Taming the Wolf by Sammet
Synopsis: Being a globetrotter, as well as a vampire, Lauren Gabriel is used to unpleasant encounters with vampire hunters and has no qualms about killing them. So when visiting her clan, she is happy to help her friends raid the local Hunters' base. What she didn't expect there, was to find a young vampire who had been captured by the Hunters and seems to have lost her mind. Despite her friends' protest, Gabriel is determined to save her.
Uber: Gabriel, Wolf and the others are mine, mine, mine! But they might remind you of certain ladies from X:WP.
Sex: I expect some in later chapters. And yes, it's between two women.
Violence: A bit. Nothing that would make your stomach turn, though.
Language: English. With a bit of profanity now and again.
Thanks: To my Beta Kerrie.
Comments, criticism (constructive, if possible, but I'm not picky), questions, ideas or suggestions please to: Sammet82@t-online.de
Chapter 1 - The Visitor
Being the youngest meant always being sent around for the jobs no one wanted to do. Right now that was getting more beer, even if she couldn't drink it herself. Yet.
Alice had been Turned, made a vampire, just six months ago, and any kind of human food made her incredibly sick. They said it could be years till she could stand it again, but so far she did not miss it in the least.
The Elders, vampire equivalent for adults, could stomach every kind of food a human could, though they couldn't process much of it. Which meant they could drink a lot of beer without getting stoned and Alice meanwhile was on her third trip back from the kitchen.
The living room, their mansion's former ball room, was simply huge. Two broad, curved stairways led up to balconies on the second floor, an imposing electrical luster was glittering in the middle of the ceiling, though dimmed low, since the youngsters didn't take well to bright light.
In the middle of the room five big, mismatching sofas were grouped around a knee high coffee table and here almost the whole clan was gathered around their small blonde visitor.
Alice couldn't help but laugh at the scene. Fifteen Females, some of them hundreds of years old, behaving like kids with a new toy. Everyone seemed to want a piece of the blonde.
Lauren Gabriel, who for some reason preferred to be called by her last name, was an old friend of Erin, the Queen. She had turned up at the front door of their mansion short after sundown two hours ago, looking like an ordinary teenager in her ripped jeans, white shirt and an atrocious green denim waistcoat, and everyone seemed overjoyed to see her.
The Elders treated the small blonde with great respect, although that was sometimes hard to tell, given their usual bickering and teasing. They had given her one of the spare rooms - not that she'd had the time to even set a foot in there. The moment she arrived, she had been ushered to one of the sofas in the living room and now was being besieged by everyone present at the moment.
She seemed nice enough and sure was attractive with the shaggy blonde hair and deep green eyes, but Alice did not quite understand why everyone made such a fuss about her. Alice could smell she was of their kind and considerably older than she, but there were a lot of vampires out there and no one cared much for them.
A quick glance to her friends Kara and Val, who were barely older than Alice herself, confirmed that they didn't understand it either. She set the beer on the table and then took her seat next to them.
Gina, about two hundred years old and looking like a poster girl for 'Geeks Today', had managed to get hold of a place next to Gabriel and now was typing away madly on her ever-present laptop. „Penny says 'Hi!'“ she informed her without looking up from the screen. „And not to let 'those hyenas' get the better of you.“
Chuckling Gabriel leaned back in the cushions, sipping her beer. „Type her a kiss from me, will you? Where is she, by the way?“
Gina readjusted her spectacles. „In Vancouver . She wanted to solve some little problems we had with Patrick's clan without having to crack skulls, so she took Kat with her.“
Gabriel grinned „Having Kitty around sure makes the Males more compliant. Does she still refuse to wear clothes inside the house?“
Erin laughed. „Yeah - insists that wearing more than a thong in her own home is a sin against the gods - we miss her dearly!“
„Figures.“ Gabriel drawled „You've always been a sucker for a nice set of... eyes.“ she caught sight of Alice and smiled „So, Erin, where are your manners? Introduce me to your youngsters!“
„Are you sure you want that? They can be a real pain in the... ouch!“ she rubbed her head, where Gabriel had tugged at her blonde curls „Fine, fine, I'll be good. Well, those are Kara, Alice and Val. Robyn and CJ are on patrol with Sonya and Cheyenne right now, but you'll see them soon enough.“
Gabriel nodded and smiled at every one of them, a smile that probably could melt ice and made honey look like dirt and rocks. Alice understood immediately why everybody was so fascinated with her. With just one look the small blonde had made her feel like the most important person in the world.
Erin stretched comfortably. „So, what brings you to our humble home? Did you finally decide to settle down?“
Before Gabriel could answer, they heard the front door being slammed open, hasty footfalls in the corridor, and then Sonya, head of the warriors, stormed in. She was dressed in the black leathers the warriors wore on patrol and was fairly out of breath. „Hunters!“ she gasped.
Erin raised an eyebrow. „How remarkable. You went out on patrol, looking for Hunters, and you actually found some?“
„Shut up, Erin ! I found them all! I found their Den!“
A sudden, deafening silence followed, then everyone started talking at once.
