Remy's kidnapped (again)

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Remy's kidnapped (again)

Post by Cassiel » Wed Sep 20, 2017 6:38 pm

Atticus hadn't been quite true to his word when he'd said he'd stay awake and watch over Remy as she'd slept. Despite his best efforts and the purposely less-than-comfortable position against the wall, soothed by the sound of her steady breathing in the silence, several hours into his vigil he drifted off to sleep. Dreams quickly followed, fleeting images from his life that he'd never remember seeing upon waking, for the most part.

Toward morning, his dreams shifted, turning dark. The more pleasant images of his life as a human twisted into the agony and horror of the attack that introduced him to the – at the time – terrifying knowledge that humans were not the only creatures that lived in the city. Joseph had to watch, again, as his wife was torn apart by the werewolves – garou he'd learned later, along with what that really meant – the nearly term baby ripped from her and eaten in front of him while a sound that he could only think of as laughter bubbled forth in a near-growl from their throats.

And he was helpless to do anything to stop the creatures, their strength far beyond anything a human could manage. Besides, he was dying himself, or so he'd thought. Lying in a pool of his own blood – and probably that of Marie, as was so hard to tell, the blood was everywhere – belly ripped open, he could only struggle weakly, desperate to do something, anything to stop the nightmare unfolding before him. Eventually it faded to black when he lost consciousness, fighting even that relief the entire way.

With a soft gasp, Atticus woke, eyes flying wide. The unfamiliar position on the floor disoriented him for a few moments, and he worked to catch his breath and center himself. Then, he caught sight of Remy on the bed, her position changed, but...still there. He found her presence there, the slight shifting of her shoulder showing him her breathing, soothing. He ran his fingers through his hair, the action making this thoughts drift from the nightmare he hadn't actually had in years now to last night, to Remy's gentle touch.

And, just as quickly as his thoughts drifted there, he jerked them away with a shake of his head. She'd looked so shocked after she touched him that it had killed any urge he might have had to attempt to get close to her. She was obviously not interested. And he'd keep telling himself he wasn't, either...until he believed it.

Unfortunately, he'd never been very good at lying to himself.


With a muffled grunt at stiff muscles protesting – something that was easy enough to ignore, since, thanks to werewolf healing, the stiffness would be gone quickly enough – he shoved himself up from the floor, using the wall to slide up more easily. Atticus stood looking down at Remy for a few moments, studying her shape beneath the covers, ignoring the part of him that screamed at him to claim her, that she carried his whelp, she was his. Useless 'wolf instincts. He hated them.

His hands fisted at his sides, and, with a scowl, he stalked from the room, closing the door behind him as quietly as he could, before pausing to consider. He might as well put his irritation to good use. Atticus nodded to himself, and stalked off through the hallways of the manor, looking for Timothy. It was about time he cornered the pitiful little garou and tried to find out just why exactly Remy was so bothered by him.

Unfortunately, lost in his thoughts and his annoyance with himself, he never noticed the sound of the door to the room next to Remy's opening. Nor did he notice Timothy peek out that door, watching Atticus' form retreat down the hall before turning a corner and going out of sight.

Timothy watched the retreating form of the mutt as he stalked away down the hall, lips twisting into something that might have been meant to be a smile. He'd met with Matthias the evening before, while Atticus was occupied with Remy – and at that thought, Timothy's hand fisted up at his side, nails cutting into his palm with the force of his rage. But the time away from keeping his eye on the two of them to be sure Atticus did nothing to violate Remy had been worth it. Oh, yes.

Now, Timothy had his plan in place. And, thanks to the good drunken doctor, he had the means to get Remy out of the manor without anyone suspecting. After all, no one paid any attention to Timothy now. And he was the one Atticus had ordered to care for Remy. So it would make perfect sense that he'd be the one to take her to the doctor if she fell ill. Right?


Re-checking the supplies he'd gathered from the garage and the near-pharmacy kept on hand for use of whatever doctor was employed by the family at any given time, Timothy nodded in satisfaction and crept out of the bedroom he'd been waiting in. He moved down the hall and, opening the door quietly and carefully, slipped into Remy's room. She lay there curled on her side on the bed, a tray of food next to her, barely touched. His breath caught in his throat, and he could only stand staring at her for a moment. She was so beautiful...and soon enough, she would be his...

Shaking his head, Timothy scowled at his own distraction and checked again to be sure the cloth he held was still wet enough for his purposes. Starting fluid from the garage, liberally applied, so that the cloth dripped now and again, soaked the cloth. He wrinkled his nose at the smell of it, but endured because it would give him the edge he'd need against the stronger garou. He regretted already the necessity of it, but, while he really believed she'd come with him willingly if he could take the time to explain properly, he didn't have that time. Atticus would be back eventually, and Timothy didn't stand a chance against him. The omega knew it.

He had no choice.

Approaching the bed, he held the hand gripping the cloth out. Remy just started to stir, instinct breaking through the illness and exhaustion to alert her. But, it was too late. Timothy pressed the wet cloth over her face, and the gasp as she came fully awake only served to pull the ether deeper into her lungs. Wide eyes stared up at him for the few seconds it took for the chemical to travel to her brain, and then her eyelids drooped and struggled to stay open. He pulled the cloth away then, satisfied when she only shifted a little bit in her efforts to struggle away from him.

“I'm sorry, Remy. I'm so sorry. I'll explain everything once you're away from here, away from that...mutt. Back home, where you belong,” he explained in a gentle whisper to her, even as he produced a syringe filled with a milky-white liquid. Finally, he reflected, his time spent helping the pack's own doctor – before he'd been killed along with the rest of the family – would serve to help him in something. Despite her sluggish struggling, it took Timothy no time at all to find a vein and inject the drug.

“ baby...” It was all Remy managed, the words slurred but clear enough to make Timothy's eyes dart up to her face even as he was withdrawing the needle. Suddenly, it was like the world was closing in on him. Everything made perfect sense. Remy not eating, and her apparent weakness and illness. Pregnancy. She was carrying. Who...? The answer hit him almost as fast as he thought the question. He couldn't imagine how, but he just knew the whelp was the mutt's. He hadn't taken her for politics. At least, not entirely. She was carrying his whelp.

Betrayal hit him, quickly followed by disgust, and then pity. Rape. It was the only explanation that made sense to him. No wonder Matthias hadn't already known. She must have been raped by the mutt at some point, and had been trying to hide the shame of it, of the rape, and of bearing a halfbreed child. Well, it was a situation that could be taken care of. She was tainted, of course, but...Timothy didn't care. If anything, it should make her more grateful that he wanted her as his mate. So many garou wouldn't want to even touch a female tainted by one of the mutts.

But, the longer he thought about it, the more possessive he felt, the more his rage grew. At her, for allowing such a thing to happen. At Atticus, for tainting his mate. And...eventually, even at Matthias, for not keeping it from happening to begin with. It was unreasonable, even insane, to blame Remy, and to blame Matthias, but Timothy was too far gone to see that anymore. He wanted nothing but to steal her away, to make her his. All other plans, all other goals, were swept away in his madness and his desire and his rage.

Abandoning the cloth and the used syringe, he lifted Remy up into his arms, her struggles growing slower and weaker by the moment as the drug worked to pull her into oblivion. Timothy gripped her against himself tightly and hurried from the room. His thoughts were already on the jeep he could take from the garage, and on the little cabin he used from time to time outside the city where he would take her. The place that would become home.

Remy would be his. She would be grateful that he would have her, tainted though she was. And she would bear his children, pure children, instead of the whelp she now carried. Atticus wouldn't have her. Matthias wouldn't have her. Remy would belong purely to Timothy.

It was meant to be.

An hour, and he hadn't found Timothy anywhere in the manor. Nor had he been able to rouse the doctor sufficiently to get anything useful out of him. And the servants leftover from the time when the Voss pack had ruled here? Utterly useless. They made his skin crawl to even try to deal with them.

No one had seen him, anywhere. Finally, Atticus gave it up to deal with later, and went to go check on Remy. He had, after all, made a point of not locking her door behind him when he left. If she'd tried it, she'd find her way to escape clear. He could only hope that, if that were the case, she wouldn't take it. Not after the shift he'd sensed – and seen – in her attitude toward him last night. And he'd wanted to offer up that show of trust in her, though it was, perhaps, not as much as it might seem. He still wouldn't let her leave. Not until things were worked out to his satisfaction.

He might be tired of all the killing, but he hadn't gone that soft.

Atticus stopped in the hallway when he saw Remy's door was standing open. His first thought was that she'd taken the opening, and run for it after all, which meant she had no more than an hour's head start on him. But something made him hesitate before he could turn to go try to hunt her down. There was something not quite right. There was a smell that was, frankly, enough to turn his stomach a bit. A smell that didn't belong.

Just thinking about it was enough to bring it into sharp focus. He still didn't know what it was, but it tripped every instinctive alarm he had. Warily, he stepped into her room, eyes narrowed. She was, of course, gone from the bed. The covers were thrown aside haphazardly. And the tray was shifted, hanging partially off the side of the bed now, the bottles on it fallen over.

Atticus approached the bed, studying it, using every advantage of being a 'wolf he could while retaining his human form. There'd been a struggle, but not much of one. And the smell was stronger here, fresher, as though whatever caused it were still here. And then he found it, a wet spot tangled amongst the covers. And within it was a cloth soak in a liquid that gave off that rank and faintly dizzying smell. With a growl, he threw it to the floor. He almost missed the used syringe, and would have, had the needle not caught a glint of sunlight as he turned. He stared at it for a moment, eyes narrowed, a look of pure rage settling onto his face.

Someone had taken Remy, right from under his nose. Someone had drugged her, and taken her. Someone had taken the mother of his child. Someone had taken his mate. In his rage, he gave no consideration to his thoughts, or what they might mean. It didn't matter. Remy was gone, and there was only one person here that could have accomplished it.


There was another long, low growl. Atticus stalked from the room, fists clenched at his sides. It was only pure force of will that kept him in human shape, will born of the need to remain lucid enough, sane enough, to hunt Timothy down. He must be found, and Remy must be returned. Once that was accomplished...

Well, then Atticus would give the bloodthirsty wolf that had so delighted in the brutal slaughter of the garou free reign to make Timothy pay for what he'd dared to do.

The drive gave Timothy time to think. His mind raced, filled with the wild, insane images of his fantasy. Remy dominated his thoughts. Her skin, her hair, her scent, her eyes. The gratitude he was sure she would feel toward him for getting her away from the mutt, for accepting her despite the taint of impure blood in her womb. He would see to it that it was removed, and when she was sufficiently recovered...

The Voss pack, his pack, would be reborn, with him as the master, the alpha.

He'd risked a stop at a store along the way to the cabin after ensuring that Remy wouldn't be likely to wake and make an escape, though he'd hurried as quickly as he could, unable to bear being away from her. But, she would need things he simply didn't have at the cabin, so he endured. For Remy. It was all for Remy.

