((I do own neither Buffy the Vampire Slayer nor Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter. Likewise, I do not own 10,000 BC))
Dawn was only too used to landing on the hard ground of caves when Richard was in his beast form. That was part of the reason she started padding her jeans the night of the full moon. It made for a slightly softer landing and the blanket could usually serve as a nice bed while he was out patrolling the area. At the very least it kept dirt from getting in unpleasant areas. As an added bonus, Faith had dropped their beaded bag off last time she passed through, giving Dawn a supply of lanterns powered by either magic or winding a handle. Darn useful when you were in a cave somewhere.
She had the cave gently lit when Richard returned, bright enough to see what he had in his jaws should not have been alive in her time. Like a terror bird. It was a fairly big bird too, the size of a nomral man with a beak the size of Dawn's leg and more colorful than a toucan. Most of it was already gone, no doubt in Richard's belly, but what remained was enough to feed Dawn for a few days. Not that it would remain in the cave, her ulfric usually took whatever he killed away after she took a few bites, recognizing in his primal mind that Dawn would be ill if she ate more.
She did keep a couple of the feathers however, twirling one in her fingers while Richard took the bird out of the cave. She had a granola bar in one hand, munching away to get the taste of blood out of her mouth and to keep Richard from trying to feed her. He'd done it to her once before, it hadn't been pleasant for either of them.
When her wolf returned, Dawn had finished her granola bar and undressed herself. She hated losing clothes to his claws.
“Have you figured out where we are?” Richard asked blearily, sitting up from their blanket. Over the two year course of their relationship, they'd fallen into a very easy pattern, one of the only things they could depend on in their lives. Richard being a sleepy puppy in the mornings was one of those dependable things.
“You brought me an extinct bird last night,” Dawn answered, pouring him a cup of tea from their camp fire. The beaded bag was a many splendorous thing.
“How extinct is extinct?” Richard yawned, taking the cup from her hands. “Like, dodo?”
“More like a terror bird,” Dawn smiled at him, kneeling down and cleaning his face with a baby wipe. This too had become a ritual between them, every 'morning after' she'd clean his face up and they'd have some naked smoochies.
“A terror bird?” Richard asked, lifting his face so she could clean his neck. “Like...from 62 million years ago?”
“The very same.” Dawn threw the used wipe into the fire and climbed onto her mate. “I kept a few feathers before you got rid of it.”
“I'll have to check em out,” he growled against her neck.
“So, it's a million degrees hot-”
“It's barely a hundred.”
“Whatever. It's a million degrees hot and we're in the middle of the rainforest. Which isn't that rainy I might add!”
“It'll rain soon.”
“And lets not forget the terror birds and the saber-tooth cat we keep running into!”
“Yeah, those are a pain in the ass,” Richard finally admitted, pulling foliage out of their path as the made their way through the jungle.
They were following the scent of humans, which had confused both of them tremendously. Although, this whole thing confused them immensely. Terror birds and Saber-tooth cats existing in the same time period, and then the scent of humans? It made absolutely no sense in the theory of evolution. Then again, alternate dimensions...it was possible in this universe the asteroid responsible for the mass extinction had never hit. Mankind had evolved side by side with creatures that should have been extinct.
“This place confuses me,” Dawn grumbled, tramping behind Richard in her shorts and tank top. Not two steps out of their cave, it was decided that fairy skirts and frilly tops weren't suitable to the climate.
“I think it's interesting,” Richard slowed in his steps when he reached a particularly obstinate plant. “Isn't there a machete or something in that beaded bag of holding?”
“Nope, but there's one on my waist I pulled from the bag.”
Richard stopped in his actions and turned to face his cheeky mate. Sure enough, hanging from her hip was a machete. Too big for her to wield properly, but just right for Richard and damn sharp from the look of things. The werewolf let out a laugh to keep from shouting, eventually regaining his calm and walking up to Dawn.
“Dare I ask why you didn't tell me this earlier?”
“Aside from the fact that I'm walking behind you and I get to watch all your man muscles?” Dawn grinned, reaching her arms around his neck. “You looked like you were having fun.”
Richard gave a violent tug ripping the belt loop Dawn had attached her machete too. “Fun is hunting those birds, stalking prey and feeling it in your jaws. Fun is stalking a predator like that cat and making it fear you. Fun, is pinning you against the tree and making your hoarse...ripping plants out of the ground isn't fun.”
“The result seems to be,” Dawn whispered against his lips.
“It would be if we weren't surrounded,” Richard kissed her. “Two in the trees, two in the grass around us.”
“Where?” Dawn kissed him back.
“One behind each of us in the grass. The trees on either side.”
“Smart primitives. What do we do?”
“Disarm them? Keep going? It's all up to you.”
“My choice as Lupa huh?” Dawn leaned back against the tree. “We do need to establish a way to communicate with the locals, get some information, find a place to stay.”
“They seem to be the ones we've been tracking,” Richard kissed her once more before pulling away. “Alright, lets take a break, set a small camp up and invite the locals.”
It took some time before the locals moved. In fact, night had fallen and they had set up a fire for tea. Even considered putting up a tent to sleep in before deciding the risk would be too great. It was only after Richard returned with food that their watchers exposed themselves. No one had ever been able to resist Dawn's cooking. Well, mostly. Dawn had only started cooking during their stay in hell.
When the first came into their circle they had ignored him for a few moments, instead making an extra dish and placing it on a nearby log. After some time, the visitor sat down beside it and began to eat. This same thing was done three more times until each human -or close to human- was sitting in the firelight, eating and attempting communication.
“Ulfric,” Richard spoke, touching his chest. It was a common for Richard to use this name when they were in the past or dealing with the unknown.
“Portia,” Dawn touched her own. An alternate name for herself drawn from a deity invented by lawyers to symbolize justice. Go figure.
After a bit of explaining that only Richard was Ulfric and it was not a term for any male, the introductions went by much easier. It was figured out that Dawn was Richard's mate, they called her his dambanda, helping Dawn figure out that they were working on a strain of Sumerian. Not a dialect she was familiar with, but similar enough that she could figure out what they were saying.
“His wife was kidnapped by the beast riders,” Dawn explained. “They are...looking for her where the sand...no, where the men of sand live.”
“So, someone kidnapped her and took her to the desert?” Richard asked, observing the men around the fire, two kept looking at Dawn's legs, one was decent enough to blush and try to look away from her. The married one was entirely focused on the fire.
“Sounds like.” Dawn looked up from her tea at her consort's silence. “What are you thinking?”
“I think we should help them. Give us something to do for the month. Maybe influence a primitive culture.”
Dawn snickered. “You really like doing that don't you?”
“Took over three times already by accident,” Richard shrugged. “Might as well go for gold.”
“We need to get home soon,” Dawn leaned over and kissed him. Those around the fire began mumbling to one another at her actions. “All this lawlessness is going to your head.”
“I was a sheriff once thank you,” Richard defended, kissing her back and eliciting more whispers. “I still have the hat and everything.”
Of course he had the hat. Richard loved that hat and every time Dawn tried to throw the damn thing away, Richard pulled an Indiana Jones and rescued it just in time. Stupid hat...