AN: I was thinking . . . and I thought that I might have left readers with the wrong impression, so I want to correct that with a bit of humor. No Copyright infringement intended. Posted on The Nook and now TtH by special request.
The knock at the door at the break of dawn was a surprise.
Anyone who would normally arrive that time of day would wander in from the forest, or just walk right in. Therefore anyone at the front door was not worth the time it would take to acknowledge him or her. After all they did not know if anyone was home. Jeremy ignored the knock in favor of his painting.
Then the polite knock escalated into a firm thumping. Jeremy chose another paintbrush before the thumping escalated into an annoyed pounding. He finally set down the palate and the paintbrush. It would be best to get rid of the intruder before Clay and Elena returned home from their run.
Jeremy made his way to the door through the kitchen. Through the main window he was afford a view of the female on the front step. She was tiny, definitely not big enough to be making that much noise, and she was shivering in the cool morning air. Her shoulders were hunched beneath her jacket as she tried to make herself even smaller.
Without warning, she turned to Jeremy. A huge smile lit her face as she impatiently motioned to the door. "Open already," she said. She did not mouth the words so Jeremy could hear her clearly.
Jeremy wondered if she was a stranded motorist, or a runaway, or just lost in the countryside.
He opened the door.
Her words, "You're the wolvie head honcho, right?" assaulted his ears as her scent assaulted his nose.
Her scent was strong; of innocence and predator. Her scent was familiar; it had been all over Clay when he had returned from a concert with far too many broken bones. But right now she was not making any aggressive moves whatsoever.
Jeremy must have taken too much time analyzing the girl because she repeated her question.
"You're the wolvie head honcho, right?"
He blinked. "You are?"
She held out her hand. "Buffy Summers. And if you're the head honcho, than I've gotta apologize." She dropped her hand when Jeremy made no move to accept her handshake. She also ducked her head and scuffed her shoe against the front step. "Giles said so, 'cause if Oz gets in trouble, you're the people who could help him, 'cause like-duh, you're a were-wolf and he's a were-wolf, but you've been one longer, 'cause you're old."
Jeremy was a bit bemused. "That was your apology?"
"Yes? No!" She shifted uneasily. "Well, if you don't like that apology, I hafta try again." She peaked through her eyelashes. "Do I hafta try again?"
"Perhaps if you could tell me what you are apologizing for?" Jeremy offered.
She shrugged, obviously bewildered that her feminine wiles weren't working in this case. "So I might have hit a tinsy-winsy bit hard when the surfer-dude with the 'tude went after Oz."
Jeremy folded his arms over his chest. "You broke several of Clay's bones."
She looked confused. "Was that the guy-wolfie with the hot car?"
Buffy straightened indignantly. "He came after Oz first and was all growl-ly and the concert was about to start."
"Your mutt was in Pack territory," Jeremy reminded.
Buffy rolled her eyes. "Please, he was sixty miles away from your house. And it's not like he knew."
"Clayton would have taught him."
"Blondie would have killed Oz."
"Pack business is none of your business."
Buffy laughed. "You're kidding, right? Oz is dating my bestest friend. If I hadn't protected him, Willow would have so killed me and then she would have gone after Blondie. Less people got hurt this way."
Jeremy considered Buffy for a moment. "Why don't you come in and we can talk about it?" he offered.
The offer startled Buffy. She shook her head. "Never ever invite someone into your house."
"Would you rather stand outside?"
"Nah. But some things can't enter your house without an invite. It's an acid test."
Jeremy considered it. "What would you suggest?"
"Open the door and wave me in."
Jeremy opened the door and waved Buffy in.
"Why thank you," she said. "I'd love to come in. Coffee?"
Elena and Clay hit the door at a run. They thundered through the house following the scent of their Alpha and the strange girl that had beaten Clay. They feared for Jeremy's safety, but they smelled no blood. The pair found their Alpha and the girl in the library having coffee.
To say that they were surprised would be an understatement.
Their loud entrance had spooked Buffy and she was in a fighting position, protectively in front of Jeremy, facing the door. Jeremy was staring down at the back of the tiny blonde's head in a bit of a shock. Elena had never seen Jeremy look so surprised.
