Hello all! So this idea has been tumbling around in my head for a couple months now and I just got to the point of writing it O.o More than that I just really needed some major Josh!whump after the season finale :D This can take place pretty much any time during the series but I kinda wanted it to happen after the season finale where Sally can sort of touch people. Also, Nora won't be in it =/ I really like Nora and I apologize to any fans who are disappointed in her lack of appearnce but I couldn't figure out how to make it work so she's conveniently out of town lol! Hope you guys like it!
I own nothing =/
It was getting dark, the sun sinking beneath the canopy of trees and dipping ever so slightly into the horizon. It was strikingly clear, the first twinkling of starlight appearing high overhead. A cold wind threaded its way through the trees, rustling the fallen leaves on the ground and filling the air with the scent of the coming winter. The lack of clouds in the sky nearly ensured a freeze later in the night and the animals had already begun to settle in for the evening, disappearing into dens and hollows to await the cold weather.
The man sat silently, his back pressed firmly against the base of a tree. He was motionless, so still it would be easy to mistake him for a part of the scenery save for the slight rustling of air around him as he breathed. There was gun tucked into the waistband of his jeans, a hunting knife strapped to his calf. He was waiting. Tonight would be the night, he could feel it.
His hiding place had positioned him right beside a well worn path to a nearby stream. If anything in this part of the woods was in search of water, it would have to pass by him to get there. It was the best place to be when the wolf decided to show up.
He'd been tracking it for nearly two months now, traveling across a state line just to stay on its trail. This one was older than the others he'd tracked, smarter too. It could run faster and blend in with its surroundings better, making it a worthy advesary. If he were to be honest with himself, the hunter was impressed by this one. All of the others had gone down with little more than a snarl and a flash of teeth; granted, most were juveniles but it didn't matter. In his opinion, it should have made them better since they were younger and stronger than the older ones but that theory quickly vanished after his third or fourth kill. The younger ones were clumsy and could easily be led into a trap. It had happened more times than he could count.
A large doe wandered past him, her dark eyes glancing past him into the trees. She barely even noticed him. He'd been working with a scientist for about four years now who had managed to develop a chemical that masked a human's scent from other animals. As the scientist had put it, it was like "camouflage cologne." The compound was going to sell for millions once it got through the testing phase but it wasn't available to the public just yet. The man didn't see why, the product had worked perfectly for him. He'd managed to sneak up on the other wolves without them ever smelling him. It worked wonders for this kind of job. He needed to be as discreet as possible when he was on a hunt, especially with the wolves. Their heightened senses made it difficult to hunt them in the normal way and one wrong move could mean being dinner or worse, becoming one of them.
He'd been paid well for this hunt, a large manilla envelope filled with the directed amount placed discreetly in his mailbox. This wolf had been responsible for the loss of livestock and wandering hikers and the price for its head on a platter was fairly steep. Still, the people wanted it gone and were willing pay a pretty penny to make sure that happened. He was well known for this kind of thing, the best in his field as he liked to think. Granted, the field was very small, only about thirty in the entire country, but he was the best. He'd even been called down to Mexico a couple months back to take care of a wolf that had been terrorizing the a local farming community. The wolf had ended up being a 15-year-old boy who never remembered his transformations but that didn't stop the hunter from taking him down with a bullet through the heart. In his opinion, a wolf was a wolf, it didn't matter how old they were or who they were when they were human. A gun sounds the same to every animal.
The sun had nearly disappeared by now, the last rays of sunlight flickering at the edge of the horizon. The temperature had already dropped a few more degrees and the hunter could see his breath coming out in small white puffs; he drew his jacket a bit tighter around him.
The wolf would be here soon and he needed to be ready.
"Are you sure you don't want a ride?" Aidan asked for the fifth time in an hour, following Josh as he rummaged around in his backpack for his Ipod.
Josh chuckled to himself and shook his head. "Aidan, seriously man, you're starting to sound like a soccer mom. If I didn't know any better I'd say you might've been one in a past life."
"All he needs to do is trade his car in for a van and we'd be all set." Sally chimed in, appearing on the couch next to Josh's backpack with a teasing grin on her face. A few months ago, her sudden appearance would have made the younger man jump but now he just smiled and nodded in agreement.
"Yeah, yeah, laugh all you want but its about 30 degrees outside." Aidan countered, gesturing toward the window with one hand. "Its supposed to freeze later tonight and I was just trying to prevent you from turning into a dog-sicle before you get out of the city limits."
