Title: Scattered Thoughts
Disclaimer: Nope, don't own Anna or Charles or anybody. Patricia Briggs owns this series, I'm just meandering in her world.
Beta: No beta, so please forgive any minor grammar mistakes.
A/N: This chapter is Ian Garner's chapter. For those who don't remember, Ian Garner is a wolf in the Seattle pack. He is the leader of the small group of wolves who greet Anna and Charles.
You gain strength, courage, and confidance by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing that you think you cannot do ~Eleanor Roosevelt
Ian Garner didn't consider himself to be a fearful man.
He'd never backed down from anything. Not from fights, or from school. He'd done what he had to do to get to where he was.
He'd gotten his place in life by crawling through hell and coming out clean on the other side. By fighting for better things. He'd managed to get through high school, and into college. He'd worked a steady job to pay for his apartment and his school funds, and he was pretty damn proud of himself.
He'd been changed into a werewolf when he was twenty-two. He remembered the night clearly, even though he'd spent most of it drunk. He'd been at a bar with his friends from college, celebrating their graduation. Dancing with girls, drinking everything within reach, and feeling a little to confidant.
Confidant enough to punch the asshole who he bumped shoulders with.
He remembered the crunch of his hand, and the fury on the guy's face.
He remembered how the guy disappeared into the crowd, and his friends called him a pansy because he was bitching about his hand.
Ian remembered later, walking up his driveway, one hand wrapped in a make-do bandage, and the other wrapped around a bottle of Jack Daniels. He remembered the sudden pain, remembered bleeding out.
He'd been changed into a werewolf, and he didn't think he'd ever once been afraid. He'd just accepted it with indifferently. Then he'd started driving until he broke down in Seattle, and Angus had taken him in.
Now, he'd been a werewolf for almost five years. Settling into his place in the middle of pack ranks, getting him a job, a house, and becoming one of Angus's most trusted wolves - if not one of his more powerful ones.
Everything in his life had led him to where he was right now, in charge of several other wolves, and quaking in his boots.
He hated it. Hated being afraid, but damn if he couldn't help it.
Charles Cornick. The Enforcer. Right hand man of the Marrok.
There were so many whispers about Charles Cornick. More wolf than man, all raging madness and killing power. Loyal only to the Marrok. Second only to the Marrok.
Angus had picked him to welcome Charles to Seattle. During that conversation, Ian had felt more fear than he had in a long time.
"Why me? Why not a more dominant wolf? A stronger wolf?"
"I don't need a confrontation. The less dominance, the less instinct he will feel to assert his. You are dominant, Ian, but not outrageously so. Enough that you can keep the other wolves I've assigned in line, but not enough to cause a problem."
Ian wished that hadn't made sense. Or that he'd found a strong counter-argument, and he'd wiggled his way out of this shit.
But he hadn't, and here he was. Trying desperately to keep his breathing in check, and his hands from shaking.
Charles Cornick had just called in, reporting his nearness, and Ian was waiting to greet him.
God, his heart was pounding.
Everything in him was screaming to escape from this larger predator, and only his loyalty to his Alpha kept him here.
He, unlike so many others of his pack, had no desire to come face to face with The Enforcer.
They feared him, sure, but they wanted to see the face of the man they feared. So that maybe they could understand their fear. Could justify it.
Ian already understood the fear. Charles was a wolf who dominated over other wolves. Sent out to exterminate those who didn't follow the Marrok's law. This was a proven fact, not just a rumor.
He did the Marrok's dirty work single-handedly. Not only did that paint the picture of a warrior, but of a controlled warrior. He managed not to go insane from his wolf's blood thirst.
Ian imagined that he had to be barely clinging to sanity. No one could handle that many kills.
There. There was the plane.
Dread was settled into his gut, and Ian was ashamed that he was so fearful, but he couldn't do anything about it. He could only watch as the reason for his dread landed the plane.
