so full of gentle curves that were never really absent of a smile.
Jack swallowed, his ears suddenly feeling hot, but a smile tugging his lips back shyly. He could not help wishing she would do that again when he was a little more prepared but being near her was more than enough, more than he had a right to ask for. This angel should never have touched him let alone saved his life or befriended him. Those Nightray's had no idea what he really was, but she did, and she still took it upon herself to play his savior.
"Hello, Lacie!" At long last he found his tongue.
Her pearly teeth peeked at him as she grinned, the curls in her hair bobbing as she moved toward the stairs, the heavy sounding fabric rusting as she walked. His brow dipped down for a moment as he took in her dress. What was she wearing? He honestly never looked at her dress until now. She had on a satin open robe with a silk petticoat under it. The deep purple gown was full of ruffles, ruching, and flybraid so like he had seen on many a rich woman in the towns on the occasions he braved it. Even her long black hair that normally hung straight was done in lush curls. In all his time with her, he had never seen her look like this before. The sight of her made him take a step back in wonder, heat rushing to his cheekbones even though he did not know why. Maybe the heat at his face was from the low cut bodice she was sporting, modest but obvious hints of her breasts there to tempt any man with a pulse. He felt so under dressed compared to her, even if he had not been the one to pick out his clothing.
"Ah, Lacie, are you planning on going somewhere?" His word choice was careful, not sure how to begin finding answers without telling her how stunning she was in such a dress.
That perfectly shaped face, big expressive eyes, and a smile that could charm anyone... she was flawlessly beautiful. Looking at her was like gazing at the vastness of the midnight sky or observing the world from high on a mountain top. She had her dark side, reminding him of a black swan, but possessing an other worldly majestic slender that took his breath away. That long hair of hers always made him want to reach out to run his fingers through it even though he had never dared. One did not simply touch a goddess without permission or invitation. Not only that, but despite her beautiful appearance, she was not the type of girl to evoke anger from. She was dangerous, he had seen enough to know that. Angering Lacie was equivalent to angering a Greek or Norse god with similar reactions and results. Beautiful, kind, amazing, but quite deadly. Still, she was more gentle than anyone he had ever known.
She tipped her head toward him as she placed a bare foot on the first step, "Yes."
"Where are you going? Is it a party?" He could feel his chest tightening at the thought of her going somewhere he could not.
"Yes, it's a party." She padded up the gray stone stairs, still speaking as she went, "It is being held at my home, that Baskerville estate."
Rather swiftly, he began to follow her, being drawn up to her bedroom, "Who is going to be there?"
Turning on him suddenly, even before he was fully on the landing, she pierced him with a mild harshness to her eyes, "The Nightray's for one," Again, she gave him her back before he had time to respond to the sudden revelation, "and others like the house of Barma. No one special though. Granny would not be allowed to go if there were a better class of people attending, I'm sure."
That, that was one of her odd habits, calling herself Granny, "Why, Lacie? Why would you even go to such a party?" The mention of those people had him instantly edgy, even perhaps a little whine to his voice, "Do not go there. You don't have to attend, do you?" He did not want her to go and spend time with those horrible humans, did not want her to... leave him - He could not tell her how much was on his mind or she would become angry with him. He knew she told him about the guests intentionally to upset him but he did not care about her reasons.
"I do not get the chance to go very often so I take the chance when they come." Her dark curls swayed suddenly as she turned on her heels to swing open the doors to her wardrobe, "Once in a while, it is nice to go out. Little Granny never has the chance to wear nice things like these very much." Her tone was light but he could feel a darkness to her words somehow.
The long braid tangled with his tail as he stepped to her side once more, "How many people are coming? Is it open to all the noble houses?" He was trying not to over react, he really was, but she was not making it easy for him - Fine, so he was clingy and protective, but what was so wrong in that?
Her garnet eyes turned to him once more before she reached for her shoes, her expression was unreadable but slightly frightening. She did not speak, she simply glided into the chair beside the large wall mirror, the upper corner of the glass badly cracked but it did not hurt the picture. When he allowed him mind to wonder, he often considered that she might have thrown something at it at some point. He was curious to know if that was the case, and if so, why... but he never asked. Jack lightly stepped to her side once again, unable to maintain distance for very long. Sliding her dress up as far as the abundant amount of fabric would allow, she slipped on a stocking, fingers slowly dragging it up her milky white calf to fasten in at her thigh. She never looked up to see how closely he was watching as she lifted her other foot to catch it in the matching stocking. The heat was back in the male's cheeks but he tipped his head to allow his bangs to hide his face until he could compose himself. It should not have gotten to him.
Abruptly, she spoke again, "You can't come with me, Jack. Don't think I do not know where you are going with these questions. They would know you were not on the list." Her eyes lifted, drawing him to look at her once again, "Besides, what would you go as? A servant to some random guest...?" Her breath came out in a huff as he watched her every move, "Or were you planning to go as my pet?"
Jack's expression tensed, eyes instantly falling to the floor as he attempted to hide how much that last remark cut - There were times she could be so cruel.
Dropping the shoes with a loud thud, the dress fell back into place without the weight, both hands reaching out to guide him to his knees in front of her, "I'm sorry, Jack... I did not mean that." Her fingers slipped into his hair, moving his head to rest on her lap as if to cradle him, expression gentle once more.
