Pick a Home, Any Home (Attn:Bas)
Reign flopped on to the couch with little or no grace, pushed her glasses up on to her forehead letting the world go fuzzy and popped the cap off a Newcastle. Sirius was snuffling about somewhere. He had been, off and on, since they got here this morning. The worst of it had been when they came in, he liked the smell of something in the yard. Stupid dog. Reign figured he was just glad to be home, or maybe some wiseass neighborhood cat. Whatever.
She half blindly fished about for a remote and managed to turn on a movie, she could tell by the dialog it was one of the Ocean's movies. But she wasn't sure if it was Eleven Twelve or Thirteen and quite frankly she didn't care. She'd driven up here to practice early today and must have been at the table for twelve hours. If the rumbling in her stomach was to be believed twelve hours straight.
"Why didn't you remind me to have lunch?"Â?
She demanded of her mutt as he rounded a corner. The dog, however, didn't answer and just lay down beside the couch. Sirius was doing much better since her visit to Xeph. They'd moved more of his things, and her things, out to Bastian's. In fact, even though she hadn't formally accepted his offer to move in, she was staying with him more and more often. Her house, however, was much more convenient to the city meeting with Hans or Janie or one of her favorite pool halls. That and her table wasn't exactly a small easily portable piece of furniture so she always wound up here to practice.
Reign sighed. The real problem wasn't that she didn't want to move in with Bas, it was she liked her house and didn't have a clue what to do with it if she should move in with him. This would not be a problem if she'd rented a place like Janie suggested.
Rubbing her eyes Reign muttered.
"Maybe I should learn to take advice huh? Just a little?"Â?
Ever since the break in, he had made it a regular practice to stop by Reign's house, and check on it. He knew it meant a lot to her, and though he would have been thrilled had she just sold it and moved in with him permanently, he wasn't about to suggest that. If she ever did move in with him, he wanted it to be her decision.
It amazed him that it had already been over a year since they had connected again. Things between them were damn good, and he wasn't going to rock the ship. Sure, there were still tentative moments when it came to her trusting him, but that was something he found very easy to work with. That she was trusting him at all was more than he had originally hoped for.
So for now, he would continue to enjoy her company wherever that might be, and not take anything for granted. At the rate things were going, he really didn't think it would be too awfully long before he asked her to marry him, and then the living arrangements would be resolved once and for all.
The wolf scent snapped him out of his daydream, and Bastian refocused. The odor of the intruder was new, and extended from the yard, to up around the house. This is what got Bastian's hackles up, and immediately put him on the defense. How dare anyone presume to think they could get this close to Reign, and go on as if nothing had happened. No...this was going to stop, just as soon as he figured out how to accomplish that.
When he decided there was nothing left to investigate at the moment, Bastian shifted back, retrieved his cell phone from his car, and called the police station, and animal control. To his knowledge there were no wolves anywhere near the area, outside of werewolves, that would have made their way into the more populated areas of town. The police, and animal control confirmed this fact. Surprising to Bastian, there had been one or two sitings of large cats over the past couple years, but because nothing came of them, no one had followed up on them. Bastian knew what he smelled was nothing like cat, so the only thing he could then deduce was it had to be a werewolf.
Now, he needed to find out who the werewolf was, and why they were stalking Reign. Damn, but he wished he was better acquainted with his pack mates.
And then too he remembered hearing something about another pack in the area...could it have been one of them, and if so why? Why would Reign be the object of anyone else's scrutiny? The possibilities made him growl again, but this time it sounded less intimidating...less a growl, and more a bronchial cough.
Hearing her car approach, but not wanting to get into explanations now, Bastian quickly hopped the fence, and ran for cover. He knew Reign had some meeting today, and had come into town earlier, but wasn't sure how long she would be distracted, or if she would go back to the ranch afterward. It wasn't unusual to see she had returned to her home, even if a tiny bit discouraging. The more time she spent here, the less likely it seemed his desires would come to fruition. Worse yet, the more likely she would be subjected to whatever agendas this other wolf had in mind for her.
