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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: RichardCarolFR153138,754103598,2143 Jan 0328 Jan 03Yes

Meeting the Pack

Chapter 6


Doomsday had arrived. This would be the last time Willow could ever

think of herself as only human. True, she knew that changes had

probably already occurred. The infection of lycanthropy had

burrowed into her skin through the scratches and now was floating

along in her bloodstream. With every beat of her heart, the

infection spread by inches and tainted yet another one of her

cells. Her temperature had begun to rise. It was like the virus

was burning out the last of her true humanity. She could

practically feel it. She knew that it was probably just her

overactive imagination running at full tilt.


She could taste her nervousness. It had a bitter tang at the back

of her mouth and all the mouthwash in the world wouldn't make it

go away. She didn't want to go to the lupanar tonight but they

were leaving in just a few minutes. The moment of truth had

arrived. There would be no running from this fact. She couldn't

magic it away. She was stuck and not in control. She hated not

being in control. This fed the emotional rollercoaster that she had

been on since the night of the attack.


She had to get a hold of this fear. She would not lose herself

completely. She may lose her memory but she would return to her

human form when the morning comes again. That is what she feared.

Not being able to be Willow anymore.


She sighed and shook her head of these thoughts. She didn't have

time to philosophize over what really constituted her identity. She

put on some ratty old tennis shoes and went to join Sylvie and Gwen

downstairs.


Not a word was said as Willow entered the room. Gwen gave an

encouraging smile and a comforting hand went to pat Willow's

shoulder. Willow gave a very feeble smile in return. They were all

dressed in old clothing. Willow had been informed that the change

can bring about quite a mess. You didn't want to wear your

Sunday's finest for a night rolling around in the wilderness.


Well, no more postponing the inevitable thought Willow. She stood

up straight and looked Sylvie in the eyes. "I'm ready."


Sylvie nodded approvingly and out the door they went.


The sun was nearing the horizon when they finally reached their

destination. Willow would have been hard pressed to find her way

back to civilization. They were in the middle of nowhere. There

was nothing to keep them company but the trees and well, other

werewolves.


Stage fright had reared its ugly head with the thought of others.

Willow didn't want to be the center of attention but she had the

sneaking suspicion that it would happen anyway. She was the only

one who would be experiencing the change for the first time tonight.


She rubbed her arms as if she were cold. Her skin prickled. She

had the foreboding sense that one acquires while standing outside

unprotected in the middle of a thunderstorm. She could feel the

pull of something in the woods. She was drawn so strongly that she

felt like she should be running instead of standing there next to

the car. She looked questioningly towards Sylvie.


Sylvie understood without Willow speaking the question aloud.

"You feel the call. You are being drawn to the lupanar. All

Lukoi feel this way. It is alright."


Sylvie grabbed her hand to reassure her and gave a wild grin.

"Come on, girls! The night's a-wasting! Let's run!"


Willow never felt so alive. She felt like a quickly moving shadow

as they practically flew between trees. Too soon for Willow's

liking, they did arrive at the clearing. Willow wanted to run some

more.


Willow stood between Gwen and Sylvie. She slowly took in all the

people that were gathered there. Such a large pack, she thought to

herself. People were streaming in from the trees.


Willow's eyes were drawn to the center of the large circle being

formed by the members of the pack. Three casually dressed men

surrounded an ancient stone throne. It was such a strange sight to

see in modern day America. Two of the men stood to the back of the

throne as if on guard while the third regally sat.


It was the one that sat on the throne that caught Willow's

breath. This was the Ulfric. Sylvie said his name was Richard. He

was just too yummy for words. Long, thick, brown hair hung loosely

around his shoulders. He wore only a faded pair of cutoff jeans.

He had a dark tone to his skin. He looked completely comfortable in

this outdoor setting. It was the way the air just seemed to shimmer

around him that caused the gasp to come from Willow's lips. She

could feel his power rolling off him in waves. It was quite the

rush.