The shifter did not resist her, he never did, simply letting her move him anywhere or way she pleased. His arms circled her legs despite the massive excess of material he had to melt into to do so. Slowly, she stroked his head, fingering the braid now and then. Those gloved fingers grazed his scalp, running over the smooth skin of his face, and over the sensitive parts of his neck. Were this anyone but Lacie he would pull away. Every wolf knew never to expose their neck to anyone, it being such an easy kill zone, but he would give it to her any day. Even if she wanted to take his life, it was hers anyway, so he would not resist. She had been angry with him even though he was not sure why. It could have been a reaction to how much he was clinging to her, hanging on her like a pup.
"I'm sorry I behaved badly, Lacie. I'm sorry I was pressing you, I just..." He bit back the words he really wanted to say, like how much he loved her.
She made a hushing noise at him, clicking her tongue, "No, no, Granny just gets grouchy and snaps at others without meaning to. I had the mind of a cynical old woman, so don't take what I say too seriously. Speaking without thinking about how it sounds is an ill trait in my family."
He was not quite sure how to take all this but it was best to beg her forgiveness no matter what she meant, "Forgive me... I did not mean to make you angry."
Her hands cupped his face as she lifted it to gaze into his emerald pools, "Be quiet, Jack."
Tinted, soft, aggressive lips moved to cover his. Silky gold ears perked as he tensed a moment before his body surrendered, melting against her like butter in the sun. In a million years, he would never have expected her to do this, but he would have waited ten million for it if he needed to. His lashes fluttered together as he instinctively closed him eyes with the sensation of pleasure. There was a taste of iron, cherry, tea and flowers to her kiss. She was warm, tongue moist as she flicked at his lip past the kiss. Already, his head was spinning, a strange euphoria spreading through him in a huge wave, a bit like ingesting a drug. Something in him tightened in ways he did not quite understand but he did realize he enjoyed it, even longed for more, for this to continue forever.
In the end, Lacie left to attend that party, but Jack watched from a distance, not able to stray too far from a place he knew she was. All night, he stayed outside, sitting atop a hill where he had the best view. As far as he knew, no one noticed the golden haired wolf watching everything, but he did not care if they did. It had taken him a while to realize it, but he understood why she became angry with him. The Nightray's were at that party and she knew how close he had come to death because of them. That family, however, was in close relation to hers. The families were friends. The closer Jack got to the Baskerville's, the closer he would be to them as well. While he knew nothing of her family, he could smell something strange lingering around that great house. There was something strange about those people, something sinister. It reminded him of the smell of death and midnight. Slowly, he was beginning to understand what it was that he hated about them.
That was why she was trying to keep him away to the best of her ability, she did not want him to learn too much. It was too late though, she could not keep him from it forever. That young woman was no fool and she knew, or could guess, his obsession with her was only growing. If she had not been harsh with him, he very well might have tried to sneak into the party just to be near her. Sneaking in that place would have been a fatal mistake on his part. He had plans though. It did not matter who it was, he would climb over anyone to be just a little closer to her.
Every so often her cold eyes and sharp words returned to his thoughts as he waited in the cold. Her harshness stung him quite deeply because her opinion was the only one in the world he valued. He loved "Granny" with all his heart, but that was why he made a decision today. Sitting on the sidelines was not enough for him anymore. Dangerous or not, the person that visited her nearly every day was a hindrance, as were all the Baskerville's. Lacie, for reasons he had yet to fully learn, was being held captive in that little house even though she was one of them. That meant her own family, much like his own, had betrayed her. He never thought about it too deeply before the night of the party but the more he thought it over the more he understood. Things she had said in passing indicated more than enough for him to connect. For that, for hurting her, he would never forgive them! Nightray, Baskerville, or the entire town of Sabrier, he did not care how many they were... it was time to rid her of these humans. Time to rid himself of them too.
Jack linked his arms elegantly behind his back the way he had seen men do at the party. Absently, his fingers found the braid and stroked the various sections of hair as he stared ahead. He had always been a quick study of the things around him so he was confident in his ability to seem human. Special care had been taken to shed his ears and tail this time so there should be nothing to give him away. The man in the blood red hooded-cape was coming closer, coming to the edge of what he now considered to be his woods. Today, Jack would not simply watch him come and go. That human frightened him, but he no longer cared. There were a few tricks up his sleeves so why not put them to use against these people who dared to betray Lacie? He might not be able to take on the whole house at once, but one at a time just might do the trick. One by one, he would eat them up.
"Hello there!" Jack called out with an enthusiastic wave of his hand, forcing a wide smile onto his features.
The mysterious man said nothing in return, he only looked up, allowing the werewolf his first look at the face under that hood. A very involuntary chill ran down his spine as violet eyes not only looked at him, but went right into him like a sword piercing skin. The slender, oval, but symmetrical face held no particular emotion as he continued forward. After a torturous moment of the meeting of their eyes, the stranger looked away again, as if to say he had no time to waist idly on someone such as this. Just what was he, this person that smelled of looming death, blood, and dusty wood? Why did he make Jack want to rethink every single plan in his head? Well, it did not matter, because regardless of fear, this man was about to die.