AN: You might be getting a feeling of déjà vu, but yes, you have seen this fic before. I didn't like it and took it down. And now it's back better than ever (well, I hope)XD I changed a lot of things in this fic so enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Sailor Moon. It is property of Takeuchi Naoko, Kodansha, Toei Ltd., and tons of other people who aren't me. Any of the characters or places that you recognize within the confines of this story also fall into this category. This standard disclaimer applies to all of the following chapters in this story.
Chapter One: Of Murphy's Law
At the back of a nameless pub, Agent Moon sat slouching in a corner booth. From her seat, she had a good view of both the bar and the three exits. Every few minutes, her eyes would glance up from her drink, taking in the darkened interior of the pub and its patrons. The place was packed with men staring at a large TV screen along the far wall.
She hunched her body over her third drink as the hairs in the back of her neck prickled their warning of a premonition. Her hand momentarily tightened on the glass. She closed her eyes and let the vision wash over her.
Opening her eyes, Moon smirked. So her target had finally made a choice.
'About damn time,' she thought sourly as she took a swing of her drink. Her eyes made their customary rounds through the smoke-filled air, before she spotted the familiar figure of her target making his way around the pool tables. From the corner of her eyes, she noticed another figure making their way toward the pub's entrance.
They arrived at the pub door at the same time, from opposite directions. Her target stepped back to let the taller, broader man approach the door first. The taller man cocked his head to the side, as if he were debating with himself, before he opened the door and gestured for Moon's target to leave first.
Moon surreptitiously watched them leave with something akin to foreboding. She anxiously waited for the minutes to tick by. Making her way to the bar, she quickly paid for her drinks and left.
The pub was located at the end of one of the many deserted streets that made up this part of the city. So it came as no surprise to Moon that she easily spotted her target as he swiftly passed underneath the only working light post, his lanky form hunched over. The trepidation she'd been feeling all day intensified at the sight of the man she'd seen leaving with her target. It sent a chill up her spine. The man was wearing a hoodie, which made identifying him an impossible task.
Still standing a few inches from the pub's door, Moon's body was tense with hyper-alertness, her head lowered as she tracked her target through lowered lashes. Moon tried stretching the tension from her stiff limbs. When her muscles refused to loosen, she inhaled a deep breath and held it until the aching in her shoulders finally eased. Stuffing her hands into the pockets of her lightweight black trench coat, she reminded herself that this was a simple retrieval mission, that nothing should go wrong, and that if anything did, she was qualified to take care of it. So what if her sixth sense was telling her something wasn't right, and that something was going to go horribly wrong any moment now? This was her job. And if worst came to worst, she had backup. Everything was going to be fine.
Moon knew how this was supposed to go. Like all her recent missions, it would follow the same pattern: shadow the target until their daily routine was memorized, figure out who their friends and enemies were, make contact with the target, and choose the day to do the pickup. Shrugging off any lingering unease, she waited until the target and his companion rounded the corner to follow them, making sure to maintain a safe distance.
Her target was a twenty-five year-old were-bear. An American black bear orphaned at a young age. He'd found his way into a notorious tribe of black bears who thought stealing and selling illegal weapons were the best way to make a living. They were slowly traveling north from their base in Mississippi, never staying more than two months in any given location. Moon had a pretty good idea that Canada was their destination.
Usually, crimes of this nature were handled by the local police, but when the weapons stolen belonged to the Department of Magical Creatures' Relations and could be used to wipe out supernatural beings, things were handled by the Magical Investigation Division. Too many unprepared and unsuitably skilled local police officers had met their end at the hands of supernatural beings. That was why MID had been created by the higher ups at DMCR; the division was humankind's primary defense against delinquent supernaturals.
The streets were far from being deserted. People filed in and out of the bars and motels that made up most of this seedy area of town, some congregating on the sidewalks as cars drove by.
Her target and his companion kept to well lit areas, walking where it was most crowded with people. Crossing to their side of the street, she bumped into a wayward drunk. All it took was that one moment of distraction for her to lose the pair.