Sylvie motioned Willow to follow her through the crowd to the

center. Willow swallowed hard and did as she was bid.


They stopped just feet away from the yummy man that Willow had been

ogling. Sylvie moved closer to her and put an arm around her. The

crowd hushed as the scene unfolded in front of them.


Richard slowly rose from his throne. "Geri of Thronnos Rokke

clan, state your business before your Ulfric and your pack."


Sylvie's power surged in response. "Before my Ulfric and my

pack, I bring another to our sacred lupanar. I present Willow

Rosenberg. She is newly-made Lukoi."


Willow felt all eyes upon her. She fought off the urge to blush.

She wished this over with so that she could sink gratefully into the

earth.


Richard stepped closer to Willow. She felt his warm power wash over

her. Something deep within her stirred in response to his probe,

the beast within had awoken. She felt suddenly very alien and

strange. Richard continued to look into her eyes. Was he judging

her soul? What if he didn't like her? Would she get kicked out?

Could he read her mind? Would he set her free so that she could run

again in the woods?


He stepped back. "Willow Rosenberg is Lukoi and she is pack.

Come forth and know the scent of our newest wolf."


Willow knew to expect this but she still couldn't help the bubble

of fear that broke free as the group closed in around her. Many of

the eyes that she was faced with now had taken on wolf amber. They

meant no harm. She had nothing to fear. Faces came closer and she

could feel the intake of breath as they caught her scent. Some of

the wolves were friendly and offered her a face-rubbing greeting.

She had found refuge.


The sun rays finally disappeared from the clearing. The night was

falling and the full moon had begun its slow ascension into the

sky. The crowd parted before a petite woman with dark curly black

hair.


Willow surrounded by all that lycanthropic energy could still sense

the power off this new arrival. Willow felt the call of the grave.

A rushing noisy presence filled the lupanar. It was the noise of

many voices calling out. Willow shuddered and so did the small

woman.


Willow realized that this was Anita Blake, the former lupa. This

was the woman that managed to put the pack in turmoil. She was

Richard's former love and she was summoning forth the rushing

presence. Willow could almost taste it. What was it? She looked

at Sylvie and Gwen who had returned to her side after the pack

welcome. They were unaffected but expectant. Willow hid her

reaction to the foreign sensation.


Anita's brisk walk transformed to a sexy strut before

Willow's eyes. The former lupa was exuding a dark sexual energy

that made Willow's skin crawl. Some of the pack recognizing this

shied away from Anita. She smirked. She was practically undressing

the crowd with her eyes. Her gaze landed on Willow.


Willow felt an overwhelming need to hide from this strange person.

Anita stalked closer to Willow.


"Ooh a new wolf. If only, I was alive today." She ran a

hand through Willow's fine shoulder length red hair. "You are

such a pretty one. I bet you would be fun to play with."


Willow slapped the offending hand away. She gave off a low growl

towards Anita. She couldn't help herself. It had just slipped

out. Her eyes bled to amber. Her beast wanted to take a bite out

of this threatening presence.


Richard spoke up at last. "Anita, get a hold of Raina. We have

no need for that."


Anita/Raina walked up to Richard. She yanked down his head and gave

him a violent kiss. He angrily pushed her away. She gave a

victorious laugh. Anita shuddered again. The dark presence was

gone. Anita and Richard had both taken up protective stances. They

were clearly uncomfortable with what had happened.


Willow knew she had to be blushing now. She didn't want to

witness something that was obviously very private between the two of

them. There was unfinished business between the Ulfric and the Lupa

that was not meant for the eyes of the pack. She had just seen a

possession by some vengeful munin that got a thrill in pointing this

out. The possession didn't seem to be that pleasant if this was

what Willow had to go by.


The moon broke over the trees. The pack gazed up at the sight.

Willow looked to Sylvie for reassurance as she felt the change come

upon her. Pain…so much pain.
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