Sonya stepped through the many legs around the coffee table and squeezed her bulky frame between Gabriel and Erin, receiving a hug from the small blonde.
Erin snickered „And here I was afraid we couldn't entertain you properly - now we'll have fucking mayhem!“ with the last word she punched her fist in the air and war cries and loud cheers broke out which Alice happily joined. Finally some action!
Gabriel laughed. It had been ages since her last visit, but her friends hadn't changed in the least. „I've never managed to get bored with the lot of you. But how come you have a Hunter-problem? I thought we had gotten rid of them the last time I was here!“
Sonya looked at her incredulously „Honey, that was thirty years ago! You didn't think they would leave us alone forever, did you?“
„No, probably not.“ Gabriel sighed „They're everywhere. They're recruiting them way faster than we can kill them. And they're getting more dangerous with all those modern weapons these days.“
Erin nodded darkly „They reappeared here about five years ago. We've been looking for their headquarters ever since.“ she looked at Sonya „How did you find it, by the way?“
„Pure luck, to be honest. We were following a Hunter in the industrial area, waiting for a good opportunity to attack and that dumb bitch led us straight there. Really, they don't make them like they used to!“
„Did you leave someone there to observe?“
Sonya snorted and opened a beer with her thumb nail. „Of course. I'm not a bloody greenhorn. Cheyenne and CJ are watching the exits and Robyn is outside, getting the van ready.“ she looked at Erin „I do suppose we attack this night!?“
„Of course. I won't let an opportunity like this slip. And having Gabriel with us will make it all the more fun.“ she nudged Gabriel „If you want to join the party, that is.“
Gabriel drained her beer and set the bottle aside. „Sure. It's been ages since I've found a whole Den. I'm ready when you are.“ she opened her waistcoat to show the Beretta in the shoulder holster beneath it.
Alice got the feeling there was more to the pretty blonde than met the eye.
„That's it.“ Sonya jumped up and clapped her hands „Ladies, attention please. Everybody fighting with a weapon come with me. Everybody else do whatever you have to get ready, 'cause tonight we need every hand!“
Alice sighed. Being the youngest also meant not being allowed any weapons. She took the opportunity, though, to sit closer to Gabriel as the six warriors and most of the other Elders stood up and left the room.
Gabriel raised an eyebrow at Erin who didn't budge. „No weapons, honey? Gettin' old?“
Erin grinned and reached for her boot to extract a slim blade. „Never unarmed. No, I'll change in a minute, but first -“ she looked around „Questions anyone?“
She had been addressing mainly the youngsters, but it was Gabriel who nodded. „Do your Hunters have wolves?“
Erin shoved the blade back in her boot „Yeah, we think so. We saw a few in the last years and I doubt there's another Den in this town.“
„We'll have to kill them, you know.“
Gabriel bit her lip. „I hate that. They are innocents!“
„They are soulless killers!“
„Uhm, excuse me!“ Alice ran her hand through her dark red curls, a bit nervous as she was interrupting her Queen „I suppose you're not talking about real wolves - you know - fur and fangs and such?“
Erin chuckled. „No, nothing like that. What we call wolves are actually vampires like us.“ she thought about it for a moment, then shook her head „No, not like us. Not at all. They - have no mind. They are completely broken, killers that have no thoughts or feelings whatsoever. The Hunters use them to track our kind.“
„It's not their fault though.“ Gabriel objected. She looked at Alice „They are vampires who got caught by the Hunters when they were just Turned. The Hunters lock them up and starve them till all they know is hunger and fear of the Hunters. It takes weeks - or months - but finally they lose their mind and all that is left is an empty shell.“
Erin leaped up, her usually warm brown eyes glowing in eerie gold „An empty shell that bows to the Hunters every whim! Those monsters have all the abilities we do, they can smell us, sense us - our former Queen was killed by one of them!“
„I know, honey.“ Gabriel sighed and gently tugged on Erin 's hand till she sat down again „And you know I loved Mia like a sister. All I say is that you can't blame the wolves personally!“
Erin growled. „No, I can't, cause there's no personality in them - they are vicious, evil killing machines and you tend to forget that!“
Alice retreated quietly. This seemed to be a long-standing discussion between her Queen and the small blonde loner with the enticing green eyes and they obviously didn't need any help with it.
She went over to Kara and Val who looked just as exited as she felt. They would be going to kill Hunters!
All of them had already accompanied the warriors on their patrols and had seen them fight and kill single Hunters, but now they would raid their den and get them all at a stroke. And the three of them would come along!
Alice had always thought it ironic that the only humans who believed in their existence were the only humans they ever harmed.
Usually they didn't kill. Their bite was painless, even pleasurable and they were able to make their prey forget they had ever seen them. They never took enough blood to cause harm.
The Hunters were another matter. Kind of a sect that traced its origins back to the Inquisition, they thought of themselves as holy warriors and set to kill every supernatural creature they could find.
Unfortunately, that put vampires on top of their list. Since vampires were pretty good hunters themselves, the warriors in turn went out every night to kill as many hunters as possible. It seemed to work pretty well, too, since none of their clan had been killed in almost a century.
