Lazarus was still shaken by Darren's abrupt appearance, and more perturbed by their act being seen through so quickly. Though Bane was admittedly not fond of Lazarus for nearly four centuries of mistrust and loneliness, he existed for a reason. He was there to protect Lazarus. He would remain loyal, despite everything.

Suddenly, Lazarus regretted not finding another wolf to teach him. Determined to overcome his curse alone, Lazarus had learnt to survive and hunt and fight alone. It had never occurred to him that he might need to know how to behave around a pack.

Bane sighed and tore his eyes from the stars, looking to Melissa.

"Shall we go then, before our resolve wavers?"

"Will we have enough time?" He nodded and stood up, making sure that Lazarus' apprehension, and his own fear didn't show in his eyes. "Then yes, we should go," she mumbled, standing beside him.

"Oh, I don't know how much you know about wolves, but don't expect them to be very proper. Most of them will be pups in comparison to you and I. Apart from that blonde one, Albert. He's older than Lazarus, I think, if only by a few years," Bane said, as they walked down the stairs through the apartment block.

"The alpha would be older than that I suspect."

"The alpha isn't chosen because of age or whatever; wolves don't choose their hierarchy in the same way as vampires do," he smiled.

"Then how is it chosen?"

"Strength, leadership skills... It's hard to explain. You're either born with it or you're not. Their skills as humans factor into it as well, it would be hard to keep a pack together if your alpha wolf is a weak human." They left the apartment block as he tried to explain it to Melissa. It was hard to resist the urge to scent around the apartment block, though, his instinct urging him to protect his area, even if it was small.

"Then at least he should be wise and reasonable?"

"Is Lazarus wise and reasonable?"

"At times."

"When he feels like it. Which isn't all that often."

"So you're saying the alpha will be like him?" He laughed.

"If you were to make Lazarus considerably taller, younger and stronger, possibly. And more boneheaded. At least Lazarus has a good taste in music. He probably doesn't even know what music is," Lazarus grumbled quietly in the back of his head, as Melissa took a deep breath of the cool night air.

"Great," she muttered.

"Mmm," he paused, sniffing the air, "this way," he muttered, cutting down an alley behind a row of shops. She followed swiftly, cutting her breathing as it began to speed up. He broke into a run, enjoying his first taste of freedom, despite what they were about to do. "I could run like this forever," he laughed as they reached the park, facing the edge of the green that was encroached by the woodland around the town.

"I could, but it would get rather boring."

"You're joking, right?" Bane muttered, slowing to a confident lope as they strayed closer to the woods.

"I am not a creature of the wild, Bane; I am a creature of urbanisation. I was made to seduce and blend in with humans, not run around in harmony with a forest." He nodded, wishing she enjoyed the freedom nature gave as much as he did.

"Well, they're in there," he said, nodding towards the towering trees, "so you're gonna have to run around in harmony with the woodland at least for a while." The edge of the woodland looked so daunting as they neared it. There were no streetlamps nearby to light up the habitat, and the moonlight could barely illuminate the park, let alone pierce the thick canopy of leaves.

"Can't you just howl?"

"My first taste of real freedom and you'd have me howl like one of those stereotypical wolves?" he shook his head, his eyes turning sullen as Lazarus warned him not to argue. "Fine," he growled and walked over to the edge of the trees and sat heavily, sulking as he lifted his head and let out a piercing howl. 


The End

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