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A Willow In Wolf's Clothing

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Summary: Willow transfers to Washington University at St. Louis to get away from things that go bump in the night. Too bad for her that things go bump in the night in St. Louis too. Willow/Richard

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Anita Blake > Willow-Centered > Pairing: RichardCarolFR153138,754103599,5273 Jan 0328 Jan 03Yes

Let's Get Ready To Rumble!

Chapter 18


Willow nervously wiped her sweaty palms on her jeans. She slowly

followed Richard, Jamil, and Shang-Da deeper into the woods of rural

Myerton. Their destination was the lupanar of Oak Tree Clan.

Willow distinctly felt the need to leave a trail of bread crumbs

back to their vehicle. This really was the middle of nowhere.


Willow gave a gasp when she finally spied the lupanar. There was an

enormous, ancient oak tree. It regally sat as sentinel in the

middle of the clearing. Willow felt small and insignificant in the

presence of that majestic tree. That tree had stood long before she

was born and it would continue to stand long after she was gone.


Oak Tree Clan had already assembled by the time they had stumbled

upon the lupanar. Verne gestured for them to come forward to be

announced. The pack parted before Richard. He was flanked by Jamil

and Shang-Da. Willow brought up the rear. She nervously shot sly

looks at the crowd as they passed into the center of the circle.


Verne gave Richard a big bear hug. He reciprocated in kind. Verne

then turned to face the pack. "Our friends, Thronnos Rokke Clan,

do us a great honor by visiting us. We have long known their

Ulfric, Richard. May our clans both thrive and may our friendship

flourish." The pack comes in closer and more greetings were

exchanged.


Marianne then approached the gathering. A hush came over the crowd

at her approach. She raised her voice, "An official challenge

has been issued. Combatants come forward. This contest will

continue until one combatant submits. If one of the combatants

shifts fully into wolf form, they forfeit the challenge. Clear a

space for the combat."


Willow realized that this was her cue to come forward. Shang-Da

gave her a small encouraging smile. At least, she had convinced one

of the guys about her abilities. She stepped forward and faced

Marianne. Lucy joined Willow's side. Marianne then signaled for

combat to begin by stepping away from them both.


They began to circle each other slowly. Both of them were looking

for an opening. Lucy graced Willow with a smug smile.


"You're going to submit or succumb to the change. You

can't help it. You're weak."


Willow snorted with derision. Lucy smirked in response. She then

held her arms aloft. Willow could see Lucy's arms elongate. Her

hands curved into claws. Willow wondered if that was considered

cheating. She didn't ponder for long as Lucy charged forward.


Willow backpedaled quickly away from Lucy. Lucy closed the gap.

She swiped her right hand claws across Willow's midsection.

Willow felt first her shirt giving way and then the searing pain.

Lucy's claws gouged out four long furrows in Willow's abdomen.


Willow doubled over in agony. Lucy towered above her. She held

back from striking. She obviously thought that Willow would concede

at the first sign of pain. Willow gritted her teeth. She wasn't

going to give Lucy the satisfaction.


Willow felt the frantic battering of the beast within. It begged

for release. Willow tapped the power that resided within her

beast. She concentrated and felt a partial shift of bones in her

hands. She straightened up and held a clawed hand to her face. She

had succeeded in a partial transformation. It was now her turn to

smirk.


Lucy looked on in shock at the sudden change in Willow's

demeanor. She had been absolutely positive that Willow wasn't

alpha enough to attempt such a feat. She froze with indecision.


Willow capitalized on Lucy's hesitation by savagely backhanding

her. Lucy spun around from the force of the impact. She fell face

first into the dirt. She struggled to her hands and knees. She

turned her head to the side and spat out a few teeth and some

blood. Her jaw immediately began to swell. Lucy let out a snarl

and surged towards Willow.


Willow felt the air rush out of her lungs as she landed on the

ground with Lucy on top of her. Lucy was scrambling to get a clear

shot at Willow's jugular. They rolled around on the ground.

Clothes ripped and the wet sound of tearing flesh was heard. The

pack became agitated by the smell of fresh blood.


Inhuman growling and snarling erupted from the two combatants. This

was no cat fight. They were mauling each other. They had been

consumed completely by animalistic rage.


Willow managed another vicious blow to Lucy's jaw. She then

tossed Lucy off of her and several feet away. The only sounds to be

heard were labored panting breaths from Lucy and Willow.


Willow painfully assessed her injuries. She had several bad cuts

that continued to bleed. She had dislocated her right shoulder.

She was sure that she had several cracked ribs. It was hard for her

to breath. She didn't think that she would be able to stand let

alone defend against further attack.


Lucy was in a similar state. She was having difficulty seeing. One

eye had swollen shut from Willow's continual blows to Lucy's

head. She couldn't continue the fight but she knew that she could

outwait Willow. Willow couldn't possibly halt the change. She

was too new a wolf. Her inner beast would break free in order to

continue survival.


Lucy couldn't help herself. She had to taunt Willow. "Come

on! Give into your beast! You will die if you don't shift."


Willow ignored the taunt and concentrated on breathing. Calmness

descended upon her. She had an epiphany. She wasn't just a

wolf. She was a witch. She doesn't need to shift to heal her

injuries.


Willow began to chant. "Goddess Eir, I invoke thee. Help thy

daughter heal."


Power deep from within the earth welled up into Willow's body.

She shrieked and arched her back off the ground. It was too much.

This felt too intense. Her beast gloried in the sensations. The

power spread out from her body's center to her extremities. Her

bones re-knitted, her shredded muscles rebuilt, and her skin closed

over the wounds.


She couldn't contain this much power. She had to release it.

The power escaped from her fingertips. A shockwave of power rippled

through the pack. They gasped and reeled from its intensity. Lucy

gave a shriek also. Lucy's injuries were healing rapidly.


Lucy slowly crawled to Willow's side. Willow fearfully looked up

at Lucy's appearance above her. Willow's fear diminished as

she gazed at Lucy's expression. Lucy was in awe of Willow's

healing of her injuries.


Lucy spoke with quiet reverence, "Willow, I submit. You are

dominant to me."


Willow quietly nodded her reply. Lucy helped her to stand. Silence

reigned around them. The pack was astounded by Willow's display.

They couldn't help but stare at Willow as she made her way back

to Richard's side.


Richard had the same star struck expression that graced most of the

pack. He hadn't expected that. She had healed without shifting

and without calling the munin. She had relied upon her own innate

magic to heal. She was going to be a powerful alpha.


Willow stumbled and Richard caught her. She gave him a tired smile

of thanks.


"If one of you guys wouldn't mind carrying me, I don't

think I can make it back to the car on my own. I think I need a

little nap."


Richard bent down and swung Willow up into his arms. He gave her a

dazzling smile. She would have melted if she had any energy to

spare. He turned around and led them back to the car.
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