After he had allowed her ample time to check out things inside the house, and get comfortable, Bastian circled the block and jogged up to her front door. Funny, but he considered his house to be hers, as much as his. The situation with her house was different. It would always be hers, and even though he had a key, he knocked on the door, and waited.
Knocking her glasses back into place, she blessed the motion sensor light and the peephole. Yup it was Bas.
“Sirius, sit, stay. Good boy.”
Dog taken care of she opened the door. Reign let Bas get all the way inside and close and lock the door behind him before tackling him rather enthusiastically. She was a funny creature, not always given to great displays of affection, even in private, but tonight she felt like it.
“I thought you’d stop by. Tell me you brought dinner Lupo. The cupboard is bare here. Well there’s beer and probably some wine but…”
Too much time at his place. Reign hadn’t bothered to go grocery shopping for herself in a while.
He frowned, sorry he had forgotten to think of dinner, but pinched her bottom, and laughed again.
"I'm afraid not, Cara, but I promise you'll not go hungry. I'll take you out now...any place you choose, or I'll even brave the elements, and go get something to bring back here...whatever your little heart desires."
In between trying to come up with a suitable dinner plan, Bastian was taking advantage of Reign's close proximity, his hands roving, and caressing, his lips likewise. His words coming out slightly garbled in the process.
"Or, we can go back to the ranch, and I'll whip something up."
He had found his minor interest in cooking was turning into something he really enjoyed, even if the dishes he favored were simple. So far he hadn't heard any complaints either, which boosted both his confidence, and desires.
Leaning back slightly, Bastian tried to read Reign's face. He wanted to tell her about the werewolf he knew had been snooping around her place, but at the same time he was loathe to put a damper on the moment.
And it wasn't like the news wouldn't wait. Whether she knew now, or later wouldn't change anything. Point in fact, telling her when they were again nestled in bed, safely at the ranch, might be the truly most opportune time.
Not wanting to ignore Sirius, and risk disturbing their new found, slowly growing mutual respect, Bastian reached around Reign, and patted the dog's head.
"Been looking out for her, boy?"
She laughed as she ambled into the kitchen, reconfirming the fact there was no food in the place. There was flour and some spices and some soy sauce and … oh! Mac and cheese, but no milk so that was out.
Sirius had stuck by Bastian’s side for the time being, he’d even wagged his tail once he’d recognized who it was. Reign, oddly enough, wasn’t jealous. In fact, they were pleased the two of them had started to get along, she hadn’t wanted to chose between the two after all. Of course, it would have been nice if it hadn’t taken something so extreme to get them to be friends. Meh, at least there had been once positive out of the whole ordeal.
“True enough, you have real food out there. I was gonna resort to ordering something, new Chinese place not too far away. I haven’t tried it yet, but I think there’s a menu on the dinning room table or somewhere.”
Things were organized pretty well, not brilliantly, but pretty well. The down side was the organization only made sense to Reign.
Back into the front room she again flopped on the sofa waiting for him to get settled and then stretched out with her head in his lap.
“Quite frankly I don’t care. I’m just beat.”
The movie was still on in the background. It was disturbingly domestic and Reign was very much getting to like it.
"Long day of practice?"
For now he would wait. Maybe talking about small things would set a better stage for the harsher news to come.
Besides...he was interested in hearing about her, and any time they were apart he felt the need to catch up on her doings.
His fingers toyed with a curl at her ear, and occasionally stroked the soft skin between her neck, and shoulder.
It wouldn't have surprised him to hear Reign say she'd been at the table for hours on end. Sometimes she would get so involved she would even skip meals. He doubted she would ever get to the point where her health would suffer, so his concerns were only mild, and fleeting. She was, after all, a grown woman, and had survived just fine in his absence. The idea she was being stalked by a werewolf, other than him, was much higher on his list of things to really worry about.