She swore softly. The target must be onto her. The last time she'd seen him, earlier into the night, he'd been alone, sitting at the farthest corner of the bar, hunched over a drink. She should have known something wasn't right the moment he'd left the bar with his friend in the hoodie. She wondered what had given her away. How had her target known that he was being followed? He'd shown no signs of being that much of a thinker. He was the weakest link in his tribe. She couldn't afford to lose him. Not now when she was so close to closing this case.
She glared at the drunk menacingly. As drunk as the man was, he knew danger when he saw it. He didn't even wait for the blonde to prove how dangerous she was before hastily making himself scarce.
There was a short pause as Mercury —back at MID headquarters— analyzed the situation. Fundamentally, her computer only gave her basic knowledge of what was going on with Moon. The target was still moving, yet Moon had stopped. Years of experience had taught Mercury that Moon's lack of volubility was usually inversely proportional to the direness of the situation. When the blonde did not immediately start swearing up a storm, she asked, "Moon? What's the situation?"
Moon gave herself a moment to thumb down the volume on her earpiece before responding, "I think I lost them."
Now was the moment of truth, she could either let her target go free for another day and potentially risk the chance of him and his tribe skipping town, or she could continue with the chase. Moon knew that according to the two-month rule that the tribe followed in how long they stayed in a location it was time for them to move out. Moon, who'd invested three frustrating months tracking down possible leads, wasn't just going to let them escape that easily.
Normally, when unexpected variables were added, she'd back out. That's what made her one of her unit's top retrievers— she knew when to retreat. But this case was different. She couldn't risk the possibility of them leaving the city and she knew that's exactly what would happen if she let her target go. He'd warn his tribe and her case would fall apart. Moon didn't care what she had to do to keep this from happening, she was close to figuring out the whereabouts of the tribe's hideout and if there was even a slight chance that he was leading her directly to them, she'd risk it.
"Mercury, now would be a good time to send in some backup."
"I'm on it," she replied tersely.
It took only a moment for Mercury to give her a positive fix on her target's location. Moon thanked God for the tracking device she'd slipped on the target earlier that night.
She felt a rush of adrenaline pump through her system as Mercury started naming street after street. Moon started walking quickly through the crowded streets. A moment later, when the throng of people thinned, she gave chase, the thudding of her boots on the asphalt making a lonely, ghostly sound. She ran block after block as Mercury's directions continued to drone monotonously into her ear.
It took Moon— who only had a basic knowledge of the area— a while to realize that she was heading for the old warehouse district. MID intelligence knew that some ragtag were-bear tribes had access to those buildings. Chances were she'd find her target's tribe of were-bears in one of those abandoned buildings.
Finally, Mercury said the blessed words, "Ahead of you."
Moon huffed out a breath and willed her legs not to slow. Not now, when she was so close to catching up.
Ten minutes later, out of breath, frustrated, and faced with a dead end, Moon knew without doubt that she had been tricked. It wasn't as if she hadn't deduced this beforehand; this only confirmed what she already knew. Her target knew she was coming for him.
"Mercury, why is there a wall in front of me?" Hunched over with her hands on her hips, she heaved in a breath. She was becoming more than a little annoyed by the situation.
Unfazed, Mercury responded as calmly as she could, "There's a series of buildings beyond it. Try to scale it if you can."
After a quick glance around to check for observers, Moon placed both hands on the surface of the brick wall, trying to find any serviceable cracks. Satisfied that she would not fall and break her neck, Moon tentatively started climbing. It took her a few tries, but she was finally able to boost herself over the barrier and into the dingy darkness beyond it. She landed unceremoniously with a loud thump.
Abandoned buildings loomed ominously in the dark, and the deathly silence of the night set alarms off in her head. The foreboding feeling of uneasiness that came with being prescient increased threefold. It was then that Moon sensed she was being watched. The reversal of the situation put her on edge.
Searching through her pockets, she pulled out a pair of night vision glasses, silently thanking Andrew for having reminding her to take one with her. Once her vision finally adjusted, she breathed, "I'm over."