Gina set her laptop aside and stood up. „I'm gonna get my stuff together.“ she announced „I told my girls to come back immediately - the two of them weren't happy to leave the party, but they'll be here in an hour.“
Val snorted. „As if a dozen geeks sitting around with their PCs and shooting at Aliens could be called a party.“
Erin winked at her, obviously having regained her good mood, and stood up as well. „I'm going to change now. Kids, you hold the post.“
Well, someone had to, since everyone else suddenly had better things to do. The warriors were getting changed, Sonya was in the armory, handing out weapons and Gina shot in and out, piling the-gods-only-knew-what on one of the sofas.
The only ones completely calm were Mac, Michelle and Candace, since they would stay behind. They weren't good fighters and the house was never left alone, so they took the opportunity to chat with Gabriel.
The three youngsters drew their feet up, so no one would drop across them and tried not to look too useless. Since they weren't allowed to carry any weapons, they set to polishing their claws. You never knew.
Those claws were almost the coolest thing about being a vampire. Fully extended over an inch long and sharp as knives, they made for excellent weapons and Alice now could climb trees like a squirrel. However, it had taken her a few months to learn how to retract them so that they looked like harmless human fingernails. And like her fangs they still extended of their own volition whenever she was agitated. Needless to say she had given up on nail polish.
When the warriors came back by ones and twos, Alice couldn't help staring in awe. Usually when they went on patrol, they opted for leather - boots, pants, biker jacket. As Sonya had placed it „Sometimes you have to observe a house or follow a hunter for hours - if you have to hide in the bushes, you don't want to do that with a wet ass.“
As it was a dry night and they were going on a quick-as-possible raid, there was no need for leather or a jacket. So now they were wearing the rarely used black combat gear Alice so longed to wear herself. Those snug fitting pants and long-sleeved shirt, topped with heavy boots and bullet proof vest just looked too cool!
Alice knew most of the warriors detested fire arms and preferred daggers or even barehanded combat instead, but since they would be fighting in a building, probably in narrow corridors, they had decided for semi-automatics they now wore in holsters over their vests.
Other than that they looked almost harmless, but Alice knew there were several blades and throwing stars concealed in their vests and boots and probably some other places she didn't want to think about.
An hour later everyone was gathering around the coffee table again, where Sonya displayed a city map and a plan of the Hunter's site Gina had googled and printed for her. She now had her long blonde hair in a braid and looked very businesslike.
Alice noticed that the black-clad and heavily armed warriors looked just a tad out of place sitting on the huge flowered sofa.
Erin , now dressed in combat-gear herself, was leaning back and let Sonya do the talking. Being the Chief, head of the warriors, Sonya would be leading the attack and the Queen would be following her orders like everyone else.
Sonya looked at her watch. „We'll strike at five a.m. That's only one hour before the sun comes up, so we'll have to make it a quick fight to get the kids into the building or even back home.“
Yes, that could be a problem. Older vampires could stand being in the sun for a few minutes without burning to a crisp, but the youngsters were prone to catch fire after only a few seconds.
„Why wait so long then?“ Val snarled, clearly afraid of missing out on something „We're all here! Let's go and get those bastards!“
Again war cries and applause that made Gabriel laugh. Sonya groaned and buried her face in her hands. „Why me?“
Erin , laughing herself, held up her hands to quiet them down. „I appreciate your enthusiasm, kids, but you will have to wait a few hours. We want to get them all in one breath and if we attack now, most of them will be out, hunting us, or whatever else they do for fun. So we wait as long as possible to give them the opportunity to get home and perhaps settle down to sleep.“
Sonya had regained her composure and carried on as if there hadn't been an interruption. „Since there are two entrances, we'll split up in two teams. I will lead one team, Erin and Gabriel the other.
We better keep in touch, though. Gina, do you and your girls still have those practical radio headsets?“
„Sure. We even improved them, now they carry almost...“
„Fine, fine, then you come with me, Erin gets Corey and Vic stays outside.“
Sonya set to deploy the troops. The warriors, divided in two teams, would do the actual fighting inside the house, while the others were to take a stand outside, in case some of the Hunters tried to escape - or others came to their aid.
Alice wasn't too happy that she and the other youngsters were assigned to posts so far off that there was barely a chance for any action, but Sonya wouldn't be persuaded otherwise. She looked at each of them, a steely glint in her eyes.
„Just to make that perfectly clear - you kids stay exactly where I post you. No playing the hero, no sudden brilliant ideas and no improvisation from you, got me?“
They nodded mutely, unable to argue with a direct order.
Sonya looked at Gina. „Same goes for you. You and your geek-squad stay in the background till we have it all cleared out, then you hack into their system and get us every information you can find.“
Gina tapped a key and closed her laptop with a snap. „Would you please stop calling us that? We're not geeks!“
Sonya ignored her and tapped on the printout. „The attack itself will be as easy as can be.