"You do know, if you wanted, we could move your table out to the ranch. It wouldn't be any problem at all, and I could have it done tomorrow, I'm sure."
Not only would that make things easier for her, but it would also give her one less reason to divide her time between home, and town. The ranch was someplace he considered to be safer than most, thus cutting down on her opportunities for danger...if that was a real concern.
"Those two guys who fenced off that south section of the property last week, said they would be happy to do anything else I needed. They did a great job on the fence, and didn't charge too much at all...I think they would be available..."
Once he started talking, he immediately hoped she would see his offer as one made out of love for her, and not the need to control her every move. Reign was an extremely strong willed woman, and Bastian learned years ago that he could no longer control her than he could the setting sun. Still, he never liked to press his luck when it came to certain things.
"If you wanted..."
Now would have been the opportune time to bring up the werewolf, yet he still refrained.
Sirius had stretched out by the couch. Reign didn’t think he’d treat the phone like a chew toy, but it didn’t hurt to say something. It was a nice phone and reign didn’t feel like replacing it.
Rolling away for a second she set her glasses on the coffee table, before settling back and nodding.
“Shortish meeting with Janie, she came here, she and Hans want me to hit the Western circuit. There would be matches in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada.”
Ordinarily she’d been gone for maybe four months. And on her own she wouldn’t mind that but that was a long time now. Reign was trying to work out the flying, the trick wasn’t really the money the trick was the airlines wouldn’t let her carry on her cues. Maybe she could drive. Oh, she’d sort it out. But she had to hit at least three of them, Janie was bitching that she’d lose her ranking if she didn’t get serious again and her income depended on that ranking.
“Then yeah, at the table all day.”
She grinned at his suggestion that they move her table. Bas wasn’t dim, he knew, that was holding her to this house.
“Its not a card table Lupo, it must weigh half a ton maybe more and it doesn’t fold and then I have to have room around it for a proper draw. Why don’t we measure tonight or tomorrow and see if there’s a good spot?”
Reign suspected it wasn’t going to fit, it was awkward. But then it almost sounded like Bastian suggested they build an addition. That or he meant the guys could move the table. Reign, of course, wouldn’t trust the table to any one other than pros but she still had the card for the guys who had moved it in here.
And of course, the real estate market sucked right now and she didn’t really want to sell. Part of her meeting with Janie, that Reign didn’t mention, was knocking around the idea of renting her place over selling it.
“But it would be nice not to have that drive back after practice.”
Especially if she lost track of time and didn’t finish practicing until –very- late.
That she suggested he might not understand just how precious her table was to her, and that it would require special handling much like a fine piano, wasn't something he was unaware of either. He tickled her side quickly, to drive home his remark.
"And you know that huge room off the clinic, that I was keeping for expansion, or storage? It would take a bit of renovating, but with the proper insulation, and remodeling, I think it would work, don't you?"
Right now the room was finished, but needed flooring, and overall decorating,as well as paint. The walls were sheet rocked, and the floor was concrete, just waiting for finishing touches. So far he hadn't even needed it for boxes, and it was truly empty. Finishing touches, lighting, maybe installing some sort of sound system, and connecting it to the main house intercom, what else could it need?
"If you'd rather not, I won't press it, but I had to let you know it would be fine by me if you'd like to. We can certainly measure it tomorrow."
Lifting her up a bit, and more into his arms, Bastian could now see her better, and reach her lips as well. He took advantage of the closeness with a single, chaste kiss.
There were lights on at Reign's house, but all seemed quiet. There should be no reason to assume anyone would notice him; Siruis might smell him but Xeph was certainly on good terms with the big shepherd. He wasn't too worried.
The first thing that struck him was the anonymous were's scent was fresh and everywhere. Whoever it was had been here within the last few minutes. It was so fresh that Xeph looked around, expecting to see another wolf approaching. Nothing happened though.
