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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: RichardCarolFR153138,7541035100,4363 Jan 0328 Jan 03Yes

Chess, Anyone?

Chapter 23


Willow greeted Michael with a giant bear hug. She hadn't seen

her friend for her entire Christmas break and couldn't help but

miss him. He was the closest thing to a Xander-shaped friend that

she had in St. Louis. She tried to not think of the Scooby gang

much nowadays. She was trying to move past her past. She was

actually succeeding.


Michael gave an `oomph' to the crushing grip that Willow had

around his ribs. "I missed you too, Willow. Could you lighten

up a little on the hug? I still need to breath."


Willow gave an apologetic smile. "Oh, so sorry. Sometimes I

forget my own strength."


Michael just shook his head. "Quite alright. I heard that

breathing wasn't going to be in style this year."


Willow rolled her eyes and followed Michael out to his car. It was

time again for the monthly lupanar. Willow was holding out hope

that nothing strange or of the bad would happen this time. She

seemed to have a run of bad luck regarding lupanars. She would

avoid them if she could but that wasn't to be.


Michael and Willow regaled each other with what they did over the

break as they drove to the lupanar. Michael had spent some time

with his elderly grandmother. He had been envious of all the things

that Willow had been up to. She would have preferred boredom if it

meant having some peace. She was still trying to figure out how she

fit into the big picture regarding the supernatural community.


Traffic outside of St. Louis had been especially horrendous for the

duo. By the time they arrived, the majority of the pack had already

gone to the lupanar. They parked the car and made a dash for it.

Willow didn't want to be late. It brings undue attention to her

and she doesn't like undue attention.


The pack had already begun to form a loose circle in the center of

the lupanar. Willow beat Michael again. She managed to forgo her

little victory dance. She couldn't help the smirk though. He

rolled his eyes in response.


Michael nudged Willow and pointed out that Sylvie was trying to get

her attention. Willow slowly walked forward towards Sylvie. She

was trying to avoid attracting attention but wasn't succeeding.

A silence fell upon the members of the pack that Willow passed.

Willow silently cursed the curiosity of others. She hoped her face

wasn't beginning to show the tell-tale blush of embarrassment.


Sylvie smiled as Willow neared. Willow turned her back to the

pack. She didn't want to see the curious stares. Willow gave a

weak smile in return.


"Hi Sylvie. What do you need me for?"


Sylvie placed an arm around Willow's shoulder. "Think

you're up to channeling the munin?"


"I suppose. Isn't Anita going to be here?"


Sylvie leaned in with a conspirator's whisper, "No, she's

refusing to come to the lupanar. I don't know the reasons. I

don't think she has any other plans. She's probably pissed

at Richard for some reason."


Willow nodded her head and filed away that tidbit of information.

She needed to know these sorts of things if she was going to not be

a pawn. This had nothing to do with the sexy Ulfric who was the ex-

boyfriend of the woman they were discussing. Yeah, right.


Sylvie and Willow's little conversation was rudely interrupted by

the ever annoying Paris. She grabbed Willow's shoulder and

yanked her away from Sylvie. Paris looked angry.


Sylvie crossed her arms and raised an eyebrow. "Paris, what is

your problem?"


Paris continued to hold onto Willow's shoulder much to

Willow's annoyance. "What are you two planning? Grooming

your little pet as the next Lupa? Without Sylvie's protection,

you would be everyone's little plaything." Paris sneered.


Willow forcibly removed Paris' hand from her shoulder. "I

don't need Sylvie's protection from the likes of you. And no

one is grooming me for anything. Afraid of the competition?"

Willow gave a sneer of her own.


Willow didn't feel the least bit intimidated by the likes of

Paris. While Lucy was a very physical opponent, Paris relied more

on cunning. Paris liked to manipulate her way out of possibly

harmful situations.


Paris' eyes narrowed to slits. Willow could tell that she had

hit the mark with that remark. Willow felt the hairs on her arms

stand up. Paris was harnessing the power of her beast. She was

trying to make Willow back down and tuck her tail between her legs.

Willow wasn't having any of it. She was no longer mousey Willow.

Now, she was wolfy Willow.


Willow let down all her shields. She let Paris have a taste of the

power of her beast. Sylvie backed away from the maelstrom of energy

being created between the two. Paris' eyes widened in shock as

Willow stalked closer. Paris slowly backed away. Paris let out a

growl and broke eye contact first.


Sylvie rejoined Willow. She gave a hearty pat on Willow's back.

Willow grinned. She really hated bullies.


Sylvie got an evil smile. "So, does that mean you are going to

join the lupa race? It will piss off Paris something fierce."


Willow still feeling high on her bravado gave a shrug. "Why not.

If it will piss of Paris, I'm all for it. It's not like

Richard will actually pick me, Right?"


Sylvie gave a shrug of her own. "You never know."


Speaking of the devil, Richard walked through the crowd and joined

them. He had a disapproving frown on his face. "What was that

all about?"


Sylvie answered first before Willow could. "Willow was just

standing up for herself. Paris backed down. I think I'm going

to go see what Gwen is up to." With that she beat a hasty

retreat.


Willow mentally groaned. Sylvie was so devious. Willow looked up

expecting to see the frown still in place. She was pleasantly

surprised. Richard graced her with a smile.


"So, Willow, are you going to be constantly getting into fights

now? Not going to be a troublemaker are you?"


Willow could sense the patronizing tone in Richard's voice. It

made her teeth grind in reaction. Willow had a wonderfully evil

idea. Paris wasn't the only one who could be seductive.


"It all depends on you, my Ulfric," Willow purred. She laid

one hand on his very muscular arm. "If you pick me, I promise to

be as good as gold." Willow gave what she hoped was a sexy smile

and walked away.


Willow managed to not hyperventilate from what she had done. So,

much for letting others manipulate her. `I am such a pawn,'

she thought sourly.
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