After she heard the okay signal, she took off at a dead run. She was in hostile territory and hoped to God she encountered no more unnecessary obstacles. She had a bad feeling that she would not walk away from this mission unscathed. And her colleagues wondered why she hated solo missions with only a disembodied voice in her ear as company. She only hoped backup would arrive before she was torn to pieces.
"He's a couple of blocks from you."
"Roger that." She put on a fresh burst of speed. She soon became lost in a dark pathway of broken down buildings and quickly discovered that it widened into a maze of back alleys.
It was only when she reached another dead end in the maze that she realized she was caught in a trap of her own making. The darkness of the narrow alleyway became a suffocating blanket of unease.
"Moon, be on guard. Target's right ahead of you."
She came to a full stop. Her mind went into hyper-alert mode as she waited for a sign that her target was there in the darkened abyss. The seconds slowly ticked by.
She didn't have to wait long before he acted. She sensed a subtle shift of movement as his eyes flashed in the darkness of the alley. Moon ignored both of the two guns she had on her person at all times: a standard issue .45 caliber Glock nestled in its secure place beneath her coat, the other, a modified Magnum .32 MID issue, filled with customized bullets, and capable of blowing a man away at thirty paces, was at her hip for easy access. She wouldn't need either of the two tonight. She was going to stun her target unconscious.
She should have realized that if things could go wrong, they usually would. Her prescient talent hadn't been wrong yet, so why had she ignored it?
She drew in a breath, and pulled out her customized zap gun. The weight of the weapon felt reassuring in her hand. One shot, she told herself. That's all she needed to incapacitate him.
Moon carefully scanned the shadows ahead of her. He had to be here somewhere. There was no other way out. He was just as trapped as she was.
"Backup is on the way. Mars is two blocks from where you are and the rest of the team is closing in."
That was one piece of good news tonight; at least she wouldn't have more were-bears to deal with. Mars would never let her live this down.
She decided to take action. She walked further into the alley, gun-arm extended. "You know," she began, finally addressing him, "you have one of two options: you can come with me and answer just a few simple questions, or I can make you." She shot him a radiant smile. "How's that sound?"
She was close enough to see him clearly now. His arms were crossed against his broad chest as he regarded her contemptuously, a callous, taunting smile gracing his thin mouth. He started laughing, a harsh and steady sound that reverberated throughout the darkness. "You're not gonna make it outta here alive."
She tried to fight off the chill that was seeping into her bones. She gave him her best impassive-cop face. "I never said you were."
He laughed derisively. "Indeed," her target drawled, looking at her in a way that made the hairs on the back of her neck rise. He took a step toward her.
She fought off the instinctive urge to back away.
The heavy feeling of malice that blanketed the air nearly choked her. It pounded away at her resistance, and almost broke through. For a moment, she could only stand there unable to move a muscle. Mind games, she told herself. All these predatory types liked to play mind games.
'Fight this off!' she thought, furious that he had even dared to play that trick on her. She swiftly reinforced her mental shields. "I wouldn't try that again if I were you."
He snarled as he lunged at her. She quickly sidestepped his next attack and aimed a kick at his torso.
It was then all her senses began flashing bright red danger signals in her brain. There was something moving swiftly behind her. 'Oh hell,' she thought, but even as she instinctively spun around to face the intruder, prepared to shoot, she found herself backhanded into a nearby wall.
Her tailbone hit the solid brick wall with bruising force, her head smacking into the concrete. All breath left her as she slid down the wall and crumpled to the ground. For a moment she lay still, catching her breath and reacquiring her bearings. Her head started to pound rhythmically to the sound of Mercury screaming, "Moon!"
Her body screamed in protest as she scrambled to her feet, her spine popping uncomfortably as she leaned against the wall for support. She wondered why she hadn't seen that one coming. And why was it that these shapeshifters felt the need to smack her around so much, anyway? She pressed a hand to her temple, easing her star-spangled vision. If she had to go to the hospital one more time for work related injuries, she was sending this guy the bill, even if he was in prison.
She soon realized that seeing stars wasn't her only problem.