Sitting on the lawn at the side of the house in the shadows, Xeph came to the conclusion that whoever the were was, was obviously welcome here. Was it Reign herself? Huh, that'd be interesting. He'd never pegged her as a were, for whatever reason. Shouldn't make assumptions, obviously.
There weren't any strange cars in the driveway; a few on the street but they could have been related to any of the houses here.
With a mental shrug, Xeph kept his ears pricked, listening for any commotion nearby. A quick search turned up nothing unusual, still, and he was about ready to head out and call it a lost cause.
“Oh yeah? That sounds promising. If you’re sure you don’t need the space and you wouldn’t mind me tricking it out a bit,” or more than a bit “that might be just perfect. I’ll double check the measurements tomorrow.”
She returned his kiss with one of her own playfully and very lightly nipping his lip as she lay back down, still grinning. That really sounded good. Well if Bas could have good news, so could she.
“Janie and I talked a bit about this place. I don’t really want to sell and the market sucks but I might be able to rent it with a little luck.”
"Renting it out sounds perfect! And with both of us so close, we can make periodic checks on the place to make sure..."
Bastian's head whipped up and away from Reign, focusing on the side of the house that was adjacent to the back yard. That scent he had picked up earlier was now very strong, and very fresh. Whoever had been casing the place before, was back.
"Uh...do you hear that?"
His hearing had been bad since he was involved in a riding accident at a young age, but when he developed his werewolf self, that had all changed. Yet even with his acute hearing, that wasn't what had alerted Bastian. It just seemed better to imply he heard something outside, rather than having smelled it, if he was going to check it out.
He lifted Reign off his lap, and tucked her back cozily, after standing up and sauntering to the window as casually as he could under the circumstances. Under the layer of calm boiled a growing anger that he was doing everything to hold back. The last thing he wanted to do was scare her, but it pissed him off to no end to think this intruder would be so bold.
"I think something is going on outside, but stay here, and let me check it out please."
It was not a request, and anyone who knew Bastian would hear that in the tone of his voice. This did not mean Reign would do as he asked, he had seen evidence of that in their shared past many times before. He could only hope she would heed his words now.
Looking back at her on the couch, to make sure she had heard him at least, Bastian slowly, and quietly crept toward the door, and opened it silently.
"Lock this please."
He half whispered, without looking, and stepped through the door.
He had no false impressions that he would successfully take the stalker by surprise. His control over his ability to shift was probably the only thing he might have done better than some of his kind. When it came to any other skills, he was just too new to it all to have come close to mastering them.
So instead of trying to catch this 'person' unaware, Bastian tried to maintain his focus, and brace himself for the possibility of attack. Considering he wanted to catch this werewolf, and crush him to within an ounce of his life, Bastian was REALLY fighting to keep calm.
Deciding then he would be stronger in his own werewolf persona, he returned to the form he'd occupied earlier, and waited a few seconds to regain his bearings. Once his mind had shifted to match his physical appearance, he moved forward, and around the corner of the house to where he suspected the intruder waited.
Maybe he was being overconfident, but he wanted to know who lived in this house. At the very least he would like to confirm that Reign was being taken care of. Of course, if she belonged to the Vyusher he would let them handle their own, but he wanted a measure of certainty in that matter. He liked Reign; she took good care of her dog.
As he rounded the corner to the front of the house he got a snout full of musky wolf odor. So, his friend, whoever it was, was back. It was worth saying hello, at the very least. of course, he didn't intend to say hello quite so - abruptly. As he rounded the corner he came face to face with a reddish brown wolf with large ears and a long nose. Aha, clearly Vyusher.
Xeph lowered his head and flattened his ears, standing his ground in case the other wolf decided to get fresh.
'Rid Reign's yard of this interloper, NOW!
