Negotiating with the AlphaMature

Lazarus walked quietly through the streets, following the scent of another werewolf. He grimaced, thinking about how basic this was. Like feral dogs. I guess that's what we are, he thought as he came to another marker, indicating a turn in the perimeter.

You're not!' Melissa's voice growled in his head. The reply was so unexpected it made Lazarus stop dead in his tracks and look dumbly at the lamp post in front of him before he could regain his composure.

‘You made me jump!' he said.

‘Sorry, I was bored and I heard you in my head.' She replied.

‘It's fine.' He smiled and set off again, wondering where the one who had left the marks would be tonight.

‘How's it going?' Melissa murmured after a while. Lazarus looked around.

‘I'm nearly back where I started. I know how big the patch is now; I just need to find the bastard. Having fun in church?' he grumbled, exhaling gustily at his lack of progress.

‘It's interesting... I met a hunter.' Lazarus raised an eyebrow at this.

‘Are you okay?' he asked, searching their mental connection for a hint of distress. He found none and wasn't sure if this concerned him more than the fact there was a hunter around.

‘Yeah, he was an ex-hunter actually. Gave me a cross. Strange...' she mumbled.

‘That is strange. Why'd he give you a cross?' his hand strayed to his pocket where he kept the rosary she had given him. He ran a thumb over the beads and smiled a little.

‘He said someone previously had asked him to give it to me if ever he saw me. But it's silver and exactly the same size as the one Albert gave me...' he could hear the thoughtful frown in her voice. Cutting across the park, Lazarus looked for more markers as he talked.

‘Well it was a pretty standard sized necklace cross wasn't it?' Lazarus asked, unsure what to think.

‘A little smaller but... yeah. You're right. It could have been anyone.'  She sighed.

‘Well unless that hunter happened to be four hundred years old and knew Albert before...' Lazarus trailed off realising he sounded heartless saying it.

‘Yeah, I know. You're right.' He heard her sigh again and, distracted, he nearly completely overlooked a marker. He paused glaring at the marked bench. Could have marked somewhere more hygienic, stupid... ugh, his thoughts grumbled in the back of his mind as he looked around.

‘Sorry. I didn't mean to sound so...' he trailed off, hearing something moving nearby.

‘Leave it. Just be safe and be careful,' she warned as he turned to what was making the noise. He had to look up to see the stormy eyes glaring down at him. The figure before him was at least 6' 3", and Lazarus suddenly felt very short. Very short.

‘Hi.' Lazarus tried to smile up at the man before him, but the icy glare he was getting didn't really put him at ease. The man was built like a serious athlete and had the air of a bouncer finding someone that had sneaked into the club while he wasn't looking. Except that he was a werewolf and this was a werewolf club with exclusive membership.

‘English?' the werewolf bouncer asked in a thick accent. No, I'm Swiss. That's why I have an English accent. The words very nearly spilled from his lips, but the man's threatening demeanour put him off saying it.

‘Yeah.' He muttered instead. ‘Sorry, I didn't know whe-'

‘Come with me.' The werewolf bouncer grabbed Lazarus' upper arm and began to drag him, not really giving him a chance to protest, or a choice. He was hauled over to the side of the road where a car pulled up and a door was flung open. Merde. The werewolf bouncer's hand moved from his arm to the small of his back and shoved him into the car.

‘I can get into a car on my own, you know!' Lazarus said indignantly, twisting to glare at the man, though he couldn't keep back the thought that jumped to mind as the man forced him into the back seat: oh dear god, I'm going to be raped.

Mellissa's eyes snapped open abruptly as she heard the thought and she tried to keep her cool, even though no one else was in the church watching her.

'Lazarus, what's wrong, what's happening?' She asked as calmly as possible.

‘Have a look at where I am,' he replied nervously, sending an image of where he was and the man next to him, eyeing him warily. ‘He's not the most friendly person I've ever met. Sorry if I panicked you. The way he grabbed me just made me freak out.' He looked away from the werewolf bouncer and fixed his eyes on the floor, acting as submissive as he could bear - and hated the sensation of giving in to them.

‘Lazarus...' She whimpered, scared for him. ‘Just keep yourself safe. Okay? Stay safe please...' This turned into more of a prayer as she thought of it, her hands clasping themselves together as she sat on the pews. Lazarus was about to reply when the car came to a sudden halt and his thoughts were cut off as werewolf bouncer pulled Lazarus out of the car, marching him into a dark building. It looked a lot like a rundown office block where failing businesses crawled away to die. Lazarus didn't really have a chance to make any more mental comments on the place as he was pushed into a room and told to wait there. Werewolf bouncer stayed while the driver scampered off to fetch someone else.