As you can see, it's a square plot with an old corporate building in the middle, three storeys, no windows on the first floor. No trees, cars or anything else on the property itself, but all around it, there are bushes we can use as cover.“
She scratched her head „Really, it's no wonder we didn't find it before - I'd never have guessed they could be that dumb!
We'll have to be quick, though. The whole complex is being monitored and I don't want to give them too much time to get prepared.“
Gina and Vic exchanged a short look, and Gina smiled slyly at Sonya. „Cool. We've got some new toys we've been dying to try out. See, we'll...“
Sonya cringed. „Don't try to explain it, please. Just what will happen when you press the button?“
Gina shrugged. „The cameras will fail. See, we'll send a...“
„That's good enough for me, thank you. Your explanations always give me a headache.“
Vic rolled her eyes, clearly unimpressed with warriors in general „We just thought you wanted to know that it won't alert them immediately. They'll think it's a...“
Sonya held up her hands. „Got it. No alarm. Great, thank you. Next point. How do we get in there?“
Corey pursed her lips. „Did you get a good look at the doors?“
Sonya nodded. „When the Hunter I was following went in. You have to enter a safety code. And there's a panel she touched with her palm. You know they have some kind of implants there.“
Gina frowned. „You don't happen to have any Hunter-hands lying around?“
„Sorry, not at the moment. Ask me again in a few hours.“
„Then we have a problem.“ Gina now spoke very slowly, obviously not trusting Sonya or the other warriors to follow her otherwise „We can open the doors, but it will take a moment - and alert their security system. They'll be expecting you with their guns at the ready.“
Sonya snarled. „Great! Ideas, anyone?“
Sam, a tall brunette warrior smiled grimly „I know those old buildings - the doors are the most stable thing about them. I'll blow a nice hole in the wall and we'll be in there before they can say their prayers.“
„Make that two holes.“ Gabriel suggested. „Even if we don't go through the doors, attacking from two sides may be a good idea.“
Sonya looked at Erin . „What do you think?“
Erin laughed roguishly. „I think we have our battle plan. Blow some holes in the wall, storm in, kill everything that moves and then blow up the house. Sounds like fun!“
A short while after that, Sonya and her warriors started out on their bikes. They would take different routes as not to raise any suspicions and park a few blocks from the Hunters' estate to join Cheyenne and CJ on their observation post. Just in case.
Half a night later Alice was practically jumping up and down in excitement. It was half past five and finally they, too, would get started.
Erin looked at the five remaining Elders that would come along. „If I gave you my convertible, could I trust you not to crash it?“
Jazz was fidgeting with her shoulder holster, clearly not too happy with it. Being Sam's best friend, she shared her fascination for everything that could explode, detonate or otherwise make a lot of noise. Didn't mean she had to like running around in a dog harness. „We'll have enough fun as it is, guess we'll save up the crashing for some dull night.“
„Fine. Then Gabriel and I take the equipment in the van.“
Alice and her friends wanted to take Val's car, but Erin would have none of it. For some reason she seemed to think she should keep an eye on the youngsters, so along with the geeks, their equipment and loads of explosives, they got hustled into the back of the van. It was cozy, to say at least, but being jammed in the big van with the black tinted windows had a certain A-Team feeling to it.
Erin and Gabriel took the front seats and Erin started the motor. „So, how do you like our new domicile?“ she inquired, addressing Gabriel.
„A bit swanky, don't you think? I've seen castles that were smaller! How many rooms do you have in there? Twenty?“
„Twenty eight. Plus five bathrooms. Believe me - with more than twenty Females at one place you can't have enough bathrooms. There are always at least three of them doing their hair.“
Gabriel chuckled. „So, when did you decide to live in a commune?“
Erin shrugged. „Somewhere back in the seventies, not long after your last visit. When we each had our own flats, I didn't have a single moment of peace and quiet. Imagine trying to seduce a woman when every other minute one of the youngsters shows up to have a chat!“
Gabriel laughed at this. „Yes, that probably would be a bit disturbing. But is it really better now, with all of you living in the same house?“
„It is. I couldn't ban them from my flat - after all I am the Queen and have to be there for everyone. But I found a cool ground rule for a peaceful family live.“ she grinned at the youngsters through the rear-view mirror „Kids!?“
They rolled their eyes, but obediently recited „Think before knocking when the Queen's bed is rocking!“
Gabriel shuddered „ Erin , wasn't there a law against you making, stealing or abusing rhymes?“
Erin was still grinning „Mia's law. I abolished it.“
Chapter 2 - The Raid
Alice hated being treated as a kid. She was twenty-four years old, after all, but that probably didn't mean too much to someone of four hundred and twenty-four.
So she and the other youngsters were posted in the bushes bordering the Hunter's estate while the warriors were allowed to have real fun. The other Elders, too, would stay outside for the duration of the fight, but at least they would be able to go in there once the actual killing was over, while Sonya intended for the youngsters to guard the estate until they all could head home again. They wouldn't even stay around to watch as Sam blew up the building!
Despite being miffed at missing out on the action, she couldn't help but admire the Elders' perfect planning and cooperation. They had been so fast! Gina had 'pressed the button', the two groups of warriors had rushed into position on opposite sides of the building and Sam and Jazz had attached the explosives to the walls.