Clayton was flabbergasted as well and for once he did not attack on sight.
Then Buffy did the most unexpected thing. Her eyes got really big, she dropped her fighting stance, clapped her hands over her eyes and whirled in place with a loud, 'Eep!' In doing so, she had her back to Clay, cementing the fact that she had no fear of the Pack Enforcer.
Jeremy watched and then spoke. "Miss Summers, whatever is the problem?"
Buffy looked up at him in surprise, peeking out from the protection of her hands. "They're naked!" she said in a stage whisper.
"I hadn't noticed," Jeremy said wryly.
Buffy sneaked a glance back at the pair, her eyes lingering in certain areas. Then she faced the Alpha again. "You're kidding, right? They're very naked."
"Really," Clay drawled.
Buffy realized that the guys were making fun of her and decided to turn the tables. She gave Jeremy a very appraising once-over. "Are all were-wolves that well-built in the right areas?" she asked.
Elena burst out laughing. She couldn't be sure, but Jeremy might be blushing. Whatever flush there might have been soon disappeared.
"Shouldn't you ask your friend Willow that," he asked mildly.
Buffy shrugged. "Oz is her first boyfriend. She's got nothing to compare it to."
"What are you doing here," Clay demanded, abruptly changing the conversation.
Buffy turned to answer, realized that that was a bad idea and stared at the middle of Jeremy's chest as she said, "Giles's making me apologize."
"To me?" asked Clay.
Buffy tone was very smug. "Giles said that I didn't have to. I just had to say 'I'm Sorry' to the wolvie-head honcho."
Elena and Clay looked to Jeremy in confirmation and he nodded. Clay dropped onto the couch. "So why are you still here?"
Jeremy explained, "We were discussing the problems surrounding her friend, Daniel Osbourne."
"The mutt?" ask Clay.
Buffy put her hands on her hips glaring at Jeremy's shirt. "Don't call him that," she ordered.
Clay grinned. "I don't take orders from anyone who doesn't look me in the eye, darlin'."
Buffy whirled around, saw Clay still naked and whirled back to Jeremy. "I don't have to face anyone whose ass I've already kicked," she reminded.
Buffy looked up at Jeremy. "Pretty please, can you make them get dressed?"
Elena grabbed Clay's arm and dragged him toward the door. Clay let her.
"It seems to me," Clay taunted over his shoulder, "that you have some repression issues with nudity."
Buffy stared at their retreating backs and then turned on Jeremy. "Did he just say that? I suddenly had a flash-back to my psyche prof."
"Clayton has a PhD in Anthropology," explained the Alpha. "He teaches from time to time."
"So are all were-wolves super-smart, too?" She tilted her head. "Oz was almost recruited in high school for some computer thing, but the wolf bint that tried to steal him away from Willow was mostly just a skank."
In Elena's room . . .
"Why are you letting her stay with Jeremy alone?" she asked her fiancé
Clay answered solemnly. "Her first instinct was to protect him from the unknown, even us."
Elena understood. Jeremy's safety was Clay's highest priority aside from herself.
"So what did you tell her that finally made her show some respect?" Clay asked his Alpha after the intruder left.
Jeremy smiled over his coffee. "I think she was intimidated by your PhD."
Clay stared for a moment. Never had anyone been more frightened by his brains than his brawn or his reputation.
Jeremy continued talking. "She's quite chatty once you get her going. She had to drop out of college when her single mother died to take care of her younger sister. That sister is fluent in several languages, as is Miss Summer's adoptive father. She respects anyone with a PhD."
Elena chuckled at the stunned look on Clay's face, and then library fell into a comfortable silence.
Elena eventually broke it with an odd musing. "You know, Buffy and Nick would probably make a good couple."
It was the first time Elena had managed to make both her Alpha and her Mate choke on their drinks at the same time. She hastened to lessen the glares aimed her way.
"Not that I plan on introducing them to each other any time soon. After all Buffy does have a boyfriend." But the imp in her couldn't leave it alone. "But if that relationship ever fell through . . ."