The silhouette in the drivers seat was massive, and that didn't help with Ian's blood pressure.
There was another figure in the passengers seat. A much smaller one.
If the rumors were true, Ian would figure this to be Charles Cornick's mate.
His instincts wouldn't let him focus on anything but the threat, so Ian returned his full attention to the massive figure stepping out of the plane.
Ian linked his fingers together behind his back, and ducked his head a little, trying to appear as submissive as possible. He let his eyes take in the threat.
Charles Cornick was Indian.
That was a shock, but not a shock at the same time.
None of the stories proclaimed him as Indian, but then again, none of the stories gave him any race.
His physical deposition alone made him formidable.
Tall, and domineering. With broad shoulders, and long limbs.
Ian felt a quiver run through him.
Then, there was the aura he gave off.
All dominants had it. The ability to make you look at them, and think, "Maybe I should leave that person alone."
To this day, Ian had never met a wolf who possessed a stronger "back off" aura, than his Alpha. The Enforcer shattered Angus's impression.
Ian felt it from here, and Charles Cornick was still two-hundred feet away.
In legends, and stories that you heard, you would would build up unreachable standards for the people in the stories. Then, if you met the person who seemed to be a God in the stories, you would almost always be disappointed.
Not this time. The one time that Ian had wished so fiercely to be disappointed, he wasn't. If anything, he hadn't raised the bar for The Enforcer high enough.
One hundred yards away. Now was panic time.
Ian reached into himself, and tried to pull out that fearless college kid, who thought he'd already seen everything.
He failed, mostly, but he was able to stop his hands from shaking.
He couldn't take the majority of his attention off the bigger threat, but he made an attempt to notice the woman walking next to Charles.
She was relatively short. Curly, light brown hair. Pale.
Ian thought she looked young. She could be a teenager. But she was a wolf, and she could be three hundred years old for all he knew.
There was something about her, that Ian couldn't place. But it made him want to put himself between her and Charles.
The urge grew stronger, so he forced himself to focus on Charles before he jumped in between Charles and the woman. Somehow, he didn't see that going over very well.
Charles Cornick was in front of him now. Only about seven feet away. The man had pulled to a stop, and Ian met his eyes. It was oh so brief, because Ian couldn't handle it, and his eyes dropped before he'd even thought about dropping them.
Charles's face was carefully neutral, not letting any emotion show - if he had ones to show. Ian thought that made him all the more imposing.
Ian didn't quite know how his heart managed to last through the encounter, especially when he'd had the hair-raising experience of crossing the other wolves line.
"What about the Asian werewolves," Charles's mate asked, "Or African and Australian? And South American?"
"They don't matter," he'd said dismissively.
Before Charles had even uttered the first word, Ian had known that he was a dead man.
"They matter," The Enforcer had whispered low, and dangerously, "They have been dealt with differently."
Ian hadn't been able to control his spike in fear, the blood rushing from his face. He'd never been so scared in his life. To have known he'd crossed the stronger wolf, and to have had to fight off the screaming instinct to run.
He hadn't been killed though, and the other wolf had left, his new mate in tow.
Ian didn't know how any woman handled Charles. All he knew was that she had to be twenty times stronger than she looked.
They'd left, and the wolves at his back had breathed a sigh of relief, and Ian had just watched them drive off. His heart was still racing, and he had to work to make his hands cooperate enough to pull out his phone.
He called Angus. Let him know that Charles had arrived, and nobody had been killed. Yet.
He'd survived. And he liked to think that the experience had made him stronger.
Ian Garner didn't consider himself to be a fearful man, but he knew that they're were things in life that a smart man knew to be afraid of.
And Charles Cornick was one of those things.
Okay! Sorry for the long delay in my update. I know that Ian is not one of the bigger characters in the series, but I needed a less important person to work with. It helped me get back into the swing of things.
Thank you for your reviews of my first posting, and please review this one :)