Two dark massive shapes darted in and out of the brush, yowling and nipping at one another's hide quarters. Smaller animals skittered away in fear, but the two predators had no interest in them, focused only on their game. In a small glen, well away from any civilization the smaller of the two turned from where it had been ahead and pounced on the other, grabbing a muzzle full of fur in its jaws and taking the other one to the ground. The other beast yelped, more in surprise then pain as it found itself rolling to the side, paws flailing for purchase. They scuffled on the ground of a time, yipping and clawing as clots of grass and dirt went every which way. Finally the two broke apart and sat back on their massive haunches, panting breath pluming white in the cold night air.
With a shake of it's massive shoulders the larger of the two shifted. Dark fur became rough, tan skin, and long powerful limbs cracked and shifted to a human shape. The man shook his head, smiling up at the dark sky as bright as the moon looking down. "God it feels good to get out and do this," He said, his smile all teeth and wolf.
The other animal bobbed its head before it too changed. Pale skin and flaming red hair took place of russet fur, and golden eyes darkened to their normal umber hue. Nicole shook out her limb, helping to ease the lingering ache of the change. "It does," She said, smiling over at her friend. A cold breeze washed through the glen, ruffling their tussled hair. "There are times I wish I hadn't moved away. I've missed you, Mason. And the rest of the pack."
"And I've missed you too. But you needed to get away from all the craziness of home."
"Just ended up finding a different kind of craziness," Nicole grumbled as they made their way through the small copse of trees to where Mason had parked his jeep . The cool air felt good on their skin, bared and kissed by the fading moonlight and beginnings of sunrise. Neither gave much notice, Preternates not having the same hang ups about nudity as humans. Their coat of flesh on two legs served the same purpose as their coat of fur on four, and each treated the same.
Nicole felt her wolf lay down within her chest, breathing in deep at its first taste of true freedom in a long time. Since coming to Purgatory, she had had to hide such a major part of herself from everyone. It was aggravating, being away from a pack, but it was necessary. She had had a bad falling out with her father, the Alpha of the Salt Lake Pack. While she had not been kicked out, per say, she had felt it was a good idea to get away, move to a new city and get a fresh start. Something had drawn here to this little backwater town. She loved her job, loved being able to protect her home, loved the people…
An image floated into her mind, of playful brown eyes and a welcoming smile. Her wolf growled, still laying down, but with interest piqued. Waverly Earp. The one figure that seemed to calm the loneliness for the lone wolf.
"You're going to have to tell someone sometime, little sister," Mason said. His large hand gave her shoulder a squeeze as gentle on as the smile on his face. "From what you've told me they're used to weird things. I don't think a shifter is going to be the worst among them."
Nicole let out a noise of acknowledgement, but not of agreement. It was one thing that was annoying living in Purgatory. She knew there was something supernatural going on, it coated the air like the metallic tang before a thunderstorm. She knew this was going on, but still wasn't allowed to help. Maybe if she did tell the truth she could help…then again Black Badge wasn't known for its tolerance towards Preternates. They were a well-known danger to the packs, but for the most part left them alone due to an agreement made with the Collation. As long as no one did anything stupid, and didn't draw any attention, Black Badge had no reason to step in. But how would they feel about a lone wolf on her own, caught up in whatever strange activity was brewing? A deep growl rumbled in her chest at the thought of being an experiment.
Nicole snorted in surprise at the intrusion to her thoughts. Feeling the brush of pelt beneath her skin, Nicole only now realized her wolf becoming agitated once more. She pulled her back into submission, knowing it was going to do no good to get riled up now .
"Listen. There is no choice that needs to be made right now, except for one," Mason said, pulling on his shirt and tucking it into his pants . Nicole glanced at him as she finished getting dressed as well, waiting for the question. "Pancakes or waffles. You did promise me breakfast after all."
"I don't remember making that promise," Nicole laughed as they climbed into the jeep.
"Sure you did. You're just getting senile in your old age."
"You are five months older than I am! I think you're the one going senile, old man."
A mock look of outrage crossed Mason's face as they pulled out onto the main road and made their way back into town. Bickering like siblings and wolf grumbling with contentment, Nicole let the morning wash over her . Thousands of thoughts and worries still swarmed like a nest of hornets inside her skull. So much to worry about and carry, but for the first time in a long time, she felt calm. Ready to face the day…with some pancakes to fortify herself with of course.
"Come on, waffles are so much better," Mason argued.