It took her a moment to realize that the roar was coming from her target. She watched through blurred eyes as her target made a convulsive attempt to escape from the new threat's grip. He was huge; there was no other way to explain it. It was as though he was made up entirely of muscle.
Moon tried her best not to panic. Panic led to carelessness and carelessness usually led to death. No, if anyone was going to die tonight, she refused to let it be her. "MID. Put him down— now."
The intruder turned his head and stopped short. The hunger in his gaze was chilling. "You'll make a wonderful meal."
Her stomach lurched as he dropped her target, a predatory gleam in his smile. He pivoted slowly and began to stroll toward her.
From her position across the dingy, narrow alleyway, she resisted the growing impulse to run away and never look back. Malice and killing intent rolled off him in waves. It was all she could do to keep her feet rooted to the ground.
A ripping growl tore from her target's throat. He sprang to his feet, a snarl curling his lips, and leapt toward her stalker.
Before either she or her target could react, the intruder had jerked out a knife, and with a kind of abrupt, yet unhurried finality, he plunged it between the ribs of his natural enemy. He twisted the knife, deeply burying it. Moon swore she could hear her target's bones crack. Her target choked out a gasp, his eyes growing wide, his silent, anguished scream dying on his lips, never to touch the air.
After snapping her target's neck, he flung the twitching body into the darkness. With a flick of his wrist he nonchalantly wiped the shiny silver blade clean on his jacket. His attention had never wavered from her. "Now where were we?"
Moon willed herself to think. She knew she didn't stand a chance against him in hand-to-hand combat. Not only did he outweigh her due to his massive size, but having seen the way he'd just flung away her target's body, as though it weighed nothing, she knew it was likely she wouldn't survive. No, she'd have to rely on her guns. She quickly pulled out the one nestled at her back and switched off the safety. She leveled it in his direction, waiting for him to make his next move. "Come any closer and I shoot."
If there was one thing Moon could brag about from her time at the training academy, it was the fact that she was a great shot. She could hit a projectile moving at sixty miles per hour, and any target within fifty feet, without batting an eyelash.
"Mars is on her way."
It felt reassuring to hear Mercury's calm voice in her ear again. However, the sense of danger still prevailed. She had no idea how she was going to get out of this one with only a few scratches and bruises as battle scars. She'd be amazed if she didn't break anything. The adrenaline came flooding back in that instant, pounding through her veins. She wasn't one to give up, and if it meant she'd have a broken rib or two when this was all over, she would deal.
Her senses expanded as she felt an eerie calmness take over. And so, when he leaped toward her faster than her eyes could follow, she found herself reflexively pulling the trigger with deadly precision. All she needed to do, she found herself thinking as she followed his barely visible form with her senses, was have the bullet of nitric acid nick him, and this would all be over.
This plan of attack would have worked, except she'd underestimated her opponent's speed. She had assumed something that big would be slower in movement and reaction.
'I hate this job,' she thought to herself as was slammed into a wall for what was the second time that night. Pain exploded behind her eyelids. She ignored it.
He slammed her gun arm into the brick wall, squeezing her wrist until she was forced to drop the gun. Using her imprisoned arm, he pulled her closer, twisting her arm until a resounding pop was heard.
She ground her teeth together as he trapped her between the wall and his body. He sniffed at her neck and then licked it.
'I'm going to kill him,' she thought furiously as she stomped on his foot and elbowed him in the gut. Putting some much-needed space between them, she dodged another attack. With a well placed kick to the torso, she was slammed into wall.
Rolling away from another kick, Moon slapped the dirty concrete of the alleyway. She didn't hesitate before immediately jumping to a fighting stance. She noticed that her gun was nowhere near her person. She almost panicked but remembered her backup. And then she heard it, a faint and subtle hiss from much too close overhead. Her attacker toppled right before her eyes.
Squatting on the ground, she reached for her alternate, clicking the safety off, prepared to shoot the next thing that came into the alley. She wouldn't make the same mistake again, not tonight.
She stared in astonishment as Mars landed smoothly into the alleyway, having jumped from a nearby rooftop. Clearly pleased with herself, she surveyed her work.