The timing had been perfect, the two explosions had sounded like one and the warriors had stormed in before the dust had had time to settle. All in all from Sonya's attack signal to them entering the building, it had taken not even twenty seconds. Even if one of the Hunters had seen them from one of the windows, that wouldn't have been much of a forewarning.
Alice started pacing. It was so unfair! She, too, would be a warrior, she was training for it almost every night, so why couldn't she prove how much she had already learned? Sonya obviously just didn't know how good she was. If she could only show her...
The thought struck her so fast, she just couldn't take the time to think it over.
„Hold the post!“ she whispered to Kara „I'm going to check the perimeter!“ Before her friend could protest, she crept through the bushes.
She slipped past Vic - so concentrated on one of her toys she wouldn't have noticed if the ground opened up and swallowed her - and ran towards the building.
Vic frowned at the little monitor she had plugged to an IR camera pointing at the Hunter's den. She had set up three of them, monitoring every movement within four hundred feet, and just now she saw a brightly colored little shape enter the house. Vic sighed and adjusted her headset. „Corey, Gina, you hear me? You got a visitor coming. One of the kids got fidgety.“
Inside the dust still hadn't settled and even with her improved eyesight, Alice stumbled over several bodies while following the fighting noise, luckily all of them Hunters.
Climbing over an overthrown locker, she came to a flight of stairs and hesitated. Now where would be the most action?
Second floor, she decided. The warriors had a good five minutes head start, so there probably wouldn't be many live Hunters left down here.
She went upstairs, the air clearing up with every step, but here, too, everything was laid to waste. Broken chairs, overthrown cupboards, even some bullet holes in the wall, but so far no dead bodies.
Obviously the warriors were losing their touch and she had come in the nick of time to save the day.
Still she could hear screams and noise in the distance, but it seemed to come from everywhere, no indication as to where she should turn.
Probably best to go through the doors that had already been opened, they would finally lead her to the warriors.
It took about two minutes, six turns and three dead ends for her to admit that she'd gone hopelessly astray.
So much for the open doors. She was running by now, panic gripping at her with cold fingers and decided to go for the next closed door she could find.
Turning left she raced down the corridor and after perhaps thirty feet, there was a still closed door to her right. She decided this one was as good as any other and flung it open and -
ran face first into a naked male chest. Stumbling backwards she stared at a Hunter, a good head taller than her, dressed only in white boxers.
It was hard to tell which one of them was more shocked. Unfortunately, he recovered faster and she got slammed into the wall, hard enough to make her teeth rattle. Before she could remember that she actually was stronger than any human, she saw his fist coming down on her face. In reflex she slammed her eyes shut, her body going stiff as a board, waiting for the impact, when a shot rang out.
Alice ' eyes snapped open. She hadn't seen a weapon on him and why the hell didn't she feel any pain? Being shot was supposed to hurt like a bitch, so why - where was he?
Turning her head she saw Nox in the corridor, her gun still aimed at where the Hunter's head had been, cold fury on her face. With her charcoal skin, short hair dyed flaming red and glowing orange eyes, she looked like a demon out for prey and with her anger clearly directed at Alice , the youngster suddenly wasn't so sure she was lucky to be saved.
Suddenly trembling from head to toe, Alice looked down at the dead man. He was lying face down, the dog tags on the thin silver chain around his neck were rapidly being swallowed up by the pool of blood forming under him. He hadn't even been dressed, to say nothing of armed and she'd panicked. If Nox hadn't shown up, she would be dead by now.
Nox stormed up to her, her lean body graceful and catlike even in the bulky vest; She grabbed her by the front of her shirt and started shaking her like a disobedient puppy „What the hell are you doing here?“
Alice stared at her wide-eyed „I - I only wanted to help!“
„Help, my ass!“ Nox bellowed „You almost got yourself killed! What were you thinking?“
„Shut it!“ she let go of Alice ' shirt and seized her upper arm in a grip that would leave bruises, proceeding to drag her along the corridor.
„I - can walk by myself!“ she dared to protest, but Nox didn't slow down or let go.
„I told you to shut up!“ she snapped, her fangs flashing, and abruptly turned left, climbing up a flight of stairs Alice somehow had missed before.
On the third floor and way, way too early for Alice 's taste, they met up with the others from Erin 's team. As calm as they had appeared only seconds before the attack, as vicious did they look now with extended fangs and claws and blood splattered over their faces and clothes.
Alice fought the urge to run, as five sets of glowing eyes focused on her. Only Gabriel seemed simply relieved to see her unhurt and gave her a tight smile.
Joanie, cradling her left arm against her chest, gave her a look of pure venom even her cute face and freckles couldn't soften and Sam obviously was debating whether to give her a sound thrashing right now or wait till they got home. Even Corey flashed her fangs at her in an uncharacteristic show of feral anger, then gave the all-clear via head set, so Sonya knew she could stop looking for the youngster.
Erin stalked up to Alice , her eyes glowing in bright gold, her hands balled to fists, so tight her claws had to be cutting into her skin.