The arrival at the cabin itself, tucked away at the edge of the lake north of the city, was uneventful. He carried Remy in and tucked her still form carefully, gently into the large bed that dominated the single-room cabin. He rushed in bringing in the supplies he'd gotten and putting them away, constantly stopping to look to Remy, to watch her.

When he was done with his tasks, he checked the time and realized there were at least a couple more hours before she would start to emerge from the influence of the drugs, though she'd stirred a few times during the whole process. It made him proud, and smug. A satisfied grin twisted his lips. Remy was so strong. She was perfect as his mate. And her pure blood would make for perfect whelps.

Everything was perfect, he thought, as he settled down to watch her sleep, her occasional, faint struggles against the drugs holding her in slumber only delighting him.

Remy slowly stirred as a headache bloomed behind her eyes, a sharp throb that made it unbearable to keep her eyes closed. She groaned softly as she moved in the bed, her eyelids fluttering as she gave a sigh. For a moment, just a moment, she thought she was still in Atticus’ room… Then a movement caught her eye. She had to blink a couple times to make out shapes that weren’t blurry. Why did she feel so awful?

She moved again, grunting softly at how battered her body felt.

Then her vision settled and she understood – or rather, remembered. Timothy.

It wasn’t only her body that recoiled, but her mind as well, as she skittered back in the bed, finding the edge of the mattress. A growl spilled from her throat as she wrapped one hand around her midsection. God, her head hurt, her body felt like it was falling apart, and…

Was the baby okay?

Her eyes flicked to Timothy, “wh—“ Her throat was so dry, she had to clear it a few times before she felt confident enough to use it again. “What did you do to me?” She tightened that arm around her midsection, only if she could be a suit of armor right at this moment for the baby.

When she started to finally stir, Timothy went to fetch Remy a bottle of water from the fridge in the corner of the area that worked as a kitchen in the small, one-roomed cabin. When he'd resettled in the chair next to the bed, she was groaning and beginning to wake. He shifted in the chair, leaning closer, watching every minute change on her beautiful face, every shift of her lovely body.

When her eyes opened, blinking away the lingering effect of the drugs, his lips twisted into a smile touched with hints of his madness. The smile dropped away into a look of confusion when she scrambled away from him, and then to a frown when she outright growled at him. He nearly answered in kind, but managed – barely – to reign himself in. It wouldn't be a very good start to their relationship for him to growl at his mate so easily.

His mate. The thought was enough to bring the twisted smile back to his lips, lighting his eyes with pleasure.

Timothy's head tilted curiously, watching her. His eyes followed her arm as it slid around her belly before going back up to study her expression. Why would she do anything at all to act as though she were protecting the mutt whelp she carried? She should want to be rid of it. Nothing else made any sense. Remy was garou, and carrying some mutt whelp was beneath her, especially with the increased risk to her during the pregnancy.

His lips tightened into a thin line, considering her even as she attempted to speak. Then he sighed, a gentle smile appearing. “What I had to, to get you away from that butchering mutt, Remy,” he said softly. “Matthias wanted me to bring you to him, so we could be together.” His head cocked to the side again, his expression growing mournful. “I figured it out. He took you, he....raped you. That's why you're carrying his halfbreed monster. That's why you hid it even from your brother.”

He stood then, jerking up suddenly. Tossing the bottle onto the bed beside her, he began to pace, though never taking his eyes from her for more than a second,, and never giving her a good chance to respond to him, the words falling from him with manic intensity. “I'm going to help you. You're tainted, but it doesn't matter to me. We can get rid of the problem. Matthias doesn't ever need to know.”

He hesitated, growing more agitated, but stopping to stare at her. “You can be my mate then. I'll take you even though you're tainted. And then Matthias will make good on his word, and we'll rule the garou together. Everything will be put right.

“And Atticus will be put down like the rabid mutt he is,” he finished, eyes wild with excitement.

Remy shook her head in an attempt to clear it, but stopped quickly as she regretted having even made the movement. Everything still felt delayed to her while her head kept pounding even more so. He wasn’t making sense at all. Matthias. Baby. Rape. Monster. What?

“Wait, what?” She shifted into a sitting position to study him while her mind tried to piece together what he was saying. “Matthias did what? Why would he do that?” She snapped at him while running a hand over her face. Matthias did a lot of things, but she didn’t think he would do that. Why would he promise her to the omega? It wouldn’t do anything politically.

Oh, of course.

She shook her head again, “fuck,” she whispered at the clanging. “Just…” Then there he was, the mania came at her full force after he threw the bottle at her. She eyed it for a moment before grabbing at it, unsure if he’d take it back; when she held it in her hand, she inspected the lid quickly. The seal hadn’t broken, so this was good – she opened it.

“Wait, wait,” she held the bottle, studying him. “We are not touching my child. Atticus did not rape me.” She parted her lips, then closed it, studying him for a moment. “Sit down, Timothy, talk to me.”

“What?” He blinked at her, confused once more. “What do you mean, he didn't rape you?” Slowly, watching her as though she'd suddenly changed before his eyes, he moved back and sat on the chair, just at the edge, ready to move again at any moment. “Is it...” He hesitated, unsure. Everything he'd thought was wrong? It was just so hard for Timothy to grasp. “You're mated to someone already then?” Even as he asked the question, he was shaking his head in denial. “No, Matthias said I could have you as my mate. He wouldn't do that if you're mated.” He just...honestly couldn't imagine a garou female carrying a child without being mated, or the unthinkable having happened.

“Why else would the mutt have taken you, Remy? I don't understand.” He fidgeted in the chair, then shifted to sit on the edge of the bed instead, drawn to her, wanting to be closer. His mate. She would be his mate. He just had to make her see that, somehow. “Don't you understand? I need you, Remy. I've always needed you. You have to help me.” Slowly, a smile twisted his lips once more. “You're going to be the mother of the next generation of Voss pups. Matthias promised you to me. He understands how important it is to get the old families reestablished.”

Remy blinked, then chuckled, “wait, wait, no.” She held up a hand before she took a drink of the water, god, it felt so good having it splash down her throat. Hopefully she could shake this blurriness and get back to feeling normal. Then maybe she’d be able to formulate a plan, Timothy was getting off the rails and this scared her.

When she finished, she closed the bottle and wiped at her lips. “He didn’t rape me, I promise,” she spoke softly, then laughed with a shake of her head. “We are not mated,” she put the bottle down, trying to create a little barrier – it wasn’t much, but it was something. “Timothy, Matthias didn’t ask me.” She paused, “but then again, he doesn’t know about the baby,” she tilted her head down at him, her hand ran over her stomach briefly.

She put her hand down in her lap, “wait, what? Why don’t we talk to me about your plan? We’re not in the olden times where everyone paired everyone else up. We ask.” She snorted a bit, “Matthias knows I am not someone to offer up.” The more Timothy spoke, the angrier she got with her brother. Matthias was using her, which had been the reason why she left the manor in the first place – and ended up in bed with Atticus.

But to be fair, she hadn’t known it was Atticus, she had just wanted to be someone normal for once. Desired for who she was, not what she represented down the road.

A slight frown, “does anyone know I’m here?”

“I know he doesn't know.” He replied quietly, feeling so lost, so unsure. His plan was threatened, and...well, he just couldn't have that. Maybe the whelp wasn't the mutt's, wasn't Timothy's, either. And he just couldn't have that. “It doesn't matter. Matthias promised you to me.” His eyes narrowed as he considered her, thoughts racing faster than he could follow. It didn't matter. It all came down to Remy. She was all that mattered.

“You have to be my mate, Remy. It's always been you. Ever since we were children, it's always been you.” He shifted on the bed, moving closer, drawing his legs up so that he could settle in more comfortably. But always, always, his intense, maddened eyes never left her.

“There's no real plan. Why would I need a plan? You'll be my mate, I'll watch your brother rip apart the traitor mutt, and everything will go back to the way it should be. The way it should have been before the old traditions were ignored.” Timothy twitched a bit, then settled. “It's time we went back to the, ah, 'olden times' you see. Females need protected, so they can mate and bear the pups. That's the way it was always meant to be, Remy.”

He squinted at the question, then shrugged carelessly. “No. I stole you away from the mutt. I was clever. Don't you see? I was so clever. He'll never find you. You're safe. No one knows about my little hideaway here.” Smiling again, he reached out to touch her, just maybe brush her cheek, or touch her soft hair. He winced when Remy flinched away from him, the smile turning to a frown, a dangerous glint coming into his eyes.

“Don't fight me, Remy. Please don't fight me. I don't want to have to hurt you.”

Remy frowned at him, “so you’re hiding me from my brother and your master,” she had to try to think things through, but her brain still felt so fuzzy. She hated this, “why did you have to drug me then?” She snorted, rubbing at her forehead, “you know I don’t like this.”

Remy shook her head, wincing as she watched him, he was scaring her more by the minute. “Tell me why it’s me? There’s other garou better than me.” She huffed a bit, looking away for a second before returning her focus on him, she was feeling cornered, she shouldn’t ever take her eyes off of him. “You need a plan in case,” she snorted, “you always have a plan a, plan b, plan c… You get the picture.” God, how could this omega think he could ever lead? Another snort came from her, it was rather unladylike as he demanded that the olden days should be back so women could be protected.

“Atticus was protecting me from Matthias. You’re already upset about the baby, imagine how Matthias would respond?” She frowned at him, “you’re so clever,” then he reached out and she recoiled again.

She hadn’t meant to, but she couldn’t have him touch her, her skin was crawling because he was on the bed with her. She wanted him gone.

Think, Remy, think.

“How will you do all this? You need a plan.” She decided to go back to that, it seemed the most safe.

“He is not my master!” Timothy snapped at her, the words almost a growl. Then, realizing he'd allowed himself to come far too close to a rage that could end up with her hurt, he looked away, trying to compose himself. Several slow breaths later, he turned his attention back to her. The muttering in his head that just wouldn't stop was, at least, down to a whisper again. “I'm sorry, Remy. I really am. But there wasn't time to explain. You have to know I'd have done it that way if there had been time. But he could have been back any moment. I had to get you away from him.”

He shrugged, disbelief flooding his expression. “There's no one else. Remy, you... You're perfect. Perfect. How can you not see? You're beautiful, and so strong, and you... Well, you come from an old family, like I do. You are the perfect choice of mate.” As he spoke, he edged closer. Not much, unaware he was even doing it. He wanted, oh how he wanted, and it was getting harder and harder to resist the voice that told him to just take her before some other male could claim her.

“Okay,” he agreed, nodding slowly. A plan. He could come up with a plan. Even though it was so hard to think around her. If she thought he needed a plan, well...he must. He squinted at her thoughtfully, slowly coming to the conclusion that, if she wanted him to have a plan, she must be on his side. She...must think he was right. She had to, of course. He was right.

“I'll protect you from all of them. Matthias and that rabid fucking mutt, I won't let them touch you!” He paused to take a deep breath, trying to calm himself once more. His rage was right, it was justified, was not the time. He couldn't risk hurting Remy inadvertently. But, when she flinched away from him, all his attempts at being calm were scrubbed away as though they'd never existed.

Something deep inside Timothy, the sanity that was already cracked and fraying, broke utterly.