"Yeah, I took care of it." Her voice was commanding and sounded too loud in the darkened alley. She kicked the unconscious were-bear in the ribs before bending down to handcuff him.
Still bewildered, Moon stared at Mars' silhouetted form in amazement. "So, how long have you been up there?"
"Long enough to see you get your ass kicked," was her drawled reply as she came to stand in front of Moon, a hand held out. Moon took the proffered hand and allowed Mars to pull her to her feet.
Pointing a finger at the unconscious blond interloper, Moon asked, "You didn't kill him, did you?"
Mars' responsive stare told Moon that she had asked a question with an obvious answer. Mars always gave her that look when Moon was having a 'blonde moment.' "I just tranqued him. He should be out for three hours, give or take."
Moon nodded in comprehension. "That's good to hear." Moving deeper into the darkness, she examined her now dead target. At least, she was pretty sure he was dead. If he wasn't, he was doing a pretty good imitation of it. "I have no idea where that guy came from. He's a grizzly though."
"Right. Of course a black bear would die at the hands of a grizzly." Mars came to stand next to her. "You'd think between the two of us, you with your precognition and me being a psychic, we'd have seen this one coming."
Moon found herself laughing. It sent sharp spikes of pain through her stomach, making her dizzy with nausea. It was a definite; she must have at least bruised, if not broken something.
Mars frowned, concerned at how pale her blonde friend appeared. Removing the blonde's cracked night vision glasses, she tilted Moon's head upward in order to get a better view of her eyes. Moon's pupils were dilated and unfocused. "Hey, how many fingers am I holding?"
"What kind of stupid question is that?" Moon slurred. She had managed to ignore the throbbing in her head until now, but with the adrenaline leaving her body, all of the abuse she had suffered throughout the night were beginning to make themselves known. She wasn't sure if she'd be able to stand much longer. She was bleeding and her arm was broken. She could feel the trickle of cold liquid seeping into the back of her trench coat, staining the shirt underneath. At least she'd had the forethought of wearing black; blood was a bitch to wash out.
"Answer the question." Mars retorted, aggravated and concerned at the same time.
Moon squinted, staring at the raised fingers with an air of dazed contemplation. "Four."
Briefly glancing at the two, not four, fingers she held up, Mars frowned. So her first suspicion had been right; Moon could be suffering from a head injury. "Mercury, we need an ambulance. There's a dead body, Moon's target I believe, and Moon needs medical attention."
"Copy that." There was another pause, which Moon filled with protests of her good health, despite the fact that her body was demanding that she stop moving.
"Come on. Let me give you a hand." Mars wrapped an arm around Moon's waist, pulling her closer.
"It's okay," Moon waved a hand in protest, but found herself staggering when the support of Mars' body was gone. "I'm just a little bruised."
"How many times were you knocked into that wall?"
"A couple of times."
Mars sighed in disgust. "You never change."
"Nope," Moon gave her a big, cheerful smile, "and just so you know, you're buying me breakfast if Sapphire refuses to defend him."
"Damn loup-garou and his prejudice against other species."
"Sapphire isn't prejudiced; he just chooses to represent the loups-garous only."
"And that isn't prejudiced how?"
"You're still buying me breakfast."
"Yeah, yeah, whatever."
AN: w00t! That was a blast to write!
I like reading paranormal romances and werewolves are my fave type of shapeshifter. I've been dying to work on this story. The updates may be slow in coming but I'm always working on this fic.
Before the confusion starts, I just wanted to point out that I'll be using a lot of different terms to describe werewolves.
The whole race (bitten or born) is referred to as "loups-garous" and sometimes "lycanthrope." I'll use it interchangeably, so bear with me.
"Werewolves" are bitten (I think that one's obvious). Those born with a parent that's loup-garou are "loup-garou." Then there are the rare creatures called the lupi (what Endymion is) who are born Hunters (I'll go into this later). And then there are the Berserkers (who're just crazy Born loups-garous…but that's for later).
Aside from that, just wanted to say, beware of my footnotes of DOOM! You'll get sick of seeing them by the time this story's over.
Last Edited Nov.20, 2009