The other wolf was no one he knew, or had even seen at pack meetings, and that left no barrier for taking the offense. This wolf had absolutely no reason to be where he was, and for trespassing alone, Bastian had cause to react.
A loud snarl, with teeth bared, Bastian lunged, and hit the other wolf head on, latching on to the scruff around the side of his neck, and forcing the larger wolf...no where. He would later look back on this move as being right up there with some of the other more ridiculous actions of his life, but didn't have time now to take stock.
Trying not to lose his grip, yet also trying to show who was in charge, Bastian tried shaking his prey. Again...no where. It was like fighting with a brick wall...a furry brick wall.
Had Bastian taken a second to reassess his position, he probably would have run back into the house. Unfortunately, his desire to protect Reign, and get rid of this bigger, and unwelcomed wolf was still fueling his responses.
Xeph looked down. He figured he must have upwards of 80 or 90 pounds on this little guy. He was certainly enthusiastic. Instinct kicked in though, even as he fought the Alpha mindset that clamored for total domination, and Xeph found himself crouching and snarling.
Those tenacious jaws snapped for his throat again, and while it was protected by his think fur, Xeph didn't appreciate the full frontal assault. Pinning his ears completely back, he twisted, grabbed the smaller wolf's scruf in his own massive jaws, and dropped to the ground, rolling over and battering at the other wolf with a huge paw. Letting go, he rolled to his feet and stood over the reddish Vyusher, wondering if the one tussle had been enough or if he'd want to go another few rounds.
Xeph was perfectly aware that the simplest answer here would be to leave, but the dominant instinct in him that had made him the Alpha of his Pack would not let him do so. He wouldn't back down.
As the two rolled in the dirt, and grass, Bastian kicked back with his rear paws, while trying to maintain a hold with his front paws. It was a lot less painful if the other wolf didn't get more room to give his own kicks better purchase. That only seemed to work on the upper part of Bastian's body though, as the lower end was being hit pretty hard.
When the two wolves broke apart, Bastian had a split second to decide if he was going to high tail it back into the house. Again he made a less than stellar decision, and snarled back at the intruder. This was Reign's house, and thereby more Bastian's than the other wolf. He could put forth his 'alpha' stance until the sun came up, but Bastian wasn't moving. He would not let his lover appear defenseless.
Again they rolled, and again Bastian was left feeling less like continuing this battle. Yet again he scrambled to his feet, faced the other wolf snarling.
Before the wolf could attack, Bastian sat back on his haunches, and howled. While he wouldn't retreat, he also wouldn't have refused back up, if any of the Vyrusher had been in the area. It was a small chance, and he was completely aware of that, but if nothing else it might buy him a little more time, to try and figure out some way to resolve this situation.
Hoping the other wolf had been sufficiently distracted, Bastian lunged again, this time hitting the other wolf from the side, and finally seeing some small result of his attempts. The other wolf was knocked sideways. Unfortunately, Bastian wasn't expecting much from his efforts, yet he snarled, and barked, and grunted as he flattened himself on the ground, and waited.
When he sat back and flashed his throat, Xeph was immediately appeased. That is, until the smaller wolf went back on his "surrender" and lunged at Xeph again, surprising him and tumbling him down.
With a deep growl, Xeph rolled once more and pounded the small wolf's face into the ground, ignoring the noises issuing forth. This was ceasing to be amusing, and this lack of manners was disturbing. You flashed somene your throat, you were through. What was this cheap shit?
Hackles up now, Xeph bared his teeth once more at the wolf who was flattened, but not submissive, on the ground before him. Another low growl issued forth. Xeph was done playing. The next time his teeth met fur, there would be blood involved.
He would die. He would be maimed terribly, and rendered unconscious. The cavalry would arrive, and together they would push this mangy menace from the yard. Lightning would strike the intruder dead. Or Bastian would die.