His hands curled into fists, nails biting into his palms so hard blood began to drip slowly from them, unheeded by him. “I had a plan,” he replied in a deceptively calm voice, eyes fixed on her with a deadly focus. “I planned to take you, to have you. And I did it. I did it, Remy. You're mine. Mine.” Everything about him now showed that he believed this. No longer was he pleading, trying to convince her. What she thought no longer mattered. She was female, meant to be protected, meant to breed, meant to produce pups.

Timothy shifted himself on the bed until he was on his knees, looking down at her, leaning over her, seeming far more menacing than his status as omega would ever hint at him being able to be. Madness could do strange things. “Remy, I love you. I need you.” With a soft, needy whimper, he dropped down so that his hands were to either side of her, his arms bracketing her, closing her in. “I don't want to have to hurt you,” he said again, though this time his voice was softer, even gentle, as eyes bright with madness searched her own eyes.

“But,” he added after a moment, an edge of steel coming into his voice, “you will be my mate.”

The 'wolf's first stop in his rampage through the manor was the garage, the only place he could imagine Timothy would have gone. Not even the omega was stupid enough to try to hide Remy on the grounds. Besides, Atticus could smell him, and Remy, and the path they'd taken through the halls. The lack of fear smell from Remy – or rage smell – told him she had to be unconscious. There was no way she'd have gone with Timothy willingly, no matter how much she might want to escape. She'd shown she was too uncomfortable around the omega to do that.

When he tracked them to the garage, he wasn't surprised to find one of the vehicles gone. The jeep, of course. His jeep, the only vehicle that hadn't previously belonged to the Voss' – well, aside from his bike, unnoticed and mostly unused, hidden away under a tarp in a back corner of the garage – would be the one Timothy would take. Of course. Atticus snorted in irritation. He didn't want to touch the other cars, fancy crap that still – years later – smelled too much of the garou they'd once belonged to.

Well, he wouldn't be able to effectively track them beyond the grounds, anyway. And he had something else to see to before he left. Whirling, he stalked back out of the garage and made his way to his next goal – to hunt down the only person who should have access to the drugs that must have been used on Remy.

Atticus emerged from the doctor's room a half hour later, wiping absently at the blood splattered across his face while ignoring what had splattered across his clothes, heedless of the gutted body sprawled on the floor behind him. The fool'd had no answers, hadn't even been coherent. Even now, Atticus wasn't sure if the man had helped Timothy willingly, freely, or had only allowed the theft of whatever had been in the syringe by virture of just being stupidly drunk. Either way, the man had allowed this to happen...and Atticus...well, he'd made sure the good doctor had paid for that mistake.

He could only think of one place Timothy would take Remy. The Durante property. And even if Timothy didn't take her there, he was sure Matthias had to be behind this, he had to have gotten to Timothy, promised him something to get him to return Remy. Matthias would know where she was. He had to.

Either way, Matthias was behind this, and Matthias would pay. Atticus was done with playing nice with the garou. He'd won the right to be packmaster, and Matthias would accept that, or he would die. Taking Remy cemented the garou's fate, as far as Atticus was concerned. Gone was the weariness with fighting, with killing. Now, it was all he could think about. His every thought was tinged with red, with blood. Every thought....except those to do with Remy herself. Those, he had to shove away, lest he falter in his determination.

Because thinking of Remy did things to him he couldn't deal with, not now.

A half-hour later, Atticus was cutting the engine to his bike outside the fence guarding the back end of the Durante property. Knocking on the front door, so to speak, and asking politely to speak to Matthias wasn't going to work. He'd be as likely to be killed that way as anything else. And that wouldn't help Remy in the slightest. So, he thought as he studied the fence, he'd just have to see how far a stealthy approach would take him.

He dismounted the bike and carefully shoved it into a clump of bushes after pulling a small canvas sack from the bag strapped to the back of the bike. It wasn't perfect camouflage, but it would have to do. He would have to hope that, if they were expecting him at all, they'd be looking for him to come in a fit of rage – which wasn't far from the case now, but he hadn't survived as long as he had in his campaign against the garou without learning some restraint and caution – right in through the front.

It was laughably easy to get over the fence here where it was obviously neglected and not kept in good repair. He could only hope it meant no one was watching this far out. It was his only hope to do this with as little bloodshed as possible. Despite his rage, Atticus really didn't want to kill any more than he had to. Aside from Matthias, of course. He...well, unless he could find a way to convince Atticus that he didn't have Remy, that he wasn't behind her kidnapping...Matthias would suffer and die...

And Atticus would enjoy every moment of it.

Once over the fence, he began to strip down, carefully placing everything in the canvas sack as he did so. Now nude, Atticus look a careful look around, then gave in to the urge that had been tugging at him since discovering Remy was missing. He let himself flow into the form of a large, powerful rusty-furred wolf.

He stood still for a moment once the change was completed, panting, ears twitching as he took in the sudden increase in sensory input. There was no man-scent anywhere that he could detect, which pleased him. And, aside from his own, and the very old – probably a week or more – smell of another, there was no scent of werewolves, in any form. Good. Very good.

Atticus bent his head to take the canvas sack into his mouth, wrinkling his nose at the taste left from the bike's exhaust. But, he couldn't leave his clothes behind to be possibly found, even if it seemed hardly anyone came by this way. Besides, he'd likely need them after he got to the manor.

He took off at a lope, his stride easy and smooth despite the burden he carried. He would stop now and again, nose raised to catch any scents from the breeze that moves lazily through the trees, but always moved on within moments. He had one goal, and he pursued it with all the single-minded focus a wolf could have on the hunt; find Matthias, and find out what he'd done with Remy.

It didn't take long to find his way across the wooded Durante property to the manor house, despite the frequents stops to check out his surroundings. Atticus kept to the cover of the trees as he sat on his haunches to quietly observe. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. No alarms were sounded, no people rushing about, no sounds or smells that indicated anyone was in the slightest alarmed. Good. They didn't know he was here.

Atticus considered his options, his head tilting to the side, ears flicking about to catch any sound of things changing while he thought. As much as he didn't want it, there would probably be bloodshed. Well, except for Matthias. He...if he had taken Remy, he would die. But Atticus' priority was just getting Remy back. Everything else, even seeing to Timothy's demise, even making Matthias pay, was secondary.

It was a little harder to keep his thoughts straight in this form, he noted wryly. Between the urgency he felt over Remy – his mate a voice inside kept insisting, a voice that was so much stronger as a wolf – and the impending full moon, avoiding letting the wolf take over entirely was incredibly difficult. But, he had to keep it in check, or he could lose any chance he had to find her. It was that simple.

Huffing a quiet breath around the canvas sack he carried, Atticus rose and because circling the manor, always keeping to the cover of the trees, his route slow and measured as he watched for any weaknesses in the security of the place. And, eventually, he found it. There was a delivery truck at the back, and a door had been left propped open, presumably to make carrying in whatever was being delivered – it looked like a truck from a local butcher – that much easier. However, no one was around. The open door was left unattended.

Atticus found his way in.

Slinking further back into the trees, he dropped the sack and shook himself. Changing into a wolf was never a problem. It was easy, comfortable, and even a little pleasurable. But changing from wolf back into man? That was a process he never looked forward to. But, it had to be done. Even in a garou household, someone walking the halls as a wolf was likely to bring attention. As a man, he at least had a chance to go unnoticed for awhile.

Despite the discomfort of it, the change itself was quick. Fur shrunk away, limbs lengthened, thickened, claws flattened into nails, bones shifted, until Atticus crouched there in the trees nude, shivering slightly as the breeze washed over him. He wasted no time in pulling his clothes from the sack and putting them on. The last was his boots, which he laced tightly with strong, sure motions. His every movement could have been that of a soldier going to war.

Because this...this was war, in his mind.

Taking a deep breath, and shouldering the small knapsack because it still had a few items left in it for later, Atticus bowed his head and sauntered out of the trees as though he belonged there. And that same attitude carried him through that propped open back door and into a storage area. He made his way through it without encountering anyone, lips twitching into a brief, satisfied smile as he looked out the door into the hall. It amused him that the layout of the manor seemed incredibly similar to the Voss manor.

Well, that would just make it all the easier to find his way to Matthias, he thought, the smile turning into a feral grin.

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Re: Remy's kidnapped (again)

Post by Cassiel » Wed Sep 20, 2017 8:09 pm

Matthias stood there as he studied the books, worry etching his face while the names on the colorful spines blurred in his sight. He still hadn’t heard from Timothy and this worried him, Timothy usually checked in a few times a day, even if it was just to reassure Matthias that he was still breathing. But this time, it was nothing at all for a couple days now. Matthias was trying to be patient here since the omega had his sister – so he assumed – and he had to handle things delicately.

But now he worried.

“Armand,” he barked while turning away from the books, not bothering to touch the intercom, he knew Armand could hear him. The guy was a good temp for Suzy, eager to make sure that Matthias had everything he needed – before Matthias could even ask for it. If Suzy wasn’t careful, Armand would end up having her job. Matthias rather enjoyed having someone who was able to read his mind.

Also, he was very easy on the eyes.

Durante was worried about something. Armand was sure of it. He wanted to do something about it, anything really. Whatever would help. But, he hadn't been confided in as of yet, so he could only wait, hoping he'd be given some hit of what he could do. It was his job, after all, to see to Durante's needs.

The fact that he enjoyed being able to please the garou, well, that only made it all the better.

At the sound of his name, he jumped up from the letter he was typing up – boring stuff, but he supposed it was necessary – and hurried to the door. He nudged it open and peeked in. One look at Durante, and he slipped inside the room, carefully shutting the door behind him.

“Sir?” The single word was said softly, deference suffusing his tone, and a touch of uncertainty. Usually, he was able to tell almost immediately what the garou wanted, and provided it swiftly and eagerly. But this time, there was a look about him Armand was unsure of, though it pulled at him, drawing him closer.

He lowered his eyes as he approached, unable to keep himself from displaying the instinctive submissive behavior he felt around the garou. “How can I help, Mr. Durante? What...can I do?”

Matthias crossed his arms as he heard Armand coming in, he lifted his chin while working his jaw a bit. “Well?” He snapped a bit as he waited for Armand to let himself in, he shook his head a bit as he saw the timid glance around the room.

“Did he call yet?” Of course Armand would know who Matthias was talking about, seeing how he asked so many times throughout the day. He ran his fingers through his own hair, turning away from Armand to pace the study. “It’s not like him at all,” he snapped, then glanced over to Armand for an answer, “well?”

Then silence, “how about Remy?” He shook his head without waiting for an answer because he knew Remy would never initiate contact. “Fuck,” he muttered as he went toward the chairs in front of the desk for once, instead of behind it. “I have too many balls in the air, they can’t drop right now,” he muttered as he dropped into a chair, looking over at Armand.

Ah, the omega garou Matthias had been dealing with, the one that made Armand's skin crawl any time he'd had to speak with him. He winced at being snapped at, though he deserved it. He should have known what the issue was. “No, sir.” He put a bit more force into his tone, raising his eyes to watch Durante now as he paced restlessly. “Voss hasn't made any contact.