Josh smiled again and shook his head, shoving a change of clothes into the backpack. "Your concern is touching, really, but I'll be fine. Remember, cold doesn't affect me as much as everyone else. One of the perks of being a werewolf is having an unusually high body temperature." Josh spoke easily enough but the word "perks" still came out like it was soaked in a battery acid. He'd gotten better with the whole self flagellation thing since his talk with Nora but it was a hard habit to break and would still managed to creep into his thoughts every once in a while.
Besides, with Nora out of town visiting her mother, Josh needed an outlet. He'd almost been looking forward to this month's transformation just for the fact that he could let out some pent up energy. He'd been cooped up in the house and the hospital every day for nearly two weeks and he was beginning to get a bit stir crazy. It would be nice to have some time to himself for a bit.
"Alright, well you can't blame me for trying." Aidan said with a shrug before he dropped onto the couch next to Sally. The spirit smiled and cast a knowing look to Josh. Though neither of them had said anything, both Josh and Sally knew that Aidan had been extra careful with them since Bishop's death. Between Danny trying to burn the house down with Sally inside and Bishop coming after Josh, it had been an interesting week to say the least and Aidan still hadn't completely grasped the fact that they'd all made it through alive (er, mostly). They'd spent the past month repairing the damage the fire and smoke had done to the house. Tonight would be the first night Josh had been out of his sight since Bishop's death and Aidan was quite literally hovering like a worried parent. Considering he was the only living occupant of the house made it harder as well.
The younger man gave him a reassuring smile and patted him on the shoulder. "Don't worry, I'll be fine. I'll call you in the morning." He said, tossing a wave over his shoulder to Sally before swinging the backpack onto his back.
"High five Bigfoot for me!" Sally called after him as he disappeared out the door and down the stairs. She watched Aidan from the corner of her eyes for a second, the vampire's eyes glued to the door their housemate had just stepped out of. "Stare any harder and you'll catch the door on fire." She said, smirking when Aidan blinked and had the decency to look embarassed.
"You think he'll be alright? You know, with as cold as its been and all-"
"Aidan!" Sally cried, touching his arm for a split second before her hand phased through. She still hadn't gained complete control of that ability yet but it was getting better. "He'll be fine. Josh is a big boy, he can handle himself." She saw the vampire nod slightly before continuing. "Besides, there's a Gossip Girl marathon on tonight and you know how much Josh hates that show."
Aidan had to smile. Sally had managed to get him hooked on it one afternoon but no matter how hard she tried, she could not get Josh to follow suit. She had begged Aidan to watch it with her and, viewing it not so much as a favor but as a guilty pleasure, Aidan had agreed. "Yeah, you're right." He said finally, grabbing the remote and changing it to the right channel. "Josh will be fine." He tried to ignore the hollow feeling in his chest as he said the words out loud.
It took about twenty minutes for Josh to get outside the city limits and into the thick forests the surrounded it. He could feel the familiar pull in his gut of the on coming transformation but he still had some time left. He wandered deeper into the forest, his shoes crunching the nearly frozen leaves and twigs on the ground as he walked. He barely felt the cold that prickled against his skin. He needed to get farther away from the roads so he didn't run the risk of the wolf running out into traffic and attacking a motorist. He had a very limited amount of control of the wolf once he changed and the less chance of an accidental encounter the better.
He managed to make it a few miles away from the road before the first grip of the transformation struck him. He gasped suddenly, staggering to a stop and doubling over. It felt like someone had reached into his stomach and started rearranging his insides like they were refrigerator magnets. He dropped to his knees, an involuntary gasp escaping him as another blinding stab of pain shot through his body. He vaguely registered pulling off his shirt but was lost in the throws of agony as the transformation took hold of him completely. He cried out, his voice becoming hoarse and ragged as his vocal chords shifted and changed.
His fingernails peeled away, making way for sharp, curves claws and the bones in his wrists and arms contorted and reset. His back arched sharply, painfully, his ribs and spine lengthening to maintain the new shape. A thick layer of fur began to appear all over his body and the bones and muscles continued to contract and pull and reshape themselves. Josh let out one final agonized cry as he ceased to human anymore, the noise fading from a scream into a howl.
The wolf stepped away from the tattered remains of the human's clothing, smelling the stench of other humans on the fabric. It wrinkled its nose and shook its head, padding away from the pile of clothes and into the woods. It felt free, like it had been released from a cage and was allowed to roam to its heart's content. The full moon beckoned high over head, flickering like the muzzle flash of a gun at the starting gate, and the wolf needed to run.
Sorry if Aidan was a bit OOC but I figured he'd be pretty antsy after the throwdown with Bishop and all :D Hope you all liked it!