„You!“ she snarled, shoving her index finger in Alice face and sure enough there was blood dripping from her palm „How dare you! How - you could have been killed!“
Alice denied herself the answer that she'd realized that herself by now. It should have been heart warming that they'd been worrying so much about her, but at the moment she almost wished she was back with her Hunter. At least he hadn't been screaming.
Erin was seething. She yelled at her in half a dozen different languages, the razor sharp claw a hair's breadth away from Alice' face sure helping to make her point.
It was Gabriel who came to her aid. She stepped up to them, laying a calming hand on Erin 's arm. „We don't have time for this now. Let's get this place cleared out, then you can yell at the kid all you want.”
Erin drew a shuddering breath, nodded and turned to go.
A second later she spun back around, index finger firmly back in its new favorite place between Alice ' eyes. „One more stunt like that and you'll spend the next ten years in your room!“
Alice nodded timidly „Sh- should I wait outside?”
„Outside! You don't honestly think I'll let you out of my eyes for one second till we're home again! Come to think of it, two eyes might not be enough.“ she turned to Gabriel „Can you baby-sit her for me?”
„Will do.” Gabriel nodded, giving Alice a sympathetic smile „Stay behind me and keep your eyes open!“
Erin growled, wiping her bloody palms on her pants. „Corey, any news from Sonya?“
Corey nodded „Gina says they just secured the armory on the first floor.“
„Good. We don't need any more surprises since we bring our own.“ she shot a disgusted glance at Alice . „Tell Gina we're done up here.“
Alice risked a quick glance around. A good dozen dead bodies in various states of undress were strewn around the room like grotesque puppets, some of them with a clean bullet wound between the eyes, some slaughtered beyond recognition. She could only guess how many more there were in the other rooms.
„Move it!” Erin commanded and together they descended the stairs to the second floor. With a jerk of her chin, Erin sent Nox and Sam off in different directions.
„The workrooms are on this floor” Gabriel explained to Alice , keeping her voice low „We didn't find many of them here, they all ran upstairs when they realized they were being attacked.”
Joanie snorted „Yeah, safe bet in a house without a fire escape. What a bunch of morons!”
„However, Nox and Sam are double checking the floor now - if we missed the one you just met, there may be others.”
Alice nodded, happy that at least Gabriel talked to her in a friendly voice. The blonde's eyes, however, were shining lime green and her hand never once left the unsecured Beretta in her holster. Alice had no idea how she managed to appear so calm with the Beast so close to the surface.
Sam came back in a jog, her gun strapped to her side again. „All safe.”
A shot rang out in the distance and only seconds later Nox reappeared, blood saturating her pants on her right hip, but laughing madly. „Fucker's been hiding in a wardrobe. All safe now.“
Erin nodded „Corey?“
„First floor is safe, basement, too. Cheyenne 's double checking every room, but Gina's sure we've gotten them all.“
Erin nodded briskly, then motioned for her companions to follow her downstairs once again.
At the foot of the stairway they met up with Sonya's group again. Sonya, Gina and Cheyenne looked fine, but Maxine and Luca were missing.
An alarmed look on her face, Erin addressed Sonya „Casualties?“
„A bullet in the leg and some broken fingers. Nothing serious. Your group?“
Erin breathed a sigh of relief. „A dislocated shoulder, other than that only scratches. Their security was a joke! Those guys must have been the rejects from other Dens!“
Sonya just nodded. Then she abruptly turned her glowing eyes on Alice . „Just you wait, young lady, till we get home! You're knee-deep in shit!“
Alice gulped. She had learned early to stay clear of the warriors after they had been in a fight. And now she wasn't only surrounded by them, but even standing right between her Queen and the Chief, both of whom still were very angry with her.
They all followed Sonya to what seemed to be the common room. Luca was stretched out on one of the sofas, seemingly relaxed, but Maxine, leaning over her leg, her hands covered in blood, looked extremely worried. „Artery's been shredded, she's bleeding like a bitch!“
Luca actually laughed at that. „My leg's fine, but I don't think I can stand another pun like that.“ she looked at Gina. „Just get Sarah in here!“
Gina nodded, already talking to Corey. For a vampire, a wound like this wasn't life threatening. But if Luca lost too much blood, she was likely to get into a Rage and they sure didn't need any complications right now.
Not even a minute later the other Elders came in, immediately taking charge and now Alice understood why they were on.
Now that the actual fight was over, the warriors were a scary sight. Fangs and claws extended to the max, eyes glowing, the air around them was bristling with power. None of them able to stand still, they were pacing restlessly, jerking at the slightest sound. With the adrenaline from the fight pumping through their veins and all the energy without an outlet, it would be hours before they calmed down enough to take on a human appearance again.
Worst of all was Cheyenne . When Alice first had gotten to know the clan, still human back then, this special warrior had scared the living daylights out of her.
Cheyenne was like a human - well, vampire - brick wall. 6'2 tall and muscled all over, built like a male warrior. With the square jaw and her usual frown, even her face looked a bit male, though she had beautiful, almond-shaped eyes and long, flowing black hair.