“I even attempted to both call and text him, sir. The call went straight to voicemail. The text has remained unanswered.” He hesitated, unsure exactly what was going on, but getting a glimmer of suspicion. There had been talk about Durante's sister going missing, though the rumours said she'd run off. Now, Armand wondered how true that might be.

“Ms. Durante hasn't attempted to contact you at all, sir.” His head tilted a bit to the side as he watched Durante. His frustration screamed at Armand, demanding to be soothed in some manner. Daring what he might not otherwise, he moved closer still to the garou, looking down at him for a moment.

“Sir,” he said, voice low, dropping to his knees beside Durante's chair, “perhaps you just need to set it aside for a little while?” He was well aware of Durante's tastes, and hadn't missed the few appraising looks he'd gotten since replacing Suzy. It was, in fact, Suzy herself that had made clear to Armand what Durante might expect of him, and...well, he wasn't opposed.

A frown crossed Matthias’ face, “this isn’t like Voss at all,” he shook his head. He shouldn’t have done this when he knew how much Voss had liked his sister. His eyes flicked up at Armand, “nothing at all?” When Armand dropped down to his knees beside him, his eyes flicked away to a spot on the wall. He wasn’t even sure what to do right now. Then a disgusted sigh fell from his lips as he grabbed at the arms of the chair he sat in, shaking his head. Something big was happening and he fucked it up somehow, Matthias knew he fucked it up. “Remy’s out there though,” he looked over at Armand, “there’s no way I can just set it aside.”

He exhaled, shifting around to look directly at Armand now, “I didn’t mean that,” Matthias studied him for a moment. He hadn’t missed the way Armand’s eyes flicked away from him and went to the ground. He was displaying all the signs of submission.

Something inside shifted and the muscles low in his stomach tensed. “How do you propose that I put the matter aside?” His voice dropped low as his eyes darkened.

“No, sir,” he answered steadily, “nothing at all.” At least now he was certain the anger Durante felt wasn't directed at him. It was Voss he was angry with. Whatever, exactly, they were involved with together, Voss wasn't holding up his end of it. Armand made a note to look into it later, see what he might be able to find out from what sources he possessed.

He glanced up at Durante's protest, ready to say something. But he held his tongue, something in the way the garou looked at him making him drop his eyes to the floor again, to wait patiently.

And there it was. Armand's lips twitched in the barest of smiles. He shifted himself slightly, getting comfortable in the familiar kneeling position, one he could maintain for hours, if it were required of him. Durante's voice lowered, and Armand shivered slightly in satisfaction and anticipation. No, Suzy hadn't been wrong at all. Then again, she had said she'd selected him for more than his excellent record as a personal assistant.

His loyalty to the Durante family, didn't hurt. Nor...did his own tastes.

“An evening's...entertainment, sir?” It was a question, but nothing in his tone really suggested it was anything aside from a simple statement, and an offer. “Sir, I... I would be honoured to offer you whatever distraction you require.”

Matthias’ lips pursed as he considered Armand while the ‘were shifted into a different position. His eyebrow lifted on its own, he was definitely interested in seeing what the ‘were had to offer. A quick little mental note skittered across – something about thanking Suzy and her family for having an emergency. He would definitely send something over, a fruit basket and a sympathy card, perhaps.

His eyes flicked over to Armand again, a soft chuckle rumbled in his chest.

“I require a lot of distraction, Armand.” His voice was still low, he gestured for the ‘were to get up. “But not here.” He shook his head, “my room.” His voice warned that he would yield no argument. He was paying for Armand and to him, that meant everything of Armand as well. Matthias stood, lifting an eyebrow. The room was upstairs, but there was a hidden stairway in the study, behind one of the bookshelves.

“Come,” he ordered as he walked to the bookshelves, selecting a book. That wall gave away in two, revealing a staircase.

He waited patiently, eyes downturned, head bowed a bit. He was endlessly patient, it was one of his many skills, and it came in handy at time like this. It was when that chuckle rumbled out, tightening the muscles in his abdomen reflexively, that he knew a decision had been made.

He glanced up to see what would be required of him. And then he immediately had to carefully hide from his carefully neutral expression the eagerness that rose up with that gesture. Armand rose from the position smoothly, grace and flexibility fully on display; it was a calculated thing, but one that rarely failed to gain the result he was looking for.

“Yes, sir,” he said quietly, no hint of refusal in his tone. No, there would be none of that. Whatever the garou had in mind for him, he was happy to oblige. Eager to, in fact. Quietly, he watched Durante, subtly taking note of which book it was that had opened the fairly impressive hidden stairway. He had no malicious intentions for the knowledge. But, if he were going to remain here – and he was determined to do just that – he wanted to note everything about the place, and its master.

It was the best way to serve, Armand felt.

He followed behind Durante quietly, up the darkened stairway. Once they emerged, Armand glanced about the room, impressed. The stairway had gone straight to a bedroom, and it could only belong to the master of the manor. There was little doubt in Armand's mind. He turned then to that master, the garou he hoped would consent to being his master, as well, and offered a him a steady look, eyes darkened with longing he wasn't at all ashamed to display to the alpha.

“Sir, I am yours to do with as you please.”

Making his way through the halls of the Durante manor turned out to be far easier than Atticus could have imagined. He was grateful for that. All he wanted was to get to Matthias, and the less he had to fight, the less time it would take him.

It didn't take him long to find the rooms used as an office. Even if he had been unsure, Matthias' smell was everywhere. The garou's scent was easy enough for Atticus to pick out from the smell of the others that had been there in the past few days; he smelled just similar enough to Remy to make it certain this was sibling of hers, and Atticus only knew of one she had. So, Matthias. But he was nowhere to be seen.

Atticus thought for a moment, then sighed. He could search the whole manor, room by room, to find his prey. But that pretty much ensured there would be a fight, and unnecessary bloodshed. Or, he could take a guess. Opting for that, Atticus headed back out of the office and made for the stairway he'd passed along the way.

At the top of those stairs, what he'd dreaded finally happened; he encountered someone. Another garou, he was certain of it from the way the woman acted. She mistook him for some common workman, perhaps, her nose wrinkling as she nearly bumped into him. Her eyes narrowed, then widened as she quickly realized her mistake, but it was too late.

Atticus shoved her against the wall, one hand over her mouth so that the growl she uttered was muffled. His other hand was over her throat, squeezing relentlessly. Despite his earlier desire to avoid bloodshed, he wanted nothing more than to tear her throat out, to give in to the wolf howling for the blood of anyone who got between him and Remy. But it would be too messy, and too loud.

He leaned close to whisper to her, feeling the faint shifting under her skin that indicated she was preparing to shift. “Don't, or I will gut you before you finish” He felt her freeze, and let her see the wild grin of satisfaction at the fear scent that erupted from her. “Atticus, but I bet you guessed that by now. If you want to live, show me where Matthias is. We have business, he and I.”

Raising a shaking hand, she pointed straight down the hall, where a door stood at the very end of it. When he moved his hand from her mouth and released the pressure on her throat enough to let her speak, she gasped for breath, trying to give him what he wanted, terror in every tiny nuance of her body language. “His... room. If he's... not in his... office... bedroom.” She was shaking now, and his lips twisted with disgust. Weak, another omega, and worse, a Durante omega.

“Good.” His grin once more turned positively feral. “Oh, and...I lied,” he said evenly, snapping her neck in one smooth, easy motion. He watched, dark eyes cold, as she dropped bonelessly to the floor, eyes staring off sightlessly toward the very door she'd pointed out. Matthias was there, he just knew it.

Giving the woman's body no thought, he stepped past her and made his way down the hall to Matthias' room. He wasted no time when he got there, kicking the door in and stepping inside before whoever might be inside could react. And then, he stopped, surprised by the sight that met his eyes.

In the large bed were two men. Matthias, and...a werewolf. Atticus stared for a brief moment, then growled, tucking the information away for later use, should it become needed. Matthias was all that mattered right now, because he was Atticus' only hope of finding Remy. Eyes narrowing, he fixed Matthias with a glare, pointedly ignoring the werewolf he was in bed with, who only stared at Atticus frozen in shock.

“Where is she, Durante?”

Matthias and Armand ended up in his room, the walk up the secret stairs had been a slow burn where they stopped every few steps to allow for Matthias to slowly stake his claim on the were. His hands and lips lazily roamed Armand’s body, Armand simply responded – a touch for a touch, a stolen kiss for another, all the while reminding Matthias who was in lead of this dance. When they ended up at the top of the stairs before opening the door, Matthias pulled Armand’s shirt off, saying nothing as he opened the door behind him.

It was clear what Matthias wanted – and Matthias knew he’d get it. He always got what he wanted.

Matthias took a step backward through the open doorway, dropping the shirt down by his feet. This was where words failed him. He took Armand’s hand and pulled him through, crushing him to his body as he captured his lips again – hungrily this time. His hands slid over Armand’s body, working to take off clothes – he was impatient. Once Armand found himself naked, Matthias gestured to the bed. Armand complied, moving lithely as he allowed himself take over Matthias’ bed.

Matthias stood there – rooted to the spot as he studied Armand for a moment, a slightly feral smile dancing on his lips. Suzy had done very well, indeed. Then a shake of his head as he worked his own clothes off, not bothering to care if he ripped off buttons, tore his boxers. They would be replaced anyway.

Armand made a slight gesture and it was all Matthias needed.

He was on the bed and on top of Armand in an instant. His body and lips crushing the were.

Then the door burst open, both of them froze for a moment before Matthias simply turned his head to study the intruder. It was the… head were.

“Atticus,” Matthias set his face into a neutral mask before glancing down at Armand, “cover up,” he nodded as he moved himself off of Armand and the bed. Not caring that he had no clothing on, he crossed his arms to study Atticus. “I’d ask you the same thing, but apparently you lost her.” He sneered, “lemme guess, she got tired of a Were telling her what to do.”

“Fuck you, Durante.” The words were closer to a growl than anything, but still clear. He darted a look to the were scrambling to do just as he'd been told, covering himself with the bedding, then ignored him as something of no consequence, at least for now. Turning his full attention back to Matthias, he sneered. “Voss took her. He drugged her with god knows what, and he took her, and I know it was you behind it.”

His eyes darted again to the were watching their exchange silently, attention primarily on Durante as though awaiting...something, and then again back to the garou. Hating himself for it before he'd even spoken, he decided to goad Durante, anything to make him react. “Besides, it looks like having a thing for weres is a family trait. One I bet the rest of the garou would just love hearing about.” He forced a smirk, telling himself he could say anything, do anything, if it gave him a chance of finding Remy.

“Look, you don't know...” He hesitated, working hard to reign in the conflicting urges to tear Matthias apart where he stood, and beg him for help. Briefly, he remembered telling Remy that Matthias would certainly not hear of her pregnancy from him. But, now...he was tempted to drop that bombshell just to try to force the garou's hand. She was weakened, and drugged, and Atticus worried for what that would do to her, and to the baby.

