Written for ba_rosebuds , prompt "wolf."

They say that he is the wolf, and she is his prey. A casual observer might believe it, might see it in the way he follows her from cemetery to cemetery, his eyes dark and watchful on her movements. In the way she never seems to notice him, never realizes that he's there as she patrols each night.

She's said it's wrong, that it can never happen. They've parted ways, and that has been enough for her, he knows, because she never mentions him on patrol or at the Bronze. But sometimes, his treacherous imagination catches a touch of wistfulness cross her gaze when she watches dancing couples around her. He wonders if she likes to dance, if he could ever catch on to the teenage bumping and grinding that her schoolmates call dancing. For her, he might be willing to learn. But she can't want him. And he can't want her.

He wasn't called here to fall in love with her.

But still he follows her every night, keeping an eye out for her on patrol. Sometimes he'll head off a particularly nasty-looking demon before it can get to her, but more often he'll let them go instead. She won't get strong if he coddles her, so he watches her tensely as she wards them off, clenching his fists in silent terror every time she's thrown backwards by a vicious foe and doesn't get up immediately. He hasn't feared for himself in a hundred years, but now he's reacquainting himself with the emotion, learning it all over again with each scenting of slayer blood in the air.

He wants to die for her, to protect her, to keep her forever safe in his arms. He wants her to be that carefree girl he saw on the steps of Hemery High, to never see her sorrow or distrust again. He wants to stand with her in sunshine.

He knows none of that will ever happen, and that his duty calls for him to stay away, even if it's killing him to watch her risk her life every patrol. So he stalks her each night, just far back enough that she'll never know he's there.

They say that he is the wolf, and she is his prey. But just a second glance is enough to make it clear that he is no predator at all…and that he is, and always will be, her helpless prey.