She didn't talk much and in battle she was fierce as they come. It hadn't taken Alice long though, to look behind that intimidating exterior and see the real Cheyenne , the gentle warrior devoted to her mate. She was also Alice 's favorite combat teacher, the most patient.
But now, after a real fight and with her mate out of town, there was no patience to be seen for miles. She was strung tight as a bow, growling even at the other warriors not to come near her, and obviously hoping for some Hunters to pop out of thin air so she could fight some more. She would probably spend the next few hours working out in the gym, trying to get rid of all that excess energy. It really was time her mate came back, Kat would have her calmed down within minutes.
None of the injuries the warriors had gotten were lethal or even dangerous, not even Luca's bullet wound or the deep gashes in Nox' side Erin had referred to as scratches. Nonetheless Sarah and Danny worked with a speed and accuracy that would have any ER staff envious.
Sonny, her pigeon blue business suit a strange sight with the chest holster over it, took over Corey's head set, as the small asian went to the IT-room with Gina. Vic still was outside, so they could stay in contact with the youngsters.
Since Sam still did the 'caged animal' routine with the other warriors, Jazz started to attach explosives wherever she deemed them necessary. Sam still would have last say in that matter, but the two friends were a good team and usually worked without a need for words.
Only Gabriel, who had fought like everyone else, had regained her composure completely. Her eyes were emerald green again and she was now softly talking to Erin .
Alice attempted not to get in the way, which was hard since Erin 's eyes shot daggers at her whenever she tried to take a step away.
Maxine, her hands encrusted in dried blood, stepped up to Erin . After a short exchange in hushed voices, Erin nodded, she took off her chest holster, removed her gun and roughly shoved the holster in Alice ' arms „Buckle's bent. See if you can do something about it.“ Then she let out a shrill whistle that got everyone's attention.
„Alright. The geeks are hacking the system right now and Gabriel and I have work left to do. Sonya, I want you to take the warriors home before someone gets hurt. The rest of you get the youngsters and head home as well. Take Joanie and Luca in my car and leave the van here.“ she drew her cell phone from a hidden pocket in her vest and held it up „I expect immediate confirmation when you arrive at the mansion.“
„Right then.“ Sonya's voice trembled with the effort to speak calmly „But I'll leave Sam and Max, they're remotely calm and I don't want you here without protection.“
It still was possible that some of the Hunters had been out late and Sonya wouldn't take any chances with Erin, Gabriel and the geeks to face them on their own.
„I'll stay as well.“ Sonny stated „You never know when you might need my unique abilities.“ She wasn't only a certificated lawyer, but also incredibly skilled in Persuasion, the vampires' art of gentle mind control.
Erin nodded. „You're right - we just blew some holes in this house, quite possible that got someone's attention.“
Sonya growled her approval, then looked at Alice . „What about her?“ her voice sounded barely human anymore.
Erin took Alice ' shoulder in a death grip „Leave her here. Damn kid needs to learn a lesson.“
Alice paled „Perhaps - uh... Gina needs some help... I'll... go and...“
„Oh no!“ Erin snapped „You stay with me! You've caused enough trouble as it is!“
She looked at Gabriel. „You up to this?“
Gabriel rolled her eyes. „Of course, Erin ! I'm not a kid anymore!“
„Just checkin'.“ Erin turned back to Alice . „You wanted some excitement, kid? Well, you'll get it. Come with us, might as well learn something while you're here!“
Feeling very uncomfortable now, Alice followed her and Erin through a couple of rooms that looked like a hurricane had come through and down a narrow staircase.
Behind a massive steel door lay an undecorated corridor, remarkably shabby compared to the rest of the building and illuminated only by a naked light bulb in the middle of the ceiling.
Erin held the door open for Gabriel and Alice, then stepped inside as well „And here they are. We're lucky they didn't have the time to set them lose!“
Alice took a hesitant step forward. It was cold down here. To her left there was a small cell. Well, more like a cage than a cell, being barely ten feet square, with bars all over the front and no furniture at all.
On the rear wall, where the light from the bulb didn't reach, Alice saw a shadow moving, a shadow about the size of a man.
„What is that?“ she whispered, feeling like she just had stumbled into a bad horror movie.
Erin growled, her eyes turning back to gold „This, kid, is a Wolf.“
Alice involuntarily took a step back as the dark shadow suddenly leaped forward and clawed at them through the metal bars.
Snarling, fangs bared, lunacy in the glowing yellow eyes. There was no intelligence, no feelings, only hunger and hatred in the contorted features. The creature let out a wail of terrible anger as it realized it couldn't reach them.
Alice could only stare wide-eyed „They - they are just like zombies, aren't they? No - no thoughts or feelings, just completely insane!“
„Zombies, huh? No a bad comparison, actually. You hear this, Gabriel? Can you kill them easier if you picture them as zombies?“
Gabriel's cute features darkened and without missing a beat she drew her gun and fired two shots, one at the head and one at the heart. The Wolf crumpled down in a bloody heap.