Still, it wasn't the time. Not unless he had to. “She's ill,” he finally finished, hands fisting at his sides as he fought his own nature and the pull of the moon, so very close to full. “Don't test me. Don't stand in my way.” A tremor ran through him, one obviously not caused by cold or emotion, at least, not directly. The urge, the compulsion to change was strong, and it was nothing but need and sheer force of will that kept him from giving in to it. Purely because Atticus knew that if he did, Durante would likely die, and he'd lose his only chance at finding Remy.

“You know what I've done. Tell me where she is, or I won't hesitate to rip you apart right here.” A darting glance to the were in the bed, then back to Durante. “And your little were boytoy won't be able to do a thing about it.”

Matthias glanced briefly at Armand, a slight nod as he was satisfied with what he saw, Armand being covered up. Armand was his to look at. He returned his attention to Atticus, straightening his back to make himself seem bigger, slow breaths as he tried to return to normal. It was difficult to switch tracks at the moment – which showed in his body. He was ready to utter a retort about Voss when Atticus switched gears on him.

His mind was just a bit slow right now. He shook his head, narrowing his eyes at the threat Atticus uttered. Matthias knew that people knew about his predilections, didn’t mean he needed them aired by this mutt. A low growl emitted from his chest as he curled his hands into his fists. “He’s mine,” he snarled, “mine.”

Then the mention of Remy being sick, Matthias started. “She’s sick?” A sharp look at Atticus, “she didn’t say.” Matthias’ face showed the internal war as he debated what he should do – save his sister or tell the mutt to get fucked. Then again, this was Remy, his sister.

“You don’t tell anyone,” he looked over to Armand, then his eyes went back to Atticus, it was easy to tell what he meant. “All I know is Voss has her, but he hasn’t called in a while.” He shifted weight on his feet, forcing himself to relax, he needed to appear casual. “Now if you’d kindly get the fuck out of my room, I can get clothes on and we can talk.”

Atticus didn't at all miss the look Durante shot to the were – even if the growled warning hadn't happened to give it away. Whatever the were was to the garou, it wasn't really Atticus' concern, except how he could use it against Durante. Still, he was at least able to satisfy himself with the knowledge that, whatever was going on, the were was all for it, given the way he looked at Durante, like some damn disgusting puppy. Whatever, he could only do so much to make the were in the city realize they were every bit as good as the garou. And now, well, it wasn't the time to worry about it.

Atticus shrugged in response, a carefully controlled motion. Then again, everything about him was carefully controlled right now. Because if he lost that control, it was all over.

There was a slow smirk when he realized his threat hit home after all. “I already know Voss has her, or did.” He paused, eyes narrowing again. “And now I know for sure you had something to do with it.” His eyes flicked to the were in the bed, then to Durante long enough to show he understood perfectly, though his smirk said he wasn't quite fooled by the garou's attempts to appear casual.

“Fine. You run, I'll hunt you down and nothing on this earth will stop me. you understand.” He paused, forcing his own body to obey him, to calm before he lost control. “Your office, I'll wait there. Don't...make me come back after you.” There was a long look, then, deliberately, he turned his back on the garou, showing his contempt plainly.

Walking back down the hall, he stepped over the body he'd left, no trace of any regret for the life he'd taken. The way he saw it, Durante was luck to only lose one member of the household over far.

Once he'd made his way down the stairs and back to the office, he settled himself comfortably – or as comfortably as he could given the raging beast he only barely had under control – and closed his eyes to work on calming himself as much as possible while he waited. The silence, surprising to him in a household so large, was a balm, aiding in his efforts.

When Atticus left, Matthias turned to Armand and took in a deep breath while running fingers through his hair. “Fuck.” He shook his head, he had kind of hoped that Atticus had taken care of Voss before Voss had made off with Remy. He looked at Armand, skewing his lips a bit, “this is going to have to wait,” he moved back to the bed as he studied Armand for a moment. “Come here,” he murmured as he watched Armand’s hesitation while keeping the bedcovers around himself.

Matthias gave a nod when he saw the question in Armand’s eyes, “it’s fine.” He waved a hand, he wasn’t going to tell Armand about the panic that was rising within every minute. “I’ll handle him,” he flashed his teeth in a grin. Finally, the were unwrapped himself and moved over the bed on all fours to him. “Stay here,” Matthias slipped a hand at the back of Armand’s head before dipping his own down to claim Armand’s lips again. He had to break off his hungry kisses as his body threatened to forget what was happening beyond the room.

He cleared his throat and studied Armand while his fingers remained tangled in his hair. “Stay,” he murmured again, feeling Armand nod. Without saying anything else, he removed his fingers and went to find his pants. Wriggling into those with nothing else, he left the room after casting another glance at Armand.


What would he do about the ‘were now?

Matthias padded down the main stairs toward his study, a look of disgust as he saw the still body in the hallway – he would have to call someone to clean it up. Also he’d have to figure out who that was so he could inform the family, if there was one. Remy would have known exactly who she was and told the family, made it all personal and shit; that wasn’t Matthias’ thing.

“Made yourself comfortable, I see,” Matthias slipped through the doors, not bothering to close them behind himself. A shake of his head, “I did tell Voss to take her,” he held up a hand before Atticus could say anything, “you kidnapped her – it’s only fair that I try to take her back.” He thought about sitting down then opted against it as he walked over to his desk, only to lean against it. “But, Voss hasn’t called in a while,” a look of darkness went over his features.

“That hadn’t been the plan. He was supposed to get her and bring her home, then I was going to kill him.” He shrugged his shoulders while talking about this, it was as if he was talking about some mundane thing. “But now,” he looked up at Atticus with a laugh, “that’s obviously not happening.

“So why are you so fucking concerned about my sister? She’s a garou. You’re a mutt.”

He heard the pad of Matthias' feet well before he entered the office, but made no effort to move himself in any way. Let the garou think he was that comfortable and at ease here. It couldn't hurt and might even aid his efforts.

Only when Matthias entered the room did he open his eyes, fixing them on the garou. The admission, even if he already knew it, had him opening his mouth to say something – he wasn't even sure what, only that it was a loss of control he could ill afford right now – but he shut it just as quickly as Matthias continued. Instead, his gaze just followed Matthias as he moved to the desk and made himself comfortable, or something resembling it.

He dismissed the accusation against him with a slight wave of his hand. This wasn't about politics anymore, if it ever really had been. It wasn't even about the unborn whelp, though it had started out that way. No, it was purely about Remy. She was his, even if he hadn't quite convinced her of that yet. He had to get her back to even have a chance to convince her to accept him as mate.

He had to get her back before he lost that chance forever.

He realized he'd let his attention wander, and could only hope none of his thoughts had shown as he went over again in his head what Durante had been saying. He couldn't help, however, the twitch of his lips at hearing that Matthias had planned to kill Timothy. His only regret there was that he hadn't killed the simpering omega with the rest of his pack. He'd gone soft, there, and it was something he would have to remedy.

The question, however, was hard to answer, even as he ignored the fairly sad attempt to goad him with the insult. He could just spill what he knew, and see how it all worked out, despite giving his word to Remy that he wouldn't. After all, when he'd said that, he couldn't have foreseen what was to come. Or, he could play at the politics game. But that wouldn't explain his desperation, which he knew Matthias was clever enough to have at least gotten hints of.


His hands clenched into fists, his whole body going tense. And when he finally spoke, his eyes were hard, dark with the potential for violence, his voice a low rumble just shy of a growl. “She's carrying my whelp.” It still wasn't the real answer, but he suspected Durante wouldn't even consider the idea that Atticus actually cared, really cared, about Remy.

“It doesn't matter. I'm going to get her back. If you help, and she's unharmed, you live. If you don't help, or she's been harmed, you die.” He rose to his feet as he spoke, another tremor running through him. Even if the phases of the moon didn't control garou changes as much as they did were, Atticus knew Durante would be well aware of the impending full moon, and of how much more dangerous that made Atticus. He was, in fact, counting on it.

“So, if you have any idea, any at all, where Voss might have taken her, I suggest you spill it.” He huffed out a breath, unclenching and clenching his hands, as though working out a cramp. Or, as though using it to focus on something other than the beast howling to get out. “I'd hate to make a bloody mess of your nice office.”

Matthias could have fallen off his desk at the revelation from Atticus, instead, he managed to hold onto the desk. His fingernails biting into the hard wood as he let his eyes level on the ‘were. “Excuse me?” His voice was low, dangerous, “she is carrying your what?” His eyes narrowed as he considered this revelation before giving a slow shake of his head, he would have to think about this later. He wanted to ask if he had raped Remy or something.

The Remy he knew would have never lowered herself like that.

He crossed his arms, “so that’s how you’re going to ensure my cooperation – by promising that I don’t die.” He twisted his lips, “I don’t think Remy would like that much, it might even hurt the whelp when she’s all stressed out.” He waited a beat before pushing himself off the desk, his arms still crossed as he thought about it.

A look of surprise crossed his face, “I hadn’t thought about that.” He moved away from the front of the desk to behind it, pulling open a drawer that revealed many manila folders. “He has a family cabin, did he tell you?” His eyes flicked up to Atticus before giving a scoff and returning his focus to the folders, pulling out one that was clearly labeled `Voss`. “Here,” he tossed it onto the desk, “that’s the place. Blueprint too since we’re the ones that own the cabin now.”

Atticus didn't even flinch, even as his eyes went very deliberately to where the garou's hands were clenched. The were could hear the wood creaking faintly. Loss of control. No matter how slight, it made Atticus' own control easier to hold onto. He damn well wasn't letting a garou get the best of him, not ever, and certainly not here and now.

When Durante released the desk to fold his arms across his chest, Atticus raised his eyes back to the garou's. He shrugged, a casual roll of his shoulders, letting that be his answer. He didn't see the point in acknowledging it beyond that. He'd proven time and time again, over decades, that he feared nothing from garou, and wouldn't hesitate to kill them. He trusted Durante remembered that all too well.

“It won't be anything at all in comparison to what Voss is likely to do to her. He's fuckin' off his rocker. I can't believe you were stupid enough to even try to work with him.” Granted, Atticus himself had, but he'd never put that much trust in the omega. Too much, still, as it turned out, but nothing to the level Matthias had, apparently.

When Durante moved behind the desk, Atticus took a step forward, then another, watching him carefully. He didn't think the garou would be stupid enough to be going for a weapon, still paid to be prepared, just in case. But all that came out of the drawer Durante reached for was a folder.

Atticus looked at the folder, then up to Durante, before letting his attention be taken up with the folder. With a sigh, he reached for the folder and opened it, drawing out a fairly impressive amount of information. He perused the contents of the folder quickly, seeking out only what was of use to him right now. And when he was done, he slowly and deliberately pulled the canvas pack from his back and slipped the blueprints inside.

Only then did he turn his attention back to Matthias. “I know about where this is. It's a couple hours north, on the lake.” He studied the garou, then let a positively predatory grin twist his lips. “You're taking me. I can't trust letting you go until this is finished.

“One way, or another.”