At that moment in time, Bastian was doing his best to catch his breath, and draw all his energies forth. He would not make the next move. Perhaps if he waited long enough the other wolf would leave, bored. Or, there would be more wrestling. In either case, it would be up to the other wolf to begin again.
Reign clambered up off the sofa and followed Bastian... after a few seconds time. What she saw left her down right speechless and tempted to run back inside and lock the door. Possibly hide under her bed as well, just for good measure.
Shoving Sirius back inside, damned if she was going to let him get in the middle of this, she rushed outside. What the hell was a wolf doing here?! She knew why Bas was here but the other... she didn't think there were wild wolves in this city and she didn't think Bas would be this intent on taking out a member of his pack.
Knowing better than to get between them, and not knowing what else to do she ran to the garage, grabbed a bucket, filled it with water and tossed it over the two wolves. It worked with fighting dogs some times.
They were at a stalemate. Xeph and the unknown Vyusher stared each other down, growling and snarling, but neither made a move. Finally Xeph gave a sigh. Had he not been able to retain more of his human mind than the average were when changed, he might have given into instinct and pressed the attack. As it was, though, he had only wanted to make sure the were in Reign's yard wasn't a stalker, and that would appear to be the case.
Very well then. The stranger's refusal to attack anymore would have to be submission enough. Xeph did not want bloodshed with a member of the other Pack. Their kind were few enough as it was. His mismatched eyes glinted in the moonlight as he tossed his head at the smaller wolf and gave him a brief wolf-grin.
And then a wall of icy water hit them both.
With a yelp of surprise, Xeph turned to see Reign standing there with an empty, dripping bucket. Shaking himself off, snuffling a time or two for good measure, he noted the other wolf was doing the same thing. Letting out a yip of laughter, Xeph gave Reign a brief wag of his tail. She had some fight. She'd make a good wolf, if this one had claimed her.
With a final shake, Xeph gave the smaller wolf a dismissive sniff. Wolves didn't have much capacity in the way of laughter, but Xeph gave a few short barks of enjoyment anyhow, thumped his tail a few more times for good measure, and then turned to go.
Grinning to himself as he trotted away, Xeph thought he might actually come back for some more fun someday. That was almost better than chasing the neighbor's cat.
((ooc: Permissions given by pretty much everyone for everything done so far))
Too bad too, since he now understood how lacking his training had been, and how remiss he had been in learning more of the ways of his pack, and werewolf life among them in general. Living on his own for so long had made him careless and ignorant to the ways he should have now adopted.
The water hit him the second he was going to lunge, halting him effectively, causing him to sneeze, and shake vigorously. Looking up he could see Reign standing with an empty bucket, and after admiring her tenacity, in tandem with being angry that she again ignored his words of caution, he barked a warning in her direction.
The noises coming from the other wolf only angered Bastian further. How dare this bastard laugh, and wag his tail at Reign, as if he wanted nothing more for her to give him a good petting.
The final, slightly taunting sniff Bastian was bestowed with, was almost enough to piss him off to the point of attacking again. The water had cooled him off just enough to give him pause, and help him know that at this stage of the game there was just no way he would win anything. The other wolf then turned, and began leaving, and Bastian knew the end result had been accomplished, even if Reign had been responsible for forcing it.
While he watched the other wolf retreat, Bastian backed toward Reign, keeping his eyes on the wolf. When he felt his rear flank brush against her leg, he stopped, and waited.
Once Bas had settled in front of her, ever the protector, she turned her attention back to the new comer. No way this was just a wolf. But why the hell was there another werewolf lurking about on her property? Screw this she was moving back to Chicago. There were no werewolves in Chicago… at least none that she knew about. If Bas came that would be one. She could handle one.
Reign was half tempted to call out to the larger wolf, but he’d been attacking Bas and that just didn’t seem appropriate. Although he seemed perfectly well mannered now. Lord this was confusing. Maybe she –should- go hide under her bed after all.
“Lupo… who is he?”