„I don't mind killing them, Erin.“ she said coldly „I only regret we couldn't help them before it was too late. So, how many more are there?“
Along the corridor they found four more cells and from three of them the zombie-like wolves, two Males and one Female, tried to break free to get their claws on them.
Gabriel shot them all, sadness in her eyes, but with a steady hand nonetheless. Always the same pattern, one shot to the head to destroy the brain, one to the heart to make sure it wouldn't be able to pump any blood to the head to repair the damage. It wasn't quite as safe as beheading, but since they would blow the whole complex to atoms later, there was no way the wolves could recuperate.
'... so cold...'
In the last cell they saw a thin Female huddled in the farthest corner, clad in worn, ripped jeans and T-Shirt, her long black hair felted and dirty. Her gaunt body was trembling all over and she had her arms wrapped around her head, probably to protect her eyes from the light in the corridor. What was visible of her skin, was covered in bruises, ranging from fresh, purple ones to fading yellow spots.
„She's so thin!“ Alice whispered, pale with shock „I didn't know we could lose weight!“
Erin nodded darkly. „We can. They probably gave her barely enough blood to survive, and so her body tried to gain energy of everything that was available, even itself.“
'They are back...'
„Those others were in a better shape!“
„They were already full wolves,“ Erin explained „the Hunters set them lose and they feed on our kind whenever they can find us. There are a lot of Mavericks out there no one would miss.“
„Why don't they just attack humans? Wouldn't that be easier?“
„Conditioning. You see how battered this one is, I guess that's part of their mind control program. I don't know how exactly they proceed, but Gina is hacking into their database right now. Perhaps we find some clues in there.“
'The monsters are back...'
Gabriel didn't seem to have listened at all, she was staring intently at the young Wolf.
The Female raised her head and looked at her with glowing, silvery eyes that still held a bit of intelligence.
'Why do they keep making noise? Hurts...'
„She can't have been here longer than two or three weeks...“ Gabriel mused „...perhaps we can save her! Look at her eyes, she's still in there!“
„Forget it!“ Erin snapped „It's too dangerous! She'll kill you as soon as you set a foot in there!“
More noise. More pain...
„She'll try, Erin, but I'm way stronger than her! I can control her till we bring her back!“
„Well, go ahead and give it a try. Control the wind and the tides, too, while you're at it!“
„I'm serious, Erin !“
„So am I! There's no way turning a Wolf back into a vampire!“
„But that's my point! She's not a real Wolf yet!“
„We can't just kill her like some rabid dog! She's not ruined yet and I won't give her up!“
Erin threw her hands up in exasperation. „Do as you please, Gabriel - but I'm warning you - other Hunters will know what happened here. We have to burn this whole building down and you can't let her out of this cage the way she is now!“ she smiled grimly „So, if you can reach her mind in two hours, go ahead!“
The door opened and Sonny came in, her grey eyes sparkling with excitement. „All clear upstairs. Everyone's on their way back home, Jazz has prepared the Big Bang and we could probably be out of here in half an hour...“
They were gathering behind the bars, making noise, preparing to come in and hurt her again.
Erin shot Gabriel a smug look, but Sonny wasn't finished yet.
„Thing is, Gina and her geeks are having trouble hacking through the security system. They told me it would probably take the whole day, perhaps two, then they started babbling in that weird geek-language I don't understand. You know how they are.“
Erin 's eyes shot daggers at her. „Fine! Team up against me, will you?“
„Never mind. Tell Gina her deadline's dawn tomorrow.“ Erin 's voice had taken on a sharp, authoritative tone she seldom used „If she's not done by then, we'll have to go without the dates. I want to know immediately if she's finished any earlier. Call the mansion, tell them we'll be longer than we thought. I want two warriors here round-the-clock, they're to change shifts every six hours. Oh, and tell Sam to disarm her explosives till we're ready to leave, then report back to me.“
„Sir, yes, Sir!“ Sonny bellowed and saluted, then made a run for it before Erin could slap her in the back of the head.
Gabriel had a hard time disguising her laugh as a cough.
Erin turned back to her, murder in her eyes. „One day, Gabriel! If you don't have her talking, walking and generally behaving like something with a soul in it by tomorrow morning, I'll kill her myself and drag you out of here by your ears!“
Gabriel smiled that gentle, dopey smile she knew drove Erin mad. „Hopefully it won't come to that - my ears are pretty sensitive. Okay, one day, I can do that.“ Even to her own ears it sounded a bit like a despaired pep talk, but then her eyes once again were drawn to the dark form huddled in the corner and her resolve hardened. It would be such a shame if they had to kill her.
She looked at Alice . „We need to feed her. They have to have a storage of blood somewhere. Could you find it for me?“
Alice nodded vigorously, glad to be of use, and off she went.
Gabriel chuckled. „Eager little thing, isn't she?“
Erin nodded. „Yeah, a bit too eager sometimes. Couldn't believe my eyes when she...“
But Gabriel had already turned towards the Wolf again.
The monster kept staring at her. Soon it would start again...
To Be Continued in Chapter 3
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