“Sometimes you have to use what you have,” Matthias shot back, “not everyone kills their way to power.” He flicked his eyes to Atticus with a snort, “I didn’t think Voss would go off on his own. I told him to bring her back to me, he listens. Usually.” His eyes settled on Atticus, “you should know, after all, you have his home.” He smirked a bit.

Silence as he waited for Atticus to finish going through the contents, “you will be giving me the papers back when you’re done. Those are important documents that are of value,” he then tensed as he saw Atticus move for his canvas. When Atticus showed what he was getting, Matthias relaxed – only a slight bit. A shake of his head, he was still reeling from the revelation that Voss had Remy and that Remy was pregnant.

What the fuck was wrong with her?

He returned his attention to the ‘were. “Right,” he laughed, “you want me to take you looking like this,” he gestured to himself as he pointed out the fact that he only had pants on. “You want me to leave everyone with a possibility that I may never return.” He snorted, “what is in it for me?” He paused, “besides getting my sister back and a dead omega.”

“Fuckin' stupid,” he muttered, not really making clear if he was still referring to Durante, or to himself this time. Closing the folder once he'd finished, taking only those blueprints with a sharp look to the garou, he shrugged. “Whatever, I don't need the rest anyway. Keep it.” He hesitated, then there was a flash of a grin, gone as quickly as it had appeared. “Are you wolf....or bloodhound?” It was said mockingly, with a gesture to the folder and its contents.

“Like I said, you get to live. Or, I can make sure Remy inherits everything, right now.” A casual shrug came, belying the threat of violence that once again simmered in his eyes. “Because you aren't getting her back. She will choose – come with me, or go with you.” Everything in him screamed against admitting that to the garou, was the truth. As deep and strong as the drive was to claim her as mate, he was still man enough to know what was right, and trying to deny her a choice wasn't right.

“Just go put some clothes on, fuck.” He paused, studying Durante. “And make sure your little dog stays put. I'd hate to kill him. Get him to tell everyone you to attend to.” A shrug. “I really don't fucking care. You are coming.” With that, he shifted until he was leaning on the desk himself, folding his arms across his chest, making it quite clear he wasn't leaving without the garou.

Matthias rolled his shoulders, not commenting any further on the documents he had. It was what kept him in power with certain people. He had a private detective on his payroll. If it hadn’t been for the fucking mutt in front of him, he would be the one in power right now and ruling with an iron fist.

His eyes flicked to him, “Remy does not inherit,” he snarled a bit before regaining control as he looked away from Atticus, reminding himself to breathe. It was not like him to lose control. He never lost control. He returned his focus to Atticus with a lift of his eyebrow, “and you figure she’ll choose you, since you’re the father of her precious little…” He cut himself off, he couldn’t even think about this. “What if she dies?” He looked at him, “you know that garou women can’t carry mutts.”

He fell quiet, not wanting to entertain that thought as he busied himself with the drawer that contained the files before lifting his head. “I’m coming,” he snorted at him, “you could have fucking said `please`. Manners make the world go around.” He shifted back, considering if he should take the private passageway or just the regular way out the open door. “I’ll be back, be ready,” he left the room without giving Atticus a second glance.

This time, his pace was quicker as he hurried up the steps to his room, opening the door slowly to make sure Armand wouldn’t get scared. “It’s me,” he murmured as he stepped in, he walked straight to the bed. “Come here,” he exhaled slowly as he watched Armand stir again; he had remained naked, which was such a sight to see. He was sad that he wouldn’t be able to take advantage of him right now, his lips pulled downward for a moment before he found Armand’s. The kiss was slow this time as he teased, his fingers raked through Armand’s hair before he broke the kiss.

“I have to go with Atticus,” he rolled his eyes a bit, “Remy needs help.” He fell quiet, he wasn’t even sure why he had told the guy this. “Just tell people…” He wasn’t even sure as he pulled his hands away, “tell them something.” He took a step back as he studied Armand who looked so confused before he cleared his face, nodding his head at Matthias.

“Stay,” he gestured around, “you can use whatever you want.” Matthias turned away toward his closet to find something to wear. He grabbed a random tee-shirt off a hanger, “I don’t know when I’ll be back,” he snorted as he turned around after pulling his shirt on. “Just stay,” Armand nodded at Matthias, which made him smile.

“See you soon.” With that, he grabbed his boots and left the room. He had to because the longer he stayed in the room with Armand, the more tempted he got about ignoring Atticus. In the hallway outside the door, he slipped his feet into the boots and zipped them up along the sides before walking back down to the study. He didn’t bother going in, he waited outside the open doors, “come on.” He muttered, “let’s get this over with.”

He was set to return the barb with one of his own, when the words hit him. “You know that garou women can’t carry mutts.” No. No, he didn't know that. Remy had insisted she'd be fine. She'd said she'd be fine. Had she lied to him? Or was Matthias lying? It was only a massive effort of will, and maybe a little shock, that kept him from betraying too badly the turmoil Durante's words left him in.

Atticus merely glared after him, well aware that some of the heat had left his eyes. And only when Durante was out of the room did he let go, just a little. He allowed himself to slump further onto the desk, the almost offhand comment running through his head over and over again. Remy had to be alright, and she had to survive the pregnancy. She had to be okay. She had to be, even if she refused him, he had to see that she was going to be alright, whatever it took.

He sat there, working to force away the anxiety, the...fear...for Remy. He pulled on his rage at the garou, at Durante in particular, reminding himself of why he'd started his killing spree, and why he now wanted to stop it while still remaining in power. It had started as revenge, hot and bloody. It had cooled into the desire to stop the killing of humans for sport, for amusement, by the garou. And then, it had shifted again, into even being willing to accept the remaining garou, within limits...all because of one single night with Remy.

He had to find her. She had to be okay. Nothing else was acceptable, and everything else could be borne if only she could be okay.

It was the sound of boots in the hall above that pulled him back out of his thoughts. Atticus straightened and pushed away from the desk, back in control of himself, determined to do whatever he must to accomplish his goals, no matter what the consequences might be. And when Matthias appeared in the doorway of the office, he had the canvas sack slung over his shoulder, and moved almost before the garou had spoken.

“I only brought a bike,” he said, coming to stand before Durante, staring at him evenly, his tone making clear he would accept no argument, no matter how much it offended the garou to be ordered around by a mutt. “We're taking something of yours. Something we can bring Remy back in comfortably.” He didn't even bother to speak of Voss. They both knew, one way or another, Voss wouldn't be making the trip back. It was just a matter of who got to him to gut him first.

Atticus moved past Durante, headed toward where he guessed the garage might be, based on the similarity of floor plan between the Durante manor and the Voss manor. “Come on, there's a good puppy.” He knew damn well he shouldn't goad now that he had Durante's cooperation, no matter how grudgingly it was given. But old habits died hard. And, well, he just really didn't like this garou in particular.

“Of course,” Matthias looked over at him, “you’d bring a bike.” He rubbed the spot between his eyes, he was already getting a headache from all this. “It can’t be easy and straightforward with you, huh?” He waited for a response then realized there wasn’t going to be one. His lips parted as he was ready to say something else, but Atticus just walked past him.

Jesus Christ.

“You do know you’re in my house, right?” He snorted as he followed Atticus before passing him to open the door connecting the manor to the garage. “We’ll take that,” he pointed to a jeep that would be able to take any sort of environment, yet had enough room for anyone to lay down. “Now, can I drive, or is that too much for you?” He stared evenly at Atticus while pressing a button near him to open the garage door, the keys would be already inside the jeep.

Once past Matthias, Atticus gave in to the desire to roll his eyes. The bike had been fast, easy, and....hadn't had the taint of Voss still lingering around it because it was his instead of something leftover from them. “No, I exist to make your life harder,” he quipped in a murmur, unable to resist but not expecting the garou to catch the words, either.

“Yeah, your house. My show. What-the-fuck-ever.” Despite himself, though, there was grudging approval of Durante's choice of vehicle once they were in the garage. Meeting the garou's stare evenly, he shrugged, then grinned. “That was the general idea, yeah. Less chance of you trying something if you're busy driving, and easier for me to keep an eye on you.”

Atticus yanked open the passenger door, pausing only long enough to pull the pack from his back and deposit it carefully behind the passenger seat before hopping in and deliberately slamming the door. He still needed that pack, and the contents. Just in case, he thought, praying on some level that none of it was actually needed when they finally found Remy.

Durante climbed in after some delay that Atticus paid no attention to, assuming he was probably fuming about something or other he'd taken offense to. Glancing over at the garou, he sighed. The whole game of antagonism was wearing on him. And he was tired. Working to control himself this close to the full moon was utterly exhausting, even with the brief period he'd spent as a wolf earlier. The urge was still there, humming beneath his skin, growing ever more insistent and harder to ignore.

“Just...go. North, toward that state park along the lake,” he muttered, unable to keep hints of that weariness out of his voice. He'd brought the blueprints and he'd look over them along the way, but for now...just for a few minutes...he let himself slump down in the seat a bit, closing his eyes and allowing the weariness to wash over him. He knew himself well enough to know he could handle any move Durante would make, if he tried to take advantage of Atticus. But, the were really didn't think he would. He wanted Remy back, too, after all.

Matthias winced at the slamming of the door, he wanted to say something, but he wanted Atticus the fuck out of his place. The quicker they found Remy, the quicker he’d be gone. Once the garage door opened, he slipped into the seat and turned the key, glancing over at Atticus with a chuckle. “I know where it is.” He gave a shake of his head, “we did grow up together, you know.”

Then he fell silent as he put the jeep into reverse in order to pull out of the garage, then he pressed a small receiver attached to his visor to close it as they moved down the driveway toward the road. He wasn’t going to engage the ‘were in a conversation right now while they sped to save Remy.

Timothy paced restlessly, muttering incoherently to himself. He would stop occasionally to stare at Remy, who watched him from where she sat huddled on the bed. He wanted her. It was the constant in his otherwise rambling, scattered thoughts. His sanity, already cracked and frayed from watching his entire pack slaughtered before him – some quite literally – and then being forced to act as servant to the 'wolf that had done it, was now completely shattered. He'd come so close to just taking her, claiming her.

He'd nearly lost control of himself, or so he thought – unable to see that he was long past any real control over himself now. Instinct and madness had driven him to it, urging him on – take her, force her, make her see, rip the halfbreed whelp from her, MATE HER – but he'd stopped himself when her fear had touched some buried shred of sanity left to him. He'd jerked away from her, moving off the bed completely, trying to put space between himself and the temptation she represented. And he'd been pacing and muttering ever since.

He was probably lucky his pack was gone, though he'd never realize it; they would have put him down in his current state, and considered it a kindness to do so.

Now Timothy was torn between that driving need to have her at any cost, and the desire for her to submit willingly. Often, his thoughts were drawn to the past, to garou history. It was a refuge for him. The old ways, when females were kept closeted and sheltered and valued only for the pups they produced, were a comfort to him now. He'd convinced himself it was the right w
ay, the proper way. If they'd kept to the old ways, the garou, Atticus would never have been able to destroy them so thoroughly.

And if it rationalized his right to claim her without her consent, well, all the better.