Lazarus sighed and stood back against a wall, leaning on it, keeping his eyes on the werewolf left with him. He looked around the room and surreptitiously stole glances at the werewolf bouncer. He noticed the guy's tanned skin and the impressive muscle tone that showed through his polo shirt. Tribal style tattoos poked out from the short sleeves, cutting down his arms like inky blades. He wore black trousers that looked like they were supposed to be worn as part of a three piece suit, though this man apparently didn't care.

‘Ah, it's you!' a voice from the door way exclaimed, the person it belonged to walking into sight. He was flanked by a woman and another man. ‘I've seen you around. You took your time finding me. I'm to understand you bought an apartment recently in my area?' he said, his French accent faint. The woman and the other man hung back by the door way as the man walked forward. This man had dark skin and stood at a more comforting six feet. He was more intimidating than his bouncer, though. He walked right up to Lazarus, his chocolate eyes piercing Lazarus' blue eyes in a way that made even Melissa recoil as she watched.

He looked away from the man, not challenging his stare. His eyes fixed on the werewolves by the door - a blond man and a red haired woman. They were watching him with interest as their pack leader showed his dominance. Lazarus shied away from the alpha male as he inspected him.

‘Yeah, I bought an apartment in that new estate.' Lazarus confirmed. ‘I figured I should come and find you before I moved in. I didn't want a fight next moon; wanted it all settled before then.' He muttered, glancing back at the alpha as he stepped back to consider the skinny werewolf before him. His eyes strayed to a set of strange scars on Lazarus' neck. He put out a hand and turned Lazarus' head to get a better view. The scars were small dots on his skin just above a vein. He frowned. ‘I'm on my own,' Lazarus continued as the alpha inspected him, ‘I don't have a pack. I won't be a threat; I just would like to live here.'

‘You're not going to bring that vampire with you are you?' the man asked gruffly, letting go of him. He looked at the alpha with wide eyes. ‘The last thing I need is vampire bait on my turf.'

‘I'll show him vampire bait.' Melissa growled in his mind, but she kept her facial expression as cool and calm as she could. Lazarus didn't respond, concentrating on trying to think of an answer for the alpha.

‘No, no, I just got into a fight with one a little while ago. It won't be a problem now, though.' Lazarus said, hoping that he hadn't taken too long to find a way to describe what had happened without giving too much away. The alpha nodded and looked him over once again. Lazarus shifted uncomfortably as the man insisted on staring at him so much.

‘I trust you have control over your wolf when you transform?' he asked.

‘Pretty much. Sometimes I find myself giving into instinct maybe a little too often but I'm not a completely out of control beast. I won't destroy anything.' He replied, wondering if any of these werewolves had learnt as much control as he had.

‘Will you be looking to join this pack?' the alpha asked thoughtfully. The woman by the door kissed a little and the man next to her looked a little surprised at the alpha's question. Lazarus shook his head.

‘I've managed alone for the last four hundred years. I'm not looking to join any pack. I won't challenge your ownership of this territory, though.' The question had been enough of a surprise to the people in the room, but his answer was even more surprising.

‘That's a long time to be alone,' the alpha said.

‘How can you not have had a pack?' the woman spoke for the first time. ‘Did the one who turned you not take you in?' Lazarus looked at her in surprise.

‘No. I was attacked by a particularly hungry wolf. My friend whacked it over the head with a shot gun and it ran off. Never saw it again.' He shrugged and looked around at the expressions of surprise on the faces of the people around him. ‘I didn't know I was even supposed to have a pack until recently, to be honest.' The alpha nodded, apparently to himself.

‘Well, I'm satisfied you don't pose a threat. Aside from the fact you're tiny,' he didn't conceal the smirk at this, ‘you're not taught, yet you seem to have learnt. Learning from life experience, I find, is a better way of learning than having a tutor.' He paused and forced a friendly smile to his lips. ‘You can live here, though if I find marks challenging me, or you attract any vampires, hunters, more competition, I will hold you responsible without question. Understood?' he watched as Lazarus nodded and gave a relieved sigh.

‘Thank you.' He murmured. Melissa mimicked his sigh of relief and relaxed a little.

‘Will you come back now?' she asked.

‘I trust you can find your way back to the hotel on your own.' The alpha said, his smirk returning.

‘I'll be fine, thank you.' Lazarus replied. ‘I'm free to go then?' the alpha nodded and waved his hand at the others in the room. Obediently, they left without a backwards glance.

‘Remember,' the alpha started in a low voice as Lazarus crossed the room, ‘I'll hold you responsible the moment my position is challenged or threatened here, okay?'

‘I didn't expect anything less,' Lazarus replied, hesitating in the door way.

‘Good.' The word was uttered dismissively and Lazarus left, ignoring the sensation of being watched all the way to the church.

The End

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