Suddenly, Timothy came to stop, turning to face the bed, to face Remy, fists clenched at his sides and hands shaking with the tension that ran through him like a live wire. Dusk painted the room in shadows, the candles scattered about remaining unlit. Brown eyes darkened to nearly black stared at her steadily as his silence stretched out. The potential for violence hummed through him, aided by the pull he could feel of the nearly full moon, and he found it strengthened him, strengthened his resolve.

“Remy, please.” He tilted his head to the side, then stepped closer to the bed. “It's the last time I'll ask. Don't deny me. You're mine.” His voice was soft, deceptively so. His eyes glittered in the dimming room, hints of the wolf that was barely restrained showing in them. “Be my mate. Your brother, your pack leader, gave his consent.” He moved around the bed as he spoke, until he stood over her. “Don't make me force it.”

He hesitated then, gaze traveling over her, studying her. All he could see was fear, and he felt a prick of sadness, of guilt. But it was washed away as quickly as it had come. Feeling a wetness on one of his hands, he lifted it, unclenching the fist to look at it curiously. He was bleeding again, where nails had cut into his palm. He licked at the blood absently, turning his attention back to Remy as he did so.

“Do you consent to be my mate? I just take you now?”

“Matthias would rather put you down than have you as my mate,” Remy snarled back as she saw him swing away from being lucid to… whatever he was right now. She scooted back, which only served to flatten herself against the headboard of the bed. Fuck. She looked behind her for a quick second to see if she could escape through a window or something – but there was nothing.

A slow exhale came tumbling from her lips as she tried to think of a game plan, something. Anything. “But Matthias…” She tried to think about this, something was off – okay, more off than usual. Timothy kept talking about Matthias – it had never been like this when he was younger. He didn’t have that sort of hero worship with Matthias. It was a… whatever it had been between them. Matthias was able to get away with a lot with Timothy, but not like this.

“What did Matthias tell you, exactly?” She urged herself to think, even though panic was rising up in her. She was still feeling sick to her stomach as well, but at least she didn’t feel so weak. She tried to act it though, her hand pressing to her stomach, she frowned as she let her eyes slide around the room. What could she use against him? Keep the baby safe.


But she wanted to be sure. “You want me to be your mate, right? Say it again, nicer, please.” She shifted a bit off the bed, pretending to swoon just a little. If he thought she was weak, he’d keep his guard down enough, she hoped.

Timothy merely snorted, a sick sort of amusement dancing across his face. Matthias wouldn't put him down. No one would. No one could. He'd take them all on. He'd keep them all from his mate, every male. Not one of them would touch her, or him. Remy was his, willingly or not.

Still licking at the blood on his hand, he continued his advance on her. He leaned against the edge of the bed, leaning over her a bit. It was only her speaking again that made him hesitate, head tilting to the side. “He told me you would be my mate. He told me if I got you away from the murdering, traitorous mutt that our packs could ally, and you would be mine, my mate. You would mother the new generation of Voss pups.”

He hesitated, a frown creasing his brow as he tried to think. And it was so hard to think beyond the pressing need to have her, claim her. Surely that's what Matthias had said. He'd promised Remy to Timothy. He'd done what he was supposed to, hadn't he? Gotten her away from Atticus, saved her from the mutt. There was...something else.

It didn't matter.

“I...yes. Remy, I want you to be my mate...please...” The frown turned to one of concern rather than confusion. Timothy dropped to his knees, reaching out in an attempt to support her as she seemed to grow weaker, maybe even truly ill. “Please, please be alright.” His voice was frantic now. She was garou, carrying a halfbreed little bastard. It might even be killing her. “What can I do? Remy, please...”


“What exactly did Matthias say to you,” she repeated herself, slower. “Just so I’m absolutely sure we have my brother’s blessing.” Her lips twisted, “you know how garous do it – without tradition, we’d be mutts.” She flashed a smile even though it had pained her to say this, she hated this. “We can’t be mutts, can we?”

Her eyes took him in as he turned from a state of mania to one of pleading. Pathetic. She managed to still her face, hoping to manage looking a bit green around the gills – but she’d settle for not letting herself away at all.

“I’m just feeling…” She frowned a bit as she pretended to struggle in order to find some words. “I’m just feeling not so well.” She gave a slight smile as if she was trying to be tough. “I’ll be okay,” she murmured as she looked at his extended hand, she took in a breath, letting out a shudder. “Sorry, my stomach—“ she tried to explain it away as she took his hand. “I just need…” She wasn’t even sure.

“I know,” she squared her shoulders as she looked over to the candles, “lets light some of them, make this a proper thing.” She patted his hand lightly with her free hand, “you go light those ones, I’ll light the ones over here.” She smiled carefully. “What do you think?” Oh please fall for it, please, please. “We could set the mood…”

“He said you belong home, Remy. At my side.” He nodded slowly. “We'd lead the garou, he and I. But I don't care about that, not anymore. You're all that's important. You're my mate.” Timothy squinted at her, then nodded again. “Your brother, the Durante Pack Leader, he told me you would be at my side, my mate, if I stole you away from the Packmaster.”

He bit at his lip, nodding again. “I did that. The terms were met. I promise you, I'd never let anyone call you such a disgusting thing.” He was earnest, so serious, as he spoke. He'd do what he had to, whatever it took, to make her his mate.

His concern grew, even as admiration flooded him. She was so strong, so brave. She was ill, but she wouldn't let it get in the way of what needed done. She was the perfect mate, pure garou to the core. She took his hand, and he couldn't stop the smile that twisted his lips. She wasn't flinching from him. The drugs. It must have been the drugs earlier that confused her, made her react so strangely. That had to be it.

His gaze followed hers before returning to her. There was the briefest flash of suspicion in his eyes as he regarded her, then he smiled widely. “Of course. The candles. That would be perfect. It should be perfect for you.” He squeezed her hand, overjoyed that she had finally accepted what had to be. He'd have had her either way, but he much preferred her willing submission. It was...proper.

He rose and hurried to tend to the candles for her. Pulling the matches from his pocket, placed there just for this very reason, he turned his attention to the candles on the other side of the bed, lighting them one by one. His full attention was on his task. It had to be, as his hands were trembling and he'd found it hard of late to split his focus between more than one or two things at a time.

It didn't matter. Everything would be better, soon. Remy was going to be his mate.

“Definitely perfect,” Remy agreed as she waited for him to move away from her, her lips trembling a bit as she watched him move. Oh god, please, please. She looked up at the ceiling for a moment before letting her eyes settle on him again. He really was distracted now.

She moved carefully to the candles she had just pointed out, some of the pillars were on antique candlesticks. Thick and heavy, she happily noted as she picked one up. She moved carefully, while thanking the fact that he had thought enough to take off her shoes; it meant she could move more quietly than usual. When he moved to the other set of candles, she swung the candle stick down, hard at the back of his head. Without giving him a chance to respond, she did it again, a low growl emitting from her throat.

He threatened her. He threatened her baby. He could not live.

Timothy never saw her coming. He never heard her coming. His first indication that things weren't, perhaps, quite what he'd thought was a blinding, paralyzing pain to the back of his head. He took the first blow with a stagger, but managed to remain upright. The second, which followed swiftly after the first, dropped him to his knees, head hanging low, blood pooling from two deep gashes. Her garou strength was enough to shatter bone, damaging brain underneath.

He was hurt, he was in pain, he was even crippled for the moment, but he wasn't defeated yet. Already his body was working to repair the damage, to save him from what would have killed a human. But he wasn't human; he was garou, and garou didn't die easily.

Dimly, he heard a growl. Without thought, he growled in return, already struggling to turn and meet his attacker. His befuddled mind – damaged and insane – never imagined it was Remy that had attacked him. There had to be a male nearby. A male was going to try to steal his mate. Another growl rumbled out of his chest.

He dropped down, supporting his weight – barely – with his hands. He had to...something. Had to meet the intruder, had to protect his mate. Had to...shift, attack, defend...

Instinct took over where coherent, conscious thought left off. The moon was nearly full, and it lent power to that instinct, the need to survive and protect his mate driving out all other needs. The change came swiftly, bones shifting, fur sprouting, until a wolf half-crouched there, turning glazed eyes on the only other living creature there: Remy.

A sound that was somewhere between a whimper and a growl slipped from the gaping jaws as the wolf that was Timothy realized, dimly, not even the change to wolf gave him enough strength to do more than crouch there, struggling to hold onto consciousness long enough for the damage to repair itself.

She was ready to swing the candlestick down again when she heard that growl come from his chest, he was starting to look unsteady. Shit, shit, shit, her mind repeated as she dropped the candlestick. Her eyes flicked over his body, he was shifting in front of her as his body arched in front of her. She knew the pain he was feeling from the change, the power that was already flowing through him.

She hungered.

And she needed to protect.

Him as a wolf, even half-there, was more dangerous to her while she was in her human form. She let out a grunt as she realized she would need to change. She had been very careful not to change ever since she found out about the baby.

The baby.

She needed to protect the baby. Another growl slipped from her lips as she willed the change to come. Her body twisted as she dropped down to her knees, her hands grabbing the floor. The change was different than usual, she groaned low as she felt her bones shifting in order to accommodate her new form. Clothes were ripping off of her and then fur came. Teeth. Claws. Power. Hunger. Anger. Need.

All she could think of while on all fours was the need to kill.

She launched herself at the noise and the injured wolf, driven by the anger and the need. He fell back, another strangled sound coming from him out of surprise. She returned that sound with another growl, deeper, feral. She dipped her head in and found his exposed throat, her teeth gripping at the skin, tugging as she bit, deeper. Hungrier. Angrier. He struggled under her, his paws striking at her legs, but she would not give.

And she pulled her head, hearing the flesh tear. His struggles kept up, rather valiantly, then slowed. His body tensed before turning limp. Remy’s head dipped in again as she snarled, making sure he wouldn’t heal as she thrashed her head back and forth while digging her teeth into his throat.

A strangled whimpering sort of yelp was all he could manage when the other wolf fell upon him, all fury and power. He was injured, crippled, and there was nowhere to go. He was trapped and nearly helpless. He tried to snap at her, to drive her away from him, desperate for an escape, for time to let his wounds heal.

There was no reprieve from the ripping teeth, the fury that burned in her eyes. Her teeth were at his throat, the pressure making it harder to draw his gasping breaths. Terror and desperation gave him a burst of energy, his struggles growing frantic. But he was still no match for her. She was stronger, uninjured, and she had the determined fury of a mother protecting her young to further fuel her strength.

He felt the sharp bite of the teeth into the tender flesh of his neck, and then the terrible feeling of his own flesh being ripped from his throat. The fresh blood spurted, quickly lost in the sticky clotting mess of the pool beneath him. Knowing it was futile, feeling his life draining away, he still struggled.

Clarity came to him during those struggles, the knowledge of what he'd done, what he'd become...and what he'd lost – which, in truth, he'd never had to begin with. He saw how he'd been used, and the madness that had driven him. His struggles slowed, as much from defeat as from his life's blood draining away. Regret hit him, sorrow overwhelming him. He stiffened with the strength of those last emotions, and then went limp, golden eyes glazing over, staring up at his killer as the life left him.

At least in death, he was finally free.

The drive was too long for Atticus' liking. Too long, too tense, and too...just too much. It felt like his skin was crawling the entire time. The pull of the moon, the barely suppressed need to shift wore at him constantly, just beneath the surface. Though he barely even glanced at Durante during it, the oppressive, irritating feel of the garou's presence was something he couldn't ignore, and it didn't help his tenuous grip on control one bit.

Atticus was one of the lucky ones; the combination of age and sheer power gave him the ability to control his shifting to a finer degree than most of his kind. But, more often than not, even he had to submit to the wolf at some point during the height of the full moon. And darkness was falling as they approached the cabin. Even without seeing the moon, he could feel its power over him growing, becoming impossible to resist.

“Matthias.” The single word was almost more growl than speech, but still clear enough. Just the fact that he even used the garou's given name instead of his surname should have been enough to alert Durante that something was up. And, judging by his expression he wore and the glance he shot Atticus, it was. Atticus was briefly surprised when the garou's response was a short nod as he turned his eyes back to the road, making the turn toward the lake onto the rutted dirt path that served as a drive up to the cabin itself.

He'd take it, the sketchy truce that nod offered, even if it only lasted long enough to see Remy safe. It had to do; Atticus really didn't have a choice anymore. Shaking hands moved to strip away his clothes, squirming and shifting as needed in the confined space. Atticus was only barely stipped down when a shudder rippled through him. A low groan morphed into a strained whining sound as bones shifted beneath skin that sprouted a rich coat of rust-coloured fur.

Panting, still whining faintly, the large wolf that was Atticus turned his golden eyes on Durante. He was only satisfied when the garou merely nodded again, not taking his eyes from the road. The message was clear enough; truce between them, at least until this was seen through to the end.

It was only a few more minutes – time still filled with a tense silence as Atticus' whining died away and he stared out the windshield, ears pricked forward eagerly – until their jeep pulled up beside the one already parked in front of the little cabin. Matthias showed no signs of changing, and Atticus wouldn't have argued that choice even if he could have. They might as well have the advantages both forms brought at once, since Atticus wasn't in a position to have that choice for himself at the moment.

The very second Durante opened his door, Atticus leapt over him and out of the jeep. His attention was on the cabin, listening for anything he could catch of those inside. He he heard nothing, but he caught the scent of blood, faint but unmistakable. It was very like human blood, but with the subtle difference that marked it as were blood. The problem was that he couldn't tell who it belonged to.

Atticus rushed for the door, pawing at it, Matthias on his heels. The wolf threw his weight at the door, growing frantic as the smell of blood grew stronger. It was Durante, throwing his shoulder into the door, seeming to understand Atticus' frenzy, that cause the door to burst open finally. Atticus didn't hesitate, but leapt into the cabin the moment there was an opening.

However, he skidded to a stop almost immediately, Matthias nearly tripping over him in his own rush. Remy knelt beside a bed, naked, wild eyes darting between her brother and Atticus. And lying in a pool of blood grown sticky but not yet dried was a thin, blood-smeared little wolf. Timothy. A weary smirk touched Remy's lips. “Well, if you were thinking of rescuing me.. you're late.”

Something about the sight, as terrifying as it was, sent a thrill of...something...through Atticus. Nose twitching, he edged forward, his head held low, ears down in what was, for him, a rare display of submission. He could feel Matthias watching him just as much as Remy, but he paid Durante no mind. It didn't matter what he saw, not right now. He even thought Matthias might have said something, but he just couldn't spare the attention to listen, or care. The threats and counter-threats could come later.

This, right now, was too important.

A faint, low whine sounded as he stopped beside Remy. He nosed at her gently, sniffing and nudging at her, looking for any signs of injury, but finding none. The scent of the drugs that had been used on her was there, if only barely, as was the scent of pregnancy. But nothing else he could find gave any trace that she was hurt. His whine turned to the softest of growls, voicing his disgust at the only other foreign scent on her, that of Timothy. He'd touched Remy at some point, had contact with her. Which, to the human part of Atticus only made sense, even if he didn't like it.

To the wolf, it brought out a stronger reaction. He hated it, pure and simple. He wanted it gone from her. Unthinking, guided by instinct alone, he began to lick gently at Remy's skin, cleaning away Timothy's blood from her. There was a tenderness in his actions that spoke of far more than just a concern for the mother of his child. No this, this was concern for <i>her</i>, and he was beyond caring if it showed or not anymore. Remy was worth far more than his stupid pride, even if it took her life being in danger and the simple clarity of being a wolf for him to finally see it.

His body fell limp, the wolf was sated – she was safe. One of the perks of being a loup garou, she didn’t need to stay in her wolf form for long, just enough to let the beast free. Her body shifted back, it was a bit slower, but she returned to her human form. The shift had been jarring again, it was probably because of the baby, she wouldn’t know. When she returned to consciousness, she looked down at Timothy’s body, a sound of disgust falling from her lips – not at what she had done, but what he had driven her to do.

Her hand went to her stomach, she would have to get checked out to make sure everything was okay there. She didn’t know much about what could happen due to shifting, especially since this baby was not pureblood.

She trembled a bit while trying to clear her mind, right now, it was all about the baby while the tang of blood assaulted her nose. She wanted to get out of there, but she wasn’t sure she could trust herself to drive, or walk. Then she heard a sound, her body tensing, ready to fight again. What if Timothy had reinforcements that she didn’t know about? She wouldn’t put it pass the rat bastard.

The door was being hammered at before admitting a wolf and her brother. She pulled back for a moment before realizing who it was. A laugh came from her, a tired one, “Well, if you were thinking of rescuing me.. you're late.” She shook her head, forgetting the state of undress as she took them in. She was amused that they were trying to be her heroes. Even more amused that it was Matthias and Atticus together – sworn enemies.

Matthias looked over at her while Atticus padded to her, “You okay?”

Remy gave him a sharp look, her hand going to Atticus, running her fingers through his fur. “No thanks to you,” she looked down at Atticus. Her lips parted to say something, but she really couldn’t think of much right now, everything was still heightened. Soon the adrenaline would wear off and she would need sleep, but right now… A soft laugh came tumbling from her as she felt him clean her.

Matthias shifted awkwardly on his feet, “I’m going to make a call,” he waved his hand at the mutilated corpse. “Get this shit cleaned up.”

Remy just gave him a slight nod, she was angry, she knew that much – but she wasn’t even sure how angry. Or if Matthias really deserved the anger. When her brother left, she returned her focus to Atticus, “You came,” she murmured softly as she closed her eyes, trying to regain her composure – she accepted his bath; though she really wanted a shower and clothes that didn’t smell like Voss.

On some level, what was being said filtered through to him. He was perfectly capable of understanding, it just required a bit of focus. He was, after all, still Atticus, inside. He was just...more than that, as well. And that more was far more concerned with his (potential) mate than anything her brother had to say, enemy or no. Nonetheless, he was relieved when Matthias stepped outside, leaving them alone. Even if he was a little confused as to why the garou would be so...well, considerate.

If he'd been a cat, he'd have purred at the sensation of her fingers running through his fur. Instead, his tail swished from side to side slowly as he continued to lick at her, delicate little swipes of his tongue as he got the last bits of blood from her. When she spoke, he paused, pulling back to look at her, his tail moving a little faster. His head tilted to the side, ears lowered, saying as clearly as he could with a soft little whine, 'of course I came.' She was garou, she would understand, he had no doubt of that.

He huffed out a breath, clearly frustrated with his current limitations. He wanted to hold her, to talk to her, to reassure her. Instead...he was stuck as what amounted – right now – to nothing more than a gigantic puppy. Soon, he would be able to shift back, very soon. He had that much control. But, for the moment...he was stuck.

Atticus nuzzled gently at Remy's neck, leaning his soft-furred body against her the way one might to a packmate to offer comfort. As he did so, he thought on the revelation that had come to him as he'd stood looking at her, kneeling next to her kill. He loved her. Not because she carried his child. Not because she was garou and instinctively attracted him. But he loved her for who she was. And he hadn't the faintest idea what to do about it.

She chuckled a bit at his response, tugging at an ear before she shifted a bit to lean against him, accepting his attentions. “I need to get something,” she looked over herself with a look of distaste before she returned her attention to him, her body relaxing just a little bit as she realized he was snuggling into her. She bit at her bottom lip, trying to think of what to do. She should tell him that they could stay until he shifted back, but she didn’t want to stay here, not one a bit. She wanted to go to where she felt safe.

“Home,” she spoke softly to her thoughts, “let’s go home. You need to run,” she tugged her head back to look at him. Her hands stroked along his jaw, she really saw him for a moment. He was a beautiful wolf, powerful, and… beautiful. She would never tell him that though, that’d be awkward telling a man how beautiful he was.

“Come on,” she murmured, Matthias will drive us.” She snorted a bit as she waited for him to shift his weight off of her so she could stand. When she stood, she shoved off the comforter of the bed before tugging off the sheets. She wrapped the sheet around her body, it’d do for now. “I just want to go,” she pointed to the door, not bothering to gather up any of her things. They were tainted now, she knew that either Matthias or Atticus would replace them.

Sensing her disquiet, he nudged at her subtly, and was rewarded with her lovely voice, which held so much more nuance to his sensitive wolf ears. “Home.” It was a word that might have made him cringe, had he not been able to hear her meaning behind it, just in the way she said it. She should have, by every right, meant the Durante property. It was her home, or should have been. But she never would have included him in that if she was thinking of that.

Yes. He wanted to go home. He wanted to take her home. this case, let her take him home. He wanted to go home with her. He let his eyes slide closed as her fingers moved over his jaw, a motion that felt incredibly intimate to him, more so as a wolf than it would have even in his human form.

His eyes opened when she spoke again, his tail once again wagging his approval. He pulled his weight off of her, tongue lolling out of his mouth as he watched her cover herself. Even as a wolf, he could appreciate what he saw, until she covered it. Amusement danced in golden eyes as she pointed to the door, clearly expecting him to obey. Him, the Zion Packleader by right, ordered about like a common dog. And, yet, he trotted obediently out the door, just like she'd indicated. It was Remy. He wasn't going to deny her.

Outside, he found that Matthias actually was on his phone, but Atticus paid no mind to what he was saying. He was just relieved to find that the driver's side door had been left open. At least he wouldn't have to wait for Matthias to open the jeep up for him. That...would have just been a little too degrading. He was relieved enough with Remy's safety to willingly tolerate Durante for a while longer, but some things he just wouldn't put up with.

Atticus leapt up easily into the jeep and hopped into the back after a quick glance to see that his canvas pack was still on the floor in front where he'd been sitting. Good. It had some basic first aid supplies – thankfully not needed – as well as a couple bottles of water and some dried venison. All of it packed just in case, as he hadn't been sure what condition Remy might be found in. Content that she would find the pack when she settled into the jeep, he curled up on the back seat and waited as patiently as he could.

Home. Remy was safe. Remy was coming home.

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